June 9th, 2010
07:50 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Kevin Costner

The star of such movies as "Field of Dreams" and "Waterworld" is scheduled to testify Thursday at a House Committee on Science and Technology hearing on solutions to the Gulf oil disaster.

The Hill reports that Costner has invested some $26 million into his Ocean Therapy Solutions device, which uses centrifugal force to separate oil from water. According to The Hill, last month BP approved the machine for testing.

The actor and activist visited New Orleans, Louisiana, in May. WDSU-TV reports that he demonstrated the oil extraction device, which Ocean Therapy officials say will clean up the water to 97 percent.

"I just am really happy that this has come to the light of day," Costner said. "I'm very sad about why it is, but this is why it was developed, and like anything that we all face as a group, we face it together."

The Hill: Kevin Costner to testify on oil spill clean-up effort

CNN video: Kevin Costner demos oil extracting device

WDSU: Kevin Costner helps fight oil spill

Dr. Steve Ramee and Dr. Kamran Khoobehi

Stopping the oil leak in the Gulf may require the U.S. to draw upon unexpected ingenuity and experience.

"It looks like the ocean floor is bleeding, and we know how to stop bleeding," said Ramee, cardiology chief at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

WWL-TV reports that Ramee and Khoobehi, a surgeon at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, believe the concept used to stop bleeding - going against the blood pressure in an artery - can be used to stop the gushing oil.

Khoobehi describes his device as a circular wedge that begins small and gets larger, supported by a heavy concrete plug. As the pressure builds, the weight of the concrete block would counteract the pressure of the leak. Both doctors told the TV station that they have tried to get their concepts to government officials, oil support companies, and BP itself, but have not heard back from anyone.

WWLTV: Surgeons say they have a plan to patch oil leak

CNN: Complete coverage of Gulf Coast oil disaster

Alvin Greene

An unemployed, 32-year-old African-American Army veteran won the Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina and will now run against Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.

Mother Jones magazine reports that Greene says he paid the $10,400 filing fee and other campaign expenses from his own pocket. He ran without signs or a website. He still lives in his family home and has had no job for the past nine months.

According to the magazine, Greene's unexpected campaign raised speculation by local media that he might have been a Republican plant. He denies that.

"No, no - no one approached me. This is my decision," he said.

Greene says the idea to run came to him in 2008 when he was serving in Korea.

"I just saw the country was in bad shape two years ago ... the country was declining," he says. "I wanted to make sure we continue to go up on the right track."

Mother Jones: Who is Alvin Greene?

CNN: Battle lines drawn in Tuesday's primaries

Mandi Schwartz

The Yale University women's hockey team senior center is suffering from leukemia and has approximately 30 days remaining to find a bone marrow donor. Schwartz was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December 2008.

Yalebulldogs.com reports that earlier this year, after five rounds of treatment and being declared in remission, Schwartz returned to Yale for the spring semester. In April she learned her cancer had returned and she would need to undergo more chemotherapy.

Now that Schwartz is in need of a transplant, the Yale athletic department is helping her doctor to spearhead a worldwide effort to find her a donor.

Social media have played a role in the drive to find a donor. The Facebook group "Become Mandi's Hero" enlisted 1000 fans in a 24-hour period.

On Monday, Schwartz received a call from former Olympic skater Dan Jansen - whose sister had leukemia - to offer his support.

Yale Bulldogs: Mandi Schwartz and 'Become Mandi's hero'

Jack Mallard and Mary Welcome

One was a veteran prosecutor nicknamed "Blood," the other was a young defense attorney in her first murder trial.

When defense lawyer Mary Welcome told Wayne Williams, the suspect in the Atlanta child murders, that he had a right to be indignant on the witness stand, Williams blew up at prosecutor Jack Mallard the next morning and, among other things, barked, "You must be a fool."

Mallard used Williams' own words against him to tell the jury he was "a Jekyll and Hyde."

Thirty years later, Williams says, "I was my own worst enemy."

One state Supreme Court justice would later call the defense incompetent and ineffective. Mary Welcome said the defense had neither the time nor the money to defend the case properly.

Williams was convicted and is serving two life sentences. Mallard, Welcome Williams appear in Soledad O'Brien's CNN documentary this week investigating "The Atlanta Child Murders."

CNN: The Atlanta Child Murders

A prosecutor called 'Blood'

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. robin melton

    magnesium and copper alloy powder mix,also known as cadwelds in the electrical business would seal this well off in no time.it will ignite under water and melt the pipe together and seal it for good.i estimate the amount of powder to be about a five hundred gallon tank full.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • PA-Pilot

      BP doesn't want to seal the well. They want to get oil from it. They can't get rich off of selling the oil if they seal the well. The goal of the "relief" well is to plug the existing well, then use the relief well to harvest the oil.

      They could have sealed the well on day-1 if they really wanted to... their entire effort has focused on capturing the oil, not sealing the well. They pumped some mud down there as a PR stunt, but the intent was never to plug the hole.

      June 9, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • IRAhitman

      Cadweld is not an option. It will ignite under water, but it burns too hot. If ignited, it will rupture the well by igniting the oil itself at a temperature that would likely be explosive. The nearly certain explosion would rupture pipe below the surface. You think we've got problems now... In other words, we'd have a bigger hole!

      June 9, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pop

    Alyn... there you go! fieldgrass, wood chips, anything to help collect the oil.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. BusyPerson

    I heard about this a month ago. If they had started right away, maybe the oil wouldn't of destroyed so much coast line.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bozo

    Will it work in Washington?

    June 9, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • IRAhitman

      Nothing sucks up congressmen except high-priced call girls.

      June 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Diane

    .. Thank you Kevin Costner... you would be a HERO if this works as you say in the ocean. I have seen you on the news with this machine and it looks great.. This just may be the answer we need for the plumes of oil deep in the ocean.. I will pray for this solution !!!!

    June 9, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    You good old boys don't get it. The reason the Federal govt is not getting deeply involed in the clean up is the plan to take over all the oil operations in the gulf. First they are going to tax all the oil companies who drill for offshore oil then they will take them over. Next they will subcontract the offshore oil platforms back to the same people who are now drilling, but the Federal govt will skim money off the top first to line their pockets, once again operating like a criminal to which they really are.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Sorry man, they were all out of the tinfoil you asked for at the grocery store down the street. I had to go clear across town to get enough to make you another hat. Here you go!

      June 9, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      LMAO, No I think he put his tin hat on just a little too tight – or on the wrong head

      June 9, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • IRAhitman

      Wow! Someone's been reading too much James Patterson...

      June 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. James

    If it works, perhaps he can be forgiven for Water World.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. bailoutsos

    http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=64897 -- Article from June 2008 about Republicans doing everything they could to force Democrats to lift drilling moratorium.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      We've got to start somewhere!!! The next step would to be relieve even more risks of collecting oil by allowing oil drilling MUCH closer to shore where it is much easier to operate!!! Unfortunately, we now see the the difficult position we put the oil companies in.

      June 9, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. jvsclark

    Wow. Do the math. 600,000 gallons of oil per day. Mixed with water at a 10-1 ratio (conservative). The biggest machine filters 5 gallons of oil/water / minute. 5*60*24 = 7200 gallons. 7200 / 6,000,000 = .001. Like John R says, there are commercial units you can actually buy that do 5000 gallons/minute. If you're going to use anything, use those and not these movie star prototypes that have never actually been used in practice. Kevin talks about increasing effectiveness from 97% to 100%. You need flow rate, not higher purity.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • theevilchemist

      You're math is a little off. One of the company's investors say their largest machine filters 200/min which is 200gal/min x 60min/hour x 24hours = 288,000gal/day, which based on you estimate of a 10:1 ratio is 28,800gal oil/day or 4.8% of the daily well output from a single machine. (not counting the 0.97 filter factor)

      21 of these units would filter the entire days spillage. 45 of these units would filter 2 days worth of spillage in a day. It's not just flow, but scale. The biggest problem would be the displacement of the cleaned water so it doesn't get refiltered decreasing the efficiency.

      Placed strategically along the shore lines and near sensitive areas, these machines would filter as needed. The amount of oil that ultimately reaches shore/min is limited by mass transfer, that is, not all the oil spilling out of the well can reach the shore immediately, so this device is a viable tool in the cleanup process.

      June 9, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jvsclark

      Math is the same. I used the 5 g/min from the CNN story.
      Maybe CNN has it wrong. You would think that they would at least do the math and figure it out one way or the other.
      No matter what, as you say, figuring out how to continually suck in water with a high concentraition of oil will be (one of ) the biggest problems with any device they use. I just think they should look at currently available high volume commercial devices, not some prototype that's never been used.

      June 9, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • IRAhitman

      Who cares if its a "movie star prototype" or a commercial unit? BP should be buying ALL of them and using all of them. Why pick either? Use both!

      June 9, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. ron

    "if you build it he will come" good luck Kevin and thank you

    June 9, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. gums32

    Kevin you should of laid up on that 18th hole you could of won the tournament (Tin Cup).

    June 9, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joshua

    He heard the whispering; "If you build it..."

    June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    I thought I saw something that said when they took Costner machine to the spill it clogged. The demonstration I saw on CNN a month ago looked like very clean water with some oil stirred in. Something that works good when you just mix oil with water is not necessarily going to work in a real world situation. The oil from this spill turns into slimy sticky goop(very technical term) probably the worst thing for his machine would be tar balls. His machine assuming he can increase the flow rate will be good for purifying water after the majority of the oil is removed.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Todd

    The machine is a centrifuge, I believe it will also centrifuge and discard ALL the small organisms including plankton, which are the foundation of a most of marine life. It will centrifuge these organisms out even if they are in the water portion of the oil/water mix.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • IRAhitman

      Getting rid of Plankton will really make Spongebob mad...

      June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PA-Pilot

    The machine works for skimming a mixture of lightweight distillates and water from the surface, not for separating thick sludge and tar from deep water.

    June 9, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
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