Tim Hurst and Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, for another edition of Earth & Industry Radio. (Maria Surma Manka sent her regrets.) I wanted to get their reactions to everything we've seen and read about the oil spill. Jeff grew up in Southern Louisiana so he brings some personal perspective, and I've come to admire Tim's political instincts. As always the podcasts are available on iTunes or you can listen right from the page.
I also note with interest NOAA's "confirmation" of measurements from the University of South Florida on the existence of subsurface oil plumes. I haven't seen BP's reaction to it yet. USF and the good people from the University of Georgia have done some incredible work, and I really don't think the government would have been as forthcoming if these researchers hadn't pushed forward on this work AND promoted it through social media channels. I'm hopeful their aggressive work on issues such as more accurate estimates of the rates of flow will continue - not for any PR purpose but to make sure people have all the information necessary to make the right decisions on addressing the spill. It also means that people will take scientists like the folks at UNC - Chapel Hill very seriously when it comes to addressing mitigation, remediation, and so on.
The spill is tragic and the response is much less effective than everyone wants. If it's even possible to say there's a positive here, it's that scientists are doing great work AND they're using social media effectively to get relevant, useful and important information out there.