Inverse proportions | AspenTimes.com

Inverse proportions

Dear Editor:

As of late I find myself noticing things, things that stand out as inverse proportions. Like net worth and common decency, common sense and arrogant ignorance, opinionated A-holes and the rest of humanity. Recent events on the planet seem to support my hypothesis with factual precision.

During the early stages of the Gulf disaster, BP’s PR team was lightning quick to emphatically down play the estimated amount of oil fouling an entire ecosystem. Simultaneously, they were able to expedite approval to use oil dispersant in amounts never before introduced in such vast quantities for the sole purpose of hiding the magnitude of truth. Anyone who has fished in the deep ocean knows that the water column is a complex series of layered variables, consisting of temperature, current direction and salinity.

These combined factors are what drive the ocean currents, affecting the viability of the food chain and directly interacting with global ecosystems. Consider the potential ecological changes to weather patterns and everyone’s favorite, global warming. I can’t begin to fathom the long-term ramifications.

The brilliant minds that allow man to construct such marvels of engineering as the Deepwater Horizon Drilling platform know this. Corporate whiz kids armed with university degrees, yet supposedly unable to accurately or truthfully estimate the flow rate of oil and gas from a 21-inch diameter pipe at the bottom of the ocean. As a firefighter, it was part of our yearly routine to determine flow rates at hydrants. A rather simple task really, given some factual information like the size of the opening and fluid pressure.

Yet early on, in this crime against nature, these same whiz bangs were able to accurately calculate the amount of dispersant necessary to inject into the unfettered flow, effectively hiding enormous plumes of oil deep in the water column. Allowing, hoping and maybe even praying it would “disperse” deep under the surface, either way hidden from the prying eyes of media and humanity; thus, achieving the corporate directive and saving the company billions in penalties based on flow rates and environmental damage.

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The base line for specific gravity is H20, 1000kg/cm3 @ 4 degrees C. Specific gravity determines whether things are either lighter than or heavier than H20. Crude oil has a specific gravity lighter than H20, some where between 790 and 970 depending on where it originates, hence it always rises to the surface. Unless your corporate whiz kids accurately calculate and inject enough dispersant to affect its specific gravity, which in turn determines how high into the water column the oil will travel! Besides it doesn’t really look as bad as it truly is. We little people will believe you’re doing all you could possibly do; let’s all go yachting.

In 1991 Saddam Hussein set fire to and sabotaged hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait, creating a manmade ecological disaster unprecedented since Chernobyl and couldn’t have cared less as the planet tried to absorb the insult. He was hung for his crimes.

Jack Rafferty

Snowmass Village