12 May 2010

Not Me did it.

'Don't Blame Me' Is Refrain At Gulf Oil Spill Hearing

As if you hadn't been able to guess what would happen at this hearing.

Newman (CEO of Transocean) countered that there is "no reason to believe" the blowout preventer didn't work and that it might have been clogged by debris shooting up the well. Instead, he put the focus on subcontractor Halliburton, which was encasing the well pipe in cement before plugging it just hours before the deadly blast that killed 11 workers.

When I heard that Halliburton was the subcontractor used at the Deepwater Horizon, I cringed. But I've read enough about how this drilling site was unusual in a number of ways to not automatically blame this particular bad guy this time. Just because they sucked at drilling in Iraq doesn't mean they are the only ones that fracked up this time.

Salazar wants to divide the embattled Minerals Management Service into two agencies: one charged with inspecting oil rigs, investigating oil companies and enforcing safety regulations, and another to oversee leases for drilling and collection of billions of dollars in royalties.

This sounds like a very obvious idea, one which other countries have already done. It seems pretty obvious to me that the part of the agency that collects money if the oil is flowing shouldn't be the same as the part that decides if it's safe to keep the oil flowing. I'm pretty sure MSHA doesn't collect coal revenue, but I'll be rather upset if I'm wrong.

And lest we forget part of the reason MMS needs to be put back in order...

Besides Shell, the energy company employees mentioned in the report worked for Chevron, Hess and Gary-Williams Energy. The social outings detailed in the report included alcohol-, cocaine- and marijuana-filled parties where certain employees of the Minerals Management Service were nicknamed the "MMS Chicks" by the energy employees. The companies paid for federal workers to attend football and baseball games, PGA Tour events, Colorado ski trips, paintball outings and "treasure hunts," investigators found. Washington Post

11 May 2010


Food Allergies Less Common Than Believed, Study Says

So I was going to post something about Kagan and the Supreme Court, but I'm not sure I really have that much to say. (Except that it's weird to have a nominee younger than my mother. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.) And I know I said I wanted to rely less on my dear NYT, but this one is about food allergies! I love/hate food allergies!

...the true incidence of food allergies is only about 8 percent for children and less than 5 percent for adults, said Dr. Marc Riedl, an author of the new paper and an allergist and immunologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yet about 30 percent of the population believe they have food allergies.

Firstly, drop all those people who are "allergic" to milk. That's an intolerance to lactose sugar, not an immune response. Then there are all those people out there who subjectively feel better when they exclude some item from their diet. Don't tell me your "corn allergy" presents as lethargy and irritability; if eating a watermellon only made me sleepy and crabby, I eat all the watermelons on earth, forever. Then you have to wonder about people who may have out grown their allergies, but still avoid foods because, how are they to know? Would you eat the peanut butter and risk anaphylaxis? I wouldn't, but I gave up ambulance rides for the recession.

For their report, Dr. Riedl and his colleagues reviewed all the papers they could find on food allergies published between January 1988 and September 2009 — more than 12,000 articles. In the end, only 72 met their criteria, which included having sufficient data for analysis and using more rigorous tests for allergic responses.

When I first started having a reaction to foods, I was in college and had access to a goodly number of journals through the library. I looked up my particular syndrome, I found very little. It was interesting to see lists of "if you can't eat this, watch out for this" but I wanted more numbers, and more about the proteins that were the trigger. Yea... no.

I read what I could, even if I didn't totally understand what was being discussed, and was left with the impression that there was still a lot to be figured out. It's good to know that some one has waded into this mess and is going to make some sense of it.