All posts for the month April, 2010

Do as you would be done by.

I don’t think Karen Armstrong actually mentions “god” in this 20 minute prizewinning TED talk from 2008 (with 2009 updates) on the Abrahamic monotheistic religions.  The resultant charter and a promotional film. Passed me by in real time, but very interesting and positive.

Looked up Karen Armstrong as a result of (Third Wave) Dave Thomas reference to her 1994 bookA History of God – The 4000 year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam“. Must add that to Jo Campbell’s “Masks of God” which I’ve still not read yet.

[Post Note – re-watching this, I recall the particular application of the golden rule to others, to strangers, to “know” strangers – reminded me of the Greek/Homeric tradition described in Boyd’s “Origin of Stories” …. and in fact Armstrong mentions “The Illiad” in this talk.]

At so many levels ? For the industry and for BP, not to mention the dead and injured as well as the obvious environmental effects. Deepwater Horizon was ABS classified.

What I can’t figure is why, if the leak is so well defined at the sea bed, and sufficiently concentrated to be corralled at the surface (to burn it) why it can’t be sucked-up, or captured in huge floating “bags” – like filling a hot-air ballon by natural convection (?) then the water-oil mix shipped away to be separated ? Must be scope for better future emergency devices. Do BOP’s ever work when you need them ?  Not my specialist area, but …

(BTW that’s actually Alabama, Mobile Bay, where Florida is indicated on the map.)

Post Note : And more leaks / five times worse than originally believed.

Still glad to see the engineers are working on better solutions – similar to my suggestion above … a dome over the top and … suck. Better late than never, and there’s always the next time.

Engineers are believed to be working on a dome-like device to cover oil rising to the surface and pump it to container vessels but it may be weeks before this is in place.

[Post Note : these junk-shots and top-hats are of course not new approaches to such sub-sea blow-outs. They are normal early attempts until proper intercept relief wells can be drilled, but these take time. Thanks to Alex for the old news links. Remember the disaster has already occurred at this point, not just a blow-out but a failure of multiple BOP’s, both preventable. There was in fact a much more recent and even more similar well blow-out in the North Sea only months before Deepwater – documented in the later reports – also inexplicably not communicated to the Macondo crew and management.]

Interesting NY Times piece on official approval to pursue medical research into Psilocybin (thanks to Marsha at MoQ-Discuss for the tip off). And on that subject, look out for Sue Blackmore’s piece on Albert Hofmann – father of LSD – on BBC Radio 4 (19th April 3:45)

Typical comment on the NYT piece

“Surgery comes with risks, but we see no clamour to criminalize surgery”

Odd that the Radio 4 series is called “In the Footsteps of Giants” rather than “On the Shoulders of Giants” – mixing their metaphors.

Interesting blog from writer Scott Berkun, only just discovered and browsed around this evening following a link from Matt (WordPress). No rocket science or genius insights just the common sense to say it (and do it, and ask questions …)

(Information is a form of garbage), and yet oddly addicted to cramming more of it in our brains. The rare commodity is the wisdom for how to think about information, and that starts with asking questions about it. What is a fact? Why was this fact chosen instead of another?

That “why?” question is so important – there is no fact independent of motive or intention in context, even if it is simply the act of selecting the (indisputable) fact to express. And hence why “trust” is such a valuable commodity.