The World worrying about an Oil spout which cannot be shut off seems not enough, as We have the Banks failing rapidly; my only fear of the Mayan prediction of doom in 2012 being the long two-year wait. What is next?–possibly a Solar flare igniting the Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? There could be an increase of Cannibalism in the inner cities, all because of a failure of the Transport systems to the city involved? What if it is a simple thing like a new Plague just shutting down Production activity for a sustained period? It might be an unseen, un-imagined Scenario, like the pollution of Seawater alters its buoyancy, and vessels ride 12-15 feet higher in the water; introducing a major instability to the ships, doubling or tripling vessel losses. I personally like the One where withdrawal of Stimulus will cause another Great Depression. We could issue a Tax credit to shoot Senior Citizens over 60 if not a personal relative to relieve health care Costs; no, wait, I am in that Class! Remember the one that said that it was better to use Robotics in Space and Deep Sea, rather than frail human bodies; that, of course, was before the Gulf Oil Spill and the failure of the Hubble telescope, also before Solar flares frying electronics.
I don’t know What I am talking about here, a not unknown case, but is likely to have something to do with systems complexity. We rely today on great systems of intensely complex and confusing parts, and few replacements for any failure; not a great Joy to the World. The Government debt problem has been building for years, and Those with any Money left do not want to loan it to Anyone. Banks solved this issue a decade ago by design of fancy paper instruments which they could sell to each other, and claim a more sound position. The Problem devolves that Government still Spend without Taxation, want more money, and Banks no longer desire to loan to each other; having downgraded the very paper instruments that they originally issued. Banks find they need about Ten years of those tax revenues which Governments refuse to Collect; everyone awaiting a financial system failure.
The Gulf Oil Spill is a much more technically complex issue. I am reaching here, trying to attain the comic laughter from Physicists. We have a direct line between a dense, heavily-pressurized Seawater and an Oil Reserve. There are no controls on that direct line. Something tells me, maybe it is Physics, that leakage will not stop until pressures equalize. Now, We know there are many gallons of high pressure Seawater here, and Oil companies have already estimated many, many gallons of Oil as well. Seawater, at higher pressure, will force itself into the Reserve, and without expandable capacity for the Oil reserve, drive Oil out through the direct line to the surface. We have no Timeline for the equalization of pressures; a computation of the relative masses of the two substances with variable T for Time. Artesian Oil wells seem like a great thing, don’t they? lgl