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Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Sorry for not contributing today. My goslings arrived today, a week earlier than the date I had in my head, and never checked my shipping invoice, so I'll be spending my time today making sure their temporary accommodations are good enough to last for a day or two, which is what I need to fix the stall they were supposed to be staying in. I'm also going to borrow Jack's Duck Chronicles idea, and am starting a YouTube channel documenting my experience. Here's the link to it if you're interested. Video Part 2 Part 3 (I plan to consolidate down to one video once I figure out how to)

P.S. Jack, sorry the video was shot vertically. Orientation of my phone was the last thing on my mind, but I'll work on it in the future.

The Road to Deep Water Oil Drilling is Paved with Good Intentions

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Something has gone terribly wrong in the Gulf of Mexico. BP's DeepWater Horizon oil rig has suffered a blowout, killing 11. The oil rig sinks, dragging the riser (or pipeline) along with it. The pipe is leaking like crazy, and after 86 days, it will become the largest oil spill in history (to date). The blowout is in deep water, so capping the well is no easy task. It all boils down to closing off the "blowout preventer" valve at the base of the riser. (That is not a joke.) They finally lower a large chamber that bolts to the top of the "blowout preventer" with a value that they can close. Meanwhile gobs of black tarry mess reach the coasts of Louisiana. Containment booms that look like large inflatable pool toys try to keep the mess away from the coasts. Environmentalists complain that this is an ill-conceived plan. (True enough, but what is the alternative? A 5-year environmental study?) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) complains that politics are interfering with the clean up effort. Eventually Jindal starts his own coastal protection plan by building barrier islands which are large berms of sand. Chemical dispersants are sprayed over the water. Many see the cure as worse than the disease. Four years later the cleanup effort will be ongoing. BP will make the largest settlement in US history, over $18 billion. Total costs to BP as of 2015 (including clean up) will be over $54 billion. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It was a real disaster, but politics played a large part. A blowout like that could have been corrected more quickly if the rig had been closer to shore, but environmentalists don't like ugly oil rigs that mar the natural beauty of the horizon. I can sympathize, but that creates the circumstance where oil rigs are placed in deep water... thus DeepWater Horizon. Secondly, the chemical dispersants broke up the surface oil, but added deadly chemicals to the water. One could argue that the chemicals were no worse than the oil, and I agree. The purpose of the dispersants was largely cosmetic. In fact, the ocean is constantly absorbing natural oil leaks. Eventually it would have absorbed this one after the well was capped. (FYI, the darn thing is still leaking a little.) Clean up in Louisiana was hindered by presidential politics. At the time, Jindal was a clear presidential rival for Obama in the next election. It was politically expedient for Obama to make Jindal look ineffective. Would President Obama really do something like that? You better believe it.

Missile Launch! Missile Launch!

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Well... maybe not. Southern Californians are used to seeing strange contrails in the sky. Vandenberg Air Force Base has a spaceport where they launch rockets regularly. Occasionally, these launches go bad, and make some spectacularly beautiful contrails in the evening sky. However, this evening the contrail is moving in the wrong direction. It appears to have launched from somewhere off the coast. One wonders if a missile submarine is missing one of its nuclear bombs. A local traffic helicopter captures video of the event. Whatever it is, it is clearly moving and soon disappears. Did we just dodge a bullet, or was it an optical illusion? [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Speculation abounds. Remember that the world was in the midst of an economic meltdown due to the subprime mortgage crisis. There was a currency war going on between the USA and China (and still is), so some speculate that China launched a missile in order to intimidate the United States. But the missile hypothesis has flaws. For one thing, where did the missile land? It was going in the wrong direction for an orbital launch. Even if you blow up one of these things, this isn't the movies. The debris keeps going, and eventually hits something. Others say that it was a contrail from an airplane. After all, it was moving too slowly to be a rocket, and from the way the contrail spread from the bottom, it gave the impression of a launch when in fact it could have been coming over the horizon. The spreading contrail could have been further away that the video might suggest. No radar detection was reported, and the Defense Department (the source of all truth and knowledge) says it was a plane. Which plane? No one is saying. Occam's Razor says it was an airplane, because when messages as dangerous as a missile launch from a foreign nation is delivered, it should be made clear what the message means. Otherwise mistakes are made. Big mistakes. Know what I mean? [20]

Notable Births

None that I can find.--alexshrugged

Notable Deaths

  • Leslie Nielsen (age 84, Pneumonia): Forbidden Planet and The Naked Gun. His tombstone epitaph reads "Let 'er rip". [21] [22]
  • Robert Byrd (age 92, natural causes): Senator and former KKK recruiter. (Although he disavowed the KKK, he continued to use racist language in public.--alexshrugged) [21]
  • Howard Zinn (age 87, heart attack): American historian. (His history had a point of view... as does mine.--alexshrugged) [21]

This Year in Film

  • Toy Story 3: Introduces the cowgirl character: Jessie. [23]
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland: (Weird, but I liked it.--alexshrugged). [23]
  • And the animated...: Shrek Forever After, Tangled, Despicable Me, and How to Train Your Dragon. [23]

This Year in TV

  • Discovery Channel's Dual Survival: Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury use their different survival philosophies in various environments. (I stopped watching after Canterbury left the show.--alexshrugged) [24]
  • Bravo's The Real Housewives of D.C.: Michaele and Tareq Salahi breech the (apparent lack of) White House security to attend a state dinner. (Thus begins a long series of Secret Service screw-ups.--alexshrugged) [24] [25]
  • AMC's The Walking Dead: Zombies. (As I recall, the first episode begins with blowing the brains out of a little kid.--alexshrugged) [24]
  • TLC's Sister Wives: Kody Brown and his multiple wives ignore centuries of experience with this practice. (I've seen clips. It's painful to watch.--alexshrugged) [24]

This Year in Music

  • Need You Now: Lady Antebellum (The band). "It's a quarter after 1 / I'm all alone / And I need you now." [26]
  • Bobby Brown severely beats his Only Girl in the World, Rihanna: She cancels her appearance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. (And she actually goes back to him.--alexshrugged) [26] [27]
  • The Hope for Haiti Now telethon raises $61 million for earthquake relief: (How much of it actually made it to Haiti is a different question.--alexshrugged) [26]

This Year in Video Games

  • Halo: Reach: It is called the best Halo yet. [28]
  • God of War III: Adam Sessler of X-Play liked it. (Who am I to argue?--alexshrugged) [28]
  • The "Humble Bundle" is "pay-what-you-want" video games from Wolfire: They make millions simply offering value-for-value. [28]
  • Microsoft Kinect can see your gestures and hear your commands: (What could go wrong with that?--alexshrugged) [28]

In Other News

  • The jobs market hits bottom at 129,655,000 employees on the payroll: This is down over 8 million from 3 years ago. [29]
  • President Barack Obama signs the Democrat "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" into law: Not a single Republican voted for it. (FYI, an earlier version of the bill was supported by 1 Republican, but that bill was replaced with a new bill using the same name.--alexshrugged) [30][31][32] [29][33]
  • Greece's credit rating is downgraded to junk status 4 days after the EU bailout: Stock markets worldwide take a nose dive. [34][35][36] and furthering a 2010 European sovereign debt crisis|European sovereign debt crisis. [29][37]
  • Within 36 minutes, the Dow Jones plummets 998.5 points: This is attributed to a feedback loop in computer trading programs. (In other words, you set a condition to sell a stock if it reaches a certain price, but selling usually pushes the stock price even lower. This triggers further computer selling, and so forth.--alexshrugged) [38] [29][39]
  • A fizzling car bomb is found in Times Square, New York City: The Islamic terrorist is a nationalized citizen who is reacting to President Obama's expanded drone attacks in Pakistan. [29][40]
  • A enviromentalist terrorist takes hostages at the Discovery Channel: He is eventually shot. (As I recall, he was reacting to overpopulation, and the poor ratings for Whale Wars on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet.--alexshrugged) [41] [29][42]
  • WikiLeaks publishes classified material including 90,000 internal reports on US involvement in the War in Afghanistan: A transgender service man/woman will be arrested for the leak. [43] [29][44]
  • The last US combat troops leave Iraq: President Obama steps up "the good war" in Afghaistan. [45] [29]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 2010, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. In Gulf oil spill, how helpful – or damaging – are dispersants? - CSMonitor.com. csmonitor.com (May 15, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Two dispersants BP has been using to break up the oil spewing from an undersea wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico carry the federal stamp of approval. But they are not rated as effective or as safe for marine life as at least 12 other government-approved dispersants on the market.”
  2. "Toxins released by oil spills send fish hearts into cardiac arrest - LA Times", February 13, 2014. Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “In studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on bluefin tuna spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, the research team discovered that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, block 'signaling pathways' that allow potassium and calcium ions to flow in and out of cardiac cell membranes and sustain normal heart rates. Even very low concentrations of crude oil can disrupt these signaling pathways, slowing the pace of heartbeats, the researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science.” 
  3. Oil from BP spill pushed onto shelf off Tampa Bay by underwater currents, study finds - Tampa Bay Times (August 20, 2013). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “The thick globs of BP oil that washed ashore on beaches along Florida's Panhandle in 2010 never reached Tampa Bay, to the relief of hotel owners, restaurateurs, anglers, beachgoers and local officials. But oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, floating beneath the surface after being sprayed with dispersant, settled on a shelf 80 miles from the Tampa Bay region within a year of the spill's end, according to a scientific study published this week.”
  4. For BP Cleanup, 2013 Meant 4.6 Million Pounds Of Oily Gunk : NPR (December 21, 2013). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “These patrol and maintenance teams are out four days a week, combing Grand Isle and nearby beaches on this stretch of south Louisiana. It continues to be a trouble spot for oiling, nearly four years after the BP oil spill.”
  5. Blown-out BP well finally killed at bottom of Gulf - Boston.com (September 19, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “And on the financial side: BP has already shelled out more than $8 billion in cleanup costs and promised to set aside another $20 billion for a victims compensation fund. The company could face tens of billions of dollars more in government fines and legal costs from hundreds of pending lawsuits.”
  6. Memorial service honors 11 dead oil rig workers - USATODAY.com (May 25, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “They sometimes seem to be forgotten victims as the nation focuses on efforts to stop the massive oil spill fouling the Gulf of Mexico. But the 11 men who died in the rig explosion off the Louisiana coast were remembered Tuesday in a somber memorial service here, where hundreds of family and friends gathered.”
  7. Obama, in Gulf, pledges to push on stopping leak - USATODAY.com (May 27, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Obama said that Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the federal response, will get all the help he needs. Friday's trip was the president's second to the coast since the BP-leased oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the spill. Residents angry and frustrated over the slow pace of efforts to stop the leak did not expect the visit to change much. 'It's a dog and pony show. What can he really do?' said Billy Ward, 53, who goes to Grand Isle with his family every weekend to stay in their beach house. 'If he wants to do something, let him get out there and pump some mud and cement into that hole. Just fix it. Help us.'”
  8. "BP leak the world's worst accidental oil spill - Telegraph", August 3, 2010. Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “The BP spill spewed 4.1m barrels of oll into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days, making it the biggest unintentional offshore oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.” 
  9. BP / Gulf Oil Spill – 68,000 Square Miles of Direct Impact – SkyTruth (July 27, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “So here’s a map showing the cumulative oil slick footprint for the BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill, created by overlaying all of the oil slicks and sheen mapped by SkyTruth on satellite images taken between April 25 and July 16, 2010, blogged here, and published in our gallery.”
  10. Deepwater Horizon oil spill response - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 24 May 2017.
  11. Blowout preventer - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “A blowout preventer (BOP) is a large, specialized valve or similar mechanical device, used to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells to prevent blowout, the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from a well. They are usually installed redundantly in stacks.”
  12. Deepwater Horizon explosion - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 24 May 2017.
  13. Deepwater Horizon oil spill - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 24 May 2017.
  14. Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast - CBS News (November 9, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “A mysterious missile launch off the southern California coast was caught by CBS affiliate KCBS's cameras Monday night, and officials are staying tight-lipped over the nature of the projectile. CBS station KFMB put in calls to the Navy and Air Force Monday night about the striking launch off the coast of Los Angeles, which was easily visible from the coast, but the military has said nothing about the launch.”
  15. Pentagon says mystery 'missile' over California was an aircraft - Daily Mail Online (November 10, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Military officials said it was possible a private company may have been behind the incident but Mr Pike did not agree with internet theories that it was an unannounced missile test, adding: 'If it were secret, we'd do it at night in Alaska.'”
  16. Mystery 'missile launch' off California – solved? - Watts Up With That? (November 9, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Whatever it is, I’ve seen nothing like it. The speed doesn’t match a missile, but the trajectory and cloud pattern certainly seems to. Perhaps our readers can help figure this out. One alert reader 'slp' posted in comments a link to a likely Occams Razor style explanation.”
  17. Mystery Solved? Missile Launch Could Be a Jet Contrail - Fox News (November 9, 2010). Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Federal officials do not consider the event a threat. And they aren't the only ones. According to a post on ContrailScience.com, the visible exhaust from a jet engine, a trail of condensed water vapor called a contrail, resembles a missile trail when seen from some angles. The confusion between a missile launch and a jet plane launch is caused by several common misconceptions, the site notes, explaining that the angle of launch, the direction of flight, and even the shape of the Earth can lead to the illusion. And indeed, when you look at certain images of jet launches, they do look a fair bit like missiles.”
  18. Contrail in the sky west of Los Angeles, Nov 8, 2010 - YouTube. Retrieved on 24 May 2017. “Folks, this was a jet coming over the horizon. We need to be rational. Be careful with the media - if they make a poor judgement call in these times, they will make even more irresponsible remarks in a national crisis. No real offense to these newscasters, really, because many people made the false assumption that this was a missile. This area of the ocean off California often has missile tests, but much farther out to sea. But there is also Point Magu Missile rang”
  20. Michio Kaku explains Mysterious Missile Launch on FOX news - YouTube. Retrieved on 24 May 2017.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 2010 Deaths - Wikipedia (2010).
  22. Leslie Nielsen - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 23 May 2017. “As a final bit of humor, Nielsen chose 'Let 'er rip' as his epitaph.”
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 2010 in film - Wikipedia (2010). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 2010 in television - Wikipedia (2010).
  25. The Real Housewives of D.C. - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 23 May 2017. “Michaele and Tareq Salahi attend the White House state dinner, which results in controversy for the couple. Stacie continues her search for her biological father. Lynda makes the final necessary preparations for debuting her fashion line.”
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 2010 in music - Wikipedia (2010). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  27. Chris Brown Charged with Two Felonies in Rihanna Beating. people.com (March 5, 2009). Retrieved on 23 May 2017. “The L.A. District Attorney’s office announced Thursday that the R&B star was being charged with two felonies – assault and making criminal threats – in the alleged beating of his girlfriend Rihanna last month. Even though the couple seem to have reconciled, the case is proceeding. If convicted, Brown faces anywhere from probation to a maximum four years and eight months in state prison, DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.”
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 2010 in video gaming - Wikipedia (2010).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 29.6 29.7 2010 - Wikipedia.
  30. "Q&A: US healthcare reform", BBC News, March 22, 2010. Retrieved on April 23, 2010. 
  31. Rocky road to healthcare reform. Retrieved on 16 July 2016.
  32. "Health-care reform is now law", The Washington Post. 
  33. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  34. "Greek bonds rated 'junk' by Standard & Poor's", BBC News, April 27, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-04-28. Archived from the original on April 29, 2010. 
  35. "Greece crisis: Euro markets hit again", BBC News, April 28, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-04-28. Archived from the original on April 29, 2010. 
  36. "Greece crisis deepens on global market sell-off", CNN, April 28, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-04-28. Archived from the original on May 1, 2010. 
  37. Economy of Greece#2010 debt crisis
  38. ! This article was partially copied from Wikipedia. Conservlogo.png
  39. 2010 Flash Crash
  40. 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 23 May 2017. “The motive that the bomber Faisal Shahzad stated was the repeated CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, his native country. 'Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country,' Attorney General Holder said.[102] Holder said that Shahzad admitted involvement in the bombing attempt and that it 'was a terrorist plot'. The Complaint against Shahzad also indicated that he had admitted to receiving bomb-making instruction in Waziristan, that he brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it there.[”
  41. Dan Morse. "James J. Lee told Discovery hostages: 'Today is a good day to die'", The Washington Post, September 18, 2010. 
  42. Discovery Communications - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 23 May 2017. “The incident began at 1:00 p.m. ET, when 43-year-old James Jay Lee entered the building with two starter pistols and fired a single round at the ceiling of the lobby. The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) confirmed that Lee had an explosive device and was holding three people hostage in the lobby. The building was placed on lockdown and most of the 1,500 employees were evacuated. Children from a day care center inside were safely removed to a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Colesville Rd. Lee was shot dead by an MCPD SWAT team at 4:48 p.m. ET after the hostages made a run to escape.”
  43. "Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010". Retrieved on 17 April 2011. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. 
  44. Afghan War documents leak
  45. Londoño, Ernesto. "Operation Iraqi Freedom ends as last combat soldiers leave Baghdad", The Washington Post, August 19, 2010. 

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