BP Oil Spill

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BP Oil Spill

Postby Satya » Fri May 28, 2010 7:09 am

I can't believe this topic hasn't already been started.

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Live feed of the oil spill

Boycott BP and BP stations. Buy your gas elsewhere. BP brands to boycott include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, Wild Bean Cafe and Safeway gas. The oil spill is now over twice the amount of the infamous Exxon Valdez spill. The worst oil spill in US history.
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Postby buckshot » Fri May 28, 2010 10:20 am

It's a damn sad mess!!!

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Postby Syphon the Sun » Fri May 28, 2010 10:32 am

You do realize that every single BP station in the U.S. is independently owned and operated, right?
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Postby Wil » Fri May 28, 2010 11:35 am

BP gas is cheap, engine destroying gas anyway.

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Postby Yebra » Fri May 28, 2010 12:04 pm

I find myself calmed by their public relations campaign.
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Postby jotabe » Fri May 28, 2010 12:36 pm

Well, Satya, accidents happen. As long as they own up to their mess, and it isn't discovered that it was due to malpractice, i don't see why a boycott is necessary.
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Postby locke » Fri May 28, 2010 4:01 pm

it reminds me of the banking collapse, which Canada came through brilliantly as well.

You see Canada has these onerous regulations in place that keep the banks from doing the BS that caused the global meltdown. Damn government regulation SO EVIL!

Turns out Canada also has offshore regulations in place that require the relief well be drilled at the same time as the primary well. So if an accident happens to the primary well, like what happened to the deepwater horizon, the relief well is immediately brought online to stop the leak. No waiting six months to assemble build and drill the relief well. Onerous regulation! DAMN GOVERNMENT SO EVIL!!! Naturally the United States does not impose such horrific anti business requirements on our offshore wells because all regulation is evil and meant to hurt the poor ickle Oil companies.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby daPyr0x » Fri May 28, 2010 4:24 pm

Yeah, socialism is the bane of society.


I saw this article today that particularly frustrated me. BP was trying to coax the Canadian government into relaxing the regulation requiring the relief well to be drilled. Yeah, guys, that worked so well for you last time, didn't it?

I feel bad for all the individual BP station owners and employees; I'm sure they've gotta put up with a lot of crap (and I'm sure their sales have fallen, too) because of what another arm of their company decided to do.

jotabe: There have been reports of all kinds of improper conduct that fueled this disaster. From regulatory body bribing to guys on meth while they're working, it's all there.
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Postby Satya » Fri May 28, 2010 6:48 pm

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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:30 pm

BP used substandard cement, even when engineers warned them of the dangers. BP knew that the emergency shut off valve was not working yet they continued to drill and pump out oil, BP pumped salt water instead of industry standard mud to fill the hole when pumping out oil. BP is refusing to use a more effective dispursement even against the EPA's demands (BP owns the company that makes the one they are now using).
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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:34 pm

BP CEO Tony Hayward says "I'd like my life back." Yeah, douchebag - so would the 11 people who DIED ON YOUR COMPANY'S RIG. Yeah, we'll give you your life back. Behind bars.
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Postby Sonikku13 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:26 pm

The oil spill is no big deal. Oil seeps out of wells happens naturally.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_seep

One million barrels of oil leak out naturally in the Gulf every year. Don't see any adverse affects from that.

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?recor ... 88&page=70

Must mean that something in the water can remove oil. Then again, looks like if an oil spill occurs, the natural process is overloaded and then a lot of oil gets put on the surface of the water.

Either way, we need nuclear power - French style. 78.8% of France's power comes from nuclear reactors. If applied to North America, it should reduce North American fossil fuel dependence somewhat. Then we need an answer to transportation. E85 isn't the answer - it still uses fossil fuels, and right now, it's based on corn and sugar cane. Get ethanol fuel without using food, make sure all cars can run on E85, and we'll have an answer to cut our fossil fuel dependence. Now if we could get to work on that. Anyway, if you don't like oil, then don't drive a car if it isn't necessary. Or, get an electric car. If you want to drive a car, then accept the fact that oil spills happen. Right now, all cars need gasoline, diesel, or natural gas for long distance trips. Can't say commuting because of the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, etc.
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Postby daPyr0x » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:35 pm

Must mean that something in the water can remove oil. Then again, looks like if an oil spill occurs, the natural process is overloaded and then a lot of oil gets put on the surface of the water.
I read an article the other day (can't find it now though, of course) that brought up the fact that there are bacteria in the water that are consuming the oil. However, they consume so much oxygen in doing so that other wildlife are suffering. No question there's a natural process to deal with it, it just doesn't work very well when we go putzing with things.
Either way, we need nuclear power - French style. 78.8% of France's power comes from nuclear reactors. If applied to North America, it should reduce North American fossil fuel dependence somewhat. Then we need an answer to transportation. E85 isn't the answer - it still uses fossil fuels, and right now, it's based on corn and sugar cane. Get ethanol fuel without using food, make sure all cars can run on E85, and we'll have an answer to cut our fossil fuel dependence. Now if we could get to work on that. Anyway, if you don't like oil, then don't drive a car if it isn't necessary. Or, get an electric car. If you want to drive a car, then accept the fact that oil spills happen. Right now, all cars need gasoline, diesel, or natural gas for long distance trips. Can't say commuting because of the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, etc.
Nuclear power is your answer? Really? I mean, I know it's technically the safest "fuel burning" type of power generators we have. Probably the cleanest, too. 'till Chernobyl happens, of course. I just think I'd rather see the money that would go towards a nuclear overhaul instead go towards continued renewable energy sources. Solar panels, wind generators, wave generators, all of these technologies are generally in their infancy right now due to the cheap and available energy sources we've been siphoning off our planet for decades. Rather than spend our time working with stuff that kills us, why not use the elements that surround us to our advantage?
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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:49 pm

I'm just gonna fucking pretend you didn't just fucking say that. I don't know who the f*** you think you are or what kind of fucking expert you think you are, but just shut the f*** up. No, seriously... shut. the. f***. up. I'm a fucking conservative and I can usually not give a f*** less about so-called environmental issues and I can't even conceive of someone believing such a stream of mental feces as I have just witnessed in a single post.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/b ... d=10761677

http://www.examiner.com/x-40364-Energy- ... p-and-wide

http://cnmnewsnetwork.com/117115/bp-oil ... h-hazards/

http://www.oilmarketer.co.uk/2010/05/28 ... oil-spill/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... -pollution

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ATH-IMPACT

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/28/B ... D_AS_WORST

http://alaska.fws.gov/media/unalaska/Oi ... 0Sheet.pdf

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-oil-spil ... e-life.htm

http://www.fordfound.org/archives/item/0216

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/01/gulf.o ... index.html

http://www.wkrg.com/alabama/article/tho ... 0_5-33-pm/

Long Term Wildlife Impact

Long Term Food-Chain Impact

Long Term Environmental Impact

BP Decisions Made Well Vulnerable

But don't worry, folks. I guess it's no big fucking deal.

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That's right, folks. Oil spills are no big deal. Nothing to see here.
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Postby locke » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:05 pm

nuclear is fine for other countries, but corporations will never allow modern safe nuclear to be done in the US, as it is done in other countries, since regulations to make it safe are onerous and anti-business.

Like canada's regulation about having a relief well built as the same time as a primary well. We could pass a law tomorrow requiring a relief well drilled for every oil platform and eliminate the vast majority of risks from another well catastrophe. And we will not do it. It is that simple, but we will never pass a law that is so "anti-business" especially not in an election year.

And even if we have enforcement of Safety Standards in the United States, the United States SUCKS BALLS at managing to implement said enforcement. Partially this because about half our population believes that safety standards are for pussies and we occasionally get an administration who appoints people to the Safety Standards who are friendly towards eliminating Safety standards if possible and waving their enforcement the rest of the time, ie, what happened with Deepwater Horizon. Neither republicans or democrats want to be painted as anti business and enforcing safety standards is inherently anti-business, therefore if we build more nuclear, I guarantee that United States political necessity will require that safety standards of nuclear power will be as poorly overseen as safety standards on oil drilling. If not MORE poorly overseen and MORE poorly enforced, which is what I would expect.

What this means is that with our new Nuclear power plants we won't have a Three Mile Island happen in the United States but we will DEFINITELY have a Chernobyl, it's just the way the system is designed to work now, the United States political system eliminates the possibility of a success story like Three Mile Island and ensures that the next nuclear catastrophe on our soil will be like Chernobyl.

The Hysteria over Nuclear Power can be traced straight back to 3 things:

1) Nuclear Weapons
2) Three-Mile Island
3) Chernobyl

Which is sad considering:

1) nuclear weapons and nuclear power-plants have almost nothing in common
2) three-mile island was actually a success story where despite all sorts of structural issues in the plant and the training of the operators, nothing bad actually happened
3) Chernobyl was literally people trying to make a problem. iirc, before the accident even started they shut down every single fail safe and then did stupid s*** with the reactor. And then, on top of all this, as the s*** went down 2 people sitting literally next to each other in the same room, never noticed or communicated with each other to point out that problems were occurring for both their stations, so they spent their time working unknowingly against each other, furthering the problem. It's like a perfect storm of people doing deliberately doing stupid s***.

Modern nuclear reactors should not have risks, and we have continually better ways of processing and recycling waste. It would be a better source of energy now than it was in the sixties and seventies, and we can keep improving nuclear with technology. It's a good idea, but it needs to be safe. Our political system means we can't have safe nuclear in the US, thus we should not be expanding nuclear too much, though we really have no choice.


There is no way around this basic fact: if you are going to have a lot of energy in one place (regardless of the form), you have to put safety first (really first -- above even profit!) or there will be problems. Where safety is first (e.g. national labs), locations are generally safe. In industry, it is usually done, but not always because somebody is always tempted to take a shortcut when the right way is significantly more expensive. It doesn't matter whether you are generating energy from oil, gas, coal, nuclear or whatever. The problem is exactly the same--humans.

Oh and the risk of meltdown in some modern reactors has been eliminated, but I wouldn't expect this sort to be built in the US. The high-temperature gas-cooled reactors can't melt down because of the core structure. They're made out of blocks of graphite reinforced with silicon carbide containing microfuels like uranium pellets. Those are buried underground in a steel-pressure vessel (helium) and contained in concrete. They also use normal airflow to remove excess heat by using heat exchangers. Bed reactors are also pretty damn cool.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:51 pm

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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:59 pm

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Postby Caspian » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:03 pm

Just chiming in on the digression to say: Locke is right about Nuclear power, and Canadians should know that already. Canada's nuclear power is very safe.

A Chernobyl-style disaster will never happen in Canada, because of how our reactors are designed. And that design is reproducible, and being most places that aren't the US.

Also, oil spills are bad.
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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:09 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02509.html

ON BARATARIA BAY, LA. -- In the Louisiana
marsh, oil-coated pelicans flap their wings in a futile attempt to dry
them. A shorebird repeatedly dunks its face in a puddle, unable to wash
off. Lines of dead jellyfish float in the gulf, traces of oil visible
in their clear "bells."

These scenes, scientists say, are confirmation of what they had feared for a month. Now that oil from the Gulf of Mexico's vast spill has come ashore -- in some places, as thick as soft fudge -- it is causing serious damage in one of the country's great natural nurseries.

In nature, oil is a versatile killer. It smothers the tiny animals that make... See More up a coral reef. It suffocates blades of marsh grass, cutting them off from air and sunlight. It clumps up a bird's feathers, leaving it unable to fly; then, trying to remove the oil, birds swallow it.

For now, scientists are seeing the worst effects only in one corner of the Louisiana coast.

But they're concerned about what they're not seeing -- and worried that the impact on animals and plants will only get worse.

"Now that the stuff is really sort of coming ashore, it really is living up to its potential. It's certainly breached the sort of outer defense system of Louisiana," said James H. Cowan Jr., a professor at Louisiana State University. "It's the very worst-case scenario for things like birds and mammals."
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Postby Satya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:12 pm

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Postby Sonikku13 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:20 pm

Chernobyl proved American and Canadian nuclear power systems were a lot better than Russian nuclear power.

Three Mile Island was nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. There were no detectable health impacts from TMI, with an average dose of an x-ray for people affected But environmentalists made nuclear out to be the worst thing since the opposite of sliced bread. And that is why the US won't build any more nuclear plants, even though coal plants give off more radiation than nuclear plants. Guess where all that radiation goes? The air. Wouldn't you rather have the radiation on the ground where we can dispose it instead of in the air where we have no control over it?

Chernobyl caused 50,000 people to evacuate, and it shows the lack of safety in the plant. There are two reasons - the operators had conducted an experiment at Chernobyl just before the meltdown, and the plant did not comply with accepted nuclear power standards. So it was a substandard nuclear power plant - it means nuclear remains a viable alternative to fossil fuels if built to safety standards. Cost cutting would lead to disaster. So yes, safety comes first. Now if we could get politicians to see that - I'm looking at you Obama.

Renewable energy needs subsidies to even be worthwhile. I'll throw out another link and summarize it for you. http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007publicatio ... 011-SD.PDF

Technology Cost (USD/MWh)
Advanced Nuclear 67
Coal 74-88
Gas 313-346
Geothermal 67
Hydro power 48-86
Wind power 60
Solar 116-312
Biomass 47-117
Fuel Cell 86-111
Wave Power 611

However, this incorporates subsidies - 0% for coal, 14% for nuclear, to over 100% for solar power. Yet, even with a subsidy for solar power, coal power is cheaper than solar power! So the viability of solar power in a large scale isn't there for me. Compared with CA's subsidy, the USA only offers a 30% tax credit. I'd look for cheaper solutions.

Wind power - 30% tax credit in the USA. That puts nuclear power cheaper than wind power. This looks to be the best solution, however, for the Great Plains, and especially the Pacific Coast, the Atlantic Coast, and the Great Lakes.

Hydroelectric power - the problem with it is that there are very few locations to put dams on compared to solar panels, or wind turbines. However, we've got a lot of rivers dammed already, so I'd say look somewhere else.

Geothermal power - Doesn't need oil or coal, but the initial start-up cost is high. Best locations in the USA would be near the Juan de Fuca/Pacific - North American plate boundary - this means the Pacific coast.

And yes, oil spills are no big deal in the long term. Maybe I should have clarified earlier. The Exxon Valdez oil spill - the area is aesthetically back to normal, mostly. And since there is a natural process in which oil can be decomposed, the environment will return to normal - it's just that cleaning the environment makes the process go a lot faster.

Besides, this seems to be a repeat of Ixtoc I. Both suffered from wellhead blowouts. It took 10 months to cap the well from Ixtoc I, and that leaked 3,000,000 barrels of oil. However, the leak was slowly brought under control due to the pumping of mud, and later, 100,000 steel, iron, and lead balls. BP's control mechanisms, however, aren't bringing the leak under control. So it looks like Deepwater Horizon will be worse than Ixtoc I. It shows two things. History repeats itself, we didn't learn from Ixtoc I. And the second thing, if safety doesn't come first, then disaster occurs. Just like the Challenger disaster - engineers got overruled by their managers. End result? Deepwater Horizon blows up and oil spill occurs.
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Postby daPyr0x » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:12 pm

The only point I was trying to make about nuclear power is that regardless of how technologically safe our reactors are, we're still using radioactive materials and thus requiring to dispose of radioactive materials. It just seems to me that as a race we tend to latch on to these sorts of things and use 'em till they f*** us up big time.

Oh, and truth be told, BP isn't the only one who doesn't know how to operate
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Postby zeroguy » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:52 pm

Also, oil spills are bad.
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Postby Eaquae Legit » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:56 pm

Ugh. I've been avoiding posting about this because, truth be told, I feel vaguely suicidal when I think of the damage this spill is doing. But that link... I think I'm going to go hang out with Bert in the Smiles thread.
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Postby locke » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:26 pm

How stupid is BP?

They turned down James Cameron.

At this point it should be clear that BP should be removed from the site and let them concentrate on the relief well. Let's get some real engineers and experts in there to take over their f*** ups.

Cameron is not an engineer, but he is a deep sea expert, particularly in robotic submersibles.
While acknowledging that his contacts in the deep-sea industry do not drill for oil, Cameron said that they are accustomed to operating various underwater vehicles and electronic optical fiber systems.

"Most importantly," he added, "they know the engineering that it requires to get something done at that depth."

Among the key issues that Cameron said he is interested in helping the government with are methods of monitoring the oil leak and investigating it.

"The government really needs to have its own independent ability to go down there and image the site, survey the site and do its own investigation," he said.

"Because if you're not monitoring it independently, you're asking the perpetrator to give you the video of the crime scene,"
Cameron added.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100603/en_ ... ll_cameron
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Jeesh_girl15 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:36 am

*I'm going to sound like a seriously immature kid right here, I'm just ranting about it, but.....*

Grrr... Stupid Obama. Stupid oil spill. Stupid BP. You're ruining my future as a gulf coastal marine biologist! Gee, I'll be stuck studying up on the effects of your stupid oil on the wildlife. And the oil's already hit Pensicola. That's not extremely far from my beautiful Destin! C'mon people. If you don't find someway to fix this, it will be a huge eco-disaster. It already is one.
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Postby Wil » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:06 pm

I'm pretty neutral toward Obama, but... stupid Obama? What's he supposed to do that BP isn't already doing? NOTHING like this has happened before. The Army Engineers couldn't do anything else that BP isn't already doing. What's Obama supposed to do? Waste our tax money on sending the National Guard out there to... shoot the water? He's doing all that he can do. A lot of people (not here) are saying that he should nuke it. Oh yeah, good idea. Let's see what a nuke does a mile under the ocean surrounded by crude oil. Let's make sure that ocean REALLY can't support life for the next thousand years.

I'm not sure how true THIS is, but I've read in several places that off the coast of Nigeria, they leak more oil every year in to the ocean than the amount of oil in the gulf coast right now. True or not, despite how bad this is, it'll blow over. Ten years from now we'll be all like "Oh, hey, remember that time when BP fucked up the Gulf? Yeah, that sucked for like a year. Ha ha ha."

Heard from a lot of people that we should stop drilling for oil. Oh, okay. Let's just start paying $5/gal+ for gas. I don't know about you, but my family is already hurting for money as it is without paying some stupid amount for gas. Sure, we're running out of oil, but we NEED the oil. The same people that bitch about drilling are the same people that will bitch when the gas prices go through the roof.

The sad thing is we can drill for oil in safe, clean, ways. The problem is that these companies are so large and corrupt, and attaining any significant political office in the US is so expensive, that no matter how good the character of our politicians, every single one of them have questionable backgrounds. These backgrounds lead to deregulation and overlooking things that lead to the BP oil spill. Money money money. This is just more proof of a system that is entirely broken from the ground up.

Nuclear power is safe these days. We can design fission reactors that are both safer and cleaner than we ever have been able to before. It's also a TON cheaper than trying to convert ourselves to the horribly inefficient solar power or the horribly expensive wind energy. Oh, they're clean! But they're also inefficient in how much energy they produce compared to the price they cost to build.

End of talking points.

ETA:
The only point I was trying to make about nuclear power is that regardless of how technologically safe our reactors are, we're still using radioactive materials and thus requiring to dispose of radioactive materials. It just seems to me that as a race we tend to latch on to these sorts of things and use 'em till they f*** us up big time.
We can use any element heavier than lead to produce energy through fission. We can use any element lighter than lead to produce energy through fusion. It would take several thousand years to use up just the amount of determine and tritium that is naturally occurring in the ocean for fusion energy, even when taking it to account exponential growth of our power needs.

ETA Again: Just read the FUCKING BOOMING link. Perhaps Obama could be doing more. PIECE-OF-S***-C*** ROPE. lol

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Postby jotabe » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:54 pm

We can use any element heavier than iron to produce energy through fission. We can use any element lighter than iron to produce energy through fusion. It would take several thousand years to use up just the amount of deuterium and tritium that is naturally occurring in the ocean for fusion energy, even when taking it to account exponential growth of our power needs.
;) soooooorry, i just couldn't let it go :D
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Postby Satya » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:06 pm

oil spills are no big deal in the long term...

the area is aesthetically back to normal, mostly...
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Postby Wil » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:52 pm

jotabe: Technically, yes. You're right in that only the elements far away from lead are really efficient at producing energy and that iron is the stellar upper limit of fusion. Here's some background for you, showing how rare some of the higher fusion processes are. Of interest is that most of them don't even occur under normal star conditions. Iron up until lead can still produce energy under the right circumstances.

Satya: s*** sucks. s***'s going to continue to suck. We all get this. Their is nothing we can do about said s*** sucking. No reason to get your panties in any bigger a wad than they already are over it. All he is saying is that while this is indeed bad, it will go back to being pretty much okay in time. :)

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Postby Satya » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:19 am

Who the f*** are you again? Nevermind, it doesn't matter.

Economic impact:
* Tourism
The beaches of the Gulf Coast are a major attraction, and damage to the beaches or lengthy closures for cleanup will have a heavy impact on tourism, imposing serious losses for restaurants, hotels, recreation and tour operations such as sport fishing. Ecotourism will also suffer. The oil spill is also expected to damage the delicate swamps and wetlands near the coast—which are home to a variety of threatened and endangered birds and other creatures. The Delta National Wildlife Refuge is already threatened by the encroaching oil.
* Oil price
* Job loss
* Food industry
For the Gulf Coast commercial fishing trade—a $2.4 billion per year industry in Louisiana alone—the oil spill is likely to have a devastating and long-lasting impact. Shrimp and oysters cannot be harvested in contaminated water. In addition to the mass mortality and contamination expected among fish and other ocean life, the effects of the oil spill on the reproductive ability of fish and other sea animals and the interruption of the natural food chain could damage the state’s commercial fishing industry for years.
** End result: a conservative estimate of a $4.5 billion economic hit, with a subsequent hit to tax revenue, right at the start of an economic recovery from the worst recession in U.S. history since the Great Depression.

Environmental impact:
The oil spill could severely damage fragile ecosystems for years, possibly decades. Beaches fouled by oil spills are very difficult to clean up. To make matters worse, the spill threatens beaches just as shorebirds are nesting and sea turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs.

Even worse is the effect the oil spill could have on sensitive salt marshes and mangrove coastlines, which would be practically impossible to clean and that some fear might be permanently destroyed. These wetlands are considered the nurseries for the fishing and seafood industry and are a vital habitat and breeding ground for many species of wildlife. Because they cover much more land area than beaches, the risk of their exposure to damage is greatly increased.

Fully 98 percent of the fish and shellfish harvested in the Gulf of Mexico depend on estuaries, which are coastal waters where freshwater from rivers and streams mix with seawater. Estuaries are dependant on wetlands for their water quality and to provide a basis for aquatic food chains. Many species depend on wetlands for food, shelter, and breeding.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are home to hundreds of species of aquatic life. The longer the oil fouls the water, the more polluted the food chain becomes, which could result in large fish kills and seafood too contaminated for consumption.

The environmental damage caused by the BP oil spill could change the face of the Gulf Coast for generations, and some things may never be the same.
Health Impact:
The health risks posed by the Gulf Oil spill and its fumes include:
* Short-term or contact illnesses: Exposure can cause immediate symptoms such as skin damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, vomiting, coughing, respiratory difficulty, and chemical pneumonitis. Eye and throat irritation as well as difficulty breathing are also possible consequences, which is of particular concern to those people with asthma or other lung diseases.
* Long-term or latent diseases: In addition to immediate symptoms, toxic exposures can cause latent diseases—diseases that take longer to show up. Latent diseases that could develop include liver and kidney disease, lung damage, immune system suppression, abnormal hormone levels, infertility, anemia, nerve damage, mutations, and cancer.
* Risks to unborn fetus: Exposure to a pregnant woman can also cause toxic exposures and injury to a developing festus, including abnormal growth and development, skeletal deformities and other birth defects.
* Risks to children and the elderly: Children are at greater risk that adults to the effects of toxic exposures. Some of the possible consequences include abnormal growth, neurocognitive damage, cancer and other health conditions.
* Risks to the Elderly and Those with Preexisting Conditions: The elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions are also vulnerable to negative health effects. A person suffering from a preexisting condition, for example, could see a worsening of the disease even with short-term exposure.

Not only do these risks affect the tens of millions of people who live and work on the Gulf coast, due to the sheer size and volume of the oil volcano and its unfortunate timing at the beginning of summer, but the contamination of food source puts millions more at risk.

BUT DON'T WORRY PEOPLE, WIL AND SONIKKU FROM THE INTERNET HAVE SPOKEN.

...it will go back to being pretty much okay in time...

...oil spills are no big deal in the long term...


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Postby jotabe » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:24 am

Sorry to insist, but it isn't like that :wink:

The processes that produce heavier-than-iron nuclei aren't really nuclear fusion (you don't put 2 nuclei together, you just give the nucleus an extra neutron and hope it will simply beta-decay instead of breaking up, as it will more likely happen). And definitely they can't be used to obtain energy (iron-56 has the largest binding energy per nucleon of the nuclei chart: this means that if you either break it or fuse it, the process will consume energy, not yield it). Also, they can only happen at very high temperature environment (where the thermal energy is enough to sustain less-stable nuclei) and over long periods of time, or in explosive processes (supernovae).

If you examine only the reaction chain of the S-process (which again, it isn't nuclear fusion), you might get the impression that the process is actually exotermic, but realize the conditions required: it needs a constant enormous flow of slow free neutrons. Free neutrons have a half-life of 15 minutes before decaying into proton+electron. You can't reproduce those conditions on earth without pouring a lot of energy (which is what the sun environment does).

The opposite goes for fission: you can still get energy from nuclear fission for lighter-than-lead nuclei, all the way down to iron. Problem is that those nuclei don't split nearly as well a uranium and plutonium do, and will most likely emmit He nuclei instead of a more even split, to shed the nucleon excess. It gives out energy, but it's nowhere near as efficient.

So, you can fuse nuclei for energy from H to Fe (even up to Ni if you use ligher-than-Fe nuclei as fuel). And you can split nuclei for energy as long as they are heavier than iron.
You can split lighter nuclei than said but you have to give energy. You can produce heavier nuclei than iron, but you have to provide a huge flux of slow neutrons, and wait long times.

Edit: to agree with Satya, for once. We had a few years ago a tanker sink and break in half in front of our coasts, after spending a week sailing north and south along our coast while leaking oil (thanks to the Galician government action who thought that keeping the ship away from our 12-mile territorial waters would save us). Now, Galician maritime ecosystem is solid and fairly well kept, but it still took a large blow, and the economic losses were huge. 2 or 3 years to get back to productive status.
The main concern is that the Mississippi delta was already dying because of the channelization of the river banks. One can only hope that this catastrophe can focus the efforts to regenerate the wetlands.
Last edited by jotabe on Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Satya » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:27 am

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Postby jotabe » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:36 am

Also, in our case, a large number of volunteers from all Spain moved to the Galician coast to clean up the oil from the beaches and rocks, and to (try to) save wildlife). I dunno how you guys are handling it, or if you need to wait till the spill is closed to start the clean up.
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Postby Wil » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:29 pm

jotabe: I meant iron, obviously. I mean, both are four letter words for very heavy grey-silver metals. Next time you should just listen to what I mean instead of what I say! >.>

Satya: Who the f*** am /I/?! Why, obviously, I am someone not throwing a huge sissy fit over something he has no control over! What am I supposed to do, spend my time reposting terrible pictures and quoting articles on the impacts of one of the worst ecological disasters of all time in order to... do what exactly?

True story. In history, s*** happens. But we also work around, recover, and overcome these things that happens. I never said oil spills weren't bad. What I said was that, in time, the impact of this oil spill will be largely forgotten and overcome. Hopefully in this process we will learn from our mistakes and be more diligent in the enforcement of the safety and backup systems that were neglected that caused this.


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