Oceans of Opportunity

a little bit of physics, and a whole lot of common sense

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiUnderwater, in an alien world where all of our senses and perceptions of reality are challenged, there are two very tangible life lessons that are at the very root of not only working efficiently or effectively, but also at the roots of our survival.

These two elements are 1) a little bit of physics, and 2) a whole lot of common sense. I find that I am challenged in these two areas every single day. With the heightened awareness of these resulting from my work life, I find that even topside I consider both physics and common sense in nearly every move I make. Given that, I challenge you to look around and find just one daily action that doesn’t take either physics or common sense into account (aside from being a couch potato).

I was forced to revisit this recently in being asked routinely about the BP Gulf Oil Spill. I am by no means an expert in offshore oil operations, but my exposure to the physics of working underwater on a daily basis, and some plain common sense have lead me to share a few consistent opinions…

First, physics tells me that to plug the flow of anything, you must overcome the pressure of that flow , ideally with something dense that will firmly set in place, creating a cap that will withstand the continued pressure. In shallow water, I’ve plugged wastewater outflows, sewage lines, and similar with inflatable ‘pigs’. These rubber plugs are forced into the hole and inflated such that the friction on the pig against the walls of the pipe or hole keep the pressure held back. Again, not being an expert in working at 5000 foot depths by any means, I am not certain that this would be an option. However, a pig jam packed with hydraulic cement sounds like a viable option from my perspective…sounds better than old balls and human hair, and it’s a cheap fix.

Second, common sense tells me that common sense itself has been overlooked long, long ago.

The mechanical problems are BP’s problem and responsibility, there is no doubt about it. But, this is OUR fault. We (westernized society) have incredibly high demands for the very oil that is creating the problem. We don’t want wells on land because they are eye soars and environmental hazards. We don’t want wells near shore because they are eye soars and environmental hazards, so where do they go…offshore. Where we don’t know enough, nor do we have the technology to respond to these types of issues routinely and with confidence.

Shame on us. perhaps this is the wake-up call that we all need to make some radical changes.

In the meantime, let’s hope that Mother Earth is forgiving enough to let us make-up for this mistake.ShareThis var shared_object = SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: document.title, url: document.location.href});shared_object.attachButton(document.getElementById(“ck_sharethis”));shared_object.attachChicklet(“email”, document.getElementById(“ck_email”));shared_object.attachChicklet(“facebook”, document.getElementById(“ck_facebook”));shared_object.attachChicklet(“twitter”, document.getElementById(“ck_twitter”));Related articles by Zemanta

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