“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
--Frank Zappa, December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993
This just goes to show how desperate the oil industry is to find new sources. All the easy oil has been found and extracted, and now the industry is using new technology to get at the dregs from the old tapped-out fields, as well as looking to deep water and to places like the Arctic. The farther they go into less settled and more dangerous wilderness areas of the world, and the deeper they go under the sea, the more likely accidents like this are to happen.
The risks and costs definitely go up, Ian. How do we educate the public on these risk dispassionately without sounding shrill or like Luddites? Steve?
Unfortunately, there are many more people who will never care what it costs society or the environment to get their gasoline as cheaply as possible - many more than there are those of us who will weigh the costs and decide that a line should be drawn.The oil age will, I'm afraid, not die easily when there are so many who are so willing to apply artificial respiration. I think we just have to hope we can ride out what's left of it.
I have to admit I was torn about the subject in the last election campaign. Whenever the "blue team" boasted about saving GM, it pushed me toward Romney. The reds would counter that by talking about how much gas prices went up under the blues. In the final analysis, the scenarios play out a lot like whale oil in the 19th Century - it'll continue until a superior solution is found - or we sink into a new dark age. I'm rooting for fusion power, though that will not cause more people to ride bikes - more likely the opposite. Perhaps I'm just a "Latter Day Luddite."As for the rig - wasn't it Khal that was recently talking about the inevitability of accidents in complex systems? It eems to me that getting the remaining oil out will get ever more complex. OTOH, what do I know? I can't even prove I'm not a robot with these new captchas...
Yes, I mentioned that increasing complexity of systems increases the chances of mistakes and accidents, i.e. Charles Perrow in Normal Accidents and Scott Sagan in The Limits of Safety, etc. Admittedly, I'm not up on the literature. Drilling in deep water or the Arctic Ocean means one has to contend with more hazards, therefore more controls, therefore more things that could go wrong. For an example of higher risk situations, my nighttime ride home from work last night when one of my headlights died just as I was rounding a curve on snowpack.If the public would intelligently accept that level of risk, I could accept the public wanting to drill in risky areas. The problem is the public wants its cake and to eat it too, often encouraged by snake oil (not whale oil) salesmen telling them what they want to hear.
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