What NOAA Wants Us To Believe About Hurricanes And The Oil 'Spill"

This is a transcript of the simple little youtube/powerpoint presentation (above) I made after reading NOAA's glib lil' PDF on Hurricanes and the Deepwater Horizon, uh, incident. Becaust I thought the PDF was irresponsible.
The following text, in black, is taken verbatim from NOAA’s pdf concerning the Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the coming hurricane season, which is projected to be severe.

In red I have added a few facts to help you decide for yourself what percentage of this helpful government document is correct, if any; what percentage merely wrong; what percentage underestimated; and what percentage misleading, perhaps deliberately.

What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?

Most hurricanes span an enormous area of the ocean (200-300 miles) — far wider than the current size of the spill.

But - a ‘typical’ hurricane is NOT so much wider – and the spill is still growing rapidly – in fact only recently estimates tripled … So I guess they don’t know, do they?

If the slick remains small in comparison to a typical hurricane’s general environment and size, the anticipated impact on the hurricane would be minimal.

The oil is not expected to appreciably affect either the intensityor the track of a fully developed tropical storm or hurricane.

What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf? The high winds and seas will mix and “weather” the oil which can help accelerate the biodegradation process.

The high winds may distribute oil over a wider area, but it is difficult to model exactly where the oil may be transported.

Movement of oil would depend greatly on the track of the hurricane.

Note how you think theyare going to talk about the effect of the hurricane on the oil, but what they talk about, at length, is the effect of the oil on the hurricane :

Storms’ surges may carry oil into the coastline and inland as far as the surge reaches. Debris resulting from the hurricane may be contaminated by oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident, but also from other oil releases that may occur during the storm.

A hurricane’s winds rotate counter-clockwise. Thus, in VERY GENERAL TERMS:

A hurricane passing to the west of the oil slick could drive oil to the coast; A hurricane passing to the east of the slick could drive the oil away from the coast.

However, the details of the evolution of the storm, the track, the wind speed, the size, the forward motion and the intensity are all unknowns at this point and may alter this general statement.

All of which to say they don’t know – but they managed to not answer what we really want to know, which is:

What will the hurricane do to the oil? Hurricanes have been known to transport heavy objects, and drive blades of grass into windsheilds; are they telling us no oil will become airborne?

That would be a good thing, considering the effects on rubber and paint and plastic, as well as on food and water, plants and wildlife.

The low pressure may – or may not - increase the ease with which oil spewed into the gulf --

But it would certainly increase the amount of highly volatile, flammable hydrocarbons in vapor or gaseous form.

Hurricanes often have lightning associated with them.


I think these are valid concerns, don’t you? No mention of them at all in this official document:

Will the oil slick help or hurt a storm from developing in the Gulf?

Evaporation from the sea surface fuels tropical storms and hurricanes. Over relatively calm water (such as for a developing tropical depression or disturbance), in theory, an oil slick could suppress evaporation if the layer is thick enough, by not allowing contact of the water to the air.

With less evaporation one might assume there would be less moisture available to fuel the hurricane and thus reduce its strength.

However, except for immediately near the source, the slick is very patchy. At moderate wind speeds, such as those found in approaching tropical storms and hurricanes, a thin layer of oil such as is the case with the current slick (except in very limited areas near the well) would likely break into pools on the surface or mix as drops in the upper layers of the ocean. (The heaviest surface slicks, however, could re-coalesce at the surface after the storm passes.)

This would allow much of the water to remain in touch with the overlying air and greatly reduce any effect the oil may have on evaporation.

Therefore, the oil slick is not likely to have significant impact on the hurricane.

Will the hurricane pull up the oil that is below the surface of the Gulf?

All of the sampling to date shows that except near the leaking well, the subsurface dispersed oil is imparts per million levels or less. The hurricane will mix the waters of the Gulf and disperse the oil even further.

(Disperse. Not necessarily a good thing. Depends on to where.)

Have we had experience in the past with hurricanes and oil spills?

Yes, but our experience has been primarily with oil spills that occurred because of the storm, not from an existing oil slick and an ongoing release of oil from the seafloor.

(In other words, no, not one like this.)

The experience from hurricanes Katrina and Rita(2005) was that oil released during the storms became very widely dispersed.

Dozens of significant spills and hundreds of smaller spills occurred from offshore facilities, shoreside facilities, vessel sinkings, etc.

Will there be oil in the rain related to a hurricane?

No. Hurricanes draw water vapor from a large area, much larger than the area covered by oil, and rain is produced in clouds circulating the hurricane.


Learn more about NOAA’s response to the BP oil spill at http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/deepwaterhorizon .

To learn more about NOAA, visit http://www.noaa.gov.

Let’s hope my fears are ill-founded. Better yet, let’s pray.

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Yahoo Slipped, Fell, Landed Your Email Contact List On Social Network Lap

Oh, no, they did-n't --- Oh yes, they did. This will be a move they regret --- if people find out --.

from Corporanon (via Eff):

Yahoo (note lack of "!") is now, suddenly, enriching our online experience by sharing our email contact list with everyone - including, of course and especially, shadowy third parties - in a pathetic attempt to position themselves on the Facebook/Twitter/Myspace continuum of Evil. Expletive deleted. Add geolocation to enjoy the full functionality! Expletive deleted.

Without asking.

You have to opt out.

Woe betide all who eschew webmail; little will they know, buffered as they are by Thunderbird or Outlook, that their entire social network information has just been plundered, only to be relinked, visualized, mined.

Opting-out procedure is of course non-intuitive.

Eff rocks the free world, and most of the U.S. Their article I humbly repost. The screenshots show how Yahoo attempted to cling to my info, like a bug biting you even as you are poised to kill it. Get every last drop. Expletive deleted.

Here's the original article - God bless EFF. Or whatever deity of Liberty, Justice, and Online Goodness you would like.

Opt-Out Required to Prevent Your Yahoo! Mail Contacts From Being Used for Social Network
Kurt Opsahl - EFF

Earlier this week, Yahoo! announced a plan to try to leverage its Yahoo! Mail users' contacts into a social network of friends who will receive your Yahoo! Updates. Once the most visited website in the world, Yahoo! now ranks fourth worldwide, reaching about a quarter of all Internet users each day. Like Google Buzz's ill-fated launch using Gmail contacts, Yahoo! wants to jump start its social networking plans with the hundreds of millions of people who already use its email and messenger services.

While Yahoo! made some effort to avoid the worst aspects of the Facebook and Google Buzz privacy controversies, ultimately the plan conflicts with two principles of the EFF Bill of Privacy Rights for social network users. The program will begin a roll out next week, and Yahoo! users need to opt out if they do not wish to participate.

What Are Your Yahoo! Updates?

Yahoo! Updates are similar to Facebook's news feed and Twitter's tweets. For people who receive your Updates (more on that below), they will be seen on the basic Yahoo! Mail screen, in a category called “Updates” just below where email messages are displayed.

Updates will "include things like comments on message boards, songs you’ve rated, movies you’ve reviewed, articles you’ve Buzzed, photos you’ve uploaded in Flickr, questions you’ve asked or answered on Yahoo! Answers and other similar activities." If you have customized your Yahoo! homepage with apps, these apps may also generate Updates. According to Yahoo!, "Because the majority of events listed within Updates are inherently public activities, our defaults are set to allow anyone to see them."

Here’s the problem: Even though many of these events are indeed available to the public in that they can be found if searched for (often by looking in specific places), this does not necessarily mean that users want all of these activities to be pushed onto the home email screens of other users. Whether or not users will want this publicity depends on who will see the Updates.

Who Will See Your Yahoo! Updates?

You can never know the complete list of those who will receive Updates about your activities on Yahoo!. Previously, your Updates were shared with your Connections, an earlier Yahoo! effort at opt-in social networking that was not widely adopted. More recently, Yahoo! started sharing with your Yahoo! Messenger buddies. Starting next week, your Updates will get posted automatically to anyone who has you in their Yahoo! Mail address book, as opposed to, for example, the people in your address book. Thus, if someone wants to follow your Updates, they can just add you to their address book and you will not know.

What that means is that whenever your doctor, your ex, your stalker, or your plumber include your email address as a Contact in their address book, they will automatically see Updates about your activities on Yahoo!’s many, many websites whenever they log into Yahoo! Mail.

In an effort to avoid Google's gaffe in making Buzz user's email contacts public, Yahoo! Updates will not publicize who is in your address book or who has you in their address book. By publishing Updates only to people who have you as a Yahoo! Contact, rather than to those people whose addresses are in your Yahoo! Contact list, Yahoo! will avoid revealing any information about who is in your address book. This solves one privacy problem but creates another: you can’t make an informed decision about publicizing your activities because you don’t know who will see it.

The EFF Bill of Privacy Rights requires "a clear user interface that allows [users] to make informed choices about who sees their data and how it is used," and that "Users should be able to see readily who is entitled to access any particular piece of information about them." Yahoo!’s system fails to uphold these rights since it doesn’t let you know or control who is getting sent your Updates.

While implemented differently, Yahoo!’s strategy ultimately falls prey to the same underlying problem as Google Buzz: your email contact list and your social network are not the same thing, and in some cases may be quite different – and products that try to turn one into the other are doomed to hurt users. As Newsweek put it "Social networks are about sharing, and e-mail services are intensely private. Like lightning and swimming pools, they just don’t mix."

Google Buzz incited controversy because its Gmail users' contacts were a poor match for their friends. One might email with doctors, lawyers, landlord, bosses, former spouses, and the like, and yet not want to share personal photos and links with them (nor receive updates from them).

Likewise, when it comes to Yahoo! Updates, there will likely be other Yahoo! Mail users who have your email in their address book, but are not actually your friends; you may not even know them at all or you may know them only as your doctor, your child’s teacher or your car mechanic. Yet all of those Yahoo! users who happen to have your Yahoo! email address will soon be getting a constant stream of your online activity, unless you opt out. (They could also choose to block your Updates, if they do not care to see your activities).

Can You Control Who Receives Your Yahoo! Updates?

Not on a person-by-person basis. You can control what categories of content are included in your Updates stream. For example, you can choose to include your comments on Yahoo! News stories but not include the photos you post to Flickr. You will also be able to decide whether or not a particular action is published to the Update stream at all, on a per-post opt-out basis. Or you can decide to just opt-out of Updates completely. However, as noted above, there are currently no controls over who receives your Updates. As a result, Yahoo! Mail users will soon find themselves automatically opted in to a new sharing program without control over with whom they are sharing.

This opt-out program conflicts with EFF’s Bill of Privacy Rights, which provides that "When the service wants to make a secondary use of the data, it must obtain explicit opt-in permission from the user." These contacts were provided to Yahoo! for the purpose of email and messaging, not social networking. If Yahoo wants to use that data for a new purpose, it should only do so on an opt-in basis.

How to Opt Out of Yahoo! Updates

You must opt out if you don't want to publicize your activities with anyone who has your email address in their address book. In the wake of the Facebook privacy settings controversy, Yahoo! has made the opt-out process fairly straight forward.

Yahoo! Updates Sharing Control

To opt-out of the new program, go tohttp://profiles.yahoo.com/settings/updates/ and uncheck the box next to Share My Updates. In addition, to opt out of sharing authorized by your friends, you need to go tohttp://profiles.yahoo.com/settings/permissions, and uncheck "Allow my connections to share my information labeled 'My Connections' with third-party applications." While on this page, you should review your settings, and adjust the privacy levels as appropriate. This page also allows to to hide your profile entirely.


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