Video: Gulf Oil May Not Degrade for Decades

(WashingtonsBlog) – As you might have heard, scientists are finding gigantic under oil plumes from the BP spill, including one that is more than 22 miles long, more than a mile wide and 650 feet deep.

On Thursday, Dr. Ian MacDonald and and Dr. Lisa Suatoni testified to a Congressional subcommittee that the oil will stay toxic, and will not degrade much further, for decades. MacDonald is an expert in deep-ocean extreme communities including natural hydrocarbon seeps, gas hydrates, and mud volcano systems, a former long-time NOAA scientist, and a professor of Biological Oceanography at Florida State University. Suatoni has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale, and is Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Oceans Program.

Dr. MacDonald told Congress that the oil has already degraded, emulsified and evaporated about as much as its going to, and it is going to very resistant for further biodegradation. The oil will be in the environment for a long-time, he said, and the imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable “for the rest of my life” (he’s 58, and the average lifespan for American men is about 76; so that’s some 18 years).

Dr. Suatoni told Congress that oil which goes into low-oxygen zones will remain in a full toxic form for decades. Continue reading

Vietnam’s forgotten victims Four decades on, Agent Orange continues to ravage the children of those exposed

(Uruknet) – At 46, each year of misery seems to have etched new wrinkles around Tran Thanh Dung’s angry gaze.

When he was child in the early 1970s, Tran says he witnessed U.S. soldiers shoot his parents — both of whom were communist Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. Bent on revenge, he joined the guerrilla group within hours.

To this day, Tran weeps over the memories of bloodshed and the hellish cries of his dying friends. But one bizarre memory will haunt him forever. “The American airplanes came right toward me and dropped a mist in the jungle, and the next day, the trees were dead,” he recalled. “We weren’t scared. We were confused.”

Thanks to that experience, his son has been unable to walk since birth. Continue reading

Big Chill: Coldest Weather in Over Two Decades

Nearly the entire eastern half of the United States is enduring bitterly cold temperatures not experienced since 1985. Even Florida, which has been hovering around freezing levels overnight recently, is also feeling the almost-nationwide chill. Continue reading