Sure ThinkProgress has the story of the Alabama teacher who used a hypothetical assassination of Obama in a geometry lesson on ‘angles’ and ‘parallel lines.’ And yes, the front page of HuffPost is all over the conservative evangelical Congressman who filmed an ‘abstinence’ video with his mistress.
But their outrageous behavior has nothing on BP CEO Tony Hayward, who I am officially giving the nickname ‘Soprano’ to because of his callous disregard for human lives and his Goldman-Sachs-esque quest for profits, profits, profits. Indeed, the comparison to Goldman Sachs may be unfair to Goldman, as this stunning video makes clear:
Yesterday, Obama’s ocean chief said that the threat of the BP oil disaster getting caught in the Loop Current “sounds scarier than it is.” As she was making these statements, satellites imagery showed the Maryland-sized slick being entrained in the Loop Current, which loops through the Gulf of Mexico and out the Florida Strait, feeding the powerful Gulf Stream current that sweeps along the Atlantic seaboard.
Speaking with Gwen Ifill on PBS Newshour, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), admitted that the growing slick is “likely” to be entrained by the current, but only a “very small stream” that would be “very, very diluted,” weathered into tarballs, and “not likely to have a very significant impact.” When queried by Ifill how big the tarballs would be, Lubchenco squeezed her fingers together in front of her face, and declared, “Very little tarballs!”:
LUBCHENCO: There’s a very small stream of oil that is a very light sheen that is getting close to the Loop Current. And it’s likely that, at some point, it will be entrained by the Loop Current. But that current, if there is oil entrained in it, it would be probably nine to 12 days before that would reach the Florida Strait. And, during that time, it gets highly diluted, parts per billion, and it weathers naturally. And, so, any oil that would be reaching Florida Strait might be in the form of tarballs, for example. And whether it ever comes ashore or not would be a function of whether there were good onshore winds bringing it. So…
IFILL: You say tarballs, you mean [softball-sized] tarballs or [human-sized] tarballs?
LUBCHENCO: Probably little, very little tarballs.
“By the time the oil is in the loop current,” Lubchenco concluded, “it’s likely to be very, very diluted. And, so, it’s not likely to have a very significant impact. It sounds scarier than it is.”
NOAA — the agency responsible for measuring and predicting the extent of the oil disaster — completely failed to predict the entrainment of a huge band of the slick into the Loop Current on May 17. NOAA is not currently publishing any maps or predictions of subsea extent of the dispersed oil plumes.
Meanwhile, yesterday tarballs the size of softballs were found washed up on Key West. According to news reports, at least some of the tarballs come from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which means that the leading edge of the oil disaster reached the Loop Current eight to ten days ago.
May 19: “The U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that tar balls found in Key West, Fla. in recent days don’t match the chemical composition of oil leaking from the site of the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.”
,Appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Lubchenco testified that the oil in the loop current is a “very small amount of light sheen,” describing it as “just a small tendril.”
Questioned by the Wonk Room on Monday, US Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry admitted that the official estimate of the blowout flow rate — 210,000 gallons (5000 barrels) per day — is over two weeks old, and has not been updated based on any new information since. In a conference call with bloggers and other online media, Landry referred to the 210,000 gallon guess as the current flow rate, but under questioning later admitted:
I have never personally trusted that as an exact number . . . . It could be 55,000 barrels per day, which is an extraordinary amount.
What is also “incredible” is that the official range of uncertainty goes from 210,000 gallons to 2.3 million gallons a day. Officials repeatedly have claimed that they are able to properly respond to the worst-case scenario even as they promote the idea the spill is ten times smaller.
On April 27, SkyTruth president John Amos and Dr. Ian McDonald estimated the leak rate to be a minimum of 850,000 gallons (20,000 barrels) a day. The “official” 5000-barrel guess was made by NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator Charlie Henry on April 28th, as announced by Rear Adm. Mary Landry, US Coast Guard, that afternoon. The guess was repeated by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator in a White House press briefing on the 29th. Since then BP and NOAA have not publicly revised their estimates, nor publicly disclosed their working range of uncertainty or confidence intervals.
At a public briefing to discuss the reports, Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, will deliver opening remarks, and members of the panels that wrote the reports will discuss their recommendations and take questions. The briefing starts at 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 19, in the Lecture Room of the National Academy of Sciences building at 2100 C Street, NW, Washington, DC. Those unable to attend the event can watch the live webcast at The National Academies website.
In order to make electric cars a part of everyday life, new vehicle designs and parts are needed. Take wheel hub motors, for instance. [Click on image to enlarge.] One of the advantages of wheel hub motors is that manufacturers can dispense with the conventional engine bay — the space under the “hood” or “bonnet” — since the motors are attached directly to the wheels of the vehicle. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for car designers when drafting the layout of the vehicle.
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 18, 2010 at 9:19 am
Transocean, Ltd., the giant oil contractor that leased its Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, held a “closed-door meeting” with shareholders Friday, “just days after” executives appeared before Congress to explain the company’s role in the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As ThinkProgress noted, the meeting took place at the company’s headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, where Transocean relocated two years ago to avoid paying taxes. Though CEO Steven Newman “ignored questions from reporters,” the company said in a statement that it would distribute $1 billion in dividends to shareholders:
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 18, 2010 at 8:46 am
Weeks after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Newt Gingrich still continues his “Drill Here, Drill Now” mantra, writing that “human progress is not without risk” and that “[o]ffshore drilling is no exception.” Even though the oil leak at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig continues largely unabated and is “already far larger” than the Exxon Valdez crash, Gingrich is holding firm. Think Progress has more original investigative reporting:
Even as some government and BP officials downplay the extent of the growing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a terrible threshold has been crossed: the slick has been captured by the Loop Current, which draws water from the Gulf through the Florida Keys and into the Gulf Stream along the Atlantic coast. SkyTruth president John Amos, one of the first independent experts to warn the official estimates of the leak were radically too small, calls Monday’s satellite imagery “disturbing“:
Today’s MODIS / Terra satellite image is the most cloud-free we’ve seen in many days, and what it reveals is disturbing: part of the still-massive Gulf oil slick has apparently been entrained in the strong Loop Current, and is rapidly being transported to the southeast toward Florida. The total area covered by slick and sheen, at 10,170 square miles (26,341 km2), is nearly double what it appeared to be on the May 14 radar satellite image, and is bigger than the state of Maryland.
See the satellite image overlaid with a model of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico:
Eric Hoffmayer, a marine scientist with the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Fisheries Research and Development, told the Wonk Room two weeks ago of the frightening consequences of the slick getting caught in the Loop Current:
If it gets entrained into the Loop [Current], it’s up into the Atlantic. And who knows where it’s going to go from there. As it moves around Florida, the next or another critical area would be the Florida Keys and the coral reefs we have down there. I don’t even want to think about that area being covered in oil. Once it works its way up the East Coast and potentially crossing the Atlantic, it could be far-reaching.
Over 625,000 gallons of toxic dispersants have been sprayed on the oil slick, including 45,000 gallons of dispersants injected directly at the wellhead — creating an invisible toxic cloud of unknown size a mile below the sea surface.
Tar balls have washed up on Key West beaches. If they are from the leading edge of the oil gusher, that would mean that some oil already has been entrained in the Loop Current for several days.
,The tar balls were subsequently found to be unrelated to the Gulf oil spill.
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