My Voice from the Spill

Read an interview I did with Mongabay about the Gulf Oil spill more than a week ago (apologies for the lag time). Also watch for a comparison of the Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spills coming soon...


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Read an interview I did with Mongabay about the Gulf Oil spill more than a week ago (apologies for the lag time). Also watch for a comparison of the Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spills coming soon...
History repeats itself. Boy does it. This was never more evident than after I finished reading Charles Wohlforth's The Fate of Nature (2010), which has a few ominous chapters dedicated to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Wohlforth was a journalist who covered the spill in the field and after reading…
If you didn't already know because, by chance, you missed my tweets, posts, and facebook updates, there is a science blogging contest going on RIGHT NOW. The 3 Quarks Daily Science Blogging Prize is currently narrowing down the top 20 posts from 87 nominees. To get through the gauntlet, a post has…
Oil supplies the United States with approximately 40% of its energy needs. Billions upon billions of gallons are pumped out of our wells, brought in from other countries, and shipped around to refineries all over the states. 1.3 million gallons of petroleum are spilled into U.S. waters from vessels…

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill in proportion
The Gulf of Mexico ......basin contains a volume of 2,434,000 cubic kilometers of water (6.43 * 1017 or 643 quadrillion gallons).
On July 15, the leak was stopped by capping the gushing wellhead after releasing about 4.9 million barrels (780Ã103 m3) of crude oil at the rate of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day (5,600 to 9,500 m3/d).
The ratio of oil spilled to the volume of the Gulf is therefore
780,000 cubic metres (oil from the well): 2,434,000,000,000 cu.m (water in the Gulf)
This ratio is 1:3,120,000 (after dividing both sides of the ratio by 780,000)
Roughly one part per 3 million
An Olympic swimming pool has a volume of 2,500 cubic meters.
One part per 3 million is a volume of .00083 cubic metres. (Divide 2,500 by 3 million)
Or .83 litres. (There are a thousand litres in cubic metre)
Imagine a large soft drink bottle full of crude oil, or ink, or urine being tipped into an Olympic Swimming Pool
How much of a disaster is that?

By Colin MacGillivray (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

Hey Colin,

What do think you'd do or say to the person right beside you in that huge olympic sized swimming pool if you saw a bright yellow plume emanating from them and starting to swirl all around you. Hey it's a really big pool...

By Fred Magyar (not verified) on 11 Aug 2010 #permalink

I think that the next judge should be American on any of these shows that deal with America.
I don't care who it is I am just sick of seeing judges from England An American can should judge what America wants. I think taking someone that has been around music would be great but what about someone that is just a person that loves music and would vote on what gave then goose bumps or made them feel good. Yeah it is not all of what America wants, but what judge makes a decision for all. A judge should be decided on taking random people and then having America judge the judge and keep on who they like. With all the money being made on the shows it, I think that anyone off the street would gladly take those millions of dollars. I think it would be fair to get paid less and then pay others more or have more stars on there to make the contestants feel relax and give them the coaching they made need to succeed. And don't get me wrong the first line is an attention getter and not to be taken wrong but we have plenty of people here.

First, a preface: In the 70s, I was a radical environmentalist. I espoused the notion that people only needed love, nature, and one another to survive. I guess, at that time, I was more of a relativist. As I grew older, I leaned more towards objectivism; now, I hope that I am a relativist.

I was in the trenches during the abortion, Vietnam, and nuke demonstrations that were prevalent during those times. And, I had the shit kicked out me more than once.

While, I agree with most of what you post, I find fault with some of it... I am still an old Yippie, and I still stand for the "little man"; that socialism is word that has become(well, I guess it was from 41 onward), at least in Fuckedupistan(USA), a derogative... well, is disturbing.

Hell, Arlo was one of us(not that you are)!

Anyway, on to some meat:

In the article, you said

Experiments conducted after Exxon Valdez have shown that very small amounts of oil can have sublethal affects as well.

Forgive my ignorance, doc, but what is "sublethal", and how are the sub-lethalities of two disparate localities related? Too me, it seems that the areas are too distally separated, geographically, and climactally to associate a correlation???

We will never be given the resources to know the full impact.

Are you referring to the flow regimes of the well? Just curious??? That statement tends to imply a conspiratorial blackout of data that will be prevalent in the GoM for sometime/ever???

I worry BP will be able to subvert recovery because there is inadequate baseline data.

That is a valid fear, but then you write:

BP... sit[s] in on every single discussion with Fish & Wildlife and beyond.I think BPâs ubiquitous involvement in the recovery process will corrupt it, as well as other things.

Again, you seem to be implying a conspiracy. If so, what is your evidence?

Later on, you write:

... four humans who are trained as vet techs wash a bird with nothing more than Dawn soap and a high pressure hose.

Once again, forgive my ignorance, but there a substance that is more effective? And if so, what is its feasibility?

Truth be known, I find this as somewhat as a red herring as many multiples of birds are killed by wind generated energy every year. Granted, I might be tilting at a windmill, but...

In reponse to a question about whether the birds were receiving better healthcare than many people in the US you responded that In some cases, yes.

I would respond that "hell yeah, the birds got the media". Diabetics with open wounds in Appalachia don't get much print!

Then you said

there is no reason why humans, birds, and other wildlife should not live relatively healthy lives.

That is where you hit the nail on the head. Me thinks.

In reference to migratory birds, the vast majority of the birds won't see anything other than ppm concentrations. I doubt that by this fall that oil will be an issue to the aves.

Later on you said in referring to the South turning from Democratic to Repub:

You can decide for yourself why that happened.

I'll answer that-it was the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Hell, I've lived in the South most of my life... most of us "down here" saw "separate, but equal" as convienent way to "keep them in their place". Even though segregation was done away with in the 50s, the school that I attended in the 70s still had different fountains, and the swimming pools were segregated, still, later.

Doc, don't want to be a pain in the ass, and I am still learning, but just a few thoughts that I might need clarification.

Truth be known, you have awakened something in me that I haven't felt for years.

Keep up the good work.