Archive for June, 2010

Everlong Lives

Everlong Lives, originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez.

Everything is finally finished with my i7 desktop build. It’s pretty sweet. Click the photo to visit the Flickr page and read the specs. I don’t feel like typing them again.

Shooting with Brittany

Late last week, I got together with Brittany for a quick photoshoot outside. My new Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens was really just dying to be used. New lens, meet local model!

Having fun is usually my first objective when I pick up my camera, and this shoot did not let me down. I stuck with only the 85mm, one reflector, and a pair of my 285HVs. The results? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that (if you’re reading on Facebook click here).


Deepwater Horizon

There’s so much to say about the whole ordeal, but sadly much of what has been said has come from a position of sheer ignorance. The ability, and seemingly the desire, of the media to use catastrophe as a means for increased revenue (which is generally understandable given their sinking-ship status) is astounding. If anything, this event (which certainly is a catastrophe) has produced the single largest surge the planet has ever seen in ocean/petroleum engineers. Who knew there were so many subject-matter experts!

Since there’s already been a good amount of discussion I’ll only rehash a few points that irk me to no end:

#1 – The conspiracy theory I keep hearing that BP is intentionally keeping the well gushing into the ocean, as a means of remaining relevant and not having to pay fines or face lawsuits yet, is absolutely the single most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. Consider, for a moment, that I spent five years in a brigade level Tactical Operations Center. You’d be correct to assume that I’ve heard quite a lot of very ridiculous things. This theory takes the cake. The operation costs for the equipment involved in drilling an offshore well that hasn’t exploded are astronomical, and are a daily expense. I can’t fathom it being any cheaper to run the equipment needed in response to a blown well. Couple that expense with the lost revenue from the source of profits being largely lost as it spews out of the well, and it become even more impossible to think any organization remotely concerned with profit (we call those businesses – the primary motivation of which is generally profit) would do anything to prolong the agony.

#2 – GO GREEN! Green is completely dependent on oil. No matter how you slice it. Wind? What do you think lubricates the turbines? How much petroleum is used in the manufacturing process of not only the major components but the tooling required to make those components? Solar? Same story. Riding a bicycle takes oil too. When people tout that they’ve “gone green”, stopped eating meat, etc., in an effort to “stick it to Big Oil” they do little more than prove how little they understand about the reality of life and the way the world works. Chances are the tax revenue from Big Oil and its employees happen to fund the subsidies used to start these green movements anyway. I’m all for eliminating the use of petrochemical fuels as go-juice for transportation, and even energy, but in order to make the components I suspect will be required to do that we will still need oil.

#3 – The government should have done something, and the MMS should not employ “the friends of Big Oil!” Is there a magical reason that the government knows how to drill oil better than oil companies? Would a mistake made by a government employee have been less catastrophic than the mistake of an employ of an oil company? Is it somehow believed that government employees have a record of failing to properly do their jobs less often than those of an oil company? People are not perfect. That fact does not change based on their place of employment.

#4 – We don’t plan for the worst! That’s a bit deceptive. It’s entirely possible that we recognize that in many cases the worst is something the likes of which we cannot possibly contain. There are safety features on an airliner but if the worst happens nobody will survive. It’s a known risk but we all board planes anyway. I won’t pretend to know all the variables present in several thousand feet of water, but I suspect someone associated with that particular project has a fair idea. It may well be that the answer to “what do we do if it blows up”, in face of those variables, is “I have no idea.”

Don’t take this as a lack of compassion or care. The loss of life on the rig, in the ocean, and on the shores is beyond tragic. I was born on the Gulf of Mexico. I love seafood. I want to see this well capped and cleaned as quickly as possible. BP, Transocean, et al certainly need to be held fully accountable for any negligence on their parts. That said, running around throwing stones does not help engineer a solution in any way.

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