Sunday, July 04, 2010

Long ago and not so far away, I sat through an interminable class as part of my Marine Biology studies,
one of which was an exceptionally dry and technical discussion of tidal flows, bottom topology, thalassia testudinum bed erosion, estuarial bioturbation, beach creation via halimeda breakdown mechanics and other specific but exceptionally variable processes...
As part of this class, our esteemed professor treated us to many digressions into quantum mechanics...
I always thought he was a frustrated particle physicist. In retrospect I doubt it...
He enjoyed the Marine part of "Marine Science" more then the nuts and bolts of the physics.

Part of those discussions of motion dynamics and other notions of predicting tidal flows and topology changes were digressions into the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal and an extrapolation of the Klein-Gordon equations as exponential variations on any predictions that scientist try to make.
Basically, it is almost impossible to predict any natural phenomenon with any degree of accuracy.
I mean, you can predict the basics, but any more than vague assurances are the realm of side-show crystal ball gazers and tarot card flippers.

Which is why, when I read screaming headlines:
"Gulf oil spill likely to reach Florida Keys, Miami, report says", especially in a rag like the LA Times, - calculated to grab readers, it starts me to thinkin' that soi-disant experts are getting more and more like yellow-dog journalists every day.
Especially when they are so vague in the text of the articles regarding the details...

...which scientists now predict is likely to reach the Florida Keys and Miami in the months ahead.

...Using computer simulations based on 15 years of wind and ocean current data, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report Friday showing a 61% to 80% chance of the oil spill reaching within 20 miles of the coasts of the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, mostly likely in the form of weathered tar balls

(So... There is a variable chance? And it will get near the coast, maybe... And not "spill" oil but tarballs.
This is Government-Scientist-ese for "Covering my ass")

This was interesting:
But the chances of oil reaching east-central Florida and the Eastern Seaboard are less than 1% to 20%, NOAA said. And it is "increasingly unlikely" that areas above North Carolina will be hit.

They ought to be screaming "All of East Coast is in danger of oil-covered beaches" by the same logic they used as the premise of the article.

And I have news for you, if tarballs hit the beach in the Keys and in Dade county, they will be all up and down the east coast... After all, if one tarball can make it, others will, and any more than zero oil on the beach is "oil from the gulf" on the beach, regardless of the amount.

A real knee-slapper from the article:
All skimming boats from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had been idle for three days because of dangerously high waves.

Have you seen "Deadliest Catch"? Those poor bastards work in 35' seas... I don't care how bad a storm is in the gulf, or how close you are to it, you don't get 35' seas. And I repeat -they WORK in those conditions...

Nut up and go earn your money- there's oil in that there Gulf...

(And quit calling it an oil spill. It's a fucking LEAK. No one spilled anything.)



T-Rav said...

I agree that it is not a spill, but don't you think leak is a bit soft on the terminology?

Bug said...

The part I find so bizarre is how much effort is being put into NOT cleaning it up. No, you can't build birms, or buy booms from these other companies, or allow those evil Dutch people to help with their massive skimmers. The Coast Guard seems to be spending a lot of effort hassling boaters trying to help. People on the beach are being told they can't cleanup tar balls.

It is just plain wierd.

T-Rav... how about "Massive Leak" ?