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Oil leak crisis...scarily familiar? (liveleak.com)
18 points by dstorrs on June 14, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

What's the [ultimate] solution? Stop underwater drilling? Like that's going to be popular :)

I see what is being said here; the same solutions are being tried, and are failing in the same way. But they might have worked; and in other examples they have worked.

It's fine to criticise the process; but unless you offer alternative suggestions it's not particularly helpful.

Underwater drilling doesn't really supply a whole lot of energy but does bring a ton of risk. Aside from people who think shouting "drill baby drill" repeatedly is an energy policy, nobody really thinks it's the future.

The ultimate solution is getting past oil, by giving real funding to sustainable energy projects. Europe and China are going to kick our ass at this unless we step it up.

"nobody really thinks it's the future"

Yes, well people did really believe we would have flying cars and biodomes on the moon by now. So I don't invest too much faith in future wishes and hopes.

Short of unfeasible and economically devastating projects such as solar panels covering the earth and turning water into wine, er hydrogen, we don't have much reason for hope. I think we're all adults here and we all get how important it is to find alternatives to oil. But smarter people have thought about this well before Al Gore was born. You can't invent sources of energy. You can only discover what is already there.

"Europe and China are going to kick our ass at this unless we step it up"

That's an odd bit of protectionism to throw into the mix there. I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter one way or another who gets there first. What matters is that someone does. But I don't think tossing federal funding at a dartboard is the way to go about it.

It doesn't matter who gets there first?

Are you serious? Accurate web search, didn't matter who got there first? Intuitive MP3 player with bundled music store, didn't matter who got there first?

It's amazing how many people who would otherwise chant "america, fuck yeah" become total pessimists when it comes to energy. Al Gore's totally beside the point.

Aside from nuclear energy, no known "sustainable" energy technologies have any hope of replacing a significant amount of the need for oil in the next several decades at least.

The ultimate solution may indeed be "getting past oil" but that's a long, long way off. Absent some game-changing discoveries, it may not happen in our lifetimes.

Aside from giant slingshots, there was no known way of getting to the Moon and back in 1960.

I would say that she is offering a suggestion. She sums it up at 6:51 where she talks about he lack of development of spill containment technology. While not a solution to this particular incident, she is suggesting a way to reduce future risks : spend more on containment technology.

Furthermore, her bringing to light the similarities to a previous incidence (which I hear most people talking about like its unprecedented) is necessary to highlight that it doesn't seem like the oil companies have done much to help mitigate the risks for the environment they create. They've spent a lot to extract oil from harder to reach places but are using the same containment methods that they used 30 years ago.

As an aside, the silver lining for me from this video is that I'm a little more reassured that the world isn't going to end and the oceans aren't going to die. The previous spill had similar flow rates (10K's barrels per day), though it seems like the duration of this one might be longer since they're a while off from drilling the relief wells.

is necessary to highlight that it doesn't seem like the oil companies have done much to help mitigate the risks for the environment they create.

That's the thing though; there are counter examples where these things did work.

I know what you mean r.e. more work on spill containment, but the problem is that it doesn't happen (on such a scale) all that often, so there is nothing to drive legislators to force companies into developing such tech.

I'd say the moral of the story is that there is a lack of incentives in developing new technologies.

Now this could be either because one spillage every 30 years is an acceptable cost (a fair possibility) or because there is a problem in placing the incentives to the people who are in a position to do something.

Here's an ultimate solution: privatize all surrounding property, remove all restrictions, but also all liability caps, don't bail anybody out if liability drives them out of business, and let the oil companies, their insurance companies, and the property owners figure out where they want to drill.

Here's a solution to your solution: incorporate each oil well as a separate corporation wholly owned by an oil company, carrying no insurance, and remitting its entire profits each year to its shareholder as a dividend. The corporation can buy the property it wants to drill on, so that there's no property owner to demand insurance.

Then, if there's an accident like this one, all the other property owners can sue the oil well, which will go bankrupt and pay them pennies on the kilodollar.

In short, your "ultimate solution" is ultimately thwarted by the institution of the limited-liability corporation.

(An analogous bug exists even without limited-liability corporations, but it's less severe: "Tortfeasor regrets that he has only one life to give to atone for his torts.")

Many years ago I heard that every taxi in NYC is separately incorporated for exactly this reason.

I doubt this is true. However, many rental buildings in NYC are now LLCs for the reasons described above.

Also, every movie. And many software projects.

And welcome to the tragedy of the commons (where commons == the planet that is our home)

No, commons is exactly what I'm avoiding here by making all the land privately owned.

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