1. Why Prevent an Oil Spill Salvage Cash-In?

    dirty water and dollar signs

    Yesterday, Andrew Revkin over at the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog asked the sky, the ether or whatever great beyond you’re shouting into when you end a blog post with ‘what are your thoughts?’:

    Why is salvaged oil going to BP instead of US reserves?

    Taken at face value, the answer is fairly obvious: well, because that crude sucks.  While it appears that this gushing black stuff is some high-grade light sweet Louisiana crude, the fact that it’s being captured by some jury-rigged piping installed by a chainsaw-wielding robot under a tight deadline or by whoever has the Dawn soap and the scrub brush on the beach indicates that maybe this stuff just might be half seawater and beach trash.

    However, this does raise an interesting point: is there money to be made in gleaning tarballs and filtering slicks, then selling off what you grabbed?  To explain a bit, the walking portion of my daily commute takes me past the dismembered hulks of many former computers, air conditioners, and  other sources of scrap metal so I imagine there just might be bottom-feeders/waste recyclers for any resource industry.  Why not oil?  Whatever the composition of those tar balls, I can’t imagine it contains less crude than oil shale.  And what an incentive for an entrepreneur if they could double dip by taking cleanup money and selling the crude they’ve sucked up at the end of the day.

    What sort of cleanup solutions are not being developed by the magic of The Markets because BP is claiming all that gushing oil as their exclusive property, even if it’s on a dead seabird?  What are your thoughts on joining me on some rag-tag pirate venture to salvage tar balls for a bootleg oil refinery?



  2. Kevin Costner Saves the Gulf Coast from Oil Spill, The Movie

    From the LA Times article “Kevin Costner may hold key to oil spill cleanup“:

    The “Kevin Costner solution” to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may actually work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish.

    Wow. I had no idea Kevin Costner held the key to anything, let alone solving an environmental disaster. Or that the abysmal movie Waterworld might save the world.

    I couldn’t stop myself from firing up Photoshop to make the movie poster for this affair.

    Kevin Costner, Oil Field of Dreams


  3. Declassified Spy Images of Arctic

    Reuters reports:

    The United States released more than a thousand intelligence images of Arctic ice to help scientists study the impact of climate change, within hours of a recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences.In an unusually fast move by a U.S. government agency, the Interior Department made the images public on Wednesday. The academy’s report urging this action was released at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

    East Siberian Sea in 2000 released by the Obama Administration Previously Classified

    East Siberian Sea in 2000

    These images show the possible effects of global warming. Possibly classified by the Bush administration for possible fear that Al Qaeda might take a liking to snow or evil supervillan Lex Luthor might find Superman’s base on Google Earth.


  4. DIY Fix for Global Warming?

    rg_wheel

    Russ George: The Man to Save the World?

    “Give me half a tanker of iron and I will give you an ice age.” — Russ George

    Russ George in the volume 18 issue of Make magazine says he has a solution for global warming. His plan sounds like a deus ex machina solution for our global warming problems: get some iron (0.5 micron hematite), drop it in the ocean, spread at the right times and places, plankton eats iron, plankton grows, and global warming and dying fish go bye-bye. He has also written a Google Knol article (yes, someone uses Google Knol) on the subject as well.

    His company, Plantoks Science bills themselves as a “privately held ecorestoration and ocean  biotechnology company” though this sounds like “MacGyver style fix to global warming.”

    Science to the rescue or psuedo-science fraud?
    Read the rest of this entry »