Oil Catastrophe Possibly Can’t Be Stopped

ΩΩA trillion barrels of oil tempt us from deep under the sea.  This is very ancient oil from at least 60 million years ago, the period after the meteorite smashed into the Yucatan and killed off most of the flora and fauna of the great eras of dinosaurs dominating the earth.  This has been locked under not only silt and salt but also deep ocean waters so it is like the genie in the bottle.  The first impulse of this genie was to kill the person who released it from the confinements of its air-tight container.ΩΩ The continuing tragedy of the Gulf oil rig failure is another sharp lesson to humanity about the dangers of meddling with various genies.  Genie :

Religious sources don’t mention much about them; however, the Qur’an mentions that jinn are made of smokeless flame, and they form communities just like humans, and, just like humans, they can be good or evil.  Jinn is a word of the collective number in Arabic, derived from the Arabic root j-n-n meaning ‘to hide’ or ‘be hidden’.

ΩΩThis is very similar to the ancient myths about  Prometheus or Loki; the gods that are in charge of the human ability to create fire tend to be clever, dangerous, difficult and cunning.  Unlike the elemental force gods like say, Thor or Vulcan, these human-controlled fires are seen as not natural and thus, tricky and intellectual.  It is interesting how almost all mythological stories of the creation and use of fire by humans involves someone being tricked or clever!  The term, ‘Don’t play with fire’ to describe the dangers of doing something risky. Since the first humans used fire to kill wild animals so they could be eaten, we have grown in numbers to the point of dominating the entire planet, thanks to our ability to harness and use things that burn.

ΩΩThese days, we are in the Oil Burning Era which began in about 1880 and continues to this day, slightly more than a century.  During this time, we have consumed nearly half of the world’s possible easy to access oil.  There exists a tantalizing reservoir of untapped oil in several key places: Antarctica, the Arctic Ocean and along all the major continental shelves in oceans more than a mile deep.

ΩΩThis desperate push by humans to tap into the deepest, darkest, subterranean locations to suck up the hidden energy there is most interesting to me for this is yet another ‘Cave of Wealth and Death’ moment!  That is, very ancient myths and stories about wealth always end up deep inside of caves where the guardians of this wealth lurk.  And these guardians always kill unless humans figure out how to avoid this.  The key to avoiding death is to….not be greedy in the first place!

ΩΩSo here we are: we went into the deepest oceans to tap into a hidden treasure and this woke up the metaphorical ‘gods’ who guard this wealth and now they are busy destroying everything we love, that is, destroying our living world.   The oil we seek is actually the grave of dead living things, entombed in past catastrophes, and now we use it to make our lives wealthier and happier.  Nonetheless, this is still the immolation of the dead.

ΩΩThe dangers of deep sea drilling were minimized by greedy people who wanted the vast seas of wealth.  Now we have vast seas of destruction and it seems to not be ending but rather, promises to go on until the last dead remains of the last sea creature who died 60 million years ago is released from its bottle and kills, in turn, the creatures who live today.

ΩΩPerhaps this is Mother Nature’s way of balancing things: as we drain oil, we kill ourselves and thus, will provide a nice layer of dead things for Mother Nature to bury.  And thus, her internal need to balance the living and the dead will be achieved.  Certainly, oil burning like coal burning, pollutes our environment and the messes created by mining coal or extracting oil is causing Nature to grind her gears and her #1 weapon is mass extinction.  And her quiver of arrows are many and most are not controlled by humans at all.

ΩΩSuch as volcanoes as we see this year with quite a few eruptions such as the recent ones in Central America along the perimeter of the Caribbean Plate that suddenly jerked this year and triggered so many smaller earthquakes along the entire perimeter.  The Iceland volcano continues to chug along, too.  And like the oil plume in the Gulf, it is a volcanic plume which we cannot control.


BP Says ‘Top Kill’ Failed to Stop Gulf Leak – NYTimes.com

The abandonment of the top kill technique, the most ambitious effort yet to plug the well, was the latest in a series of failures. First, BP failed in efforts to repair a blowout preventer with submarine robots. Then its initial efforts to cap the well with a containment dome failed when it became clogged with a frothy mix of frigid water and gas. Efforts to use a hose to gather escaping oil have managed to catch only a fraction of the spill.

BP has started work on two relief wells, but officials have said that they will not be completed until August — further contributing to what is already the worst oil spill in United States history.

ΩΩUm, a friendly reminder here: August is when the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season is in full swing!  From my own blog, of course, from 2 years ago:  Energy News: Hurricane Gustav Can Destroy ALL Gulf Oil Rigs!

August 30, 2008

Hurricanes are huge, violent intensities that reach from the upper atmosphere, even to the lower stratosphere all the way to the bottom of the ocean. If we were fishes, we would ‘see’ these mega-storms as if they were tornadoes. Fishes flee these storms because they are quite violent. The connection of the platforms to the ocean bed is fairly secure in normal seas. Storms that are below a category 3 are easily shrugged off. But once the storms hit the fast forward button, when winds roar to over 170 mph or even 200 mph, the hurricane becomes one great big tornado that can literally pick up a great portion of the ocean itself and fling it forwards. When this hits anything in its path, that thing is destroyed.

Water is very heavy. Anyone who doubts this simply can pick up a large bucket of water and carry it. A bucket of water, when dumped suddenly, can erode the ground to a visible degree. When a hundred square miles of agitated ocean water is spun upwards at the center of the hurricane, this can bring down nearly anything in its path….

…When Katrina, Rita and then Wilma all wrecked havoc last time in 2005, the government lied about all this. They really did pretend that nothing was really amiss. This time around, there is so much worry and fear about oil prices and availability, all eyes will be on these precious rigs. The G7 nations were working very hard at trying to up the value of the dollar and bring down world oil prices this summer. And prices fell as speculators were forced to use much higher margins. Oil has settled down between $110-125 a barrel. Last year, exactly a year ago, I wrote about how it could double in price when it was ‘only’ $65 a barrel. Well, just like in 2005, we will see a big spike in prices by October.

ΩΩOil prices collapsed in October due entirely and only to the complete collapse of our international pirate banking system.  This caused a total collapse of international trade and the consumption of oil dropped significantly, this caused the oil speculators to sell off oil they were hoarding and prices plunged…temporarily.  Oil’s new stability point seems to be between $70-75.  Still high enough to make it worthwhile to seek out deep sea oil that is more than a mile below the ocean’s surface.

ΩΩThe present oil catastrophe has been theorized in the past but not very long ago in the past, only 15 years ago.  Here is one of the few studies I could find online but I suppose there are others.  A theoretical model study from 1998:  http://people.clarkson.edu/~pdy/publication_files/jp5.pdf

Simulation of oil spills from underwater accidents II: Model verification Simulation de deversements de petrole dus a accidents sous-marins II:Verification du modele LI ZHENG and POOJITHA D. YAPA, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Clarkson University, NY., 13699-5710, U.S.A.

ABSTRACT A companion paper presented the development of a three-dimensional numerical model to simulate the behaviour of buoyant oil jets that result from underwater accidents. The numerical model was developed based on a Lagrangian integral technique. The model can simulate the behaviour of oil in stratified or unstratified ocean environments. The presence of a multi-directional ambient current is considered. The fluid in the buoyant jet can be a liquid, gas, or liquid/gas mixture, which is typical of many underwater oil-related accidents. The model formulation includes the diffusion and dissolution of oil from the jet to the ambient environment.

In this paper, the numerical model is tested against a variety of conditions. First, the model results are compared with all available asymptotic results. Second, the model is run for cases in which experimental data (both small and large scale) are available, so that the numerical model results can be compared with the observed data. The experimental data includes buoyant jets in stratified and unstratified environments and relatively deep water experiments. They include cases both with and without ambient current. The cases compared include two-dimensional and three-dimensional jet trajectories. All comparisons show that the numerical model results match very well with the experimental data. In addition, the model is used to simulate buoyant oil jets for several cases of practical interest.

ΩΩI strongly suspect one of the most dire elements we see in this catastrophe in the Gulf is the tremendous pent up force of dynamic energy being displayed: this oil is literally under immense pressure and I might suggest this is due to the ocean itself: the compression of the sea floor by the weight of the water is probably like when we puncture a hole in a bag of water and it pours out faster and faster if we press down on it.

ΩΩSo…thinking about the bag of oil trapped under a mile of water as well as silt, shale and salt, we have a giant compression going on here.  The earth’s surface responds to the weight of the water to the point, it is warped in various ways and this warping of the earth’s surface by water which shifts with the moon as it circles our planet, could be a major driving force for continental drift.

ΩΩAs the moon tugs and pulls at the water, it presses against various landmasses as well as the ocean’s floor and this is a dynamic force that makes our planetary surface much livelier than say, Venus or Mars.  As we pump out oil, the floor shifts and unlike on land which has only the atmosphere’s weight (which is quite real, too!) the ocean areas we pump are under far greater natural forces, and the hurricanes are just one.  Hurricane energy reaches all the way to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, after all.  A category 5 storm can even warp the configuration of the sea bed!

ΩΩSince many of these rigs also lie dead center to potential category 5 hurricanes, minimal structures are very vulnerable to destruction and rigs have been destroyed this decade.  The North Sea rigs had dangers due to surging seas but these tend to be fairly straight line storms not the churning monsters rotating across the Gulf in summer and fall.


ΩΩFrom my old blog, January 19, 2006: Culture of Life Energy News: Chinese Claim Success At Creating Super Conducting, Non-circular Nuclear Fusion

Our desire of energy is, like all gross appetites, never ending and never assauged. As soon as we build a system providing energy, our lust for more exceeds the provisions. This iron clad rule of human nature won’t change if we have endless energy and of course, this merely puts off for a short while, the end of humanity.

We are a successful organism which has to either leave this planet or destroy it. If we want to live in a bubble, we can build bubbles but not on this delicate, lovely and possibly singular entity. Until we find other earths, we have to assume this is the only one and act accordingly.

Except this collides with the greatest force on earth: greed.

ΩΩThe Holy Grail is to have infinite energy just like infinite wealth and of course, this will kill us if we try it.  Here is another graph from several years ago in my own blog:  Energy News

ΩΩWe have this trade deficit which really began to run out of control in 1970 when we suddenly hit the Hubbert Oil Peak here in the US.  Note that the US Hubbert Oil Peak is exactly when Nixon was forced to drop the US gold peg.  These are not accidental co-incidental.  They are very much connected.  Just like when oil prices and gold prices stagnated during the era of lower US oil imports due to improvements in auto efficiency and the US found more oil.  But once we decided cheap oil would be here forever and bought all those stupid SUVs, our oil consumption exceeded our own domestic production and now we import far more than we produce.  The cross over point was exactly when the US decided to go for deep sea oil drilling even though this is obviously very dangerous.  From the mid 1990’s: 1.3 Trillion Barrels of Oil are under the Ocean Floor

ΩΩThe same year we crossed the oil Rubicon by importing more than we produce, the first proposals to tap the trillion plus deep oil was pushed.  Deep drilling started out as a geological project, not an oil project:


history deep sea drilling – Google Search

  1. 1961
    1961 – In 1961, Mr. Bascom oversaw a trial at deepsea drilling. Using an experimental oil-drilling ship in the Pacific off Mexico’s coast, he put, as Life magazine said afterward, ”a string of drill pipe two miles down to the floor of the open Pacific and brought up 

    Show more
    From Willard Bascom, 83, Scientist and Leader in DeepSea Exploration – Related web pages
    select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res …

  2. 1966
    Jun 24, 1966 – It was on June 24, 1966, that the Prime Contract between the National Science Foundation and The Regents, University of California was signed. This contract began Phase I of the Deep Sea Drilling Project which was based out of Scripps Institution of

    Show more
    From Ocean Drilling Program: Glomar Challenger drillship – Related web pages

  3. 1968
    Jun 25, 1968 – She will drill about 50 holes in the floors of the seas to seek possible new resources and to explore the oceans’ history. Test Runs Conducted for Deep Sea DrillingStudy By WALTER SULLIVAN An extraordinary ship, so tall she can barely squeeze under the George Washington Bridge, 
    From … for Deep Sea Drilling Study; TEST RUNS HELD FOR SEA DRILLING– Related web pages
    select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res …

ΩΩAlready by 1968 the push shifted from geological interest in the history of our planet to exploring for oil.  If you really want to be scared, here is a Wired story from just three years ago on drilling five miles deep:  Five Miles Deep: Pumping Oil from the Bottom of the Gulf

By Amanda Griscom Little 08.21.07

Minutes after we land on the Cajun Express, Siegele gets some bad news from Ron Byrd, his weather-beaten site manager. “The junk basket is stuck way down there on some debris,” says Byrd, who has captained offshore rigs for more than 30 years. The junk basket is an 8-inch hunk of iron that runs up and down the entire length of the drill hole on a piece of wire, scraping the well clean before sensitive production instruments are dropped in. It’s a particularly important device when drilling offshore, because the presence of the ocean pushes debris, mud, fossils, and other muck into the hole…..

…..It’s just another high-priced mishap in the world of ultradeep-sea drilling — the newest, riskiest, and most technologically extreme drilling frontier. Today, deep-sea rigs are capable of reaching down 40,000 feet, twice as deep as a decade ago: plunging their drills through 10,000 feet of water and then 30,000 more feet of seabed. One platform sits atop each so-called field, thrusting its tentacles into multiple wells dug into ancient sediment, slurping out oil, and then pumping it back to onshore refineries through underwater pipelines….

….Even better, a recent discovery by Chevron has signaled that soon there may be vastly more oil gushing out of the ultradeep seabeds — more than even the optimists were predicting four years ago. In 2004, the company penetrated a 60 million-year-old geological stratum known as the “lower tertiary trend” containing a monster oil patch that holds between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of crude. Dubbed Jack, the field lies beneath waters nearly twice as deep as those covering Tahiti, and many in the industry dismissed the discovery as too remote to exploit. But last September, Chevron used the Cajun Express to probe the Jack field, proving that petroleum could flow from the lower tertiary at hearty commercial rates — fast enough to bring billions of dollars of crude to market. It was hailed as the largest publicly reported discovery in the past decade, opening up a region that is perhaps big enough to boost national oil reserves by 50 percent. A mad rush followed, and oil companies plowed more than $5 billion into this part of the Gulf.

ΩΩThe disaster in the Gulf looks like a terminal injury: a main artery ruptures and no one can stop the bleeding.  The US government seems paralyzed.  The oil companies have no real solutions since they never considered the geological problems of how the earth reacts to anything penetrating it.  We basically stabbed Mother Nature in the breast and hit her heart and now she is dying.  At least, in the Gulf of Mexico.  If this goes on and on and on for ONE TRILLION BARRELS, we could see a lot of the earth poisoned.

ΩΩThis is very serious, obviously.  Perhaps we can’t stop this.  It may be impossible due to the tremendous pressure pressing on the oil field which now has a release point.  This is why stabbing things leads to death.  The heart keeps pumping blood until it is all gone.

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Filed under energy, nature

27 responses to “Oil Catastrophe Possibly Can’t Be Stopped

  1. Chorddog

    Elaine, this is a great post. I don’t think that the public has thought about this undersea gusher interms of a huge bag of oil under enormous crushing pressure at that depth.
    It’s like opening an artery in someone with really high blood pressure.
    Except…this blood is poison to everything it touches in the Gulf of Mexico.

  2. jim e

    And when the thousand years shall be finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth, and seduce the nations… rev 20:7-8

  3. ron_o

    This oil disaster isn’t Obama’s Katrina. It’s becoming America’s Chernobyl.

  4. Albert

    Elaine, It seems to me that there may be many reasons as to why this genie is suppose to stay down there. Like keeping the ocean floor a certain temperature ?

  5. nah

    So here we are: we went into the deepest oceans to tap into a hidden treasure and this woke up the metaphorical ‘gods’ who guard this wealth and now they are busy destroying everything we love
    wurd… its like the hobbit… going after the dragon, knowing theres treasure and other than that… no real knowingness
    everything i read about it pretty much points out the fact it was inevitable… if not yesterday than tomorrow… there was built in corporate failure at the well head the whole time chasing risk, geology and technology be damned
    once again… why do we pay such a premium for leadership if they are ever more lordly fools in contempt of humanity…
    if heartless profit chasing is self regulation… what is the alternative OBAMA, these guys have no risk? the CEO of BP is still there… betcha so is the board all sucking down what their status can provide
    so what was the risk? Louisiana, Florida, and Texas will pay???

    corporations dont go bankrupt governments do

  6. Joseppi

    Ah, there’s always the nuke option if BP fails…….
    So now the clever ones disguised as befuddled impotent politicians utilizing their bureaucratic bellicose wisdom will give their OK to use WMD to be ignited on the breast of Mother Nature.
    We shall then go from a mere stab wound to exploding a huge gaping hole in the fertile bosom of the Gulf of Mexico.
    The vengeance of the gods will be quick and poetically expedient.

  7. wuen

    This remind me of a horror imagination I had in my kid days in which I image a creature from the dead dwelling below the sea from a million years is release by human activity. This monster leap out from it prison to destroy life in the ocean. A dangerous monster who kill life so it could create more dead creature like him in a few million years.

    Oil is made from dead organic creature. So I believe the oil is the monster who destroy life in the sea. It need to kill organic life form to grow. How can we destroy this monster in the sea?

  8. emsnews

    The more I think about it, the more I suspect the pressure from the escaping gases and ooze are so tremendous, it couldn’t be stopped and controlled. That is, when they fill ships with oil, they can’t have twenty ships an hour come to the dock! So they tried to restrict the rising oil and the entire thing blew off.

    I also suspect that if the US drops a nuke on this mess, it will be worse, not better. WE DON’T KNOW. All we know is, the nature of Nature is ‘balance or die’ and there is no third option. We want to suck down all the organic oil ever created via dead things being buried deep in the earth and we will probably find out that the planet isn’t a ball of oil…thank god for that!

    But rather, oil is an important element in the internal structure of the planet’s surface that is, our lithosphere.

  9. Gus

    The Russian’s have
    closed blowouts before.

    We need their help here.

    A small nuke will compact
    the soil and close the drill
    hole and it will really shut
    it down. Not a huge nuke.

    I think its the only way now.

    If we had followed an energy plan from the
    1970’s we could have been
    energy independent by
    year 2000.

    The oil companies control
    our energy policy. Its a
    disaster for our security.


  10. melponeme_k

    This mess reminds me of another disaster caused by mining, Centralia PA. Those coal mines will just go burning for a hundred years or more. And it has killed the land on top of it. I don’t think anyone went to jail for that disaster. Just as I think BP and others will get off scott free for this too.

    We need to jail all the executives in that company and seize it. But I doubt our joke of a president will do any such thing.

  11. Raybo

    Elaine – great post, as usual.

    In terms of ecological effects:

    Both the oil and the dispersant Corexit (now there’s a name right out of Orwell’s 1984!!) are directly toxic to most marine organisms, large and small.

    There will also be bioaccumulation of the oil and eventual poisoning of the large predators (fish and marine mammals) at the apex of the marine food web.

    One likely ecological effect that I have not yet seen discussed widely is the development of widespread areas of low dissolved oxygen (the technical term is hypoxia) in the water column, particularly in bottom waters in contact with the seafloor. This is due to bacterial decomposition of the oil, a process which consumes oxygen.

    The end result is that all life in the bottom waters essentially suffocates and dies – resulting in huge “dead zones” across the seafloor. In the Gulf of Mexico that would include a variety of corals in hard bottom areas, as well as the usual assortment of benthic organisms (worms, molluscs, etc.) that are typical inhabitants of muddy soft bottom areas (and important fish food!).

    Even before this oil disaster, there has been for many years a large dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico due to low dissoled oxygen, particularly during the warmer summer months when there is little mixing of oxygen down to the bottom.

    This existing dead zone forms in the area where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf. All the excess nutrients carried by the Mississippi act to overstimulate the algae (phytoplankton) in the upper sunlit layers. When these algal blooms die and sink to the bottom, the bacterial decomposition robs the bottom waters of oxygen (just like with the oil, now).

    So, the large plumes of oil that are hanging around the near the bottom will certainly aggravate an already bad situation.

    I fear that a vast swath of the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico will become a permanent dead zone simply due to low dissolved oxygen, over and above the dead zone that is already known to exist.

    It breaks my heart, and I pray not only for the Gulf residents but for all of us.

  12. Yes the trick with the nuke is to get it 18,000 ft down the hole, thats quite a trick.

  13. Paul S

    I know this is an obvious point, but the hypocrisy is too much for me. The very SAME people who preach the wonders of the “Free” market are the ones screaming the loudest for a government bailout. BP is obviously taking its cue from the banksters. The supposedly are too big to fail so like it or not. taxpayers must bail out the banks. Likewise with the GOM oil spill. BP is obviously stalling. So now it’s the environment that’s too big to fail. You see. if BP takes charge and stops the leak. that will be a tacit admission of liability. BP dosn’t want to do that. BP is counting on Washington to be so corrupt. they won’ come after them BP is right so far.

  14. PLovering

    wuen, “Oil is made from dead organic creature.”

    Oil is not a “fossil fuel” … it does not come from dead animals. Oil is made by primordial processes deep within the earth.

    Adjust your dreams accordingly.



    ELAINE; You should figure out by now that I am not insane.

  15. Aussie

    @ PLovering and Wuen

    Re: Wuen, “Oil is made from dead organic creature.”

    Research results for the vast majority of crude oil and gas is best explained by a biogenic origin that is from dead organic creatures.
    However, it would be reasonable to state that carbon and methane produced by dying stars is relative abundant in our universe and part of the primordial chemical compounds of our earth when it coalesced.

    Furthermore, several deep wells drilled in Europe into granite formations did confirm traces of hydrocarbons supporting the non-biological origin of oil claimed by Russians.

    The vast majority of hydrocarbon explorations find oil because they identify likely “hydrocarbon source formations” which at some geological time where places where dead marine creatures died and inferred where the hydrocarbons could have migrated to into natural traps where the oil/gas could be trapped.

    I suggest most of the oil/gas is of biological origin.
    It is possible that not enough exploratory wells have drilled based on the Russian paradigm.

    Unfortunately, people trained in a particular profession with its core models become closed to alternate vews.
    The neo-liberal economists failed to predict the GFC for the same reasons when the indicators stared them in the face.

  16. Aussie

    @ billibaldi

    Re: The fat is in the fire.

    It is time all country’s stood up and said no more.
    We should impose sanctions on Israel as a pariah state and help the Palestinians.

    Its disgusting to see the US, Australia, UK pretend horrendous crimes against humanity, international law and civilised conduct be ignored.

    All this while we occupy Iraq etc and kill civilians.
    The same goes for Tibetans by the Chinese.

  17. emsnews

    Traces of methane gas from stellar explosions is just that: very tiny traces. In no way shape or form enough to run even a kitchen stove.

    ALL energy products from the earth that we call ‘coal’ or ‘oil’ is 100% organic in nature.

  18. simon

    make it vein instead of artery and the article gets a nobel prize

  19. emsnews

    How about ‘chopped off an arm and a leg with no tourniquet?’

  20. Gary

    A nuke or bunker buster bomb may have some terrible side effects. Lets hope the relief wells take the pressure off

    A nuke could liberate some of the vast deposits of methyl hydrates in the gulf sediments. All along the continental shelves of the world are deposits of these hydrates which are semi frozen methane kept in this state by temp and ocean pressure. If bombed, we could liberate the “dragons breath” (a term used with this stuff) and send up huge columns of methane that break the surface and then explode.

    Geologist think that in the past we had these huge outgassings of methyl hydrates due to warming seas (which reduce underwater pressure) and huge underwater landslides. Some scientist even think these monstrous outgassings and fireballs have done as much damage to the earth and its life as asteroids.

  21. @Gus, this is not the Russians or even the Soviets who would utilise this Nuclear Bomb. It will be us Americans. We can do things as good as anyone else, IF WE THINK FIRST. Unfortunately, we haven’t been putting on our thinking caps lately. Not since the great revival of magical thinking in the mid and late 70s called the Born Again movement. And what will happen if we drop a nuke without thinking? How about, say goodbye to New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, where I live?

  22. eschew

    Pity that many great minds ended up in finance performing useless derivative alchemy. Had the education focus remained on science and engineering this whole mess could have been avoided.

  23. Steve Murgaski

    Nice point eschew. Reminds me of a ten-year-old discussion on the usenet group alt.angst. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.angst/browse_thread/thread/6534d11e50fc9eec/7ea77cf9205020?q=accounting+group:alt.angst+author:thomas#007ea77cf9205020 (Hope that link would work. I’m not sure how to get a more permanent one.)

    E.G., if you scroll down to Jonah Thomas:
    “The tax laws and accounting laws
    very different in other countries, and it takes a very long time to
    learn them well enough to avoid legal trouble.  Not like engineering
    which works everywhere.

    “What this says for the future of the country, I’m not sure.  We can go
    on making more and more complicated laws that need high-paid specialists
    to untangle.  But how does that help us?  We’d do better to all make
    salt-water taffy and sell it to each other.  At least we could eat the

  24. “Farewell and adieu
    to you fair Spanish ladies,
    Farewell and adieu you ladies of Spain;
    For we’ve received orders
    for to sail back to Boston,
    And so nevermore shall we see you again.”

  25. JT

    A few weeks back BP was collecting 10% of 5000 barrels leaking per day. So they collected 500 barrels and the size of the leak was 4500 barrels (189 000 gallons per day).

    And today the good news is that they are collecting 31% of the 19 000 barrels leaking.
    So they collect 5900 barrels and the size of the leak is 13100 barrels (550 200 gallons per day).
    Best case scenario is 90% capture.
    So about 2000 barrels will leak until next fall (propably much more).

  26. JT

    So to calculate some more.
    Exxon Valdez spill was 250 000 barrels (according to wikipedia).
    The Gulf well leaks one E. Valdez in a fortnight.

    So far the leak 6 weeks old. Roughly 798 000 barrels leaked so far. About 3 times E. Valdez.

    If the well leaks until the end of August (12 more weeks) then this would mean:
    Best case scenario (90% collected from now on) a total of 966 000 barrels of oil (40,5 million gallons) leaked. 4 times E. Valdez

    Worst case scenario (10% collected from now on) is about 1 850 000 barrels of oil (77,7 million gallons) leaked. 7,5 times E. Valdez.


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