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Mail 627 June 14 - 20, 2010
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June 14, 2010
There was a good bit of mail posted last night.
Compelling read. Well written.
The article is here "http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965"
They examine the roles that the prior and current administration played in this disaster.
Surprisingly (IMO for Rolling Stone) they lay a goodly share of the blame at the feet of Ken Salazar and his boss. Its a very long and very good article. Here are a few quotes.
It is very clear from just about any source you choose that BP had a terrible reputation for taking safety shortcuts in the interest of maximizing profit. It's also clear that not only did we have no organization, plans, or procedures for cleaning up a spill, but we had in effect no regulation and inspection service. It doesn't matter whether this is Bush or Obama -- apparently it's both -- what matters is that this has to be fixed, not by standing on someone's neck or kicking someone's arse, but by setting up professional inspections, and having a management service that actually pays attention. The BP recovery plan was clearly incompetent and inadequate -- one need not be an expert to know that we don't need contingencies for cleaning off sea otters and walrus in the Gulf of Mexico. As Holmes once observed, some facts are self-interpreting, as when you find a trout in the milk.
[I am told that this phase was first used by Thoreau. Ah well.]
One expects when this is done that it will, after much sturm und drang, be much the same as before.. Our new aristocracy cannot be dismissed, nor apparently embarrassed. Where is Madame Defarge when we need her?
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I read with interest your commentary on the young 16-year-old female lost at sea. You did not state an opinion, but I suspect many of your commentators think this was a bad thing.
I respectfully disagree.
Human beings need to have the right to risk their lives; if this is not so, we are reduced to a state of dependency, locked into a permanent 'safe' world with street lights.
Follow that path far enough, and you find a world where the Wright Brothers never fly their aircraft, because they aren't allowed to risk their lives in an unsafe contraption. Risk is dedicated to trained bureaucratic professionals, as modern test pilots, which means a decaying, static society, unable to progress.
People her age settled the American frontier, had
babies, fought in wars. Just because modern society does not recognize
adulthood until age 30 -- see
Besides which -- if you're not going to do crazy stuff in your teens and twenties, when are you going to do it? If she's going to get herself killed, better now than when she's 30 or 40 and has children or grandchildren or a family to take care of.
I would rather live in a society where people have the freedom to risk their lives than in one where people are forced into live and act only in safe ways. And if that means that some people choose to gamble with their lives and lose, that is a price I'm willing to pay.
I didn't express an opinion because I don't think it's really my business. I certainly am not obsessed with the subject. Sailing alone around the world is a dangerous thing to do. The odds are that you'll survive, but it's certainly not certain. I can think of far more dangerous activities for teen agers.
I would not encourage my grandchildren to try sailing a 40 foot boat around the world alone or in company with someone else, but I wasn't asked. There are a lot of things I did when I was a teen ager that were pretty dangerous. Many of them are illegal now.
I didn't grow up in a Nanny State.
From the Sunday mail we have: "...students who have been issued with textbooks on Kindle e-book readers generally dislike it as a learning and research tool. This is because it is not easy to make marginal notes, use bookmarks, or just flick through it to find the desired passage."
Isaac Asimov pointed this out in one of the Lucky Starr juveniles of the 1950s. Predating user-friendly computers, he made the point that astrogational data was kept in books because it was easier to turn to the desired page than to spool through a roll of microfilm.
Well, and in many of those old stories the plot point depended on those books. As in Starman Jones. Or the Dickson/Harrison Lifeboat.
The term is over and there's not much news. England and America are playing in the World Cup tonight.
Recently I was asked to be an external examiner for a PhD in my specific area. I agreed, and I received the dissertation yesterday. The top sheet of the package is interesting. It's a "Documentation Request--Employment as an External Examiner." In the note, a representative of the university where I will be doing the examination explains:
"I am writing to you to explain that we are required by the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) Immigration Regulations to verify the 'right to work' of any person who undertakes any work at.... Guidance has been produced following recent detailed consultation with both the UKBA and Universities UK (UUK).
"I am aware that you may have previously undertaken paid employment as an External Examiner without the need to provide proof of your 'right to work'. However, through recent consultation with UKBA and UUK it has become apparent that we are required to verify the 'right to work' of all individuals employed by the University irrespective of the length or nature of the employment or the fact that the individual is already employed by another Higher Education institution...."
Note that the 'pay' is an honorarium of £150 and expenses. According to the UKBA rules, External Examiners have to be UK or EEA nationals. Given that it is possible that there are less than a dozen experts in the world qualified to examine a PhD in a specific area, I imagine this rule will make things difficult for PhD supervisors--we have had to recruit external examiners from America a few times in the past. I also imagine these rules are being applied to everyone doing guest lectures, appearances, book tours, concerts, events, and accepting honorary degrees and prizes. To be permitted to do any of those things, the individual has to have one of the following:
1. A current passport or national identity card for the UK or other EEA country, 2. A residence permit or other document certifying or indicating permanent residence, or 3. A passport endorsed to show the holder is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK.
This will clog the international arteries that share information. I hope the new Government will be a good deal more sensible about the subject.
-- Harry Erwin, PhD "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)
America and England tied in the world cup. I'm told it was a good game.
The purpose of guild systems has not changed for a very long time. Why should the government be more sensible? Is it usually?
June 15, 2010
I was just reading a financial analyst take on BP citing the wealth of the corporation and the fact that previous disasters had not sunk the responsible corporations. One thing to keep in mind is the ability to assess the contamination and extent of that contamination. The ability to accurately identify chemical and biological factors at small concentrations has jumped several orders of magnitude in my lifetime. When once we spoke of parts per million, now we are into parts per billion. We can now sample the ocean farther and deeper, and accurately identify contaminates from particular sources. When we speculated about things like isotopes of elements we now use the ratios of isotopes to identify the locus of origin of a contaminate. If residue from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is found in shell fish in the Atlantic, even if in minuscule quantities, the legal profession will immediately jump on the band wagon and claim that there is potential damage to the fisheries as well as the general public who consumed, or potentially consumed those shell fish. So the extent of damage can expand exponentially with the development of scientific detection methods. This could potentially mean that a whole ocean basin would come into question. It is an interesting issue as what you could not detect 20 years ago becomes a smoking gun today and in the future.
Leadership in the Gulf
Leadership is being shown in the Gulf of Mexico (about time), and it didn't fly there for a photo op (or wait for permission from the Obama administration):
"Eight weeks into the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of the Mexico, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has told the National Guard that there’s no time left to wait for BP, so they’re taking matters into their own hands.
In Fort Jackson, La., Jindal has ordered the Guard to start building barrier walls right in the middle of the ocean. The barriers, built nine miles off shore, are intended to keep the oil from reaching the coast by filling the gaps between barrier islands."
Policy & rants : Unfortunately old news: China threatens US
In 2000 the JFQ of the National Defense University noted that a Chinese military journal had published an article calling for China to be able to win a war by 2029. It got a lot -- well, a fair amount of attention in the US military. Now it appears to be moving up the food chain.
Japan unfurls solar sail in space
"While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war."
Given the proclivities of the population it has to be
considered if there is a work force that willing to work the mining and
ancillary services. More likely that Uzbeks, Tajiks and Indians would be
available as a workforce. More importantly is the question of how far the
resources are from lines of communication? No ports. Poor airfields (though
air is not an optimal profit line for transportation of minerals and
by-products). Scarce railroads. Mine to market is going to be a nightmare.
In the near term (if these veins prove to be rich), the money to be made
will be in building the infrastructure to support the mining and workforce.
"iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/
David Couvillon Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Collector of Hot Sauce; Avoider of Yard Work
China would have no problems whatever replacing the population. Neither would Tamerlane....
I asked an international broker/financial advisor friend of mine in London who stood to gain from these finds. His one word answer: "China!"
Precisely. Ask the Uigers.
At some point we are going to have to consider spheres of influence, and just who we are backing in that part of the world. What are our objectives? And who are our friends?
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
June 16, 2010
Two things bothered me about Obama’s speech last night (well…more than two, but two big ones). First of all, when he spoke of looking to new energy sources, he made absolutely no mention of nuclear power. I think he’s a fairly intelligent man, so my assumption is that the omission was calculated. Was it to appease his party faction, and he’s going to go there anyway (we hope!), or was it because he does not consider it viable. I like to think that if he didn’t consider it viable he would have just come out and said that.
The other item is that he practically broke his arm patting himself on the back for appointing academia and scientists to a commission to make recommendations to solve this problem. Unless he was using a tactic lifted from Heinlein’s ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ where a constitutional committee of academia, do-gooders and loudmouths was appointed to keep them out of the way, this is a mistake. He needs to get people who solve problems, i.e. engineers, not academia and scientists.
Of course, that is my humble, but less than impartial opinion, since I am an engineer.
Tracy Walters, CISSP
My guess is that there was nothing on the teleprompter, so he didn't mention it. That sounds perhaps unduly cynical, but I have come to believe that Obama really is less competent than anyone supposed. He has all his life been told he is brilliant, but we see absolutely no evidence that he has produced anything that requires hard thinking or the ability to understand. I haven't even seen academic publications that indicate brilliance or even competence. Perhaps I am unduly judging him.
Would Bush have done a better job?
You made the comment in Wednesday’s post “It's a good illustration of the inevitable problems of electing a president who has no executive experience.”
My question is, would Bush II and “Brownie” have done a better job?
In my opinion, the way to stop this leak is not to have let it happen in the first place. And, the people who were responsible for that were not doing their jobs before Obama was even elected.
One of the things a good executive does is let the people who are supposed to know what they’re doing…do it…until it becomes obvious that those people haven’t got a clue. But when is that…day 1?...day 10?...day 50? And, even when the obvious smacks him in the face, what can Obama do? The Legion’s “war fighters” aren’t prepared to deal with this kind of thing. Where can he turn?
What puzzles me is why BP hasn’t been able to stop the leak. Of course, they don’t care about the environmental damage (other than the fact they’ll now have to pay for it). But, what about the $70 times 50,000 barrels worth of money a day that’s pouring out of that well. Surely, not having that oil to sell should get their attention, unless they expect to recoup the profit when prices shoot up because of “lack of supply”.
Was it Napoleon who said “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity”? Having worked for BP, I tend to think the opposite might be true.
Clearly the way to stop that leak would have been not to have it happen in the first place. Again it seems clear that had the regulators done their inspections and enforced the regulations, it would not have happened.
From what I can find:
It is my understanding that in January, 2009, President Bush left office and was replaced by President Obama, who took office along with a majority in each House of Congress. The deepwater rig did a 4,132 deep well in Fall, 2009, which was at that time the deepest well ever drilled. The well that caused the present gusher was begun in 2010.
If your point is that the bureaucracy wasn't doing a proper job during the Bush Administration and should have been subject to "change" I can agree. I have no great love for the Creeps who governed after Gingrich stepped down as Speaker. Newt was the last adult supervision in that Party. But at what point is the candidate who promised Hope and Change to be held responsible for inadequate Change and reform?
As to why they have not been able to plug the leak and why local efforts to contain the damage have been less than spectacularly successful, the stories I have heard of the bureaucratic mess in the cleanup make me suspect that the area would have been better off if the Federal Government had simply said "It's not in our competence; do what you can, you're on your own." I don't know if there's any competence in BP; I do know that few people work well with a boot on their neck and the threat of criminal prosecution publicly made at frequent intervals.
Obama had a new opportunity to take charge last night. His speech was political, and he used the opportunity to create a slush fund to be administered by the holder of an office unknown to the law. Then he went on to sell us cap and trade. Never let a crisis go to waste.
Congress and the Gulf disaster
theoildrum.com have reprinted the letter that Congress sent to Tony Hayward outlining the topics upon which he is to be questioned at Thursdays hearing. It is, subject to a robust defence by Tony Hayward, a completely damning document. It is a long document but worth the time as it goes into detail which tomorrows news media will not. This is the link:- http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6604#more
It is a long document, and I do not have the competence to separate opinion from fact in many of the assertions. I am prepared to believe that BP took risks and decided for the cheapest rather than the safest practice when there were decisions; I am not competent to decide these matters. Clearly there are regulations that are needless and onerous and do little good; clearly there are regulations that are needed and vital.
The document seems to explain this well, and certainly one will have a better understanding after reading it than one had before -- I think Obama might so well to read it -- but I have no great trust in Waxman's abilities and less in his impartiality.
The data shows that a massive oil spill in the gulf does not cause permanent damage -
The data shows that a massive oil spill in the gulf does not cause permanent damage. They predicted the end of the world with the Ixtoc oil spill in 1979 but it didn’t happen
Thirty-one years since the worst oil spill in North American history blanketed 150 miles of Texas beach, tourists noisily splash in the surf and turtles drag themselves into the dunes to lay eggs.
"You look around and it's like the spill never happened,'' shrugs Tunnell, a marine biologist. "There's a lot of perplexity in it for many of us.
The environment is amazingly resilient, more so than most people understand,'' says Luis A. Soto, a deep-sea biologist with advanced degrees from Florida State University and the University of Miami who teaches at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
"To be honest, considering the magnitude of the spill, we thought the Ixtoc spill was going to have catastrophic effects for decades ...But within a couple of years, almost everything was close to 100 percent normal again.''
Clearly in the millions of years that the Earth has existed there have been catastrophic events. Including ice ages. Earth abides. which doesn't mean we can be complacent.
I would like to see more on the Persian Gulf recovery from Saddam's dumping all the oil of Kuwait into it. What is the state of the ecology now?
On Finding a Local Dial Number -
Determining if a number is local or not is easy if you have a normal landline phone.
Simply dial the number without a 1- prefix.
If the call goes through ... it's local.
If I need to use dial up I'll grab a list of potential phone numbers and then try them out when I get to my destination.
--- Jim Coffey
This seems reasonable. Thanks.
Afghan mineral wealth
I heard talk of this very soon after we went to Afghanistan. Circa 2002. One indeed wonders how things would have turned out if we had restored the Khan of Khans, and simply let him sign contracts to start mining and divided the proceeds among the local clan chiefs. I'm of the opinion that by now, the Taliban would have not been able to keep up with the satellite dishes, blue-jeans, and ipods.
Yr Obsvt Svt,
I was in favor of restoring the Monarchy from the beginning. The Khan of Khans comes from a family who understands that he is really the Duke of Kabul with some fiefdoms scattered throughout the country, and a bit of mystique that can generate loyalty. Or did. But that was a doomed idea in those times. Liberal Democracy was going to end history...
Dear Dr. Pournelle:
I've been reading a lot about how wonderfully intuitive the new iPad's GUI is and how easily people of all ages learn to operate it. I also remember you saying, several times in several blog entries, that the Head Start Program would be much more effective if the children were taught to read. I wonder, could your wife's reading program be adapted for use on the iPad?
The device isn't all that expensive -- somewhere between $500 and $1000 per copy depending on how much memory you choose to load into it and which level of service you buy, I believe. I don't know if the reading program is suited to very young children but, if it is or can be made that way, it seems to me that it would be ideal for a sort of guerilla learning program.
One could get a large cargo van, load it up with the type of canopy that vendors use at farmers' markets and a folding table with some folding chairs, and you'd have an instant classroom. If there were, say, ten iPads loaded with the program then someone could set up shop at a local park, for example, and be off and running. It would be a long-term project, it wouldn't begin to pay off for some time but it seems to me that this country could stand to benefit from a lot more people who could read well. Good parents always want to give their kids any advantage they can and reading skills are always an advantage, I would think.
Best regards, Tim Scott
Porting her program to the iPad is I fear beyond our capability. I agree it is a great idea, and it probably would work. The entire program with all the recorded sounds fits on an older CDROM and worked well on the earliest 80386 computers. Indeed, it ran in DOS on a Z-80, so the iPad has enough power and storage. It should work.
I am discussing this with some people who may have the ability to do it. We'll see.
Roberta Pournelle's reading program works. It will teach just about any kid to read. Some will learn much faster, but over 90% will learn in 70 lessons of about thirty minutes a lesson. It has been used in pre-schools, juvenile detention centers, adult education centers, public schools with large English as a second language populations, private schools, and home schools. It works on any system that can run Windows Explorer. It works.
It seems that the Moon poses a hazard of static electricity:
"The Moon tilts only slightly toward the Sun, so the solar wind flows fairly evenly over its poles. But as it does so, the wind does not flow evenly into the bottoms of the deep craters at the poles. Instead, the institute’s computer model shows its low-mass electrons easily flowing over the jagged edges of the craters and into their bottoms, creating a negatively charged cloud. The ions, a thousand times heavier than the electrons, want to follow. But it is much harder for them to negotiate the steep rim. Most do not make it. Those that do create an electron/ion separation effect, or ambipolar electric field. It is at its most extreme on a crater’s leeward edge—along the inside crater wall—and at the crater floor nearest the solar wind flow.
On this leeward edge, the electron cloud “can create an unusually large negative charge of a few hundred volts relative to the dense solar wind flowing over the top,” says Farrell.
The situation is complicated by the extreme cold in the permanent shadows of these craters, many more than a mile deep, where temperatures can be -400F or lower.<snip>"
A mile deep. Sobering.
I make no doubt there is much to be learned from a Lunar Colony. We know you can survive there for days; we also know that the regolith can be piled on to shelters for radiation protection.
Space weather is a young discipline...
Subj: In defense of naked Credit-Default Swaps
Before I read these pieces, I was convinced that naked Credit-Default Swaps were Works of the Devil.
Now I'm not so sure.
The author is a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
Subj: Programming Languages: Must we pay for good compile-time checking with long compile times?
>>... The important feature of Pascal was that the compiler caught most errors: getting the program to compile might be diffifult, but once that was done, it generally does what you expect it will. That takes long compile times -- but a lot less debugging time. ...<<
Actually, as far as the long compile times are concerned ... maybe not.
From page 19 of the PDF of the slides for Rob Pike's talk at Stanford:
>>Go aims to combine the safety and performance of a statically typed compiled language with the expressiveness and convenience of a dynamically typed interpreted language.
It also aims to be suitable for modern systems programming.<<
Go, like Pascal, is both type-safe and memory-safe. That is: you cannot, in Go or Pascal, accidentally operate on Something in a completely inappropriate fashion, nor can you accidentally perform pointer arithmetic that yields a pointer to Something You Really Didn't Want To Reach Out And Touch. Go and Pascal both lack the pointer arithmetic operations that are so easy and so often used in C -- and so dangerous. Remember all those "buffer overflow security exploits" we keep reading about? Most of those come from botched pointer arithmetic.
From page 21:
>> How does Go fill the niche? Fast compilation ...<<
The Biggest Trick for getting fast compiles is the way the Go Team organize the compilation process -- particularly the handling of dependencies between packages. The compilation demo in the video is impressive, and Rob Pike's arguments about why the results should scale nicely to Really Big Programs are quite convincing.
June 17, 2010
"I would like to see more on the Persian Gulf recovery from Saddam's dumping all the oil of Kuwait into it. What is the state of the ecology now?"
From this Popular Mechanics list of largest oil spills:
There is this paragraph:
"The largest oil spill the world has seen exacted little permanent damage on coral ecosystems and local fisheries, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at Unesco. The study concluded that about half the oil evaporated, one-eighth of it was recovered and another quarter washed ashore, mostly in Saudi Arabia."
More in this 1993 New York Times article:
So far I haven't found the original UNESCO report.
View from Pensacola Beach
Hi Jerry, Jerry,
Your website is the best and don't change how it works. It is more informative than any site I read.
I thought you might want a view of the oil spill from the beach. I live in Perdido Key which is near Pensacola Beach and in-between the intercoastal waterway and the Gulf. So far the oil has mostly stayed offshore here in Florida and Alabama with some small tar balls and globs coming up on the beach occasionally. When they show up on the beach it is cleaned up immediately by the BP workers and other volunteers. But there are large slicks within a few miles of the coast that could come up on the beach and into the marshes at any time. The biggest fear is that a hurricane came the oil would be all over the place.
Right now there are no sport fishing boats or fishing/shrimping boats going out and those people are just waiting for the oil to go away. The economic toll doesn't seem to be much different than a bad Hurricane right now but the oil could stay around for months and then they will be in real bad shape, or maybe not, with the $20 billion (shakedown) from BP.
President Obama did come through here yesterday and everyone lost some time getting home because the roads were all blocked off for two-three hours. I saw Air Force One parked at the navy base along with two C-17s and two presidential helicopters, and thirty-two vans and suburbans in his caravan. I did wonder how he would get around if he depended on wind mills or solar. I would pay to see Air Force One fly on solar power.
WSJ article today on the Tesla (Elon Musk, electric-car) Initial Public Offering: $1.4 billion "for a company that has only existed for a few years and has never turned a penny of profit."
Seems to me I've heard that tune before.
In California the governor talks about the green jobs, but he hasn't been able to show us many; and of those we can find, more are in China than here. Of course China is happy to have Americans send them green jobs, but for their investments they prefer coal and oil and natural gas plants.
Kindles and note-taking
Hi Dr Pournelle,
By coincidence (or proof of the power of your blog!), Amazon are now advertising new ‘Moleskin Covers’ for the Kindle, which come ‘with two reporter-style notepads designed for the reader who enjoys jotting notes and insights’. However I don’t think that these will be sufficient to persuade students to abandon books, heavy though they are.
June 18, 2010
I took the day off. Thanks
June 19, 2010
Paradox of Prophesy
Dear Dr. Pournelle:
You link to Fred, who spoke of the Commentator's Disease; that is, the tendency of bright and well-placed individuals to miss vital clues about real life for those less fortunate and smart as themselves. This is part of the truth, but I see an even worse problem; the intelligence he speaks of can be an illusion.
Consider what I call the Paradox of Prophesy. It goes this way: some outsider rants that the establishment is making some catastrophic blunder; the insiders (if they acknowledge the outsider at all) deny this. Lo and behold, the catastrophe comes, the outsider is vindicated and the insiders refuted. What's more, the blunder was, in retrospect, an obvious one that any fool could have seen. How could this be? How was the outsider so brilliantly prophetic, and those in the know so clueless?
My diagnosis; prophesy is actually fairly common, for it is less a matter of brains than of spine. Your average prophet is only moderately brighter than the norm; what he does is holler out loud what most people already know but dare only whisper. The puzzle is not how the prophet's so smart, but how the powers that be are so stupid. He's ten times smarter than they are, but it's not that they have an IQ of 100 and he has an IQ of 1000; instead he has an IQ of 100 and they have an IQ of 10.
Again, how could this be? Well, there's the Commentator's Disease, and groupthink and the Peter Principle. Also there's Acton's Axiom; power corrupts. What power corrupts is not only morality, but also intelligence; for accurate information cannot cross a power gap. Elites in power are always lied to by the underlings; therefore their intelligence is based upon comforting illusion, a.k.a. stupidity.
The only solution, in the long run, is the circulation of aristocracies. In that sense revolution is not a threat to social stability but its only hope. Throw the idiots out!
Sincerely, Nathaniel Hellerstein
Circulation of elites: at one time that was the progression of the two-party system. So long as the two parties were mostly driven by a desire to capture control of government, and not by ism and ideology, so that the world did not change when one party one and another lost, this was the normal state of affairs. Turn the rascals out!
And given a strong constitution honored by both sides -- or at least honored by enough of the population that changing it by ordinary political means was very difficult -- this happens fairly regularly. But when you do not dare to lose an election -- when the Constitution doesn't stop One Man One Vote Once -- it's a different story.
All I know is what I read on the Internet but....
...if relief wells are the practical albeit incomplete answer, why don't we open up that oil pool to every damn oil company In the world to siphon off that oil? I'm a free market kind if guy, and increasingly fear Obama's lawlessness, but when there's a fire you can destroy adjacent private property to save the town. Why not seize BP's property interest & let other companies drain the pool? It will at least reduce the amount that gets into the gulf.
Interesting. I don't know how practical, but probably that would work. Let everyone (who has the equipment) go suck up the oil...
|This week:||Sunday, June
I took the day off.
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