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2010 May 06 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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UK Election

At this point in the process the exit polling would seem to indicate a hung Parliament, with no party winning a majority. The Labour Party has lost seats, primarily to the Conservatives, but it will still be a while before anything is certain.

The BBC news main page is being constantly updated with the latest results.

Update: It looks like the Conservatives will be asked to form the government, but will not win a majority. This probably means there will be another election in the not too distant future,

The LibDems weren’t the force that polling was indicating they would be, and may even lose seats.

May 6, 2010   4 Comments

An Update On Air France 447

The BBC reports that the Air France crash ‘black box site found in Atlantic’

French government and military officials have urged caution, saying there is no guarantee the flight recorders will be found.

“It’s like trying to find a shoe box in an area the size of Paris, at a depth of 3,000m (9,800ft) and in a terrain as rugged as the Alps,” French navy spokesman Hugues du Plessis d’Argentre told AFP.

Air France flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared on 1 June 2009 in stormy weather, killing all those on board.

What they have done is reduced the probable location of the data recorders down to a 5 kilometer search area. This was possible by reviewing all of the data from the various search vessels that scanned the bottom while the transmitter beacons on the recorders were still working.

Now they will be deploying submersibles to search this much smaller zone.

May 6, 2010   Comments Off on An Update On Air France 447

The Big BOPper That Couldn’t

Gulf Gusher symbolMcClatchy is reporting that there wasn’t total confidence in the system: Report adds to doubts about key oil rig safety equipment. This covers two presentations, one in 2003 and a second in 2008 by officials with Transocean, [and BP America in the second report], that question the ability of the current blow-out preventers [BOPs] to actually work.

Senator Maria Cantwell [D-Washington] chairs the Senate Commerce Committee’s oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee, and she wants to know what’s going on. The industry keeps telling the world that there’s no problem while insiders are writing reports saying the system may not work.

A problem that was highlighted in the 2008 paper was that the stronger pipes being introduced for deep water drilling might make it impossible for the BOPs to work as designed. A further complication is that the plans submitted to companies like Cameron and Hydril who manufacture the BOPs may not match what is actually built. Factory testing is worthless if the materials involved in the installation are different.

I located a picture of the BOP on the well. The discussion on the page includes several people with deep water drilling experience who speculate on what went wrong.

Update: From Kryten in comments: Deepwater Horizon: A Firsthand Account.

May 6, 2010   4 Comments