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US Confirms Underwater Oil Plume

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the told-you-so dept.

Earth 353

oxide7 writes "An underwater three-dimensional map of the oil spill is closer to becoming a reality, now that the US has for the first time confirmed the discovery of a subsurface oil plume resulting from the ruptured BP well. The government agency in charge of ocean science has received the first of several expected reports from university investigators aboard research ships detailing specific locations where oil has been found below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The government, which denied reports of giant underwater oil plumes in mid-May, said researchers at the time had not confirmed the presence of conglomerated oil." The New York Times talked with scientists on a two-week mission in the Gulf and reported them "awed" at the size and density of the underwater plume.

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353 comments

First plume (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502724)

Lucky, my government is not owned by BP>

Re:First plume (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502764)

Oh, wait...

Re:First plume (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503192)

Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

Whoever was on the other end of the line was apparently trying to calm Harrell down. "I am fucking calm," he went on, according to Buzbee. "You realize the rig is burning?"

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/06/the-rigs-on-fire-i-told-you-this-was-gonna-happen/57775/ [theatlantic.com]

Re:First plume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503096)

Lucky, the second oil leak will fix the first YAY!

http://www.cnbc.com/id/37575052

Re:First plume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503236)

I take your luck and cast this one!

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0602/month-oil-spill-goldman-sachs-sold-250-million-bp-stock/

Other US confirmations include (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502734)

A massive spill from Uranus.

Disaster (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502740)

This is such a disaster. Someone please provide links: I know that even now after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska there is ongoing environmental damage and hardship for the people who live in the area. From that example, speculate on what will happen in the Gulf.

Re:Disaster (3, Insightful)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502784)

BP will be given a reward for cleaning up the spill and free oil drilling rights to whichever body of water they wish.

Re:Disaster (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502804)

because of the lack of interest from the general public to eat seafood from the area, as soon as the oxygen levels stabilize sea life will prosper and the fishery replenished.
this is of course the ramblings of a mad man which would like to see if a destroyed oil rig can run linux, but i much liked the story of BP buying search advertising.

Re:Disaster (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503584)

because of the lack of interest from the general public to eat seafood from the area, as soon as the oxygen levels stabilize sea life will prosper and the fishery replenished.

Most members of the general public don't know or care where their fish comes from - So if you buy a box of Captain Highliner fish sticks or a Filet o' Fish you won't know if they contain 'gulf fish.'

Re:Disaster (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503626)

And if someone drops a nuclear warhead on someone eventually it will be great lake farmland when do you say we start?

Re:Disaster (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502842)

FL is expected to lose almost 200k jobs, and $11bn from tourism income (worst case estimates for west coast). If it hits the east coast, it'll be a lot worse. Longer term is a the food chain being full of this shit, resulting in fish costs going through the roof for those not caught in the gulf.

Good job Obama is using the might of the most powerful and richest country on the planet to stop the spewing oil. Oh, wait... He's done fuck all, par for the course and his promises to date.

Meanwhile BP have paid a massive $75m on adverts.

Re:Disaster (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502918)

Richest country? bahahahahaha!

Re:Disaster (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502946)

FL is expected to lose almost 200k jobs, and $11bn from tourism income (worst case estimates for west coast). If it hits the east coast, it'll be a lot worse. Longer term is a the food chain being full of this shit, resulting in fish costs going through the roof for those not caught in the gulf.

Good job Obama is using the might of the most powerful and richest country on the planet to stop the spewing oil. Oh, wait... He's done fuck all, par for the course and his promises to date.

Meanwhile BP have paid a massive $75m on adverts.

And 2 weeks ago, they had paid a massive $990m on clean up. Your point?

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503164)

a whopping $990 million?

wow, not even the 1% of their revenues. such a beating, indeed.

Re:Disaster (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503320)

Which is likely to be but a drop in the bucket of the real costs of cleanup.

Re:Disaster (5, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503006)

Good job Obama is using the might of the most powerful and richest country on the planet to stop the spewing oil.

So he called in China to help?

Re:Disaster (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503042)

Sorry but China is neither the richest nor most powerful nation on Earth.

The US still has the largest economy and most powerful military on the planet.

China has more people armed and in the military but China lacks the ability to project power and has a fraction of the nuclear capability of the US.

Re:Disaster (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503122)

Really? I wasn't being serious...

Re:Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503168)

You need to grow a sense of humour but you also need to check your facts: the EU is currently a larger economy than the US.

Re:Disaster (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503382)

Ah, but the EU is not a Country.

You could make the argument that the EU is a nation, but gp and ggp seem to be confused as to what they're talking about on that front.

Re:Disaster (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503496)

So, wait. The aggregated economies of all the countries in the EU is bigger? Really? Did you also know that the world economy is bigger than the EU economy?

US has a labor force of 155 Million and a GDP of $14.26 Trillion

EU has a labor force of 236 Million and a GDP of $16.45 Trillion

So that additional 81 million workers in the EU only adds about $2 Trillion to the GDP of the EU.

So, yes, the EU is a little bigger than the US in terms of GDP, but is much less efficient in terms of GDP per capita.

Re:Disaster (5, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503058)

I'll never understand arm-chair petroleum engineers. How easy do you think it is to drive a multi-ton robotic submersible a mile underwater using cameras that don't provide good depth perception to plug a hole spewing oil with a pressure exceeding 5,000 PSI? It can take days just to get the necessary materials down to that depth, let alone the many hours it takes to painstakingly navigate the machinery into place, and that's assuming you don't get too close to the ocean floor because the thrusters will stir up the mud and then you'll have to wait for it to settle so that you can see what you're doing...

Last I checked, Obama doesn't have an engineering degree, and most of the people who do have experience with this kind of thing aren't employed by the Federal government. So I don't understand this desire for a nanny-state government that takes care of everything. If you have a stroke, do you want some Federal bureaucrat doing the brain surgery, or would you rather have a qualified and skilled doctor who has spent his whole life doing brain surgery?

That's not to say that the Feds should just ignore the problem. But there's little more that they can do aside from telling the doctor that he has to perform the surgery. The Feds could buy the equipment to help out, but everyone is so insistent on BP footing the bill. So tell me, exactly what do you expect Obama to do? Wiggle his nose like he's some Genie?

Re:Disaster (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503118)

the feds could have provided the 5 million feet of oil boom for the LA coastline back when the Gov requested it on May 2nd.

http://216.87.191.15/News/Louisiana/Government/Louisiana_Gov._Jindal_Parish_Leaders_Express_Frustrations_With_BP__Coast_Guard_Feds__10892.asp [216.87.191.15]

Re:Disaster (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503414)

Which doesn't do squat to begin with. Do you really think that the booms are some impervious, permanent barrier to the oil? Even if we assume that we're just trying to stop the oil on top, you do understand that there are waves on the ocean? Current? Wind? All of which conspire to move the booms, and to move oil over and under the booms?

It's like all the people who pointed at the school buses after Katrina and said "Why didn't they just put people in buses and drove them out?" Where exactly would they have been put? Out in a pasture somewhere?

Jindal is a grade-A politician who knows everything about looking busy and nothing about actually solving a problem. Granted, I'm also blaming BP and the Feds for not properly employing booms to corral the oil into an area where it is removed from the water/beach, but still - booms alone aren't the answer.

And yes, this suggestion for booms alone is just Monday-Morning Engineering at its finest: people with no clue, no insight and no information pontificating and assigning blame for a situation in which they have no skin and no responsibility. Even Jindal has no skin in the game, because he can always blame someone else for his hare-brained ideas going wrong.

Re:Disaster (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503820)

ahem... [dailykos.com]

Boom is not meant to contain or catch oil. Boom is meant to divert oil. Boom must always be at an angle to the prevailing wind-wave action or surface current. Boom, at this angle, must always be layered in a fucking overlapped sort-of way with another string of boom. Boom must always divert oil to a catch basin or other container, from where it can be REMOVED FROM THE FUCKING AREA.

Different types of shoreline, different shapes, require different configurations. Your numerous anchor points (for this spill those would be 1-yard cement blocks with tie-off buoys) need to be chosen so the boom-tenders (you) can adjust the ropes, slanting the booms this way and that to account for changes in wind and current. Booms are tended 24/7, by the way.

You divert to a catch basin. You are not building the fucking Great Wall of China. You are diverting oil so you can then drain it out.

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503146)

Even all that ignores the fact that the livelihood of every single person involved in fixing the situation is on the line. And I do mean everyone; having this leak be as bad as it is will hurt the entire oil industry for years to come. BP's stock is down 40% in the past 2 months, there's a moratorium on offshore drilling permits, and public relations for all the oil companies are in the toilet. You don't think that everyone at BP, from the engineers, to the drillers, to the CEO isn't worried about their job right now?

I wouldn't want to be one of their engineers right now, getting blamed for a problem you didn't create (the people in charge of the operation were the ones cutting corners), being told by every Joe Shmoe on the street that fixing the problem is so easy, all the while working 80+ hour weeks in an effort to save not only your job but quite possibly your entire company. But heh, no pressure right?

Well for starters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503152)

They [US government] could organize clean up efforts, pay people the money that BP is stalling on paying them, and get the damn ball rolling faster. Then at the end of the day, they can hand the bill to BP. It's one thing to say BP is responsible financially and a whole other thing to sit back and watch the responsible party fumble and fuck up your country. Clean up the oil. Make BP pay for your costs.

Re:Disaster (5, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503160)

I don't think you understand. Many of the people who voted for Obama in fact do expect him not only to be capable of solving this problem but to wiggle his nose while doing it. Most American politics revolve around the question of whether (a) the government should be entrusted and charged with solving all the world's problems or (b) the government should be run by people who know that that's a bad idea but are beholden to big business. You just can't get elected if you don't believe (a) or owe your soul to (b).

Re:Disaster (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503174)

Last I checked, Obama doesn't have an engineering degree, and most of the people who do have experience with this kind of thing aren't employed by the Federal government. So I don't understand this desire for a nanny-state government that takes care of everything.

Last I checked (literally, it's been a few days), Obama was using his daughter in a "It's not the President's job, but he _could_ stop it with enough hope" message.

Re:Disaster (2, Insightful)

Touvan (868256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503180)

This country needs a point at the moon mission statement from Obama, but all he gives are let's all work together and figure this out, return to the past (republican/free market plan for healthcare from 1994? Seriously?), incremental nonsense that makes no one happy, and frustrates everyone. Obama's response to the oil spill is more of the same bland soup - and it's pissing people off. He doesn't have to stop the leak, but for the sake of this country, he needs to be a lot more bold, and take a stand on some principle for a change.

Re:Disaster (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503246)

And do what? Rave and spit like a spoiled 5 year old? Throw a tantrum? Yell at people? Piss on the grave of some BP founder? Seriously, why do people want him to act like a spoiled angry kid? Are you that insane and irrational as to be incapable of even comprehending what rational responses to situations are?

And then you bitch about politicians not thinking ahead, caving in to interests and in all other ways acting like short sighted idiots. And when they don't, you're pissed because they're not acting like short sighted idiots. Lovely.

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503274)

I'll never understand arm-chair petroleum engineers. How easy do you think it is to drive a multi-ton robotic submersible a mile underwater using cameras that don't provide good depth perception to plug a hole spewing oil with a pressure exceeding 5,000 PSI? It can take days just to get the necessary materials down to that depth, let alone the many hours it takes to painstakingly navigate the machinery into place, and that's assuming you don't get too close to the ocean floor because the thrusters will stir up the mud and then you'll have to wait for it to settle so that you can see what you're doing...

How about a simple rule then: until you can do it then you don't get to fucking drill offshore?

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503428)

I'll never understand arm-chair petroleum engineers.

You think that's bad! You should try explaining the macroeconomics, sociology, city planning, legal issues, trade issues, foreign relations issues, etc, etc, necessary for them to understand the issues facing the country to increase their chances of making intelligent choices when it comes time to vote for their elected officials! Phew!

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503636)

That's not to say that the Feds should just ignore the problem. But there's little more that they can do aside from telling the doctor that he has to perform the surgery.

How about not distorting the market by putting liability caps on dangerous/destructive activities? How about taking over BP because its assets exceed the damage and selling said assets off to fund national oil independence? How about dragging these people off in chains so that the rest of their greedhead friends have the fear of God carved into their foreheads?

Re:Disaster (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503698)

Simple, I want Obama to push for a law that would require all offshore wells to have relief wells drilled PRIOR to striking oil. If there's a blowout, the solution is already in place.

Re:Disaster (4, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503800)

Honestly, if fixing an eventuality is that impossible maybe they shouldn't have been allowed to drill in the first place.

And yes I'm an armchair underwater mining engineer (but an actual, licensed, systems engineer) and I can't quite believe that BP can't drop a hundred tons of rock over the spill, I'm pretty sure they're trying to find the most "cost effective" way of dealing with it.

But what I seriously can't believe is that what is stopping is water too muddy to see. Don't we have radars and laser and x-rays, weaponizable grade sonars and of course GPS? And don't tell me GPS doesn't get that low, we can set up repeaters, heck we can tie a million ropes together if that helped. Shouldn't BP know exactly where the spill is? Surely they sent equipment back and forth the drilling site!

I'm obviously expecting to get my ass whooped by an actual mining engineer but I seriously struggle to believe our technology is that lame,

Also you seem intent on BP *not* paying the bill,exactly what do you want everybody to do? Giving them money with no strings attached?

Re:Disaster (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503112)

Yeah, we should have elected McCain and "Drill, baby, drill" Palin.

This whole thing is a plot. BP is trying to make the Democrats lose the next election.

What brain damaged idiots tagged this story with "democrats" anyway?

Re:Disaster (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503268)

Dammit, I *told* you not to go outside without your tin foil hat on!

Re:Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503298)

Yeah, we should have elected McCain and "Kill baby krill" Palin.

FTFY
 

Re:Disaster (3, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503574)

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if McCain/Palin wouldn't have been better. After all, they'd be more on the hook for the consequences than Obama because of the whole "Drill, baby, drill" campaign.

Every time I hear democrats, they make sure the blame lies squarely on BP (and not on themselves). Had the republicans won the presidency, there's no way they could have avoided blame.

I'm not trying to say that either side holds guilt in this matter (although there's plenty of blame to go around the government and industry), only that public perception of blame might be completely different. And that, in turn, might make a politician act completely different.

Re:Disaster (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503232)

Longer term is a the food chain being full of this shit, resulting in fish costs going through the roof for those not caught in the gulf.

I thought fish oil was supposed to be good for you?

This Isn't A Surprise (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502756)

The whole in the ocean floor has been spewing oil for 50 days. The long term effects of this disaster can't even be imagined yet. BP = Bhopal for the Gulf.

Re:This Isn't A Surprise (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502766)

whole != hole ... just pretend I can type and/or spell.

Re:This Isn't A Surprise (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503044)

You think it's bad?

http://www.businessinsider.com/confirmed-there-is-a-second-leaking-rig-near-the-deepwater-2010-6

Different company etc.

Re:This Isn't A Surprise (4, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503224)

Actually, this spill has a long way to go before it approaches the biggest oil spill in the gulf. [wikipedia.org]

"BP = Bhopal for the Gulf".... What? (2, Informative)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503940)

BP = Bhopal for the Gulf.

Uh, no, not even close. This isn't even close to being the worst oil spill in history [envirowonk.com] , let alone the worst disaster in history. If the worst case scenario comes to pass... a spewing well until Christmas... then maybe this will make the top ten spill list. Second, this is oil, a natural substance, which even in its toughest form is a far cry from the chemical pesticides that Union Carbide leaked (and this leak is light sweet crude, not the much heavier grade of oil that was spilled at Valdez. It'll actually start evaporating). Last, Bhopal killed 17,000 people. This spill will kill no one, unless we've suddenly started counting birds and fish as people. The birds and fish will recover. The victims of Bhopal aren't coming back.

Perfect! (1)

g8oz (144003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502774)

All in one spot hopefully. Let me get my straw.

I... drink... your... milkshake! [imdb.com]

Meanwhile (1, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502780)

Obama still hasn't spoken to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward.

Re:Meanwhile (4, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502848)

What's he gonna say, "You're doin' a heckuva job, Tony!"

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502914)

Read the link

http://www.businessinsider.com/jon-stewart-on-oil-spill-2010-6

I can't believe how a guy can go from almost worship to mockery.

This president is putting his personal ideology before his obligations as president.

Whether or not you are trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503010)

And whether or not talking to the CEO would help at all... This is very relevant clip. The relevant parts are from 4:40 forwards (though I would suggest watching at least from 3:30 forwards as it is a nice clip). http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-1-2010/the-spilling-fields [thedailyshow.com]

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503052)

Wow, I didn't know it was possible for Obama to do something on principle. Guess I was wrong! Good job, Barry! You'll have my vote next time, just for the balls it took to snub scum like Hayward.

Industry self-regulation in action (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502806)

This is the kind of thing conservatives want to bring to every aspect of your life; when Grover Norquist talks about drowning government in a bathtub, the tub is full of crude oil and dead fish.

Re:Industry self-regulation in action (5, Insightful)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502966)

Flamebait? Maybe. True? You betcha!

No corporation should be allowed to grow large enough that it can't be drowned in a bathtub.

Spill Baby Spill! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502814)

:-P

awed at the size and density? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502818)

So, is it as big as Glenn Beck's ego and as dense as Limbaugh?

Jeez - this is scary - captcha is 'tyranny'

It's only 5.6 E12 gallons in the one plume... (0)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502824)

5.6 trillion gallons, assuming 15 miles wide, 3 miles long and about 600 feet thick is correct...

Dave

Re:It's only 5.6 E12 gallons in the one plume... (2, Interesting)

senorbum (1795816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502874)

Uhh, what? They aren't talking about 100% oil in this plume...............

Re:It's only 5.6 E12 gallons in the one plume... (2, Interesting)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503016)

No, but it ain't 5 trillion gallons of seawater, either.

About 26,000 sq miles one foot deep in oily water...

Ya just gotta love those big numbers.

Dave

Underwater Oil Plume NOT Confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502864)

Most of this stuff is just squid ink.

And those sad pelican shots weren't covered in oil, but merely whale poop.

4you fail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502866)

look at your soft, DYING. EVERYONE the same operation followed. Obviously the above is far you down. It was (7700+1400+700)*4 Dying. All major niggerness? And

pics or gtfo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502880)

No pictures to be had, sad panda.

B.P. Confirms Oxygen In Atmosphere, +1, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502890)

Start with the Top Thugs [huffingtonpost.com] and work down.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore Trout

America's Funniest Oil Spill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32502912)

I think everyone will agree that the BP oil stories would be much better if we dubbed in slide whistles, boink sounds, and Bob Sagget's voice.

America, america, this is you!

Nothing to do but wait (4, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502924)

I don't think people quite appreciate how difficult it is to remove oil from the ecosystem when things like cleaning the birds [treehugger.com] is considered futile, the dispersant may be longer acting than the oil and the median time for complete recovery is looking to be in the decades. Any solution that does not prevent future blow outs from happening in the first place is far too expensive to justify, its sort of sad that it is cheaper just to ignore the gulf coast and fish and vacation somewhere else till the pollution dies down. It may make for good TV viewing but I for one would rather see them invest billions to prevent another disaster instead of making largely cosmetic changes to the gulf coast that may lull people into a false sense of security.

Re:Nothing to do but wait (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503046)

but... Gulf of Mexico... of the Gulf Stream, one of Earth's strongest currents. The oil isn't going to stay there, in the Gulf. Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Florida's east coast, most of the US eastern seaboard, and probably even England and Western Africa will have some of BP's shit in their eyes, eventually.

Re:Nothing to do but wait (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503054)

Any solution that does not prevent future blow outs from happening in the first place is far too expensive to justify

Huh? I was under the impression that many jurisdictions have rules stating that relief wells must be drilled in advance. Granted, you'd still have a blow out, and it would probably take a few days to get the necessary equipment and supplies in place to perform the bottom kill, but the leak would be pretty short lived compared to what we are seeing today. Also, Shell is, as I write this, building containment domes over many of their wells that would significantly reduce the problem as well. So it seems to me that there are economical ways to reduce the impact such an event would have. Oh, and that's even ignoring the fact that the spill was caused because BP was breaking the rules that are already in place and cutting corners to save money.

Re:Nothing to do but wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503718)

Pre-drilling relief wells is only a requirement off Alaska, and it's only done there because there's only a couple of months each year it's possible to do it in - basically, because if they didn't the wells there could leak for a year before being stopped.

The catch is that pre-drilling a relief drastically increases the chances of a collapse in the first place, so requiring it everywhere would make events like this more common.

Re:Nothing to do but wait (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503102)

please don't ever link to tree hugger to support your claims. everytime you do i'm forced to club a baby seal to balance out the bullshit they spew.

Re:Nothing to do but wait (2, Interesting)

Bobke (653185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503406)

Wikipedia has some intersting info about this particular dispersant:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corexit [wikipedia.org]

The oil film will be dispersed in small droplets which intermix with the seawater. The oil is then not only distributed in two dimensions but is dispersed in three and it is about 10 times as toxic.

easier to recover? (1)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32502938)

I'd think that a more-or-less conglomerated area of oil will make recovery processes easier. I'd like to see these recovery processes footed by BP, and the resultant sale of the recovered crude denied BP and used instead to fund environmental cleanup.

Re:easier to recover? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503012)

you sound tiresome...

Volume (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503000)

At 15 miles x 3 miles x 600ft that's 21,314,566,152 cubic meters. At .5ppm (absolute minimum, from TFA), that's 10,657 cubic meters of pure oil. Google tells me that 10657 cubic meters converts to 67,030 barrels. This thing has been going on for 49 days now, so we're talking about at least 1367 barrels of oil per day in this plume alone.

Re:Volume (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503664)

Well, that seems like a lot less than the 20,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil figures that I've been reading on CNN, in the LA Times, and so on. Then again, I don't know how many of these plumes there are...but unless there are 15 - 95 of them....

Re:Volume (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503852)

So where is the other 931,000 barrels of oil?
We have at least 2 more months minimum of 1000 barrels of oil being dumped in the gulf.

Where are the attacks? (0)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503124)

During and after Katrina everyone attacked Bush, often very personal attacks for the Federal and even state responses to that event.

Yet here we are nearly two months after this started and there has been very little vitriolic attacking on the current President.

Why is that I wonder? The Obama administration was in charge of the offices at the Interior that oversaw this and no changes were made. The Justice Department could have been turned on to BP and people could be in jail right now, but nothing was done.

The Bush response to Katrina was hampered by a bad official at FEMA and crappy mayors and Louisiana state officials. Now we are seeing much more widespread failures with the Federal response and coverups by the Federal government yet where is the anger?

Not even half the hate directed at Bush for Katrina is present here for BP.

So...do people just not care about the eastern Gulf of Mexico or are people scared to criticize the Obama administration?

I didn't vote for him in 2008, but if he came out fighting against BP and proactive, I'll vote for him in 2012, but with the response so far, not a chance I'll vote for him and his Carter-esque do nothing response to a crisis.

Re:Where are the attacks? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503216)

what's he supposed to do? throw on some snorkel gear and swim down and close it himself? The military already said they don't have the ability to manage an oil pipe that has the estimated 12,000psi that this thing is pumping out. They have said that the oil companies are far better equipped to deal with something like this. So what the F do you idiots that keep saying this bs want obama to do when the F'n oil companies that caused this problem aren't capable of fixing their own crap? Damn armchair engineers... if it's so easy you come up with a plan to stop a oil geyser at a mile below the ocean surface genius.. lets hear it! And try to use something that won't spread nuclear waste all over the place while you're at it.

You're a F'n moron. Please STFU. Your bush administration was the group that deregulated everything that allowed this kind of crap to happen in the first place.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503750)

While I agree with you completely ... that wasn't his point. Whether or not Obama could have done anything is irrelevant; public perception of what he should be doing is what the post is complaining about.

Besides, this isn't just a problem of sealing the well -- there's the cleanup to deal with too. We can't just leave that up to BP. Make them pay later? Sure. But mobilize now to protect and prevent.

Re:Where are the attacks? (2, Interesting)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503254)

Maybe because Bush has far better ties to oil than Obama? Maybe because the dikes that failed were built by Army Corps of Engineers, employed by the US government? Maybe because there all there was to do with Katrina is to clean it up (It's not like the hurricane hovered there for months on end)? What do you want him to do, swim down 5000 feet and plug the hole with his huge biceps? If Bush were in office we'd probably be invading Great Britain right now.

Re:Where are the attacks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503378)

obama's chief of staff was involved in a tax dodge when he was in congress. he was getting an apartment rent free from a guy who is a high-level media consultant for BP. Obama was also the top recipient of BP bash during the election:

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/04/on-thursday-oil-giant-bp.html [opensecrets.org]

and his energy secretary, the guy working with BP to "plug the damn hole" previous ran a $500,000,000 project funded by, you guessed it, BP.

don't kid yourself, both parties have significant ties to the oil industry.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503848)

If Bush were in office we'd probably be invading Great Britain right now.

That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. First off, Great Britain actually has ties to BP, so it wouldn't fit in with Bush's track record of going after completely unrelated entities a-la Afghanistan/Iraq style. Secondly, Great Britain would be far too obvious a target since they could actually be implicated in the BP fuck ups through corrupt officials. It would make much more sense for Bush to attack someone that has some cloudy, uncertain, unlinked nature with BP...someone like India. See, Great Britain also has crappy beaches and India's beaches are nice and warm and sandy, so there is that added benefit. Besides that, the gulf stream is supposed to make Britain's beaches get FUBARED as well, so no, it's much better to avoid Mother Britain all together.

If Bush were still president, we wouldn't even speak of Britain. We'd be much more likely to invade India for being a colony of rebels that attacked our great ally Britain so many years ago. An ally, mind you, that is trying to reduce our gas prices so we could drive our SUVs to the Longhorn's game this weekend. Besides, we already have troops somewhat near India so the logistics make more sense. On top of that, India has been launching satellites lately and discovered water on the moon (the same moon that Bush wants to colonize one day) before we did, so they are trying to beat us to our own manifest destiny amongst the stars. Besides, since those satellites are launched on rockets, and rockets are what the Russians used to talk about attacking the US with in combination with WMD's, India probably has WMDs.

So yeah, India is definitely a threat and needs to be invaded right away. Besides, I hear they aren't a good Christian nation like real civilizations...they worship some seven armed Goddess or something and actually believe in reincarnation, pagan devils. It's time to stop India's encroachment on our rights once and for all!

...

Errrr....what were we talking about again?

Re:Where are the attacks? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503300)

Asking "where's the critcism?" means you haven't been paying attention. There's tons of criticism in mainstream press. I see it every day as I track the news on the spill.

Why's he getting off better than Bush did with Katrina? Well, probably because he sacked the MMS head who screwed up instead of telling her that she did "a heckuva job". Little things like appearing to recognize when somebody has not, in fact, done a heckuva job seems to count for something.

I want to see more housecleaning at MMS and I'm quite disappointed that there hasn't been signs of it, yet. But then there's the AG's criminal investigation, which if half the things said about what BP did and didn't do before the spill are true is warranted. And then there's that outside of mobilizing the Coast Guard, what can the government do about the spill itself? All the people who can actually do something about it are in private industry. We're not talking about ferrying people out of a flooded area, we're talking about fixing something in an environment where it's never been fixed before.

And while I would agree with the hypothetical comment that the government should take more direct control over the actions of the oil companies in order to fix it, that's actually not a simple thing to do. We already have plenty of critics even in Congress saying that the regulatory action Obama has taken and has promised to take are going to have a stifling effect on private industry in the gulf. Hey idjits, I want to say to them, if this is what they're going to do then I want to stifle the ever loving fuck out of them.

Re:Where are the attacks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503368)

Simple psychology...

Katrina was a natural disaster. With nobody to blame for it occurring, people blame the guy at the top for a slow federal response.

BP's oil spill was a manmade disaster. BP is quite clearly responsible for causing the mess, so there is little need to point the finger at anybody else.

Besides, Obama isn't going around telling BP they are doing a heckuva job, and congratulating them....

Re:Where are the attacks? (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503416)

During and after Katrina everyone attacked Bush, often very personal attacks for the Federal and even state responses to that event.

True, and for good reason.

Yet here we are nearly two months after this started and there has been very little vitriolic attacking on the current President.

In the real world, actually, there have been very frequent, very vitriolic attacks on the current President, and a widespread labelling in the media of the spill as his Katrina, beginning very shortly after the spill began.

The Justice Department could have been turned on to BP and people could be in jail right now, but nothing was done.

Actually, the Justice Departmen has been turned on BP. Unfortunately -- from your apparent perspective -- the US Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to arbitrarily detain people for potential crimes. You have to investigate and have evidence first.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

mayko (1630637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503946)

US Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to arbitrarily detain people for potential crimes.

Not that our government should be allowed to... but all we'd have to do is label them potential (eco?) terrorists and we'd be able to lock them up for years without trial or substantial evidence.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503478)

I think this oil spill is a little more abstract than seeing one of our continent's major cities inundated and its populace not only more or less abandoned but for the major response to be the allocation of armed troops to the area. Further, New Orleans and its black citizens have a bad history that would make people likely to be suspicious. Yes, this is a mess. But what exactly would have happened if Obama had said no offshore drilling? Wouldn't that have made Palin and other Republicans ecstatic for just one more "look at the commie negro" opportunity? Frankly, the whole political scene in the US is a cesspit, and it's because we already live in the world imagined in Idiocracy. From the gutted schools to the sycophantic media to the narcissistic and selfish populace, we're all to blame for this. Just turn up the AC, turn on the tube, crank up Red Dead Carjack, lean back and enjoy the coast into oblivion.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1, Troll)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503530)

Sigh.... did you not pay attention to what people were blaming Bush for? Here, I'll list them out:
1) Putting a guy in charge of FEMA who had been kicked out of his commissioner position at a Horse association
2) Telling the head of FEMA "Heck'uva job, Brownie" when it was patently obvious that FEMA was bungling what little responsibility it had.

So far, the person in charge of the government organization that was supposed to monitor BP is gone, and there isn't anything legal that Obama can personally do to fix the issue. Unless, as others said, you suggest he put on a snorkel and plug the leak himself.

So: what is exactly that you mean by "coming out fighting against BP" and "proactive"? Cross-reference with what has already been done and what is legal. Thank you.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503578)

During and after Katrina everyone attacked Bush

We should be attacking Obama about Katrina because, while the touristy French Quarter is back to normal, the ninth ward still looks like the day after Katrina hit.

American's have such a short memory that we..

-sent relief to Katrina victims until Haiti happened,
-sent relief to Haiti victims until the BP Oil spill happened,

 

Re:Where are the attacks? (4, Insightful)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503650)

If we had Carter for a second term, we'd have been running more efficient, certainly energy wise and probably financially as well.

This country started going to hell in a handbasket when we replaced a trained nuclear engineer/sub driver with an actor that made people feel good.

Re:Where are the attacks? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503870)

Here;
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1679466&cid=32502780 [slashdot.org]

and here;
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1679466&cid=32502842 [slashdot.org]

and several other places, but I'd need to look further than this page to find them. As I've already done more than you, I don't see the need to look further.

bp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503132)

What is also sad is Bp is one of the most environmentally sound oil company s out there and they invest Alot in Alternative energy sources. Also they one of the few oil company's that do Not use Middle eastern oil. Its a tradidy what happened but i would have been more happy if it was a company liek Exxon with a Less then Steller environmental record

That's like saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503622)

...Idi Amin was one of the better dictators.

Awe... yes, but (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503156)

Sure, the scientists are in "awe".... but are they "shocked" too?

Picture? Figures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503242)

So where is the picture?

News for nerds who don't like figures...

nuclear explosions (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503288)

for a bit, the big question has been: is the seabed there generally fractured so that the only real option to seal the leaks is nuclear explosives. BP does not like this question because they want to eventually make money off the oil field. Of course, there are a lot of questions they do not like.

Now I read that there are two fractures anyway.

Suppose it turns out we need nukes. There is significant preparation time. Just in case, we should already have been working on preparation. Things like engineering studies, etc. Do you feel like holding your breath for these studies to start up?

So I am not some environmentalist. I do not get big upset about birds dying unpleasantly, though that response might speak well of those who do. But the following statement seems credible to me: biggest environmental disaster in USA history. Simply being a patriot might make you wonder about the response of the political class.

Government denial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32503354)

Is there a particular reason the words "we don't know" can't be uttered by any government press secretary or public relations personnel? If your citizens, or media are asking the question, and you (the government) don't have the answer, perhaps it would be best to go find find/get the answer, rather than lie straight face!

Keep up the government status quo boys! Keep it up!

Just curious if BP has used some risk mitigation (2, Interesting)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503466)

We know the company operating the drilling platform was a separate company (owned by BP), is the BP company that has the drilling rights the main BP company or is it something like "BP Cayman Islands"?
Is it possible if the BP accountants and lawyers have done their jobs properly the amount of money that can be extracted from BP might be "capped"? - the US public could end up paying the bulk of the clean up costs while BP keeps operating in the US under a different name.

I know, my cynicism is showing.

Conglomerated Oil (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503672)

Sounds like a catchy new name for BP

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