August 27th, 2014
During the height of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy four years ago, I had my graduate students monitor the flow of oil from the sunken platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of their work involved rather straightforward calculations based on undersea camera footage.
But from time to time, flimsy protoplasmic-like structures would float across the screen. The students called them “ghosts.”
One student even casually wondered, “What if the ghosts had caused all of this?”
With that, I walked over, checked some figures, and immediately called the U.S. Coast Guard contingent that was overseeing the data from the disaster.
Fast forward to today, and there have been some equally disquieting discoveries in the news of late.
So what do mysterious holes in the Siberian permafrost, hundreds of gas plumes off the East Coast, and our “ghosts” apparently have in common?
It seems to be icy methane hydrates, touted by some as the fuel of the future…
August 22nd, 2014
A century ago, the opening of the Panama Canal changed the face of global trade.
By joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, ships from the East Coast no longer had to make the treacherous 8,000-mile trip around Cape Horn to reach the markets in Asia or on the West Coast.
Now, 100 years later, the 50-mile long canal is about to do it all over again.
Under a $5.3 billion expansion, the canal is getting a makeover that will allow it to accommodate ships as long as three football fields, with the capacity to carry almost three times the amount of cargo.
Once completed, the “new” canal will help jump start U.S. energy exports to Asian countries that are starving for them.
In fact, it’s just one of two major catalysts that will catapult the U.S. into one of the world’s biggest energy exporters…