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BP Loses Laptop Containing 13,000 Oil Spill Claimants’ Personal Info

First the oil leak, now the data dump. British Petroleum disclosed to the press yesterday that one of its employees had lost a laptop containing the personal information on approximately 13,000 people who had filed claims related to last year's disastrous Deepwater Horizon leak. According to CNN, the laptop contained "names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for those who filed claims related to last year's Deepwater Horizon spill." While the laptop was password-protected and capable of being remotely disabled, the data was not encrypted. BP says that the data was lost by an employee during "routine business travel," and that "there is no evidence that the laptop or data was targeted, or that anyone's personal data has in fact been compromised or accessed in any way." BP has offered to pay for credit-monitoring services for the 13,000 people whose personal data was lost, although according to an AP report, some claimants have not yet received the letters BP sent out notifying them of the data breach. (via CNN, WSJ, NPR)

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Aquaman Has Been Pissed About Offshore Oil Drilling Since 2004 [Video]

We've heard a lot from Aquaman in the months since the beginning of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, whether it's an anonymous internet photoshop, or the artwork of Kate Beaton (but nothing from the Sub-Mariner, hmm).

However, (as I realized in a moment of contextual horror while watching my Justice League Unlimited dvds on the train yesterday morning) he's known about the dangers of oil rig destruction for six years now. Or, at least, J. M. DeMatteis, writer of the Justice League Unlimited episode Ultimatum has.

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BP Puts Photoshopped Picture of Crisis Command Center on Main Website

Until late yesterday, the above picture was posted here on BP's website. But as you can now see if you click the link, the image of the crisis center is different in a major way: some of the screens are blank. It turns out that the above photo is just Photoshopped (poorly; see below) such that it looks like all the screens are active. Of all the things BP has done this year, this certainly isn't the most egregious, but it shows that they may be putting some focus on company image that should be put on solving the problem permanently. Also, they really suck at Photoshop.

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BP Says Cap is Containing All Oil So Far

So far, it sounds like the cap is working. According to BP, their latest attempt to stop the oil gushing from their offshore rig and into the Gulf of Mexico is currently containing the leak, and that for the first time since April, no oil is escaping the well.

This isn't a permanent fix:

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No Joke: BP Endorsed an Offshore Drilling Board Game in the ’70s, Complete with Spills

Back in the '70s, BP teamed up with a company called Printabox to bring us BP Offshore Oil Strike, an "exciting board game for all the family" which concerns drilling the North Atlantic for oil until it's dry and pitting a BP surrogate called "Hull" against its oil rivals "Bergen," "Rotterdam," and "Dieppe," which stand in for Amoco, Chevron, and Mobil, respectively. First player to $120 million wins! But "exploring for oil, building platforms, and laying pipelines to bring the offshore oil back to the player's home company" isn't all fun and games: There are also risks like storms, which can hurt the productivity of your offshore operations, and, more presciently, catastrophic oil spills, which cost the player a small token amount of money to clean up and thereafter forget about. More board game pics below:

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New Satellite Picture of the Gulf Oil Disaster: It’s Even Worse Now

Way back in April, we posted some then-alarming satellite photos of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, we wrote that it was geting worse, and fast; we had no idea what was in store, though. This latest picture from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite paints a much grimmer picture of the devastation wrought by the oil in the two months since it started leaking. Meanwhile, in a week jammed with political posturing, BP has had little to say about actual progress in containing the spill. (Bad Astronomy via TDW)

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Joe Barton Would Like to Apologize

Earlier today, Republican Congressman Joe Barton apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called a "$20 billion shakedown" on the government's part with respect to BP in the wake of the oil disaster in the Gulf Coast; thereafter, Barton 'apologized' for his apology, saying his words had been subject to "misconstruction."

Tech journalist and Internet provocateur Mathew Honan has put together a handy site in which you can read Barton's 'apologies' to such misunderstood figures as King George III, the Confederacy, tobacco companies ("for the off-putting warning labels"), Kim Jong-Il, and (low blow?) AT&T.

(Boing Boing via TDW)

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BP Gets Twitter to Put the Pressure on @BPGlobalPR, Label More Clearly as ‘Satire’

On BP's request, Twitter has enforced its policy on parody/impersonation, requiring that satirical @BPGlobalPR clearly mention that it is not the real BP on it's Twitter page.  The not-even-a-month old parody account, which has twelve times the followers of the official BP_America, has changed its bio from
This page exists to get BP's message and mission statement out into the Twitterverse.
We are not associated with Beyond Petroleum [sic], the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 51 days.
Two weeks ago, BP seemed to have a far different attitude toward the upstart feed:

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@BPGlobalPR Guerilla Tweeter Leroy Stick Speaks: Reveals Method, Activism behind Madness

Last night, a person who identified him or herself as "Leroy Stick" took responsibility for the fake @BPGlobalPR Twitter account, whose satirical stabs at BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak have earned widespread media attention and more than 100,000 followers. While "Leroy Stick" is still a pseudonym -- the writer explains its meaning in a long, folksy anecdote about a stick for beating away a mean mutt named Leroy -- the essay provides a revealing, largely serious look at a surprisingly resonant humorous attempt to deal with a global crisis.

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Top Kill Has Blocked the Oil Leak: U.S. Coast Guard

The "Top Kill" effort to plug the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has successfully stopped the flow of oil and gas, a U.S. Coast Guard admiral told the LA Times this morning.

It's not a sure thing yet -- BP's chief operating officer for exploration and production told the New York Times that "it would be a day or more before it was clear whether the top kill had worked," and neither the government nor BP has made an official declaration -- but it sounds encouraging.

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BP’s Morbid “Three Little Piggies” Memo

As if BP needed any more bad press: The Daily Beast has obtained a jaw-dropping internal memo from the oil giant that effectively prices the lives of its workers using a "Three Little Piggies" analogy. The gist of it is that while it's worth it to build a more wolf-resistant, less vulnerable house for a little piggy up to a point, it ceases to be worth doing when the 'house' gets too expensive.

The document -- which is several old -- gives credence to the claims of BP critics who charge that the company values cost-savings over safety. The lawyer who released the memo claims that BP's Risk Management office at the time valued the lives of its workers at $10 million apiece.

In 2005, 15 workers were killed and 170 people injured when a BP refinery exploded, and the 'blast resistant' language of the document becomes considerably less cutesy when you consider that BP allegedly killed the option of housing workers in blast-resistant buildings which might have saved their lives because they thought the buildings were too expensive. More recently, a $500,000 safety valve, had it been in place, could have prevented the devastation of the Gulf oil spill.

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BP Oil Spill: Cake Edition

One Breaux Mart grocery store in Louisiana was spotted carrying this darkly comedic political statement of a cake. (This has got to be the only time anyone has ever written "darkly comedic political statement of a cake." --Ed.) Bearing a sign that reads "Thank You BP!" it depicts dark, shiny oil-frosting encroaching upon shiny blue water-frosting at the shore of the grass-frostinged plain, while clouds of Oreo, whipped cream, and cherry look helplessly on.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak Ten Times Worse than Previously Thought

Yet more bad news about the Deepwater Horizon oil leak: The amount of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico is more than ten times greater than previously thought, according to a recent analysis.

Recently, BP succumbed to mounting pressure to release their underwater video of the leak so outside experts could use it to make estimates. NPR took them up on it: they assembled a group of experts to analyze the video. Their conclusion? The oil leak is already far worse than the Exxon Valdez: Whereas the official estimate pegs the BP leak at 5,000 barrels a day, NPR's analysis concludes that 70,000 barrels have been leaking each day, plus or minus 20 percent.

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How Much Oil Are We Losing in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

It's a well-documented point of modern psychology that people tend to have a hard time wrapping their heads around very large numbers -- for instance, really knowing what a million means versus a billion -- and the vastness of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill tests our comprehension. What, for instance, does it mean that 2500 square miles of ocean surface are currently covered with oil, or that under the worst case scenario, we'll lose 1.8 million barrels? In short, how much oil are we losing, in terms we can understand? Two people have given us tools to help visualize these vast amounts. Google engineer Paul Rademacher, who started the Google Earth browser plug-in and currently works as a Google Maps engineering manager, has harnessed the power of Google Maps to illustrate how much oil was lost in terms of familiar cities: In the graphic above, you can see the DC metropolitan area, and other overlays include New York, San Francisco, and London. You can check out his map tool here. Information is Beautiful's David McCandless has given us another, after the jump, which further underscores what the oil loss means in terms of the world's oil consumption and our remaining oil reserves.

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Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico May Be Five Times Worse than Thought [Satellite Pictures]

The oil spill that, for more than a week now, has been growing in the Gulf of Mexico is getting worse and five times faster than originally estimated. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is now saying, after closer investigation, that the spill that started with the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig is leaking oil at a rate of 5000 barrels per day, versus the original estimate of 1000 barrels a day. While that doesn't put the spill on the scale of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, it has already reached and exceeded the size of Rhode Island. That's not some past oil spill that happened in Rhode Island, mind you; that's the actual U.S. state.

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