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Earth Day: Rigs, Mines, Volcanoes & Earthquakes

I’d say Happy Earth Day, but man is she pissed.

My thoughts today are with GulfSails and his family. His uncle is one of the 11 missing and presumed dead since Tuesday’s explosion of the Transocean semi-submersible drilling off the coast of Louisiana.Transocean and others suspect a blowout, usually associated with shallow gas pockets. To which NolaDishu and I immediately asked, “What was up with the preventers?” The rig sank today, but not before a NASA satellite captured an image of the explosion’s smoke plume.

GulfSails comments, “Coal mine losses are big news. Eleven men who fought to save a rig and 116 other lives – well, guess that’s crap.” Even so, the world knows little of the working conditions of our coal miners. A Massey Energy miner, who was recently interviewed under the pledge of anonymity said, “Production was the name of the game … At all costs we“ve got to get X amount of footage outside at the end of every shift … For me, I felt like that lump of coal was important than a human being“s life.”  Massey, as you know, owns Performance Coal Co., now sadly famous for the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Read Jeff Biggers for more.

As a customer of and former worker for the energy industry, I’m not so hypocritical as to call for the wholesale cessation of oil, gas and coal production, although I do question current expansion plans. All I ask is that we keep in mind exactly what and whom we are willing to sacrifice to extract it. “Drill, baby, drill” and “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it” are shitty, self-centered things to say when you don’t have to do the dirty work and in your backyard. Have some awareness and respect.


Will the airline industry please quit being WATBs about the EU closing airspace in the wake of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption? Maybe you guys and your insurers should pay attention to most-assured future eruptions and work around it, not it around you. How many times do we geologists have to tell you that the earth doesn’t work at your bidding? The Eruptions blog nails it:

A lot of what I read has an attitude of “How dare you inconvenience me and hurt the airlines with this foolish ban!”

… Close the airspace: too cautious. Don’t close the airspace: too reckless. This is a classic “no win” situation for the EU, meteorologists and anyone involved in the (in my opinion) right decision to play it safe – the trap of disaster mitigation is that if you get it right, and no one is hurt, then people fall into a sense of complacency. Suddenly, the loss of money has become as big a problem as the loss of life.

Well, since the eruption is an Act Of God in the parlance of the insurance industry, I humbly suggest that we sacrifice a few airline industry officials to appease The Big Woo. Let’s also push in all the reporters who can’t get the name of the volcano down, never mind that IT’S THEIR JOB.

Still, I found these links funny: How To Name A Volcano and the Volcano Airlines game (Use mouse to fly. Avoid the dark ash clouds.)


Bringing a whole new meaning to “Love A Geologist And Feel The Bedrock,” an Iranian ayatollah suggests that feminine immodesty in dress is the cause of earthquakes. To be totally fair to right-wing cleric Sedighi, what he actually said was that “women and girls who don’t dress appropriately spread promiscuity in society” and THEN “when promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase.” Never mind the second leap of logic, the first one is troubling in itself because that’s what many pillars of polite society elsewhere in the world, including in America, choose to believe.

In full (frontal) scientific response, Jen McCreight aka the Blag Hag wishes to test Sedighi’s claim with a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

Jen invites you to join the Facebook event and use the hashtag #boobquake when tweeting about it.

While rummaging in your closet for that perfect ho-ter top, don’t forget about our very own American ayatollahs. We do crazy quite well right here. I mean, Jesus Monkey Lords, do we ever.

1 comment… add one
  • greg p April 22, 2010, 8:36 PM

    I am fully in support of Ms. McCreight’s action but suggest that to truly test Sedighi’s hypothesis she and her fellow protesters would have to become more promiscuous for the day, which I also fully support.

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