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Top kill: BP keeps us in the dark

The nice thing about working for a daily newspaper is you get to start from scratch every day and find out what's going on, and no one remembers that yesterday you said the top kill was working. Because they've already tossed the paper, you know? It wraps a fish at this point. And we start over.

We don't know if this top kill will work. It might. But I wouldn't call Tony Hayward's appearance this morning on "Today" terribly encouraging. He said it could be another 48 hours before this is over, yea or nay. Key quote: "We don't know whether we will be able to overcome the well."

Here's what's certain: BP and the federal government are keeping us in the dark throughout this process. They hung the news media out to dry yesterday by declining to mention even in passing that they had stopped pumping mud late Wednesday evening. This is not a minor detail. Doug Suttles on CNN sort-of apologized for not being more forthcoming and suggested that everyone was just too busy to mention it.

Really? Why, then, did Thad Allen say the pumping was working yesterday morning? That got tremendous play on the web. Question for the admiral: Did you know that BP had stopped pumping the previous evening? When you make a comment, should we assume that you have special inside knowledge because you are the National Incident Commander, or should we worry that you are a little bit out of the loop?

Question for BP: Why not give us some real-time information rather than make us all wait for the terse pronouncements at the end of the day? There is zero chance that BP, with all its resources and with executives going on TV etc., could have inadvertantly failed to mention that there was a major hitch in the top kill procedure. This was an intentional withholding of information -- and a suggestion that BP really does not want the public to know what is going on.

One of my e-mail correspondents who is following this closely and who, like me, had hoped it was going well, wrote to me last night:

"I feel screwed over by BP, I sure as hell expected better -- just tell us the goddam truth, pretty or ugly."

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 28, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
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Next: "This well is evil"


As long as we are complaining about being in the dark, I would like some more information about the process of petroleum digestion at sea by bacteria. What is the rate and constraints on this action? Is there anything we can do to speed it up? Thanks.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 28, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I hope the bunker was properly stocked in anticipation of a three-day weekend...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Gonna repost because it's germane and I want the drive-bys to see it and react:

The final dead tree version of Joel's latest article adjusts upward the leak estimate to 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day. Can't we just call it 16,000 +/- 20%? Which is a number I believe is way too precise and not particularly accurate either.

My latest POOMA estimate is 20,000-30,000 based on various numbers pertaining to the top kill that have slipped out as well as a general "BP is bunch of lying bast@rds" adjustment factor.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a classic and probably been posted before, but here is the archetypal response to all oil disasters:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

well, BP's inability and unwillingness to communicate seem pretty much inline with their profession... engineers aren't the most communicative bunch, at the best of times. Square heads!

Posted by: MissToronto | May 28, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

This again points out the "who are you serving" aspect of the BP solution. BP is serving its own self interest... as it should. That means it wants to release good news to keep people off its back. That means it doesn't want to release bad news... because it has to deal with that bad news.

The longer the spill fix attempts don't work, the more it will get testy for BP and for everyone involved.

I understand that BP doesn't want real-time reaction to everything it is doing. That would slow and hamper their effort. BP can't have it both ways, however. They can't have executives and officers and spokesmen all over the place talking to the press at the same time that they want to tightly control what they release.

They have to establish tighter information release efforts.... twice a day briefings, and only discussion about the effort by people in charge of the effort?

I am certain that the people who are actually working on the fixes don't want to be answering questions. I am also certain that they don't want the CEO or others going out in public and saying things that are either straight wrong or just simply misleading.

Think of the first gulf war. The US military had those daily or so briefings that were run by guys like Schwartzkopf. He did all the talking, or turned over talking to people he chose to talk.

That is the model BP should shoot for. There are too many people that want a piece of this action, and their media effort has been poor.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Ah, I see I BOO'd.
From previous Boodling:

Good morning, all.

Scottynuke, you know I'm pretty good at cleaning up after myself. Even after one of *those* nights... trying to rehydrate today from all the running and marking territory.

I was trying to ignore the headline as well, yello, and your comment about the top shot mud eroding the existing holes reminded me of an extrude hone service I've used from time to time to port intake and exhaust manifolds. The goal of the process is to remove material from the insides of pipes or conduits in order to to smooth and control flow, and sometimes increase volume by increasing the area (enlarging ports, etc.) with a predetermined finish. It's accomplished by pushing an abraisve media (ranging from almost-toothpaste to almost-wet gravel) through the inside of the pipes/manifolds under pressure - I'm curious about the composition of that top shot mud and it's abraisve properties under the conditions and prolonged use. No doubt they're wondering how much they're weakening the pipes/risers/etc as the internal material is worn away.

So now they're stepping up to the junk shot, adding some clogging and binding agents to the mix? A flip suggestion would be to mobilze an army of teenage boys wielding thousands of cases of toilet paper. Call them the Cartman Brigade.

Seriously, this is a tough problem, frought with risk.

Finally, I enjoyed Joel's use of the word "glom" in his piece this AM.


Posted by: -bc- | May 28, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -bc- | May 28, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Soooo, now it is plugged?

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Yello, I appreciate the 16K +/- 20% jargon. Given that many readers aren't as facile with figures as you, I can also appreciate why a journalist would use low and high ranges.

In either case I would posit that no one really knows what the leak rate has been or is now. All that's happened it that BP and the gummint now admit what we've known for a while, that the 5,000 bpd estimate was way too low.

If anyone's looking to go someplace nice for the holiday weekend, may I suggest TWC. The weather is trif, the Blackhawks will host the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, and my bro and s-i-l are throwing a big party Saturday night to celebrate Niece#1's kollitch granulation. Their parties are legendary.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed that word too, bc. Everyone, all together now!

Glom glom glom glom...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think you're blaming the wrong guys. I know you're a blogger, but try a little old school journalism. If your sources aren't telling you enough, stop whining and find the ones who do. And if you don't know what's going on, don't act like you do.

Posted by: jrbarry63 | May 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame Joel for being pretty steamed at BP. Nobody much enjoys a sucker punch.

The notion that BP was just too busy is, to me, clearly foolish. And the thing is, what is there to be gained by withholding information? What, are they afraid they are going to tip the oil off to their plans?

It would have been very easy to simply state late Wednesday evening: "We are suspending the top-kill temporarily in order to modify our approach. This is not unexpected and does not indicate that the approach has failed." Heck, they could have multi-tasked by phoning it in while visiting the restroom so as not to waste precious time.

I mean, as steveboyington points out, in times of war the military manages to keep us informed because there is a realization that we have a vested and legitimate interest in what is going on. And the folks fighting a war are pretty busy too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Simple Way to Stop the Oil Spill - Pinch close the oil pipe. If you take a drink straw, then take your thumb and forefinger and pinch the straw together, this stops the flow through the straw. . Plumbers use this all the time on construction projects. They pinch off the pipes. BP could pinch off the pipe in stages due to the pressure. The first pinch would reduce the pipe diameter, then another smaller, another smaller, and the final closing the pipe. Each could have a distance of 5’-10’ a part.

BP could pinch off the oil pipe under the drill control section and bring it to the surface to determine what went wrong with it. But BP may not want to do that because it might show BP did not perform any preventative maintenance on the drill head.

Posted by: ctb36510 | May 28, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The front fell off!
thanks, yello

40th anniversary of
Beatles on the roof.

If we can't let it be can we at least find out who came in through the bathroom window?

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

jrbarry63 - I think you are being a bit unfair. One of the things this disaster is highlighting is the power of limits. BP can't instantly devise fool-proof ways to shut down the spill. The President can't just sign an executive order mandating that the oil avoids landfall. And Joel can't magically conjure up knowledgeable sources through sheer will.

Although I am sure he has tried.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Nice post Joel. The lack of information about what is really going on with the Top Kill is consistent with their M.O. since day one.
From their very low-ball estimate of the volume of oil flowing from the leak to the stalling with the EPA about using a "less toxic" "dispersant" to the Top Kill.

What is the real reason they are pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical "dispersant" on the oil flow down at 5,000 feet. Is it to keep the oil it from reaching shore and aiding in the clean up as BP says or is it to keep (or delay) the oil from reaching the surface or shore so that the scope of the disaster is not as evident?

Posted by: lebrando | May 28, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I shouldn't let the Feds off either. I can only assume that the Feds knew about this as well, and didn't see fit to pass it along. This is inexcusable.

And if the Feds *didn't* know what was going on, there are bigger problems afoot.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

steveboyington - thanks for that link. But I'm not believing anything Thad says until I see happy fishies swimming over the concrete cap.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

At this point, RD_P, wouldn't you prefer to pilot the Trieste down there and see for yourself?

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Dang right Scottynuke.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Whatever Adm. Allen's qualifications may be for this job, he got snookered by the events of the last 36 hours.

I haven't much believed anything he's said since he was put 'in charge'. He's lost a lot of credibility over this, which doesn't much help the Obama administration.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The current Spillcam footage is completely ambiguous. There is no way to tell what it is even showing.

This 'official' press release from BP goes into pretty significant detail on how the three independent groups developed the 12,000 to 19,000 flow estimates:

The list of people on the Flow Rate Technical Group is pretty impressive, but I stand by my POOMA number complete with the BPIABOLB factor. I'm not trying to impugn the work of the FRTG, but GIGO.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The NYT is quoting Thad Allen as saying that this time the top kill is really, truly working, honest, for real now.

What is the opposite of crying wolf?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

RD, you are dang right -- there's no substitute for on having humans on-site.

I'll take the Trieste co-pilot seat down to that well head, if you take the co-pilot seat for when I re-rig Atlantis to fly to Mars.

As far as pinching off the pipe in the event of an emergency, I think that's what the BOP was supposed to do, wasn't it?


Posted by: -bc- | May 28, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Unified Command was a choice made by the administration. From the beginning they conflated our interests and BP's interests.
Certainly in one regard, we share the same interest, stopping the flow, but in other topic areas, our interests and BPs' differ diametrically, most are at least crosswise.

Much of what we have been told is pure propaganda, like that serial photo montage and press releases featuring an oiled pelican that was cleaned up and, "returned to the wild." Much has been obfuscation (examples abound, viz. yesterday) and most has been akin to advertising: please appreciate how much we care and how hard we are trying.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I understand that they don't want any more bad press than they've already got, but being called out as lying to the press isn't exactly good press either.

Posted by: joshlct | May 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

edbyronadams, Scientific American posted a very informative but not very encouraging piece about bacteria and oil breakdown at

Posted by: AgAnnie | May 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

In other words, yello, you're not trusting any leak rate estimate made with data largely supplied by BP?

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

RD & Scotty,
C'mon. Who are you going to believe, BP (via Thad Allen) or your own lyin' eyes?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Watching the video link right now, they are trying to turn bolts on something... maddeningly difficult.

The amazing Hubble repairs occurred because people could do it. Maybe when shouldn't drill where people can't go.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The phrase "clear as mud" keeps popping into my brain this morning.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Actually I would be quite happy just to see the pics from the ROV. I just thought the Trieste thing would be cool.

Or are we not talking about the same thing anymore?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

In war there is a concern not to telegraph one's actions to the enemy. I would suggest BP not, however, consider the public the enemy.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I think the way coolest thing would be for someone to get into the Ironman suit and zip down there to seal things up with his mighty hands of titanium alloy.

Why Obama hasn't done this beyond me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Oh, but they have more than enough ROV footage to create some great CGI, wouldn't you say, RD_P?

*adjusting my tinfoil in the mirror* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Cows in a feed lot are not our enemy, but we are glad they don't know what is going on, what that free lunch is all about.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I think the way coolest thing would be for someone to get into the Ironman suit and zip down there to seal things up with his mighty hands of titanium alloy.

Why Obama hasn't done this beyond me.
RD: I hear it's because BPs' written emergency response plan involved calling the Justice League and requesting Aquaman use a giant squid to seal the pipe.

Posted by: shadowmagician | May 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Always remember that BP has a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders. That responsibility is what drives BP. It over rides most everything else, and the guys at the top are rewarded for providing for and protecting the stockholders interests. Do it faster, do it quicker, do it cheaper. Any other questions...?

Posted by: captn_ahab | May 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

+1 internets to shadowmagician... and welcome!

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Do you know anything about the oil sucker machine that Kevin Costner's brother invented?

Does it work?

Can we use it?

Posted by: bmschumacher | May 28, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Curtis Morgan at the Miami Herald has what seems a very competent story on Gulf currents and oil.

Coldwater upwelling is what the people from Clearwater to Naples need to worry about. And of course Florida Bay, too. Oil in the mangrove forests of the Ten Thousand Islands and affecting the seagrass beds would be a nightmare.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 28, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Nah, RD, I was just having a little fun with you.

I think that BP's media/PR/and Government managment efforts may get the better of them in the end.


Posted by: -bc- | May 28, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Problem is, the people have been conditioned to believe that every problem can be solved in 60 minutes. 40 if you take out the commercials. Hey, if the BAU can find the serial killer in an hour, what's so hard about plugging a little hole in 5000 ft of water where the water pressure is 2200 psi. Perhaps we should ask those opposed to drilling for oil why they pushed one of the most risky operations into one of the most dangerous locations to operate (deep water). Oh, that's right, because of the 'view'. Same reason we can't have wind turbines where Teddy sailed his expensive yachts.

Posted by: RonD504 | May 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

AgAnnie, thanks for the link. It's kind of a mixed bag but taking the optimistic view, if the heavier components stick to the deep surface near the well and the lighter components get near the surface, higher temps and higher oxygen, perhaps the microbes can get hold of this thing sooner rather than later. It all depends, of course, on BP's ability to cap the well.

I am unsurprised that synthetic organisms are not an improvement on naturally occurring microbes. It takes a huge amount of hubris for genetic engineers to think they can outdo the relentless design review that the Darwinian process imposes.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. What a mess. RD hit on what strikes me as a problem: BP is clearly not willing to share timely information, as is the corporate wont, and has demonstrated this consistently since the tragedy occurred (explosion, dead people, pipe break). The federal gummint, sadly, has had to rely on BP and other oil industry expertise because gummint has neither the equipment nor the knowledge, by itself, to fix the problem. The gummint is relying on help from lotsa different sources for cleanup, because it will take lots of resources. Fair enough.

Somewhere along the line the gummint apparently allowed or agreed that BP would control information access as well. Thus Adm. Allen quoting BP, BP okaying video release, BP blocking press access to physical sites and failing to mention details like the cessation of mud pumping. One thing the gummint can do is to take over information dissemination, with the goals of access and transparency as far as possible.

And if, as RD mentions, the gummint didn't have access to the information either, then that is a big problem. That problem is something the gummint can fix, today.

Although I had no opinion either way on Adm. Allen I do wonder whether he has now lost so much credibility, whether through his own efforts or not, that we need a new gummint person in charge. Preferably it should be one seen as independent of BP.

shrink, your comment about drilling where people can't go actually is a fairly consistent thread on the Boodle. The discussion is usually in the context of the space program and space exploration - manned v. unmanned - but translates pretty well into the "space" of deep ocean work.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"BP's media/PR/and Government managment efforts may get the better of them in the end."

Hope so. But maybe they figure, hey if Wall street can make even more money after the disaster they caused, why can't we?

Or, if the health industry can pass a "reform" bill that only serves to force feed itself, why can't we?

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Well, the BLT did something, so I am going to solve the entire mess with a homemade mega cheesesteak.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Homemade pizza here, RT.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I saw a TV show recently where the criminal was unmasked because a security guard found a way to loop the video so he could take naps. Just sayin'.

The surface mapping group put a giant 2X (that rather fuzzy number again) factor on their estimate to account for evaporated/submerged/hidden oil. We have no clue how much oil hasn't surfaced, so I would view that number with the greatest suspicion.

The plume modeling group has the widest range of numbers (12,000-25,000) which puts its upperbound square into my POOMA range.

The only number I really trust is the lower bound calculated by the RITT group since it involved actual measurement of captured oil. Their potential source of error is the assumption that they were capturing 90% of the end-of-pipe flow and that the much heralded 85%/15% split between the open pipe and the riser bend crack. So I will accept that AT LEAST 11,000 barrels a day are leaking.

The three publicly released flow estimates have been 1,000 bpd, 5,000 bpd, and 16,000 bpd. I would love to graph these versus time to see if we are asymptotically approaching some value or exponentially growing without bounds.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why people are surprised that oil companies screw us over - that's their business model, no?

Posted by: seasea1 | May 28, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

One of my wing-nuttish friends last night posited the 'environmentalists pushed oil rigs past the 50 mile horizon so they are to blame' gambit. The refutation there is that if there is oil someplace, anyplace, the oil companies will want to drill their eventually, so deepwater Gulf drilling was a matter of when, not if.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

And under no circumstances should anybody read Krauthammer's column today without a barrel full of blood pressure medicine nearby:

Of course, that admonition is applicable most days.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Simple Way to Stop the Oil Spill - Pinch close the oil pipe. If you take a drink straw, then take your thumb and forefinger and pinch the straw together, this stops the flow through the straw. . Plumbers use this all the time on construction projects. They pinch off the pipes. BP could pinch off the pipe in stages due to the pressure. The first pinch would reduce the pipe diameter, then another smaller, another smaller, and the final closing the pipe. Each could have a distance of 5’-10’ a part.

BP could pinch off the oil pipe under the drill control section and bring it to the surface to determine what went wrong with it. But BP may not want to do that because it might show BP did not perform any preventative maintenance on the drill head.

Posted by: ctb36510 | May 28, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

You obviously have no idea how offshore drilling works. It's not as simple as "pinching" the end of a pipe as you would suggest. You further display your ignorance of the matter by suggesting that improper maintenance on the "drill head" somehow lead to the problem, which is probably the dumbest accusation I've read regarding this situation. The drill head had NOTHING to do with this problem, and if it hasn't already been recovered, the drill head is lying on the seafloor waiting to be recoverd.

If you're going to contribute to a discussion, have something intelligent to say, or at least know what you're talking about before posting some nonsense.


Professional Geologist

Posted by: Russtinator | May 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

In the oil biz they have a habit of referring to neophytes - that is, new people in the biz itself - as "worms." I resisted this my entire career except maybe one or two angry outbursts in the face of malignant incompetence.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

*hanging head in shame*

received email about beatles rooftop from misinformed but loverly relative

will never post such on boodle again

Good tunes anyhoo.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I used to read Krauthammer.. because as a non-aligned voter, I prefer to read pundits who won't stick to party-affiliation talking points. Alas, where Krauthammer was able to criticize Bush when Bush did not do what Krauthammer wanted, he is perfectly unable to stop yelling and screaming about every single thing Obama does. He is particularly bad at jumping on Obama for doing exactly what Bush did... and claiming it is a fatal weakness in Obama and the Democrats that will destroy us all... us being Israel, of course.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"One of my wing-nuttish friends..."

So, what is that like? I do have conservative friends (we dance into and then rapidly back out of politics to preserve our friendship) and perhaps even more annoying, friends who don't even know what the words mean, but who like to "feel good about the process" (I call them observant liberals).

But you like one of these wing nuts that just won't stop? Isn't that...exhausting? Does the friend believe Barak Hussein Obama is the Anitichrist? How about the Amero conspiracy?

Oh and speaking of not even knowing what the words mean and high blood pressure, russtinator, don't bother, no one cares what somebody talking about drinking straws thinks.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, blaming the oil companies seems as shortsighted as blaming environmentalists. The ultimate blame lies with everyone who pulls up to a gas station and wants fuel at a reasonable price. In fact, I trace our current economic troubles to the failure of petroleum supply to meet growing world demand. Those $4/gal prices preceded the meltdown.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, they're keeping us in the dark alright. Turns out that the underwater live video feed we've all seen isn't even the main leak. These two industry experts claim the "real" leak is 5 or 6 miles away. Of course, we can't handle the real truth, can we? Glad BP is there to protect us from it. Here's a link to the story.

Posted by: bretb | May 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I've run into that particular bit of wingnuttery regarding environmentalists forcing oil rigs into deep water too. I've been wondering which particular radio talk show idiot originated it.

The links on this site show the locations of gulf oil rigs. Nope, not a single one near shore.

Posted by: rashomon | May 28, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

For you Rorschach-Zapruderians, tell me what is happening 1:14 into this video:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

edbyronadams, if no life existed on the seabed, then maybe it would be ok to just let the oil settle, but we don't really understand the dynamics of a deepwater ecosystem and its interplay with the systems closer to the surface of the water. And trying to increase the bacterial population eating up the oil by adding fertilizer to the water is just a weird concept, given that we're already trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that drains into the Gulf every year and creates dead zones.
One of my favorite quotes from Jared Diamond: "Elimination of lots of lousy little species regularly causes big harmful consequences for humans, just as does randomly knocking out many of the lously little rivets holding together an airplane."

Posted by: AgAnnie | May 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is taking Matt Simmons's conspiracy theory too seriously. It's too implausible to contemplate that even BP is pending tens of millions a day on a smoke screen while Rome is burning down the road.

As for wingnuttery, I speak it fluently and know how to deflect it harmlessly. You should see the junk I get e-mailed from my father.

AFAIK, Rush has been beating the "Bill the World Wildlife Fund for the clean-up" drum ever since his "This is the work of eco-terrorists" theory got roundly derided even by wingnuts.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

At 1:14 in video: Clearly, the sky is falling.

Posted by: shilohgun | May 28, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"One of my favorite quotes from Jared Diamond: "Elimination of lots of lousy little species regularly causes big harmful consequences for humans, just as does randomly knocking out many of the lously little rivets holding together an airplane."

It's not as if I'm claiming there is no harm done by this spill. There is. Now, we must look to stop it and ameliorate it. Having the heavy oil components settle on the bottom is preferable to having them surface, where the life it would kill is much more abundant. Certainly the life kill on the bottom will be much more localized as well. The ocean floor is a big place.

As for the Diamond quote, no species are likely to be eliminated by this spill and it wasn't the little species that brought the Easter Island natives to their cultural knees. It was the idea that they could cut down the last tree.

Posted by: edbyronadams | May 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Here is an Oil Drum commenter after my own heart:

"We need Gandalf!!!! When the greedy dwarves dug too deeply into the earth under Khazad-dur, they released an ancient evil force called the Balrog, made of fire, icky bits, and Eeeeevil -- very bad, very potent, can't be stopped by any means known. When our brave and trusty Fellowship encountered this balrog in the Mines of Moria, it took Gandalf' sacrifice of his own mortal life in order to fight the Balrog back to the depths and save the Fellowship."

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday BP said it was going to cut off the live video feed of the oil spewing from the well, but they changed their minds because of the public outcry. Today, they cut off the live video feed because "the lens got dirty." Coincidence?

Posted by: dricks | May 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday BP said it was going to cut off the live video feed of the oil spewing from the well, but they changed their minds because of the public outcry. Today, they cut off the live video feed because "the lens got dirty." Coincidence?

Posted by: dricks | May 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, Hope you pizza is done!

I have to report a fantastic Cheese steak.

Our problems in the Gulf should be coming to a conclusion. Served on a fresh baguette; a large slice of juicy tomato and lettuce; grilled onions and hot peppers--MMmmmmmm--seasoned thinly sliced sirloin steak and my choice... melted mozzarella.

The weed is a happy boy, now.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I am dismayed at how many people glom on to the craziest of conspiracies/wild claims. Someone says "hey, check this out... everyone is lying but me!" and they follow the link to the hoax. Most of the time all it takes is one similar web search to find out that, yes, the first link is a hoax.

Why do so many people not do the second search?

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I read in a reputable European newspaper that BP stopped pumping mud because ... they ran out of mud and had to wait for the next delivery. Now that's hard to believe, but who knows?

Posted by: gmbka | May 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The "forcing oil rigs into deep water" may have a bit of factual basis in Florida's unwillingness to have anything close to its coast. However, no one seems to think there's significant oil reserves (maybe some gas) nearshore. Florida politicians have figured drilling bans are a good way to make voters happy, while not costing the state any lost revenues. Win-win!

The right wing will never stop believing there's abundant cheap petroleum in the US, all locked up by environmentalists. Making up your own facts is fun and productive--Ronald Reagan's anecdotes from Reader's Digest were far more palatable to the American public than Obama's walking-on-eggshells news conference yesterday. I suppose Obama should have been talking about the spirit of Red Adair as portrayed by John Wayne.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 28, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse


Many-armed BP
Fogging our vision with black
then claiming ink's red

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I finally dropped Kraut from my 'other side' reading list. Too many ridiculous defenses of oppressive measures (torture, ban miranda) that were transparent attempts to smear the administration. I can live with sleazy, but sleazy plus cowardly immorality was too much to take. I refuse to add to his page view count.

I'd be concerned about the long term effects of losing bottom or deep sea scavengers. A lot of organic material sinks down there, and I wonder if you leave its breakdown to bacterial decomposition whether the 'dead zone' problem won't grow.

I'm sure there's a connection between my two paragraphs, but it eludes me somehow.

Posted by: qgaliana | May 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Having the heavy oil components settle on the bottom is preferable to having them surface."

Even if we thought this true (you can collect it on the surface if you tried hard enough), this is not the issue. The question is whether sinking the spill into the water column was a good idea. Current (inexcusably scanty) evidence suggests the detergent treated and otherwise emulsified oil is being suspended in the water starting just below the surface down to 1500 feet in what are being called plumes.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Many-armed BP
Fogging our vision with black
then claiming red tape

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

More doom and gloom as another plume looms.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

So much for the booms, steveb.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, the booming school I believe refers to it as being [technical adverbing] [technical adjectived].

Posted by: qgaliana | May 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"...Mike Utsler...BP Houma incident commander, said he's only focused on taking oil off the surface. "We don't know there's oil underwater," he said.

And this is the reason the Obama administration going to bed* with BP will be held against them.

Just like oceanographers, BP knows all about the emulsification process from leaks at depth, how detergents work (hint, they don't "sink" anything) and neutral buoyancy. They know where almost all marine life lives, breathes and feeds.

Interior bureaucrats?, not much known.

BP chose to keep birds from looking bad on TV, they chose to pretend the size of the flow could not be measured or even estimated, while they knew and helped to ensure the great mass of it would neither sink nor surface.

To be clear, the great biomass of marine life is not floating on the surface, it lives where the oil is.

*again, see "Unified Command" website from day one: it is all US Gov/BP propaganda all the time, you can't even tell who is in charge of what gets on the site. Gov officials' and industry officials' names are used interchangeably, as if they were one big happy family.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Seems silly to insist on "the truth" when no one knows the facts, and when what we do know changes practically hourly -- not because anyone is hiding anything, but because it is a dynamic, changing situation. We can ask for honesty and transparency at any moment in time. We owe ourselves and others willingness to put statements into the context of what is known at the time, not what is known by some Monday Morning quarterback with after-the-fact benefit of hindsight.

Posted by: frodot | May 28, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that the BP PR guys just aren't very good at it. Every time Thad Allen speaks, you can see their lips moving. They need to study Jeff Dunham a little better.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for a BP executive to come give us this speech:

You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that needs oil. And that oil have to be drilled by men with rigs. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the Gulf of Mexico and you curse BP. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the Deepwater Horizon sinking, while tragic, probably found oil. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, finds oil...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want to burn that oil. You need me for your cars.

We use words like resource extraction, hidden reserves, peak oil...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent providing something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very energy I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a shovel and dig a well. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse


BP certainly knows the truth of whether or not it's pumping mud into the BOP. Failing to convey that fact to us, not to mention failing to correct repeated misconceptions based on their failure to convey facts, is certainly justifiable cause for dismay on our part.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, so far (and somewhat surprisingly), so good. Nevertheless, I merely wish to be reassured that the bunker is clean and clear, with plenty of vital victuals for the gang, should we need to assemble, resemble and dissemble thereupon.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Mud slide slimmish

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

frodot, were you aware many fisheries biologists and many oceanographers have been saying the same things from day one?

The flow rate could have been and should have been measured. Even today the Unified Command is issuing the BP line, the "inexact number" is not very important because we are doing everything we can anyway. This is simply false. They know and soon everyone will, knowing how much oil is in the water is a BFD.

Because of the high pressure and gas emulsification, much of the oil will take weeks or may never surface, "dispersants" may do more harm than good and so on, this was being said and ignored, still is.

Problem is, this is not an oil spill. We are doing things you do when a tanker breaks. People should have been able to understand that back in April. But to say even now, that we don't know there is oil under the water is ridiculous, it is a lie.

I was listening to shrimpers talking a few weeks ago about pulling up equipment from depth in places where there was no oil on the surface and shrimping was not (yet) banned...and discovering their equipment slick with oil.

When the first mega-plume was discovered a few weeks ago, the Unified Command on its web site condemned the media for spreading "false information" about it and only said it should be studied.

Oh forget it, thats all folks.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, the wife and I will be seeing the two of them in concert in about 3 weeks. We anticipate being some of the youngest in the crowd.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Homemade pizza was yummage, Weed.

qgaliana, booming school is a hoot.

As to BP's claim that undersea oil plumes weren't likely, well, their ability to assess risk and probabilities is a tad shaky these days.

The spillcam seems to be focused back on top of the BOP. I'm guesstimating the flow of toxic chocolate shake is about as strong as when Mr. A first posted the prior kit. Don't have the expertise to tell whether there's any oil in that mix or not.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Joel's afternoon article:

He crunches the numbers on the various flow estimates.

As of presstime, BP is claiming the flow is oil not mud. We'll see what they say at their usual post-deadline news conference.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

And my little free-associating brain brought me to this:

Partial lyrics:

And everybody's wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said "Hey, gunner man, that's quicksand, that's quicksand that ain't mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?"


He rides head first into a hurricane and disappears into a point
And there's nothin' left but some blood where the body fell
That is, nothin' left that you could sell
just junk all across the horizon, a real highwayman's farewell
And he said "Hey kid, you think that's oil? Man, that ain't oil that's blood"
I wonder what he was thinking when he hit that storm
Or was he just lost in the flood?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

'Obama's Katrina' is the wingnut talking point of the day. In addition to aforementioned Chuckie K piece, here is a National Review Online piece with the same title:

And response by Mother Jones:

Memes are dangerous things.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Cheney's Katrina Cheney's Katrina Cheney's Katrina Cheney's Katrina Cheney's Katrina Cheney's Katrina.

Memes 'r' Us

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Did you notice George W. Bush slinking around Texas selling windmills last week? I kid you not. Don't tell me the little bard has no sense of humor.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I said I'd leave it alone, but someone emailed me this and I worked for a couple years in deep water column biological oceanography in the North Pacific, on a NOAA ship/grant.

This is good. I say better late than never...

"ROBERT, La. - The NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter conducting sampling in the Gulf has expanded its mission to use its sophisticated sonar equipment and other scientific instruments to help define the subsurface plume near the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill site and adjacent area. The mission is a collaborative project among NOAA, academia and the private sector.

Previously conducting plankton sampling in the south Gulf important to establish baseline conditions related to the oil spill, Gordon Gunter will begin additional work using its sonar capabilities that can scan subsurface features. Also aboard is a graduated net used for sampling fish larvae at different depths. The 224-ft.Gordon Gunter will conduct observations for fisheries, water, and acoustics sampling in the oil spill area and to the south.

If potential plumes are identified, the Gunter will deploy a unique autonomous underwater vehicle provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Called the Gulper, the vehicle will take discrete water samples at various depths to allow precise characterization of any oil, dispersants, or other substances in the plume." from the Transocean UC website

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

yello, re: your 2:18. In addition to "Obama's Katrina" there's "Jindal says it took the Feds 3 weeks to approve cleanup equipment." Haven't had time to fact check that, but the mere words "Jindal says" puts my BS detector on red alert.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 28, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who picks his own nickname from a sitcom character and then insists everyone call him by that name...and succeeds!? Maybe Piyush is one tough sob.

The kids with names they hated who tried to re-brand themselves when I was an adolescent got a beat down.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sitcom characters...

Front page reports Gary Coleman has died at 42.

R.I.P. Gary. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, just take a look at this and tell me that the words "What, me worry?" don't automatically spring to mind.,_official_109th_Congressional_photo.jpg

Posted by: kguy1 | May 28, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, kguy. Contrasting Bobby to Alfred E. is a new one to me. Here the four guys I compared him to once:

And I did a side-by-side break down with Kenneth ‘The Page’ Parcell:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Scotty?

So sad to see them go so young. So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

kguy and yello, that reminds me of the t-shirts emblazened with the likeness of GWB (a/k/a "little boy") as Alfred E. Newman, tooth-gap and all. Either over or under it, was the word: "WORRY".

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know where Mudge is today?

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Good question, ftb...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Let us hope Gary gets more of a memorium than "Avenue Q," yello.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

In Avenue Q he was a bulding superintendent. In real life he had been a security guard. It does make this song particularly poignant:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If the NYT report is correct and the Top Kill isn't working as advertised, then once again, I have to wonder where, exactly, Thad gets his info.

Look, we're grown-ups. (Well, sorta.) Like Joel's correspondent says, we can handle the truth.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The junk shot attempt had been abandoned several hours before Thad Allen appeared on GMA.

Somebody at BP get him in on the loop. This is just humiliating.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Gary Coleman dead at 42.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

At this point, it seems that either BP is terrible at accuracy, or is just simply used to saying anything and having everyone believe it. How many consecutive times can they be inaccurate and still be allowed to speak? Won't people just stop listening?

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

*ring ring*

M: Hello?

X: Is this the man they call Mudge?

M: It is.

X: Please hold for the President, Mr. Mudge.

*brief silence*

44: Hello, Mr. Mudge. I need you.

M: Good day, Mr. President. I'm sorry, you said you need me?

44: That's right, Mr. Mudge. A limo will pick you up in 30 minutes. I need you down here.

M: Here being where, Mr. President?

44: Louisiana. You're taking over for Admiral Allen. You'll be briefed on your way down here, but since I know you're a regular reader of the Achenblog, a lot of it will be review. Pack light. Hot and humid don't come close to describing the weather.


That's where Mudge is.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it but I'm kinda with Shrink. Corporate psychology and governance being what it is, I think the dispersants were done for pure PR value (less yucky oil visible), and money (you probably get dinged at worst a nominal dumping fine for lobbing pollutants into the high seas vs clean up costs on shore). I seriously doubt they spent more than a nanosecond considering what it would mean in terms of long term effects.

Too bad Allen is only in the coast guard. I imagine a proper USN fleet admiral could arrange a few tuna heads in BP execs beds after the first instance of misinformation, courtesy of the Navy seals. Maybe they should bail their cousin out.

Posted by: qgaliana | May 28, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Screwed over, yes. But not by BP. Screwed over by the incompetence of Federal regulators and their spokesmen. BP doesn't control what the Coast Guard says, and the fact that the CG didn't have up to date information is not BP's fault.

Posted by: recrec | May 28, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

There's a birthday cake in the bunker. I left it there during the last kit. It celebrates the day, 34 years ago, that talitha became a mother.

Carrot cake, cream cheese icing, decorated with orange, kiwi and strawberry slices. I made enough for all. Dig in!

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

qgaliana, when one looks at the plans BP has tried to date, a number of them (burning surface oil, inappropriate deployment of booms, drilling mud, junk shot material, dispersants) involve polluting the environment on some level.

The oil industry doesn't seem to have many eco-friendly back-up plans at the ready.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, talitha! Congrats! *hoping offspring has fledged and left nest, although is, of course, welcome to come to party*

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

PS: I'm calmly outraged as H E double L.

My cynicism from past weeks being justified leaves a doubly bad taste in my mouth. I'm squelching it with copious champagne and simple steaks on the grill. The birthday man, many friends, Mr. Tal and live music make the night wondrous.

All send waves to the Boodle!

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

ftb, fledged doesn't even begin to describe it!

That child came out singing softly
strumming a G chord
and flew to his parents' delight!

(wish his dad was still alive to see him today)

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations at the first Tali-sprog's birthday!

Yes, live, and save your umbrage for when you can make it matter.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Hoppy birdies to the b-day man, talitha!

In other celebratory news, Niece#2 arrives back in the Ewe-Ess in about 20 minutes after over 4 months in Your-rope.

Posted by: MsJS | May 28, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod -

leatherthumb, aka sonchild, is laughing (supply synonyms at will) at 'Tali-sprog'. Says you know him better than most!


Momhead is still in totally suppressed outrage at BP's PR press/gummit end run. Celebration notwithstanding.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, happy landing to Niece#2! What a wonder it is to have youth and wings!

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Now this is interesting:

The Geekdottir and I made it up the mountain, amidst terrible holiday traffic. Glad to be here, glad to rest a bit.

Posted by: slyness | May 28, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, MsJs, but the premise is all wrong. Any time Barry or Michelle want me they just call me directly (they have my private number, and I have theirs), they wouldn't go through the White House switchboard. And Barry would never call me "Mr. Mudge" unless he was foolin' around, as he sometimes does. (Of course, I call him "Mr. President" nowadays.)

Scotty, got you e-mail and then I hit a wrong button on my Blackberry and it disappeared into cyberspace somewhere, which is why I didn't reply to it.

Took the day off for a doctor appointment follow-up. I had the very first appointment at 8 a.m. and got there 10 minutes EARLY (practically unheard of, for me, but there it is). I waited 45 minutes, and finally had enough. Last appointment I had (and it was a scheduled appointment, not a walk-in) I waited 3 hours, and it was 2 hours the appointment before that. Yup. So this morning after 45 minutes I had it. I went to the receptionist and asked for my co-pay back, and left. She was very apologetic, but I told her it wasn't her fault, But this guy runs a very sloppy front office, with staff wandering in whenever they want to. So now I gotta find a new GP.

I ordered the third Stieg Larsson book yesterday, and it arrived about 4 p.m. today, even though I just ordered standard shipping. Man, Amazon is fast.

Also took my truck to Geico for appraisal of hailstorm damage. The appraiser at the Geico Express shop here in town said they have had 2,200 claims from that hailstorm, just from here in Waldorf. At any rate, he counted about 100 dents just in the hood alone. The appraisal came to a tad over $3,000, minus my $500 deductible, so they're sending me a check for $2,500, which includes $200 for a new tonneau cover for the truck bed.

Meanwhile our house appraiser came yesterday, and it looks like we're getting all new siding on the house and the garage, and probably both roofs re-shingled, about $30,000 worth of work. My neighbor across the street has a different insurance company, and had his house damage appraised on Wednesday. At the end of the appraisal the adjustor cut him a check on the spot for $20,000.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 28, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

NukeSpouse has put me in the doghouse...

Apparently I forgot to inform her the set-top box includes a DVR, and she had SO wanted to watch "V" while it was on.

*hanging head*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

JA's latest:

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Earlier steveboyington asked, so now it is plugged?

Now we know the junk shot + top kill has been tried.

We have to hope they learned and can do it again, or something.

They are shooting their wad.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Good to see you got the message, 'Mudge. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 28, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I was stuck on the funny farm for awhile. I got the two letter Ox, but couldn't for the life of me get the second two letter farm word. I just started typing in every two letter word I knew, plus a few I made up. Finally I typed in a four letter word for excrement and hit enter and what do you know ... Bull Excrement ... yeppir ... BS appeared as if by magic

Now my computer screen stinks. TBG, I don't know whether to say thanks or thanks a lot. I'll go with the first one. The lower right corner is still pink, but I also have four other recs incomplete.

So I'm gonna take a break and re-watch a couple of episodes of Heroes

Posted by: omni3 | May 28, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- I'm gonna send you an email in a minute or two re: GP.

In case anyone wants to watch a classic movie (all ready for us at 8:00 pm (eastern) on TCM, Stalag 17 is on. Nice escapism for those what need it. I know I do.

Toodley boodley.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Just fyi,

"According to NOAA, there are approximately 5.7 million recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico region who took 25 million fishing trips in 2008. Commercial fishermen in the Gulf harvested more than one billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2008."

Everyone in the seafood industry fears one word more than any other: contamination.
If you don't agree, you are not in the business.

People accept dirty food from the earth, you cook it, you wash it...

Contaminated seafood for dinner?

So now you know why "plume" denial matters.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Just sent it out, Mudge.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 28, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers Mudge. I just figured they turned on the Mudge Signal located on the roof of the White House.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I see that BP is giving the top kill another shot. My optimism, though, has waned. And if I get up tomorrow to hear Thad say that everything is going *just peachy*, I will feel even worse.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 28, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Mention BS, and poof... he appears!

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - I liked the BP Executive Jessep speech (back at about 1330 hrs this afternoon) very much. I just chuckled out loud as I read it again.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Bob, no one wants to follow that.

Here's some cool bs, however:

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course they stopped pumping mud. They ran out.

Who ever said "Plan ahead."

The BP response would be "Not if it cost money."

Kept in the dark?

How else do they grow mushrooms?

Just keep the horse busy.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 28, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

ftb, the birthday crowd settled on Stalig 17 on TCM for the must-see this evening. Amazing!

Even birthday celebrants appreciate escapism with edge. Munching allowed.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about that, Jumper. Didn't think I was THAT intimidating! :-)

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Manufacturing doubt

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

If you've read the stuff I write, you know I can be blunt & outspoken. Yet I haven't said a whole lot about this.

That's because I already have figured out a pile of the outcomes from all this. They're all bad.

Here's the news flash, everything dies.

Posted by: Nymous | May 28, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Come on, mudge. We see through your silly excuses. You were helping to install the energy plant powered by your motor out in that valley in Colorado, I bet.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 28, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I am absolutely loving the hyper-train transfer system.

I remember a short story I read once about transport achieved with a series of parallel moving sidewalks, each traveling just a bit faster/slower than the adjacent belt. By the time you sauntered over to the fast lane, you were moving at a righteous pace, but there was no particular discomfort because there was no sudden acceleration. When it broke down the effects were... dramatic.

I've got a feeling the no-stop bullet train will eventually offer up a similarly heart-stopping failure. Gonna have to keep failures few & far between (like commercial aviation) for this technology to take off. But I like the idea. A lot.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Nymous - Ummm, no biggie. Everything was gonna die already.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Dig Joel, dig. Thank you sir.

Posted by: teddymzuri | May 28, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

You *so* deserved that, Scotty.

Posted by: Yoki | May 28, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Yo, teddy!

Posted by: Yoki | May 28, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I also immediately got that 'The Roads Must Roll'/'Caves of Steel' deja vu as well. You gotta be quick to be lead geek on this blog.

I was too busy re-watching this week's 'Glee' just in case they sing some songs from it this weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke: One word: Hulu.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The Heinlein story I keep thinking about this week is "Blowups Happen:" -- retitled, in this case, "Blowouts Happen." As I recall, the basic idea in the story was that some technologies are so inherently dangerous (his 1940s idea of a nuclear reactor) that they should only be located where they can do no damage (in space, in his story).

Right-winger that Heinlein was, I'm wondering how he'd reconcile that thought with the dangers inherent in drilling oil wells a mile under water.

Posted by: rashomon | May 28, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Beat me to it, yellojkt. Those roads were one of my favorite Heinlein conceptions. Did they have 'em in Caves too?

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

rash - Gosh, great minds really do think alike. I was (just this very second) re-reading "Blowups" with an introduction from himself.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I welcomed a bit of dark humor on the Oil Drum site as it relieved some tension. Amid all the silly ideas posted by well-meaning newbies, one fellow straight-facedly proposed filling the wellhead with pure molten gold. Such a level of masterfully ironic snark is rare.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - While "Hulu" is a fine word, I'll also recommend (as I do occasionally) "Utu".

This is about one very annoyed Maori!

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - Not to overstate my own brilliance (hard to do) but I mentioned a mud made primarily of the two densest elements (osmium & iridium) a while back.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, there was even a chase sequence in CoS. That would be very cool to film if Asimov ever becomes as hot as Dick.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh. Now I see plume denial is over.
We have found the oil!

Sorry about raising the specter of contaminated fish sticks.

The seafood industry in the gulf is dead.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Hi, y'all!

Speaking of chase scenes, now that the birthday crowd devoured Stalig 17, TMC is airing The Great Escape. They decided not to . . . escape, that is!

I love hosting a party!

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, "hot as Dick" is an imposing goalpost indeed! But there is a "Foundation" project in the works.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

talitha - Great flicks! What time does "Cool Hand Luke" come on?

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, just realized the Memorial Day WWII theme. While "Patton" is probably the better movie, I think I'd be up for "The Dirty Dozen" next. "Mr. Roberts" is always a winner, too.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"The End of Eternity" is also in some stage of development, Bob.

Posted by: rashomon | May 28, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Is "Te Wheke" allowed as a boodle handle?

Been looking for one, and that rings true, but the gentleman's name is sacred.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Roberts is a hoot for so many reasons. Powell as the doctor and Cagney against the grain as the curmudgeon (!). Fonda and Lemmon in cahoots. Always fun.

I can't take my eyes off Great Escape, try as I may, because I first saw it on the big screen when my daddy deigned to take me to an "adult" movie. Can still smell the popcorn and have the memory of knowing that someone accepted me as an intelligent human being.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 28, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sure Will Smith destroyed Asimov's cachet. I don't know how you do Foundation I except as an anthology with the same actor playing Seldon. I nominate Patrick Stewart. Or Ian McKellan.

For Caves of Steel we could have Bruce Willis as Elijah Baley and Brent Spiner as R. Daneel. Hey, it's tough being typecast, but actors need work.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Hmm,"in development" could mean soon or "BP soon."

"The Stars My Destination" has been "in development" for at least 6 years...

This little movie Screamers turned out better than I thought it would. Philip K. Dick story.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 28, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Liquid gold wouldn't work as well as SciTim's osmium idea. I like how there are hundreds of people out there now dreaming up all sorts of Rube Goldberg contraptions. They figure that if it works in their bathtub, how hard can it be to scale up to 5000 psi.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I listened to the afternoon BP press conference which is quickly becoming as unintentionally hilarious as Baghdad Bob back in his day. I didn't hear a WaPo byline, but the natives were getting restless. One rather pointed question raised the issue of a beachfront Potemkin created for Obama's press op only to have the busloads of workers carted off as soon as the Prez was around the corner.

It's astounding that a company that huge can be so gut-wrenchingly bad at PR. I guess they don't have to be good at it most of the time.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 28, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

"The Stars My Destnation" has been in some stage of development hell for Ionger than that, Jumper. I think the first time that I heard about an option on it was in the early '70s.

Posted by: rashomon | May 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Too many unwatched dvds.

Enemy at the Gates [Stalingrad] has to be overblown. Possibly better to read about the battle for Moscow.

The Big Red One (reconstructed). Evidently a masterwork. Need to be in a Serious Mood.

Full Metal Jacket. Why can't Barry Lyndon get the BluRay treatment? My recollection is that it had a terrifying battle scene.

The Thin Red Line. Also certified as Serious.

Seven Samurai. Wonderful, but hard to arrange enough time.

Le Samouraï. Less serious.

Samurai Jack. Even less serious.

Wages of Fear. Waiting for Boom. Perhaps relevant to present-day warfare.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Dave - I'm somewhat notorious for cajoling some subset of my acquaintances into sitting through a viewing of "The Seven Samurai" every so often. Generally, most of them are bored by the experience. And inevitably one or two of them are converted.

And thus is the faith carried forward.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

The Wages of Fear is Deaaaeeth! Or a boom in the head, if you don't hike. Or duck, quickly. Reef! Luff!

Posted by: Yoki | May 28, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I meant to mention this much earlier:

Mudge - I'm sure that your house is worth every penny/pound/cent/dollar, but it's a little sad to think that it's considered reasonable to expend a decent working-person's annual salary on replacing some siding and shingles. It really shouldn't be that way.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, Yoki finally reached the limit!

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

How much of that roof and siding cost do you think might be labor, Bob S?

But yes, I agree. Roofing is so often a buyer beware business that it's insane to have to lay that much money out.

Why can't roofs come pre-assembled? It'd be safer working conditions all around.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 28, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I cannot take credit for the work of another -- osmium was a suggestion by Bob-S that simply stuck in my mind.

Bob, I'm pretty sure that most of the cost of replacing the shingles and siding is in paying the guys who install the materials, rather than the materials themselves. Redistribution of wealth, man, it's all the rage these days -- hadn't you heard?

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 28, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

When I was getting my sailing lessons before the mast, Cap'n Steve (I'll call him) made darned sure I knew that if I didn't move right smartly he fully intended to hurt me or fling me into the water with a quickly-moving boom and/or a rapidly-shifting deck.

Keep a close ear and a sharp eye, mates.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 28, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Too right.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

And the phrase "coming soon to ScyFy" is never reassuring.

"Foundation" has Roland Emmerich attached. I guess he got tired of destroying the Earth and decided to move up to the entire galaxy.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

10 Days before the mast.
Avast ye, scurvy dog.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I first saw Seven Samurai in college. Bad print, exotic setting, lots of mud, swordfights that bore no resemblance to the "three musketeers" variety, and a very strange Toshiro Mifune.

I have no idea how Kurosawa filmed fighting in such confined quarters.

I think Criterion is releasing a BluRay version, which means a good print/negative is available or the movie's famous enough that fans will want BluRay regardless.

Just realized there's also Hope and Glory by John Boorman. Wonder if Emerald Forest is available.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Anything and everything costs what it costs, and if thirty grand is what it costs to re-roof & re-side, then that's what it costs.

If it was a grass hut on the beach, we could probably all come over this weekend and rebuild it for the cost of a couple of meals and some fruity rum drinks.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

*escaping greatly out from and into another loop*

Bob - The Seven Samurai is my ideal for costume design. Functional and eloquent. The film speaks for itself, no matter the audience.

After such a day I'm reveling in everyone's discourse. 8) Music links?

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Try this, Talitha.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

That mudgestorm must have been a terror.

My yard and house are in sufficiently good condition that I feel like they're emitting hurricane-attracting pheromones.

If a bad on hits somewhere in urban Florida, it will damage lots of uninsured property, foreclosures-waiting-to-happen, etc. In 1992, Andrew induced mass migration from southern Miami-Dade county to new subdivisions in southern Broward. Could a bad storm this year lead to abandonment of the most damaged areas? In Florida, cheap subdivisions from the 50s through 70s, condos built in the 1970s, and rental housing in general aren't worth much. Of course some cities with waterfront locations would be worth more destroyed than intact.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Here's a group who have already pioneered something I thought of a week or so ago: Why does Facebook have to be a "site" when it could just as well be an "app?"

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Embarrassingly enough, I've had a copy of Criterion's "Seven Samurai" on vhs sitting in a box full o'movies for about five years without getting around to watching it. I saw the abbreviated U.S. version many years ago. With over an hour cut out, it was largely incoherent, and I think that this left me with enough of a negative impression that I never quite bring myself to setting aside enough time to watch a 3 1/2 hour movie. With the way I watch some movies, that means I need to devote most of the day to it.

Dave, along with "Wages of Fear," check out the remake, "Sorcerer," if you haven't seen it. It's on my very short list of movies that (in some ways) improves on the original. "Fear" is still the better of the two, but the claustrophobia of the jungle setting in "Sorcerer" really works.

Posted by: rashomon | May 29, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

If a bad on hits? Dave?


Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

weezer knows their minds

merci, ma soeur

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Va bien, ma Soeur Tal. Et puis, et puis.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

You gotta be a tougher man than me to watch that Wheezer video without grinning a bit. They was surely amusing themselves.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

rashomon, Seven Samurai is one of the only 'lengthy' movies (with subtitles) to which I *can* devote my entire attention.

Can anyone help me remember the film (Swedish ?) about the man who sees his life recounted in dream? I'm having the proverbial brainf*rt here and will be totally embarrassed once someone helps me.
Liv Ullman. . . . . thinking . . . thinking?

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Wild Strawberries.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Anything that starts out with, "We are four talented young programmers from NYU’s Courant Institute..." probably isn't going to have a completely happy ending.

I keep trying to tell my young pals in the music recording biz that there are very, very few successful acts that mention themselves by name in their work. Hitchcock knew better than to try to take the leading role.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Bibi Andersson, not Liv Ullman.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, the Breeders aud/vid gives me a whole new image of you! Learning something new every day here on the boodle. *grinning*

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Mudge. I thought I was losing my mind for a minute.

Wild Strawberries took my breath away the first time I experienced it. I hold it close in my heart of hearts.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh, frig. Fine. I'm *zo* out.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Goodnight to you all. We're winding down the last moments with the sonchild and his friends on his birthday. Breakfast for the crowd will come soon and then they'll fly far and wide again.

Sleep well.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm outta here for tonight, but want to make it perfectly clear that my bemoaning of market realities was aimed at the (sometimes distorted) vagaries of the market. Definitely not intended to disparage any of the participants therein.

Happy five-days-after-Victoria Day and two-days-before-Memorial Day, y'all.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and when I first read it I assumed that the correspondent in question ("I feel screwed over by BP, I sure as hell expected better -- just tell us the goddam truth, pretty or ugly.") was Mudge. Is this not the case? I know it wasn't me.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

It is like the old days in Montreal, when I had fabulous Queens as friends. As though I cared, one way or the other.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

I watched Sorcerer once on TV during a sleepless night.

The hurricanes that bothered us in 2004 were messy, but I had an undamaged house and electricity returned quickly. So it was less bad than the Mudgestorm. But garden-variety storms can create surprising amounts of damage and economic disruption. I don't like that prospect in a year of economic and social distress.

I was nowhere near Andrew in 1992, but had a mostly long-distance role in recovery. That storm was terrifying. Creepily, a grower in Homestead had made a breakthrough in selling big green Keitt mangoes at Publix. For a short while, you could buy the fruit from trees that had been uprooted in the wind.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Now here is a cool site:

If you zoom in close enough, you can see the names of all the ships involved with the oil rig operation.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Nope, Bob, that quote wasn't me. Might have been, could have been, but wasn't.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Haven't backboodled thoroughly but it's good to see the boodle so geeked out on a long weekend.

DotC-you have given me dream cooties of large swathes of Florida improved by storm destruction. (Wondering if our insurance requires us to rebuild in the same location? North Carolina would be so much better than Tampa)

Mudge-you remind me of a dear friend who would go up to the reception desk, or call the dispatcher if he was waiting for a service call at home, and demand payment for his time once the appointed hour had passed. Always unfailingly polite, but firm in the knowledge that had he caused the delay there would have been a penalty-should work both ways, yes?

Off for a run, the farmers market, and a few projects around the hip urban loft. Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

That doctor visit sounded like a nightmare. I had a podiatrist where ever appointment was an hour in the waiting room and then an hour in the exam room before she would even see me. I switched and now it's in and out.

Booking the first appointment of the day should help but rarely does. Definitely find a new GP more considerate of his or her patients.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

They tried all the same procedures in 1979 to stop the blowout of Ixtoc 1 in the Gulf; They all failed and that was only in water 200 ft deep. But as long as they keep pump drilling Mud into that leak Less oil will pollute the Gulf until their other killer well is completed.

Then to; if they pumped Sea water at high enough pressure and volume to block Crude from rising up the pipe it may be a better solution. Drilling mud will cover the sea floor choking out some lifeforms, coats the gills of fish killing them.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | May 29, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Mudge, I sympathize with you on waiting at the doctor's office. I made it clear to all my doctors that if they are running late I want to know when I check in. I'll wait up to 40 minutes with a scheduled appointment and that's it. And I have changed doctors as a result.
It appears BP is going to stop drilling the 2nd relief well so it can move the rig over the busted well and drop a new BOP on top of the old BOP if the current 'top kill' plan doesn't work.

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

I note that the home pages of neither the WaPo nor the NYT feature any headline status-reports on the top-kill. There is coverage, of course, but, to me, that there is nothing in big type suggests frustration with the quality and timeliness of the information being provided to the press.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

It is a lovely morning to do some gardening. The 'maters have been flourishing - including my Mr. Stripey, whose existence thus far has been far less eventful than his storied forefather. Or Foremother. It gets confusing sometimes.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Happy gardening, RD. Do you grow just the 'maters? Probably a good thing--the bunnies are particularly prolific this year, and have demonstrated a fondness for my pole beans.

Will be heading out to the country house as soon as Raysdad rousts himself from bed. Have a terrific holiday weekend all!

Posted by: Raysmom | May 29, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

During the Bubble, the City of Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County had plans to replace itself with something more lucrative. Then there was Briny Breezes, the trailer park on the beach, that nearly sold out.

Drømspel: Liv Ullman

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Is it still morning? Mercy, I'm too old to party all night, but we sure had a good time. Planned breakfast has turned into afternoon brunch for the birthday revelers.

We enjoyed having members of the Boodle at the party and appreciated the music and cheer you provided A. L O T!

Thanks again to Mudge for nudging my brain to Bergman's Smultronstallet. Confusing Ullman for Andersson was a side product of the brainfa*t. *sheepish grinning*

As to coverage of the Gulf, where is it?
*scrolling madly*

Good Saturday to all.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Yep, pretty much just 'maters. Those are the only vegetable-type things that anyone in this house will actually agree to consume.

That said, just for fun, I do occasionally plunk in a hot pepper plant. Hot peppers are so idiot-proof that I rely upon them to gratify my tender gardening ego.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Mudge was right, talitha -- it *is* Smultronstället" ("Wild Strawberries"). It, too, is one of my favorite Bergman films.

Okay, moms, I need some help. My African "sister-in-law" is pregnant with her second child and is experiencing (as in the first) terrible morning sickness. I've suggested ginger tea (well, ginger *anything*) and soda crackers, light meals throughout the day, etc. But for those of you who actually experienced this yourselves, any ideas? I'm going to try to get some stuff today for her and ship them over (which generally takes about 3 weeks or so to get there). Any ideas?

Time for lunch and then out to finish up the errands. Have a great day/weekend/holiday, all.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 29, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

RD, you have the same gardening philosophy as the mister. He plants 'maters with the occasional pepper thrown in. I tend the okra, corn, zinnias etal. We eat well and the view is beautious. Scarecrows are also my department.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

A person in the Deepwater Horizon engine room testified today that the rig's emergency generators didn't work and efforts to manually start a backup generator failed. This was after gas seeped into the engine room and the diesel engines revved up and tripped an automatic shutoff.

Without power, the rig's fire pumps were useless.

So, did the rig not have adequate gas detection devices to prevent it from seeping through the ducts into the engine room in the first place?

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse
It also appears BP failed to perform critical set of tests on the drilling mud prior to the explosion. The witness calls these tests 'standard.'

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I had slight morning sickness in the early months. My incredible doctor* told me to keep a glass of OJ and some soda crackers by the bedside at night and to partake of them before putting my feet on the ground in the morning. Worked for me, but every woman is different. (He also prescribed tablespoons of raw honey for leg cramps in the last months which worked equally well.)

*Dr. ____ had been a paratroop medic during WWll and Korea. We lived in mountainous Colorado, three hours from a hospital, when my son was born. I had planned a home birth and found a doctor experienced and willing to attend and also had two midwives. He delivered our sonchild and about 30 others at home in that one month alone, and did pre-natal and follow-ups in his clinic 25 miles away.
THE best doctor I've ever had the privilege to know.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

There are oil spill hearings being held today down in Louisiana.

Might be worth checking occasionally as they have someone there updating the story pretty frequently.

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I'm afraid to ask about the picture you had of me prior to the Breeders tune. I do tend to like sad songs and felt like livening up.

One of my regular joints, Cabo Fish Taco was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives last night. Even a quick shot of my favorite waitress.

The most glorious creature...

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article on wind energy: it's too cheap; hurts Big Power.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

talitha, one thing a rig DOES have is gas detectors. It all came at once. (one difficulty is drilling is that the story the mud can tell you is delayed by the time it takes to travel from the bottom up - often over an hour, depending on depth.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

A good snack and drink right before bed can sometimes help with morning sickness, as well as being careful not to overheat while sleeping (hypoglycemic spikes can cause sweating and dehydration, which can worsen the nausea-- think mild hangover without the booze.)

Talitha's tip is in the same vein, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, my vision of you is prismatic as of now! Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is fabulous feasting, huh? Lydia, O Lydia, my Lydia . . . lovely link!

Anyone know the Sip and Bite on Aliceanna St. in Bawlmer? (Hope it's still there) That's my favorite divey diner. Folks eating crabcakes at 6:00am for breakfast chased with a beer they sneaked hidden in a jacketpocket.

The birthday gang is packing to leave as I type. See boodlers later after I dry a tear or two.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tips. Just got back from Montgomery Mall, where I went to a maternity clothing store that had something called "Preggie Pops" -- they seemed to have helped her somewhat with the first child, and she asked me to pick some up for her if I could. All set to send off.

Time to rest the back, which is complaining mightily.

Cya later.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 29, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Dennis Hopper dies at 74 of pancreatic cancer:

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, one of my thoughts regarding wind power is along that vein. When you burn coal, lots of people make money selling you coal. When you burn gas, lots of people make you money selling you gas.

Nobody sells you wind. The natural resource extraction companies have to HATE that. Who wants to burn stuff that is free? No money in that for anyone... truckers, railroads, etc.

That alone aligns huge forces against it.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that assumes power companies won't make the capital investment to harness windpower, steveb. Failure to update the paradigm has killed many an enterprise, so we'll see.

Anybody besides me having Achenblog stuck on Adam Coont's Twitter account? It's driving me crazy.

Posted by: slyness | May 29, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

But it costs money to build things that take advantage of wind, steveb. Same with water. Somebody makes money building a dam, even though the flow of water is free.

Another advantage of wind is that "mining" it doesn't kill nearly as many people as mining coal. So fewer people are going to sue your hindquarters when you screw up mining wind than mining coal.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

RIP Dennis Hopper

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I am a huge proponent of wind and solar. I just like to try to see things from a reality standpoint. All those folks (truckers, miners) look at wind and see what money they don't get from it. Self-preservation and desire to keep things the status quo is a very powerful force.

The big power companies will eventually see the light and move toward wind and solar where it is most profitable. When they do, there will be huge battles by the extraction industries to stop them.

I am not saying it is a good thing, I am just guessing it is an inevitable thing... and something that is going on right now.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

More accurately, it's the folks who own those companies who see what they don't get from it. But yes, it's hard to retrofit work skills to green energy, we really have a shortage of qualified people ready to get green solutions up and running.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was more of a storage issue. We can't store the energy we create, so whatever energy we can capture from wind and solar has to be consumed at the time. The energy in coal and oil is stored in the substance itself and can be burned for energy at any time.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

But basically, I couldn't see miners saying no to a less dirty, lung-scarring job in green energy, if such were available to them at equal or better pay; they're not the ones who own the mines.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

To get an eyeful of just how few miners are left to vote against green energy:

On the other hand, those coal companies sure do have a lot of money to fight green solutions.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I am no expert on power generation.... but isn't there some mechanism where the wind power generation is dumped into the grid, and the peaks and valleys are made up by reducing and then increasing the output of traditional plants? Nuclear or coal power down when the wind is powered up?

I think lots of hydro storage can be used as well.... Niagara project stuff. I believe the French nuclear plants run during the night and pump water to hydro storage so that it can be used to generate real-time energy during the peak hours of the day.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Pj, you can sell surplus electricity to the grid or store it in batteries.

The biggest challenge for solar is what to do when 2 feet of snow falls on the solar panels. What do Haute Mainers do about THAT, anyway?

For this kind of ground installation, I could see a simple crank (or battery powered motor) to tilt the panels and dump the snow off, but roofs would be much harder.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, some electricity can be stored, but I believe the capacities are quite limited. And the batteries are expensive, like those in an electric car.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I've never quite understood the energy industry's reluctance to start dipping a toe into the waters of the hydrogen economy. As pointed out, storage is a problem that has to be solved for wind/hydro/solar, and would be handy even for nuclear power producers. Hydrogen is one way to do it. It's problematic for transportation uses (100 kilos of hydrogen has a good bit more energy than 100 kilos of gasoline, but also takes up a lot more space in your gas tank), but electricity production has those big fat stationary generators where fuel storage space isn't a real concern.

This is going to happen, and somebody better start developing the expertise.

And anybody who thinks that the oil & coal companies wouldn't close all of their wells & mines tomorrow if they could make better money from windmills & solar panels is a cock-eyed optimist who believes that these corporations are in the business of preserving quaint traditions. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Bob S.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

My local power company has been known to pump water uphill when their nuke plant is humming along nicely. The upper lake provides hydro power when they stop.

The coal and oil companies don't really pay for killing the elderly and infirm with smog, ozone, etc. (oops, "shorten lives")Not to mention not paying for global warming (lets assume it's in doubt for the sake of argument but if in 20 yrs it's true then they still won't pay for it) The taxpayer pays for wars to keep foreign oil in friendly hands, not ExxonMobil or BPAmoco. Etc. Who will pay for Cheney's Katrina? All of it?

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, most likely they'd try and run both. It takes time to set up new technologies and they can't afford to lose customers while they increase their production capacity.

So it's more like the day after tomorrow. How fast that day comes depends on the size of the corporation and its leadership.

There will be corporate politics at work (unless the leadership is really sharp) always resistant to innovation that threats jobs within the company.

I speak as one who has worked at a company fusing old and new technologies.

Now, a company like IBM who was already in the business of innovating technology and selling it, upgrading from typewriters to computers wasn't much of a problem; they already had the human resources for that change.

Transforming from coal mining to solar and wind takes a lot more than that.

I'd see more of a mindset to try geothermal energy, nuclear waste disposal, or something completely different from the options so far instead should a coal company have the will to add new technologies; they would want to use their pre-existing properties.

Investing in hydrogen fuel cell stations sounds like a possibility. Convert coal on the spot into hydrogen fuel cells, set up stations to serve many states, they could really rake in the money while appearing "greener."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC: too many. I apparently wrote that in a Borat moment.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, coal companies are one thing, I guess. Coal communities are different. I bet if you took a poll in West Virginia, you wouldn't have a lot of support to a green economy.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course they'd try both. If I had the resources and could get away with it, I'd be selling coal, oil, solar power, wind power, books, movie manuscripts, delightful herbal medications, and full-body massages.

My thinking: Either coal & oil & other messy stuff is/are priced properly (in which case we should stop whining and accept that the occasional big mess is just the cost of doing "bidness") or those things are being societally subsidized, in which case we should be honest about that, and the price ought to be rising until stuff that's less messy becomes relatively affordable. "Cost" is a big word, and should be considered a lot more deeply than is sometimes the case.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Passive solar houses (water heating included) and warm wool sweaters in winter.

Barrels of iced tea and wrist-controlled palmetto fans in summer.

I am being facetious. Very interesting discussion I discover while backboodling.
Retooling industries that the citizenry subsidizes and abets is fraught with problems, seems to this observer. Years and years may go by before communities that live off old energy source production even contemplate a shift in the paradigm.

I'm keeping my fans at hand and my sweaters stored in mothballs until needed.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I don't use mothballs. Hate the smell of naptha. Bunches of dried lavender are much better.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I whole-heartedly support coal communities in their efforts to make a living. I've burned coal in a fireplace, it made a toasty fire. And I paid a heck of a lot more per-pound than the electric company pays, and was happy to do so.

But let's not kid ourselves that $60 per ton for coal, or $75-80 per barrel for oil, is covering all of the costs involved. Maybe at more accurate prices, the coal communities might find that sales of other commodities make more sense.

When I was a young man, they could hardly give chicken wings away because they were so cheap, and long-distance phone calls were a rare experience because they were so expensive.

Prices and habits change.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Apropos of nothing in the boodle, I head off to swim for the first time since Labor Day. This is NOT a good thing that I was lapless all winter. Girl does not live by bike alone. I expect to be chilled to the bone, but have my warm clothes ready even though today is about 93.

but SteveBoy, etc., this SciAM article is good background about how our electric grid works:

In addition to storage problems about some renewables, we have the trouble of purchases between utilities and monitored/governed state regulatory agencies.

Purchasing -- and providing/accepting -- excess power -- like hydro or wind -- through and across the grid is called "wheeling"; so many impediments exist to efficient wheeling cooperation that you could go crazy with the charts and the LOST ENERGY in the system.

We likely need a nationalization of the grid.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | May 29, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

This link will take you to the first page of the (very good) article linked by C-Parkian above:

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse


BP's confidence in the 'top kill' effort is waning. Looks like they are moving to another option.

Maybe the BP senior execs should spend the summer laying boom and cleaning beaches. Might be more useful in the long run.

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard any reporting about BP or government use of locally-available voodoo practitioners. Surely this is no time to leave stones unturned.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say Breeders? Let me note Kim Deal is soooo yummy *sigh*

Intermittent availability and storage are the HUGE problems with wind and solar. It relegates them to marginal power source status. If we could build a fantasy 'global grid' solar could end our energy worries (the grid the sun doesn't set on). Until then we should be planning on as many sources as are safe, convenient, and reusable as possible.

Hydro to my mind has been the best compromise so far (warning: local bias), even though it has gotten a bad rap lately for it's flooded land footprint. I gotta admit when they start talking about reversing the course of rivers they are starting to go a bit far.

Posted by: qgaliana | May 29, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, MsJS. It's looking pretty grim for the top kill. August is predicted date for relief well completion? It's going to be a very long summer.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 29, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for those of you who watched the "boom school 101" video, I nosed around the internet and found a few, less salty, sources of info.

While they didn't necessarily recommend the specific boom pattern used in the "101" video, they all spoke to similar issues.
-If the wind/tides are strong, one should consider multiple tiers of booms.
-If containment isn't really feasible, place the booms so they deflect the oil to a designated recovery area.
-Frequently monitor the placement of the booms and make ongoing adjustments.

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I live where enormous coal trains run all day and night. Through the Columbia Gorge, I see we are exporting coal like we used to export logs.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 29, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The pragmatist in me thinks we will use all our coal before we stop. Can you imagine the sea change that would have to take place for us to have known coal reserves available to us, perhaps even in active mines, and just stop pulling it out of the ground? That won't happen in my lifetime.

The renewable/alternative sources are critical and needed and we should do whatever we can to get them up and running.... but we'll use all that coal, man-made global warming be damned.

We can't seem to muster the courage to stop running half-trillion dollar deficits.... and you think we'll muster the courage to stop mining our own coal?

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

qgal - As the great philosopher Heinlein taught us, TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch).

Windmills kill birds, make a lot of racket, and ruin the nearby view. Solar reflectors and photovoltaic cells only work during the day, have to be cleaned constantly and replaced fairly regularly, and scare the bejeezus out of conspiracy theorists. Hydro plants ARE a flood even during the best of times, and the worst of times get very bad very quickly. And nuclear power plants (when operating properly) are often emitting an annoying cloud of steam and three-winged mutant seagulls.

The sun provides vastly more energy than we can currently use, and parcels it out into a bunch of resources (river hydro, wind, tide, various directly-capturable EMF wavelengths, etc) that are more diffuse than oil & coal, but have the advantage of being more efficient (no need to cycle through carbon & hydrogen as intermediaries, with the attendant problems that inevitably result from concentrating too much of anything, anywhere) and are replenished with relatively little lag time.

But gathering that good sun-stuff up and packaging it for convenient use has its own costs and pains-in-the-butt.


Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. A's latest installment:

I'm off to watch the Flyers and Blackhawks.

G'night, y'all.

Posted by: MsJS | May 29, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

My point here is that if coal & oil are vastly more affordable than other options, we may need to reexamine our premises. 'Cuz there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. All bills are eventually payable in full, no matter what credit terms we've arranged.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I'll watch the Flyers and Blackhawks too, and shut up for a while.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

" think we'll muster the courage to stop mining our own coal?"

No. No one thinks that. But if we were lucky, we would muster the courage to stop exporting it. But then that would call too many questions, a cascade of consequences.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 29, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Like everyone, I feel sick about the failure of the top kill. And I think the analogy of the horror film protagonist used in that article by Achenbach and MacGillis is pretty accurate. I keep waiting for Jamie Lee Curtis to show up and scream.

Of course, in between the lines of that article I can hear some screams, or at least some pretty brutal profanity.

What really nauseates me, though, are the people who seem gleeful about this because they think it will damage Obama politically. This, to me, is a level to which even Jason Voorhees would not stoop.

So on to plan, what, D?

And keep the candles burning.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Well (and this is not a threat to which the Secret Service should feel any compelling need to respond in a timely manner) I'm pretty sure that Prez Obama will be out of the picture sometime within the next 10-70 years, and we'll still have to figure out a plan to deal with this stuff.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

"three winged mutant seagulls?" Bob-S, have you been breathing that steam from the local nuke plant? *Where* do you get your information!

And wind farms in California are quite well hidden in plain sight -- erected in desert valleys where the wind blows nicely and there is little in the way of views to destroy.

Posted by: nellie4 | May 29, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Nellie picks up on another cost of wind and solar, especially wind. There are places to build windfarms, but you have the cost of building transmission lines to get the electricity from the source to the consumer. Also you have conflicts with people who don't want large transmission lines running across their property.

I'll watch some of the Stanley Cup Finals, too. Hockey is one sport that benefits greatly from HDTV; you can actually see the puck from time ti time!

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

nellie - You speak to a man who has ridden (rode?) his motorcycle through more than one California wind farm. Ridges are good for this particular crop. They are not typically hidden in secluded valleys. When they're in valleys, they're in big ones, with long views and access to... umm... wind. Perhaps you're thinking of the solar energy plants.

I will, however, grant you that I took a bit of license with the nuke farms. When it was still a going concern, I enjoyed the sight of the Rancho Seco (outside of Sacramento) cooling tower plume. I think it was the almond hull piles (also in the vicinity of Sacramento) by the Blue Diamond facility that spawned all of the three-winged gulls.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Or from time to time.

On the other hand, Brouwer's shot was so hard, I still didn't see it even in HDTV slow motion.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

*you're-no-fun-anymore mode*

It's not even steam, Bob & nellie -- it's a cloud. Plain 'ol moist air that's a little warmer than the air mass it's entering, ergo, condensation.

*exiting you're-no-fun-anymore mode*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I will admit that there are things that I am wildly different than most people about. Wind farms is one. In NH there has been a couple recent efforts to install them along some ridge lines. Many many people have gotten up in arms about how terrible they look.

I think they look great. I don't get that a line punctuated by wind turbines is ugly in the least.

Of course, I am an engineer. I'll also grant that the transmission lines are ugly.

Here is the catch: there are transmission lines all over the place already. One big one a mile or so from my house.

I live in almost literally the shadow of a WWII era communications/microwave transmission tower, currently in use for cell phone coverage. It is about 100 feet high, steel, boxy and painted in alternating levels of white and red, with big apparati on the top and the requisite blinking lights.

I think it looks neat.

Here is a picture of the tower.

To each his own.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I like the look of windfarms as well, drove through one a few hours away from here, but do not recall seeing transmission lines - could they be underground?

Posted by: dmd3 | May 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, are you going to tell me with a straight face that steam isn't just energetic condensation? Next, I suppose, you'll be trying to convince me that smoke isn't always cojoined with fire. Sheesh.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I was going to shut up, wasn't I?

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, steveb, I don't disapprove of wind and solar at all. I think they are great. It's just that doing them on a large scale will be difficult. Regardless, they certainly need to be explored and developed.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Part of the wind farm, minus the transmission lines.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 29, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

After further review I did spot the transmission lines, don't know whether they are new to the wind farm installation or were existing. Still like the look of it.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 29, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Halladay just finished off a perfect game.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 29, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington, I'm with you. The first time I saw a wind farm, I thought the turbines were beautiful. Himself and I recently drove through the Pincher Creek/Fort McLeod corridor, and saw thousands of the things. This time, I thought they looked like a host of angels.

Graceful, beautiful, merciful.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

pj - Digging holes hundreds and thousands of meters into the earth, and then transporting the reapings to refinement facilities, and then transporting the resulting refined products hundreds and thousands of kilometers to consumers (on a fairly large scale) isn't easy or inexpensive.

Market conditions indicate that it's more efficient to do all of that, and pay for the clean-up of an occasional spill and survivor benefits for a few lost miners and health care for those workers who become ill as a direct result of the process and figure out how to deal with some large and not-easy-to-predict environmental consequences of the entire process, than it is to develop processes which would dramatically reduce a number of those costs.

I'm not convinced that all of the underlying math is sound. Even modest changes to the variables within complicated formulae can result in widely varying solutions, and I've got a sneaky feeling that some of the variables are being wildly underestimated.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that's a "sneaking" feeling, but since I'm a sneaky guy I thought I'd try to slip it by y'all.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

And on deck we have this:

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Bob-S -- I really can tell the difference between turbines and solar panels. The wind farm I have seen most often recently is between Riverside and Palm Desert, I think on route 10. I can't be more precise as I don't drive that route, just ride. But there is a nice canyon with lots and lots of turbines, and the wind doth blow every time we go down there. Scenery is non-existent. But as pj says, it is not near the areas with lots of people. And I am sure some EE will be glad to explain the loss of juice over distance.

Posted by: nellie4 | May 29, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Sunday's gloomy Achenbach and MacGinnis story is up:

Here's tropical cyclone climatology, with interesting monthly maps showing "Climatological areas of origin and typical hurricane tracks by month."

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

All true, Bob S. Our transportation system is largely set up on an oil-based system. Some trains but mostly cars and trucks. That's been true for almost a century now. It will take a lot of time and a lot of imagination to change that. We have a gas station on every block and not an electric station, whether wind, solar, or nukes. Blending those new technologies into the existing grid will be hard. To turn them into a dominant force by replacing oil in our system will be extremely hard.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't they play defense in the NHL?

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

nellie - I was being silly and apologize for taking a cheap shot for the sake of sophomoric humor. I have always appreciated your (much-better-thought-out-than-mine) insights.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Just thought I'd check in, and mention that I'm enjoying the Stanley Cup finals game one. Tied 5-5 at the end of the 2nd period, it's not exactly a defensive struggle, is it?

A bummer about Dennis Hopper.

So the top kill didn't work. There's plans F, G and H now, aren't there?

Saw that Roland Emmerich is making Foundation? Geez, shouldn't he be making a movie about this BP/Gulf situation? (I'm sure Oliver Stone's thinking about taking a crack at it, too.)

CqP, I'm not sure about nationalization of the power grid. Maybe it is the right thing to do, like the national highway system, but I can't help but think of Amtrak, even though that model really doesn't fit the situation, either.


Posted by: -bc- | May 29, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

For boodlebooklovers, Quentin Blake illustrating the Hay festival:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | May 29, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers... Maybe those perfect games aren't as difficult as I thought they were. Now we're gonna see one every month?

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the game, but thankfully don't have a champion in that tournament. So the battle is just fun to watch.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Over at the NY Times, Frank Rich's gloom is so thick, you can cut it with a knife, perhaps into brownie-sized tar squares.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

daveofthecoonties, I sort of think of that melancholy as character flaw. Stupid optimism is, well, stupid, but perfect despair shows a weakness.

Hope is a virtue. Requires work, an effort of will.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Yokes, seething anger and endless suspicion are all the fashion. What the heck will you have to talk about at parties?

Posted by: Bob-S | May 29, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Bob-S. Reely?

Of course, I'm not often invited to parties since I have only two modes; Pollyanna, or Evil *itch.


If seething anger is *in,* I'm out.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I like wind farms too, but I've heard birds sometimes get caught in the blades...not good.

Horses are always on-topic here, right? Good story, a bit heart-breaking, as horse stories tend to be:

Posted by: seasea1 | May 29, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Horses rawk.

But I guess the question is, do we sacrifice a few birds for the ozone layer? I'm OK with that, but that's just me.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Gonna check out now. Thanks to DNA_Girl for the Quentin Blake / Hay festival link. That was delightful.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 30, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

wasn't able to watch the hockey match. i suspect that: a) yard work intervened; or, b) it's pay per view. will check thte papers later. the passing of Dennis Hopper and the failure of the well seal makes for the blues, as Bromberg said, in the midst of an almost perfect day...*sigh* couldn't find a proper link, so, this:

Posted by: -jack- | May 30, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | May 30, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse


...and another hat.

Posted by: -jack- | May 30, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

And if anyone should ask me
The reason why I'm wearing it,
It is all for my true love
Who is far, far away.

Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

In case y'all got worried.

Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Why I do believe that we are right back where we started. It will take till August to plug the hole. BP was up front about that part.


So I'll talk about the weather...sigh, that is grim too. Maybe now that this is off mother natures mind, it will settle down and be warm.

I would read Joel's article but I suspect he is telling the truth and it is grim, so I'm going to skip it.

I AM going to contemplate ostriches and sticking my head in the sand. It may not be wise, but at least it provides sweet relief.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 30, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Americans are not one to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We want that in small doses and not all at one time. Sure we're frustrated and say things we don't mean, but if the truth, and nothing but the truth, were told, could we as a nation handle that kind of truth and would we as nation respond with a workable plan instead of finger pointing and name calling? In a word, NO.

That's why the powers that be give it(information or whatever) to us in small doses.

We were all hoping against hope for a good outcome with the "top kill".

Our situation has not changed folks, therefore, I'm still calling for what I called for in the beginning. Prayer. It works, when it comes from a sincere heart, not just words being spoken.

I love you all, and hope the day is good, circumstances taken into consideration. I'm on my way to Sunday school, won't you join me there? I want to stay for morning service, please join me there. Let us lift us our voices to the one we have to contend with(God) in praises with a contrite heart seeking his Will in our lives and pleading for mercy in that Name that is above every name, Jesus.

Posted by: cmyth4u | May 30, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

I hope that thoughts of this evolving disaster neither rob the weekend of enjoyment nor distract too much from the deeper meaning of Memorial Day.

The more I think about it the more the BP approach to deepwater drilling reminds me of Ferdinand de Lesseps. This is the French fellow who, in the 1880s sold people on the idea of digging a sea-level Panama Canal despite having not fully thought the project through. Here's the money quote:

"As problems arise, men of genius will step forward to solve them."

Alas, it didn't quite work out this way.

Which is just a way of stressing the obvious. Before deepwater drilling resumes, everything, including all the unlikely freakish scenarios, needs to be thoroughly worked out and thoroughly understood.

Because, I fear, the "Men of Genius" aren't exactly wowing me here.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Blackhawks Blackhawks Blackhawks! A high scoring game with lots of drama, at least for those of us at CasaJS.

Grande Isle, LA normally gets 4,500+ visitors over the Memorial Day weekend. This year it's reportedly nearly empty. A server at one restaurant said she would normally see about 200 customers on a holiday weekend Saturday night, and last night there were five.

Lots to enjoy today, so I'm off.

Posted by: MsJS | May 30, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

RD, you consistently *wow* me with your wisdom and logic. Thank you!

I am so upset about the 'spill' that I try not to think about it too much. Of course that doesn't work and doesn't stop the oil from gushing, but it keeps me sane. A good long walk with #2 and dogs yesterday and today lawn maintenance and weed war. Then perhaps a nap in the hammock!

Posted by: badsneakers | May 30, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with sneaks, RD, you made a good point there. The whole disaster (so easy to skip ahead to our current situation and fail to remember the terrible loss of life in the immediate aftermath of the stupid decision making) has been beyond anyone's belief, or should it have been. I guess, never again.

I was thinking about the Palin phenomenon and how she gets (or got) away with those "who would have ever expected" lines and "gotcha"-type of reporting.

It is such a simple mark to blame the Obama administration. As with everything else that we have gutted in Washington DC, our regulatory agencies should have been beefed up and legislation strengthened, and yet, we have gone the other direction.

I am terribly disappointed in America, not Obama. In one generation, health care has become nearly unattainable for a non-union blue collar worker in America and a quality higher education, much the same. Our national infrastructure is rotting away around us.

He have the open display of John Birch'ers in the Republican flank and about two-thirds of the rest of the Republican flock are the Tea party yucking me-me-and-only-me folks except if Me needs help.

With this disaster following the financial disaster and in the same locale as the NOLA disaster, we all go RUT-RO.

We have totally undervalued the community and the common. We have demonized the folks clearing our place settings at restaurants; mowing our lawns; taking care of our elderly; and, at the same time, lost total focus on the common good.

We are quickly evolving into a third world nation. The Chinese are even setting up manufacturing in our country and we can't do it, ourselves.

If two-thirds to a half of America has no interest in improving the nation, but only their little sphere of everyday existence and comfort, then we are doomed. The corporations, as we have seen recently and in the financial world are working harder than ever to get a free ride and take advantage of our commons to make huge profits.

All I suggest is that we THINK before we just blame a President for not having a visceral enough reaction. Hey, a little research will show that the so-called Tea Party movement is more than partially funded by the uber-wealthy Americans and large corporate entities.

Yeah, let's just "throw the bums out." That's the ticket.

Spill, baby spill!

Posted by: russianthistle | May 30, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

There is a new kit.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 30, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

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