Saturday, November 24, 2007

We Didn't Start The Fire

I'm still amazed -- almost everyday I've come across a new spill. Thursday there was a spill on Jones Beach. It human, right, that it makes more of a shudder closer to home. My dad grew up in Brooklyn, and his brother moved to Long Island and raised a family there. So the sound of Jones Beach immediately recalls for me my first cup of coffee -- my introduction to Billy Joel -- White Castle hamburgers -- and memory (or a photographically manufactured one) of Doug and Diane running around as little kids on Jones Beach.

Determined to get out of the spills, I started digging around for clean up.

For a few decades, researchers have been cultivating bacteria that literally eats up oil. It all started with Professor Eugene Rosenberg, a scientist at Tel Aviv University. Reportedly, the good professor went on a family vacation to a popular Mediterranean beach, only to find it dotted with globs of crude oil. "It's a disgrace," he said. "Let's clean up those beaches." Rosenberg said in a Time Magazine story in 1973. (Time -- link to follow)

This is a big deal in part, because in other clean up methods, oil is only extracted from sand and water, but isn't taken out of existence. The bacteria, on the other hand, eat it up, release carbon dioxides and water, die and become fish food. In 2006, Israel-based BioPetroClean, secured $3 million in funding from a ventures capitol firm in NY for just such operations -- hoping to lead the globe in this revolutionary clean up gorge.

"BioPetroClean built a two by two meter cement tank near its oil storage facilities in Ashkelon. Inside it, the company added the bacteria, suspended in a liquid medium, to hundreds of gallons of contaminated water. Within a few days, the murky water came out of the tank crystal clear." By Karin Kloosterman (an Israeli freelance journalist) April 08, 2007.

According to the Time story, the bacteria "conveniently die" after they've finished their oil feast.

It's a pretty amazing story -- but always isn't there a little fear -- breeding bacteria to do our bidding...

"We Didn't Start The Fire"
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez


Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo


Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say


Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodsto/ck/, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore


We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...,9171,907290-2,00.html

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