Dream of the Dragon

Tag: event horizon

Poison Gets Palatable

by Justin

The focus of the Gulf spill damage has understandably been upon the crude drifting on the surface – it takes no expertise to recognize the dying marine life and the swells of copper and black floating along or lashing the shores. The effects are immediately visible and visceral to communities of both people and local wildlife.  Statistics are always useful in gauging the scale of disaster, but the photographs of Deepwater Horizon’s wake have been especially stirring. There’s no lack of material, but the Boston Globe’s website killed it yesterday with its Big Picture account of recent events. The copper tendrils are really quite beautiful, if ultimately terrible, in photos like the one below – more painting than ecological catastrophe. Please follow the link. It’s incredible work.

Unreal. The amazing revelation today in the NY Times, however, is that the poison ballooning onto the surface may have the opposite effect in the abyss below. Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming Robots

by Justin

I worry about encouraging the seduction of the material world. The dichotomy of Haves and Have-nots inspires crime and prejudice, hatred and conflict. If a new pinnacle of physical achievement emerges that further stratifies the world, how dangerous might that be for all involved? I’m not so sure I’d sign up for what certain groups believe is the next round of evolution.

The New York Times ran a piece last week about the Singularity movement, interviewing some of the crazier geniuses and technophiles at the new university funded by Google founders and other Silicon Valley darlings. For a lot of people the concepts of transhumanism, of a post-human world of biotech and other science fiction wonders this isn’t a revelation. The fact that a university with extensive funding is actively pushing for the realization of that particular utopia may be a bit surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

Gulf Spill Rollercoaster

by Justin

In the past few days as BP launched its ‘Top Kill’ plan to plug up the oil billowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the news has reversed from high hopes in the morning to despair again at sunset. Both BP engineers and officials on the scene get optimistic about the chances for success, issue reports to that effect, and then eat their words. I don’t have a sense of the science involved so these errors in judgment may be excusable, maybe all signs did point toward success early on. But seriously, why not hold out for some concrete news on the efficacy on your mud? I can’t imagine how frustrating those reversals are to the people along the Gulf coast whose livelihoods are immediately effected.

The latest accounts from the Times distilled the week’s desperate attempts pretty well:

The failure of the top kill procedure, which was thought to be the company’s best option for stopping the leak, was announced after about 30,000 barrels of mud was injected into the well and three attempts were made at what is termed the “junk shot,” a procedure that involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, and golf balls into the blowout preventer, the five-story safety device atop the well.

That’s right, golf balls. Read the rest of this entry »