When human technology escapes human control

It takes some pretty amazing technology to stick a pipe a mile beneath the ocean, then drill another three or four miles into the Earth’s crust in search of oil. Until recently, we were told that the technology was so good that chances of something major going wrong were tiny.

Yet something did go wrong. The pipe in question has broken, and it has come as a shock to learn that it is beyond our capabilities to fix it. Thanks to incomplete mastery of our own technology, millions of gallons of oil now threaten the beauty and ecology of the Gulf.

As Lewis Mumford once wrote, when you give a 10-year-old a stick of dynamite, you don’t make him more powerful. You make him more dangerous.

Last week, as oil continued to spew from that pipe, scientists in Washington announced a major breakthrough in another area of technology. J. Craig Venter and his team announced creation of synthetic life, in this case a man-made bacteria with a chromosome designed by computer and then “built from four bottles of chemicals.”

In his announcement, Venter acknowledged the ethical concerns involved. But he pointed out that throughout his work, he has sought and heeded the advice of bioethics experts. According to Venter, those experts conclude that “there is a slight increase in the potential for harm, but there is an exponential increase in the potential benefit to society.”

For example, microbes could be designed to digest vast amounts of oil, in effect using technology to correct technology’s failure. Even better, Venter’s firm is working to engineer a species of algae that can convert the sun’s energy into a form of gasoline. Among those funding that work is BP, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

One of the concerns in creating new life forms is how to trace them should they be released “into the wild.” Venter’s team addressed that issue by putting nonworking code into the bacteria’s DNA as special identifiers.

One of those “watermarks” installed by Venter is a quote from the late Richard Feynman, a famed physicist:

“What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

To Venter, who is driven by a need to comprehend the mysteries of life, the relevance of that quote is obvious. But the sentiment is dangerous.

We humans understood the Deepwater Horizon well — we built it. What we didn’t understand was how it would behave in deep sea conditions where it was beyond our power to fix it.

Likewise, Wall Street thought it understood the complex global economy. It just didn’t account for how it would be operated in real life by humans whose judgment was clouded by greed.

Every day, we build ever more complex technologies that defy full understanding even of their creators. Many, like the Deepwater Horizon rig, may have a very low probability of failure, but a very high consequence if failure comes. In that kind of system, you have to get it right every single day, day after day, without fail. Thousands of rigs have pumped oil from the Gulf for decades, but all it has taken is one mistake to bring tragedy.

In pursuit of that inhuman level of perfection, we install systems and systems of systems, which themselves become incredibly complex and capable of going wrong in ways difficult to imagine beforehand. They also give us a false sense of confidence and mastery.

Nobody knew that better than Feynman, whose fame broadened after he diagnosed the cause of NASA’s Challenger shuttle disaster. The problem, he discovered, was “management’s fantastic faith in the machinery” they had built and their failure to account for the stresses of the real world.

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled,” Feynman wrote.

I’d feel better if Venter had built that expression of humility into his creation, literally as well as figuratively.

296 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

May 25th, 2010
7:10 am

One of the concerns in creating new life forms is how to trace them when they are released “into the wild.”

Fixed your typo.

Finn McCool

May 25th, 2010
7:26 am

Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil — and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency, according to an inspector general’s report to be released this week.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/us/25mms.html?hp

..in pencil? That’s what I call limited regulation.

stands for decibels

May 25th, 2010
7:26 am

Seen from another geeky technological level–cool as I think this development might turn out to be:

J. Craig Venter and his team announced creation of synthetic life

for the record, he’s kinda pushing the definition of “creation” here.

Outhouse GoKart

May 25th, 2010
7:35 am

Sounds to me more like the headline should be…

“When the FEDERAL GOVT Fails to inspect, regulate and then accept bribes this is the possible result.”

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
7:39 am

G’morning all. having the first cup a coffee and a wren is singing merrily outside the kitchen window.

stands brings up a valid concern.

So many examples, from the insidious kudzu here in the South, to the biological devastation in Hawaii, mankind has a short-sighted view. And the stakes and mistakes are getting bigger and bigger.

Finn, how did these bureaucrats become pencil wielding flunkies for these industries? When did they agree that the corporations had become the supreme, preeminent, indisputable authority and power in this republic and not we the people? Why did they sell us down the Gulfstream for a few pieces of silver?

The corporate destruction of capitalism (and the United States of America) rages on…

Finn McCool

May 25th, 2010
7:42 am

“When the FEDERAL GOVT Fails to inspect, regulate and then accept bribes this is the possible result.”

To counter this you need tax dollars to pay for it – salaries, office space, vehicles, etc. The best route to do this in my opinion? Make the oil companies pay for it which would, of course, pass the cost down to the end-users – trucking/shipping companies, commuters, etc. Go for it!

N-GA

May 25th, 2010
7:46 am

Jay – This is one of those topics that generate more questions than answers. But ultimately it is not the new technologies themselves, but how people use them. Perhaps the most obvious example is nuclear fission. So much potential to improve our lot on this planet, yet so much possibility for catastrophe.

It’s not so much that technology is imperfect as it is that man is imperfect.

WWE Master of the Universe

May 25th, 2010
7:50 am

Let the games begin. If there are any tag-team matches, let me know if arrogance and greed join forces. That should prove to be an interesting match. After all, there’s nothing like doing God’s work for a buck.

Jay

May 25th, 2010
7:52 am

The technology is imperfect BECAUSE man is imperfect, N-GA. And if we’re creating technology that relies on perfection to be safe, we operate well beyond the bounds of wisdom.

@@

May 25th, 2010
7:56 am

They also give us a false sense of confidence and mastery.

Who’s this “us” of which you speak? Ain’t me!

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled,”

No it can’t.

Tell that to Al Gore.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.”–Lao Tsu

TaxPayer

May 25th, 2010
8:02 am

In a conservo-Liberipublican Utopia, all things capitalist are “hands off”. There can be no regulation for that would stifle innovation. And besides, it’s not as though Monsanto would do us harm just to make a buck. I mean really.

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
8:05 am

The foxes guarding the American hen house, as Finn demonstrated earlier, have a LONG history in the US.

Basically unbroken for 80 plus years, the GOP in particular, has created an eventuality where regulators have been captured and held captive by the industries they were suppose to regulate and hold accountable to American law.

Read up about the good Republicans like Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover (Yes, THAT screw up Hoover) and the Radio Act of 1927.

Before that pretty much anybody could own and operate a radio station – true American capitalism. But when the first of the give away our sovereignty boys were finished, the advantage went to large commercial radio broadcasters at the expense of smaller noncommercial broadcasters. The viability of educational stations in particular was damaged.

And remember these airwaves belong to we the people. NOT NewsCorp or one of a handful of other multi-national organizations who control virtually all of them now.

And the mooches like Rush who have made millions from them don’t even pay us rent!

He and his Excellence in B_llsh_tting organization make a fortune by “capturing economic rent through manipulation or exploitation of the economic or political environment, rather than by earning profits through economic transactions and the production of added wealth.”

Next up the good fiscal conservatives, Willis Hawley, Reed Smoot, and MORE Herbert Hoover…

N-GA

May 25th, 2010
8:05 am

Jay – The automobile is far from perfect, yet we expect them to be relatively safe. More often than not it is the driver who fails. Are we operating beyong the bounds of wisdom in this instance?

Scott

May 25th, 2010
8:07 am

“there is a slight increase in the potential for harm, but there is an exponential increase in the potential benefit to society.”

So for those that are critical of the oil companies, or to any large company that participates in providing technology that we all use everyday and couldn’t imagine life without, try to be a little more honest about your own lifestyle. Think about this as you drive your SUV or truck to Kroger to load up on bottled water that was trucked in from across the country. Think about this next time you are on a flight to Europe. Without that technology, you would be on a ship crossing the Atlantic. Oh, that ship runs on oil. Scrap that idea. You would have to take a sail boat. My point is, if capitalism is so evil, then why do you willingly participate in it? Are you like one of those vegans who wears leather shoes? Hypocrites

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

May 25th, 2010
8:07 am

Well, my Daddy always said we were in for a heap of trouble after a bunch of people got uppity and put men on the moon. And now we’re paying for it. If God had of wanted us up there, we would of been borned with little wings.

Now we’re doing all kind of stuff people don’t understand too good. Those little bugs they’re making in the labs could run wild and take over. Make gas out of sunshine and put millions of people out of work. Ruin free innerprize. Maybe one day even make beer out of water, and people like me would be left jobless and brokes.

That’s why I’m halfway glad that kind of stuff won’t be happening in GA in the future. Because we’re broke and can’t afford the schools. Our kids will grow up too dumb to fool around with stuff they can’t understand anyway. I read just today the state got rid of all the class size limits and now the class size will be however many can be fit in a room. We might could need to buy some loudspeakers for the teachers but the good news is we won’t need as many teachers.

Have a good day everybody.

stands for decibels

May 25th, 2010
8:09 am

And besides, it’s not as though Monsanto would do us harm just to make a buck.

DNA is just something to be patented, after all.

Jay

May 25th, 2010
8:09 am

No, N-Ga,, because the consequences of failure are constrained. A car wreck isn’t going to destroy the ecology of the Gulf. In addition, people chose to take on that risk when they enter a car. That risk is not imposed on them without their knowledge or approval by others who stand to reap the benefits.

That second point is made moot, of course, in the case of automobiles that are knowingly sold with safety defects. In that case, the risk is again socialized while the profit is privatized.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:10 am

“Think about this next time you are on a flight to Europe. Without that technology, you would be on a ship crossing the Atlantic.”

which is why many people are pushing for investment in NEW technologies that will be kinder to the environment.

Soothsayer

May 25th, 2010
8:11 am

Finn McCool

May 25th, 2010
8:13 am

regarding Monsanto:

Haitian Farmers Who Vow to Burn Monsanto’s Toxic Fungicide-Coated Hybrid Seeds
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronnie-cummins/monsantos-poison-pills-fo_b_587340.html

Hatiians telling Monsanto to STFU. I love it. If you don’t know what they are doing with the seeds, watch “Food, Inc”

Normal

May 25th, 2010
8:14 am

The wrath of Khan…coming soon to your neighborhood…

Cartoon of the day;

http://punditkitchen.com/2010/05/25/political-pictures-george-w-bush-head-start-cheney/

Normal

May 25th, 2010
8:17 am

‘Morning USinUK,
You said, “which is why many people are pushing for investment in NEW technologies that will be kinder to the environment.”

Like Boing 747 submarines?

Scott

May 25th, 2010
8:19 am

“which is why many people are pushing for investment in NEW technologies that will be kinder to the environment.”

Just think of the possibilities if the government would have used the nearly $trillion dollar stimulus waste of a bill to invest in these technologies. Instead, only a small percentage is going to be used for that purpose. I think alot of people were hoping this president would have been more aggressive in this area. Instead we are stuck on the idea of taxing companies for their carbon when we should be pouring money into the technology to reduce the carbon or to reduce our reliance on foreign oil in general.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:19 am

Normal – have I ever told you about the episode of Top Gear that had a prototype of a hydrogen cell car???

ohmyflippinggawd … I’m not a gear-head by any stretch of the imagination, but OH! how I wanted that car!!! do a video search for James May, Top Gear, hydrogen car – it’ll blow you away

Gale

May 25th, 2010
8:20 am

Excellent comment, Jay – “relies on perfection”

I see this all the time when people make plans, giving completion targets that rely on perfection. Then, once the target is set, those same planners fail to provide adequate people, resources and budget to come anywhere close to perfection.

N-GA

May 25th, 2010
8:22 am

Jay – I guess my problem is this. When you say “And if we’re creating technology that relies on perfection to be safe, we operate well beyond the bounds of wisdom.”, then I fail to understand who “we” is. Is it the individual/company who creates the technology, or is it the consumer who buys it even though it is not perfectly safe? Then again, are you suggesting that mankind stop inventing anything that would prove to be unsafe?

I still believe that it is man that is more responsible, more “imperfect”. Man invented the fertilizer so that more food could be grown. Then other men used that fertilizer to build bombs……

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:22 am

scott – “Just think of the possibilities if the government would have used the nearly $trillion dollar stimulus waste of a bill to invest in these technologies”

ohfercryingoutloud … imagine how much better our schools would be if we didn’t buy the F-22s the Pentagon doesn’t want. imagine how much better our public hospitals would be if we didn’t pay subsidies to Alaskans …

the “dream yourself a rainbow” list is endless.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 25th, 2010
8:23 am

Last week, as oil continued to spew from that pipe, scientists in Washington announced a major breakthrough in another area of technology. J. Craig Venter and his team announced creation of synthetic life, in this case a man-made bacteria with a chromosome designed by computer and then “built from four bottles of chemicals.”

Why do liberals lie so much?

This “scientist” took the hollowed out remains of a living organism and animated it with protein enzymes, thereby creating nothing, unless you consider a mindless hulk to be a living being.

Wait a minute, a mindless hulk, isn’t that a liberal?

Ooops, tax me!

Bud Wiser

May 25th, 2010
8:25 am

Maybe Obowo should anoint another committee to study this as well, say perhaps Curly, Larry and Moe.

By the time this incompetent sap ever gets around to doing anything about this ecological disaster, we truly will be able to rename it “The Goilf of Mexico”.

Obowo is making Bush look like a genius with his incompetence comparing this to Katrina.

November 10.

Outhouse GoKart

May 25th, 2010
8:27 am

SS…thats great news…for me anyway.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:29 am

okay, bud … I’ll bite … what exactly should the administration be doing???

Outhouse GoKart

May 25th, 2010
8:29 am

When is our illustious leader gonna step up and address this issue? After all this is “Outer Continental Shelf” or “Continental Shelf” which the Feds are in control 100%.

Well maybe the word control is a bit much.

Normal

May 25th, 2010
8:30 am

J. Craig Venter and his team announced creation of synthetic life, in this case a man-made bacteria with a chromosome designed by computer and then “built from four bottles of chemicals.”

When I read this, my first thought was, “this is truly the beginning of the End Times”. Man is creating life and God has become irrelevant…The Church’s greatest fear is coming true…

Scott

May 25th, 2010
8:32 am

USinUK,

“The dream yourself a rainbow list” is indeed endless. Lots of examples of waste and what ifs. Being in the UK, what is your honest perception of the efforts to invest in new technologies to reduce dependence on oil? Other than paying a higher tax of course.

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
8:32 am

Not to mention that this new life could possibly run amok.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

USinUK,

I forgot to mention something yesterday – did you read the Harry Potter books? Rowling so ripped off Pullman on the Specter thing. I’m disappointed. Just another example of how imperfect we humans are.

Outhouse GoKart

May 25th, 2010
8:33 am

“run amok.”

HEAD FOR THE HILLS!!! AHHHH!!!!

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
8:33 am

And seriously if these people had watched Battlestar Galactica, they’d know not to be doing this kind of thing. Technology can turn on us and form their own plans. Just saying.

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
8:34 am

USinUK, good morning across the pond! (I know. It’s PM there.)

As for Wiper, are you kididng me. If he has a cogent reply, it’ll be a first. Like his hero from Connecticut, (excuse me, Texas!) all hat and no cattle.

“That second point is made moot, of course, in the case of automobiles that are knowingly sold with safety defects.’

Jay, do you mean like Toyota and their sticking accelerators??? (But, shhhh, maybe we can keep it under wraps for months and months and those damn big government safety boys and anti-business regulators won’t find out!)

Dammitall. This all goes back to that loon and traitor Ralph Nader.

If it wasn’t for him and his type, I could be driving a car *right now* without seat belts, safety glass and with a gas tank that explodes when you look at it the wrong way!

My god-given Merican right!

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:36 am

Scott – “Being in the UK, what is your honest perception of the efforts to invest in new technologies to reduce dependence on oil?”

here? or there?

here, I’ve seen loads of new investment in wind farms (I just learned the other day that England is the windiest country in Europe – who knew!) – our milkmen use electric cars – the city of London is investing in alternative fuel buses –

is that what you’re asking?

Soothsayer

May 25th, 2010
8:36 am

On tonight’s edition of “60 Minutes”, Scott Pelley investigates the Deepwater Horizon disaster

If you have not seen this episode of 60 Minutes you are missing a lot of the details of exactly what caused this disaster as told by a man who was actually on the drilling rig and witnesses firsthand all of the mistakes and blunders that let up to this disaster. It’s a long segment and you may want to save it to your favorites and watch it later lest you miss out on “running with the pack.”

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:38 am

Bosch – 8:32 – I think i’m one of a handful of people who have never read the HP books … everyone recommends them, so I might just take the plunge after I finish the “palate cleanser” I just started

I am so-so-SO glad you’re enjoying the trilogy! There’s nothing like recommending a book (or series) that you love and finding someone else who feels the same :-)

oh, and HI AMVET!!!

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:40 am

When a man made microbe ingests oil what does it expell? If we make this organism, what can it evolve into (or what will God create it into for you flat earthers)?

Dangerous stuff. This isn’t Mount Everest. Just because “it’s there” don’t mean we have to scale it…

The arrogance of man is simply astounding.

david wayne osedach

May 25th, 2010
8:41 am

Watch this spill turn out to be the biggest in history.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:43 am

It’s science Andy, I wouldn’t expect you to understand…

USinUK,
It doesn’t matter what Bud thinks the Government should be doing because no matter what the Obama administration does, it will be wrong to him.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:45 am

DWO – 8:41 – leaving the Gulf War I out of it, the Deepwater oil spill is second only tothe Ixtoc oil spill (also in the Gulf of Mexico) that took place in 1979

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
8:45 am

USinUK,

If you do read the HP books – just know the first two are kind of stupid, but you have to get through them to know what’s going on. They are also VERY “formula” kind of books. The story is good though, but Rowling’s writing skills aren’t nearly as good as Pullman. They are entertaining and a real quick read. Actually, they are all kind of stupid, but I am easy (hehehe – I just said I’m easy) to get sucked into a story and have to know what happens.

But Rowling “borrowed” alot – in the third book there are these creatures called Dementors – who if they “kiss” you wipe out your soul and it is considered worse than death – just like Specters.

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
8:47 am

Rightwing Troll/USinUK,

Seriously. Obama could single handedly wipe up this spill with some magic paper towel he created and Bud would complain.

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
8:47 am

“It’s science Andy, I wouldn’t expect you to understand…”

Nuff said.

(And DO NOT ask him any more about those three impeachable felonies! He’s clammed up like Ollie North before the US Congress…LOL.)

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:47 am

RWT – 8:43 – oh, I’m well aware of what Bud thinks of Democrats … which is why I’m so VERY interested in his expert opinion of what Obama SHOULD be doing, since he’s ranting about Obama’s incompetence and inexperience …

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:47 am

“If you have not seen this episode of 60 Minutes you are missing a lot of the details of exactly what caused this disaster as told by a man who was actually on the drilling rig and witnesses firsthand all of the mistakes and blunders that let up to this disaster. It’s a long segment and you may want to save it to your favorites and watch it later lest you miss out on “running with the pack.”

Really? Do they have video of Obama, in full deep water diving gear, swimming down there and setting the explosives that caused this? Then does he swim up and scream “Allah Akbar” while BP oil executives fly over head dropping him cash for bribes? What about the weeklong interval when he knew he was going to swim down there and blow up that rig but he didn’t have anything prepared to clean up the ensuing disaster? They did have all that didn’t they?

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:50 am

Bosch – 8:47 – well, he’d be right! why should the government be wasting our tax dollars on magic paper towels! that should be the job of industry – it would be yet another example of his SOCIALIST AGENDA!!!

(and don’t get me started on the pelican scrubbers)

8:45 – the thing that shocks me about the Pullman books is that they’re filed under “adolescent” in book stores – I don’t know about you, but it’s some pretty heavy subject matter for your average 14-year-old, I think …

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
8:50 am

Rightwing Troll,

Of course they have that video – but it’s locked up tight with Michelle Obama’s whitey tape.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:50 am

I’m still waiting for that list of 3 impeachable offenses, and a list of taxes that have increased.

I’ll go look up seepage while I wait…

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:53 am

Bosch, I have to completely disagree with you. I’ve read the entire HP series 3 times. Once for myself and twice as bedtime reading to the little Trolls. I won’t let them see the movies until we’ve read the books.

The first two or three in the HP series are the better spun stories, by the end I felt it was getting a bit too cookie cutter and contrived. And of course it was a VERY westernized ending… Happily ever after and all that.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:55 am

Heh… Pelican Scrubbers…

Everybody know they’re brushless now… no scrubbing, just high pressured water…

NRB2

May 25th, 2010
8:55 am

Don’t worry Jay, your heroes in government have found the solution: raise taxes on each barrel of oil to pay for future cleanups. Even though the companies responsible are supposedly going to pay for “every nickel of it”.

Gotta love the government solution to every problem. Just raise taxes and it automatically solves everything.

Get ready for 4$ a gallon gas thanks to Barry Insane Oblamer. But the media shills at the AJC won’t call him on since it’s not a Republican we’re talking about.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:56 am

3 impeachable offenses:

Impeach Melba
Impeaches and Cream
Impeach Cobbler

Southern Comfort

May 25th, 2010
8:56 am

Watch this spill turn out to be the biggest in history.

And yet people are mad because the government hasn’t cleaned up the mess created by private industry. Well, if BP was drilling for the oil so that BP could profit from it, then BP needs to clean up their mess.

As far as trying to compare Katrina to this, y’all need to quit doing drugs and take a visit to the Betty Ford Center or something. Talk about politicizing anything and everything, GEEZZ!!!!!!

It’s the ultimate of man’s arrogance to think that we are superior and can control everything around us. When we try to stand up on that pedestal, G*d, life and/or both have a way of smacking us back into our place. Man won’t be satisfied until he invents something that wipes out all humanity. By then, it will be to late to keep that hubris in check.

The stuff that dreams are made of

May 25th, 2010
8:56 am

I remember one of my bosses from many years past and his perspective toward quality. We had a field problem with a product and I had noted that we had a failure rate of one in one hundred and he said, “make it one in one thousand” and then we would talk again, depending on whether the customer was satisfied yet. The end result in addressing such field problems was always quite predictable. We either delivered a product that the customer was willing to pay for and that we were willing to accept from a profit perspective or else we either quit making it or the customer quit buying it. (Then again, we also did not have the luxury of government subsidies or “cost plus” contracts, etc.) Anyway, the end result from these efforts was not a problem. It was the journey there that caused all the grief and the inevitable failures encountered before reaching a successful, albeit temporary, end result. Afterward, there was always newer technology to come along and render the old “tried and true” as obsolete and the cycle began again. Hey! What do you expect. It’s just the stuff that money is made of and time is money. Look at the time. I must be off.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:57 am

“Just raise taxes and it automatically solves everything.”

that’s right – don’t you know that CUTTING taxes solves every problem! ask any republican

RB from Gwinnett

May 25th, 2010
8:57 am

I thought in the liberal universe, scientists had the answer to everything. What happened? You mean they’re actually wrong about some things? Gee, maybe putting all your faith in the so-called expert scientists isn’t always the best idea.

Especially when eternity depends on it.

moonbat betty

May 25th, 2010
8:57 am

If mother nature does not commit to population control, humans will.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
8:57 am

Ohhh… I love Impeach Cobbler with a big ol scoop of I Scream on the side…

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:58 am

SoCo – “Talk about politicizing anything and everything, GEEZZ!!!!!”

not to mention, comparing schmapples and schmoranges …

Gale

May 25th, 2010
8:58 am

Bite your fingers, Bosch! The first HP was the the best. Simple, true, but the magic was the commonality of all children being sure they are so much more than people think they are at that age.

NRB2

May 25th, 2010
8:59 am

that’s right – don’t you know that CUTTING taxes solves every problem!
———————–

Actually it does, since our money doesn’t belong to the useless criminal govt. in the first place.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
8:59 am

Gale – you must … must … MUST read the Pullman trilogy – I really think you’ll dig it!

NRB2

May 25th, 2010
9:00 am

Heading to the coast right now to suck up some of the oil off of the beaches. Then its off to Target to buy ever single feather pillow they have.

Then its off to D.C.

Time to storm Washington with pitchforks, guys and gals.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
9:00 am

Answers to everything? Not even close. Testable observations and hyopothesis? Yep.

Soooo… should we send Sonny and Pat Robertson down there to the gulf to pray?

Would you like to place a wager on who will cap that well first? Science or prayer? I’ll give you 2:1 odds… Andy, you’re out, you welch.

Southern Comfort

May 25th, 2010
9:00 am

UnU

And I present this thread as evidence!! I rest my case.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
9:01 am

“Actually it does, since our money doesn’t belong to the useless criminal govt. in the first place.”

yep – so, cutting taxes will DEFINITELY help clean up the oil spill!
and cutting taxes will DEFINITELY help pay for 2 wars!
and on and on and on …

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
9:01 am

“Time to storm Washington with pitchforks, guys and gals.”

If you promise to impale without regard to R or D, I might be tempted…

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
9:02 am

SoCo – “I rest my case”

I’ll meet you at the bar …

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
9:02 am

Even though the companies responsible are supposedly going to pay for “every nickel of it”.

NLRB2, can you hear that in the back ground?

A familiar tune?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn6pyJynA78

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
9:03 am

Rightwing Troll,

Well maybe “stupid” is a little strong – I really enjoyed them too – I’ve read them at least three times as well — and the little Boschkins who aren’t so little now – those were the first books they read cover to cover and they too (even my 20 year old son) will go back and read one every now and then. So, yes, the story gets you totally sucked in — but I liked the later books better.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

USinUK,

“I don’t know about you, but it’s some pretty heavy subject matter for your average 14-year-old, I think …”

Yeah, I kind of flinched when Iorek ate Lee’s body – that is heavy stuff. But I think it’s more heavy for adults because we know the deeper meaning of things – people without a soul, the Church, etc. Kids are more like “ewwww, that bear just ATE him. That’s sick” and moves on.

godless heathen

May 25th, 2010
9:03 am

OK, show of hands, who recalls the Ixtoc I oil spill? Spewed for 10 months, 3 million barrels. Even impacted Texas beaches.

Wasn’t the end of the world was it?

Gale

May 25th, 2010
9:05 am

USinUK, my partner told me the books are in our library and I did read them and didn’t care for them. I didn’t look for them because she is always right. :-) But I’ll try to remember to look for them.

Haywood Jablome

May 25th, 2010
9:05 am

Obowo is making Bush look like a genius with his incompetence comparing this to Katrina.

Maybe in your feeble mind, But Wiper. But Bush’s incompetence will remain an unbeatable standard.

The stuff that dreams are made of

May 25th, 2010
9:05 am

Actually, if we had cut taxes soon enough, this oil spill would never have happened. NOW do you see how tax cuts work!

Southern Comfort

May 25th, 2010
9:06 am

Wasn’t the end of the world was it?

Ssssshhhhhh!!!! There’s a group here who wouldn’t know what to do without their panic. They might have to take a logical and reasoned approach to their thinking.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
9:07 am

Bosch – it’s funny, though – Bill Donohue says that the book is an indictment against the Catholic church – I see it more against organized religion as a whole … what do you think? (there’s a bit towards the very end that made me laugh out loud regarding this – will compare notes when you get there)

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
9:07 am

“since our money doesn’t belong to the useless criminal govt. in the first place.”

Actually, yes, some of our money does belong to the government. We don’t get to live here for free.

The stuff that dreams are made of

May 25th, 2010
9:10 am

OK, show of hands, who recalls the Ixtoc I oil spill? Spewed for 10 months, 3 million barrels. Even impacted Texas beaches.

Wasn’t the end of the world was it?

Nah! You just get out there and find another beach to live off of, I mean, to live on, I mean… there are plenty more beaches out there.

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
9:10 am

“Don’t worry Jay, your heroes in government have found the solution: raise taxes on each barrel of oil to pay for future cleanups. Even though the companies responsible are supposedly going to pay for “every nickel of it”.”

Gosh, most every wingnut here is sreaming for Obama to go clean it up himself. That costs money. If this is how it’s going to be, when a private corporation screws up bigtime republicans scream for Government intervention, then the proposed “tax” is appropriate.

Disgusted

May 25th, 2010
9:11 am

Seriously. Obama could single handedly wipe up this spill with some magic paper towel he created and Bud would complain.

Bud and his fellow right-wingers have been working diligently to discredit the present administration and Congress as much as possible so that they can restore proper order—you know, more tax cuts for the super-wealthy, more fundamentalists leading prayer meetings during policy discussions, more work on destroying women’s right to choose and access to birth control, more bellicosity and war, etc. It’s tough work, given the abundance of brainless maniacs now fronting for the Republican Party, and it’s hard to make the sale, given the choices.

Southern Comfort

May 25th, 2010
9:13 am

Bosch
@ 9:07

Why even reply to that nonsense? I guess government of the people, for the people, and by the people only occurs during Republican administrations.

The stuff that dreams are made of

May 25th, 2010
9:14 am

Actually, yes, some of our money does belong to the government. We don’t get to live here for free.

Why not! In the beginning, there were no taxes. And later, there was no carving in stone that said “thou shalt pay thine government.” And even later, there was no resurrected one that said, “To gain entry to my kingdom, thou must first pay all back taxes.” Therefore, government should be a free for all. It is the will of the people.

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
9:14 am

“…Pat Robertson down there to the gulf to pray?”

Has anyone heard if Brother Pat has blamed the homos and lesbians for this disaster yet?

Rightwing Troll

May 25th, 2010
9:15 am

“since our money doesn’t belong to the useless criminal govt. in the first place.”

A social compact has been place in this country since it’s founding. Without that “useless criminal govt” there would be no roads, no power grid, no borders for wingnuts to fence, no Army for wingnuts to use to invade countries that harbor WMD’s, no faith based initiatives, no abstinence only programs, no bible stickers to place in biology texts, no internet for wingnuts to troll libural blogs, none of that.

There’s still a few places on the planet where you can live without all the above, you’d better get there quick though…

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
9:15 am

gosh … nearly an hour later and we still haven’t heard from Bud on what Obama SHOULD be doing …

which leads me to wonder – do you think he’s flown to DC to give O the benefit of his expertise? or do we think he’s just flown directly to the Gulf to solve the problem …

stands for decibels

May 25th, 2010
9:15 am

Off topic post #1:

HP? It’s ok I guess (only read some of the first one).

We prefer readingthis Kraut’s fantasy works in the sfd household.

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
9:16 am

Sorry SoCo, I had a weak moment and forgot that most times our “Oh my freaking God” just works best.

Gale

May 25th, 2010
9:17 am

I got a black screen from your link, dB.

AmVet

May 25th, 2010
9:18 am

Criminal government?

Maybe we need a good old fashioned conservative-led military coup de etat!

Ronnie “Banana Republic” Reagan would certainly be in favor!

(Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
Moved from side to side.)

Bosch

May 25th, 2010
9:18 am

“It is the will of the people.”

It is the will of the people, yes, and the will of the people has become that we like educating all our citizens, and defending them and ensuring clean air and water, because of companies like BP who put profit over health and ya’ know that stuff costs money!

Southern Comfort

May 25th, 2010
9:18 am

Actually it does, since our money doesn’t belong to the useless criminal govt. in the first place.

:roll: :roll: oh my freaking god… :roll: :roll:

There’s the correct response, Bosch.

USinUK

May 25th, 2010
9:19 am

gale – 9:17 – that’s how you know it’s GOOD scifi/fantasy! ;-)

Outhouse GoKart

May 25th, 2010
9:20 am

“Maybe in your feeble mind, But Wiper. But Bush’s incompetence will remain an unbeatable standard.”

Sorry…Bush and the Feds couldnt get into the Katrina “thick of things” until invited by the State govt. Thats Law my friend.

The jurisdiction for this oil spill belongs to the Feds.

You are comparing apples and oranges. Sorry. We have some nice parting gifts for you backstage.

PS…Barry is doing a terrible job. He should think about abdicating to lil Sasha.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 25th, 2010
9:20 am

When I read this, my first thought was, “this is truly the beginning of the End Times”. Man is creating life and God has become irrelevant…The Church’s greatest fear is coming true…

I know this is like way above your pay grade but when God created life there were no scientists, laboratories or hollowed out hulks for you libs to experiment with, there was nothing.

Try that in your spare time, sponges.

stands for decibels

May 25th, 2010
9:20 am

Actually, yes, some of our money does belong to the government. We don’t get to live here for free.

Moreover, “money” as we know it doesn’t really exist without a functional government. I can’t see that it ever has.