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Earth Science

Oil Means More Arsenic In Seawater 168

Posted by timothy
from the must-cut-back-on-shrimp dept.
oxi writes "Besides the oil already spilling into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of up to 60,000 barrels daily, a group of British scientists says one can expect to see elevated levels of arsenic as well. The research, published in the journal Water Research, showed that oil prevents naturally-occurring arsenic from being filtered out of the water by the sediment on the ocean floor."
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Oil Means More Arsenic In Seawater

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  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:15AM (#32790390) Homepage

    This is probably some parts-per-billion phenomenon.

    Arsenic is naturally found in some fish [nifes.no], and the concentrations approach regulatory limits. It's not clear in what compounds the arsenic appears; if it's locked into a compound that doesn't metabolize, it's probably not a problem.

  • by lxs (131946) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:26AM (#32790412)

    is there any other kind?

  • by lxs (131946) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:28AM (#32790416)

    have you tried looking it up on the internet?

  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:41AM (#32790442)
    With respect, that article shows the author really has not the remotest clue about the navy, oil experts, oil eating bacteria, oxygen in water, weather (stopping a hurricane - OMFG), and let me just add reality in general to the list.
    Massive fuckups that can not be solved quickly with all the experts on earth happen - and this is one of them. We're just going to have to cope with it being fixed slowly.
    It makes a good story to send a "ship of heroes" but unfortunately magic does not exist in this world so they won't be able to fix it any more quickly.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:15AM (#32790566)

    Well, there needs to always be some vaguely disaster-ish background story to report on when other stuff runs low. The Afghanistan war, frankly, just ain't cutting it. Oh, we're still in Afghanistan, great. And the economy/joblessness/whatever is getting old. At least the oil is still somewhat fresh!

  • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:52AM (#32790828)

    Does that not make sending the Enterprise worth doing anyways?

    It makes about much sense as "cleaning beaches". It would be a PR campaign and nothing else. And a pretty expensive campaign at that. If you think an aircraft carrier is expensive in Dock. Just wait till its seaside.

    310 Megawatts of power could "turn over" a lot of ocean water.

    No it couldn't. In fact it could "turn over" hardly any at all. The ocean is not a swimming pool. Run the numbers... How much of just the gulf region can 310 MW "clean" after ruining for a century. Its nothing compared to how much is there.

    Sometimes experts know too much...

    And you are ignorant of basic facts, and are too lazy to even run some simple back of the envelope calculations. Thank God you are not in charge of fixing it, or we would really be screwed.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:13AM (#32791038)
    So rather then send in specialists (reads not necessarily BP, there's lots of companies in the oil and gas industry), you'd rather send a big-arse ship full of people who know nothing about the problem, to tackle a job they were never designed to do, with equipment that's not even designed.

    I especially love this bit:

    After licensing the design, the U.S. Navy’s engineers can refine the pump for their purposes and the military-industrial complex can quickly establish a production line.

    It seems clear to me that the author has never tried sourcing a custom made pump before. Redesigning equipment designed to operate at speed and pressure, and getting it produced takes a phenomenal amount of time. The up-front engineering hours alone would amount to months of work before the pump would be ready to run through a production line.

  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:13AM (#32791044)

    "(stopping a hurricane - OMFG)"

    Sorry, we can do this. We just aim a laser at the center of the system cell and destabilize it.

    Riiiiight. And all the energy stored in this big vortex magically disappears.

    I think you underestimate the technology we actually possess.

    I think you seriously underestimate the scale of things that happen in nature.
    The eye of a hurricane ranges from tens to hundreds of square kilometers. Where do you aim?

  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:18AM (#32791050) Journal

    Yeah but nature taking care of it may very well not include life going on.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:13AM (#32791180)

    While CNN is the butt of all media jokes (Hello? Is anyone out there?! TWEET US SOME NEWS PLEASE!), I'll give Anderson Cooper props for talking about the 65ft exclusion zone they're enforcing around response vessels and oil booms.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXsmLMV1CrM [youtube.com]

    Call it milking but if the Coast Guard is doing this and BP is hiring police to run off reporters and anyone curious (link [motherjones.com]), I certainly hope they don't stop talking about it.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joetheappleguy (865543) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:15AM (#32791184) Homepage
    Fish don't vote.

    Drill, baby! Drill!

    Palin / Haliburton 2012!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:09AM (#32791348)

    this is why this retard story got really posted to keep your minds off the GIANT SCAM

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:20AM (#32791372)

    Oh come on, that wouldn't be the fault of the regulation. Let's assume that what you said really would be the case.

    If the company is told "You are only allowed to drill this many wells." and the company decided "Oh, okay. Then we'll skip the relief wells!" it is the company that fucks up. Okay, regulators have also erred when they didn't say "And this many of the wells need to be relief wells" and assumed that the company would realize to take the responsibility. But the regulators wouldn't have forced the company to drill a single well. Rather, they would have given rules and the company decided "Well, within these rules, we can drill only so many wells safely... Okay, then we won't drill safely!"

    That's like saying that this was really the regulators fault as the companies were drilling that far in the ocean because they weren't allowed to drill closer to the shore. But regulators didn't force them to drill far either. They just disallowed drilling close and practically said "You can't drill here. Drill there, if you can do it safely." and the companies thought "Well, that would be unsafe... But let's do it anyways!"

    The regulators suck as they assumed that they could expect some responsibility from the oil companies. It is however quite clear, that when profits and enviromental safety clash, the companies choose profits and most certainly don't regulate themselves the slightest. That being the case, the problem was too lax regulation (They shouldn't have had permission to drill there, either), not too strict.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:12AM (#32791532) Homepage

    Don't blame the masses for what the masses will always do. You have to place the blame where it starts. Yes, people bought the SUVs. They were told they needed to buy them because they were the biggest and the best and so they did. The masses are mindless drones as Apple can plainly attest. It's the marketing and fashion people who really drive the masses... for better or for worse. And what drove the marketers? Well, the people who want to sell bigger and more expensive things, of course. There's a lot more profit in the big machines than there is in the little ones so naturally they want to sell the big ones. These same auto makers also managed to convince the people (AKA the government) to stop building railroads and to build freeways instead.

    The demand for SUVs didn't happen until the SUVs happened... well that's not entirely true either -- I can remember when the Suburban was essentially a worker's vehicle until someone put leather interiors and other features in it, jacked up the price to more than twice what it was and now it's "for rich people." They polished a turd and sold it as a diamond. So when figuring out where the blame belongs, you need to follow the greed, not the masses. The masses don't think for themselves and I pretty much thought everyone knew that already... you knew that already right?

    If you knew the masses don't think for themselves, how can you blame them? Maybe it's just easier to "blame the Americans" for being born on their particular plot of concrete and soil and living the lives that were handed down to them from their parents and know of no other way to live? Going down that road, you are essentially blaming people for being born and inheriting their culture. How much sense does THAT make?! Should I also blame you for where and when you were born?

    No. It's better to blame those who actually have the influence to make changes and fail to do so to the benefit of the planet and mankind.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:15AM (#32791546)

    Yes. All of that has already been well covered [xkcd.com] by better commentators.

  • by khallow (566160) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:54AM (#32791656)

    On top of the environmental catastrophe currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico the situation may about to get even worse as new reports from the US are confirming the grim predictions of Russian scientists regarding the oil dispersement poisons being used by BP which are being swept up into the clouds and falling as toxic rain destroying every living plant it touches

    Bullshit. Florida (as well as the rest of the Gulf coast) isn't some mysterious location about which little is known. If there was toxic rain "destroying every living plant it touches", we'd have a zillion people on the internet complaining about their messed up lawns. We'd probably have riots in Tallahassee (the capitol of Florida). This stuff would get in the news too. And Obama would have photo-ops all over the place. Because an evil oil corporation destroying voters' lawns, especially lawns in a critical swing state, is a crisis that Obama could use.

    Keep in mind that the relief wells come in below most of that fracturing. It's also possible that the fracturing and oil leaks were already there. Just because oil leaks out of the Gulf seafloor, doesn't mean it came from a BP oil well.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bartwol (117819) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:06PM (#32793054)
    In glancing over your reference to "other ocean contaminations" (which you misleadingly point to an article about extinction events), I don't see any support of your murky point (which seems to be that arsenic or the BP spill will lead to mass extinction?). Could you please cite where in that article you see support of your point? (Or is this, like, you know...stuff in the water and, like, mass extinction and everything...kind of...like that?)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:25PM (#32793194) Homepage

    Actually, it's more than the rich... it's also those who would want to appear to or aspire to be so. Those are not the same people who are actually in a position to control or influence the masses. Those people number in the few hundreds or even in the tens. These people are often carefully concealed but are seen in the company of people such as Dick Cheney and the like. Look to big oil, big auto, big pharma, big energy and big agriculture to see who is actually at the steering wheel directing the masses.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:47PM (#32793706) Homepage

    From the first reference in that section ([11]):
    "So you can probably say that within two to three years the beach fauna or beach populations were back to where they were before the spill. I think that's probably a pretty standard thing. Fine-grain, sandy beaches can be cleaned up pretty easily," Tunnell explained.

    I just want to point out that sandy beaches are a far different matter than the swampy coastline environments conservationists are most concerned about.

    Extrapolating from Ixtoc to this doesn't seem sound. There are plenty of factors that are different.

    But God, I hope it's true.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:47PM (#32794676) Homepage Journal

    People buy what they're sold. The US automakers want to sell gas guzzlers because they can mark them up more; if x amount of power and size is good, then x+y amount is better! They were going to be forced to sell more fuel-efficient vehicles by the demand of the state of California, by the will of the voters, but they lobbied the federal government which threatened lawsuit if our state proceeded with the stricter emissions standards, for which foreign automakers were completely prepared. You can say what you want about sheeple but if you know that selling gas guzzlers is harmful to the environment in a way that may make it inhospitable for human society, then selling gas guzzlers is an antisocial activity.

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