Man Made Disaster

Cuts, Cuts, Cuts.

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture, Opinion
 Labour Party poster for U...

Image by Adrian Short via Flickr

It would seem that the focus of the press at the moment is all about the changes to Government spending and how it is changing the services that available to the British Punter.  Doom and gloom stories are about all of the time and it would be  a ostrich-like news fanatic of me not to point some of this stuff out. 

Education changes have been making the headlines, mainly due to ongoing "riots" during student protests over fees.  Not like Riots back in my day mind, they were proper riots with proper pipe bombs, coshs and  Riot Squad everywhere.  A Gentleman was charged this week with "violent disorder" for throwing a fire extinguisher through a window such was his rage.… Continues …

Oil Spill: A Question of Priorities

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Business & Finance
A very angry Obama

Image by boutmuet via Flickr

Another day, another screaming headline in the ongoing saga of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.  We're being bombarded by new stories every day, and it sometimes feels like we're focusing on the wrong things.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria took the unusual step of blasting the press for their obsession with Obama's emotional response to the spill, an obsession which forced the president to utter the now-famous "ass to kick" phrase.  As Zakaria points out:

"What exactly is the point of all this? What purpose would be served by having the president scream or cry or whatever it is he's supposed to do to show emotion? Would it plug the hole?"

BP: American Double Standards?

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 19MAY08 - Tony Hayward,...

Image via Wikipedia

BP's Tony Hayward

It hasn't been a good time for BP CEO Tony Hayward, who has spent the last few weeks grovelling abjectly on television while being described in The New York Daily News as 'the most hated – and clueless – man in America'. BP has been the subject of protests in many cities, with protesters waving placards proclaiming 'BP=bad polluter' and 'fubp'.

President Obama, stung into action by criticism of his approach has weighed into the situation with unusually bullish language. Being quoted as trying to find out "whose ass to kick", he has given the green light to criminal proceedings to be brought against the BP board for the mass murder of the eleven rig workers, and has called for BP to be banned from giving dividends to its shareholders.

The President of the world's largest polluter and energy consumer, which consumes 25% of global energy with 5% of the world's population, has called the spillage "an affront to the American people".… Continues …

Oh My God, We're All Gonna Die!

— Filed under: Science & Technology
Betelgeuse art ESO

Image via Wikipedia

Or not, depending on who you talk to. The latest buzz is that Betelgeuse, a red supergiant and the ninth brightest star in the sky, is about to go supernova in the next few weeks or months. Apparently the panic originated from a forum posting, which claimed to have firsthand information from an astronomer in Mauna Kea. Although not predicting immediate annihilation for Earth, the author postulated that the bright explosion would cause 24-hour daylight and might destroy crops. That posting has been elaborated upon here, and debunked here.

It seems as though every few months we're subjected to warnings of some new disaster that threatens to destroy us. We're told that swine flu could kill hundreds of millions around the globe. We're warned that global warming will melt the polar ice caps and raise the sea levels much sooner than anticipated, wreaking havoc worldwide. We're shown via Hollywood that the world will end in 2012. The world didn't end as predicted in 2000, but it certainly went a little crazy as programmers raced to fix "the millennium bug". And apparently we're under constant threat from unknown and untracked asteroids which could demolish the Earth at any moment.… Continues …

How will the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill be stopped?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

History Repeating Itself in the Gulf of Mexico?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology
Deepwater Horizon Drill Rig

Image by SkyTruth via Flickr

After mesmerizing much of America and the rest of the world on Saturday, we're faced with the sobering reality now that BP's top-kill approach has failed to stop the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House continues to alternate between pseudo-apologetic and angry, with Obama saying that the failure is "as enraging as it is heartbreaking."

Ixtoc I oil well blowout

Image via Wikipedia

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not actually the first major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or even the largest. That honor belongs to the Ixtoc I disaster in 1979. The similarities are shocking and many: an explosion aboard an oil rig, a faulty blowout preventer, chemical dispersants, junk shots and top kills - and months of gushing oil. Rachel Maddox summarizes these and other similarities in an excellent and highly recommended video which suggests that history is repeating itself, and that drilling relief wells is the only proven solution.… Continues …

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