Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
So, I came across an article this morning about an odd oil-rig protest as part of my morning read. A handful of activists are protesting the first ever oil rig in the Arctic sea. They’ve literally tied themselves to the side of big tanker ship in the Arctic.
Yeah, bizarre but it’s true. Greenpeace is live blogging it now. The Russian Coast Guard has been called in and the protesters will be in big trouble, I’m sure of it.
The oil rig is run by the largest natural gas company in the world, called Gazprom. It’s also Russia’s largest company. They’re also one of the most pollutive, hazardous companies on planet Earth. I didn’t know any of this until this morning. What do you think can be done?
From Tom Engelhardt:
Just in case you’re running for national office, here are a few basic stats to orient you when you hit Washington (thanks to the invaluable Open Secrets website of the Center for Responsive Politics). In 2011, the oil and gas industries ponied up more than $148 million to lobby Congress and federal agencies of various sorts. The top four lobbying firms in the business were ConocoPhillips ($20.5 million), Royal Dutch Shell ($14.7 million), Exxon Mobil ($12.7 million), and Chevron ($9.5 million).
And note that those figures don’t include campaign contributions, although I can’t imagine why corporate money flowing to candidates or their PACs isn’t considered “lobbying.” When it comes to such donations, the industry has given a total of $238.7 million to candidates and parties since 1990, 75% of it to Republicans. In 2011-2012, Exxon ($992,573) and — I’m sure this won’t shock you — Koch Industries ($872,912) led the oil and gas list.
Or think of this another way: the Senate recently voted down a bill sponsored by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez to end congressional subsidies for the top oil companies. The senators who nixed the measure, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, $264,700),received approximately $1.48 million in oil and gas campaign contributions in 2011-2012; those who voted for it, a mere $400,000. Not surprisingly, this fits a longer-term congressional voting pattern in which money talks. In fact, it shouts.
At the same time that the price of gasoline is rising, the US oil industry is increasing its exports of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Compared to a year ago, exports of gasoline have tripled – at a time when the price of gasoline is 42 cents a gallon more expensive at the pump. On Thursday, for example, the price of crude oil remained elevated at $107 a barrel because of fears over the Iranian nuclear situation, and the price of gasoline rose 3 cents a gallon compared to Wednesday, according to AAA.
The oil industry maintains the exports are necessary because domestic demand is weak.
And another one! Yeah, we’re exporting record amounts of American-made gasoline to other countries instead of lowering prices here. Obama’s fault… how exactly?
How exactly does weak demand translate to higher prices? And, when demand rises again with economic recovery, they will have been exporting so much supply that they’ll say “supply is low” and raise prices again.