Sunday, June 27, 2010


It was a beautiful Sunday morning on vacation in Ashland, Oregon. Coffee, the Sunday NY Times, on the front porch of the rented house with my wife and good friends (and their dog, Harry). I always start Sunday morning with Frank Rich and then the rest of the NYT Week in Review section. I know - why ruin a Sunday - but it's what I do, and for some reason I enjoy getting my intellectual juices going this way every Sunday.

Nick Kristof's column today was not a pleasant read, but it was educational. I learned that my smart phone and my laptop might have minerals in them that came from the Congo, and play a role in the brutal horrors there, including rape, disfigurement, and mass murder.

Sunday afternoon we went to the theater to see a production of "Ruined," by Lynn Nottage. This powerful and disturbing play centers around women in Congo who are victims of brutality at the hands of competing military forces and a society where women victims of these brutal acts are outcasts. The topic of conflict minerals is woven through the play (although not the main theme).

So now I'm looking on the web to learn more, including what I can do as a consumer about this. I have learned that Nokia, the maker of our smart phones, has been working since 2001 on being certain that their suppliers don't source these minerals from conflict zones. I'm going to check about Apple, the maker of my laptop. I'm going to send emails to these companies encouraging them not to use conflict minerals. I'll also email my elected reps about this.

I guess the bottom line is that as a consumer, I have a responsibility to understand what I'm buying and make smart choices. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task in this complex global economy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Illegal poaching of oil from the Gulf Oil Pool increased slightly over the previous year, according to figures released by the Gulf Oil Pool Authority. GOPA figures show that oil poaching in the year ending December 31, 2035 was 12,231 barrels higher than in 2034. A GOPA spokesperson gave assurances, however, that improved monitoring and enforcement measures would result in reductions of illegal pumping, particularly in remote areas.

The GOPA has gathered data on illegal pumping from the Pool since two years after its formation in 2020. The massive Gulf Oil Pool project was completed in 2020 with the installation of the final section of sea curtain that formed the Pool. The sea curtain project was a collaborative effort of the United States and Mexico after the two countries nationalized the floating oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico following the creation of what was then known as the BP Vent, a man-made and seemingly perpetual flow of petroleum from deep beneath the Gulf floor.

Enclosing many thousands of square miles of floating oil, the Gulf Oil Pool sea curtain stretches from Naples, Florida, to Bahia del Mariel, just west of Havana, Cuba (the 51st state of the United States since nationalization by the USA following Operation Democratic Annexation by Walmart), to a point of land north of Cancun, Mexico. Official oil pumping facilities at locations in both countries were authorized by GOPA following the Gulf Oil Pool Allocation Summit of 2018.

In a related development, GOPA scientists recently reported results of a 5-year study of fishery resources in the Gulf Oil Pool. Presenting at the annual GOPA Slick Science Symposium, researchers provided details of their studies of fish evolution, in which they have found indications that a variety of fish (and shellfish) species are adapting to and evolving in the petroleum-rich marine environment of the GOP. Ancillary studies by marine seafood scientists have shown that these new species of fish and shellfish are not only edible, they can by fried without the addition of cooking oil due to the naturally high level of oil in the tissue.