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Oil spill: Even worse worst-case scenarios!

My geology professor from way back sent me his worst-case scenario for the gulf disaster:

Somewhere, you might want to bring in the Lusi mudflow in Indonesia. The Wikipedia entry has the basic story. (There are 6.8 oil barrels in a cubic meter.) Lusi is a blowout that's been going for several years. There is no present hope of containing it.

Back to the Gulf: Having oil and gas spew up through the seafloor, away from the plumbing in the well, would say that the surface casing had failed. Like you, I find the rumors about oil leaking through the seafloor are not yet convincing. However, the possibility belongs in a worst-case scenario. The verb in the oil patch is "to crater." Around 1960, it became a slang synonym for any kind of failure, "we cratered."

Going further into possible bad news: About the time the two relief wells are penetrating into the reservoir near the bottom of the Macondo well, here comes a Category 5 hurricane. The hurricane heads straight for the wells. Both of the relief wells activate the emergency disconnect from their risers. The disconnect works on one rig and fails on the other. The crew on the still-connected rig has to be evacuated and the rig sinks in the storm. We get Act II of the drama.

Four weeks later, the disconnected rig gets hitched together again and is ready to work, and here comes a Category 4 hurricane.

Some late-season hurricanes do not travel across the equatorial Atlantic. They are born in the southern Caribbean and move north quickly, with only a brief warning. Hurricane Hugo of two years ago was an example. Make that second hurricane a Caribbean hurricane.

BP files for bankruptcy. Anadarko files for bankruptcy....

You might warn your readers to mix up a strong drink before starting to read the piece. My recommendation is the "Papa Doble," a double grapefruit daiquiri. The recipe is in Hochner's biography of Hemingway, but normal people have to add sugar.

Here's my story in today's paper -- crazy stuff. (But wait: Whatever happened to that Loop Current thing? Wasn't the oil supposed to be at the Outer Banks by now? Didn't I report that on the front page of The Washington Post???):

An enduring feature of the gulf oil spill is that, even when you think you've heard the worst-case scenario, there's always another that's even more dire. The base-line measures of the crisis have steadily worsened. The estimated flow rate keeps rising. The well is like something deranged, stronger than anyone anticipated. BP executives last month said they had a 60 to 70 percent chance of killing it with mud, but the well spit the mud out and kept blowing.

The net effect is that nothing about this well seems crazy anymore. Week by week, the truth of this disaster has drifted toward the stamping ground of the alarmists.

The most disturbing of the worst-case scenarios, one that is unsubstantiated but is driving much of the blog discussion, is that the Deepwater Horizon well has been so badly damaged that it has spawned multiple leaks from the seafloor, making containment impossible and a long-term solution much more complicated.

Video from a robotic submersible, which is making the rounds online, shows something puffing from the seafloor. Some think it's oil. Or maybe -- look again -- it's just the silt blowing in response to the forward motion of the submersible.

More trouble: A tropical wave has formed in the Caribbean and could conceivably blow through the gulf.

"We're going to have to evacuate the gulf states," said Matt Simmons, founder of Simmons and Co., an oil investment firm and, since the April 20 blowout, the unflagging source of end-of-the-world predictions. "Can you imagine evacuating 20 million people? . . . This story is 80 times worse than I thought."

The bull market for bad news means that Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the crisis, is asked regularly about damage to the well bore, additional leaks and further failures. "Can you talk a little about the worst-case scenarios going forward?" a reporter asked Tuesday. "What happens if the relief wells don't work out?"

"We're mitigating risk on the relief well by drilling a second relief well alongside it," responded Allen, possibly the least excitable figure in this entire oil crisis.

He said he's seen no sign of the additional leaks that have gotten so many bloggers in a lather. But Allen's briefings offer plenty of fodder for the apocalyptic set. Allen repeatedly has acknowledged that there could be significant damage to the well down below the mud line. That's why, he said, the top kill effort last month was stopped: Officials feared that if they continued pumping heavy mud into the well, they would damage the casing and open new channels for hydrocarbons to leak into the rock formation.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 23, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
 
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Next: Gulf well uncapped again

Comments

Joel, this is a fantastic, if kinda scary, article.

But come on. Worst case scenario? Heck, there is no mention *at all* of slumbering reptilian creatures.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and RRGJ on the table.

Great work, Mr. A.

Nature is not a machine. In many facets of human existence, we've come to assume it is.

And we know the story about when we assume things.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

And, as a side note, the origin of the expression "to crater" is surprising to me. I always assumed it was related to a metaphorical airplane crash.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

That's a wonderful geology professor. I have to endorse that double grapefruit daiquiri. The noble grapefruit is a bit underappreciated.

So far, the patch of wet weather in the Caribbean is just wet weather. Which might be bad enough for Haiti, a place where people live in stream beds for lack of any better location.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I am reminded of:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost


The house is in that state where it looks worse than where I started. I hope it starts pulling together today.

Have a good day, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I am reminded of:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost


The house is in that state where it looks worse than where I started. I hope it starts pulling together today.

Have a good day, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Warning. Increased delay between posting and when a post actually shows up.

Sorry.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Here is a funny line from the NYT anosognosia series,

"Can a group of people, perhaps even society at large, devolve into a state of destructive cluelessness?"

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

dbG, Frost always bears repeating! I'm pulling for your victory over the houseclutter, my friend.

Reading Mr.A., my first thought was that it's too early for that daiquiri. Then again . . . . . ? Nah, I'll save some of the Ruby Red for later.

Posted by: talitha1 | June 23, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I wrote something silly about the Indonesian Mud Flow about three years ago:

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=172

Had even mentioned it at some point in relation to the proposed Junk Shot (ahem).

Also, those rumors of sub-seafloor leaks in the casing were reported in the Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/30/AR2010053002195.html

From previous Boodling:

"Back to the Gulf for a moment, I noted in Mufson and Hilzenrath's piece, these lines:

"Sources at two companies involved with the well said that BP also discovered new damage inside the well below the seafloor and that, as a result, some of the drilling mud that was successfully forced into the well was going off to the side into rock formations."

"'We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface,' said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation.' The official said he could not describe what was damaged in the well."

Which makes me think that if the riser were closed off completely at the wellhead/BP, that some oil could vent out of those damaged areas below the sea floor, and that there's a chance that damage could become even worse. Perhaps not, but I don't like what I think I'm seeing between the lines there.

August seems like a short time away in terms of a summer (as adults, anyway), but at 20,000 barrels of oil in the Gulf per day, it may seem like Summer forever.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | May 31, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse"

Amazing about one's perspective of 20,000 barrels of leakage per day, given a few weeks, isn't it?

I'm taking a deep breath and considering that we haven't employed nuclear weapons as a means to 'cauterize' the wound. Worst case could get a whole lot worse if *that* went wrong (too). Instead of a straw, that oil could have an 10-lane superhighway up into the Gulf. Oy.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Am waiting for a Michael Bay movie where a nuke is set off to seal the Gulf oil leak, but creates (through a mutation triggered by oil and radiation) or awakens (a prehistoric) a 200 ft. oil-powered crawfish that lumbers onto shore in Houston to visit oil offices, then ambles northeast to pay a call on the nation's capital.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

He should pause long enough to devour Judge Feldman, who should have recused himself, on the way.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

bc, you shouldn't just give away those movie ideas like that. Think of your childrens' inheritance!

//"Can a group of people, perhaps even society at large, devolve into a state of destructive cluelessness?"//

I used to blame this on all the hours we work and job demands, but I see there's more to it.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The hero in that movie would be Paul Prudhomme, perhaps? Emeril?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Who will star, bc?

Still having a problem with posts getting through, which was a shame because last night's would have won a Nobel prize.

How does that quote differ from drinking the kool-aid, shrink? Is it anosognosia if you began skeptical and were persuaded?

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Oy!

I'm just glad I don't have to fix the latency issue I'm seeing.

cyu

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Blogland is nuts. But since BP is also nuts, blogland is at sea. It's not unusual to pressure up a secondary formation after an underground blowout. The shales above all that are pretty strong and tight. It ain't happening. Joel got the facts right, it seems.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 23, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. and Algeria are underway...

*fingers crossed* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to insist that there be some representation of the late Justin Wilson in the film, perhaps as the Wisened Old Spiritual and Spectral advisor.

He'd know some really great Old ways of dealing with crawfish.

Ooh-la-la - ah gare-on-tee it.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It takes a skilled pen and a supple intellect to convey distinctions like "absolute worst case scenario" and "more reasonable worst case scenario". This approaches the realm of classic prose-

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I'll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What's that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

So by the reasoning of Miracle Max the "more reasonable worst case scenario" would be defined as "so bad that no quantitative increase could produce qualitative change."

Posted by: kguy1 | June 23, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Can one make a Papa Doble out of ruby red grapefruit juice? I got lots, and lime juice too, though I'm a tad short on white rum and maraschino.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It takes a skilled pen and a supple intellect to convey distinctions like "absolute worst case scenario" and "more reasonable worst case scenario". This approaches the realm of classic prose-

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I'll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What's that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

So by the reasoning of Miracle Max the "more reasonable worst case scenario" would be defined as "so bad that no quantitative increase could produce qualitative change."

Posted by: kguy1 | June 23, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought "husband" was related to "host" but sources say I'm wrong. "Husband" probably Norse or Germanic for "house bound." With meaning of "one who ties" as well. "Host" is an odd word etymologically too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 23, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all!

He called me precisely at 10:00 last night and immediately asked me if I had been worried. I snorted and told him that if my hair were not already white to begin with, it would have been white by that time. Ten minutes later I was picking him up, and we laughed (mostly) all the way home. It was so humid that I had to keep putting on the windshield wipers for the humidity (hot & humid outside, A/C inside) -- plus it's sometimes hard to see the lane markers in the dark (even w/ lights on), so it was a bit of a difficult ride home. Glad the traffic was light.

The great news is that yet another of my former students from Kenya is at this meeting, so I hope that the three of us can get together this week.

Nellie -- thanks *soooooooo* much for that link to Vikki Carr from last night's boodle. Cracked me up!

*still hoping for a full-bore blizzard soon, 'cuz it can't be soon enuf for me*

Posted by: -ftb- | June 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Dis got nothing to do with anything: Robin Givhan ended a book review with, "Loyal readers who see this tale to its dubious conclusion should be congratulated for their stubborn perseverance."

Ouch!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/22/AR2010062204355.html?hpid=sec-artsliving

Posted by: bobsewell | June 23, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I display symptoms of a-anosognosia. Does that make me self-delusional or merely aware of an incapacity for self-diagnosis?
I can run in mental circles, that's for sure. ;)

Relative humidity: 78%
Temp: 91
Winds: 7 from the south
Forecast: blech! at 10:30amEDT

Watching World Cup amidst protestations and rolling of eyes from friendly family members. VuVu USA!

Posted by: talitha1 | June 23, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

At the half:
England leads Slovenia 1-0
USA and Algeria are tied 0-0

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

BP has been reducing its workforce (by about a third in the US). This morning, John Kay's column in the Financial Times looks at the perils of cost cutting. His first example is a water utility. Waterworks and distribution systems pretty much run themselves--a few pumps and some gravity and the water flows just fine. Most of the employees are to fix things if something goes wrong and, of course, to do maintenance. So it's easy to cut employees and hope there won't be problems.

Here in Florida, we have a long history of developers building private water and sewage systems, which are turned over to the homeowners, who don't maintain the system or can't afford to. Eventually the system goes bankrupt and the State does a takeover. Utility rates skyrocket. In the past, I suppose residents moved on to nice new communities with new utilities.

John Kay of course wonders about BP and cost cutting.

Now back to worst-case scenarios. Pre-Katrina, New Orleans' flood defenses were evidently inadequate to protect against even a 100-year event (same goes for New York). Amsterdam and Tokyo are protected against 1000-year events. Currently, New Orleans is rebuilding to provide 100-year protection.

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/100year_protection_not_enough.html

This is crazy.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 23, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and talk about sweating: Nicolas Mahut and James Isner are still whacking away at their 1st round match at Wimbledon. It's now 16-16 in the 5th set. The match has spanned 4 hrs 40 min over 2 days.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for looking further into husband, the verb. It has gained the connotation of steward, along the way. People seem to mean the same thing when they talk of the stewardship of our resources and the husbanding of resources, if you see where I'm headed.

I'll get back to Kool Aid and skepticism in a bit.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

In a perverse way, the 100-year protection for N'awlins might not be crazy.

If the wetlands in southern Louisiana are destroyed by the oil and global warming causes the ocean levels to rise, much of that part of Louisiana could be underwater in 100 years anyway.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When I use the phrase 'worst case scenario' it's usually to point out to someone panicking that sometimes the worst case isn't all that bad. (Worst case scenario, they have to order the part for the car and we're stuck here at the beach until then. Oh the horror....) Maybe it ends up forcing you to think way outside the box because the box is gone, and an answer presents itself (they don't have the part, but you're able to use this here shoestring and clothes pin to make a fan belt). Aren't there any upsides to any of the WCSs presented thus far? Like a hurricane...don't animals sense one coming on and get the heck out of Dodge? Wouldn't that help?

Seems a lot of the oil spill WCSs isn't actually about planning or preparing, but about hand-wringing.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 23, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This courtesy of Dave Barry-

http://sltrib.com/sltrib/home/49807411-73/woman-valley-west-police.html.csp

I can't wait for the movie version!

Posted by: kguy1 | June 23, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

SCC: shoestring and clothes pin is for brakes. Bikini top is for fan belt. Duh.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 23, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

LiT, a lot of people have submitted suggestions as to how to deal with many facets of the Gulf problem. I'm not in a position to evaluate any of them, but a lot of people are trying very hard to think out of the box.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The Mahut-Isner tennis match is now at 23-all in the 5th set. The 5th set alone has lasted about two and a half hours.

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Guantanamo detainees will be celebrating...

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

GGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLL!

USA leads 1-0

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Hooray! My National Geographic just came and there's an article by Joel!

Must stop everything and read about the electric grid.

Posted by: k_auman | June 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, those poor detainees, US wins US wins!!!

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Yeeeeee-Haaaaaaaa !!!!!

(insert Rebel Yell)

Posted by: talitha1 | June 23, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, yeah. I know. I was being silly. Or trying to be. But how much of the WCS hand-wringing is an exercise in futility. Wouldn't the absolute WCS be something involving an asteroid and a comparison to dinosaurs?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 23, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of a tune cootie -- on my way back from leaving my guest off at the Metro station, I was listening to my favorite NPR station (nuttin' but classical music), and my absolutely favorite aria was on, but in orchestral form -- the Flower Duet from Delibes' Lakmé. *If* I could actually sing (which I can't, really) *that* is what I would love to be able to sing with whomever would take the other part (don't care which). I've heard it sung so many times, and it rarely avoids leaving me teary with its gorgeous and majestic tones and lyricism.

Well, I know we weren't speaking of a tune cootie. Yes, I know. But even so. . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | June 23, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

LiT - I agree. There seems more a sense of morbid fascination and less a sense of contingency planning. But let's face it. The options are limited.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

You know, Soccer loses a bit of the impact when it is viewed with the sound off. But it is still fun to see USA win.

One of my female coworkers tells me that Landon Donovan is "such a pretty boy."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Mr. A's NatGeo piece:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/07/power-grid/achenbach-text

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

That's a great NatGeo Article. The electrical grid is a topic with which I have a certain amount of familiarity, and I think Joel got it right.

By the way, you wanna get rich? Forget plastics.

Think batteries.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Can a group of people, perhaps even society at large, devolve into a state of destructive cluelessness?"

//How does that quote differ from drinking the kool-aid, shrink? Is it anosognosia if you began skeptical and were persuaded?//

It does not differ from making your children drink Jim Jones' death in a barrel.

Skeptical, not persuaded, is a good, healthy way to stay indeed. Not cynical, skeptical.

Whenever I am about to believe in, or have faith in anything whatsoever, I enjoy reading Lucian of Samosata (~125-200), the iconoclast, a skeptic who had no pity for the human propensity to create collective delusion from legitimate aspiration.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Oooh. I see they had to remove the containment cap because of gas buildup. That ain't good.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Complete this sentence:

Watching the second half of the U.S. - Algeria match while running on a treadmill was

a) exhilarating
b) hazardous
c) excruciating
d) loud
e) all of the above

I do believe the entire building shook with the roar that went up in the 92nd minute.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Can someone at least stick a flow-o-meter in the thing to measure the spill rate?

Posted by: MsJS | June 23, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Back at the end of April and early May, many people believed they should have rammed as many of those cannulas as possible into the broken riser, 2 or 3 maybe, done all they could to stabilize the crimp for as many junk shots as possible (gym shoes, uninflated footballs, half melted together gobs of plastic shopping bags, anything that can be made to flow at great pressure...), used no dispersant (unless a surface slick were un-skimmable) and put enormous effort into surface containment and skimming at the source. Oh well.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

yes, RD.

Been watching and need some explanation of the "removal of the containment cap" news. Anyone?

Posted by: talitha1 | June 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Can someone at least stick a flow-o-meter in the thing to measure the spill rate?"

Here is another thing I was saying almost two months ago. A panel of federal judges will decide the flow rate, possibly the SCOTUS.

It was never in BP's interest to know, it still isn't, especially after the BOP top chop. The underwater dispersant use just happened to obviate any attempt to determine oil volume at the surface. The greater the breadth of the the doubt (an order of magnitude or two (1,000-100,000), the better chance their legal team will have for driving down the court's verdict.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, talitha:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/06/23/business/AP-US-Gulf-Oil-Spill-Containment-Cap.html

And let's not forget, sports fans -- It's Strasmus again at 4:30 today! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/incident_response/STAGING/local_assets/html/Enterprise_ROV_2.html

That methanol looks like the Wizard of Oz.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that looks like 20% more than from the old bent riser...but I'd be laughing.

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/incident_response/STAGING/local_assets/html/Skandi_ROV2.html

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, it's very likely that yes, it was and continues to be in BP's interest to know, as that number would go a long way to working out some of these equations. What wasn't in their interest would be if that number were available to others.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 23, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Back-of-the-envelope math:

The story at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/23/AR2010062302595.html?hpid=topnews says, "Before the problem with the containment cap, it had collected about 700,000 gallons of oil in the previous 24 hours. Another 438,000 gallons was burned.

"The current worst-case estimate of what's spewing into the Gulf is about 2.5 million gallons a day."

I don't know much about methane hydrates, but I can add and subtract with the best of them (if by 'them' you mean 8th-graders):
2.5M - (700K+438K) = 1.4M gallons.

That's still enough for the word "spewing" to apply, I'd say.

Posted by: byoolin1 | June 23, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Would they be willing to take that chance?
Today's trusted engineering whiz is tomorrow's whistle blower.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

NG Achengrid story

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/07/power-grid/achenbach-text

My grandmother's New York apartment was on Edison DC current. It made for difficulty in finding a TV.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 23, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

You cynical evaluation of BP motives is maddeningly persuasive Shrink. Must... retain... skepticism...

Posted by: qgaliana | June 23, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

About that koolaid - is it the "electric" koolaid, or the Jim Jones koolaid? Gotta be clear on these things.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 23, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If out-of-the Bikini top thinking is required, let me know.

At points, I've been considered a Thought Leader in this area.

Glad I can breathe now, after that US World Cup Match. Whew.

Speaking of topless, the reports I see indicate that one of the remotely controlled sumbmersibles bumped into some of the vent tubing, causing a reduction in gas flow and a buildup inside the cap. A paranoid might ask if this were a reason to limit or ban unnecessary use of robot subs near the BP and cap. And if 24x7 webcams were necessary or unnecessary...

Now to check Joel's Natty Geo article out...

And an SCC: from this AM - "wizened."

But you knew that.

There are benefits to watching World Cup matches on Telemundo - no commericals, and the "Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllll...." calls.

And it helps me bush up on my Spanish.

bc


Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Jim jones, but it works in with trusted engineers.

I've been thinking, almost a year since I left the financial sector, how going in it seemed full of opportunity. For me, the catch was to get much further than I was, I'd have to drink the KoolAid, buy into the myth that nothing was more important than the company.

A few years were good because my boss didn't drink it himself. I accepted a promotion, was promised my boss wouldn't change. But he did and the new guy bathed in the stuff.

I did it for a year and a half then quit. I was one day from leaving, they offered me my old job back. I took it and was later offered an even higher position working for the KoolAid maker. Didn't take it, but it still took me a few more years to leave because part of the KoolAid is you're worthless without it.
-more-

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Interesting grid article. For years the power companies actively promoted ignorance of electrical usage, making meters almost impossible for the consumer to read. I know lots of people who only have the faintest idea which uses are the most costly.

My power company does not put the cost of a kWH on my bill; I have to derive it. They do, nowadays, put the average daily cost on there, which is informative. A friend has a Prius; finding out the cost of a recharge is almost impossible for him.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 23, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Joel's on the case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/23/AR2010062302595.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of like Stockholm symdrome. Where I was, working a 55 hours week was considered slacking and *still* we could do nothing right according to the KoolAid maker.

When I decided I'd be dead in a year if I stayed and was willing to cash in my 401(k) to live on, I was offered a great position in healthcare within 2 weeks of applying. I guess I wasn't as bad as the KA guys said I was.

I guess they thought so too because they offered me more money and better hours three times on the day I quit. Then a better job in corporate.

It's been a fabulous move out of there. The first week out, I missed the chaos, the importance of the old job. Then I realized it was their chaos and I was important.

My points are (1) many people (me also, before) buy into putting something else before their own lives. Not talking families here, but corporations as something else. It's a seductive process and you buy into mass delusion; if you don't they have plenty of ways of punishing you. (2) I know where some bodies are buried. I've been thinking for months of emailing the auditors, haven't done it yet. Maybe today.

Will any of my former colleagues do it? Almost certainly not.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"part of the KoolAid is you're worthless without it" exactly, spot on

qgaliana, you've got me in your reticule, but don't take a head shot. I'll concede this much, before one judges anyone's motive, marking up ones own motivation, between critical thinking and setting up a witch test (she dies either way), is really important.


Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, appears we just had a small earthquake here, either that or all the black helicopters that are in the area for the Summit got together :-). Next up severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes tonight.

Posted by: dmd3 | June 23, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

RD, stop that!

Stay safe, dmd & family.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal out and I forgot to start a pool with Mr. F on his replacement.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 23, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Frost and the Princess Bride. This is a good way to begin a Wednesday Boodle.

I offer a longer poem, Tennyson's "The Palace of Art" especially for its reference to oil and its sheer beauty.

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/tennyson/palacetxt.html

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 23, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi all!

Liked Joel's NG article on grids. Too bad most of MD isn't getting an upgrade anytime soon, even with the feds chipping in: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-bge-smart-grid-denied-20100621,0,2588108.story

Hope everyone in the area is staying cool.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | June 23, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel's posted his article as a new kit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Yup, didn't imagine it.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/earthquake-shakes-central-canada-us/article1614941/

Posted by: dmd3 | June 23, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Just had a nice little earthquake 5 minutes ago. It's a weird feeling from the 9th floor.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 23, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

USGS calls it a magnitude 5 quake, just north of Ottowa, dmd.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Early estimate for the quake is magnitude 5.4, centered in Buckingham, a small place about 20k/12 miles from Ottawa downtown.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 23, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

That nice little earthquake is 16.4 km. below the surface and evidently did some minor damage (chimneys?). I like the headline about "shakes eastern North America". No US paper would have said that.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 23, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Nah, it'd be "East Canucks All Shook Up." down here.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 23, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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