A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea

Author: Joel Achenbach
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451625375
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Documents the race to seal the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico, describing how Deepwater Horizon challenged the world's leading scientists and engineers to stop the leak and discover why it exploded in the first place.

A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea

Author: Joel Achenbach
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451625387
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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It was a technological crisis in an alien realm: a blown-out oil well in mile-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. For the engineers who had to kill the well, this was like Apollo 13, a crisis no one saw coming, and one of untold danger and challenge. A suspense story, a mystery, a technological thriller: This is Joel Achenbach’s groundbreaking account of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and what came after. The tragic explosion on the huge drilling rig in April 2010 killed eleven men and triggered an environmental disaster. As a gusher of crude surged into the Gulf’s waters, BP engineers and government scientists—awkwardly teamed in Houston—raced to devise ways to plug the Macondo well. Achenbach, a veteran reporter for The Washington Post and acclaimed science writer for National Geographic, moves beyond the blame game to tell the gripping story of what it was like, behind the scenes, moment by moment, in the struggle to kill Macondo. Here are the controversies, the miscalculations, the frustrations, and ultimately the technical triumphs of men and women who worked out of sight and around the clock for months to find a way to plug the well. The Deepwater Horizon disaster was an environmental 9/11. The government did not have the means to solve the problem; only the private sector had the tools, and it didn’t have the right ones as the country became haunted by Macondo’s black plume, which was omnipresent on TV and the Internet. Remotely operated vehicles, the spaceships of the deep, had to perform the challenging technical ma-neuvers on the seafloor. Engineers choreographed this robotic ballet and crammed years of innovation into a single summer. As he describes the drama in Houston, Achenbach probes the government investigation into what went wrong in the deep sea. This was a confounding mystery, an engineering whodunit. The lessons of this tragedy can be applied broadly to all complex enterprises and should make us look more closely at the highly engineered society that surrounds us. Achenbach has written a cautionary tale that doubles as a technological thriller.

A Sea in Flames

Author: Carl Safina
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0307887375
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Carl Safina has been hailed as one of the top 100 conservations of the 20th century (Audubon Magazine) and A Sea in Flames is his blistering account of the months-long manmade disaster that tormented a region and mesmerized the nation. Traveling across the Gulf to make sense of an ever-changing story and its often-nonsensical twists, Safina expertly deconstructs the series of calamitous misjudgments that caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout, zeroes in on BP’s misstatements, evasions, and denials, reassesses his own reaction to the government’s crisis handling, and reviews the consequences of the leak—and what he considers the real problems, which the press largely overlooked. Safina takes us deep inside the faulty thinking that caused the lethal explosion. We join him on aerial surveys across an oil-coated sea. We confront pelicans and other wildlife whose blue universe fades to black. Safina skewers the excuses and the silly jargon—like “junk shot” and “top kill”—that made the tragedy feel like a comedy of horrors—and highlighted Big Oil’s appalling lack of preparedness for an event that was inevitable. Based on extensive research and interviews with fishermen, coastal residents, biologists, and government officials, A Sea In Flames has some surprising answers on whether it was “Obama’s Katrina,” whether the Coast Guard was as inept in its response as BP was misleading, and whether this worst unintended release of oil in history was really America’s worst ecological disaster. Impassioned, moving, and even sharply funny, A Sea in Flames is ultimately an indictment of America’s main addiction. Safina writes: “In the end, this is a chronicle of a summer of pain—and hope. Hope that the full potential of this catastrophe would not materialize, hope that the harm done would heal faster than feared, and hope that even if we didn’t suffer the absolutely worst—we’d still learn the big lesson here. We may have gotten two out of three. That’s not good enough. Because: there’ll be a next time.” From the Hardcover edition.

Fire on the Horizon

Author: Tom Shroder
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062063022
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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"A phenomenal feat of journalism. . . . I tore through it like a novel but with the queasy knowledge that the whole damn thing is true." —Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and War Blending exclusive first-person interviews and penetrating investigative reporting, oil rig captain John Konrad and veteran Washington Post writer Tom Shroder give the definitive, white-knuckled account of the Deepwater Horizon explosion—as well as a riveting insider’s view of the byzantine culture of offshore drilling that made the disaster inevitable. As the world continues to cope with the oil spill’s grim aftermath—with environmental and economic consequences all the more dire in a region still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina—Konrad and Schroder’s real-time account of the disaster shows us just where things went wrong, and points the way to a safer future for us all.

Disaster on the Horizon

Author: Bob Cavnar
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603583173
Format: PDF, ePub
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Disaster on the Horizon is a behind-the-scenes investigative look at the worst oil well accident in US history, which led to the current environmental and economic catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Cavnar uses his 30 years in the business to take readers inside the disaster, exposing the decisions leading up to the blowout and the immediate aftermath. It includes personal accounts of the survivors, assembled from testimony during various investigations, as well as personal interviews with survivors, witnesses, and family. It also provides a layman's look at the industry, its technology, people, and risks. It deconstructs events and decisions made by BP, Transocean, and the US Government before and after the disaster, and the effects of those decisions, both good and bad. Cavnar explains what happened in the Gulf, explores how we arrived at deep water drilling in the first place and then charts a course for how to avoid these disasters in the future.

Death and Oil

Author: Bradford Matsen
Publisher: Pantheon
ISBN: 0307378810
Format: PDF, Docs
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Documents the events of the 1988 oil rig disaster on the North Sea, drawing on interviews with survivors and family members, the Occidental Petroleum company and rescue workers to trace the gas leak that triggered the explosion and the devastation it continues to inflict. By the author of Jacques Cousteau.

Fire in the Night

Author: Stephen McGinty
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 0230738877
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The fire was visible seventy miles away as a distant, flickering flame on the horizon. The heat generated was so intense that a helicopter could only circle at a perimeter of one mile. Flying at a height of 200 feet, the air crew saw that the tongues of flame extended high above the rotor blades. On the surface a converted fishing trawler inched as close as possible, but the paint on the vessel's hull blistered and burnt, and the rope handrails began to smoke. In the water surrounding the inferno, men's heads could be seen bobbing like apples as their yellow hard hats melted with the heat. At the centre stood, at least for now, the Piper Alpha oil platform, 110 miles northeast of Aberdeen, once the world's single largest oil producer. On 6 July 1988, its final day, it was ablaze with 226 men onboard. Only sixty-one would survive. Fire in the Night tells, for the first time and in gripping detail, the devastating story of that summer evening. Combining interviews with survivors, witness statements and transcripts from the official enquiry into the disaster, this is the moving and vivid tale of what happened on that fateful night inside an oil rig inferno.

In Too Deep

Author: Stanley Reed
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118023211
Format: PDF, ePub
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The truth behind the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history In 2005, fifteen workers were killed when BP's Texas City Refinery exploded. In 2006, corroded pipes owned by BP led to an oil spill in Alaska. Now, in 2010, eleven men drilling for BP were killed in the blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. What's next? In In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race That Took it Down, Stanley Reed?a journalist who has covered BP for over a decade?and investigative reporter Alison Fitzgerald answer not only that question, but also examine why these disasters happen to BP so much more than other large oil companies. Places the blame on a corporate culture created by former BP CEO John Browne who was forced to resign in 2007 after he lied in court documents in a case involving his gay lover Details a BP built on risk-taking and cost-cutting Examines the past, present, and future of BP In August 2010, BP successfully "killed" the company's damaged deepwater well. But, the environmental fallout and public relations campaign to rebuild the brand are just beginning. In Too Deep details why BP, why now, and what's next for this oil giant.

Captured by Aliens

Author: Joel Achenbach
Publisher: Citadel Press
ISBN: 9780806524962
Format: PDF, Docs
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An examination of both sides of the extraterrestrial debate places it into the context of the space program, discoveries in astronomy, and the human quest for meaning, discussing the contributions of numerous scientists, ufologists, and spiritualists. Reprint.

The Grand Idea

Author: Joel Achenbach
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9780684848570
Format: PDF
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The war had been won. Now what? This was the pressing political question for the United States in 1784, and a consuming one for George Washington. He had laid down his sword and returned home to Mount Vernon after eight and a half years as commander of the Continental Army. He vowed that he had retired forever, that he would be a farmer on the bank of the Potomac River, under his own "vine and fig tree." But history was not done with him, and he was not done with history. Within a year, as Joel Achenbach relates in this stunning narrative, Washington saddled up and rode away on one of the most daring journeys of his rich and adventurous life: a trek across the Appalachian mountains to the frontier, where he would inspect his long-neglected western property and try to collect rent. The Grand Idea is the story of Washington's ambitions for the brand-new republic that he had fought so hard to create. His western journey culminates in a breathtaking scheme: Washington, with the help of Thomas Jefferson, will transform the Potomac River into a commercial artery that will link the new West to the old East. Worried that the newborn country was so fragmented that it might literally split into two separate and rival nations, he uses the skills he learned as a young backwoods surveyor to come up with his river plan. The future of the Union, Washington believes, depends on the Potomac route to the West, which will bind the country to one enterprise. Achenbach's sympathetic and wry portrait of General Washington is not the stiff figure of official portraits, but that of a bold man who plunges into uncharted forest and sleeps in a downpour with only his cloak for shelter. He is an inventor, entrepreneur, and land speculator. He loves the West. This Washington is someone who understands that the fledgling republic clinging to the Atlantic seaboard will become a great and booming nation. Achenbach tracks Washington's river plan from the choosing of the site for the national capital, which led to his being elected as the first president, to its link, decades after his death, to various grandiose plans for a canal that would run hundreds of miles. Ultimately the dream of a Potomac route to the West is abandoned. The nation splits not East and West but North and South, and the river becomes a boundary between warring sides in the Civil War. Like such classics as Undaunted Courage and Founding Brothers, Achenbach's The Grand Idea is a large narrative of a great man and his grand plan that captures the uncertainties and conflicts of the new country, the passions of an ambitious people, and the seemingly endless beauty of the American landscape.