Al Jazeera just published a thoroughly disturbing report on the deformed fish and shellfish that are being pulled from the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil spill. Shrimp without eyes or even eye sockets, snapper with large pink growths, undersized and misshapen crabs--the fishermen in the Gulf that Al Jazeera talked to have never seen anything like it.
Following the greatest environmental catastrophe in recent history, the lowest life forms among us have been the biggest heroes. Once again, scientists have found that bacteria ate up the remnants of the the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Within four months of the oil spill, bacterial blooms had removed more than 200,000 metric tons of dissolved methane, returning concentrations to normal background levels.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar have officially declared that the cement cap permanently plugging BP’s Macondo well is successfully in place, ending a five-month effort that nonetheless saw nearly 4.9 million barrels of oil escape into the Gulf of Mexico. "With the successful first intercept by the relief well and our confirmation through pressure tests that the cement plugs are secure, we can now declare BP's Macondo well effectively dead,” the secretaries said in a joint statement. Finally.
We don't want to jinx it or anything, so hold your breath and cross your fingers while you read this: BP's "static kill" procedure appears to have completely and finally stopped the flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. After eight hours of pumping heavy drilling mud into the well pipe overnight, the well pressure is now being dictated by the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud -- not by containment caps or other means -- which means a concrete capper should seal the deal.
Big problems call for big responses, and while armchair pundits and denizens of the blogosphere pick apart the government response to the BP oil spill, the Navy is bringing out the big guns to help with the containment effort. The Navy's massive MZ-3A Airship is expected to arrive in the Gulf sometime today (or perhaps a bit later -- airships travel slowly and are subject to the whims of the weather) to support and coordinate skimming efforts and keep an eye out for injured animals along the coastline.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.