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Length vs. Diameter

Friday, May. 21, 2010 3:48 AM

So now, a month into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill debacle, the folks in Washington, D.C. have decided they need a team to study the exact size and extent of the leak.

No, really?

When you have a backed-up, overflowing toilet in your house, do you leave it running and then, a month later, once your entire house is hip-deep in sewage, call a plumber?

Does it make sense that when a rig explodes, burns, and sinks, that the operating company might, perhaps, be a bit reticent to say anything about the full extent of the damage? (BP has admitted that the spill might be larger than they originally estimated. They're the ones with submarines looking at the gorram leak, and they don't know?)

Does it say something about the sensibility of deep-water drilling when they know how to rip holes in the ocean floor, but they don't know what to do when they end up with the functional equivalent of an open wound?

There are reports that fishermen tasked to the cleanup effort are getting sick, possibly from exposure to the chemical dispersant BP has been spraying all over the place.

Experts point out that similar dispersants, used during the Exxon-Valdez spill, actually caused brain lesions in some marine mammals.

My media gripe du jour is the use of the phrase, 'a mile-long pipe' in describing BP's attempts to staunch the wound, as it were.

The length of the pipe has absolutely nothing to do with the volume of oil it can suck up. It's a six-inch wide pipe in a twenty-one-inch wide hole.

This is the same mathematical whitewash as '5,000 barrels/day,' as opposed to 210,000 gallons.

A savvy move by Toyota - they've reached an agreement with electric car company Tesla Motors (who had been planning to build facilities in the South Bay, then changed their plans) to re-open the Nummi plant in Fremont.

Not only is this good for the economy in California and the Bay Area, it's positive PR for the beleaguered automotive company, which suffered an enormous black eye over a series of recalls (of which there's just been another affecting a Lexus model).

Wow. Common sense prevails, as a commission has approved the dismantling process for the mothball fleet to be conducted at Mare Island, rather than tow the rusting hulls all the way to Texas.

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