If You Build It… They Will Pump?

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The best f*@$%!*g news I’ve heard about the Gulf spill all week. And it involves Kevin Costner.

It was treated as an oddball twist in the otherwise wrenching saga of the BP oil spill when Kevin Costner stepped forward to promote a device he said could work wonders in containing the spill’s damage. But as Henry Fountain explains in the New York Times, the gadget in question — an oil-separating centrifuge — marks a major breakthrough in spill cleanup technology. And BP, after trial runs with the device, is ordering 32 more of the Costner-endorsed centrifuges to aid the Gulf cleanup.

The “Waterworld” actor has invested some $20 million and spent the past 15 years in developing the centrifuges. He helped found a manufacturing company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, to advance his brother’s research in spill cleanup technology. In testimony before Congress this month, Costner walked through the device’s operation—explaining how it spins oil-contaminated water at a rapid speed, so as to separate out the oil and capture it in a containment tank:

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On “small people”

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from a Language Log perspective:

When Carl-Henric Svanberg raised such a fuss yesterday by explaining that at BP “we care about the small people”, my first reaction was that he should have known better than to bring up the whole size thing, or for that matter the whole caring thing. But my second reaction was to wonder about contemporary American expressions for ordinary people.

The most obvious phrase, I think, is “ordinary people”. It’s roughly 25 times more common than “small people” in terms of raw frequency (1475 hits vs. 60 hits in the COCA corpus), and a majority of the instances of “small people” are literal references to people’s height, or other irrelevant categories: “Small people can bend easier, with less low-back pain”; “I had a little Lilliputian hallucination. I saw very small people, pink people, before a migraine”; “Ellen, as a petite person herself, felt strongly that small people should avoid perkiness at all costs”.

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(H/t Matt Yglesias)

An EarthEcho View of the Gulf Spill

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by Philippe Cousteau via EarthEcho International:

Another early morning, all the more early because we didn’t stop work till 2AM last night! Today we head off to Grand Isle about three hours away from Venice to visit with Louisiana Wildlife and Fish department. Oil has made its way into the mangroves which means some of our worst fears have been realized. These wetland habitats are some of the most fragile in the world and also some of the most important. 40% of all the wetlands in the lower 48 states exist along the coast of Louisiana and they are directly in the oil’s path. Look at the photos and you will see why once the oil gets into these tight intricate bodies of water, there is no getting it out.

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EarthEcho International is a nonprofit 501c3 organization founded in 2000 by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., famous son of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau. EarthEcho International’s mission is to empower youth to take action that restores and protects our water planet.

In The Gulf Spill, The Public Has No Right To Know? UPDATED

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UPDATE:

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether to bar BP from receiving government contracts, a move that would ultimately cost the company billions in revenue and could end its drilling in federally controlled oil fields.

Over the past 10 years, BP has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines and been implicated in four separate instances of criminal misconduct that could have prompted this far more serious action. Until now, the company’s executives and their lawyers have fended off such a penalty by promising that BP would change its ways.

That strategy may no longer work.

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Previous post below:

According to BP. What’s going on here?

BP hasn’t yet been able to stop the flow of oil, but it’s been more successful at controlling the information coming out about the Gulf disaster.

McClatchy reported on Tuesday that BP has been withholding the results of [1] “tests on the extent of workers’ exposure to evaporating oil or from the burning crude over the Gulf.” The data is important to determining whether current conditions are safe for workers in the Gulf, researchers told McClatchy. BP said it’s sharing the data with “legitimate interested parties,” but would not release it publicly:

“Why would one do it? Any parties with a legitimate interest can have access to it,” BP spokesman Toby Odone told McClatchy [2].

That’s not the only instance in which the company has restricted the media’s access to information.

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