Journalism, The Widening Gyre  Comments Off on Collapse
Jun 172010
Michael Ruppert lights a cigarette

Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.

Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of “peak oil,” the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. – Link

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Worst Case Scenario

 Journalism  Comments Off on The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Worst Case Scenario
Jun 152010
oil gushes out of damaged wellhead on the floor of the gulf

The Deepwater Horizon’s damaged wellhead may be on the verge of a catastrophic failure, according to an editorial that’s lately been making the rounds on the internet. On June 13, a forum post by “dougr” painted a bleak picture of the situation on “The Oil Well,” a site frequented by many professionals in the oil industry.
BP, with the help of the US government, has kept a tight lid on information regarding the catastrophe, even going so far as to restrict access to journalists and keep unauthorized aircraft away from the area. However, based on BP’s actions to control the spill, dougr believes the situation may be far worse than has been publically disclosed, and presents an ominous possibility: the pipes beneath the sea floor are broken and leaking.
If this is true, the wellhead cannot be plugged or capped from the top, and the only possible solution is clogging the well bore from the bottom via a relief well that is months away from completion. Worse still, as the oil pushes up around the damaged casing, its incredible pressure could cause massive erosion around the casing. If this surrounding layer of cement and rock is sufficiently compromised, the entire well could collapse, leaving simply a “big hole” in the sea floor through; the ensuing geyser of crude oil would dwarf the current flow from the broken wellhead.

Scary stuff. But for now it’s merely speculation. Until we learn more, all we can do is watch and wait.

Picture source: CNN


 Journalism  Comments Off on Gasland
Jun 102010
Fox holds a lighter up to a kitchen faucet to demonstrate the tapwater's flammability

Today’s “Fresh Air” featured an interview with Josh Fox, whose new documentary “Gasland” airs on HBO tomorrow night. You can listen to the audio here.

When filmmaker Josh Fox discovers that Natural Gas drilling is coming to his area—the Catskillls/Poconos region of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania, he sets off on a 24 state journey to uncover the deep consequences of the United States’ natural gas drilling boom. What he uncovers is truly shocking—water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the US all with the same mysterious symptoms, huge pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation well blowouts and huge gas explosions consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. These are just a few of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. – Official site

Tsar Bomba: King of the Bombs

 Video  Comments Off on Tsar Bomba: King of the Bombs
Jun 052010

The blast yield was equal to that of a blast of 57,000,000 Tonnes of TNT….or to put that into context: The weight of 270 Empire State Buildings worth of TNT. This makes the Tsar the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated in history. Think of the destruction at Hiroshima. The Tsar was 3800 times more powerful than Hiroshima.

The bomb’s weight was 27 tonnes, and its dimensions were: 8 meters (26ft) in length, and 2 meters (6.5ft) in diameter.
When the bomb detonated, immediately the temperature directly below and surrounding the detonation would have risen to millions of degrees. The pressure below the blast was 300 pounds per square inch, ten times the pressure in a car tyre. The light energy released was so powerful that it was visible even at 1000km (621 miles), with cloudy skies. The shockwave was powerful enough to break windows at even up to 900 kilometres (560 miles) from the blast. The shockwave was recorded orbiting the earth 3 times. The mushroom cloud rose to an altitude of 64,000 meters (210,000 feet) before levelling out. The thermal energy from the blast was powerful that it could cause 3rd degree burns to a human standing 100 km (62 miles) away from the blast.

The radius of the fireball was 2.3 kilometres (1.4 miles). The blast radius (area in which total destruction ensured) was 13km (8 miles).

Welcome to North Korea

 Journalism, Video  Comments Off on Welcome to North Korea
May 282010
North Korean museum tour

Welcome to North Korea, by Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema. YouTube, 60min.

The winner of the 2001 International Emmy award for Best Documentary, Welcome to North Korea is a grotesquely surreal look at the all-too-real conditions in modern-day North Korea. Dutch filmmaker Peter Tetteroo and his associate Raymond Feddema spent a week in and around the North Korean capital of Pyongyang — ample time to produce this outstanding film.