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08 May, 2010

Cannes Catches Freak Waves. Is it Global Warming?

The Cannes Film Festival is set to begin on May 12.

Freak waves battered the southern French coast between Cannes and Nice on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage to beach constructions.  We're just a few days away from the start of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, and some businesses don't feel they can re-open in time.

Is it global warming? Or is it just Mother Nature?

Ten-metre-high waves (33 feet) battered the coastline, leaving one woman with a fractured leg and causing major material damage.  From France 24:
"There were very big waves this afternoon that caused major material damage to beach constructions, but there were no disappearances," regional authorities told AFP.
In Cannes, some 20 restaurants were damaged and several cars overturned.
In Nice, not only the beaches were closed but also part of its famous Promenade des Anglais.
The timing of the natural disaster – days before the opening of the tourist season – could spell economic disaster for the French Riviera.
The owner of Castel, a trendy beachside restaurant in Nice, told local daily Nice-Matin he was unsure whether his business could reopen this year.
“It’s terrible. We feared for our lives when the waves turned into seven to eight-metre-high monstrous bombs. It was out of question to resist”
Anne Thomspon, of IndieWire, also reported on the freak waves. Anne is scheduled to moderate a film panel during Cannes Film Festival's Critics' Week. In a related post, to be found on her TOH blog, she noted that Roger Ebert was named Webby Person of the year:
Writes TOH, 'In his much-retweeted post entitled The Golden Age of Movie Critics, Ebert serves a feast of wisdom both about film writing and life in general. He closes his post:"
That’s what an education is for. That’s what life is for. That’s the discovery made by these extraordinary writers I’ve found on the World Wide Web. Find out all you can, and see what you can do with it.

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02 May, 2010

Worse Than You Think

Obama: "I continue to believe that domestic oil production [drill baby drill!] is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security."
Gore: Says Maggie Fox, president of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection: "This tragic event is a deafening wake up call that America's dependence on fossil fuels cannot continue. We know this dependence is a direct threat to our national security. This massive spill is a stark reminder of the environmental and economic dangers we face as well."
Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanography professor at Florida State University, said his examination of Coast Guard charts and satellite images indicated that 8 million to 9 million gallons had already spilled by April 28. ...
Alabama's governor said his state was preparing for a worst-case scenario of 150,000 barrels, or more than 6 million gallons per day. At that rate the spill would amount to a Valdez-sized spill every two days, and the situation could last for months.
If he [Obama] was looking for an opportunity to drive home the clean energy message, this was it -- the Katrina of fossil fuels. Yet all Obama has done is blandly reaffirm his support for offshore drilling. I haven't heard a word about clean energy alternatives or, God forbid, efficiency...
Lifted off of the comments at DailyKos, this one originated on Grist:
It's even worse than Devilstower thinks From a commenter at Grist, and this sounds correct. A reader who is an engineer of considerable experience says watch this one evolve carefully because it is destined to continue to grow and he shares this long (but worthy) explanation why: "Heard your mention of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and you (and most everyone else except maybe George Noory) are totally missing the boat on how big and bad of a disaster this is.
First fact, the original estimate was about 5,000 gallons of oil a day spilling into the ocean. Now they're saying 200,000 gallons a day. That's over a million gallons of crude oil a week! First, the BP platform was drilling for what they call deep oil. They go out where the ocean is about 5,000 feet deep and drill another  30,000 feet into the crust of the earth.
This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.
When the rig sank it flipped over and landed on top of the drill hole some 5,000 feet under the ocean. Now they've got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig sitting on top of is spewing 200,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Take a moment and consider that, will you!
First they have to get the oil rig off the hole to get at it in order to try to cap it. Do you know the level of effort it will take to move that wrecked oil rig, sitting under 5,000 feet of water? That operation alone would take years and hundreds of millions toaccomplish. Then, how do you cap that hole in the muddy ocean floor?
There just is no way. No way. The only piece of human technology that might address this is anuclear bomb. I'm not kidding. If they put a nuke down there in the right spot it might seal up the hole. Nothing short of that will work. If we can't cap that hole that oil is going to destroy the oceans of the world. It only takes one quart of motor oil to make 250,000gallons of ocean water toxic to wildlife.
Are you starting to get the magnitude of this?

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