Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Somebody Light A Match

It is well known to everyone by now that the traditional method of dealing with an oil spill like this is to set it on fire. Alex Jones suggested today that not only should they have set the plume on fire the first day or two as soon as it surfaced, but that they also should have seeded it with the custom-engineered bacteria that are available which actually eat the oil and use it as food and as a medium in which to multiply. Because if you started bacterial colonies when the oil was all in one place, the natural multiplication process would have ensured that the colonies would have spread apart along with the oil, all the while continuing to multiply and eat the slicks until they were gone. Alex also suggested not only setting the oil on fire, but dropping napalm on it, to keep it burning until it was consumed in the "bombing" area. I have no idea if we still have napalm in weapons deliverable by fighters and bombers -- I remember a controversy here in town years ago where people were protesting a huge shipment by train of napalm to be destroyed somewhere west of here. But napalm isn't difficult to make -- you can find recipes on the internet with a simple search.

And I'd like to clarify a point which I've alluded to in the past, but not made it as clear as I should have. Oil is bad for the birds and other wildlife and plants which it is starting to coat off the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. It certainly makes the beaches uninhabitable to tourists who supply a large percentage of those states' economic income in the summer months. But oil is composed of a mixture of hundreds of types of hydrocarbons and a few trace minerals. We are made up largely of hydrocarbons. Science books refer to them as building blocks of life. That's why astronomers are excited every time they detect the presence of such molecules on distant worlds -- they are the chemical signature of life.

The oil is bad, but it will break down after not more than a couple of years into harmless chemical components. In other words, it will not poison the coastline forever. I don't have enough data on Corexit and whatever else BP and the government are dumping into the water, but make no mistake about it -- of the two, the Corexit is by far the worse. I wrote earlier that it causes skin burns on contact, burns the lungs on inhalation and attacks the liver, kidneys, erythrocytes, testicles and ovaries directly. And worse, unlike oil breaking down, Corexit breaking down results in benzene, hydrogen sulfide and other toxic and cancer-causing by-products.

I'm neither a petrochemist not a pyromaniac, so I have no idea if lighting the surface oil on fire would be able to do anything about the sunken plumes (which Corexit has caused to stay beneath the surface, if Anderson Blooper forgot to tell you), but it would get rid of the oil on the surface, the oil that the government is permitting, no, encouraging to wash up onto the shores in Louisiana and Florida. Local fishermen could go out with matchbooks and maybe a few cans of lighter fluid and burn off the oil as it threatens their own small harbors. But the government has teams of lawyers threatening them with lawsuits if they do try to save their small towns and businesses, and SWAT teams ready to threaten them with automatic weapons if they defy the lawyers.

Look it up. "Obama" deploys SWAT teams to the Gulf as a search term should bring up the articles. Not Soetoro, as I first typed before correcting myself. That probably won't get you the best results. So why is Barry sending tac squads to the Gulf of Mexico instead of the Persian Gulf? You figure it out.

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