COOKING WITH POT. This is hilarious, and makes perfect sense. The phrase haute cuisine ("high cooking") has taken on a whole new meaning with the revelation that some chefs smoke marijuana after hours. There is no indication that pot appears as an ingredient for diners' consumption, or that chefs are stoned while at work. They could hardly afford to be, given the intense need to focus on the tasks as hand. Rather, the herb is relaxing after a hard shift, and also may influence which creative dishes are chosen to prepare. I'd like to visit one of the restaurants in question .... for scientific purposes only, of course.
OUT OF THE LOOP. From today's NYTimes: "Tensions between the Obama administration and the scientific community over the gulf oil spill are escalating, with prominent oceanographers accusing the government of failing to conduct an adequate scientific analysis of the damage and of allowing BP to obscure the spill's true scope." While I would not go so far as to compare the administration's apparent disengagement to that shown by the Bush administration following Hurricane Katrina, nevertheless I am perplexed over the very issues which the scientific community is raising. It has been one month since the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, and then sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The ragtag response has been surreal, something akin to watching an old Keystone Cops movie. President Obama has been content to let BP remedy the situation, sending in Coast Guard and NOAA vessels to assist, but never (yet) launching a full-scale scientific investigation into the cause of the disaster, nor into the effects of the oil slicks on the surface and at multiple depths on marine and shore life.
Now comes the stomach-clenching (and predictable) news that a portion of the surface oil slick has entered the Gulf's Loop Current (see image above), a clockwise-flowing gyre whose eventual path travels eastward between Florida and Cuba, thence northward up the east Florida coast. At the same time, another region of the oil slick has entered vital coastal wetlands, a sanctuary for wildlife and for part of Louisiana's fisheries industry. Here is a link to an interactive map showing the position and extent of the oil slick, updated daily.
The entire debacle is ongoing, and we won't understand its full proportions for weeks to come. What saddens and infuriates me is that it was entirely preventable. Taking safety and procedural shortcuts by all three corporate entities involved (BP, Transocean and Halliburton) was not only financially and ethically reckless, it was illegal. Heads must roll !!