I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!
For two weeks now, I spend some time in Second Life. At first, I wasn't very positive about it since I didn't find anything exciting to do at/in/with it. Only shopping and sex I guess. But I didn't have money for shopping and didn't know anyone to have sex with so it was boring. What changed? I don't know. When I was younger, if you wanted to chat (or have cyber sex) there were mIRC and ICQ where you could find total strangers and find out more about them just like that. And then if you're sick of them, you just ignore them and move on.
Now, it's so much harder to talk to strangers... Yes, there are skype and facebook, but most people are quite suspicious to people they don't know, me included. I don't add tones of friends just to look popular. I have added only people I know fairly well. So it's hard to randomly chat.
In Second Life, there is such possibility. You just walk in world and look around and if you look like a normal person it's quite easy to find someone to chat. Sure, most of them are freaks, but there are some normal people too. Or even with the freaks, you could enjoy the chat, if you're not too much of a moralist. You just shouldn't take anything too seriously. And I must say I like that.
Now, after I started using SL more often, I discovered something else. For some zones, they want your ID information! They call them Adult. But not all of them are adult - some are just classified like this. And you get more and more limited if you don't share your personal details. Which I don't understand.
People go to SL, because they want anonymity. If someone, even if it's a computer, knows who you are, it's not fun anymore. It becomes like Facebook. On the other side, I also find some peace when I read that the age of someone I talk to is confirmed. Because I don't mind talking with people much younger or older than they say they are, as long as they are adults. It's not very good idea to talk about some stuff with minors. Even though when I was a minor I talked about sex with people online, but then I never lied about my actual age. While I'm sure many people in SL lie about their age.
Anyway, I still don't think that anyone, even SL has the right to require your personal information, like address or credit information and so on. There is too much risk of abuse. Because they don't tell me how they are going to protect my privacy and what are my rights in case of a leak. I don't do or say anything I wouldn't do in real life, but that's not the point. Some things are not to be shared with everyone and if a leak occur, a lot of people wouldn't like it AT ALL. So there must be another way to confirm age, or simply since all the conversations are recorded anyway, to be sure that in case of interest by the police, they will prove if someone lied about his/her age. And that should be enough.
But what impressed me was something else. First - how quickly one manages to identify him/herself with the avatar. It is simply amazing. I remember that article where scientists attached false arm to a monkey (and then to a man I think) with two healthy arms, but one of its arms was held in a bandage. In no time, the monkey started to feel the false arm like a REAL one, to use it and even react to some visual stimuli as though it feels them. It was AMAZING! I think the same happened to the man who had a prosthetic arm for 3 months - he started to feel it as his own! I wonder if this isn't one of the evidences we're much more than just our bodies. Because obviously our brain is wired to accept changes of the hardware. As funny as it sounds, it looks very very true. And my feelings with the avatars in SL were just the same. My avatar doesn't look a lot like me, because I couldn't make it to look like that but still it's not that different neither. But the thing is, at some point, you just feel what's going on with it. True, I'm quite empathic, but this is creepy! And fun :)
The second thing I was impressed was the way people relations change in such a virtual world. Someone recently spoke to me of the other planes where human beings lived in eternal love and that rape is something unreal that is a product of the chains of the society. As much as I completely disagree with this statement, because abuse is abuse no matter what, still, it's easy to see something like this in Second Life. Because if you can't feel pain or threat, you can let people do anything with your body and not be a problem. Of course, you won't feel pleasure neither, but the point is that it won't matter for you.
I still can't figure whether the last thing will have good or bad side-effects on our society, but if we make the analogy with video games where people kill other people without feeling pain or fear, maybe it is more likely a bad effect. Because as good as it sounds the eternal love thing, in reality people do feel pain and fear and threat and they can be physically harmed. And you have to act according to the laws of reality and not according to some other ideal you have in your head which sounds cool, but it isn't. Because ok, it's clear that in around 70% of the situations, we can have sex or do a lot of stuff in much freer way than we do, because of society and internal limitations we have. But we fight with those limitations already and I think we're going a good job on this. The problem is that in the other 30% people can get seriously harmed and humiliated. And maybe I'm optimistic, maybe the percents are not 30 but 70%, because the internal limitations for many people even if stupid and wrong, they will make them feel as they are harmed when they shouldn't feel like this. Thus...I think we have to be very careful with virtual realities like SL. To know where the boundary is.
And so far, I'm not sure that if people didn't feel the external pressure of the society to behave, they would put that boundary on the right place. For example, I don't see anything bad to go and offer someone to have sex. The boundary is when that someone tells you "No". You have to know this answer is possible and even probable, because humans tend to not want to have sex with disgusting people, or with people interested only in the sex itself, or when they are tired, miserable or simply hungry. Our bodies are complicated and this must always be accounted for. And not only our bodies, but also the world we live in. Most people need desperately a shoulder to cry on, not another dildo. To get them in playful state they need to be happy or at least relaxed. So for me, it's very important that people realise the difference between VIRTUAL reality and real life. And the difference is simple - in real life, we are very dependent on our bodies. And our bodies have to be satisfied with food, water, relaxation and good emotions, before we're willing to have sex, to jump with a parachute or whatever other fun thing you come up.
But I must say I like so far my stay in SL. Sure, I met some men pretending to be women, also some men pretending to be men but I guess this is normal. If you're there for the fun, you can have it. And I like that. And also there are so many pretty views to enjoy. People really put a lot of work in it. It's like Sims but with people. Quite fun :)
Етикети: second life
You remember how suspicious people in Europe were against Google Street View? I never quite figured out why. After all, it's not bad to have a picture-map of the whole world. Just like a virtual reality that you can explore. Only it's the real thing. I could understand why people worry over their faces or license plates, but as for houses if everything personal is removed from the picture, why not? So for me, the battle was to make sure Google will remove everything personal from its data. Because that sounded fair and right. Of course anyone can see you while you're outside or even to take a picture of you, but to publish that picture, that someone would need your official agreement. And since Google didn't obtain it, they don't have the right to publish such details.
So far so good. The situation was simple. But now we understand Google didn't collect only our faces. They collected also the data you sent over your wireless from computers and phones. Why? They claim it's a technical glitch. Do we believe them? Of course not. I mean, the main difference between humans and machines is that machines do only what they are constructed for. And veeery rarely something more than that. Well, missions to Mars are excluded from the discussion, because well, those little rovers surpassed all of our dreams.
But back on Google. How come, a machine that they specifically constructed to conduct a task, did something completely "random" but very convenient for Google? Because what did they collect - sites, emails, passwords, chats... I'm pretty sure they didn't collect information only from unsecured networks, because if this "error" was intentional, it's just piece of cake to hack into secured networks as well. It's not so easy, but if we speak of short encryption keys and intensive traffic, it might happen quite quick. So imagine, the car moving around at slow pace (I don't what the process of taking those pictures is) and not only seeing everything, but also "hearing" everything. And all of your private information get on a hard drive, that surprisingly disappear when the car is inspected.
Now, I don't think Google got that information for spying reasons, they can gather such information much more easily, by their web-services. I think they got that information for commercial uses. Because what did they have? Information of the Internet connection of people around the world, the kind of sites people view (again locally), the time those sites would need to load and so on. The amount of traffic they use at current hour of the day. All those little things that they can use later for advertising. Because that's what Google do - they advertise trough Google adsense and adwords. That's the source of their income. I won't question the service they deliver - it's not bad if you can find independent source of traffic, or I don't know, if you find a way to manipulate the system. It's not my business, not anymore at least, because I gave up trying to make money with Google. But they do make money with their services. And for those services, it's essential to know what type of sites the users prefer, how much time they need to load them and how much time they spend there and so on. Of course, they get such information from the html snippet people install on their websites in order for Google Analytics to work, but not everyone uses those services. And they want it all.
Ok, to finish, I'm sure that Google did this with purpose. I may be wrong with my explanation, maybe it's something else. But I'm sure it was with purpose. And I'm happy that the European inspections gave fruit and helped us to stop that spying. Note - even GSM networks can be hacked, as someone recently showed. And Google has much more resources than a single scientist or engineer. So I wonder did they spy only our wireless networks? I don't know, but it's very suspicious. I hope that European authorities bring this to its end and dig very very deep. Because the world is changing and we have to decide how we want it to change. And I believe that privacy is an absolute human right.
And back to the beginning, is it funny how all the worries of the people in Europe came to be justified? Because I thought they are overreacting, but in the end, they were right! Google really was spying us! It's amazing. Maybe this is a glimpse into collective intuition. Quite cool, huh!
Google Says It Collected Private Data by Mistake
By BRAD STONE
Published: May 14, 2010
The admission, made in an official blog post by Alan Eustace, Google’s engineering chief, comes a month after regulators in Europe started asking the search giant pointed questions about Street View, the layer of real-world photographs accessible from Google Maps. Regulators wanted to know what data Google collected as its camera-laden cars methodically trolled through neighborhoods, and what Google did with that data.
Google’s Street View misstep adds to the widespread anxiety about privacy in the digital age and the apparent willingness of Silicon Valley engineers to collect people’s private data without permission.
Google appears to have acted quickly after questions were raised by the European regulators. Two weeks ago, Google tried to address their questions and criticism in a blog post. It said it did collect certain kinds of data around the world that identify Wi-Fi networks to help improve its mapping products. The information on wireless networks can be used for location-based advertising services for mobile phones, which can sometime be pinpointed via a wireless network even if they lack a GPS chip.
But the company explicitly said then that it did not collect or store so-called payload data — the actual information being transmitted by users over unprotected networks.
In a confession made on Friday afternoon (and late night, European time) that is sure to raise new questions about its privacy policies, Google said that its previous claims were wrong.
Mr. Eustace wrote that a review of the Street View software has revealed that because of a programming error in 2006, the company had indeed been mistakenly collecting snippets of data that happened to be transmitted over nonpassword protected Wi-Fi networks that the Google camera cars were passing. This occurred in Europe, in the United States and in other major cities elsewhere.
Mr. Eustace tried to play down the revelation, saying that Google “never used that data in any Google products.” He said that it collected only fragments of data, because the cars were moving constantly and changing channels many times each second. Only when someone was using their unencrypted, nonpassword-protected network was the data collected and stored.
Google said it had temporarily halted its Street View cars and would stop collecting Wi-Fi network data entirely, Mr. Eustace wrote. He also said Google wanted to delete the data, in cooperation with regulators, as soon as possible.
Google could be accused of intercepting private communications and violating wiretap laws in the United States, although it would most likely argue that it never had any intent to collect or use the data.
And in Europe, where Google has taken great pains to assure a queasy public about a giant American corporation taking photos of their neighborhoods, trust is likely to be further eroded.
Last month, Peter Schaar, Germany’s federal commissioner for data protection, said he was “horrified” by the earlier revelation that Google was collecting data about the location of Wi-Fi networks. He called on the company to “delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View.” Mr. Schaar could not be reached for further comment last night. source
Google Data Admission Angers European Officials
Published: May 15, 2010
BERLIN —After being pressed by European officials about the kind of data the company compiled in creating the archive — and what it did with that information — Google acknowledged on Friday that it had collected snippets of private data around the world.Google apologized and said it had not used the information, which it plans to delete in conjunction with regulators.
But in Germany, Google’s collection of the data — which the company said could include the Web sites viewed by individuals or the content of their e-mail — is a violation of privacy law, said Ilse Aigner, the German minister for food, agriculture and consumer protection. In a statement Saturday, her ministry demanded a full accounting.
“Based on the information we have before us, it appears that Google has illegally tapped into private networks in violation of German law,” Ms. Aigner said. “This is alarming and further evidence that privacy law is a foreign concept to Google.”
Over the weekend, Germany's federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, Peter Schaar, asked Google to let an independent regulator examine one of the hard drives to determine how much data had actually been collected on individuals.
In a blog posting written late Saturday on his official government Web site, Mr. Schaar, who is also a member of the panel that advises the European Commission on privacy and data protection issues, questioned whether Google's collection of the data was a simple oversight, as the company has maintained.
“This was obviously a mistake, and we are profoundly sorry,” Mr. Oberbeck said. “We take individual privacy very seriously at Google.”
This is a long delayed post on GMOs, because this subject is becoming bigger than big with every week passing. The post started as a paste-bin for the European outrage to the approval of the BASF Amflora potato by the EC. But as you can see the articles I gathered are already pointing to another direction (and this is just part of them). It looks like the final break of the deadlock in Europe on GMO crops in favor of the biotech industry comes 10 years after its time. Because if 10 years ago, the world was all about innovation and the promise they hold, now we see people becoming more and more cautious on the subject. And this isn't without reason.
First, we read in the first article that GM maize might be much more toxic than Monsanto admits. Now, the article doesn't say that. It says that there are signs of toxicity, not evidences. But this is the second article I read on the subject and the results strangely match. It seems like there is something wrong with that maize and it's odd authorities are so quick to deny it. I understand it's hard to risk-assess something so new, based on so few evidences and such lack of scientific intuition on the subject. However, sooner or later, someone's got to take responsibility and make a decision.
This is the future, it's not something that will end with this approval. This is the start, not the end! And if this is the start, then we have to make sure that civil interests and health are well protected. I don't see such political will. I see people who say "well, we don't know enough, but if the product doesn't kill anyone immediately, it should be ok". This isn't a scientific position and even less, it is the position that the health official have to take.
I don't like the precautionary principle, I think it's stupid and choking innovation. However, food is something important. It means that whatever you allow on market will enter the bodies of billions of people! If there's something wrong with that food, that means HUGE expenses for health care in the best cases. And even if you're ready to take that risk, for one reason or another, it's fundamental right of every person, to have the choice what to eat. That choice is denied by the products containing GMOs being non-labeled. Unfortunately, I don't see people very interested in this problem.
Continuing on the list of articles I want to comment, there is the approval of the BASF potato. I commented that decision of the EC already in MyEuropeanDream. What I can say here is that for me this decision was not correct to the member-states, but they deserved it by avoiding to take responsibility on the decision. We had to say long-time ago clear and loud "No". Instead, everyone chickens out and wait for the EU to decide for them. Well, they decided. And now, nobody is responsible and nobody is happy. Nobody but Monsanto and BASF. Well, lucky them and unlucky us. Because that's what we are. Sheeps, not citizens, but sheeps. And even France is yelling against the decision, even though their minister of agriculture said they don't want to make a NATIONAL decision. Well, take that!
Last but not least, there are 2 articles on the resistance of weeds to the holy Round Up pesticide. I think this is extremely serious problem and I urge everyone to read the NY Times article at the source. Because it has very disturbing description of the resistant weeds.
Ultimately, because of those articles I finally figure out for myself what's the deal behind GMOs. I know it's obvious, but wasn't for me. The goal of Monsanto are not the crops, but the chemicals that go with them. Because they are crucial. The crops are just the marketing tool - you buy them and you can use unlimited quantity of chemicals on them. Because they are Round Up Ready. They are ready. But are we? I know how hard is to fight with weeds and bugs and snails, I do it almost every night on our little garden and it's extremely disappointing. However, plastic is also resistant to chemicals. Does it mean we have to start eating it? Growing food is not supposed to be easy. It's work, just like any other and we shouldn't expect wonder-chemicals to do all the work for us. Otherwise, we can again ask - what about those "signs of toxicity". How do they correlate with the ever increasing number of people with cancer? I can't speculate on this, but it's very easy to make that connection, right?
- Engineered maize toxicity claims roundly rebuffed
- We need GM plants that benefit consumers and not just farmers
- Fury as EU approves GM potato
- France blasts GM crop approvals by EU agency
- New Report: GMOs Causing Massive Pesticide Pollution
- Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds
Engineered maize toxicity claims roundly rebuffed
- 22 January 2010 by Andy Coghlan
We need GM plants that benefit consumers and not just farmers
Ordinary potatoes produce two kinds of starch, but the GM potato Amflora only produces the economically useful form, amylopectin, which is used in the paper, textiles and adhesives industries. Production of the uneconomic form, amylase, has been turned off by genetic modification, so the useful starch doesn't need to be separated from the useless form during processing.
BASF says that while starch from its GM potato will not be used in human food, it may use the product in animal feed.
What particularly worries opponents of GM technology, however, is that Amflora carries an extra gene that makes the potato resistant to the antibiotics neomycin and kanamycin.
This has been a source of concern for campaigners, but in June 2009, the European Food Safety Authority ruled that marker genes like this are unlikely to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. As a result of limitations in sampling and detection it was unable to be conclusive, but the authority emphasised that it considered Amflora to be safe.BASF first submitted its Amflora potato for approval in 1996. However, an EU-wide moratorium on GM between 1998 and 2004 delayed the process substantially.
When the potato was resubmitted for approval after the moratorium ended, progress was so slow that in 2008 BASF filed an action against the EC in the European Court of First Instance for "failure to act" and decide on the issue despite the European Food Safety Authority saying in two separate reports that the product was as safe as any conventional potato.
Now, within weeks of stepping into the role, the new European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, has given the green light for planting to begin. source
Fury as EU approves GM potato
France blasts GM crop approvals by EU agency
PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's food safety agency has used partial evidence to approve genetically modified crops, including a GM potato developed by BASF, and should overhaul its methods, a French environment minister said.
France has previously invoked environmental risks to suspend cultivation of Monsanto's MON 810 maize, which was the only GM crop approved for growing in the European Union prior to this week's approval of BASF's Amflora potato.
Chantal Jouanno, a junior minister in the French government, said the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), whose opinions are used by the EU's executive, had ignored the environmental effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
"We do not recognize their expertise because we consider that their opinions are incomplete," she told French daily Le Parisien in an interview published on Friday.
France has asked a national biotechnology committee, the HCB, to give its opinion on the Amflora potato.
And, because of their lobbying power, the biotech companies have ensured that their products are not labeled.
(...)Monsanto has come up with a spin that is old as public relations itself: "accept and buy our products because they will help the world."
Not surprisingly, both these claims turn out to be self-serving myths. Earlier this year the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a detailed report entitled "Failure to Yield". The report's findings were straightforward and incontrovertible.
After 21 years of research, billions of dollars of investments in public and private funds, and more than 13 years of commercialization, GM crops have done nothing to significantly increase yield: so much for the "feeding the world's hungry" spin.
Now, a new report from The Organic Center, "Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years", exposes the "less pesticide" myth.
It turns out that far from reducing pesticides, GM crops are a major reason for the massive expansion of pesticide use in recent years. This should not be a surprise. The majority of GE crops are "Roundup Ready," designed to survive heavy and repeated spraying with Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller. Roundup Ready crops have dramatically increased Roundup use, and spawned a growing epidemic of Roundup-resistant weeds, which now infest millions of acres of American cropland. Killing resistant weeds requires more herbicides. How much more? Dr. Benbrook's study - based on official USDA data - shows that GE crops have increased the overall use of weedkillers in the U.S. by a massive 383 million pounds since 1996.
Sometimes even more chemicals won't do the trick. In the South, cotton farmers are reverting to the pre-industrial practice of "chopping cotton," or manual hoeing, to rid their fields of Roundup-resistant pigweed.
Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds
By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK
May 3, 2010
DYERSBURG, Tenn. —
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.
To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds.
Roundup — originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate — has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers. It kills a broad spectrum of weeds, is easy and safe to work with, and breaks down quickly, reducing its environmental impact.
Today, Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.
But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive it.
Now, Roundup-resistant weeds like horseweed and giant ragweed are forcing farmers to go back to more expensive techniques that they had long ago abandoned.
In addition, some critics of genetically engineered crops say that the use of extra herbicides, including some old ones that are less environmentally tolerable than Roundup, belies the claims made by the biotechnology industry that its crops would be better for the environment.
You all know about the oil spill in Mexican gulf and about the huge danger it represents to the environment - both marine life and seafood, but also to beaches, tourism and so on. What we also know is how Obama planned to extend offshore drilling for oil, even though he was very well aware of the dangers that comes with it. So now the question is, what moral we'll get out of the huge mess we caused.
While scrolling trough the NY Times titles last week I was very impressed by the lack of ability of humans to grasp what we can do to our planet. It's not about being green. In the end, it's all about responsibility. Because that spill won't kill only some fishes and seaweeds that you might care about, but also, you might not give a damn about them. It will also affect human's activities and economy. And that's something we all care about, right? And that bring the question of ecology to another level.
Sure, all kind of accidents happen. It's hard to predict everything, sometimes technology may malfunction, it's more or less normal. However, mankind has passed the point when the person who uses that technology will suffer from the damage s/he has caused. In some cases, such malfunctions can harm hundreds or thousands, or even millions. And although I certainly admire the free spirit in US constitution, I think different times require different measures. Because we're living in information age, today everybody knows about the spill and asks if the fish or oyster that they sell him/her are clean or not. The same holds for holidays, business trips and marshes. It's no longer enough to sue the one who harms you, because sometimes the losses are beyond one person or one group of people. And even if they get some money for compensation, some things cannot be fixed by money. Maybe by a whole lot of money, but not always. Sometimes, the things have to be regulated, so that such situations will be avoided. For example, I don't know if you noticed, how much time was lost, because the state and national agency waited on BP to fix the things. Ok, it's BP's fault and they should pay, that's clear. However, when something that big happens, you can just point the finger and wait for things to get fixed when this is beyond the possibility of one single company, even if BP. And even if they could fix it, but didn't, who's going to suffer from all that in the end? The citizens. Then, isn't it logical that the civil agencies be the first to participate in cleaning up the mess. Not the last one. During serious accidents time is ESSENTIAL. You can't just procrastinate until you simply cannot delay more. You have to act. Well, they didn't act! They waited.
I'm extremely disappointed with the actions of US government on that spill. Sure, it's unlikely that spill will ever endanger other continent but the Americas (or at least I can hope it's not possible, though theoretically, it could, if there's enough oil and they cannot stop it from leaking). But this is my planet as well. I don't see why so many creatures should suffer (humans included), because of the utter incompetence of the people who should know how to deal with such problems. After all, before giving a permission to drill, the FIRST thing that I would expect is risk assessment and a worst-case scenario along with a doable way to deal with that scenario. Where is that solution?! They should have such dome before starting to drill, not to construct it now. They should have done the engineering research BEFORE now after a spill happens.
And ultimately, is it only fault of BP?! Again, where are the US agencies in all that. I think taxpayers money go to them, so that they can prevent such accidents and not to give permissions to everyone requiring them based only on the need of cheap oil and the name of the company. And all that, when we already have the technologies to stop depending on oil for fuel. We have them. Whether nuclear or electrical or whatever, we have them. What we don't have, however, is good knowledge of what is beneath our feet. We don't know what kind of spills we may expect, or if we drill for geothermal energy, what could happen. That is beyond our current knowledge. Yet, we strangely prefer to ignore that lack of information, that possible danger and to drill, rather than do other stuff. Is this some kind of suicidal syndrome? Or simply we prefer to destroy rather than build. I don't know.
What I do know, however, is that this spill poses a lot of questions. And the citizens MUST ask them to their representative in the authorities. Because in the end, it's all about human life. We have to protect it, not to leave it in the hands of some anonymous civil servant.
Like Captain Planet used to say : "The power is yours"
Gulf Coast Towns Brace as Huge Oil Slick Nears MarshesBy LESLIE KAUFMAN and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
Published: May 1, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — Officials in charge of the cleanup of a massive oil spill now approaching three Gulf Coast states said Saturday that a new technique in battling the leaks 5,000 feet beneath the sea showed promise.
The spill, emanating from a pipe 50 miles offshore and 5,000 feet underwater, was creeping into Louisiana’s fragile coastal wetlands as strong winds and rough waters hampered cleanup efforts. Officials said the oil could hit the shores of Mississippi and Alabama as soon as Monday.
The White House announced that President Obama would visit the region on Sunday morning.
Adm. Thad W. Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, who is overseeing the Obama administration’s response to the spill, said at a news conference Saturday evening that he could not estimate how much oil was leaking per day from the damaged underwater well.
The imperiled marshes that buffer New Orleans and the rest of the state from the worst storm surges are facing a sea of sweet crude oil, orange as rust. The most recent estimate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20 and sank days later, was gushing as much as 210,000 gallons of crude into the gulf each day. Concern is mounting that the flow may soon grow to several times that amount.
The wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta have been losing about 24 square miles a year, deprived of sediment replenishment by levees in the river, divided by channels cut by oil companies and poisoned by farm runoff from upriver. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita took large, vicious bites.
The questions that haunt this region are how much more can the wetlands take and does their degradation spell doom for an increasingly defenseless southern Louisiana?
The survival of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands is not only an environmental issue here. Since successive hurricanes have barreled up from the gulf unimpeded, causing mass devastation and loss of life, just about every resident of southern Louisiana has begun to view wetlands protection as a cause of existential importance. If the wetlands had been more robust when Hurricane Katrina’s waters pushed up from the ocean, the damage might not have been as severe.source
Seafood Industry Fights Public Perception
By LIZ ROBBINS
Published: May 1, 2010
As oil continued to leak uncontrollably into the Gulf of Mexico and toward the coast Saturday, the fishing industry in the region was trying to forestall another perilous flow — of fear and misinformation.
Only six of the 32 oyster beds on the east side of the Mississippi River have been closed, and the oil is still 70 or 80 miles away, according to Mike Voisin, the Chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.
Those areas represent 30 to 40 percent of the state’s oyster production. Louisiana is the largest single-state producer of oysters in the world, producing about 250 million in-shell pounds of oysters a year, which is a little more than a third of the nation’s production, Mr. Voisin said.
Louisiana’s fishing industry generates about $3 billion a year, Mr. Pearce said, including recreational fishing. Depending on whether the oil slick continues to press past marshlands and where it makes landfall, , the financial implications could be devastating.The southeasterly winds are moving the oil spill towards Louisiana’s coast, but on Saturday, Coast Guard commandant Admiral Thad Allen said the winds were forecast to shift over the next couple of days, which could bring the oil slick closer to the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. Officials gave no indication that the leak would be shut down soon.
Unlike fish and shrimp, which can swim around the oily areas, the relatively immobile shrimp larvae, crabs, and oysters, especially, are stuck in their habitat. source
As the Oil Threatens, Lowering the Boom
New Technique Holds Hope for Oil Spill Cleanup
Етикети: oil spill