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289 comments

Hmm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945032)

I wonder how he sent them the plans...

I bet he put them in an envelope and gave it to the postman.

I don't trust him (4, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945062)

He's got webbed feet.

Re:I don't trust him (3, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945098)

But he also dances with wolves, so he can't be all bad.

Re:I don't trust him (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945178)

The dude dropped too much acid back in the 70's . . . he hears voices . . . and has hallucinations about baseball fields, and shit . . .

Maybe if everyone on the coast does some Orange Sunshine, we can all just watch the oil separate itself from the water, and the oil will just walk away . . .

Heavy, man . . .

Re:I don't trust him (5, Funny)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945898)

'The dude dropped too much acid back in the 70's . . . he hears voices . . . and has hallucinations about baseball fields, and shit . . .'

Yeah, stay away from that stuff. I had a really bad trip a few months back - ended up in a movie theatre where they must have been showing 'Dances With Wolves', but it looked like all the Sioux had changed into weird blue aliens who were COMING OUT OF THE SCREEN at me. Someone gave me a pair of shades but they just made it worse. Crazy shit.

Re:I don't trust him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945292)

Even worse than that, HE'S GOT GIIIILLLLLLS!

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Well gee, Slashdot, I'm pretty sure in the film the character was yelling.

Re:I don't trust him (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945746)

Whatever - in Europe and other parts the oil spill collection technology is developing silently and is building on existing technology.

The problem isn't the existing tech - it's a political issue.

Recycling (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945076)

Costner had to do something with the left-over props from that august movie venture, Water World.

Re:Recycling (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945118)

Though much maligned, Waterworld did make a surprisingly decent profit in the end: $175m cost, with awful reviews and a mere $116m gross box-office in the US, but another $176m worldwide and pretty good DVD receipts as well.

So I suppose it's feasible Costner had a little left over for water-cleaning tech ;)

Re:Recycling (1, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945188)

I liked Waterworld! Did people really hate it so much or is it just /.?

Re:Recycling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945194)

It wasn't what people wanted, so thus it was obviously bad.

Re:Recycling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945248)

I like the Postman too.

Waterworld quote...

"Paper, lovely paper." ...also, how can anyone not love the bloodymindedness of the ending to Tin Cup?

It says a lot about investing in a solution to inevitability.

Re:Recycling (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945268)

Most everybody hated it although I liked it well enough. Perhaps because it was so hyped and so patently moralizing. I thought Dennis Hopper was great. Costner can't act to save his life but he seems to be a reasonable director.

Re:Recycling (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945272)

Most people I know thought it was enjoyable enough, worth at least the dvd rental. I think it would have gotten better reviews if it hadn't cost so much to make.

Re:Recycling (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945572)

I still routinely watch it when I want something fun to watch.

And I had SO MANY Waterworld toys as a kid. That boat was KICKING RAD.

Re:Recycling (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945568)

If it grossed 292 million, 146 million went to the theaters, and 146 million went to the studios. That's a loss,with no studio accounting tricks needed.

Re:Recycling (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945726)

You're forgetting VHS and DVD sales, rentals, licencing.

Waterworld may not have been The Dark Knight box office wise or anything, but it still was no Cutthroat Island.

Actors.. (2, Funny)

conares (1045290) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945122)

When I was a kid back in the eighties, I always wondered what would happen if Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson and those other guys from all those war movies died. Real tough guys, just watching them fight made your face hurt back then. At some point, IMHO, Kevin Costner also reached that level of actorness. Back then I just thought "no more good movies, that's for sure". Kevin Costner just raised the bar. When he dies the world will go under.

Oh yea...to me Chuck Norris was just a bitch-slappin' red haired pussy.

Re:Actors.. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945332)

Costner peaked with "Silverado"

Re:Actors.. (1)

stuboogie (900470) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945440)

uuuuhhhhmmmmm...The Untouchables????

Re:Actors.. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945622)

Costner peaked with Silverado. But he was pretty good in Bull Durham too. Not bad in the Guardian either.

Re:Actors.. (1)

feyhunde (700477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945722)

He's good if he doesn't direct himself. He can direct others well enough, particular talent actors, but he can't get outside his head to direct himself well. That said, I thought the Guardian was a great film, giving the Coast Guard their hero movie.

3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (4, Insightful)

Vexar (664860) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945132)

Wow. I don't care if whatever Kevin Costner invested his fortune in amounted to something as hare-brained as a Brewster's Millions investment scam, he did something to try to prevent a dystopian future. Yay, Kevin! Even if the apparent goal of WaterWorld was to bankrupt Sony Pictures, you at least did something. I wonder if guilt motivated his actions at all? Oh well, all good.

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945154)

Because it doesn't matter at all if it actually works, what matters is that we all felt good about it. P*sigh* The last 20 years of civilization and higher learning in a nutshell.

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945166)

If you throw enough Linguini at the wall eventually something will stick.

You will never get anything to stick to the wall if you never try.

This is why freaks like RMS end up achieving something and the rest of us "sensible" people just end up as corporate drones.

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (3, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945346)

This is why freaks like RMS end up achieving something and the rest of us "sensible" people just end up as corporate drones.

Now, for the first time in a long time, I don't feel so bad about being a corporate America reject.

I just need to find some great thing to do....

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (1, Interesting)

gabrielex (664157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945510)

Yes but you have to throw something that exists...linguini don't! The name of that kind of italian pasta is actually linguine not linguini, even though people in the USA keep calling them linguini. Go to Italy and ask for linguini, people will look at you in a weird way lol!

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (2, Interesting)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945696)

You're confusing a spelling mistake with languages having dissimilar vowel sounds. Frankly if you want to see people butchering a language listen to French words carried over into German.

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945594)

> If you throw enough Linguini at the wall eventually something will stick.
> You will never get anything to stick to the wall if you never try.

This only makes sense as an analogy if it's important to stick only 0.0001% of the linguini to the wall. If you're after 90%+ then there's no point in throwing any amount of linguini at the wall, as it'll detract money and resources from the actual problem.

Re:3. Profit! 4. Fix the problem? (5, Insightful)

Rubinstien (6077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946080)

It's called the "Unreasonable Man Paradox"

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

-- George Bernard Shaw

One good thing (0)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945138)

Well, I guess if this is the only good to have come out of making 'Water World,' then perhaps the movie isn't all /that/ bad... but it's still mighty close on balance.

Maybe not the only one (1, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945172)

' Is it possible that in the years since the Exxon Valdez, that Kevin Costner is the only one who has invested money into the technology of oil spill cleanup?'

Well, he may not have been the only one, but it's obvious that the oil companies weren't; after all, they're only the causes of the problem!

Re:Maybe not the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945196)

Well why should they? They only have to look after the interest of the shareholders and thats maximising Profit Baby!*

* may not be true but thats how it seems to be in practice.

Re:Maybe not the only one (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945306)

Well why should they? They only have to look after the interest of the shareholders and thats maximising Profit Baby!*

* may not be true but thats how it seems to be in practice.

A corporation's only goal is to maximize profit. That's how it works. They actually have a responsibility to their shareholders to make money. I wouldn't really expect a corporation to invest money into something like developing technology to clean up oil spills unless it could demonstrate that the technology would somehow earn the shareholders money.

You could make the argument that if BP (or Exxon or whoever) developed the technology they'd be able to sell it to others... Or minimize the fines/cleanup that they have to pay for... But, the way things actually work in the real world, there's little point in that. Business as usual makes more than enough money.

Which is why, much as some people hate to admit it, some kind of government involvement is necessary.

You can regulate the oil companies - force them to invest some amount of their profits into cleanup R&D.

Or you can fund your own R&D project to develop the technology.

But, as we've seen, The Market isn't interested in this stuff.

Re:Maybe not the only one (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945392)

Yup. A business model that's only profitable when there's a disaster (natural or man-made) isn't going to have a predictable source of income. That is, unless the company making the disaster-solution product is also put into a position where it can create disasters-- in which case, you don't actually want that.

So you have something which may be necessary but in which the "free market" will probably never invest. And after all, no one company really has enough of an interest in the Gulf of Mexico to pay for it to be cleaned up. BP didn't even have enough of an interest in the Gulf to prevent the spill from happening in the first place.

Re:Maybe not the only one (2, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945470)

'A corporation's only goal is to maximize profit.'

Corporations don't have goals, stakeholders do :) (/pedantic) The maximization of profits is a requirement of law and a desire of the shareholders.

One can as well have a legal regime in which corporations are organizations for the provision of goods and/or services for the benefit of people and for which the generation of profits is a cost needed to entice investment for capital.

Re:Maybe not the only one (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946052)

> The maximization of profits is a requirement of law and a desire of the shareholders.

I'll believe the latter - I'll need a reference for the former.

I'll float a completely uninformed opinion... I think that the "legal requirement" for corporations to "to maximize profits and nothing else, within the limits of the law," is a bit of revisionist history designed to make sociopathic behavior expected and acceptable. I can accept that I may be wrong on this, but I do know that this type of language is something that seems to have come into normal usage only in the last 10-20 years, and I have a longer memory than that. Prior to that, "corporations were in business to make money," was commonly understood, but this concept that if they do anything else they're shirking their "responsibility" is new. Maybe it's really that stockholders have gotten more sociopathic. But I would have sworn that stockholder lawsuits were born in corporate mismanagement, not in failing to be sociopathic profiteers.

Re:Maybe not the only one (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946260)

"I'll need a reference for the former."

What was stated was actually stated improperly. It's not a duty to maximize profits, the legal obligation is to MAKE MONEY for the shareholders. Failure to do so can result in a lawsuit against the operating officers by the board of directors (who are comprised of the controlling-vote shareholders.) It is a legal obligation, usually tied to the obligation of the shareholder to share the liability of debts.

Re:Maybe not the only one (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945968)

A corporation's only goal is to maximize profit

That just flat out is NOT true. I wish people would stop regurgitating that on slashdot.

Corporations can and do have other purposes and goals than just "enhancing shareholder value".

This is an excellent summation [virginialawbusrev.org] of what I'm talking about. PDF link.

Re:Maybe not the only one (4, Interesting)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946148)

A corporation's only goal is to maximize profit. That's how it works. They actually have a responsibility to their shareholders to make money

The Economist had an article on this. Maximizing shareholder value as a company goal is, interestingly enough, a recent phenomenon, from the 1970s.

The other two company goals that were apparently sidelined for maximizing profit were maximizing value for stakeholders (typically labor) or maximizing customer satisfaction.

We might be going back in the direction of the latter two.

Re:Maybe not the only one (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946332)

All the government regulation we had failed utterly to prevent this spill. The only thing it's done since the spill is slow down mitigation and recovery - like when the Coast Guard started boarding boom boats to do lifejacket investigations (instead of just throwing a dozen lifejackets on board and sending them on their way), or when we turned down the offer of skimmers from the Dutch on the grounds that they didn't get water clean enough, and then, when we accepted them, didn't temporarily suspend enforcement of the Jones Act to allow their ships (with experienced crew) to come over here.

Don't get so mad at the corporations that you forget that government does bad things too - like capping liability payments.

Re:Maybe not the only one (0, Troll)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945212)

Well, he may not have been the only one, but it's obvious that the oil companies weren't; after all, they're only the causes of the problem!

That's BP's new motto: "BP - Most of the Time We Are Somebody Else's Problem!"

Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Interesting)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945186)

This is just a sad point in our world as far as leadership and the quest for the almighty (falling) dollar is concerned. Corruption, apathetic business maneuvers, greed and the "things-are-going-good" mentality caused this whole oil spill to happen. FTFA, I think it's funny how the only plug against this whole centrifuge technology to clean up oil is based on what the end-quality of "oil" will come out of them? How about the end- quality of our oceans, sea life, beaches and aquatic mammals? We all know how oil cleanups work: if it looks good on the surface, time to move on. I hate to don my hippy hate today, but I'm ashamed to associated to humans sometimes.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Insightful)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945304)

I think you should read the article again. :)

The problem with the centrifuges is not the quality of the oil coming out. It's that they don't deal well with tarballs or dispersants. They need liquid oil so that it can be separated by spinning it.

Since you're spinning it to get the oil to rise to the top, if it doesn't flow (tarball), or doesn't separate (dispersant), the device ain't going to work. That is what the article was saying.

                  "he worries that much of the oil being picked up now will be too heavily degraded or contaminated
                    with dispersants to be easily separated."

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945648)

Thats easy to fix though. Just rm -r *.tar

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945680)

People are thinking of oil recovery as a "film" on top of the surface of water. But could this technology be used on the bloom clouds of oil near the well head that have not coagulated into various forms of sludge?

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32946268)

The article indicates, yes, this is the ideal application. Fresh oil that has not had time to be mixed into a "mousse" (as they called it), separates the best.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Interesting)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945310)

We just need to tweak the rules of the game a little. A fair price has to be put on this kind of thing, so that oil companies will go broke if they screw up -- then we have to let them go broke instead of declaring them "too big to fail." Also, in this case, there appears to be a culture of negligence, and those responsible for the bad choices they made should be personally held accountable. Unfortunately, this last bit simply enriches lawyers, and I'm not sure what to do about that part. I guess writing really clear laws that have no doubt as to their intent and then letting human beings sort out the nuances rather than trying to describe everything in the law perfectly would probably help.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945620)

As far as I understand BP failing would bring down the UK equivalent of Social Security.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Insightful)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946108)

oil companies will go broke if they screw up

Call me cynical, but it would never happen. Instead, oil companies would take a lesson from Hollywood, and make every single oil well its own corporation, so any disaster would be insulated to a single small corporation that goes broke.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945320)

rtfa before you start ranting. the problem is the quality of oil before collection not after. oil gradually mixes with other stuff to form 'mousse' which cannot be collected so easily.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945342)

...RTFA a little more carefully? Oil quality = Ease of separation.

The problem is that it's a centerfuge--in order to work the oil and the water need to be as different as possible (pure oil is lighter than water). The longer the oil has been in the water, the more it's degraded--finely mixed with the water and minerals, the heavier is it, the more similar to the water.... the harder it will be to separate. No one's using the oil for anything afterwards.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Informative)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945370)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news.... But oil cleanup and spill prevention has existed outside the US for decades. Thing is that the US offers a "bounty" on contaminated SEAWATER, not on reclaimed oil. So this technology has been of little intrest in the country where it was born. And at the same time, because countries like Norway, Denmark, the UK and many others are so adept at drilling at sea, they ofcourse have all reasearched in spill cleanup and even prevention. For instance, it's the LAW to equip all wells with a remote controllable shutoff valve if you want to drill in the north sea. A device which could easily have prevented the BP spill, but wasn't used, because it wasn't a requirement.
Similarly, noone in their right mind would have used chemicals in the case of the BP spill, simply because collecting the oil afloat is much simpler than if you weigh it down where you can't reclaim it, and it affects the eco system much more profoundly.

That said, if the existance of these centrifuges makes the US more practical in their approach to spill clean up and prevention, I'm all for it. And if they can supplement or improove on existing technology I dont really care who funded their development. It could have been Mickey Mouse as long as the technology gets to make a difference, instead of being buried.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945966)

For instance, it's the LAW to equip all wells with a remote controllable shutoff valve if you want to drill in the north sea. A device which could easily have prevented the BP spill, but wasn't used, because it wasn't a requirement.

Sure about that? The accident blew through the blowout preventer.

I remember reading about the pressures involved, they're higher than present in most guns...

I'm not sure a separate shutoff device would have functioned itself, otherwise I'd have expected them to have gotten the well shut off a lot quicker - simply drop a valve onto the remains of the header, weld it on however they need to, then shut the valve. Not spend three months designing something that wouldn't look out of place on a rocket.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946076)

I read somewhere that the blowout preventer had been damaged, and wasn't functioning correctly. And the operators knew this. You'd think the required action here would be to stop work until the blowout preventer was fixed, but no, apparently they only had a few days of work to go so they continued and hoped for the best (possibly under pressure from BP)

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946272)

"For instance, it's the LAW to equip all wells with a remote controllable shutoff valve if you want to drill in the north sea. A device which could easily have prevented the BP spill, but wasn't used, because it wasn't a requirement."

The shutoff valve wouldn't have helped when the thing BLEW UP, especially as deep as it was. Many things, valve included, have difficulty turning when stuff blows up and cuts off power and/or communication to the controls.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (4, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945486)

Is it possible that in the years since the Exxon Valdez, that Kevin Costner is the only one who has invested money into the technology of oil spill cleanup?"

I'll bet that he wasn't the only one. A better question would be: would the same small company with the same clean-up technology garner as much congress attention and free press if it had not been headed and funded by a celebrity in the first place.

Personally, I doubt it. As a society, we're still obsessed by celebrities. Companies or non-profits backed by celebrities often have a huge media advantage over competitors that have no celebrity-backing.

Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945544)

I think it's funny how the only plug against this whole centrifuge technology to clean up oil is based on what the end-quality of "oil" will come out of them?

It's not THAT funny. If you're not filtering out "decent quality oil", you might as well not use centrifuges at all and just pump the oil-water mixture into a tanker and ferry it to shore-based facilities. The quality of the oil coming out is an indication of the quality of the centrifuge. That, and the quality of the water coming out.

Centrifuge technology (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946038)

I also understand that the Dutch also have technology to separate oil and water, though all I know about that is that it doesn't meet EPA regs for release water.

Still, even if a device/technique only had a 50% efficiency, as long as it was cheap it'd still be worth it...

IE take a 50/50 oil/water mix. After 'treatment' you store the 75% oil mix and dump the 75% water mix. Or, depending on how cheap/effective it is, you run the stuff through a second pass - store 88% pure oil and release 88% pure water. Sure, it's not very pure, but you're almost doubling the amount of oil you can store.

How to run the device:

Device 1: Input 50/50, release 75% oil/75% water streams

Device 2: Takes 75% water, runs again - 88% water output(back to ocean), 66% water mix goes back to Device 1

Device 3: Takes 75% oil, runs again, 88% oil goes to tank, 66% oil mix goes back to device 1

With the proper piping you'd be able to reconnect it to run the devices piped different ways to handle different percentages of oil/water. Little oil? Run 1-2-3 to concentrate the oil. Lots? Just pipe straight to the tanks, perhaps 1-2-3 to pull out what water you can.

I figure many of these ships spend more time going to shore to drop off contaminated seawater/oil than they do skimming it. These ideas are to allow them to stay out there longer, picking up more oil, on average.

I wonder if Waterworld was the driver. (4, Interesting)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945230)

I seem to remember that a ship sank on the set of Waterworld, and they had to pay a tonne of money to clean up the resulting debris and spills. I can see how that lesson would have been a driver for developing a technology to make it cheaper. Scratch that itch!

Re:I wonder if Waterworld was the driver. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945936)

IIRC, it was the whole atoll set! And they rebuilt another atoll, which is what caused the budget to be so huge.

Re:I wonder if Waterworld was the driver. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32946054)

I seem to remember that a ship sank on the set of Waterworld, and they had to pay a tonne of money to clean up the resulting debris and spills. I can see how that lesson would have been a driver for developing a technology to make it cheaper. Scratch that itch!

I worked on Waterworld, like half the people in Hollywood. What sank was that artificial island they built. I wasn't on set at the time but it was a mess and cost them months. They also shot the first two or three months without a final script so they mostly shot guys riding around on jet skis. That why there's so much footage of those. It was the most waseful shoot I was ever on.

It's only a very partial solution. (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945260)

The machines themselves are pretty simple - I believe they are like centrifuges that spin the mixture and separate the heavier water from the lighter oil. Not exactly rocket science there.

The problem is of course collecting the material to run through such a machine. If you wanted to clean a bucket of oily water - that's you solution. A spill at sea is different though. You obviously can't run the entire ocean through his machine - so it's a matter of collecting the right "parts" to do so.

This, of course, all comes back to skimming as the primary means to *collect* the oil to run through such a machine. I'm not an expert here - but I believe the oil company ships already have many ways of separating seawater from oil - as this is a part of their normal reclamation process.

So the value of these machines is somewhat limited - I guess the could be used in conjunction with skimmers, or in very isolated poluted "ponds", etc. The problem of course is that it all comes back to the tedious and laborious process of skimming the oily water.

Re:It's only a very partial solution. (1)

transwarp (900569) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945534)

Apparently, the government pays per unit of contaminated seawater, so not separating the oil out makes the skimmers' job easier without affecting profit.

Re:It's only a very partial solution. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945608)

The problem is of course collecting the material to run through such a machine. If you wanted to clean a bucket of oily water - that's you solution. A spill at sea is different though. You obviously can't run the entire ocean through his machine - so it's a matter of collecting the right "parts" to do so.
 

Exactly so.

There is no imaginable scale-up of this technology that could handle a spill of even a 10th this size in the open ocean, or even Prince William Sound.

Currents disperse oil in sub-surface layers. You have to be able to intake water at various and sometimes extreme depths, in changing conditions.

10 thousand small versions of these couldn't begin to do the job, and gargantuan scale ups wouldn't be nimble enough.

These are best targeted toward protecting closed bays, river systems, marshes.

And they need to burn the oil they salvage as fuel, otherwise the cost of running them would be prohibitive.

And the Send-the-Enterprise guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945274)

And the Send-the-Enterprise guy [kuro5hin.org] will be arriving in 3... 2... 1...

That's actually Google's top result for me on the query send the enterprise! Not bad, not bad at all.

Theory vs Practice (5, Informative)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945322)

The machines seem to work well enough in tests; enough for BP to lease 32 of them right off the bat.
TFA states that the machines are capable of separating 99% of the oil out of the water under ideal conditions, which would be soon after the oil began mixing with the water. Weeks/Months of time since the spill began, though, the water and oil mix becomes a frothy mousse which is more difficult to separate.

I hope that the machines are still capable of collecting the oil from this mousse, even if at a slower pace than the more freshly mixed oil.

Let the Conspiracy Theory (Mel Gibson) role..! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945372)

So, Kevin Costner has some Oil-separating
technology to be used on the Oil Spill? What
about the centrifugal equipment available long
before this ever occured and was offered to the
United States since DAY 1 known as Smart-Pipe
technology (WWW.SMART-PIPE.COM)?

This has all been dragged along for so long,
it's evident to only shield from more important
news such as the bankruptcy of the United States
into receivership in the China Bank of
Reconstruction. Must be great that the United
States gets all it's news, entertainment, and
tools from the same JEWS that killed
public-broadcasting of television. We can't
have anything free in the United States.

I hear Lindsay Lohan is back in jail again! Mel
Gibson and that potty mouth? Oh my! I hear
Brittney Spears is giving free tutoring lessons
on Nuclear Physics and Differential Calculus,
anyone have a link on that?

Just don't show any national news! The kikes
need to show more drama!

The only one? (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945386)

Apparently the Dutch offered to send ships that could recover 97% of the oil a couple of months back, but they weren't allowed due to US environmental regulations:

http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/dutch-oil-spill-response-team-standby-us-oil-disaster [www.rnw.nl]

Re:The only one? (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945616)

I heard that the Dutch offered help immediately, when the administration (having been lied to by BP) didn't know the full extent of the spill yet; the EPA flatly said no then, are they allowed in now?

Re:The only one? (4, Informative)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945736)

That article is old. The dutch ships have been working in the gulf for a while now.

http://www.examiner.com/x-325-Global-Warming-Examiner~y2010m6d15-Dutch-Skimmers-now-working-in-Gulf [examiner.com]

-b

Re:The only one? (3, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945940)

They are now, after the fact that things are really, really bad.

They were rejected initially because they didn't purify the water "enough" for EPA standards. At first it was either because folks both at BP and government wanted to try the smoke and mirrors, "This is bad, but not *that* bad" until it became clear to everyone they were lying. Then it became a bureaucratic problem which after folks saw through the smoke and mirrors was quickly "solved" by taking the Dutch equipment and putting them on US ships and training the crews. Where as if we had allowed the dutch ships in to begin with, would have saved a lot of time.

Which begs the question, why wasn't action done by the government sooner? All it would have taken was an executive order to allow these skimmers in sooner saying that in this case they could purify the water "enough". Because even if they can't purify 100%, anything they are going to do is better than doing nothing.

Re:The only one? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946018)

Which begs the question, why wasn't action done by the government sooner? All it would have taken was an executive order to allow these skimmers in sooner saying that in this case they could purify the water "enough"

"Never let a crisis go to waste" - Obama's Chief of Staff.

Re:The only one? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946202)

Which begs the question, why wasn't action done by the government sooner?

Because the oil-men in the oil industry regulator (hmmm!) didn't see the need to be more prepared. (The oil industry itself thought that hoping that nothing would go wrong was a more profitable option than preparation for disaster. After all, wouldn't want to reduce the profits announced to Wall Street for the quarter...)

Re:The only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32946174)

"environmental regulations"

END ALL REGULATION NOW!

It's the only way to prevent environmental catastrophe!

Spill cleanup tech is not new or invented by Kevin (5, Informative)

MisterSchmoo (1262374) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945424)

I have done work with Allmaritim and trialed and tested their NOFI Oil Spill equipment equipment in New Zealand and this technology is neither new nor invented by Kevin Costner. It is very sophisticated equipment and has been around for a long time. Are we supposed to think that nobody has been working on oil spill tech until Kevin came on the scene and said "hey we should do something about this" we also do work with Slickbar another spill tech company http://www.allmaritim.com/ [allmaritim.com] http://www.slickbar.com/ [slickbar.com] if you go to their websites you'll find their kit is being used in the gulf, the company Kevin has something to do with, make centrifuges, you've got to collect the oily water first before you can separate it. You take Kevin Costner out of the story and the story is about some kind of cool oil separating centrifuges, not Kevin rushing in to save us from the oil which, we had in the meantime, been twiddling our thumbs and staring at.

A ridiculous concept (3, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945426)

There's a reason nobody's invested in this technology-- the numbers are just impossible.

Cosner's machine can process 200 gallons per minute. If you take the extent of the damage, about 17,000 square miles, and want to run the top ten feet of it through his device, and you could afford to buy 100,000 of them, it would take.....

        1,830 years

to process that amount of water.

And scientists have found the stuff distributed a whole lot deeper than that.

Re:A ridiculous concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32945518)

Didn't the well leak some ten's of millions of gallons of oil per day?
200 gallons per minute = 288000 gallons per day per device. Use 50 and you'd equal the spill size.

It's not like there isn't another company with the exact same devices, code-names only different by one letter. Not that I know who was there sooner. And plenty of ships already have oil separators that work in a similar way.

The real problem isn't with technology, but the economical-political lobby of large corporations.

Re:A ridiculous concept (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945640)

I don't think those numbers are very relevant. This technology is only supposed to make the skimming operation more effective by allowing for more concentrated oil to be stored on the tankers. That in turn should mean less tankers, less money, less time etc etc. I imagine the skimming would still take place if this technology didn't exist, so at worst BP will have wasted a few million on them (boo hoo).

Re:A ridiculous concept (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945644)

So why do it then? There are two possible scenarios.

1. Simply for the PR of "we're doing something for the environment"

2. To re-sell the captured oil to offset the cost of these machines. Maybe even profit from it.

You would have to capture a whole lot of oil to make #2 a viable reason, which leaves #1 the most likely.

Re:A ridiculous concept (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32946324)

The structure of the oil plumes means that you don't have to filter the entire Gulf to be effective at removing oil. (i.e., oil is not uniformly distributed in the spill region.) You do need to be smart about where you filter, and also start near the well itself, since these devices work best with oil before it gets degraded and whipped up into a sludge.

Reclaimed Oil Scoreboard? (2, Interesting)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945662)

I think we should have a scoreboard for his machines. Post the operating logs and create a scoreboard. How many barrel of crude oil Costner's company was able to reclaim from the ocean and multiply that by the cost of crude oil. Then compare that to the price tag Costner charged them.

They need a fleet of these machines able to be deployed anywhere in the world and they need to refine the machines or create others to bring the underwater plumes to the surface. The oil companies weren't ready when they should have been.

They Won't Work (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945714)

Each centrifuge weighs 4500 pounds (2 metric tons), maxes out at a throughput of 200 gallons (757 liters) of oil and water mixture per minute, and can remove more than 99 percent of the oil from the water, which can then be pumped back into the Gulf.
[...]
Costner did explain to Congress that his machines function best in the open ocean, where oil has only recently left the well and reached the surface. After months of spillage, most of the oil is no longer in the ideal form for collection.

Even if these machines do achieve 99% removal, they're not going to really work. How many of these 2 ton machines are we going to make, in how long a time? 200 gallons a minute is 288000 gallons of oil/water mix a day. Even if the machine were working on the direct streams of oil that are mostly not water already, the broken well was spewing at least 50,000 barrels per day, which is 2.1 million gallons a day. That's 8 machines - possibly enough, if that oil were diverted into a container. But after millions of gallons of dispersants have caused that oil to mix with water at thousands of times the dilution - many thousands of these machines, to be manufactured faster than the oil spreads through ever more water over days, weeks, months. And since a gallon of oil contaminates somewhere from 100,000 to a million gallons of water, these machines would be needed in quantities up to millions. All during that time the oil is destroying life throughout the Gulf.

In other words, these machines aren't any good for protecting the water and its ecosystems (and industries like fishing) from oil. They're good for salvaging oil from water for sale:

remove more than 99 percent of the oil from the water, which can then be pumped back into the Gulf.

The Gulf doesn't need that water pumped back in. There's plenty of water in the Gulf. That's just an excuse to use these machines to clean up the oil recovered in tankers, so BP can sell it for something like $75 a barrel.

The only thing that's ever mattered to BP is maximizing the amount of oil it can get out of that well, in the shortest time, to sell it. Of course that's why they drill wells. But when the well blows up, protecting us from the damage should be job #1 - and #2, and #3. These machines, and the continuing interest in them, shows that for BP job #1 on down is just getting and selling oil.

And Costner will be there to help them. No shame in Costner investing to make a buck. But in pitching it as cleaning the Gulf is really shameless.

Re:They Won't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32946290)

There's simply too much idiocy in your post to address point by point so I'll leave it at this:

Son you're about as dumb as a box of rocks.

There are other machines like this (5, Interesting)

Phil-14 (1277) | more than 3 years ago | (#32945762)

It's not that noone's ever made machines like this; many have, and the "industry leader" is a company called Prosep from Canada.

Keep in mind that using these machines, as long as they're not absolutely perfect, violates the Clean Water Act, which mandates perfection so strongly that 95% solutions are penalized. The bureaucracy sat around for a couple months basically trying to decide whether to ignore the fact that Costner's machines, while good, violate their rules, more or less, which is why these machines are (as another poster pointed out) used much more outside the US than within it.

Kevin Costner is going for the myth (1)

h2k1 (661151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32946036)

He plans to take the place that Chuck Norris has in the geek community...
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