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Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Helping you understand "Dispersants"
Josh 201604 KWP
Many people still don't fully understand the role of dispersants, nor why they might not be suitable for the gulf. I've decided to explain on a scale that we all might understand.

Dispersants are similar to aerosol based air fresheners.

Let's say a guest is over, and they pass gas in your living room. It's horridly stinky, like rotten eggs. They apologize profusely.

You might pull out a can of your favorite air freshener and hose the area down. This doesn't actually make the stink go away, but it traps some of it in the mist, and masks the rest, until the natural circulation of air dissipates the odor to safe levels. We know it doesn't actually make the stink go away by observing bathrooms that have urine on the floor. Air Freshener helps only for so long.

Let's take that same friend. Let's say this friend was having stomach problems. After assuring you they've taken immodium and all other necessary precautions, you notice a gut clenching stream of diarrhea pouring from the leg of their pants. Trimming the leg of the pants doesn't stop the diarrhea for some reason, and neither does a fine misting of air freshener.

So what makes you think that dumping a pint of lemon oil into the middle of the puddle would actually solve the problem? They're still spewing vile substances. You can't move them, lest they defile the rest of your house, but the smell is permeating the whole house. When you pour more lemon oil, or even bleach, into the middle of the puddle, it doesn't actually fix the problem. It just spreads it around. Now it's leaking out into the hallway because it's so much more runny.

That's dispersants. They're good for small spills, but using them on big spills just allows a thinned out vileness to spread over a much greater area. The focus shouldn't be on trying to cover up the smell (spill), the focus should be on keeping it contained first. Next is stopping it. Then comes clean-up. Then comes replacing the damaged floorboards (harvesting polluted sand, rocks, dirt and cleaning/replacing it.) Once you're done with all of that, and you're replaced all contaminated areas, the remnants might dissipate on their own, or you might need to treat them.

Speaking of the final levels of treatment, does anyone else think that unleashing man-made bacteria to dissolve oil is the epitome of a bad idea? Bacteria mutate and cannot be contained/controlled in the wild. "Oh, I went swimming, and a week later my skin turned to mush and sloughed off."

The immediate response would of course be "We have NO reports of that EVER happening in the laboratory, and our models show it could never happen. We even tested it on 10 square feet of dry beach during low tide and had no problems."

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This is both an entirely disgusting and entirely clever analogy. Victory!


You just malign man-made bacteria because YOU don't want your skin to slough off. Pshaw! It's not like you were using it to it's full potential anyway!

Bacteria, the only culture I have...

I'm more worried about you, my overlord...

As long as you can feed it down the hole and nuke it at least 2000 feet underground, then I'm OK with that. I think nuking the surface of the rock would make a slow, leaky mess that would be even harder to seal off.

I also think if they overbored the hole, they could just use the new bit and pipe as a plug and/or feedpipe.

There is nothing about this post that I don't love. Well, except actually having to visualize a gut clenching stream of diarrhea pouring from the leg of my friend's pants, that is.

"Does anyone else think that unleashing man-made bacteria to dissolve oil is the epitome of a bad idea?"

I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie.
Seriously, it makes me wonder if the guys that come up with these ideas have ever seen movies ... IT NEVER WORKS OUT WELL!

duct tape cures everything

v nice analogies - luv the visuals ;)

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