petroleum

Is Baby Oil Actually Good for the Skin?

Oils have gained quite a bit of attention over the past few years due to their tremendous benefits for the skin and their ability to hydrate & cleanse. However, some oils are better than others, case in point? Baby Oil.

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Toxic Waste in the Windy City

Last fall, black dust began to blow through residential neighborhoods on the southeast side of Chicago. Only it wasn’t really dust; it was a fine black residue that clung to everything it touched, including noses and throats. Residents eventually learned that it was an oil byproduct called petroleum coke — petcoke for short — and it was being stored in massive uncovered piles at facilities owned by the Koch brothers. VICE News’s Danny Gold traveled to Chicago to see what happens when clouds of toxic oil dust blow through the Windy City.

New Material Could Help Clean Up Oil Spills

by Marcus Woo, Inside Science

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago today, killing 11 people. The leak that followed spilled millions of barrels of oil, creating one of the worst environmental disasters ever.

Despite renewed safety efforts, disastrous accidents will almost surely happen again.

During the Deepwater Horizon disaster, cleanup workers used a number of methods to reduce the spill’s impact, including boats that skim the oil off the gulf’s surface, chemicals that disperse the oil, oil-absorbing pom-poms, and even burning. Now, researchers have developed a new potential tool: a high-tech coated mesh that separates oil from water with the ease of a sieve.

“There’s only so much oil you can absorb,” said materials scientist Bharat Bhushan of The Ohio State University. “What we try to do is rather than absorb it, we try to separate the two.”  

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Vladimir Putin loves to talk nostalgically about the might of the former Soviet Union-and in annexing Crimea, he has taken a dramatic step toward re-creating it. But Russia’s strongman hasn’t read his history: In truth, the might of the Brezhnev-era USSR was built on high oil and gas prices.

When those prices began to fall in the 1980s—with more than a little help from Ronald Reagan’s White House—Soviet power crumbled with it. Now, a generation later, Western politicians are remembering that energy can be used as a geopolitical weapon.

Putin, it seems, is not the only leader who can play the game of History Repeating. “Putin looks strong now, but his Kremlin is built on the one thing in Russia he doesn’t control: the price of oil,” says Ben Judah, author of Fragile Empire, a study of Putin’s Russia. “Eventually, the money is going to run out, and then he will find himself in the same position Soviet leaders were in by the late 1980s, forced to confront political and economic crises while trying to hold the country together.”

Energy is a potent weapon for the West in the new Cold War against Vladimir Putin-just as it was the last time around. President Barack Obama has already made the first move, announcing last week that he would speed up plans to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Asian and European markets.

He’s also removed 1970s restrictions on exporting U.S. crude oil, goaded by accusations by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner that the White House’s prevarication on oil and gas export licenses was helping Putin “to finance his geopolitical goals.”

And he’s sold off 5 million barrels of the U.S.’s 727-million-barrel-strong strategic reserve, depressing prices, as a “test release.” (Putin too has played the energy card: On April 1, Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom announced a more than 40 percent price hike for natural gas to Ukraine.)

As in the Cold War, Russia Is Vulnerable on Energy - Newsweek

Center for Biodiversity:

DON’T LET BIG OIL DRILL BIG CYPRESS!

Big Cypress National Preserve plays a critical role in the health of the Everglades and Florida’s coastal estuaries, and it’s home to a stunning array of imperiled wildlife, from alligators and eastern indigo snakes to caracaras and panthers.

A newly proposed project from a Texas oil company, however, threatens to irreversibly alter the character of the protected area and turn essential habitat into just another oil field crisscrossed with roads and dotted with drill pads. The company has asked for permission to begin seismic surveying – which itself will require the removal of trees and destruction of habitat on 70,000 acres.

Limited drilling is already permitted in the preserve, but this project is unprecedented in its scale and must be stopped. If oil and gas is found, all risks will mushroom.

Take action below – tell the Park Service you do not support widespread drilling in the preserve. And, if you can, personalize your note – tell the agency what you value about this wild and natural area, even if it’s somewhere you haven’t yet visited.

(GO HERE TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD)