Monday, May 31, 2010

BP is currently worth around $137 billion. Remedial expenditures for the oil spill currently estimated at $25 billion

SHOOT: It's easy to imagine the remedial expenditures doubling since the top spill failure. A conservative estimate is then $50 billion in expenses, bearing in mind that the ordinary running expenses for damage control are around $6 million per day. BP can also be sued for between $1000 and $4300 per barrel spilled by the Federal government. BP is likely to be sued by tens of thousands of other vested interests besides, from fishermen to ordinary property owners in the Gulf. Within 2 years from the present date BP ought to be technically bankrupt.
As mentioned, since the explosion on April 20, the BP Plc stock market cap has fallen from $187.3 billion to $137.6 billion - $49.9 billion, or 27 percent. That is $16.10 per share. In contrast, the average decline in BP’s peer group of Royal Dutch Shell, China Petroleum Ltd., Exxon-Mobil and Chevron is 15.1 percent.
Keeping the math simple presently, this suggests the market has assigned about half or $8.05 ($16.10/2) of BP’s share loss to expectations of its total reduction in value from the blowout. As the workout evolves, these expectations will likely fluctuate, and become more meaningful.
The $8.05 per share additional risk assigned BP common stock suggests the present value of future remedial expenditures is $25.0 billion ($8.05 x 3.1 billion shares outstanding). The stock market has become a prediction market, estimating the cost for the company will be $25.0 billion.
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The Surf Diaries

# 8 Surf where the surfers are

Today is different.  I've scoped out the conditions at another surfing spot, down the road from my pad.  The waves here are better, but that's not all.  They may be bigger and more muscular, the sets may have excellent definition, problem is when they crash down it's either on the beach or on less than a foot of water.  I know this.  And I know the surfers out here know their shit.  This is my 8th day out and I don't know shit, but you can't stay in kindergarten forever.

There are about twenty or so surfers mixing it up.  They know to catch the wave while it's in an advanced building phase, do their switchbacks and showing off, and then basically sweep back over the lip just as it collapses.  My problem is I'm still struggling to stand for more than 2 seconds, I'm not really at the point where I can get my ass from A to B at will.  It's more a case that I get up and then the wave owns my ass.

A few times I swear a shark longer than my board has just slipped under me, but after the fourth float-by I realise it's a sort of flat piece of rock that's sort of long and jagged with a shark-like shape just 4-5 feet below me.  It's weird to have rock like that when there's sand everywhere else.  At the other beach I mistook a large blue canvas bag for some alien ocean creature.  Settle down...focus...catch a wave if you can.

I'm surfing around 10 metres away from the surfers.  You'd think I'd be getting exactly the same waves but there's a slight slant to the strand here, and if you watch the foam, you can see the waves collapse and lose momentum here worse than down the road.  But that's okay. It's close enough.  I'm here to learn how to pop, and also to play in the vicinity of the big boys, not go around like some dog with his tail between his legs all day every day. Adapt or go and play with your mouse.

I can immediately sense the muscle of these waves.  Yep, here it's all bigger, faster and harder.  That means I have to pop.  I've evolved from a marinaded steak on the grill, to wors on the braai, to scrambled egg and now I'm about at the speed of a pancake flip.  Still not quite a pop, but that's why I'm here - to take that learning curve straight up.

I take a beating.

At one point my shoulder hits the seabed hard and I'm feeling a bit like Atlas, except it hurts too much to shrug.  A little later and I swallow a teacup of salt.  Yummy. I take a few pounding blows of the surf itself - DOOOOF DOOOOOOOOFF  DOOOOOOOOOOFFFF.
I think it's at the point - about an hour into the session - that a petite blonde walks along the beach, that I suddenly grow a set of balls [don't ask me what happened to the one's I had, I may have left them on my towel or next to my mouse at home].

Anyway I end up catching a major wave and disappear in a cloud of froth, board shooting out like a missile launched from a submarine, my own feet and elbows punching me in the face, sky vs earth unknown for numerous seconds.  The very next wave I do something even more daft, I catch it and drop into the canyon below and feel the full force of the seabed, the board and the water trying to turn a human being into a jellyfish.

What is happening though is that even on the waves I don't quite catch I get up.  I've picked up speed, and a lot of strength.  I'm not fucking around like I'm a bartender standing, pretending my surfboard is the bar.  I'm lying on it, and it's not that tiring.  I'm also doing something out there that's important.  I'm watching the other guys.  Watching and learning.  I catch another wave, not perfectly, and sort of get up on one leg with the other still in a kneeling position.  It's a fuck up but I stay on for a good few seconds.

The sun sinks and disappears and slowly the surfers pack up and the fishermen arrive.  The houses and buildings visible from the strand blink yellow squares at me, and then the fishermen turn on their torches.  Eventually all the surfers are gone, it's just three bodyboarders and me.  By the time I step onto the beach the first stars have come out.  As I walk away the sea is empty.  But tomorrow, when they're all at work or at school, I'll be back.

Nanny deserved to be fired - Hearing

SHOOT: She should actually be charged with gross negligence and pay a fine for damages. Someone with the arrogance to charge her own employers after what happened as a result of her actions has something serious wrong with her. Self righteousness de lux.
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Johannesburg – The nanny of baby Marzanne Kruger had let the main suspect, Chakhoma Machaba, 28,  into her employers’ house the day before they were attacked, as well as on the day of the incident.
This emerged on Wednesday during the hearing of Francina Sekhu, the nanny who had been assaulted along with Marzanne Kruger at the baby’s home in Randburg.  
Marzanne was seriously injured in the attack and has lost her sight.
The outcome of the hearing was that Marzanne’s parents, Bertus and Madelein Kruger, were permitted to fire her according to the labour law.
Sekhu did not attend the proceedings and had last week apparently also not accepted her notice to appear at the hearing from the bailiff.
The legal representative of the Krugers, Pieter van R Coetzee, said it was sad that Sekhu had not put forward her side of the story.
The presiding officer, advocate Russell Beaton, ruled that Sekhu had not permitted the offenders entry to the house on the spur of the moment.
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

World Cup Terror Attack more than likely

All agreed that concrete plans for attempted attacks exist. "There is no doubt about that."

Sandee is more forthright. He told the US congress that numerous references were made to World Cup attacks in closed-frequency radio broadcasts and telephone intercepts this month in Mauritania, Algeria, Mali, Pakistan and Yemen.

"Information confirms that several venues will be targeted, some simultaneously, others at random. Reference is also made to the possibility of a kamikaze-type attack."

SHOOT: As far as I'm concerned a World Cup in South Africa is an ideal target for terrorists, because it is such a ridiculously easy target. Porous borders, rampant domestic crime, corruption [even in the SAPS] and of course the inherent social instability. Any country with massive amounts of poor people also provides an ideal breeding ground for extremists and criminal opportunists.
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CALABASH: Soccer City will host both the opening and final soccer matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Picture: REUTERS

  • Pakistani and Somali militants are running terror training camps in northern Mozambique;

  • Trainees from these camps may have crossed into South Africa to join or form cells planning World Cup attacks;

  • Surveillance and strike teams planning attacks are well established in South Africa. Terror groups involved include al-Qaeda and their Somalian allies, al-Shahaab; and

  • Simultaneous and random attacks are being planned during the World Cup.

  • According to two insiders, a watch-list of 40 terror suspects has been drawn up.

    But several intelligence sources - as well as briefing papers seen by the Sunday Times - and extensive interviews with security experts and counter-terror analysts suggest that local authorities may be instilling "a false sense of security", as one analyst put it.

    Two sources separately confirmed the Mozambique camps and presence of both al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab operatives.
    "It's impossible to tell. It's simply unknown if capabilities for large-scale, orchestrated attacks exist."
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    Agatha ushers in start of US Hurricane Season

    SHOOT: This year ought to be a shitkicker.
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    TC Activity
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    GUATEMALA CITY – Tropical Storm Agatha, the first of the season, formed Saturday off the Pacific coast of Guatemala, where its heavy rains dislodged a boulder that killed four people and threatened to turn black volcanic ash into cement-like mud.

    Boys run during rains in Amatitlan, south of Guatemala City on Saturday May 29, 2010. Guatemalans mopping up after a huge volcanic eruption are bracin

    A tropical storm warning was in effect for a stretch of coastline from El Salvador to far-southern Mexico, and the hurricane center said Agatha is expected to make landfall on Guatemala's coast late Saturday or early Sunday.

    Agatha was expected to dump from 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of rain and as much as 30 inches (75 centimeters) in isolated areas of Guatemala, threatening dangerous floods and mudslides.

    Guatemalan disaster relief spokesman David Leon said officials worry that the rains could exacerbate the damage down by explosions from the Pacaya volcano.

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    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    WSJ: Something did not just go wrong. Something was done wrong. #Deepwater Horizon Explosion

    When he heard the first explosion, toolpusher Wyman Wheeler, who was scheduled to go home the next day, was in his bunk. He got up to investigate. The second blast blew the door off his quarters, breaking his shoulder and right leg in five places, according to family members. Other workers scooped him up and carried him toward the lifeboat deck on a stretcher.

    SHOOT: Hopefully some good can come out of this disaster. Tighter regulations for a start, stricter safety controls.
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    Andrea Fleytas, a 23-year-old worker who helped operate the rig's sophisticated navigation machinery, suddenly noticed a glaring oversight: No one had issued a distress signal to the outside world, she recalls in an interview. Ms. Fleytas grabbed the radio and began calling over a signal monitored by the Coast Guard and other vessels.

    "Mayday, Mayday. This is Deepwater Horizon. We have an uncontrollable fire."

    When Capt. Kuchta realized what she had done, he reprimanded her, she says.

    "I didn't give you authority to do that," he said, according to Ms. Fleytas, who says she responded: "I'm sorry."

    At about 9:47 p.m., workers all over the rig heard a sudden hiss of methane gas. Methane is often present in the ground in and near reservoirs of crude oil, and managing the threat is a regular part of drilling.

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    Greek crisis cost $146 billion. Cost of resolving US banks now at $100 billion. Number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumps to 775

    The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 775 in the first quarter from 702 three months earlier.
    140 banks failed in 2009, twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force, and only three succumbed in 2007.

    SHOOT: By this time last year 36 banks folded in the US. Compare that to 78 this year, it's more than double. Still think this is a recovery?
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    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators on Friday shut down three banks in Florida and one each in Nevada and California, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 78.

    The three Florida closures brought to 13 the number of bank failures this year in Florida, a state with one of the highest concentrations of bank collapses and where the meltdown in the real estate market brought an avalanche of soured mortgage loans. Fourteen banks in the state failed last year.

    California is another state with a heavy concentration of bank failures, and Granite Community Bank was the sixth bank to fall in the state this year, following the shutdown of several big California banks in the last months of 2009. Seventeen banks failed in California last year.

    Georgia and Illinois also are high on the list of states with concentrated bank failures.

    The number of bank failures is expected to peak this year and to be slightly higher than the 140 that fell in 2009.
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    Oil Spill Leak Top Fill Attempt: The baby's spitting the baby food back

    But Bob Bea, a professor of engineering at University of California at Berkeley who has studied offshore drilling for 55 years, said late Friday that what he saw didn't look promising.

    He likened the effort to pushing food into a reluctant baby's mouth -- it only works if the force of the stuff going down is more than the force of what's coming up.

    "It's obvious that the baby's spitting the baby food back" because the pressure pushing up from the well is stronger, Bea said.

    SHOOT: I see a lot of crap still shooting out at obviously high pressure. So I hope their plan B has already started. Hurricane season starts in 2 days, and that can make things an awful lot more difficult than it already is.
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    Scientists say the images may offer clues to whether BP is getting the upper hand in its struggle to contain the oil, said Tony Wood, director of the National Spill Control School at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. If the stuff coming out of the pipe is jet black, it is mostly oil and BP is losing. If it is whitish, it is mostly gas and BP is also losing.

    If it is muddy brown, as it was much of Friday, that may be a sign that BP is starting to win, he said. That "may in fact mean that there's mud coming up and mud coming down as well," which is better than oil coming out, Wood said.

    Philip W. Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Alabama, said the camera appeared to show mostly drilling mud leaking from the well Friday morning, and two of the leaks appeared a little smaller than in the past, suggesting the top kill "may have had a slight but not dramatic effect."

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    Lady Gaga - Telephone (Official Explicit Version) ft. Beyoncé

    Lady Gaga - Big Girl [MP3]

    Roxy Louw [PICTURES]

    Infrared Imagery Shows that Oil-Slick Waters Stretch for Thousands of Miles in Gulf of Mexico

    The federal government now estimates as many 39 million gallons worth of oil has poured into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig collapsed.

    SHOOT: The Exxon Valdez was 11 million. The new estimate of 39 million makes this almost 4 times larger than the largest ever spill. BP are breaking the #1 rule of disaster management, which is 'maintain transparency'.
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    Infrared image of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
    (CBS)  CBS News investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports from a helicopter 3,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico, an hour off the coast of Louisiana at the site of the Deepwater disaster. To the naked eye, the scene of the massive spill appears on the surface to be an expanse of deep blue water, marked by boats.
    But in the very same area, shot exclusively for CBS News with an infrared camera, the Gulf surface is dark an ominous as far as the eye can see - and that darkness is oil.
    Chris Zappa is an oceanographer at Columbia University, specializing in the use of infrared imagery. He can tell it's oil because it reflects at a cooler temperature than the open ocean.
    On Thursday CBS News spent three hours flying over the spill zone, matching shots from our camera with those taken by Rob Raymer of FLIR, a company that makes this infra-red camera similar to ones used by the military.
    Zappa says it is clear from the pictures seen in this video that the cleanup booms are simply overmatched
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    Green Zone is for Zombies

    Damon, on something of a roll lately, is left to portray only a kind of righteous bafflement, though he does a perfectly professional job with what he’s given.

    SHOOT: It's a decent flick, but a downer. We know there were no WMD's, and we don't see Bourne in Iraq we see Damon becoming a journalist. You'll come out enraged at how dumb the media was, and still are, and how, like sheep, so many of us can be. But this is an unusual, and unusually serious flick, in that it conscientiously asks us to pursue something we ordinarily don't care much about.  The real truth.  Most of the time we just want to be entertained, we just want what we want.  So when the media says let's go to war in Iraq, we just say Yeah man yeah!  We're kinda like sheep: baaaaa.  Maybe that's why I'm not that into this flick. 
    Back in 2003 before Iraq was invaded, before WMD were even an issue, while the media was saying drill baby drill, I mean kill baby kill, pretty much everyone did the sheep thing and supported the war.  Because the fucked up moronic media said so.  Did the media see the financial crisis coming?  No.  The media is about as bright as 7th grader.  In 2003 I was saying: uh...the 9/11 terrorists are all dead, and they were from Yemen, Saudi Arabia.  So sorry, invading Iraq is wrong, period.  But I suspected there was some other justification.
    Hello, if you want to go to Iraq to build police stations to secure your access to oil go for it, but don't count on public support if you tell them the truth.  On the other hand, if you think you can afford a war and PR nightmare be my guest, and apparently the upper echelons of power did think it was worth it.  Everyone fell for the WMD slash 9/11 ruse though, and you tell me if that loss of credibility has been worth the price of oil?  Maybe it has...

    Read the New York Times review here.  AO Scott gives it a lot more credit than I do.
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    It’s 2003. Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, head of a WMD-finding unit in Baghdad which keeps coming up empty at all the alleged sites. Suspecting erroneous leads, Miller goes maverick in his attempts to trace their original source, raising eyebrows and fighting the received orthodoxy.
    With all we retrospectively know about the wool-pulling to make the case for war, it’s a kick to follow a main character on the ground who smells a rat this early, wary of the stalling tactics the Pentagon (represented by Greg Kinnear’s slippery Clark Poundstone) are offering instead of conclusive proof.
    Perhaps the filmmakers would argue that the chain of command in Baghdad was a mess by this point, but it’s particularly hard to believe the leeway Damon’s Miller has to venture off-piste and pursue his private theories, barely without reprimand.
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    Out-of-Body Experience? Your Brain Is to Blame

    Scientists have gained new understanding of these odd bodily sensations as they have learned more about how the brain works, Dr. Blanke said.

    SHOOT: Excellent article from the New York Times. Have a look, in particular, to page 2, and the work done on schizophrenics etc.
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    There is nothing mystical about these ghostly experiences, said Peter Brugger, a neuroscientist at University Hospital in Zurich, who was not involved in the experiments but is an expert on phantom limbs, the sensation of still feeling a limb that has been amputated, and other mind-bending phenomena.

    “The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence,” Dr. Brugger said.

    For example, researchers have discovered that some areas of the brain combine information from several senses. Vision, hearing and touch are initially processed in the primary sensory regions. But then they flow together, like tributaries into a river, to create the wholeness of a person’s perceptions. A dog is visually recognized far more quickly if it is simultaneously accompanied by the sound of its bark.
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    Near Death Experience = REM pattern. So how to explain an out of body experience [OBE]?

    The Kentucky researchers believe that NDEs are actually REM intrusions triggered in the brain by traumatic events like cardiac arrest. If this is true, then this means the experiences of some people following near-death are confusion from suddenly and unexpectedly entering a dream-like state.
    OBE's: by electrically stimulating the angular gyrus, a part of the temporal parietal junction in the brain, a doctor can induce OBEs.OBEs are controlled by a region of the higher brain, which is clinically dead when NDEs occur. What's more, it seems logical to believe that the higher brain must still function in order to interpret the sensations produced by the REM intrusion triggered in the brain stem.

    SHOOT: This implies that spiritual or religious experiences are really experienced in our brains.

    In 1991, Atlanta, Ga. resident Pam Reynolds had a near-death experience (NDE). Reynolds underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm, and the procedure required doctors to drain all the blood from her brain. Reynolds was kept literally brain-dead by the surgical team for a full 45 minutes. Despite being clinically dead, when Reynolds was resuscitated, she described some amazing things. She recounted experiences she had while dead -- like interacting with deceased relatives. Even more amazing is that Reynolds was able to describe aspects of the surgical procedure, down to the bone saw that was used to remove part of her skull [source: Parker].

    Near-death experiences
    It is estimated that as many as 18 percent of people who have been resuscitated after cardiac arrest have reported a near-death experience.
    A brain-dead person should not be able to form new memories -- he shouldn't have any consciousness at all, really. So how can anything but a metaphysical explanation cover NDEs?
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    Massive new oil spill plume detected

    SHOOT: How massive? 22 miles long and 6 miles wide.
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    Gulf Oil Spill

    NEW ORLEANS – A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off Florida.

    The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday.

    McKinney said that in a best-case scenario, oil riding the current out of the canyon would rise close enough to the surface to be broken down by sunlight. But if the plume remains relatively intact, it could sweep down the west coast of Florida as a toxic soup as far as the Keys, through what he called some of the most productive parts of the Gulf.

    The plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet, said David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at USF.

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    Only in Africa

    At launch of child protection week tent collapses on schoolchildren

    SHOOT: We would like to protect children from harm. From rape, from assault, from...this tent falling on them.
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    Durban - Scores of people, including schoolchildren, were hurt when a marquee collapsed during the launch of child protection week in Driefontein in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, a social welfare official said.
    Social welfare spokesperson Sifiso Buthelezi said: "There were about 10 000 people in the marquee when strong winds crushed it. About 30 people, including children, were seriously injured.”
    He said the marquee collapsed just minutes before social welfare MEC Meshack Radebe was about to address the crowd.
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