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Will they shut in the gulf oil well?

Kind of a big day in oil spill country. They could shut in the well. Looking at this feed from the Skandi ROV2, it looks to me as if they've yanked the perforated pipe from the top of the (surely you know all these terms) 3-ram capping stack (shouldn't it be the 3-ram stacking cap??....the 3-cap ramming stack??...) and are preparing for the "integrity test" that could lead to permanently shutting-in the well, which means no more oil into the gulf. Or the test could show that the pressures aren't rising enough and there must be oil and gas leaking into the formation through damaged casing or lateral blow-outs in the well bore of some kind. In which case they'd open the well up again and try to capture what they can until they kill it with the relief well.

No idea what the odds are for either scenario.

Kent Wells in the morning briefing said, "Everybody hope and pray that we see high pressures here."

This is a big moment. More video feeds here.

Here's my story in today's paper about the new sealing cap.

Excerpt:

The fate of the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well, and of deep-water oil drilling in general, remained very much unresolved Monday, even as BP engineers finally installed a massive new sealing cap that could potentially enable them to shut down the well permanently.

The drama in the depths off the coast of Louisiana unfolded as, in Washington, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a new moratorium on offshore drilling, trying a new tack to get around an injunction issued recently by a New Orleans federal judge. Instead of banning offshore drilling based on water depth, he barred drilling by the types of rigs and equipment used in deep water. An Interior Department spokesman said that none of the 33 rigs whose work was interrupted in May would be able to resume their activity.

"I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry's inability in the deep water to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill and to operate safely," Salazar said.

BP and its oil-industry allies hope that in the days ahead they will gain the upper hand on the Macondo well, drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig and spewing oil since the fatal blowout April 20. If all goes perfectly, the well could stop polluting the gulf before it is plugged at its base with mud and concrete.

On Saturday, BP yanked away the "top hat" containment cap that had been lopsidedly parked on the well since early last month. Over the next 48 hours, technicians used robotic submersibles and hardware lowered from the surface to reconfigure the well's outlet. Instead of the jagged hole of the sheared-off riser pipe, the well was fitted with a new, simple chimney-like opening, which Monday spurted a plume of oil made frothy by injected chemical dispersants.

The new chimney enabled BP to deploy a huge structure known as the "3 ram capping stack." It has three valves that can be used to close the flow of oil. First it had to be installed -- no slam-dunk in the cold, dark, highly pressurized deep-sea environment, where ice-like methane hydrates can quickly form and clog openings. With the new cap in place, oil and gas still flow out a perforated pipe at the top of the stack.

Next will come the critical "integrity test." It's really a pressure test. How the well performs in the test will shape everything that follows.

Before the test begins, BP will stop collecting oil from the well. Although the top hat, which funneled oil to a surface ship, is no longer in the picture, there is still oil flowing to a surface rig called the Q4000 via a line attached to the blowout preventer. The Q4000 has been burning about 8,000 barrels (336,000 gallons) of oil a day. On Monday, a new ship, the Helix Producer, began siphoning oil through a different line connected to the blowout preventer. That ship potentially could capture up to 25,000 barrels a day if ramped to full production.

To test the well's integrity, BP will gradually shut down the flow of oil and gas until the flow stops -- nothing out the top, nothing to surface ships. BP engineers and government scientists will scrutinize the pressure building in the well.

"Higher pressures are good news. They indicate that the well bore has integrity," said Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer.

If the pressure doesn't rise as expected, that will suggest that the well has been damaged below the seafloor. Suttles played down the possibility that the test could damage the well and cause leaks into the surrounding rock formation.

But clearly these will be anxious moments in the gulf.

"The last thing you want to happen is have the well blow out and collapse around the wellhead," said Greg McCormack, director of the Petroleum Extension Service at the University of Texas. "When that happens, you have a heck of a time killing that well."

"You can think of it as this great big faucet that we're going to slowly crank down and turn off the flow and then check the pressure over a period of time," BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said Monday. The pressure readings will offer clues to what's happening out of sight, below the gulf floor, in the well bore, Rinehart said.

"Will it hold? Or will it leak out?" he said.

If the pressure test suggests that the well hasn't been compromised, BP will leave the well "shut in."

That won't mean the well is dead. The killing of the well is still the job of the relief well. About the end of this month, Suttles said, BP will intercept the Macondo well and attempt to kill it with heavy mud and then concrete.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 13, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
 
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Next: Where the oil is

Comments

Macondo lives.

Posted by: -shiloh- | July 13, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Don't click on 'more video feeds here'
Endless ferris wheel. Had to crash the computer to get out.

Posted by: bh72 | July 13, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

And a fresh Achenbach petroleum geology story.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071204239.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Doug [Baghdad Bob] Suttles played down the possibility that the test could damage the well and cause leaks into the surrounding rock formation."

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

That is what everyone has been telling those guys.

Shut the well up!

Posted by: baldinho | July 13, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner, apparently...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/baseball-insider/2010/07/george_steinbrenner_hospitaliz.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 13, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

A perforated pipe maybe?
Unless the pipe is a real talking piece that is.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 13, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning, y'all.

bh72, the ferris wheels happened here, too, when I clicked "more video feeds here".

MSNBC confirming Steinbrenner's death of a
massive heart attack over night at his home. His 80th birthday was July 4th.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

A remarkable, players' owner (though tough on managers), Dan Gilbert might wish to study his legacy.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the St. Petersburg Times, and no doubt others, are reporting George Steinbrenner's death, based on information provided by ESPN. He had a reputation as a philanthropist in the Tampa Bay area.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I have a question about the cement and mud.

What testing/assurance do we have of its long-term effectiveness at keeping the well plugged up for good? If someone were to drill a new well in the vicinity could the vibrations loosen the mixture and create cracks?

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

What a night for Big Papi. A fun to watch home run derby (was stuck in a motel, so that made it all the better). Even A-Rod interviewed really well, almost like he has grown up, a little. I am glad I am not an All Star Game producer right now. All the plans for the show are in the recycle bin, tonight it will be all about George.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes, b4 u English Majors get in a twist, I know this is wrong, "players' owner".

But I thought it helped made the point.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"If someone were to drill a new well in the vicinity could the vibrations loosen the mixture and create cracks?"

We can only be sure Doug Suttles would play down that possibility.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

This has certainly been an educational experience, if nothing else.

So if I am understanding this properly, the concern is that the integrity test might force the oil to find other pathways to the seafloor. Implied in this concern is the assumption that these leaks could result in far more uncaptured oil flowing into the Gulf than is the situation now.

Now, if, as seems to be the implication, oil could be diverted from such new leaks by re-opening the main well and re-installing a loose-fitting cap, I wonder why this new approach wasn't attempted weeks ago. Was it because BP couldn't get the hardware manufactured quickly enough, or was this delay because of concern that new leaks might not actually be reversible at all?

Because if new leaks really aren't reversible the timing starts to make a bit more sense. You wouldn't want to risk such a scenario until you were closing in on the relief well.

Clearly, there's an imprecise risk/benefit calculus going on here.

When this is all over and done, I am hoping that we will see some kind of overall analysis written. Something that really exposes the thinking that went into these decisions. Heck, maybe even a book.

I'd buy it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

MsJS - That's a good question about the cement. And one that isn't limited to this scenario.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070700005.html

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

MsJs, I believe that the mud/cement "kill" is the commonly accepted practice for plugging wells for indefinite periods.

They are drilling down quite a long ways under the sea floor to apply the "bottom kill" (below where any cracked casings and whatnot are likely to be), and there's a lot of confidence that it will work. I guess that with the ramstackle cap in place - even if if the upper casing isn't perfectly sealed near the blowpout preventer and ramstackle (due to damage near the sea floor), the combination of those and the weight of the oil above the bottom kill holding it down ought to provide a far, far better situation than we have now.

Still, it's a pressure-filled situation, no matter how I look at it.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 13, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

More likely than finding a new route to the surface, the pressurized gas & oil would likely "find" a porous sandstone formation further up and flow into it. This is bad because it makes drilling other wells nearby very dangerous and more difficult. It has happened before. I don't know much more than that about that.

Joel's "Rare mix of factors" article is sterling. Good show.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I know this is really short notice, but if I were to find myself in DC on Thursday afternoon, would anyone be up for a mini-BPH? Will be out of pocket for the next couple of hours, but will check back this afternoon. Or email me. (Yo...old guy...got time? I'd love to see you.)

Posted by: LostInThought | July 13, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I believe a mini BPH would be a fine thing, LiT! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 13, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

RD, thanks for the link.

The situation is about what I thought it was. Lots of capped wells, little monitoring, oil companies claiming the seals will hold basically forever.

As an aside, I hope y'all bought BP stock in late June when it was at $27-$28 per share. It's back up above $37 now.

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"As an aside, I hope y'all bought BP stock in late June..."

I don't gamble and I am waaay too old for high risk investing. ;-}

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What is with everyone? Don't you get it yet? BP and the other companies/agencies involved in this disaster don't have a clue about what they are doing or how to solve anything! They are trying, dismally I might add, to correct a problem they don't fully understand. Further, the disastrous scope of what has really happened has not nor may never be addressed by anyone. The story is fading from most front pages and most Americans don't even remember that ITS STILL FLOWING UNCHECKED EVERY DAY, HOUR, MINUTE, and SECOND. KILLING EVERY LIVING THING IT ENCOUNTERS. Thought for the day: 70% of our atmospheric oxygen is generated by the algae in the oceans and 90% of the bait fishes that support the north Atlantic fisheries originate from the Gulf of Mexico. You do the math. My beach is currently covered with dead fish, crabs, mollusks, and dolphins. Where will it end?

Posted by: GulfShoresMan | July 13, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071204239.html?hpid=topnews

Perhaps I missed this earlier?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

GSM, if you go back to the WaPo home page you will see that the gulf story is very much a part of today's front page.

We fully get the 'scrambling for a solution' nature of the activities involved. If you have constructive ideas to offer, we're all ears.

It's good to hear from someone on the gulf coast. If you have photos you'd like to share, we can point you to a location where they can be displayed for the readers of this blog to experience.

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

GSM, and your solution would be...?

*Popping briefly out of lurktitude to say I might be able to make a Thurs. BPH*

Posted by: Raysmom | July 13, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

More Hubble magic.

Where stars are born:
http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1012/
And the zoom-in video (13 000 light years in about a minute...
http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/heic1012a/

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 13, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

On the technical matters, I have wondered about the drilling of the "relief" well(s) so close to the well which has ? integrity.
I read somewhere the first "relief" well has paralleled the Macondo vertical track about 12 feet away. Doesn't 12 feet seem pretty close?

I mean, it seems like until everyone is pretty sure exactly how this well bumped then blew, it might be a good idea to drill farther away from the original track, this from someone who, of course, knows nothing, so it is a question of those who do.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I dunno about BP stock. The company's still looking at selling off some of its best assets at garage-sale prices.

Hi, GulfShoresMan.

I haven't looked at the net primary production of the world since I was a student. Back then, it was looking as though most production was terrestrial. Wikipedia indicates it's roughly half terrestrial, rest, ocean. Satellite data have been helpful. How did we ever figure anything out without satellite data and computer mapping/modeling (computer maps constitute models).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_production

People have long been good at wrecking ecosystems. Japan might have become an Asian Haiti had it not been for the Tokugawa Shogunate's forest management policies. Today's Chesapeake Bay is a ghost of what it was only a century ago.

One of the marvels of widely-available aerial imagery is that the general public, with a bit of help, can now see some of the massive effects of human activity. Skytruth is a good idea.
http://www.skytruth.org/

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

From The Oil Drum I learned a close approach is required for homing in on the casing of the wild well. Of course once this is achieved, another vector of homing in is required further down to intercept.

Did you pick up on the news that BP was trying to use inferior BOPs on the RELIEF WELL?? Sorry about the caps, I could only shake my head in disbelief. Those BOPs are now repaired up to grade, at least. Supposedly.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Here we appreciate sea life. These charming cetaceans made my day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHyTOcfF99o

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thursday BPH - I can do that!

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 13, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Shrink - the relief wells started something like a quarter mile away from the leak and only began angling towards it later. In June they were more than 1000 feet away, and have now trimmed that distance to 12 feet or so. Since the whole idea of a relief well is to intercept the main well, this proximity is a good thing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I can guess that ARod is a bit more relaxed and personable now that he has been a leader on a team that won the title.

All those nagging questions are no longer asked him. That makes it easier to drop his shields, so to speak.

Posted by: baldinho | July 13, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

And he is off the juice, which helps with equanimity in general, I am told.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

No BPH for me this week, alas.

My bro is coming back for another two weeks starting on Sunday (picking him up from Dulles at 6:00 in the morning -- I *only* do that for those I love) and he's bringing me rice. Zambian rice has a very nutty taste, and I like it a lot. Hope this batch is of the unpolished variety (more vitamins, yanno). He's coming from winter to summer and then back to winter again. Poor puppy.

So, it should be a lot of fun, as usual.

Maybe I'll make it to the next BPH.

Hey, Yoki -- when are you coming in?

Posted by: ftb3 | July 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks fellas, so to be more specific, I was asking in the context of RD's 1019, now since the relief well adds another track to the surface running for a long vertical distance a mere 12 ft away from Macondo (which has already been pressurized so to speak by the top kill attempt), wouldn't it seem prudent not to attempt another top kill (or shut in whatever) at this point?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

baldinho, I love your definition of beautiful, from the end of the last kit. So true!

Posted by: slyness | July 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

For lunch CasaJS is serving curried chicken salad on fresh spinach and banana walnut bread with a nice sauvignon blanc.

BYOC(hair).

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Shriek - I guess I'm not understanding your concern. The relief well is expected to intercept the main well thousands of feet down after a long diagonal run. At this depth it is expected that the well bore is much more stable than closer to the surface. Further, at this depth the pressure in the well should be less than is the case closer to the surface because there has been less acceleration of the fluids.

This is called a "bottom kill" because, unlike the top kill, the mud and concrete will have no place else to go but into the bore.

Now, my understanding is that there is still a chance that the bore is in such poor shape at this depth that the mud being injected will be diverted to some weird side passage, which is why this is still not a done deal. It might take a couple of jabs to get it right. This is also why they have a back-up relief well in case something unforeseen should happen with the first.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

SCC - I mean *Shrink*

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Joel updated his story again.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071302967.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 13, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

ruh-roh--just realized that a Thursday BPH isn't in the cards for me after all.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 13, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

My concern is that shutting in the well at the top will put tremendous pressure along the entire length of the well and that the relief well now runs parallel to the Macondo for some considerable distance.

If there are any faults, cracks or whatever that might connect the two shafts, perhaps that are opened only under high pressure, like an in between the holes gas pocket or something with weak walls...I suppose we are going to find out.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Yah, I think the first relief well drillhead is only 12 feet away from the problem well *now,* and that's its closest approach to this point.

My understanding is simiar to RDs in that the first relief well drilling started into the sea floor some 1500 ft away from the DH BP or so.

No idea as to the quality or functionality of the relief well BPs, though I imagine that they underwent a rigorous QA and testing regimen before they were deployed.

Could be-

Just my imagination
running away with me

though.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 13, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Lordamercy! Please remind me not to look at the comment board when I read Joel's updates. Those folks get whackadoodlier every day.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

http://www.celebs101.com/gallery/Erin_Moran/34055/erin_moran_photo_13.jpg

No doubt I will get into some sort of trouble over this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

BoodlePoodles, please read and discuss:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/07/ball_lightning_fact_or_fantasy.html#more

We shall use the Oxford Debate style.

Tentative line up:
RD -- you will define "Ball Lightening: A plasma phenomenon"

SciTIM -- you will counter with "Ball Lightening: conceptual basis plausible but evidence absent"

I thank you in advance for your wizardry.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 13, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I want to remind you not to look at the comment board when you read Joel's updates. Lordamercy.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I understand Shrink. You would have rather had this attempted before the relief well got so close. This is a rational concern, and one that I have never seen explicitly addressed. And I don't really know. As I mentioned previously it is unclear to me exactly why this new cap wasn't tried earlier - although I think we can rule out spite.

My *guess* is that the engineers are aware of the risk you suggest, and feel that having a relief well close to completion is less risky *overall* when they attempt this than not.

Further, I assume that if some freakish situation would result in oil flowing up the relief well prematurely the relief well would be able to handle that in the same way that drillers handle unexpected pockets of oil and gas all the time.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

shrink, I was petitioning a fictional lord of mercy, but thank you for your assistance. ;)

ps - this is not the best I'm sure, but the first animation I could locate about the relief wells - http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2010/06/bp_animation_sh.html

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Now, I guess if oil and gas started flowing through the relief well prematurely, and if this caused an explosion or fire on the relief rig, and if this caused the rig to collapse, and if the relief BOP failed, well, then we would be back to square one.

Except there is still that second relief well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Alas, I know less about Ball Lightning than I do about Greased Lightning.

But I could discuss "St. Elmo's Fire."

Man, I loved that film.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this is my concern. Since we don't know why the Macondo behaved the awful way it did, pressurizing it while the relief well is so close seems to add risk to the 'imprecise risk benefit calculus' you mentioned at the top.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

As I suggested earlier, the combination of ramstackle and bottom kill may be what's needed to close this thing off completely.

In fact, there's a line of reasoning that thinks the ramstackle would be open during the bottom kill operation in order to keep the pipe pressures lower as they breach the wellpipe. On the other hand, if the cap's shut then there's little or no flow (and that far under the sea floor, perhaps not a lot of places for the pressurized oil and gas to *go*) up the well to come out of the breach, then leaving it capped mighy be the best way to approach it.

But I'm no oil well engineer.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Two observations reading stories off the front page of the online version... one by our fearless leader: Joel, if you discuss a guy named Wells on the spill, it is confusing. Change his name. Two: best line from a dreary article: "It's obvious I'm bombing [with {Barnie} Frank]," Griffin says later. "He doesn't know when 'American Idol' is on? He doesn't care about Liza Minnelli? How is this guy even gay?"--from Stuever's piece on Kathy Griffin.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071202817.html?hpid=features1&hpv=local

Posted by: russianthistle | July 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Considering that the formal debate has not begun and comments from the floor may be taken I will offer two personal experiences with lightning, balled or otherwise.

1) In 1970, I was on a small twin engine turboprop flying up the Florida peninsula (W.Palm to Atl) when it was hit by lightning and I experienced it as a "ball of fire". Never do I want to experience anything like it again.

2) Driving with a friend in the high desert in New Mexico (1979) we were hit by lightning (no rain, but thunderhead clouds) and knocked 20 or more feet off the road, landing upright. It felt like a direct horizontal movement and both of us witnessed a huge ball of lightning that vanished immediately. Not as frightening as the plane ride, but close.

That's all I got.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, you are right it might be a risk. But *not* having the relief well so close might also be risky because of the reasons I originally mentioned. Which isn't to say that either scenarios are well understood. Which goes back to my meta point about this whole stupid situation: drilling in such a poorly understood environment should have never been allowed to begin with.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

CqP: When I was about 12 ys old,my younger sisters and I were huddled together on a sofa during a t-storm. The sofa was at a right angle to an open window. A ball of brighty glowing white light came through the window screen, zipped across the room and disappeared against the wall opposite the window. Purely anecdotal I realize.

I have read recently that ball lightening is a trick that ones brain plays on ones eyes. If so, it was a pretty good trick.

Posted by: Manon1 | July 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, regarding your 2:02 post:

There are actually a number of articles published in this very paper that explain why the explosion occurred. There are many other sources besides WaPo as well.

talitha, you say "That's all I got." That seems plenty, IMHO.

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

A good long comment about the life of an undersea rover operator can be found here
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6722#comments_top
Search for phrase:
rovman on July 13, 2010 - 9:34am

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

T and M: I had an experience with lightening immersion. Was in a car struck by such, and as the energy moved through the car to the ground, the experience was similar to how you both express. Because the car was grounded, I stayed in one place. The feeling of ozone-tinged deflation and reinflation is one I will not every forget. I felt my heart skip a beat. Must be a bit like dying.

And, the light....halo-like, making me for a moment, saintlike :) ;)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 13, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, on "why the explosion occured" - I was going to say the same. Start on April 20th and work your way forward to read plenty of pretty good explanations.

Manon wrote, "I have read recently that ball lightening is a trick that ones brain plays on ones eyes. If so, it was a pretty good trick." I read that somewhere, too, and it makes sense when you consider optical illusions, reverse images, etc. But the physical experience, the knowledge of electricity running through your body, is no illusion.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Also, I found out about the existence of very heavy brines used in oil wells. Before, all I knew was NaCl-water.

It seems there are various chemical saltwater solutions in routine use of sufficient density to kill this well by themselves without any drilling mud at all, if necessary. This is good. Standard drilling mud uses a suspension of barium sulfate particles which cannot flow through any very tiny cracks. The brines can. A link:
http://www.formatebrines.com/Home/Stories/BASFshinesspotlightonecoefficiencyofformate/tabid/757/Default.aspx

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, we know now that at least three lady boodlers are indeed "tetched". 8-))

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

On generational environmental amnesia. I recommend this very much
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/human-nature/200909/why-do-we-destroy-the-nature-we-love

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps that accounts for our electrifying charm. (couldn't resist) Does that make us direct or alternating, I wonder?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd say y'all have direct charm, talitha.

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

You were inside the corona CqP. You were crowned, dear Queen of the Boodle.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh SD, blushing. So, my face in rays on a bottle of Mexican beer? I am so very happy.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, fascinating article on environmental amnesia. I was reminded of an ancient oak that grew on the farm where I was raised. Once during a family reunion we children joined hands around it's trunk to measure the circumference. I don't remember now how many feet it was but I remember that it was 11 children hand-in-hand. That tree was split by lightning (!) about 10 years ago and has since been felled. So sad.

My brother-in-law has used the wood in many of his turned bowls as well as some furniture, so the tree lives on in other ways than mere memory.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Many speculative articles on the cause of the explosion have been written, that is for sure. The truth may never be known, something to do with some missing records.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Environmental amnesia is quite real. Florida's saltwater recreational fisheries haven't been ruined as badly as others (there's quite a lot of very nice big fish to be caught), but it's not nearly what it was. Same goes for wading birds in the Everglades and whatever lives in Florida Bay. On the other hand, wild turkeys were once nearly extinct, but are now thriving. Sandhill cranes have prospered enormously with marsh restoration.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Some friends were walking in the wilds of North Florida in 1970 and walked up on a panther. I guess they will never forget.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 13, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

shrink, I daresay there will always be some gaps in our knowledge, but there's a lot of witness testimony backed by data to support the main factors.

It takes a lot of time to wade through it all, but it is out there.

Posted by: MsJS | July 13, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

As I remember, there was a question of a successful and then a failed pressure test of the cementing job, as if perhaps something had changed or was in the process of changing before the fateful decision was made by the company man to replace the mud with sea water. The records from that period of time are missing.

The question is not whether drilling in this area is hazardous. It is whether drilling in this area (its geological formations make it) extraordinarily hazardous.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

'more video feeds here' now working for me.

Posted by: bh72 | July 13, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Today's popsicle riddle is

What did Mr. and Mrs. Steak name there son?

Chuck

Clouding up here in WV,with more rain on the doorstep.Out on the river yesterday it really rained hard "Big Old Fat Rain". I pulled over under some overhanging limbs which worked for awhile,until they get saturated and I got pretty wet.

I think I will wait for this storm to pass today.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 13, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I thought we had a really good idea of what happened when and how this all came to be. Our Fearless Leader has been wading through this since the very beginning, ear to the ground nose to the grindstone beating the bushes stuff. And then turning it into well-written articles so we could all know. Besides, it's not all that easy to get rid of records anymore. (As some rush to destroy, others rush to save.)

Raysmom, so very sorry you can't make it Thursday. If something changes, even if it's for just 10 minutes, I'd love to see you.

S'nuke, bc, anyone else...same bat time, same bat station?

Posted by: LostInThought | July 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

My mother's house on the top of the hill, out in the open, had lightning rods from the beginning. However, I do recall the flash when the house was struck and the surge destroyed the kitchen telephone. (It was a rotary owned by the phone company, no loss to us). Scary.

A little over three inches in the rain gauge yesterday, and storms are gathering as I type. I hope it won't be quite so bad tonight.

Posted by: slyness | July 13, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I hope nobody minds if I speculate about the timing question RD developed uptop. Work is slow today and I can't leave yet.

I think worry over the bottom kill/relief well process may have something to do with why they are trying this shut in procedure. The chance of something going wrong with the bottom kill, or making it worse or simply not happening/being able to do a bottom kill is real. In June, David Rensink, Pres of the American Association of Petro Geologists said it would be "like winning the lottery, "for BP to get it right the first time. "...initial failure almost a certainty,"he said. It took the Timor Sea blowout bottom kill 5 tries and that was at a far shallower depth/pressure. That was last Fall, so unless BP has gotten really good at this somehow...


Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

We had six hours to kill in Heidelberg today and the tour guide said there was a display of rare books on astronomy at the university library (It seems the town has some sort of community college dating back to the fourteenth century).

Back deep in the room where they actually had air conditioning and where you aren't supposed to take pictures they had on display an astrolabe dated to 1500.

http://picasaweb.google.com/boodlestuff/YellojktSEuropeanVacation#5493506892224532210

I figure either mudge can call them and claim it or Joel can borrow it for the next Nationals game.

More intriguing was the navigation chart dated 1491. Methinks it might need some updating.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 13, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

yello, my husband (on tour in Germany and the Netherlands last summer with the fife and drum corps) took a picture of that very same astrolabe. I almost fell over when your picture popped up!

He loved Heidelberg. What else have you seem there?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

scc: or seen, even?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

What's the difficulty with the 1491 chart?

Posted by: bh72 | July 13, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Too often (always?) if given the choice to save something or to make a buck, people make a buck.

It was a very different time when the national parks were created, for sure. Many fewer people. More open space.

I can't imagine anyone from the present ever being able to do something like that even on a much smaller scale. Too many people looking to make a buck would stop it.

I see ten times more instances of people ruining things just for the sake of ruining things than saving things for the sake of saving things.

Posted by: baldinho | July 13, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I could bet a quid
on BP putting the lid;
what says Paul the squid?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | July 13, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Man, Harrison Ford is starting to look and sound like Kris Kristofferson.

Posted by: -pj- | July 13, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Who cares as long as he doesn't look like a Wookie? Though I always did have a soft spot for Chewbacca.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

"I see ten times more instances of people ruining things just for the sake of ruining things than saving things for the sake of saving things."

Are we here just to make a buck? Evolution may have overdone itself, I've wondered about that. Saving things is conservative, on the other hand.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but pretty neat. Floating a big old bridge down the Hudson. This stuff happens a lot nowadays. It is way cool every time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/nyregion/14bridge.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by: baldinho | July 13, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I finally got around to reading that article about Ball Lightning.

Ball lightening is something I really, really want to believe in. There is something so appealing about it. You know, in a "Glinda Good Witch of the North" sort of way. Alas, every time I think about it I can't get it to make sense. Sure, you can have things burning while floating in the air. But, to me, true ball lighting would be something more akin to a stable spherical plasma. Unfortunately, plasmas, by nature, want to fly apart. The only possible way I can understand this is if there was some sort of vortex going on. Vortices tend to be stable - much like dust-devils or tornadoes. I just can't figure out how one could form a plasma tornado.

Although this does bring us back to the Wizard of Oz.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 13, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Here is an even better view. I got to work on the rehab of a swing span bridge across the Harlem river a while back. There are lots of them in the NYC metro area.

http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2010/July/13/WillisAveBridge-13Jul10.htm

Posted by: baldinho | July 13, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

"I got to work on the rehab of a swing span bridge across the Harlem river..."

Easy job. If you say, "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt," that bridge will get it. Out here in the fields, we work with culverts.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, RD.

I wonder if the near and subjective experience of a lightening strike is such that the "rounded shape" of light and cracking energy is so profoundly the PRECIEVED experience that we think BALL rather than LINE.

As I think about my experience, circa 1970, I recall that the feel -- and look -- was so all encompassing, so bubble-like that THAT spherical sensation is my memory.

A frame of reference, no doubt.

And, the observer/artifact effect no doubt.

On to paisley prints, if this bores.....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 13, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

This also goes to the 'reliable witness' conundrum in law. Most people believe that their memories of a witnessed event are absolutely accurate and fresh, but usually they (the memories) aren't. We all, given our human brains, impose narratives on chaotic events to help us make sense of that chaos (and most crimes/accidents/freak incidents are chaotic).

When I worked at the law school, I was in charge of designing an exercise to demonstrate to the students that fair witnesses are few and far between. And to do that, I underwent many such tests myself first. The best one, I found, was something I remembered from a science-fiction story (I think I remember that it was Heinlein, but I might be wrong). Shown a perspective drawing of a house with a green roof, and asked "What colour is the roof?," most people will say "green." The fair answer is "the parts of the roof that I can see are green."

That is why, at least in common law, we've moved away from the idea of a fair or reliable witness to that of the credible witness.

Posted by: Yoki | July 13, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

CqP, funny you should mention paisley prints. Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people on earth whose last name happens to be Paisley.

You may be right about the perception that the "ball of fire" is something of a false memory because of the overwhelming THERE of it. I would be willing to concede that my airplane experience was more linear. But in the N.M. car lightning strike we both described the same ball-shaped object to one another. *shrug*

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

In the Heinlein story, Fair Witness is the name of an actual profession. I thought that was pretty cool way back eons ago when I read it. Of course, that is what auditors are supposed to be in regard to corporate financial statements, and we seem to have slid far away from the flinty-eyed skeptical type in that job! That said, there is a ball-lightning story in my family, and it involves the classic pattern: a ball of light coming in the window at one end of a long room, and going out the window at the other end. Some of the stories related in the Capital Weather Gang discussion aren't of that type, but involve more or less globular features as part of regular lightning. I have to think something real is going on here, other than a simple subjective mistake in interpreting visual information. Can't begin to say what.

Posted by: woofin | July 13, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I got a kick out of the two "experiment links" in the Capital Weather Gang story. When they create the phenomena in the lab all the guys are heard saying "Ooooo, cool! Oooo Oooo, lookit that!" just like little boys throwing cherry bombs over the backyard fence. Cracked me up.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, there weren't supposed to be any panthers in north Florida in 1970. Lately, young males have been known to visit Disney World and perhaps even St. Augustine.

Squirrels decided to build a nest in my Australian picabbeen palm. They cut leaflets as if they were manufacturing token palms for waving on Palm Sunday. I should have applied the high-pressure nozzle while they were at work.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Resisting the temptation to link to Jerry Lee Lewis, here's Florence + the Machine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQaJs0UH6gU&feature=fvsr

Yello, loved the last set of pictures.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 13, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

They aren't going to stop this well. It's broken 20,000 feet deepbelow the seabed. It's a-biotic oil (google that kiddies), driven by heat and pressures generated at the core of the planet. It's a volcanic reaction, the process that's driving this thing. The bore is broken, the pipe is lying loose within the bore and toying with this thing further risks an instantaneous release of gas and oil into the Gulf that will create a tsunami that will swamp all the shores of the Gulf.

Furthermore, the dispersants are causing accelerated evaporation of the benzene, tolulene and lighter fractions in the product spewing from the gusher. These solvents are becomeing a toxic mix in all the rain that falls to the North and East of the incident. Check into it folks. Enormous fish kills in the St. Johns, North all the way to the Canadian border. There is also crop damage as far North as North Carolina. This is going to spread every day for months. Plankton, the bottom of the food chain, is being killed throughout the Gulf and Southern Atlantic already. All so BP could say there wasn't as much oil as we thought. These dispersants were a cover-up to the seriousness of this thing and now, it's going to spread in so many directions and through so many methods, even NOAA and Geological Survey have no idea how far along it is or how far it will spread. As for Obama? Clueless. Cynically clueless. They did nothing for three months, watched BP pump these dispersants for months and ignored their own scientists. Even the rain is toxic, folks. Google toxic rain, too. It's out there to read, but our government isn't in a hurry for us to know.

Posted by: JamesChristian | July 13, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

DotC, you were talking about wild turkeys earlier. Have you ever been over to Cumberland Island, Georgia? Wild turkeys are everywhere, along with every shore and seabird imaginable. I had never seen wild turkeys in such seeming fearless proximity to humankind before.

There are wild ponies and thousands of armadillos, too. I spent a week with some friends camping in the palmetto and roaming the island. Lovely place.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

dbG, Jerry Lee's been in my head all day anyway, so Florence is much appreciated. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

This Jerry Lee?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3jfIoYXLe8

Posted by: Yoki | July 13, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I did make a day trip to Cumberland Island, just once--a major disgrace considering that I lived in Jacksonville for years. It was a hot day and I think only the stupid humans were up and doing.

The business of crossing by ferry, then being separated from motorized stuff, is wonderful. The island has of course seen heavy human use, and its current more-or-less uninhabited status is a chance product of history. The island could as easily become another Hilton Head or St. Simons.

I've never encountered turkeys that weren't shy of people, but then again I had a bona-fide turkey expert as a colleague and friend for several years.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 13, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JamesChristian. I know something of petroleum drilling, and I note that you toss some terms-of-use out, urging us to Google, but don't cite reliable sources for your most contentious assertions. I am specifically interested in citations for toxic rain, fish kills, and crop damage in the locations you assert, that proves that these putative events are direct consequences of the Deepwater Horizon blowout and the Mocando release. That is, it may be that these things are happening (or not) but I've not seen any reliable, scientific literature that unequivocally ties them to BP's failures.

Posted by: Yoki | July 13, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

That's the one, but, like dbG, I'll not link to the obvious tune. Goodness, gracious.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

This latest WaPo post on the oil disaster is a good one. Why is the oil company still in charge of all aspects of the narrative?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse


Non-rock hound drills fur
Strikes black gold, runs around rich
with well-done scratching.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 13, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Dave, you're sure right about the heavy human use on Cumberland, especially the Dungeness ruins. And finding "Lighthorse Harry" Lee's gravesite there was an eye-opener, too.

I'll say that being there at night in the peaceful moonlight on the beach or sleeping under the palmetto one could sense the tramping of aboriginals, Spaniards, plantation owners and rich barons marching along through time.

Unless an armadillo ran over your feet in the dark! 8-O

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

A kitchen mishap;
olive oil coating the floor,
then a dog's stomach.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 13, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that sounds like fun, W_G.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

For those who have yet to lego the World Cup:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/video/2010/jul/13/world-cup-2010-final

Posted by: DNA_Girl | July 13, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I remember when bringing up Exxon Valdez was considered irrelevant or quaint, a sign of not keeping up with the news. I'd like to congratulate the WaPo for dredging up the problem we still face.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, when did the Wapo ever let it go?
Are you being serious? Never mind, time for some sleep.

Goodnight, dear boodle.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 13, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

And now we learn the test did not happen and that we have to analyze more. This is good.
The test was going to be a big test of many assumptions.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

No talitha, do a one eighty.
I am talking about the public conversation.
The WaPo has stuck on this better than anyone.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

"The British energy giant and U.S. authorities said they were postponing the test that had been scheduled for Tuesday to establish whether the well can withstand the pressure caused by closing the cap at the wellhead." Reuters

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I am somewhat relieved to see this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071306623.html?hpid=topnews

But for one reason only. I witnessed that malfunction, and was much (much!) more shocked by her colleague's (Timberlake? Timberland?) acting-out of sexual assault than I was by Jackson's nearly-bare breast (which was, not at all). And yet no pundit nor FCC commissioner nor journalist has made any mention of that shocking display. We've still got a long way to go.

Posted by: Yoki | July 13, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Well I guess they realized putting a cork in it was too risky. I am glad.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071302967.html?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 13, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

It certainly is attack of the Luna moths tonight,every window with light in it has a big Luna moth on it.I don't know if they are trying to get to the light,or eating everybody else and their brothers who are also trying to get to the light. I have seen the light and it's not that big of a deal.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 14, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I concur, Yoki.

May I just say that Wilbrodog was a much better-tempered flier than I was today?

I could learn from his example and wear much less carry-on luggage the next time-- perhaps a small netbook instead of my laptop.

I wind up in a kicking mood whenever I have to pack-mule for too long.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 14, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I love your nature reports, greenwithenvy! The soul of the artist will come out, be expressed.

And I've never seen a Luna Moth, but know of them by reports. Beautiful.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

a bit of bluegrass. the mandolin player has a touch that is far beyond her years. a gift.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDZ9PN5K06Q&feature=related

hey, yoki.

Posted by: -jack- | July 14, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Hey, jack.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I *adore* Alison Krauss. Even have spent money on a ticket to one of her concerts.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I am not saying BP controls the "Oh we might fix it soon, right away this time" -->root for us if you love small creatures and life itself...but then, when it is ever worse news, "You should root for us because we are being safe and protective," message. I won't say that, you are grown ups.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 14, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Recitals

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I am gone.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 14, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Shows

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

this is a beautiful song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjsjZWlRVvo

i would defnitely pay to go see union station.

Posted by: -jack- | July 14, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

otoh, they might exclude those who cant spell defnitely. it's spelled the way that is spoken in these parts. like awl and pin.

Posted by: -jack- | July 14, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it is. Lovely.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

When I lived in Montreal, jack, I asked a certain bilingual two-year-old of my acquaintance to give me his pen. He passed me the bread-basket. So sweet.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

for the longest time my response to pin was what???, until the issue was clarified by the use of ink pin. btw, a lead pencil is mechanical, not a dixon ticonderoga.

Posted by: -jack- | July 14, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Lulz!

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

just because.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhqyg_dTaTg&feature=related

Posted by: -jack- | July 14, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Just because,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1plvBR02wDs

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

talitha,
It is a small world. A few weeks ago I had no idea what an astrolabe even was.

Rick Steves find Heidelberg too touristy to even give a write up, so I was on my own in trying to find interesting things about town. I ended up at the top of the church tower and along the Old Bridge. I did find the town quaint and the ruins of the Palantine castle a little change of pace from all the ersatz Versailles manqué we have been seeing.

Right now we are suffering from what the tour director calls ABC Syndrome - Another Bloody Castle. We have seen castles in Prague, Vienna, Munich, Rothenberg, and Heidelberg. That is not to mention the myriad cathedrals, churches, and chapels.

Heidelberg has two with the same name because the Protestants and Catholics can't agree on who has the rights. Up until recently they had been splitting a single church down the middle, Solomon baby style.

On our free time I have been slipping into the art museums that our tour doesn't have the time or budget for. Vienna had two very incredible ones, the Albertina and the Belvedere. We were touring with a Klimt fan and I thought she was going to melt after seeing The Kiss. I had to practically tear her away.

Today we are off to the Black Forest to look at cuckoo clocks and waterfalls.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 14, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

broken-hearted Yoki goes, broken and hurt.

Posted by: Yoki | July 14, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

I do have one semi-tragic tale. My glasses broke in BudaPest. Since my prescription is so tragically complicated (astigmatism, progressive lenses, etc.) there was no hope of getting a new pair, so the fallback plan was to get some temporary contacts to tide me over.

Only I have never worn contacts before and I found the challenge a bit daunting. While in Vienna I had the hottest optometrist in Europe spend a half hour poking her finger in my eye. Some people pay good money for that.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 14, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Except you couldn't see her very well :)

Slyness? Do you mind whipping up one of yourfamous breakfasts? I'll put out breakfast hors d oeuvres now, hot mini soft pretzels with assorted cream cheeses. Thanks.

Be careful out there, guys.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 14, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone!

Despite consuming an alarming amount of stealth caffeine (Seriously. Orange Soda? They really should label those more clearly) I was unable to stay up long enough to see our very own Mr. Capps get the win for the National League. I just hope it doesn't take another 15 years for this to happen again, since I fear my ability to stay up late will be decreasing, not increasing, with the years.

Now getting up early, well, that's another story.

Speaking of stories, Joel continues to do a bang-up job:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071302967.html?hpid=topnews


And speaking of jobs, if I wish to keep mine I need to attend a "Harassment Free Workshop" this morning. It's mandatory for everyone.

Although I take great pride in being polite to everyone I work with, I must admit I sometimes experience the desire to engage in behavior some might call harassment. For example, we have several lovely young interns working here. I see them each morning sitting languidly at their desks, and I must suppress the desire to tell them to stop slouching and sit up straight.

I mean, honestly, do you know how bad that is for your spine?

Sheesh.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 14, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get the memo, RD_P, where's the workshop?

*repressing-the-very-strong-urge-to-make-a-"Mutiny-On-The-Bounty"-type-reply-to-JamesChristian Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 14, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Back from hiatus, it’s “In Search Of… ‘Mudge!”

Before NukeSpawn headed for home, we had to have lunch. We found ourselves in a Five Guys near the Anacostia. I told the spawn I’d heard on the Boodle this was the place where President Obama had bought lunch for his staff at one point.

“Boodle?” the young lady at the counter said. “Why is everybody talking about a Boodle today?”

“Who else said that?” I asked.

“Oh, this nice older guy,” she said, smacking her gum. “Looked like Robert Redford, only not so tall. He asked for some drink called a cap-ree-heen-ah, said his scurvy was acting up or something.”

‘Mudge!!! “When was this, where is he??!??!”

“Oh, he left just before you got here,” she said. “He got all huffy that we didn’t serve that drink, said something about taking a vacation with a jersey cow, I think.”

Dashing outside, all I could see was a trail of salt water taffy wrappers in the direction of Union Station.

I went back inside, where NukeSpawn was studiously studying the ceiling and doing her best “He’s not with me” pose. “Could he have said New Jersey?” I asked the server.

“Yeah, that was it, a night in a fort in New Jersey.”

“A fortnight in New Jersey, maybe?”

“You talk funny, mister. Just like that guy – you two cousins?”

“Only through a guy named Joel,” I said as I grabbed the spawn and headed for the station…

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 14, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I'm late! Ham biscuits, cheese grits, scrambled eggs, and a mixed fruit bowl on the ready room table. The coffee and hot water are on the stove, everybody help yourself.

I'm trying to be green and eco-friendly in the hot weather, so I washed a load of clothes late last night. When we got up, I put said load in the dryer and started a second load in the washer. Then Mr. T and I went on our walk; the dryer was done and the washer had 5 minutes left when we got back. So it's not quite 8:30 and the laundry is done...And I'm also almost done in.

Hi Cassandra! I hope you have a great day at the Center.

Posted by: slyness | July 14, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Muffins, blueberry and 'english', butter and jam, Earl Grey and coffee for all comers.

Looks like both RD and Scotty are suppressing/respressing urges this morning. Careful, men . . . not need to keep it all inside. I've heard that can be bad for your health. ;)

Shrink, about last night, I wasn't trying to be obtuse or obstinate. I didn't realize wapo has an Exxon Valdez story up.
'K?

Overcast and muggy here today. I'm tackling an unorganized "pile o'stuff" inspired by dbG's garage project. *sigh*
Wishing a good day to all.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 14, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, two memory-lapse items from yesterday(how unusual).

MsJS, love the origami fishes. I have a star pattern and a few others, plus the ubiquitous crane, that I teach to children when called upon. I love 3-D origami, especially boxes.

woofin, ukeleles rocked! (that was woofin, wasn't it? oh, dear)

Posted by: talitha1 | July 14, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Shrink, I still think that BP's plan of gradually closing the valves and measuring pressures is a sensible and even conservative effort.

If they're doing what I think they are (and lord knows if that's the case), they won't close all the valves all at once, but will do so in steps, measuring pressures and flow along the way. If anything looks questionable (pressure fluctuations, no pressure increases as the valves close, etc.), they'll stop and evaluate any next steps, reopening the valves if necessary.

I think that in this situation there's going to be risk in any changes they make to reduce or resolve it, and a measured, controlled change process with some degree of information/data-driven feedback makes sense to me.

Heisenberg, y'know?

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 14, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

new kit

Posted by: shrink2 | July 14, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmmmm...

Interesting results from an OPM survey of government drones:

http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2010/Ranking/

*whistling tunelessly* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 14, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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