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BP oil spill makes “biggest tech stories of 2010” lists

December 21 2010 | Oil Pollution, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

The Atlantic's list of the 14 biggest tech stories of 2010 is full of the usual suspects; ipad release, netflix gobbling up net traffic, etc. One caught my attention, the BP oil spill. Here is an excerpt "All of our fancy technology and (you know) civilization sit perched atop a distressed and risky energy system. While randomly drilling in Oklahoma somewhere might have yielded sweet crude in 1915, the latter stages of oil-driven capitalism find us drilling offshore and thousands of feet deep. We saw precisely what the consequences of mistakes and misjudgments were during the Macondo well nearly uncappable blowout. We might blame BP, but the real takeaway should be: prepare for more of the same. The geological reality is that extracting oil is not going to get any easier or less risky in the coming decades." Well said and nice reminder that this is a tech story among other things. We're smitten by new tech and forget it fails from time to time. Some tech failures are worse than others. BP spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil (205,800,000 gallons) into the ocean over a period of 87 days. This is a bad... horrific failure. The BP spill should offer a stark, crude (no pun intended) reminder we must be prepared for technology failures. Of course the BP spill isn't JUST a "tech failure." The BP spill is a "system failure"... seemingly EVERYthing around this spill points to failure. Let's start with ourselves. How much oil have you or I purchased this week? Aren't we just passing the buck by pointing to BP while filling up at the pump? The United States uses 25% of the world's oil and controls just 3% of the world's oil reserves. It's mathematically impossible to drill our way to energy independence. Don't get me wrong. I do blame BP. I blame BP for the spill. I hold them accountable for all damages to the environment. local economies, etc. Yet I also know that if we stop there and just point the finger at BP we'll miss the larger point. We, all of us, need to reduce our dependancy on oil. This means lower consumption. This means supporting alternative fuels. This means supporting innovation that offers alternatives. Let's keep the pressure on BP and other oil companies for safer operating practices, let's push for them to pay for all damages but let's also keep the pressure on ourselves... so we're not an extension, a supporting role, of this top story in 2010.
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