Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Where is the oil?"

I'll tell you where the oil is. Via links on Twitter and through the Blog of New Orleans comes this study that says nearly 80% of it is still out there in the sea. The first few paragraphs of the report set the tone:
On August 2, 2010, the National Incident Command (NIC) released a report on the status of oil from the BP oil spill. The findings of the report are being widely reported in the news media as suggesting that 75% of the oil is “gone” and only 25% remains. However, many independent scientists are interpreting the findings differently, with some suggesting that less than 10% is “gone” and up to 90% remains a threat to the ecosystem. Considering the vulnerability of the southeast Atlantic coast to oil being carried our way by the Gulf Stream, it is critical that we determine which of these interpretations of the report is more accurate.

To address this issue, Georgia Sea Grant organized an ad hoc group of university-based oceanographic experts from within the state to independently evaluate and interpret the conclusions of the NIC report.

This group determined that the media interpretation of the report’s findings has been largely inaccurate and misleading. Oil that the NIC report categorizes as Evaporated or Dissolved, Naturally Dispersed and Chemically Dispersed has been widely interpreted by the media to mean “gone” and no longer a threat to the ecosystem. However, this group believes that most of the dissolved and dispersed forms of oil are still present and not necessarily harmless.
If you won't listen to the scientists, who will you listen to?

Actually, I don't think I want to contemplate the answer to that question...

Update, 3:11 PM: Another "listen to the scientists" report comes out on the safety of Gulf seafood, and the prognosis is not good.

And just when I started to wish that a scientific study quantifying exactly how bigoted and un-American opponents of the Cordoba Mosque near the former Twin Towers site would appear, something fairly close to that comes about. Do as Maitri says and show some respect for the real heroes of 9/11, who went into those burning buildings and did their best to rescue everyone without figuring out beforehand if they were Muslim or not.

A further note: I keep shaking my head over my Queens synagogue's listserve discussions about the mosque because of the particular synagogue building in which we worship whenever we go back to visit the old congregation. The place not only boasts classrooms for religious school students, it also has a gym, a weight room (outdated equipment, but still), and a swimming pool in the basement. Why put all of that in a synagogue? Ground broke on the place in the late 1940's, when the word of the day concerning Jewish people's acceptance into recreation centers, colleges, and even neighborhoods was "restricted". If you wanted to go for a swim back then, forget going to a Y or joining a country club if you were Jewish. Even some nearby beaches were off-limits. As a result, Jewish people took their recreation off to their own places, including the resorts in the Catskills upstate.

So if hysterical politicians manipulate enough people's fears and get this to die, this is just to let you all know where that road might lead...right back to the ugly places where we've all been before. I hope to God, Allah, or whatever being you might pray to if you're of the praying persuasion that that doesn't happen.

Anudder update, 8-18: Drake Toulouse's post on the unbowedness of the scientists and the Gulf fishermen & women in the face of the media's irresponsibility is a must-read.

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