Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Safety Procedures for Oil Rigs

With today's release of BP's explanation for the oil rig disaster, a lot of finger pointing is going on.  This isn't a shock by any stretch of the imagination. We all expected as much. BP says the tragedy was the result of many mistakes by several companies. Of course, they blame themselves the least.  This actually isn't the reason I'm posting. I'm not outraged by BP's press release. I expected them to say something along those lines.

 I'm more interested in the new safety procedures that will come from the investigations on whose fault the disaster was. President Obama has his own commission that will investigate the causes of the explosion, fire and pollution. The commission will then recommend safety products that will prevent this from ever happening again.  This got me thinking about what the new procedures would be.  The first thing to come to my mind was nuclear reactors. They have safety protocols on top of safety protocols.  They have a button that anyone in the facility can anonymously press at anytime they feel that proper procedures aren't being followed. The EPA then shows up lickety-split

 After all, with all of the problems that oil rigs have, and the fact that they can incinerate 11 people in an instant goes to show how much they need something like that. I'm pretty sure that if I could be vaporized at my job, I would demand a way to tattle to a government agency so they could swoop in and save my life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More American Hubris

There's really no way around it at this point. Anyone who doesn't believe in biological evolution is stupid. We've all had plenty of time to read up on the evidence, and really, only a cursory investigation is required to determine the truth of evolutionary theory. Despite its acceptance throughout the scientific community, it is still widely rejected in the United States. But it is so obviously true, proven beyond the point of contention, that even disagreeing with it proves stupidity, or at the least, proves an unreasonable desire to be willfully delusional. In Europe there is no grand debate over the legitimacy of something that has been proven. So why here, in America?

I posted a blog about the American Ego when speaking about philanthropy. Other countries are quick to point out our hubris at any convenience. There is no point in denying our ego. We have one. I'm guilty of showing too much pride from time to time. I still maintain that our egos have nothing on the French, but we do have an ingrained superiority complex. I first noticed it as a real problem when Oxford put out their yearly study on quality of life around the world. America was listed first above England for the last 100 years. In 2008, for the first time in a century, England topped America after our financial meltdown. Then, with ferocious rapidity, Americans simultaneously decried the study as farcical, nonsense, fraudulent, inaccurate and bullshit, a study that we were perfectly content believing for more than a long as we were winning. For the first time I considered Americans as petty whiners. Bad sports. Jerks.

Americans seem incapable of humility in the face of superiority. Sometimes this comes through in the most delightful ways as we truly do have contempt for the odds. Sometimes carelessly, but with bravado. You can see how that could be good or bad.

This superiority that is ingrained in us does not just apply to nationality. It occurs in political parties, as with the Democrats in the 2000 Presidential election. Democrats knew how the election worked, but never threw a hissy fit until their guy lost the election while winning the popular vote. All of the sudden, Bush "stole" the election. Which is not true.

Apparently it applies to species as well. Americans are incapable of being brought down to an animal level. We're not monkeys! so It must be a flawed theory, Americans cry.  On the whole, we cannot bring ourselves to believe that we were not always BADASSES at the top of the food chain.  Or moreover, that at some point, the world existed perfectly well without us.

That's my theory anyway, and unlike the theory of evolution, you can disagree with it without being a total moron.

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