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Earth Science

New Batfish Species Found Under Gulf Oil Spill 226

eDarwin writes "Researchers have discovered two previously unknown species of bottom-dwelling fish in the Gulf of Mexico, living right in the area affected by the BP oil spill. Researchers identified new species of pancake batfishes, a flat fish rarely seen because of the dark depths they favor. They are named for the clumsy way they 'walk' along the sea bottom, like a bat crawling."
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New Batfish Species Found Under Gulf Oil Spill

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  • noscript users... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:51PM (#32844470)

    wondering where the pictures is... []

  • by overlordofmu ( 1422163 ) <> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:57PM (#32844524)
    The aliens caused the oil spill to increase the number of oil covered animals, which while totally inedible to them, are a source of great comfort to them.

    You haven't see cute until you have seen an Alterian cuddling a rotting, oil-covered pelican corpse like a teddy bear.
  • Re:FTA: (Score:5, Informative)

    by SheeEttin ( 899897 ) <> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:02PM (#32844576) Homepage
    Well, a gallon is ~3.79 liters (according to Google), so if there's "millions of gallons", I'd say it's pretty safe to assume there are "millions of liters" as well...
  • Re:FTA: (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:08PM (#32844632) Homepage Journal

    "The well has pumped millions of gallons (liters) of oil into the Gulf"

    uh... one of those things is not like the other... I question the validity of any site that thinks gallons and liters are interchangable

    You would prefer, then, that the article said "The well has pumped millions of gallons (3,785,411.78's of liters) of oil into the Gulf"? Perhaps a review of the concept of False Precision [] is in order. "A guard at a museum says a dinosaur skeleton is 70 million and six years old. He reasons that it was 70 million years old when he started working there six years ago."

  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:50PM (#32844998)

    As an entire ecosystem dies above them, the residues, acids, and by-products of decomposition will settle to the bottom. Plus they probably wont miss all that pesky oxygen that can no longer dissolve into the water.

    Animals can become susceptible to disease from changes in any number of factors. Temperature, pH, etc.

    Plus, do you think the material coming out of the ground is in any way uniform in composition or will remain together? Or is different stuff, metals, chemicals, acids, poisons and whatever going to separate out and go wherever it wants.

    Its like pouring the most dirty toxic destructive can of solvents you ever had in your lab and throwing it into the water. By the ton.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:58PM (#32845094)

    I followed the timeline and they already had like 5 different things to try within days of it happening.

    That is just plain untrue.

    April 22 - The Deepwater Horizon rig, valued at more than $560 million, sinks and a 5-mile-long (8 km) oil slick forms.
    April 25 - Efforts to activate the well's blowout preventer fail. [It took them THREE DAYS to realize they had completely forgotten to maintain the main component intended to prevent the blowout]
    May 7 - An attempt to place a containment dome over the spewing well fails when the device is rendered useless by frozen hydrocarbons that clogged it [this was not days later, it was over TWO WEEKS LATER]
    May 16 - BP inserts a tube into the leaking riser pile of the well and captures some oil and gas.
    May 26 - A "top kill" maneuver starts, involving pumping heavy fluids and other material into the well shaft to try to stifle the flow. [Already over a month later!]
    June 2 - BP tries another capping strategy but has difficulty cutting off a leaking riser pipe. [etc]

    So "within days" they had done one thing, which is to try to manually activate a device that didn't automatically activate because it "had a dead battery in its control pod, leaks in its hydraulic system, a "useless" test version of a key component and a cutting tool that wasn't strong enough to shear through steel joints in the well pipe and stop the flow of oil.".

    Wow, yeah, sounds like they sure spent big bucks on R&D and maintenance there...

  • by cappp ( 1822388 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:23PM (#32845356)
    It's easier to make these things about villians and heros than it is to delve into the sticky and complicated issues as they exist in the real world. Check out this article [] for some interesting facts about the rig,

    There were 126 people working on the Deepwater Horizon rig, yet no more than eight of them were BP employees. Some 79 worked for Transocean, the firm that owned and operated the rig. A further 41 worked for contractors such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp, a BP partner on the well. BP had 65 per cent of it, Anadarko 25 per cent and Mitsui Oil Exploration 10 per cent. There was also a firm called M-I Swaco, a contractor providing mud-engineering services on the rig, two of whose workers were among the 11 killed. Halliburton, Dick Cheney's former company, had four staff on the rig, and was responsible for "cementing" on the sea bed. Another firm, ironically called Cameron International, supplied the rig's blowout preventer valves, which, as it happened, prevented no such thing.

    Further, the New York Times ran a great story [] examining the technology at work. It makes for some head-smack-inducing reading. It includes such gems as

    blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs had a “failure” rate of 45 percent.

    BP and other oil companies helped finance a study early this year arguing that blowout preventer pressure tests conducted every 14 days should be stretched out to every 35 days. The industry estimated the change could save $193 million a year in lost productivity. The study found that blowout preventers almost always passed the required government tests — there were only 62 failures out of nearly 90,000 tests conducted over several years — but it also raised questions about the effectiveness of these tests.

    As with BP, the rig’s owner, Transocean, was aware of the vulnerabilities and limitations of blowout preventers. But they were not the only ones. The Minerals Management Service knew the problems, too. In fact, the agency helped pay for many of the studies that warned of their shortcomings, including those in 2002 and 2004 that raised doubts about the ability of blind shear rams to cut pipe under real-world conditions.

    approved BP’s permit without requiring proof that its blowout preventer could shear pipe and seal a well 5,000 feet down...Mr. Patton said he had approved hundreds of other well permits in the gulf without requiring this proof, and BP likewise contends that companies have never been asked to furnish this proof on drilling applications.

    As part of its assessment of the blowout preventer, Transocean hired West Engineering, which had a checklist of more than 250 components and systems to examine. It did not perform 72 of them, mostly for a simple reason: at the time, the Deepwater Horizon was operating in the Gulf of Mexico, and the blowout preventer was on the seafloor and therefore inaccessible.

    According to a West Engineering document, one of those 72 items was verifying that the blowout preventer could shear drill pipe and seal off wells in deepwater. This checkup appears to be the last time an independent expert was asked to perform a comprehensive examination of the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer.

    The list goes on and on, a litany of errors from everyone involved.

  • by mswhippingboy ( 754599 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:27PM (#32845382)
    Except that the disbursants being pumped into the water cause the oil to break up into tiny particles and sink to the bottom.
  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:33PM (#32845436) Journal

    Oh, you mean all the same things they tried with Ixtoc I, 30 years ago, which also didn't work then?

    Yeah, that's some real R&D there. Well done.

  • Re:Odds are (Score:3, Informative)

    by BluBrick ( 1924 ) <> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:59PM (#32845682) Homepage

    Sure, they live on the ocean floor and oil floats, but what do you reckon the chances are that there is a significant amount of water-soluble toxins leaching from that leak? Pretty good chance would be my guess. Oh, and what do these batfish feed on? That's right - the remains of critters poisoned by the oilslick above them.

  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:00PM (#32846162) Journal

    Couldn't the limited liability of a corporation be insurance sold by banks, instead of as a cost implicitly underwritten by society?

  • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @09:29PM (#32846812)

    The public pushes companies to make extreme profits and turn a blind eye to their methods until something goes wrong.

    The public ? Most people I talk to don't mind companies turning a healthy profit as long as it isn't an exorbitant one earned on the back of workers or by cutting corners but I've yet to hear people push companies to make ever more profits. When you do hear analysts push for ever increasing profits it's usually attributed to some vague entity like "the market" or "investors" which are code for the wealthy few as far as I'm concerned.

    You're right about the consumer hypocrisy though.

  • by infinitelink ( 963279 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @10:44PM (#32847172) Homepage Journal
    What essentially makes this a problem with capitalism? What makes it that rather than an endemic phenomena in human society reflective of human nature, particularly the desire to avoid accountability (read "hide from justice when it metes out an unfavorable portion") and create systems of abstractions and hierarchical layers behind which to hide? This sort of behavior as well as the thinking embodied in the statement you quote is found in every nation and people of the world, don't mis-assign blame. It's also more complex than that: trying to put the blame on the guy who pressured vs. the guy/s who bowed to it, or vice versa, rather than assigning credit wherever it is actually do, in proportions that it is due, is a sure sign of simpletonism. I have to be a critical bastard and say straightforwardly that your statement is irrational nonsense; flow of capital in and of itself is fine and dandy, a necessary right for men to be free, that is, something inseparable from free men and a free state, which is capitalism: as for laissez-faire, which I'll comment upon pre-emptively before someone tries to divert attention to a non-issue, that doesn't exist and never has: the U.S. has more regulations than even the European Monstrosity (which seems in its jealous envy to be trying to catch-up) on almost every trival matter you could possibly think of (which also seriously happens to actually diminish and imminently threaten the freedom of its inhabitants), including on transfers of money; those many regulations happen to be for attempting to prevent things like the government failure in this (giving B.P. the "ok" not to follow all the safety measures and procedures required before starting the pump) don't happen, and instituting serious consequences against corporate failures like this (all kinds of things): trouble is that the government is able easily to evade any consequences and even argue in court (with judges colluding) that any amount of mismanagement, incompetence, or gross negligence, is defensible so long as they were attempting to fulfill and exercise legitimate and necessary/proper functions of government (massive explosion in Texas caused by the Feds idiocy that kills many? Nobody in government can be held accountable; approving driling known beforehand to likely destroy entire water tables, which drilling should not have been approved and this was known? Can't be held accountable. Etc etc., "you can't sue the king"--despite that we intentionally don't have one and have made all such titles, even ones just received from other nations, illegal and treasonable offenses); private corporations, on the other hand, can be held up to light and served justice...if the people are vigilant and they elect principled and law-abiding oath-keeping officers. Fail that, and you get what you deserve in proportion to your corporate failures in vigilance.

    Anyway, technically B.P. had permission to skip certain steps otherwise required by the government, and the government gave it. So who shares the larger part of the blame, then, but is the public ever going to hear about it? Politics 101, those in power, whatever form their power might take, are never to blame, and will never allow that they should be said to be those who are to blame, period: ever, got it? Good, now you're a LOT wiser for the wear and journey ahead. Maybe if you're Cicero you'll take one powerful criminal down, but remember that the next attempt to foil a plot will probably cost you your life.
  • by bm_luethke ( 253362 ) <luethkeb@com c a s t . n et> on Friday July 09, 2010 @01:20AM (#32847764)

    No, it has *nothing* to do with capitalism. There are socialist, communist, and any other economic system around that doesn't hold business owners responsible for what their employees do and there are capitalistic ones that do. Even in full command type economies there *has* to be some type of concentration of wealth or power - you at the least have the govt chairmanships that direct policy for the state run factories (and try and hold them responsible - I expect you will get BP execs held responsible, win the lottery, and discover an immortality potion before you get a govt agency to decide to hold itself responsible for its own actions). If you want economies of scale to kick in - and I assure you that you do - then the question isn't if something like BP will exist it is who has control of it. A little mom & pop isn't going to run an offshore deep water oil rig no matter what and industry of that scale exists in nearly every sector (a small local team isn't going to produce whatever the current generation of Intel chips is when someone reads this - or whatever company is currently on top of the world market).

    What this is a failure of is a failure of our government. We have regulations in place that would have (maybe - can't truly see alternate time lines but this type of thing is *not* unknown and we can trace the chain of failures) prevented it from being a true disaster. They were ignored from every level you can point at and in many cases still are 70+ days later (not sure the current count) - nor can you pin it on any political group (more than just our two main ones involved too) or any specific president (Obama failed miserably on initial reaction and on his now long term response - Obama has made Bush with Katrina look highly competent).

    The problem is that as we get to where in order to advance you have to have not just multi-billion but *multi-trillion* dollar budgets for some advances then there is just so much money/power floating around that it draws corruption to a point that I can't really come up with a good analogy. Given the corruption we have seen with our own regulators (with drugs and prostitutes) and the ineptitude of all levels of govt to respond to this what would a command market have done better? Indeed, the fact that this is hurting their stock and end user sales has done more to spur them than *anything* the govt has done or will ever do. They aren't going to bite the hand that feeds them and look to how whom they donate too, whom is in power, and whom gets elected correlates to see how buyable most politicians are.

    While we can certainly point to fairly socialistic countries that do things Right - say the Dutch - it isn't because they are tending socialistic. Indeed, a stronger govt presence and control would have been *worse* in our case - as bad as BP has done our govt has done worse (and I say that is true for the last few decades too, and that is *all* branches of the govt). I can also point to China and the old Soviets for examples of more socialistic countries that are as bad or worse than us. It is more rot at our core and that rot stems more from our concentration of wealth. That concentration of wealth is not so much from being capitalistic as much as it from necessity. While the Dutch have chosen their niche to be world expert on even there they have a concentration of wealth that will most likely one day rot. For world super powers (while we do not list China as one today it is almost there) you are going to have several. The Dutch aren't going to have globally competitive space exploration, deep sea exploration, energy research, computing research, and pretty much globally competitive (say top five) in hundreds of fields. There are only a few countries with the wealth (and by that I mean raw resources) and they *all* suffer (or in the case of the old soviets used too) from the same thing.

    In the end I personally think it is more that human nature is such that we will have trouble progressing past a certain point - or at least it is going to be a l

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