With all that oil gushing out of the hole in the Earth, we have to ask ourselves this question. And if this happens, what then? Well, flying cars and pedal powered Porsches, obviously. Even Eli, our special guest, knows that!Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360) EPISODE 186 Rocket car blasts off on Coke and Mentos Personal electric mini-plane could fly by 2013 (thanks Frontline!) Audi ‘travolution’ syncs cars to traffic lights, saves fuel
Using freely available government data, a new Web site helps people quantify the BP oil spill in local terms.
IfItWasMyHome.com uses a combo of Google Maps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite tracking data to place the parameters of the BP oil spill--the result of the April 20 explosion of an oil rig--over any area in the world.
The spill can be moved to center on any location of one's choosing by simply entering location data (such as a city or postal code) as one would usually do for Google Maps.
Playing with the tool is devastating.… Read more
HOUSTON--Last Wednesday, five weeks into the worst oil spill in U.S. history, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward locked himself in a room on the third floor of the British oil giant's U.S. headquarters in Houston.
For the next five hours, Hayward, BP executives, senior engineers, and the U.S. Energy Secretary and Nobel Physicist Steven Chu, who had flown in two days earlier, grappled with the latest plan to stem the thousands of barrels of oil a day gushing from a broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
The scheme was called "top kill" and involved pumping heavy drilling fluids, known as drilling mud, into the blown-out well to stifle the flow of oil and allow the top of the well to be sealed with concrete. The technique had worked to seal other wells, but never one out of control in 5,000 feet of water. There was a risk that the extra pressure caused by pumping in mud could rupture the top of the well, and increase the amount of oil gushing into the sea.
Even so, Hayward and his team gave the plan a 60 to 70 percent chance of success. Quietly, they hoped an end to the devastating leak--and BP's five week-long, media-saturated nightmare--might be within sight.
The room they worked in measured about 30 feet by 30 feet and is normally used for training sessions. BP's crisis unit had commandeered it and renamed it the "intervention room" soon after the leak began. Cables wrapped in yellow tape with the word "warning" written on it, snaked from the ceiling to the cheap, white laminated tables, which were crammed with laptops. Maps of the Gulf and diagrams of the equipment on the seabed covered the thin walls.
Next door, in an almost identical space called the "containment room," a separate group of engineers worked on strategies to capture the oil that had already leaked.
The team in the intervention room pored over the results of tests to see if the well could take the pressure. The mood was "intense," BP's director for the Americas Bob Dudley told Reuters in the narrow, artificially-lit corridor outside the room during a break in deliberations. "It's kind of like NASA and the Apollo 13 mission in there." … Read more
La./HOUSTON--BP said on Saturday the complex "top kill" maneuver to plug its Gulf of Mexico oil well has failed, crushing hopes for a quick end to the largest oil spill in U.S. history already in its 40th day.
"We have not been able to stop the flow," said Doug Suttles, the London-based oil giant's chief operating officer.
"We have made the decision to move on to the next option," he added.
That next option is called the lower marine riser package cap, one that captures oil from the well rather than … Read more
PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana--BP reported progress on Friday in its struggle to shut off its gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well as President Barack Obama sought to show leadership in tackling the biggest spill in U.S. history.
Obama visited the Louisiana coast, where sticky oil has permeated wetlands, closed down the lucrative fishing trade and angered locals whose communities are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said the so-called top-kill procedure, in which heavy drilling "mud" is pumped into the seabed well shaft, was showing some signs of success in choking off … Read more
NOTE: See the bottom of this post for a very bizarre correction.
Along the beleaguered Gulf Coast, the emergency measure known as "top kill" appears to have halted the flow of oil from a ruptured offshore BP well--but the bogus Twitter sensation known as @BPGlobalPR continues to gush out black comedy gold.
"Just got the concession call from Exxon Valdez. They were great competitors and remarkably evil about everything," the account, which claims to be written by the British oil giant's public relations department, tweeted shortly after the unfortunate revelation that the recent Gulf Coast … Read more
Perhaps you are one of the more than 45,000 people currently following a Twitter page called Twitter.com/BPGlobalPR. This, for those who are wading, rather than sailing, through the week, is not an officially sanctioned site.
You see, it been created by those who believe that BP is a company polluted by venal perpetrators of environmental disaster.
Hark at its first tweet, which was offered on May 19: "We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come." Soon, this Twitter page, purporting to represent the folks who are "Beyond … Read more
BP told congressional investigators on Tuesday that pressure tests on a drill pipe showed a fundamental mistake hours before the deadly explosion that caused the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, a memo released by two members of Congress shows.
The memo by Representatives Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, who were briefed by the oil giant about the progress of its internal investigation, also said problems were found in equipment meant to provide fail-safe protection against a blowout.
A BP investigator indicated to the lawmakers that the fundamental mistake may have been made because heavy pressure on the drill line of … Read more
Apparently listening to halfalogue is frustrating because it takes up more of our mental CPU, so to speak. We can usually deduce what the conversation is about from halfalogue but the act of deduction is distracting.
But guess what? Eavesdropping in general is distracting, not to mention rude. I propose that we all invest in a good pair of noise-canceling earbuds and do what we were told to do in elementary … Read more
HOUSTON/COCODRIE, La.--President Barack Obama will create a presidential commission to probe the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and energy giant BP said on Monday it had "turned the corner" in its efforts to contain it.
London-based BP said its latest "quick fix"--a mile-long siphon tube deployed by undersea robots down to the leaking well--was capturing about a fifth of the oil leaking from the ruptured well. Officials cautioned that the tube is helping contain the oil but will not stop the flow.
"I do feel that we have, for the first time, turned the corner in this challenge," BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said in Florida.
BP's stock rose more than 2 percent in London on the news but later shed its gains.
Investors have knocked $30 billion off BP's value over the spill, which followed the April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers and the fallout it faces is ramping up.
The commission, which Obama will establish with an executive order, will be similar to those that looked into the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979, an official said.
It will investigate issues related to the spill and its aftermath, including rig safety and regulatory regimes at the local, state, and federal levels.
The federal government's oversight role, environmental protections, and the "structure and functions" of the Minerals Management Service, the Interior Department agency that has been heavily criticized for its regulatory practices, also will be on the panel's agenda.
With a shakeup of the agency imminent, Chris Oynes, the top official overseeing its offshore oil and gas drilling, announced he would retire at the end of the month.
Still, lawmakers and Gulf Coast residents braced for an ecological disaster that could eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska's coast. … Read more