Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Newly Discovered Bacteria Could Aid Oil Cleanup

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the quick-somebody-come-up-with-a-stupid-name dept.

Biotech 167

suraj.sun passes along news from Oregon State University, where researchers have discovered a new strain of bacteria that may be able to aid cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The bacteria "can produce non-toxic, comparatively inexpensive 'rhamnolipids,' and effectively help degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs — environmental pollutants that are one of the most harmful aspects of oil spills. Because of its unique characteristics, this new bacterial strain could be of considerable value in the long-term cleanup of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, scientists say." In related news, Kevin Costner's centrifugal separator technology has gotten approval for deployment; now it is only waiting on funding from BP.

cancel ×

167 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

porn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556362)

in china

Newly Discovered Oil Cleanup could aid Bacteria (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556380)

The quick brown nigger jumped over the lazy dog.

New tech? (1, Informative)

lorthia (1247226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556392)

The bacteria idea sounds great, but will probably result in a new and deadly plague that will give rise to oil gobbling mutants! As for the other idea, I don't see how Kevin Costner can claim to have developed an oil separator that has been in use by US Navy ships since before the early eighties. We had them on my ship when I was in back in 1983. They were used to separate water and dirt from lube oil.

Re:New tech? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556480)

As for the other idea, I don't see how Kevin Costner can claim to have developed an oil separator that has been in use by US Navy ships since before the early eighties.

I realize this is Slashdot, but if you RTFA you will find that he got his hands on the design and spent $20M or so of his own money on having them improved to the point that they were useful for processing a mess into CLEAN water AND clean OIL. Nowhere is it claimed that he invented the centrifugal separator.

Uh there already are batcteria eating oil (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556528)

The gulf is blooming with natural oil eating bacteria that already know how to live among the communities and predators there. Indeed there are so many of them eating the oil right now they say it's removing all the oxygen from the water making a deadzone.

Re:Uh there already are batcteria eating oil (3, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556868)

You make an excellent point : there's no telling what will happen when you introduce a newly discovered ( and as such , pretty much unknown ) life form into the open sea.
However , from past experiences , when we decide to meddle with nature , it usually doesn't end up well for either.

Re:Uh there already are batcteria eating oil (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557088)

This is a newly discover strain of a very common and widely dispersed bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa [wikipedia.org] . This strain developed naturally in an oil contaminated enviroment, and P. aeruginosa is a well known for eating oil. My hunch is this strain is either already there or will evolve on it's own, if the strain isn't introduced into the GoM by us.

Re:Uh there already are batcteria eating oil (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557250)

I know... I mean movies point this out all... the... time!
How can we not know?!?!?

O.o

Re:Uh there already are batcteria eating oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557388)

Why not stick to the "old and proven" methods of cleaning up?


"Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help. It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: 'The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ''Thanks, but no thanks,' '' said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston. Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered. U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge. At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?"
(Source: "U.S. and BP slow to accept Dutch expertise", by Loren Steffy, Houston Chronicle, June 8, 2010, at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/steffy/7043272.html )

And who is responsible for cleaning up the mess?

"Instead of seizing the reins, the Obama administration cast itself in a supporting role, insisting that BP was responsible for cleaning up the mess. 'When you say the company is responsible and the government has oversight,' a reporter asked Gibbs on May 3rd, 'does that mean that the government is ultimately in charge of the cleanup?' Gibbs was blunt: 'No,' he insisted, 'the responsible party is BP.' In fact, the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan – the federal regulations that lay out the command-and-control responsibilities for cleaning up an oil spill – makes clear that an oil company like BP cannot be left in charge of such a serious disaster. The plan plainly states that the government must 'direct all federal, state or private actions' to clean up a spill 'where a discharge or threat of discharge poses a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States.' What's more, the administration failed to ensure that BP was prepared to respond to the mess on the surface..." (Source: "The Spill, The Scandal and the President", by Tim Dickinson, Jun 8, 2010, Rolling Stone Magazine at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965 )

Re:New tech? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556574)

The bacteria idea sounds great, but will probably result in a new and deadly plague that will give rise to oil gobbling mutants!

As for the other idea, I don't see how Kevin Costner can claim to have developed an oil separator that has been in use by US Navy ships since before the early eighties. We had them on my ship when I was in back in 1983. They were used to separate water and dirt from lube oil.

There are natural bacteria that eat oil that have been used before and are very safe, even it wetlands:

http://farmwars.info/?p=3013 [farmwars.info]

Re:New tech? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557516)

... oil gobbling mutants!

What about oil based materials?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0564476/ [imdb.com]
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/gerry-davis/mutant-59.htm [fantasticfiction.co.uk]

CC.

Re:New tech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557108)

I was an MM3 in the 1990s, and I remember the publish date techmans for DeLaval [wikipedia.org] separators dating back to the 50's or 60's. (Don't mind the wiki talking about the dairy application, on ships these things are used to get water out of oil.) So it's quite likely such equipment were used on ships back in WWII if not earlier even.

The Kostner model is a bit different though. Unlike the centrifugal separators the Navy uses, there aren't any internal separator plates. So it looks like you don't have to clean out the thing as much if at all. It's actually a simpler design, since it's really not much more complicated than a 50' section of what appears to be 18" dia pipe that is spun at a really fast RPM. (Here's a vid. [youtube.com] ) Despite being a simpler design with less parts, the tradeoff is that it takes up a lot more space. But for this purpose, the amount of space it takes on a ship or barge isn't a problem.

Now the real question is why aren't oil companies required to have cleanup response equipment before being allowed to drill? They certainly can afford it. Or if they don't want to keep and maintain such equipment, perhaps the Coast Guard can maintain it under its fleet. Then if anything happens, we'll bill them for the cleanup.

Re:New tech? (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557374)

Technically, they are required to. Unfortunately, the agency responsible for signing off on their response plans is basically a textbook case of regulatory capture. Thus, companies routinely get away with either ridiculously under-specced contingency plans, or just outright lying about what capabilities they possess. Corruption is cheaper than actual hardware and it isn't as though the US is a very good place to be cast as the "mean evil regulator who hates business, and wants your gas to be expensive"...

They don't need bacteria (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556412)

I heard that Cane Toads soak up oil at 10 times the rate.

Re:They don't need bacteria (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556916)

Sadly winter never hits the south.

Lousy idea (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556424)

I really, really hope this article will soon be tagged "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"

Doesn't sound like a very good idea to release huge amounts of a newly developed, untested, unverified bacteria into our oceans...

Re:Lousy idea (3, Insightful)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556470)

The fact is that new types of bacteria appear in the ocean all the time. You've been watching too many movies if you're scared of this idea. Fear not, the bacteria will not mutate and infect all life in the sea.

Re:Lousy idea (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556608)

Do you promise that? Will you personally take all the blame if something does go wrong? Will you accept all responsibility for any damages that this new bacteria may or may not cause?

I didn't RTFA, but I think it's always good to take things with some skepticism.

Re:Lousy idea (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556884)

Only if you accept responsibility for all damages if we don't use this bacteria

Re:Lousy idea (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557150)

Will you accept all responsibility for any damages that this new bacteria may or may not cause?
  I didn't RTFA, but I think it's always good to take things with some skepticism.

Your assuming many things, mainly "Newly Discovered" = "New", it doesn't, it's a very common species of bacteria that learned how to eat oil a little bit better than it's oil eating siblings did.

Something will eat them... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557394)

Do you promise that? Will you personally take all the blame if something does go wrong? Will you accept all responsibility for any damages that this new bacteria may or may not cause?

I can promise you this : As soon as there is a new form of life that proliferates madly, nature usually finds something to eat it.

Re:Lousy idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557592)

I promise I will personally take the blame if anything should go wrong.

- AC

Go ahead and add it... (3, Insightful)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556444)

Re:Go ahead and add it... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557138)

Exactly. The bacteria will feed on the masses of oil, grow into films of unimaginable size and thickess!

Until the oil is consumed and they all die.

Re:Go ahead and add it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557838)

If you'd RTFA, you'd know they weren't talking about introducing the bacteria, but the biological surfactant they produce.

This mess is just too much (-1, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556452)

If this mess had happened in the area of the middle east or something like that and not by a company with local presence in the U.S. like BP or Exxon, the price of gasoline would spike. I have to wonder how the price of gasoline hasn't gone up significantly since the news of this story initially broke.

So far, right now, the only people who are truly upset about this are the "environmentalist whack jobs." Somehow, the market has managed to keep the price of fuel stable during all of this. This leads me to a question that I am sure many others ask as well -- HOW is the price of oil REALLY controlled? It's not by market forces or else we would have seen a spike.

Debeers is now allowed to operate in the U.S. because they are a price fixing monopolist. I see what looks like evidence of price fixing or some sort of conspiracy related to the price of oil in all of this and I have to wonder why there isn't at least some investigation into it. I recall several times in the past that congress was threatening to investigate pricing of oil but they never did it. I'm really sick of it all.

Re:This mess is just too much (3, Informative)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556492)

Apparently that oil well had not previously produced oil for sale, so losing it didn't impact supply at all. From the Wiki page [wikipedia.org] :

The platform commenced drilling in February 2010 at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet (1,500 m).[11] At the time of the explosion the rig was drilling an exploratory well.[12] The planned well was to be drilled to 18,000 feet (5,500 m) below sea level, and was to be plugged and suspended for subsequent completion as a subsea producer.[11] Production casing was being run and cemented at the time of the accident. Once the cementing was complete, it was due to be tested for integrity and a cement plug set to temporarily abandon the well for later completion as a subsea producer.

Re:This mess is just too much (5, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556804)

Apparently that oil well had not previously produced oil for sale,

Oil prices are set based on speculative futures. In other words, normally people would say, opps - that means less oil coming to market down the road so the price needs to jump - and it does. Odd that it didn't do what it has always done in this case.

People need to understand that there exists a few products which are absolutely NOT part of free market economies and are not directly driven by supply and demand. Both diamonds and oil are such products. Their prices and supplies are artificially manipulated at every corner. While oil, unlike diamonds, truly are a scarce resource, they are both so heavily manipulated before and after they enter the market, their prices do not reflect reality of market demands - not in the least. If it were any other goods, talk of conspiracy, price fixing, price gouging and lots of serious investigations would be par for the course.

And no, this isn't crazy talk. I encourage you to do some modest investigation for yourself. You'll find lots and lots and lots and lots of completely legitimate sources stating all this.

Did you know if too much gas is produced and/or accidentally scheduled for delivery to the US, its dumped on non-US markets; traditionally south America? We certainly wouldn't want the price of gas to fall. Did you know refinery plants have been shut down but no new refineries have been created? Did you know one of the most cost effective refineries was one of the ones shut down? In fact, it was purchased for the explicit purpose of shutting it down? Following its shutdown, the price of fuel steadily went up stating they were at production limits and no one wants them to create a refinery in their back yard?

The amount of fraud, conspiracy, and market manipulation is so criminal, it makes criminals in awe of how complex and complete the oil industry fucks everyone - without prosecution.

In short, EVERYTHING you learned in economics 101 does NOT apply to oil/diamonds. Period.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556870)

Yes, the number of refineries has decreased over time:

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=8_NA_8O0_NUS_C&f=A [doe.gov]

But the overall refining capacity has increased (or if that goes too far for you, it is at least fair to say that it has stayed the same for 30 years):

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=8_NA_8DO_NUS_4&f=A [doe.gov]

This well was going to produce at something like 0.1% of U.S. consumption, that is enough to impact prices some, but it isn't enough to send futures into a shitstorm, it is certainly less of an issue than increasing Chinese consumption.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556918)

>>>Both diamonds and oil are such products.

Only because governments hand-out monopolies (deBeers, Comcast), or governments form cartels (OPEC). The free market would work if these damn governments would simply step out of the way.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557118)

Um, history says that gov't HAS to step in for there to be even the appearance of competition, as least in the US. Heard of a small company known as Standard Oil?

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557602)

Actually, Econ 101 does apply. Specifically the section on cartels applies. The free market sections don't, of course.

Re:This mess is just too much (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556524)

The price of gasoline is not affected because this spill has no affect whatsoever on the refineries in Texas. They are still collecting oil from Saudi tankers and still pumping out gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and so on.

Also, and this is just personal opinion, I think people that believe in conspiracy theories (9/11 was a planned demolition, etc) are whackjobs. Why believe in outlandish complicated scenarios when the simplest answer is staring you right in the face? Supply-and-demand. That's why prices fluctuate
.

Re:This mess is just too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556544)

True, it's supply and demand. We demand it, and OPEC decides how much we should pay and supplies that much. The oil industry is rife with collusion between players with basically no competition at all. So it's supply and demand but not true free market forces. OPEC controls oil like DeBeers controls diamonds.

Re:This mess is just too much (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556628)

>>>OPEC decides how much we should pay and supplies that much

OPEC only generates 30% of the world's supply. So no OPEC doesn't "decide" the price, because they are just one piece of the market. If they charge too much, we have other cheaper options like Russia, Canada, and so on. It's equivalent to if Microsoft turned stupid & started charging $100 for Internet Explorer - people would simply jump ship to a cheaper browser.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557016)

If they charge too much without making a couple of phone calls, that's true.

but you forget that there are a limited number of serious oil players in the world. they all have a finite resource they are interested in maximizing the value of.

what possible advantage would it be for them to pump it out as fast as possible at the lowest possible margin when they could simply slow it down a bit and multiply their margin many times over? especially when all it takes is informal agreement not to drop the price too much and EVERYONE involved can be super rich beyond anyone's wildest dreams until the oil runs out? you seriously think they are interested in making it run out faster, for less money?

free markets never live long, because after a certain amount of consolidation occurs, syndicates form whether officially or not and pricing is more or less controlled by a few players from that point on.

Re:This mess is just too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557104)

http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/110/rr110-2.pdf [house.gov]

Russia and Canadian oil costs much more than OPEC oil and is harder to retrieve. OPEC dominates with cheap oil and by restricting their output inflates the price. OPEC could flood the market with cheap basically eliminating Russia, Canada and most other players but by restricting supply they make more money now and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557604)

30% is a lot and there are no other options to fill that 30% void - sure you can ask more from others but they will ask more for it (supply & demand you see) and probably won't be able to fill demand until their prices are on par with those of OPEC. If OPEC decides to charge more, the price of oil will go up. Maybe not 1:1 but definitely noticeable.

Re:This mess is just too much (5, Informative)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556614)

Yeah, thinking that that oil conglomerates fix prices is a super nutty conspiracy thinking. I mean, it's not like giant companies like ADM [wikipedia.org] have ever been involved in price fixing with their group of international competitors. Now, I may not be totally up on the matter, because I'm a geek and stick to tech news rather than business news, but I've never heard of price-fixing [wesrch.com] happening in real life [yahoo.com] and not just in conspiracy nutters ramblings. The whole concept is just crazy. You are a wise man.

Re:This mess is just too much (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556898)

If ADM was guilty of price-fixing, then they would be sued by the US DOJ as happened to the Record Companies when they price-fixed CDs during the 90s

Re:This mess is just too much (4, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557102)

Uhh.. They did. [wikipedia.org] There was even a movie [wikipedia.org] about the whole thing starring Matt Damon.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557284)

The price of gasoline is not affected because this spill has no affect whatsoever on the refineries in Texas. They are still collecting oil from Saudi tankers and still pumping out gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and so on.

Also, and this is just personal opinion, I think people that believe in conspiracy theories (9/11 was a planned demolition, etc) are whackjobs. Why believe in outlandish complicated scenarios when the simplest answer is staring you right in the face? Supply-and-demand. That's why prices fluctuate .

okay, simple huh? 9/11, it's simpler to believe that it was done by our government since the resources and knowledge to pull something like that would be a lot harder for disgruntled foriegners to do it.

yes, I know this is off topic, but really, simple solutions are not always the correct solutions. Just saying...

Re:This mess is just too much (5, Insightful)

ssayler (996353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556582)

So far, right now, the only people who are truly upset about this are the "environmentalist whack jobs."

Beg your pardon. How many millions of people live on the Gulf coastline? Which are they - whack jobs or not upset?

Re:This mess is just too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556946)

Who said they had to be exclusive?

They are obviously both, upset whack jobs, the most dangerous kind of people.
Who knows what kind of crazy things they could do! They might oh, ban a color or something! C-UUU-RAAAZY.

Re:This mess is just too much (3, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557382)

Whack jobs. I mean seriously, who lives there post katrina?

Re:This mess is just too much (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557506)

I do and I'm not a whack job. Been living here right on the water in Navarre all my life (46years). I have gone through more hurricanes than I can remember and will go through many more. I have 4 acres and lost 150+ trees from one storm alone. You would be amazed how well nature recovers and I have lots of new trees. The man-made stuff is insured so that's easily replaced.
This spill is not a natural problem and will seriously impact the ecological balance of the gulf. I'm right on the intercoastal waterway that runs between P-Cola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay. It's a major spawning area for redfish, grouper, trout and many other species. Not only will people making a living on these fish suffer but so will the wildlife that feed on them such as pelicans, hawks, herons and other fish. This is a fight to save an ecological balance nature created but man is disrupting.

Also note the use of dispersant is even worse than the oil itself. Yes allowing the oil to reach the surface will kill hundreds of mammals but when the oil stays suspended it also kills the most basic life forms that are the start of the food chain, planktons and larvae . Their argument that these lowest forms can bounce back faster is backwards thinking. It still disrupts the food chain and the mammals will still die, but from starvation instead.

Surface oil will also turn into a tar ball. Tar balls become inert fairly quick (5-10 years) and studies have found creatures inhabiting old tar balls from previous spills

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557548)

I dunno ... posts AC, gets defensive over obviously humorous post, sounds a little whacky to me.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557410)

Perhaps, in the spirit of applying naturally-evolved-oil-eating-bacteria, naturally produced in oceans exposed to oil, to the problem of oil spills; we could apply naturally-evolved-angry-former-fishermen, naturally produced on coasts exposed to oil, to the problem of oil spillers...

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556700)

This was a TEST well, not a producing well. It was in the process of being CAPPED OFF so they could move the rig and drill more test wells. It has no bearing on oil used for gasoline or anything else.

Re:This mess is just too much (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557418)

I'd say that it passed, and is now busy accruing extra credit...

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556744)

HOW is the price of oil REALLY controlled?

Simple answer: it's not.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556766)

it seems useful to view BP as Prince Phillip and Shell as Prince Bernhard (deceased goodwin vioation). I wonder how one might speak of an ex-member of goodwin violation.

Talk to an insider and the Brits pretty well run the whole oil business.

If you think east india company policies, a little price fixing is not what you worry about.

Try this. 1970's oil shock. the arabs stopped pumping oil? Published stats do not show a decrease in production. anacortes refinery had tankers backed up into the sound that could not be unloaded. So, price fixing but the real deal was the arabs get a lot of money from everyone and they ship it to the western banks in London and NYC and it props up a dying financal system.

Re:This mess is just too much (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556952)

I've no clue what you're talking about.

But since you mentioned "princes" let's discuss the american version of a prince - President Obama. Why is it that NOAA and the DOE had plans to coral an oil slick and then burn-off that oil, but these plans were blocked from being being executed? Who's responsible? Obama? Cass Sunnstein? The head of NOAA or the head of DOE?

To me this looks like a repeat of the same Katrina-like behavior where the U.S. agencies sat by and did not act. Why is our union government paralyzed when faced with an emergency?

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557532)

It seems quite useful to think the post-fdr era is "current events". And current history, post 1400's. I wonder how I should look on someone whose opinions are offered based on a few years of sound bites. Oh well. I am sure the domestic unions are the direct cause of the bailouts of the speculators, including the foreign speculators.

But on cleanup. To get permission to drill this well BP had to show a capacity to immeadiately deal with 300k barrels of spill a day. So their plan was not real great but it was workable if you spent a lot of money. Never been an attempt to implement the plan and no Obama pressure to do so. But the Brits are telling Obama not to hurt BP.

Re:This mess is just too much (1, Informative)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557044)

"Debeers is now allowed to operate in the U.S. because they are a price fixing monopolist." Nope. Although DeBeers is a monopolist as you say, it is now allowed to operate in the US not because of their monopolist status, but because they settled the various lawsuits pending against them in the US, some of them quite longstanding. See Wikipedia article on DeBeers. As a result, it is now possible for DeBeers' employees to come to the US without fear of arrest. Prior to the settlement, if you were a scientist employed by DeBeers and wanted to attend a conference in the US, you couldn't.

Re:This mess is just too much (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557258)


I have to wonder how the price of gasoline hasn't gone up significantly since the news of this story initially broke.

I have to wonder why you think the price of oil would suddenly shoot up. The spill hasn't affected supply, since the leaking well never produced any oil for market. It's certainly made BPs stock price plummet, but honestly, why should this disaster make oil prices rise, and why do we need some big conspiracy to account for the lack of that?

So far, right now, the only people who are truly upset about this are the "environmentalist whack jobs."

WTF? I know several people that are FAR from "environmental wack jobs" that quite upset about this. This isn't just a couple seagulls killed off, there's a whole economy reliant on seafood near the spill. Maybe the people you talk to are just blow-hard idiots?

Re:This mess is just too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557696)

So far, right now, the only people who are truly upset about this are the "environmentalist whack jobs"

Allow me to be the first to let you know you are an idiot. Everyone is upset about this. You really think commercial fishermen are environmentalist whack jobs? The "environment," btw, isn't just a pretty picture, you retard. It's life. And more importantly to humans that aren't environmental whack jobs, it's money, and livelihood. But, gosh... why isn't gas going up?? Who gives a fuck you moron! Interesting? You're an off topic troll bigot if I ever saw one.

A slight bit populist on the funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556458)

Summary: "Awaiting funding from BP". Article headline: "'has green light, but no green'". First paragraph: "is awaiting money from BP".
However further down, "Ocean Therapy officials acknowledged that full implementation of the systems may depend on how quickly BP pays for the 32 it committed to Wednesday."

Maybe giving 3-4 days to pay would be OK?

Can a government be held to account for not paying for something it orders within 3-4 days?

Re:A slight bit populist on the funding (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556720)

Can a government be held to account for not paying for something it orders within 3-4 days?

Although it may seem like it sometimes, BP is *NOT* a government. They are a trans-national corporation.

Re:A slight bit populist on the funding (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557600)

My guess is that Ocean Therapy lacks the cash needed to actually build more than a few machines.

5 years from now we find out... (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556460)

That there isn't a huge evolutionary change to go from oil eating to flesh eating...

Re:5 years from now we find out... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556560)

Regular bacteria is already flesh-eating. Why do you think things rot?

Re:5 years from now we find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557820)

I think he means flesh-eating in the "leprosy" type of flesh-eating, bro.

Won't work (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556474)

Given he quantity of oil that has been released and the volume of the gulf, the only way this could possibly work was if the bacteria in question was able to spread throughout the gulf after being released. Unfortunately, if that is the case then that's really not something you want to introduce to an ecosystem that isn't used to it. The oil is bad, but we know from experience that introducing new organism to already vulnerable ecosystems is generally a bad idea.

Re:Won't work (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556950)

This whole thing sounds more and more like Neal Stephenson's Zodiac [amazon.com] as time goes by. And that story included a nuclear option as well (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it; it's a great book. In fact if Stephenson was too pie in the sky for you before, this is the one to read. It would make a much better movie than the pile of shit that came out which is called "Zodiac", too. Who keeps putting the Gyllenhalls in movies?)

Re:Won't work (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557154)

I've been thinking that this entire time. I just read Zodiac a month or two and the parrallels are starting to become pretty amusing :) I'm particularly interested to see how that stuff with the oil dispersents will turn out.

Re:Won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557294)

I'm not sure if this is the same thing but I read about a bacteria discovered a decade or so ago, that eat oil from natural oil rupters in the ocean floor. Once the food(oil) for these bacteria runs out they die and then are edible by fish. It has been field tested on smaller spills and was proven very effective.

problem is with collecting, not separating (3, Insightful)

buback (144189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556484)

I get WHY Kevin Costner is getting so much press with his oil separation machine; it's not like he has to work hard to get a camera in front of his face. But it's not like the separation process is what is causing an environmental disaster; it's all that oil out in the ocean. If Kevin Costner was selling a machine that can suck up cubic miles of water, that would be newsworthy

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (4, Funny)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556662)

If Kevin Costner was selling a machine that can suck up cubic miles of water, that would be newsworthy

Must.....resist.....Waterworld.....joke....

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557400)

Must.....resist.....Waterworld.....joke....

Probably needs to clean up the gulf of mexico just to finally pay off a bunch of old waterworld bills.

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556670)

If Kevin Costner was selling a machine that can suck up cubic miles of water, that would be newsworthy

Jesus, you just solved the gulf oil crisis! Everything Kevin Costner was associated with after 1994 (Wyatt Earp) sucked horribly! All we need to do is drop all of those DVD's into the gulf, and the total suckage would absorb all the oil!

I salute you, buback! Someone get this guy some funding and some hot prostitutes!

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556848)

Wyatt Earp (the movie) was good, despite Costner. He very nearly ruined it. It's bad when the lead is literally the worst actor in the entire film.

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556674)

As I understand it, the interesting part is that the resulting oil is clean enough to be sold and used, which means there's a bigger economic incentive (or less of an economic cost) to clean up the spill.

Let's face it, corporations don't work as hard for a "do it or else" as they do with a "free oil for the taking!".

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556732)

And if they aren't going to sell it, exactly what do people think they would do with it?

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557106)

Well, given that BP announced that they're going to burn off the oil they're recovering, people think BP is going to burn off the oil they're recovering.

I'm sure that's just crazy talk though.

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556900)

Him getting press is a way to promote the tech. The average USian doesn't know anything about icky science, but understands Hollywood stars.

It's the height of arrogance to assume the little people are more than they are.

It is the height of realism to market to them in ways to which they respond. The public absolutely dictate the terms of engagement.

Re:problem is with collecting, not separating (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557606)

It's the height of arrogance to assume the little people are more than they are.

Careful, buddy, our irony meters might get stretched out of shape.

Use OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557460)

OTEC is another green technology, which happens to suck up vast amounts of water:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion

So why not use this to collect up the contaminated water, during future spills?

Then you can apply your centrifugation.

Ammonia (1)

hpycmprok (219527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556490)

Nice. New bacteria. I don't have time to go look it up, but somebody else might... I'm under the impression that the whole process of breaking down hydrocarbons eventually leads to a drastic increase in ammonia and related compounds, and severe oxygen depletion. Even (especially?) biological processes. Somebody once posted a nice short progression of the basic chemistry involved in a similar topic here on /. not too long ago.

Ain't nothin' free. Break it down? It has to break down into something...

This is for a grant? (5, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556520)

There are thousands of bacteria on the face of the planet that can break down oil and I bet many of them are in the Gulf itself, right now, which has been seeping oil for what, 100's of millions of years? The problem is not if there are bacteria that can metabolize oil; we already know 100's of ones that do, the question is, will it be more effective than the 1000's already out there?

This is just a press release for a grant writing fishing expedition for BP money. Everyone is doing it right now in academia, trust me.

Re:This is for a grant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557064)

And if it is, and it goes wild will it eat all the oil on the planet?

Seems like every couple of months..... (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556624)

We hear about a new backteria that's going to fix whatever is in the headline, and is then never heard from again. Like all those new energy things from a few years ago.

Just don't use genemod-ed bacteria. (1)

hailstop (638166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556682)

You might end up with this: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Wind-Kevin-J-Anderson/dp/0312857608 [amazon.com]

Re:Just don't use genemod-ed bacteria. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32556782)

This bacteria sounds legend to me.

The REAL Reason... (2, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556760)

The REAL reason Kevin Costner waited this long to release this isn't government testing. His arch nemesis, The Deacon (Dennis Hopper), just died, removing the last hurdle by getting the smokers out of the way.

another application? (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556816)

Hmmm I wonder if the separator can extract heavy water at the same time. That might help offset the cost of use. I'm trying to find the price of a gallon of heavy water, but all I keep finding is some type of Vodka....

BS, as usual (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556834)

If it was just discovered, it will take at the very least 10 years for it to be deployable, likely significantly longer. That this is published now is just profiteering from the disaster.

ORLY? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556866)

What do they feed them on while breeding them up in the lab in sufficient quantities to be useful? Snake oil?

Good for Costner (2, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557000)

I don't know of any person in the world that has put his/her money so consistently where their mouth is. Costner has spent most of his fortune in developing various environmentally friendly technologies, such as super-fast flywheel energy storage. Honestly, I thought such a altruistic business proposal could never succeed in the world we live in. Maybe I wasn't 100% right.

Re:Good for Costner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557690)

It's just proof that people do not behave the way classical economics predicts. People are not rational, people do not have all the information necessary to make informed decisions, and people are not always seeking a return on investment. Kind of ruins the whole theory.

%e4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557002)

If you have distended. All I who sell another more stable ASSOCIATION OF happines5 Another HEAKD SPINNING

How we forget Kudzu (2, Informative)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557062)

If you've ever driven through the south eastern US, say along HWY 85 from Georgia to Alabama you can see fields of kudzu [wikipedia.org] that are engulfing whole areas. This stuff grows inches per day and covers trees, cars, telephone poles etc..

Re:How we forget Kudzu (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557610)

This is not off-topic. Mod parent up, he even included the wiki link for those who don't know about kudzu.

Re:How we forget Kudzu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557868)

Parent is not off topic - kudzu is an introduced species that is doing serious damage, just like cane toads and, perhaps, this type of bacteria. There is always risk in introducing new species (or even sub-species) into an ecosystem.

how we'll know that Costner has been invited in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557072)

Instead of whining about getting his life back, BP's CEO will start saying things like "we're just going to take it one day at a time. I'm going to try to help the cleanup effort any way I can, and God willing, things will work out."

Ill Wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557188)

Author Kevin J. Anderson, Ill Wind http://www.curledup.com/illwind.htm Great read on bacteria that eats oil and oil related products.

since SCO lost (again) (1)

FreeBSD evangelist (873412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557200)

...a new strain of bacteria that may be able to aid cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lemme guess. They've got a patent pending on it.

Same Crude Material (2, Interesting)

phexx (1651139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557824)

As people have already pointed out, introducing a single bacteria in the mass quantity that it would take to actually facilitate improvement would probably end up changing the the entire makeup of the gulf. It could have far reaching effects that we couldn't even predict. To a degree, the sad reality of this situation is that with our limited technology, we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and do this by hand as there is no quick fix. BP is using dispersant chemicals only to avoid pictures of sea animals dying of suffocation, but truth be told this area of the gulf is already decimated. I say this all with a heavy heart because it is in my own backyard. Oh and two interesting points. I highly recommend people read Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson, which covers a good deal about this kind of tactic without adequately predicting the outcome in a fictional but well researched context. Also, make note that these oil consuming bugs have been around for quite some time. The first stable version came around in the 70's. In practice, I've understood them to not really be that effective.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>