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Oil Means More Arsenic In Seawater

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the must-cut-back-on-shrimp dept.

Earth 168

oxi writes "Besides the oil already spilling into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of up to 60,000 barrels daily, a group of British scientists says one can expect to see elevated levels of arsenic as well. The research, published in the journal Water Research, showed that oil prevents naturally-occurring arsenic from being filtered out of the water by the sediment on the ocean floor."

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168 comments

A little arsenic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790366)

never hurt anyone. Except for anyone who's gotten sick or been killed by it.

Can someone tell me, if the oil spill still capped, or is it leaking, or something else?

Re:A little arsenic.... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790478)

http://www.cnn.com/video/flashLive/live.html?stream=stream3&hpt=T2 [cnn.com]

I think that should answer the question. But seriously, why not click to a new tab and google the question?

This whole mess rather pisses me off -- someone should "accidentally" dump raw sewage all over the homes of the BP executives. "It's an accident right?"

Re:A little arsenic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790840)

I use IE6. You really think my browser has tabs?

Re:A little arsenic.... (2, Interesting)

Dilaudid (574715) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791200)

Clever analogy. If America consumed 20 million barrels of raw sewage every day, and if humankind's thirst for raw sewage was so desperate that it led them to start wars, dig in environmentally special areas until the only places left for them to find more sewage was underneath the ocean - then you'd be spot on. I find it funny to see America looking around for who to blame here. They bought the SUVs. They are the biggest oil consumers in the world (along with the UK) - and they're still buying. The pollution in Nigeria caused by oil is desperate - this kind of thing happens every year. But no one cares at all about Nigeria, because Nigerians are worth a lot less than Americans. The board of BP aren't my favourite people, but singling them out is ridiculous (and politically expedient). So in short, perhaps better to throw shit at the next SUV you see, or the next person who tells you they've been scuba diving in the caribbean (like the then-head of Greenpeace, Lord Melchett) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/oil-spills-nigeria-niger-delta-shell [guardian.co.uk]

Re:A little arsenic.... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791364)

You still don't understand the situation. The USA has oil on land that it's not pumping. We're devastating the oceans for the sake of maintaining our reserves.

Re:A little arsenic.... (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791532)

Don't blame the masses for what the masses will always do. You have to place the blame where it starts. Yes, people bought the SUVs. They were told they needed to buy them because they were the biggest and the best and so they did. The masses are mindless drones as Apple can plainly attest. It's the marketing and fashion people who really drive the masses... for better or for worse. And what drove the marketers? Well, the people who want to sell bigger and more expensive things, of course. There's a lot more profit in the big machines than there is in the little ones so naturally they want to sell the big ones. These same auto makers also managed to convince the people (AKA the government) to stop building railroads and to build freeways instead.

The demand for SUVs didn't happen until the SUVs happened... well that's not entirely true either -- I can remember when the Suburban was essentially a worker's vehicle until someone put leather interiors and other features in it, jacked up the price to more than twice what it was and now it's "for rich people." They polished a turd and sold it as a diamond. So when figuring out where the blame belongs, you need to follow the greed, not the masses. The masses don't think for themselves and I pretty much thought everyone knew that already... you knew that already right?

If you knew the masses don't think for themselves, how can you blame them? Maybe it's just easier to "blame the Americans" for being born on their particular plot of concrete and soil and living the lives that were handed down to them from their parents and know of no other way to live? Going down that road, you are essentially blaming people for being born and inheriting their culture. How much sense does THAT make?! Should I also blame you for where and when you were born?

No. It's better to blame those who actually have the influence to make changes and fail to do so to the benefit of the planet and mankind.

Woohoo! Free Arsenic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790376)

Thanks BP!

And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790378)

life goes on... who cares? it's a giant fuck up, but ultimately nature will take care of it.

Re:And yet... (4, Funny)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790424)

Everything that is possibly sensational about this story (as if the spill wasn't sensational enough) will be reported.

This spill is a reporters wet dream and they will milk it for everything they can.

Did you see the "will it rain oil" stories they were running now that we started hurricane season?

It is 1:30 AM CST and I am willling to bet good money that if I go into the break room at my job, Anderson Cooper is on with more oil spill coverage. I don't think the guy reports on anything else and he seems to be all that is on for CNN at night

Re:And yet... (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790566)

Well, there needs to always be some vaguely disaster-ish background story to report on when other stuff runs low. The Afghanistan war, frankly, just ain't cutting it. Oh, we're still in Afghanistan, great. And the economy/joblessness/whatever is getting old. At least the oil is still somewhat fresh!

Re:And yet... (3, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791180)

While CNN is the butt of all media jokes (Hello? Is anyone out there?! TWEET US SOME NEWS PLEASE!), I'll give Anderson Cooper props for talking about the 65ft exclusion zone they're enforcing around response vessels and oil booms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXsmLMV1CrM [youtube.com]

Call it milking but if the Coast Guard is doing this and BP is hiring police to run off reporters and anyone curious (link [motherjones.com]), I certainly hope they don't stop talking about it.

Re:And yet... (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790546)

Maybe you should care how nature took care of other ocean contaminations [wikipedia.org] on the past,

Re:And yet... (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790568)

Some have turned out not all that catastrophically [wikipedia.org], though.

Re:And yet... (2, Informative)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791206)

3.3 million barrels over 8 months is 275,000 barrels a month. The Deepwater Horizon spill is spewing more than that every 2 months.

60k barrels * 30 days = 1.8 million barrels

Re:And yet... (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791338)

interesting, so when the relief wells shut down the flow in august, it'll be larger than Ixtoc, but still in the same order of magnitude.

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791596)

Yeah, it's a bit of a race whether it will be slightly less, the same, or slightly worse than Ixtoc-1. But it is probably going to be on the same order, and in the same body of water, so Ixtoc-1 is probably a decent analogue to how the results will play out over the next decade, modified a bit due to the differences in coastline environments.

It's going to be bad, especially economically, but end of the Earth's oceans or of the Gulf? Short answer: obviously not. That doesn't stop some uninformed loons, or some of them with a mouthpiece in the press, from speculating otherwise. If those media idiots actually did their job they'd be doing extensive investigative journalism on Ixtoc-1 -- talking to people who were there, going to and talking to coastal communities affected by it, talking to scientists who worked on the environmental effects, etc., to give people some rational idea of what to expect in the future. What do we get? Anderson Cooper strolling through the marshes of Louisiana and bemoaning how ugly it all looks, and interviews of people who know *nothing* about engineering, chemistry, petroleum geology, or oceanography.

It's depressing to see how badly such an important event is being handled by the press. It's another kind of catastrophe.

Re:And yet... (2, Informative)

pacov (512801) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791648)

3.3 million barrels over 8 months is 412,500* barrels a month. The Deepwater Horizon spill is spewing more than that every 2 months.

60k barrels * 30 days = 1.8 million barrels

Adjusted that for you in case someone was going to use the math.

Re:And yet... (3, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791050)

Yeah but nature taking care of it may very well not include life going on.

OMG! (3, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790382)

Well in other news every time I pee in the ocean the ph level drops too.

This is about as valuable insight as a story above without any meaningful interpretation of what the rising level of arsenic means. How much more arsenic will there be? Will the entire ocean die? Will just a few patches of the Gulf die? Or more likely will it not make the tiniest bit of difference?

Re:OMG! (0)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790752)

"Well in other news every time I pee in the ocean the ph level drops too. "

Actually, this is dependent upon two primary things - your pre-existing body chemistry, and the overall pH of the substances your body takes in. I don't piss much, so I exude the majority of wastes through my pores. This leads to me registering nearly 3 on the pH scale when a test is done to the surface of my skin. This also explains why I tear through a set of guitar strings in three weeks, even with heavily protected string sets.

In other words, you might pee in the ocean and make the level RISE instead. This is just dependent upon genetics and what you ingest.

Re:OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791022)

Mod -1 Boring

Re:OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790948)

Well in other news every time I pee in the ocean the ph level drops too.

This is about as valuable insight as a story above without any meaningful interpretation of what the rising level of arsenic means. How much more arsenic will there be? Will the entire ocean die? Will just a few patches of the Gulf die? Or more likely will it not make the tiniest bit of difference?

BP Spin:

Trace amounts of arsenic in your water will only be able to kill off the weaker cells in your body. The stronger cells divide and live on for another day. We're actually helping evolution! You should thank us!

Dont forget GOLDMAN SACHS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791348)

this is why this retard story got really posted to keep your minds off the GIANT SCAM

Re:OMG! (4, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791816)

How much more arsenic will there be? Will the entire ocean die? Will just a few patches of the Gulf die? Or more likely will it not make the tiniest bit of difference?

I found these [wiley.com] two [sciencedirect.com] abstracts that may help. Langmuir [wikipedia.org] adsorption model [thuisexperimenteren.nl] is used to determine the effects.

I was trying to put some perspective on the BP oil spill for myself and found it's roughly an Exxon Valdez (E.V) disaster every week (based on approx 50,000 bbls per day), so it's 6 E.V's so far. Considering the amount of damage that was done there, local fisheries are now supported by hatcheries so the overall toxicity of the oil spill has pretty much destroyed the ecosystem. Twenty years later not much seems to have improved and Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] reports not only the human health implications but the same-old same-old response we get from these companies as data collection efforts are simply stopped. Ignorance really is bliss and when it's not possible to do any science and politicians in the future can honestly say "The health implications cannot be determined".

That arsenic is a carcinogen that bio-accumulates in the environment means that even if this catastrophe was to stop right now the human health implications are something that will continue to unfold well into the next generation. Airborne pollutants like Hydrogen Sulfide, which took a week to dissipate from E.V just continue.

Bottom line: No-one knows (A metric ass load?). EPA says you can't harvest fish from seawater with a greater concentration of 0.0175 micrograms of Arsenic. Seawater is more capable of containing As than fresh water and there are many other factors (temperature, organic/inorganic As) that determine toxicity. Pressure from the depth of water is also a factor. I think what is being said here is that the Gulf of Mexico's days as a fishery are pretty much over and it's time to drill the shit out of that oil reserve and empty it as soon as possible.

Lets be realistic No-one is going to take the risk of being the "Oh but you made it worse" person that everyone points fingers at so NO-ONE will do ANYTHING. Right now you are seeing the people standing around the dying person bleeding wondering when someone is going to call the ambulance. I blame the greenies, if they'd have protested more none of this would have ever happened and we could have lived our apathetic little lives without an oil spill of this magnitude. As it so happens now we have to live our apathetic little live without the luxury of ignorance going, tsk tsk that oil spill - so bad tsk tsk.

References; Neff, Bioaccumulation in Marine Organisms: Effect of Contaminants from Oil Well Produced Water

What's the concentration? (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790390)

This is probably some parts-per-billion phenomenon.

Arsenic is naturally found in some fish [nifes.no], and the concentrations approach regulatory limits. It's not clear in what compounds the arsenic appears; if it's locked into a compound that doesn't metabolize, it's probably not a problem.

Re:What's the concentration? (2, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790554)

Has somebody informed the fish that the levels of arsenic in their bodies are approaching regulatory limits? Maybe throw in some dialysis machines or pills that absorb arsenic mixed in with fish food into the oceans?

Why aren't we helping the fish help themselves?

Re:What's the concentration? (5, Funny)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790712)

Why aren't we helping the fish help themselves?

Give a fish a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a fish to fish, you have invented the shark.

Re:What's the concentration? (-1, Offtopic)

Snatch422 (896695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790692)

Even if it were a problem, they would leach out the arsenic to poison people like me who inform on the illegal and perverted "secrets" of the USA:

I (Gregory Morse) am the victim of the epitomy of immorality: the "first gay President"/Hitler. US Army intelligence units (along with the FBI/CIA/secret service) are illegally trying to coerce/impose homosexuality on people using advanced technology and psychology. The whole world already knows and is silently watching the US pour its money down the drain in utter defeat as big money easily chases you around the globe. Inshallah.

Advanced technology/psychology: 24/7 through the wall ultrawide-band surveillance, tracking chip implants in left eyebrow and upper right ear lobe, mind control chips to be able to ritually perform sleep abuse, inner ear implants for dirty psychology audio transmissions, subconscious audio/imagery/speech/feeling manipulation such as designing ... See Moredreams, gang-stalking actors to reinforce their subconscious manipulations (homosexual propaganda: wearing bright colored clothing, short shorts, earings, wearing excess cologne, excessive unbuttoning of the shirt, rubbing genitals, bending over, whistling, holding hands), girlfriends who are full time paid actors, bodily manipulations such as facial plastic surgery, pin pricks on the right ring fingernail, electolysis to modify facial hair including a satanic trident under the chin (WARNING - NOT FOR FAINT OF HEART): rectal nerve pain suppressor implants, anesthesized rape, scrotal stretching, warts on the rectum, rectal plastic surgery, penile eczema and excess hair growth, and hundreds of devious and subtle tactics yet ultimately predictable and defeatable.

I serve and fear none but Allah but the great many transgressors out there know not though I will never turn my back on mischief-makers or those who do evil deeds. Divine retritubion is in store. Subhanallah.

Re:What's the concentration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790746)

Your post reminds me of that time I spilled half a can of Mountain Dew on my motherboard. I swear the thing went Daisy, Daisy... before the smoke alarms went off.

Re:What's the concentration? (1)

jhantin (252660) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790766)

It's not clear in what compounds the arsenic appears; if it's locked into a compound that doesn't metabolize, it's probably not a problem.

I think it largely ends up in the form of arsenic-substituted pyrrole compounds [wikipedia.org], which seem to undergo biomagnification [wikipedia.org] as one proceeds up the food^H^H^H^Hmanagement chain -- there's no other way to explain [wikipedia.org] some of the rather toxic mismanagement messes generated by large companies.

Re:What's the concentration? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790774)

Arsenic doesn't metabolize easily, at all. Finding soluble arsenic is not too easy, especially in a non-toxic form that we could possibly use. The agent for chelation, dithiol dihydrolipoic acid, is more common but still rather uncommon in a natural state.

I've had arsenic poisoning twice now, to add to silicosis of the lungs, mercury poisoning, lead poisoning, and aluminum poisoning. To top it off, I'm anemic (iron-deficient) even though I eat tons of iron-loaded food.

I'm a walking labrat. Have been since the age of 6, starting with Ritalin.

Where does parts per billion come from? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791800)

Your referenced article talks about mg/kilogram in the fish, which is parts per million. The article doesn't reference any concentration of arsenic. Where does your quoted figure of ppb come from?

naturally-occurring arsenic (3, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790412)

is there any other kind?

Re:naturally-occurring arsenic (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790438)

yep, there is also the kind that comes with old lace [imdb.com]. of course, that was fashionable before polonium become commonplace.

Re:naturally-occurring arsenic (2, Informative)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790538)

Some time ago someone was to play Arsenic and Old Lace. Not wanting to mispronounce the name, he contacted Alice Longworth. She said that there were two branches of the family, and they pronounced the name differently.
T.R. was Roo-za-velt and F.D.R. was Rosa-velt.

One of the news articles on Litvinenko claimed that the Polonium used to kill him cost a megabuck.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko [wikipedia.org]
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/News/PoloniumPoison.html [nuclearweaponarchive.org]

Re:naturally-occurring arsenic (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790742)

I suppose when Dumbledoor or whatever the name is kicks Hairy Pottar in the nuggets, the young magician's screeching teeth and muttering of some profane spells can create a few elements in the universe unnaturally, probably including some arsenic in the old fool's tea cup.

Everything else is occurring naturally.

Re:naturally-occurring arsenic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791398)

Lots. According to Wikipedia, there are at least 32 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenic#Isotopes)

Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (4, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790428)

I am of the opinion that the best way to clean up the Gulf of Mexico is to Send the Enterprise [teslabox.com] (no, not that Enterprise, silly rabbits!). The complete proposal is given at the link.

Tell everyone you know.

(kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org] has two options for voting for a story: "Front Page" and "Section Page". 93% of the people who voted for my story voted FP, so I have reason to believe that my proposal has merit.)

Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790442)

With respect, that article shows the author really has not the remotest clue about the navy, oil experts, oil eating bacteria, oxygen in water, weather (stopping a hurricane - OMFG), and let me just add reality in general to the list.
Massive fuckups that can not be solved quickly with all the experts on earth happen - and this is one of them. We're just going to have to cope with it being fixed slowly.
It makes a good story to send a "ship of heroes" but unfortunately magic does not exist in this world so they won't be able to fix it any more quickly.

are you saying we should 'do nothing quickly'? (-1, Offtopic)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790502)

Are you one of those people who places all their trusts in the status quo? "Let the experts handle it?"

I bet you'd say "trust BP to do what needs to be done" too.

If nothing else, the hardware could be used post-catastrophe to try out an awesome fish-farming proposal. Does that not make sending the Enterprise worth doing anyways?

weather (stopping a hurricane

310 Megawatts of power could "turn over" a lot of ocean water. Why not try it out? I suppose you live in ... Washington, D.C., so what do you care about oil being carried inland into the old confederacy?

Massive fuckups that can not be solved quickly with all the experts

Sometimes experts know too much. Sometimes experts can't solve simple problems. This is not a quick solution - it's just something to help contain the environmental damage that's going to happen while the long solution gets implemented.

Re:are you saying we should 'do nothing quickly'? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790570)

No, I'm just saying that some things in that article were bullshit from an anti-intellectual viewpoint.
It makes a good Tom Clancy story for the guy that has never been to school to come and put the experts to shame but I don't think it's going to stop an oil leak in reality.
310 MW is a drop in the ocean compared with the power of a hurricane.

Re:are you saying we should 'do nothing quickly'? (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790602)

but I don't think it's going to stop an oil leak in reality.

Nothing in the proposal is about stopping the leak. It's about mitigating the impact that the oil is having on the gulf of Mexico.

Re:are you saying we should 'do nothing quickly'? (2, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790828)

Does that not make sending the Enterprise worth doing anyways?

It makes about much sense as "cleaning beaches". It would be a PR campaign and nothing else. And a pretty expensive campaign at that. If you think an aircraft carrier is expensive in Dock. Just wait till its seaside.

310 Megawatts of power could "turn over" a lot of ocean water.

No it couldn't. In fact it could "turn over" hardly any at all. The ocean is not a swimming pool. Run the numbers... How much of just the gulf region can 310 MW "clean" after ruining for a century. Its nothing compared to how much is there.

Sometimes experts know too much...

And you are ignorant of basic facts, and are too lazy to even run some simple back of the envelope calculations. Thank God you are not in charge of fixing it, or we would really be screwed.

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790542)

You strike me as a BP rep. I have a solution for the BP oil issue, not that sending the Navy is all that bad an idea in itself: Any oil that touches US waters is no longer the property of whoever placed it there but the government or a US oil company, and the group at fault for it being there still flips the bill for the cleanup.

It's not just BP down there is it? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790588)

Instead of calling me names why not watch the news or read a paper? Where did you get the impression that the US navy has oil drilling experts and why do you think they are better than anyone actually involved in drilling for oil - you are betting on mythical superheroes here. The suggestion is really just as silly as suggesting Kirk, Spock and Scotty fix it.

Re:It's not just BP down there is it? (1, Troll)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790648)

You don't seem to understand. BP is spending much more trying to hide the oil, not actually clean it up. It would be wise to move the corporate pinheads out of the picture (and possible into prison for their criminal neglect) so we can at least perform a legitimate inspection of the damage being done.

Re:It's not just BP down there is it? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791310)

That would be nice if we had somebody else to do the job that they are trying to do. We don't so we would only be making things worse by pulling them off the job early.
As I said before and even in the subject heading where people should be able to see it easily - it's not just the people from BP doing this. If you or I were world class experts in that field with an idea to help then nobody would be chasing us away.

Re:It's not just BP down there is it? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791690)

Again, you are believing that BP is actually trying to clean it up. They aren't. We can keep the present crew of workers and engineers, with big bonuses if they stop the leak quickly. Give them some incentive. And what was supposed to be done is seize BP assets to pay for it all. Ceding all authority to BP as is being done is a gross error in judgment, if not a criminal act of corruption. And we don't know what other experts have already been chased away. There's virtual news blackout on the incident, with everything coming from BP press releases. The wrong people are in charge. That is perfectly clear. And we have a government where appeasement is the order of the day. It's all very sickening as we timidly stand by, believing everything lie after lie.

Re:It's not just BP down there is it? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791770)

So who then are the right people?
If you know why haven't you sent their names to the Government so they can do more than just worry about why it's taking so long?
Also is it really a "news blackout" is is there really just nothing else to report?
How on earth would BP enforce a news blackout anyway?

Those are the sort of questions you should consider. This is far from the sort of situation where you can "send in a gunboat" and have a problem fixed quickly. The military do not have any expertise in this area.
I'm not arguing for BP here, I'm just arguing against the rather stupid article linked to by a poster above. BP of course need a lot of help to fix their mess, but they need it from people that know how to fix such a mess. If they haven't borrowed the world's best from rival oil companies then we should be incredibly angry with them. That's a bit of a different solution to the "ship of heroes" thing above.

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (0, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790794)

"(stopping a hurricane - OMFG)"

Sorry, we can do this. We just aim a laser at the center of the system cell and destabilize it.

Yes, the government has a patent on this, already. We even have laser-controlled decomposition of chloroflurocarbons.

I think you underestimate the technology we actually possess.

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (2, Insightful)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791044)

"(stopping a hurricane - OMFG)"

Sorry, we can do this. We just aim a laser at the center of the system cell and destabilize it.

Riiiiight. And all the energy stored in this big vortex magically disappears.

I think you underestimate the technology we actually possess.

I think you seriously underestimate the scale of things that happen in nature.
The eye of a hurricane ranges from tens to hundreds of square kilometers. Where do you aim?

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (3, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791328)

I don't get out to the movies much so I wasn't aware of that technology. Does it come with a large persian cat to stroke when you order the device to be activated?
It reminds me of a quote from a congressional review from the 1960s where a scientist said the output of a laser was ten to the six watts and they needed ten to the twelve watts for an application. "Wonderful" said a Senator, "We're halfway there!".

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791342)

Since when do we have a powerful enough LASER to even think about this? I could believe you could do it with HAARP since once of the applications of the patent on which it is based is intense localized heating of the atmosphere, but if you want to sell this LASER thing you'll need some citation(s).

Re:Send Wonder Woman instead perhaps - or aquaman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791412)

You also forgot scale, although I suppose "general reality" covers that. People don't seem to understand that we're talking about *thousands* of square miles/km. Anything you can do -- ANYTHING -- that doesn't cover that kind of area is going to have little effect unless it is done right at the source, and they're already doing that. Driving skimmers around? Sure, it helps a little. But all of them are covering a tiny fraction of the sea. Pumping oxygen into the water? Yeah, sure, but unless you're going to get at least a cubic kilometre of water oxygenated every day it isn't going to have a detectable effect except right beside the ship.

You could deploy 100 Enterprise-sized aircraft carriers, one every square mile, and I doubt it would make an appreciable difference, even assuming the ideas he suggested worked on that scale.

Sheesh, load up Google Earth and look at an actual map sometime. Also try to visualize the depth of the ocean in the Gulf. It's big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.

And stopping a hurricane? Really? 310 megawatts versus a HURRICANE? Bwahahahaha. According to this list [wikipedia.org], a hurricane is processing on the order of 50 to 200 terrawatts (10^12 Watts) of power, only about a million times greater. So, good fricking luck! I suspect an atomic bomb wouldn't have much effect.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790462)

I will not tell you not to try, as every bit helps, but I expect you are underestimating the sheer vastness of the ocean, and how many gigatons of O_2 would be required. Start with all the world's nuclear powered aircraft carriers and icebreakers and subs and deep drilling rigs all pumping in oxygen, and you still have just a few small bubblers here and there. But by all means try. At this point try anything and the place is so fuct that messing with the chemistry a bit more can't make it any worse, .. or can it?

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790544)

I expect you are underestimating the sheer vastness of the ocean

Dr. Joye suggests that some of the oil is concentrated in plumes [sciencemag.org]. I'd send the Enterprise to float over one of those first.

and how many gigatons of O_2 would be required.

This is why the Enterprise's six nuclear reactors are needed - there just aren't any other 310 Megawatt floating power plants, that I know of... The Mighty (MYT) pump design will efficiently convert the reactors' steam into rotational motion. Furthermore, the same pump will be able to move 3x as much air as old compressor designs.

At this point try anything and the place is so fuct that messing with the chemistry a bit more can't make it any worse

Epic disasters call for epic interventions, do they not?

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790600)

310MW is not epic on any scale. I suggest you look up how much power your city consumes at peak power.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790604)

Can you read? he is talking about FLOATING power plants. Your point still stands though, 310MW would hardly sustain the operation he is asking for.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790608)

310MW is not epic on any scale. I suggest you look up how much power your city consumes at peak power.

310 MW may not be epic, but it's still 310 MW that could be put to productive use. The Enterprise isn't doing anything right now, so why not see what can be done?

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790634)

The Enterprise isn't doing anything right now

[citation needed]. Unless you have internal sources, you would never know what exactly Enterprise is tasked for (or for what reason it was constructed at all, for the matter)

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (0)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790810)

It was designed as a battleship-killer.

My father designed the Harpoon radar guidance system, first put in place upon that ship.

Unless you have the real connections, BE QUIET.

Otherwise we'll make you disappear for putting us to shame.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790882)

LOL, you could refer wikipedia for more information and the current (publicly available) plans.

Anyway, my point was "nido" could never be sure that Enterprise is just idling and has no current military objectives/tasks. If you have any "real connections" that support/contradict his view, please feel free to post here. (I, personally, seriously doubt such a capable warship is idling). Otherwise STFU.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (4, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790674)

You're still not getting it. With the scales we are talking about, you'd be better off zipping out into the middle of the gulf yourself on a zodiac and blowing bubbles in the water with a drinking straw. It'd be a hell of a lot cheaper, and it'd accomplish about as much.

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790704)

It'd be a hell of a lot cheaper,

They're going to be spending money on maintenance and operations of the aircraft carrier anyways. Do you think it'd be more productive to spend it on bombs, jet fuel, pay for 8,000 sailors to fight forever wars on blowback [merriam-webster.com] ("terrorism")?

Au contraire, I think it'd be a hell of a lot cheaper to send the Enterprise to the gulf with a skeleton crew.

Mod parent TROLL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790730)

Too bad I have already commented on this story :(

Epic at any scale (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790804)

It is epic compared to the amount of power you generate for the rest of us. It lasts far longer and is generated over far longer periods of time.

You misunderstand the definition of 'epic.'

Re:Epic at any scale (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791282)

Why does my personal contribution to the power industry (which I left in 1996 by the way) matter here? Is this just a variant on the silly "your mom" stuff?

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790532)

Have you managed to slashdot your own site or is it just me experiencing problems connecting to www.teslabox.com ?

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790574)

Have you managed to slashdot your own site?

Apparently... I suspected that this would happen. I'm hosting on a small vps that I've been playing with for a year. I recently asked my host to increase the memory, but I haven't heard back from him yet. You can read the same proposal at the kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org] link - you just won't get the three small pictures. :)

Re:Save the Gulf: Send the Enterprise (2, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791038)

So rather then send in specialists (reads not necessarily BP, there's lots of companies in the oil and gas industry), you'd rather send a big-arse ship full of people who know nothing about the problem, to tackle a job they were never designed to do, with equipment that's not even designed.

I especially love this bit:

After licensing the design, the U.S. Navy’s engineers can refine the pump for their purposes and the military-industrial complex can quickly establish a production line.

It seems clear to me that the author has never tried sourcing a custom made pump before. Redesigning equipment designed to operate at speed and pressure, and getting it produced takes a phenomenal amount of time. The up-front engineering hours alone would amount to months of work before the pump would be ready to run through a production line.

can i believe this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790612)

I've been reading /. since 1999 and since the editors have gotten worse over the years and I don't know if I trust the primary sources, here is another example where I have no idea what to believe. Yay for the "this is my blog, I'll be an idiot with typos and stupid stories if i want" mentality you guys have had all along.

In related news: Not much hope of making it stop (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790666)

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-461896 [cnn.com]

"According to Sagalevich’s report, the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is not just coming from the 22 inch well bore site being shown on American television, but from at least 18 other sites on the “fractured seafloor” with the largest being nearly 11 kilometers (7 miles) from where the Deepwater Horizon sank and is spewing into these precious waters an estimated 2 million gallons of oil a day."

"As a prominent oil-industry insider, and one of the World's leading experts on peak oil, Simmons further warns that the US has only two options, “let the well run dry (taking 30 years, and probably ruining the Atlantic ocean) or nuking the well.” "

"On top of the environmental catastrophe currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico the situation may about to get even worse as new reports from the US are confirming the grim predictions of Russian scientists regarding the oil dispersement poisons being used by BP which are being swept up into the clouds and falling as toxic rain destroying every living plant it touches"

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (-1, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32790822)

If they'd fucking listen to me, it would stop WITHOUT NEEDING A NUKE.

But I doubt they will because they're too busy listening to EXPERTS instead of those that bothered to do real-life physics calculations.

Fuckwads. I can seal that bitch with half a million dollars worth of focused C-4 charges from 50 feet down to 500 feet of well-breach.

Why, yes, I have worked on oil platforms. 6 months on, 6 months off. In that time, I worked wells up to 2500 feet deep. Once you're that far, either internal gas pressure or external water/atmospheric pressure is your enemy.

When it's internal gas pressure, the best chance is a relief well even 800 feet into the wildcat and blasting the main line to just above the level of the relief well line.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791056)

If you knew how to do it you would also know the concept of reservoir fracture or the instability of a salt dome. Suck my cock, you loser.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (4, Funny)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791446)

Khyber is troll... See his other posts...
1) His father designed the Harpoon radar guidance system
2) He worked at HP repair line right next to Dell help line
3) He has immense knowledge about pH and chemistry
4) and what do we have here... He has worked on oil platforms and his solution is
i) relief wells... mmm why didnt BP think of this... not wait... they started working on two relief wells long long ago and they have been trying (or pretending to do something in the meanwhile) to temporary stop the flow till the relief wells are operational.
ii) C-4s, ahh how innovative. When the GP talked about nuking it, did you somehow think it is the radiation from the nuke that would stop the leak? The GP effectively meant blow it up (he said with nukes, and you say with C-4s). And I would leave it as excersie to the reader, whether nuking it easier or C-4s are easier at this depth. PS: before someone flames me, I am neither in favor nor in opposition to blowing it up

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791498)

"I can seal that bitch with half a million dollars worth of focused C-4 charges from 50 feet down to 500 feet of well-breach."

Unfortunately that would likely result in a casing failure as the pressure built up below the collapsed zone, and then you'd have a sub-sea blowout, and perhaps a short time after that you'd have it breach to the sea floor and achieve the (lack of evidence/wrong/insane) scenario that Simmons has fantasized already exists.

There is simply no evidence for the seepages elsewhere on the sea floor that Simmons somehow imagines are there. There are *natural* seeps on the Gulf of Mexico sea floor, but not related to this field or well. The ROVs wander all around the well site and there's no sign of anything nearby. And if there was evidence further away it would be impossible to cover it up. Simmons has mentioned these supposed sites several times in news accounts, but nobody with any scientific knowledge knows where the supposed seeps are or how he is coming up with it. He talks about huge "lakes" of oil beneath the sea surface, but those plumes have now been measured -- in ppm concentrations. There is no inconsistency between what is coming out of the single hole and the amount that has been observed at the surface and subsea.

Also, this well won't leak in significant amounts for 30 years. There isn't enough oil in the reservoir to sustain it at environmentally significant rates for that long. Even one of the greatest gushers ever, the Lakeview Gusher [wikipedia.org], which at its peak approached 100000 barrels/day, more or less killed itself in 18 months. The rock around the borehole in the reservoir eventually collapses and clogs the hole, or the pressure decline in the reservoir is sufficient that the flow ceases (or both).

Simmons claims are poorly-thought-out, unsubstantiated nonsense. He's a financier with a lot of oil experience, not a geologist, oceanographer, or engineer. But his wild claims make sensational press, which is the only reason I can think of why they keep putting him on talk shows and news segments, because his claims make no sense to anyone with a scientific background. For example, he's also claimed that the pressure in the reservoir is 100000 psi, when it was DIRECTLY MEASURED at ~11000 psi as the well was drilled. Even if the measurement was wrong, a fluid pressure of 100000 psi would be more than enough to fracture the rocks at that depth and cause the fluids to leak out of the formation until the pressure dropped back to normal. He just doesn't know what he's talking about.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791802)

Well the atmospheric pressure coupled with the water density at 4000-5000 ft below may just be a blessing indisguise.
The oil may achieve neutral buoyancy at aphotic zone thus left to hydrocarbon micro organisms having a big party.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (0)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791066)

Wait, how the hell do you get oil up into the clouds? That stuff is fairly heavy and doesn't turn into vapor like water does.

Also what's nuking the well supposed to do? Blast the seafloor wide open and release even more oil? Not every problem in the world can be solved with nukes.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791280)

Wait, how the hell do you get oil up into the clouds?

It's about the dispersant, not the oil. Anyway, have you never seen desert sand getting washed out of the air by rain? Aerosols can travel with the wind, you don't need to vaporize the liquid.

Re:In related news: Not much hope of making it sto (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791656)

On top of the environmental catastrophe currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico the situation may about to get even worse as new reports from the US are confirming the grim predictions of Russian scientists regarding the oil dispersement poisons being used by BP which are being swept up into the clouds and falling as toxic rain destroying every living plant it touches

Bullshit. Florida (as well as the rest of the Gulf coast) isn't some mysterious location about which little is known. If there was toxic rain "destroying every living plant it touches", we'd have a zillion people on the internet complaining about their messed up lawns. We'd probably have riots in Tallahassee (the capitol of Florida). This stuff would get in the news too. And Obama would have photo-ops all over the place. Because an evil oil corporation destroying voters' lawns, especially lawns in a critical swing state, is a crisis that Obama could use.

Keep in mind that the relief wells come in below most of that fracturing. It's also possible that the fracturing and oil leaks were already there. Just because oil leaks out of the Gulf seafloor, doesn't mean it came from a BP oil well.

Sure they can run the healthcare sytsem also (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32790946)

If Obama can wait 70 days before he asks for international help to clean this ecological disaster up, how soon do you expect the government to act when they need to do something to save your puny life.

Re:Sure they can run the healthcare sytsem also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791008)

... since when is Obama the CEO of British Petroleum.

So what? (5, Insightful)

joetheappleguy (865543) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791184)

Fish don't vote.

Drill, baby! Drill!

Palin / Haliburton 2012!!

Re:So what? (-1, Troll)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791334)

Oh, do you have a plan for staunching the flow without drilling?

It better not turn out that the reason they skipped pre-drilling the relief wells is some kind of extra regulatory burden, like a limit on overall number of wells that counts relief wells towards the total...

Don't blame the regulation when a company fucks up (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791372)

Oh come on, that wouldn't be the fault of the regulation. Let's assume that what you said really would be the case.

If the company is told "You are only allowed to drill this many wells." and the company decided "Oh, okay. Then we'll skip the relief wells!" it is the company that fucks up. Okay, regulators have also erred when they didn't say "And this many of the wells need to be relief wells" and assumed that the company would realize to take the responsibility. But the regulators wouldn't have forced the company to drill a single well. Rather, they would have given rules and the company decided "Well, within these rules, we can drill only so many wells safely... Okay, then we won't drill safely!"

That's like saying that this was really the regulators fault as the companies were drilling that far in the ocean because they weren't allowed to drill closer to the shore. But regulators didn't force them to drill far either. They just disallowed drilling close and practically said "You can't drill here. Drill there, if you can do it safely." and the companies thought "Well, that would be unsafe... But let's do it anyways!"

The regulators suck as they assumed that they could expect some responsibility from the oil companies. It is however quite clear, that when profits and enviromental safety clash, the companies choose profits and most certainly don't regulate themselves the slightest. That being the case, the problem was too lax regulation (They shouldn't have had permission to drill there, either), not too strict.

Food (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#32791202)

Why don't people ever think of the bacteria? They're having a whale of a time (excuse the pun) down there right now.

Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32791578)

Communism!!! That's right boys and girls, the free market loving USians brought us the oil spill and global communism is the only thing that will save us. Once we acheive that goal we can hasten the process to eliminate all nuclear and fossil fuels so we can embrace renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energies. Another goal is the total elimination of use and consumption of animals and all products from animals. Not only is it torture, slavery, and murder it is also one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases.

The way to acheive this is to swith everything over to the Euro. Once that is done *poof* no more US so the rest of the world can finally rest without worry from an imperialistic captialistic nation.

Sincerly,

Signed: The Rest of the World

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