Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Visualization of the scale of the oil spill

Andy Linter at Beowolfe.com spent some time with Google Maps recently and came up with a visualization tool for the scale of the BP oil slick. When you got to his site, his site grabs your location from your IP address and then moves an overlay of the present size of the oil slick from the Gulf to over your home. The image at right is how big it would be if it were centered near my home in the Denver metro area, Colorado.

After the last census I calculated what percentage of Colorado’s population lived between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, and it was somewhere between 70-80% of the state. So if that slick were here in Colorado, 3.5 to 4 million people would be covered in oil.

Click on the image to get a feel for how much of your neck of the woods it would cover.

h/t to S&R’s own wufnik

Gulf oil has likely reached the Loop Current

The image at right is a composite of the most recent MODIS satellite image of the spill area in the Gulf of Mexico and a National Weather Service model of the Loop Current. It was created by Brad Johnson of Think Progress’ The Wonk Room.

The composite image shows that the oil spill area has almost certainly reached the Loop Current, which is one of the major currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The loop current runs right past the Florida Keys and then meets up with the Gulf Stream, and if the tar balls that have been washing up on Key West beaches over the last day or two are from the spill (they may be from older spills years ago), then we should assume that the MODIS satellite imagery is the minimum extent of the spill area. Given that scientists aboard a NOAA survey ship have observed a plume at least 45 km long and 10 km wide that’s thousands of feet below the surface (and thus not visually detectable from the surface), it’s reasonable to say that the observed surface slick does not represent the full extent of the spill to date. And NOAA has now closed 19% of federally-controlled Gulf waters to all fishing (map).

The Weekly Carboholic: Port of Long Beach powers BP supertankers with electricity

carboholic

lbtanker

Maritime shipping is responsible for emitting 3% of global carbon emissions, roughly equal to air travel and more than most nations. Worse than that, however, is the fact that most oceangoing vessels burn heavy fuel oil (aka bunker fuel), the heavy sludge that’s left after every other useful product has been refined from petroleum. Bunker fuel emits a truly massive amount of nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) and, due to its high sulfur content, a huge amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2). According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, one of the ways to reduce emissions at port was to implement “shore-side electricity” in port. This enables a suitably equipped shipping vessel to operate off of comparably clean electricity instead of extremely dirty bunker fuel.

And according to an article last week in the Long Beach Press-Telegram , the first supertanker with a shore-side electricity retrofit pulled into the Port of Long Beach and plugged in. Continue reading