May 9, 2010

Love your mother

Snowy Plover, by Jim Urbach for Audubon. [Click for big, and get the screensaver here.] In its report Gulf Oil Spill Pictures: Ten Animals at Risk, National Geographic writes that the Snowy Plover "has been identified by the National Audubon Society as one of the species most vulnerable to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Snowy plovers risk not only direct contact with the oil but might also be poisoned by eating small invertebrates and oysters tainted with oil."

Updates on the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:
Workers on Oil Rig Recall a Terrible Night of Blasts

BP suffers setback in attempts to stem Gulf of Mexico oil flow. “I wouldn’t say it has failed yet,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said at a news conference in Robert, La. “What we attempted to do last night hasn’t worked.”

Learning to Love the Sea, Then Torn From It. The Gulf oil spill "has stalled, and possibly ruined, the livelihoods of thousands."

Regulator Deferred to Oil Industry on Rig Safety

Gulf Coast Fishermen Fear That They Will Be Left With 'Crippled Industry'

Sabotage! Conspiracy! And Other Ways to Spin the Oil Spill. I laugh to keep from crying.

Happy Mother's Day!

"The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is seen from a helicopter." Photo by Rick Loomis for the Los Angeles Times.


Rob said...


It's not clear to me that the calls for further regulation are based on anything like a rational assessment of what actually caused the oil spill in the Gulf. The major problem, it seems to me, is that the blowout preventer itself failed, and not, as the NYT piece (and several other articles, most notably the disingenuous Joe Conason piece in Salon from last week) tries to make out, a lack of auxiliary mechanisms to activate the blowout preventer. The reason we know this is because of a graf from the very Wall Street Journal article Conason links to:

Unmanned submarines that arrived hours after the explosion have been unable to activate the shut-off valve on the seabed, called a blowout preventer.

So, is there some reason to believe that a different actuator mechanism would have had better success than a robot actually at the scene of the blowout?

The comparisons to Statoil Hydro's record are also misleading to the extent that they're drilling in far shallower water. One of the great problems associated with this spill is that it's under a mile of water. Whether that had anything to do with the equipment failures or not, it has certainly complicated capping the blowout.

Bill Fosher said...

It hasn't failed? It hasn't FAILED!?!?
Where, oh where is that head banging on brick wall emoticon>

Rob said...

I don't follow you, Bill.

Luisa said...

I believe he's referring to the "It hasn't failed - it just didn't work" quote by the BP chief operating officer.

Fun links:

How do we get oil?

Move the spill around [outdated?]