Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grandma was right!

So, I've had a bruise from an opponent's football cleat on my left ankle for over 2 weeks now, which is kinda weird... I would have figured it'd disappeared by now. It's still giving me occasional pain when walking or cycling... hmm... not really pain, I could just feel it's there. Like a high ankle sprain, or something close to that.

Anyway, for the last two nights I've dipped it (and me) in an epsom salt solution (bath), and today the bruising is all gone. No residual pain, no bump, no tenderness. Moreover, I feel really, really relaxed... much cheaper than a professional massage, with similar benefits. Who knew? I'm turning into my grandmother!

Epsom salts are pretty awesome. At under $4 for 2 kilos at the local No Frills, they seem like a great back to basics way to relieve muscle pain, stiffness, and tension and while hastening the healing of bruises and muscles.

How they purportedly work:
Epsom Salt is simply magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) in a heptahydrate form (hepta = 7, hydrate = H20). Epsom Salt has a high affinity for water, that is, it seeks and binds easily with water. For this reason it has excellent drying properties. This salt is used to draw out water from the body. Athletes who want to lose water weight without dehydrating themselves, often soak in Epsom Salt baths. The water is drawn out of the skin and subcutaneous layer, but remains in the organs and muscles. This not only allows you to lose significant weight before a weigh in, but allows your body to function just as well.

The name “Epsom” refers to a town in England where it was first distilled and marketed as a kind of all-around cure.

Also, if you feel like reading on, here's an interesting article about the lack of scientific evidence in support of epsom salt's therapeutic effects.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Travel aboard the oldest railroad company in the US, the historic Strasburg Railroad 's nine mile steam train ride runs though Amish farmland and features several different travel accommodations, including fully restored open air coaches, a deluxe lounge car and a first class parlor coach. Special excursions include a Wine & Cheese, Dinner & Murder Mystery trains. Check schedule for "Day Out with Thomas" trains as well. Listed in Parade's "Unforgettable Day Trips by Rail". Directions.


Unfortunately, not that Strasburg this time. Although, that's how you run a mf train.

This Strasburg goes something like this.

You like to read? You're gonna like it a lot more after you read this. Via Posnanski.


Glen Perkins sits behind home plate and charts Stephen Strasburg. This is Rochester, N.Y., and Glen would rather be somewhere else — namely Minnesota where he grew up, where his wife and daughters live, and where he pitched for the Twins in 2008 and 2009. He won 12 games for the Twins in 2008, though he’s baseball savvy enough not to put too much stock in pitcher victories. He felt hurt in 2009 and had a rough season. Now he’s in Rochester trying to get healthy and get back.

When you’re pitching in the minor leagues trying to get back to the big leagues, you are happy to find distractions whenever you can. Charting a brilliant young pitcher is a good distraction. Perkins charted the Reds brilliant prospect Aroldis Chapman and found himself a bit dissatisfied … he had heard so much about Chapman but what he saw was an inconsistent fastball and slider and shaky command. Chapman is only 22, (“Obviously he has time to figure things out,” Perkins says) but the point is that for Perkins the hype did not match the reality, the talk did not match what he saw. It’s usually like that.

“I got to hit against Greg Maddux once,” Perkins says. “And he threw me one of those inside fastballs that looked like it was going to hit me. I’m not going to say I closed my eyes, but I definitely flinched and pulled back and looked away. And then the umpire called it strike three. It was really pretty unbelievable.”

He smiled. That’s what he wants to see in baseball. Something beyond belief. And on this day in Rochester, with a sellout crowd around him and hawkers selling Stephen Strasburg T-shirts, he settles in to watch baseball’s biggest pitching prospect.

“Wow,” he texts me after Strasburg gets a strikeout in the first inning. “98, 99, 100 on the first strikeout. Wow.” (

Strasburg then throws an absurd change-up that makes a young player named Brian Dinkelman swing about a half hour early.

“I’m seeing Lincecum with that change,” Perkins texts. “Absolutely filthy.”

And he texts this after another change-up: “Guy next to me thought it was a curveball … Just saying, when it looks like a curveball and it’s not = nasty.”

And this after a sick curveball that make Jacque Jones look silly: “That appeared to be belt high for about 59 feet."


He throws sinkers in the upper 90s. Shit, his curveballs look like sharp sinkers. Christ, his changeups look like curveballs. Alright, I'll stop gushing. Here's the deal.

Remember the posted Halladay pitches against The Jays on Saturday June 26th in Philly roadtrip? It just got expanded. Strasburg is scheduled to pitch against the Orioles in Baltimore, Camden Yards, on the June 25th.

Yeah. It's not hard to make the connection. It was a one in a million shot doctor..

So... yeah... I was thinking, if you could call in sick Friday, we leave that morning, say 7am (before traffic), be in Baltimore by 4, 5 latest (9 hour drive), walk, whatever, catch Strasburg, see a game at Camden Yards (#3 on ESPNs best parks), have a good night in Baltimore that starts at 10pm (that game will be done in 3 hours easy), hotel it up, explore Baltimore that morning or escape to Philly (2 hours away) for a cheesy steaky lunch, explore Philly, go see Doc pitch against The Jays, see Citizen's Bank Park, (#4 on ESPNs best parks), have a great night in Philly that starts around 7pm (that game will be done in 3 hours easy), and return to Toronto the next day in time to call your mother crying that you just had the best motherfucking baseball weekend of your life.

At this point there is a push to leave Thursday morning just to see a bit more of Baltimore.

Either way, this is Jesus country.

The Pill, 50 years later

Accelerating women's rights in the 1960-70s? Oh yeah.. I think so. But, what about today?

This Agenda episode (with my friend Kate!) discusses not only the history of the pill's influence on North American women , which undebatably it has had, but also jumps into current hormonal studies, women's rights, your rights, society as a whole, politics (don't worry, only a bit ;), men (don't worry, etc...), and educated choices. Also, you get to see a very awkward feeling Steve Paikin, at least initially... very rare! Anyway, brilliant chapter of a superb and unique program. Watch.

Let me jump right in. In my opinion if I had the ability to get pregnant and didn't want to at the moment I would not use the pill. I can't wait until this spawns into the man vs. woman debate. Anyway, I would use a 99% effective IUD. Mirena IUDs are considered 99% effective (not saying I would use that one.. ). I'm not trusting the internet to that claim, ask your/a doctor. Other coil IUDs are 99% effective when used properly, and again, ask your doctor.

There is no good reason why any Can/USA/etc?* woman should be taking birth control pills at this point in time, I feel, other than for health reasons*. In fact there may be a few great reasons why they shouldn't be.

*this topic is potentially so.large.

First, this whole deal with the arrest of your muscle growth while on the pill*. This sounds pretty fucking serious to me, especially long term. There seems to be about a 60% deduction in growth of your muscle mass while on the pill, as compared to normal growth. This is not unlike what happens while you are pregnant (i.e., body resources go toward the fetus and not your body growth).

*Kate's Macleans article

Second, not trying to sound like a nut case, but the pill may change ones' consciousness / emotions through a temporary hormone imbalance, and therefore short and long term mate choices.

Third, IUDs and pulling out are quite fucking effective. I know that I do not need to look it up to say they're 99% effective ( There is no reason for the pill! IUDs fucking work. Maybe you think it's old, but shit... they fucking work! If you're scared ask a new fucking doctor! Ask me anonymously for a new male or female doctor that will take you with no questions. Get a new free stupid hotmail accout and email me here.

Fourth, great point by Judy (in the video) at the end there regarding the effectiveness of the pill and the statistics not including stillbirths and abortions. Not sure if that changes with IUDs (not sure how it would), but still; probably a significant number/stats are missing from the true numbers. I'd say up to 20%.

Fifth, cancer. I could go into the morning looking at medical evidence of positive vs. negative (long term) side effects of the pill, but I don't think I need to. Yes, there are studies that show immediate positive side effects of the pill, however, they seem quite immediate/young/questionable. Doing minimal research, it seems (surprisingly) to have varying effects. Roll the dice. Or, you don't have to.

Sixth, it's pushed by a lot of doctors, especially for young girls. Good right? Generally, if I may say off the back of my ass, I feel GPs are not given any new research within the birth control pill area... as far as I understand. I am most certainly wrong, but basically I see the process as this:

Woman: I may be in the position to get pregnant, what do I do? (I'm having sex)
Doctor: Take this birth control pill every day.

I'm gonna ask a doctor about this and get back to this post, cuz it's quite an interesting thought... What I mean to say is that I'm not sure... Are new doctors recommending it? Are people still asking for it? Is something else suggested/recommended when women do? Cuz, as much as some ladies may be out of touch with their bodies, moreso are their doctors. Also, I am assuming this isn't the hot drug topic that receives free dinners/seminars anymore, so can't see how doctors would be up on it.

If you're looking not to get pregnant, get on the pill. Jesus, this isn't an anti-pill post.

It's just a heads up, and look what's happening and be aware of your potentially better options. Ask your doctor about IUDs!

Adam's Birthday

Adam's birthday was somewhere around the 22nd of May but because of some trip or something we celebrated a few days later over a flag football game at the picture perfect Lamport stadium, with a picture perfect team.

From the endzone.

Yes, that is!

Geez Louise, I love this song, and I love Adam in shorts. They're on a platform travelling through space toward the sun and they're happy as goats!

Anyway, moving on...

Some tight defensive shots.

And some offense!

Huddle up... something we should be doing more of?

Alright, so I think we lost 4-3, but man was that a fun game. The other team was nice (we initially forgot our flags and they let us play touch football until we got them!), the weather was fucking great (Leeeet the sunshine.... great song/video right?!), and we were about to celebrate the man, the myth, the legend's birthday.

Medieval style.

I swear they made some sort of noise.

This motherfucking man is ready to motherfucking party.

Nice surprise group shot, with a heads up to the potentially escaping balloons... and, I hope you will notice everyone in hats, cuz that's what one does at 31.

mmm... just one more shot.

Afterward at the double duece.

I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time, and I wish there were more shots of the after party backroom chats, the bourbon, the PacMan quest, and the Milan appearance, but really, Claire was responsible for the shots that night, so.. you know. ;) Just kidding. Actually, Claire did us proud that night!

btw, on a small side note, Congratulations to our birthday boy who won the National Newspaper Award for Editorial Writing a few days earlier!!!

Yeah, boy is legit.

This is the dawning of the age of aquarius...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jeremy, our research has been done for us

Where to watch the World Cup in Toronto

Jer and I have discussed watching World Cup games this year with the local supporters at their local bars. It seems like a good way to not only experience the game, but chat it up with the fans, hang out in a potentially different neighbourhood than we normally would, and get involved a little bit more.

BlogTO posted the above link with some suggestions on where to watch who. I think we still may want to do a bit of our own research for back to back matches, and we probably don't want to return to the same place twice if possible, and some will work, and some will obviously not, but this is a great start.

For example:

Mexico - Group A
v South Africa, June 11, 10:00
v France, June 17, 2:30
v Uruguay, June 22, 10:00

El Jacal offers some of the most tasty and authentic Mexican in the city, so it only makes sense that they would play host to fans of "El Tri". The place is pretty small, but they will have multiple TV's and a large projector set up. If you want a real Mexican soccer experience, this is where you want to be.

Holland - Group E
v Denmark, June 14, 7:30
v Japan, June 19, 7:30
v Cameroon, June 24, 2:30

Betty's is typically full of George Brown students but during the World Cup, Betty's will bleed Oranje out onto the streets. A huge patio in the back, brunch menu and numerous TV's make this a go-to destination. Wear Orange and brace yourself.

.. and Serbia, which is obviously in a night club on the Queensway.

Serbia - Group D
v Ghana, June 13, 10:00
v Germany, June 18, 7:30
v Australia, June 23, 2:30

Zam is bar/nightclub on the Queensway but during the day it will play host to Serbian supporters with 3 tv's and 1 big projector. They will be showing all the games except those at 7:30 in the morning. The facebook page states a dress code but I think anything in red or white will do.

The National

So, went to the National show last night. ummm.. Way better than I thought it was gonna be, and I had pretty fair expectations going in. Not only were they tight, but they played their hearts out, and 2.5 hours later Massey Hall left smiling.

Before the show I met up with Adam, Jay and Kat at the
Osteria Ciceri e Tria on Victoria which was pretty fantastic. Remember tapas?> Small? Too expensive? Unimaginative? Well, here we had 5 different italian homemade 'tapas' for $15 within a basically 7 course meal for $35. Moreover, everyday they change their menu based on what they feel like/what they have in the kitchen. For example, the fish, a salted cod in lingunie and the cuttlefish (not really a fish) was pretty tasty tonight. On top of that, the company was as excellent as expected.

I read over their menu before I headed over, and I posted it on my other new blog, shit from today. Yeah, I know. I don't do a very good job of keeping up with this blog. But, the reasoning (in my mind) is that for me this is a more in depth voice. I want to put time into what I chat about here. On that other one, I figure I'm just gonna post shit that isn't google reader worthy but is something that I learned that day. Hence the post totally about the Osteria Ciceri e Tria particular day menu and things I didn't know about; a sort of what I read/learned today thing.

Anyway, after that Massey Hall and the National we all ended up at the Betz (Cool way of saying Sweaty Betty's kids) where the band showed up, along with HAYDEN!!!... So yeah, I had a drink behind, along side, and in front of Hayden. I never got up the nerve to talk to him, nor would I know what to talk to him about.. (Hey, remember that time when you were in Kingston like 9 years ago?.. and you played at a place called the Trash?.. yeah... I know, stupid name.. Anyway, a friend and I showed up extra early before your show that night and you were eating spaghetti there in the corner, and we, yeah, it was surprisingly good there, eh?.. anyway, we stopped by and chatted you up about your new album Skyscrapper National Park... Anyway, yeah, it was a packed night that night, and, where was this story going?... oh yeah.. it was a packed night that night and then you sang "Skates"... yeah.. that's it. It was magic. Oh, btw, congrats on Cuff the Duke, and also, I think you live in my neighbourhood.... yeah... I've seen you leaving your house and stuff... ). Geez I love that guy's music. But yeah, great night all around

Sunday night baseball

Or, softball...

Ride for heart, Jays game 14 rows back from home plate thanks to Derek (great game, until the Jays had one of their bad innings; this time before the 9th), nap, some flag work, and softball. Picture perfect.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The BP Oil Spill

(Live video of the oil leak here.)

Alright, this is obviously very scary and totally ridiculous. Let's start off with a little bit of a round up / background of what exactly has taken place here.

First, a very brief BP backgrounder.

In the last three years, BP 760 "willful egregious safety violations" at their refineries alone. Compare that to Sunoco (8), ConocoPhillips (8), Citgo (2), Exxon (1).

The Minerals Management Service, directly under the supervision of the Interior Department failed to impose a full review of potential environmental impacts of the BP drilling operation because preliminary reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was "unlikely."

April 22 - Deepwater Horizon goes up in flames. 11 people lose their lives.

First thing? An open request for ideas!

“I have a technology, service, or idea to provide. How can I do that?
To submit an alternative technology, service or product, please contact (281) 366-5511. Submissions will be reviewed by appropriate experts.”

Hilarious! Really?... this is what you do at this point??

Race on to contain oil slick after rig accident - 23 April
Deepwater Horizon oil leak still unplugged - 26 April

April 26th (? picture looks like the 22nd... not sure about date, but all reports say this started on the 26th) - Public attempt #1. Underwater robots try to close off valve.

"The robots will attempt to activate a blowout preventer, a 450-tonne valve on the ocean floor that offers the only timely option for stemming the flow."

April 26th - Reporters and photographers denied access to oil soaked beaches.
April 27th - BP now owns the airspace above the spill too!

Oil spill endangers fragile marshland - 27 April
Gulf of Mexico oil leak worse than thought - 29 April

Controlled burning begins. Burning should have started a week ago, says former NOAA official.

Is this really a good idea??? Apparently.

"One of the biggest such tests was undertaken off Newfoundland in 1993. Called the Newfoundland Offshore Burn Experiment, the joint Canadian and American project concluded that combustion consumed most of the more problematic compounds and the levels of harmful compounds in smoke were below danger thresholds outside 150 yards of so of the fire zone. The water beneath the burn area showed no detectable levels of harmful compounds."

I really believe that if there’s any possibility of burning the oil on the surface that should absolutely be carried out and attempted. There are huge net environmental benefits compared to letting it stay on the surface or hit the coast. There’s lots of evidence that there are no human health risks. After burning, there are fewer carcinogens and toxins than in the actual original oil. You really have a chance to remove 70, 80 or 90 percent of the oil. No other technique is going to take that much oil out of the environment.

Ecologists brace for oil spill damage - 3 May
Deepwater Horizon spill round-up - 4 May
Deepwater Horizon spill updates - 6 May
Deepwater Horizon spill updates - 7 May

About two weeks after....

Public attempt #2. BP builds a giant dome hat (May 4th-ish)

Failure admitted around May 10th due to buildup of methane hydrates. As I have discussed this in various forms I have discovered that people have simply never heard of the ice that burns, Methane Hydrate. The BP keep talking like this is water ice with methane in it. Bullshit, it is highly volatile compound that may or may not have water ice in it. Take a look at this article from 1999 discussing the "little known material" and the dangers it poses to oil drilling. METHANE HYDRATES: A Surprising Compound

Methane hydrates, also called methane clathrates, are deposits of frozen methane gas found at the bottom of the ocean. Some reports are now linking the deposits in the Gulf of Mexico with the accident that sank the Deepwater Horizon.

Here's video of the failure, which, seems ridiculous to even try...I mean, do you really think you could get a water tight seal? Was it really the methane hydrates, or was it just a stupid idea? You be the judge:

2. Try a smaller, "top hat" dome, which obviously failed. Video above shows the construction of the "top hat". More bullshit.

Public Attempt #3. The "Top Kill" and the "Junk Shot"

A "top kill" consists of pumping huge amounts of mud and cement into the leak in hopes of stopping it. The mud and cement will be pumped at high pressure from barges down 5,000 feet. BP has stockpiled 50,000 barrels of the manufactured mud, AP reported.

The challenge will be to pump the mud at sufficient downward pressure to counteract the upward pressure of the gushing oil. The tactic has been used in above-ground oil leaks, but never underwater.

The danger of the top kill is that it could make the leak worse by blowing the entire valve open. The addition of the abrasive material in the gushing oil could eventually widen the well-hole so that virtually unlimited quantities of oil and explosive methane would be released into the water and atmosphere. Here's a great article to read if you want to get pretty technical about this.

According to CNN, if the "top kill" doesn't work BP will try a "junk shot": Instead of pumping mud and cement, BP would pump "material like golf balls, pieces of tire and pieces of rope into the blowout preventer."

If neither procedure works, BP will be forced to revert to ideas like a containment dome to try to stop the leak.

In the latest try, BP engineers pumped more than 1.2 million gallons of heavy drilling mud into the well and also shot in assorted junk, including metal pieces and rubber balls.

The company determined the "top kill" had failed after it spent three days pumping heavy drilling mud into the crippled well 5,000 feet underwater.

Public Attempt #4. The "Hot Tap"

Here's a video of the process:

This video demonstrates how a new valve can be connected to a live water main without having to shut the water off, so as to avoid interrupting service to a neighborhood. Basically, the relief valve, which I'll get to in a second...

First, Public Attempt #5 - Underwater robots with diamond saws to get a clean cut, and then a top cap.

Saw the top off. If they get to this point the well is blowing out far more than it is now. They will have to put the new unit in place through that raging stream.....via remote subs...a very very difficult task to be sure. This is desperation time....

What a top cap does, as is my understanding of it, is that it doesn't close the leak, it simply directs the leak up a tube to a collecting ship at the surface. The problems with this solution are obvious. One, the thing is still leaking. Two, how much of the oil are you actually collecting from the leak. Three, what is the capacity of the ship.. I mean, it's an interesting way to collect oil, but doesn't scream efficiency to me. And four, what does the weather do to this solution (I'll get to this in a bit.. ).

As of this morning: Engineers were able to bring 6,000 barrels of oil to the surface in a 24-hour period. About a 1/3 of the leaking oil.

It was not immediately clear how significant a gain the initial capture of the roughly 6,000 barrels — the precise number was 6,077 — represented.

Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion April 20, official estimates have put the flow rate at 12,000 barrels to 19,000 barrels a day, although some scientists have said it could be substantially more. Government officials also said the volume might have increased by as much as 20 percent when engineers cut the damaged riser, which they did before lowering the containment dome.

A technician working on the operation said the engineers were also working slowly and deliberately because of a concern that the volume and velocity of the escaping oil could create so much friction on the inside walls of the new 5,000-foot pipe that it could force it entirely off the cap.

So, that is where we are right now. This is very very serious. "This thing is an almost unimaginably powerful monster that we have just stabbed with a knife and spit in the face of.... and it's in a very weak cage, it doesn't sleep, it doesn't need to eat and it only gets stronger and more fierce as time goes's going berserk and it's wrecking it's cage, tearing at it, screaming, bolts starting to pop loose and it's not going stop smashing and bashing anytime soon...oh and btw someone just handcuffed you to the bars and you cannot get away now."

Some estimates target Christmas as a possible stop date.

Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government's current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University.

So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

This hurricane season could be a relatively bad one as, umm, well.

Trenberth told Discovery said: "The eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean, where disturbances from Africa are transformed into hurricanes, is experiencing record high temperatures, even higher than in 2005, and that was the most hurricane-ridden season on record."

Public Attempt #6: The Relief Wells.

Relief well. In every discussion of top hats, junk shots and other ways to halt the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, industry experts cite one procedure as the ultimate, if slow, solution: relief wells.

But drilling the wells -- in this case, BP is tunneling through 3 ½ miles of rock to meet an 8 ½-inch steel pipe and plug it -- is a high-stakes, daunting task that can take months.

BP started drilling its first relief well May 2. It has reached 12,090 feet and is expected to reach the blown-out well in early August. The second was started May 16, has reached 8,576 feet and is expected to reach the well in mid-August.

The relief well drilling will continue even if the cap attached to the spewing pipe on Friday is successful.

If the first relief well is completed by early August, the total spill by then could be 72 million gallons -- using government figures for the daily spill rate -- or as much as 265 million, under scientists' estimates.

The so-called relief well being drilled to intercept and plug the damaged well by mid-August might miss -- as other emergency wells have done before -- requiring more time to make a second, third or fourth try, Dave Rensink, President Elect of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, said.

Financial impacts:

Hayward described what had happened as "perhaps a hundred thousand to one in a million occurrence" and gave an "absolute commitment" to return the Gulf coastline to how it was before the disaster.

On the controversial issue of whether the firm would pay a dividend to investors this year, he said BP was "going to take care of all of our stakeholders" but stressed the decision would be taken by the board next month.

BP CEO Tony Hayward said the company had plenty of money to meet its obligations, including $5 billion in cash and additional credit lines it could tap. It has already spent well over $1 billion on its oil spill response.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was passed after the Exxon-Valdez to hold oil companies responsible for their spills. One of the main provisions of the bill was that it held oil companies liable for funding the cleanup of their messes -- but only up to $75 million dollars worth. So some legislators want to raise that cap to hold BP properly accountable -- and the majority of Americans agree.

But a number of oil-friendly politicians, predictably, do not. Senator Lisa Murkowski, for one, has somewhat amazingly blocked a provision to raise the liability cap. She says that raising the liability cap from $75 million would "hurt smaller oil companies" (she also accepts a significant amount of funding from oil companies).

Senators Ben Nelson of Florida and Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey introduced the legislation last month, which would raise the cap from $75 million to $10 billion. The LA Times reported at the time:

"BP says it'll pay for this mess. Baloney. They're not going to want to pay any more than what the law says they have to, which is why we can't let them off the hook," Nelson said.

Cleanup of the spill is expected to run into the billions of dollars and it is too soon to estimate what will be the tab on additional losses from lost income from harmed fisheries and any environmental damage.


Gambling websites are now placing odds on what species will be first to become extinct as a result of the oil belching from BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.


Then there's this:

Let's start with the hypocrisy: Never at any time before the BP oil spill did the "drill, baby, drill" crowd advocate stopping offshore drilling and replacing it with onshore drilling. They wanted more offshore drilling and more onshore drilling, making the likelihood of oil spills higher, not lower.

There is also a false choice implied here. As if the only choices available to us were to drill offshore or onshore (or both, which is what Palin really wants). Even if drilling was allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), it would take years for that oil to start to flow, and it wouldn't make that big a difference on the supply side of things.

Another (better) option is to spend that time working on demand; by making our vehicles and industry more efficient, we can save the equivalent of all the oil contained in the Wildlife Refuge and more. Not only would that avoid damage to pristine wilderness, keep a lot of carbon in the ground, and avoid the risk of an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but it would also help make the U.S. more competitive on the world stage.


A few more random things.

The physics of an oil spill.

Also, those oil dispersants they're using? Yeah, they've never had any toxicological studies done on them. Corexit oil dispersant toxicity has not been tested on ecosystems, according to the Oil Spill Response Plan. "Ecotoxilogical effects: No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product."

The decision has been a controversial one. A few scientists think dispersants are mostly useful as public relations strategy, as they make the oil slick invisible, even though oil particles continue to do damage. Others consider Corexit the lesser of two evils: It’s known to be highly toxic, adding to the harm caused by oil, but at least it will concentrate damage at sea, sparing sensitive and highly productive coastal areas. Better to sacrifice the deep sea than the shorelines.

But even as these arguments continue, with 230,000 gallons of Corexit on tap and more commissioned by BP, a superior alternative could be left on the shelf.

Called Dispersit, it’s manufactured by the U.S. Polychemical Corporation and has been approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. Both Corexit and Dispersit were tested by the EPA, and according to those results, Corexit was 54.7 percent effective at breaking down crude oil from the Gulf, and Dispersit was 100 percent effective.

Not only did Corexit do a worse job of dispersing oil, but it was three times as lethal to silverfish – used as a benchmark organism in toxicity testing — and more than twice as lethal to shrimp, another benchmark organism and an important part of Gulf fisheries.

As for why Corexit is being used instead of Dispersit, authorities haven’t yet said.


Blame? Let's start here. More of this is going to start coming out... Here's a nice graphic of the responsibilities from top to bottom.


Alright, that's enough for now. I hope you're caught up on what's going on, as I feel I am now. There's a TEDxOilSpill conference in Washington coming up, and I've put my application in to go... hopefully I'm not too late... cross your fingers.

Free video chat by Ustream

Update: Good Jon Stewart episode regarding all of the above.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Philadelphia road trip

As I'm sure you've heard, Jays play in Philly over the Toronto G20, June 25-27, and I wouldn't mind a road trip.

Halladay is next scheduled to pitch on this Friday, and unless the Phillies pull some bush league four man rotation for June, he's scheduled to pitch the Saturday of the Jays series.

Get out your Halladay Jays jerseys, and let's go for a drive. Did it just this weekend; 8.5 hours with a lunch stop. You may have to pee in the car. From the excitement, obviously.