Tag Archives: bp

Scientists invent phone app that accurately monitors blood pressure

Researchers developed new hardware and a smartphone app that can measure blood pressure (BP) as accurately as existing cuff devices.

Via Pixabay/rawpixel

The team of scientists from Michigan State University (MSU) also found a new, more convenient, measurement point. Stanard measurement devices use the brachial artery as the conventional measurement point, but the team discovered that measuring BP on fingertip arteries was very easy and exact.

“We targeted a different artery, the transverse palmer arch artery at the fingertip, to give us better control of the measurement,” said Anand Chandrasekhar, PhD student at MSU. “We were excited when we validated this location. Being able to use your fingertip makes our approach much easier and more accessible,” said Chandrasekhar, lead author of the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

How does the app work?

The app uses two sensors: one is optical, and one is force. The optical sensor lies on top of the force sensor in a compact unit housed in a one centimeter-thick case attached to the back of the phone. Users turn on the app and press their fingertip against the sensor unit. With their finger on the unit, they keep the phone at heart level and watch the screen to ensure they are applying the correct amount of finger pressure.

“A key point was to see if users could properly apply the finger pressure over time, which lasts as long as an arm-cuff measurement,” said Ramakrishna Mukkamala, professor at MSU. “We were pleased to see that 90% of the people trying it were able to do it easily after just one or two practice tries.”

According to the WHO, raised blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths per year worldwide, about 12.8% of the total of all deaths. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and strokes. In addition, complications of raised blood pressure include heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, renal impairment, retinal hemorrhage and visual impairment. Treating systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure until they are less than 140/90 mmHg is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular complications.

The treatment usually requires both lifestyle changes and medication, and only 20 percent of people with hypertension have their condition under control. This new phone app gives patients an advantageous alternative — keeping a log of day by day estimations would deliver an exact BP average, with periodical estimation becoming obsolete, believes Mukkamala. In this way, medication dosage will be better adjusted to each individual.

I think this is great news for all of us. I remember thinking that the incorporated sensor that measures pulse and oxygen saturation found on the back of some smartphones might need new medical updates, including blood pressure measurement. Luckily, this day has come, and the future just became brighter.

BP to pay US government $20.8 billion fine for Gulf oil disaster

A federal judge has approved the $20.8 bn settlement for BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This fine will account for civil claims against the company set forth by the Department of Justice and five Gulf states. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch previously called the settlement “the largest with a single entity in American history.”

An oiled brown pelican near Grand Isle, Louisiana

In September 2014, a federal judge has called major oil company BP (British Petroleum) “reckless”, and oil services giants Transocean and Halliburton “negligent” following the major oil spill of 2010. The US District Judge Carl Barbier has ruled that BP’s “gross negligence” was responsible for the 11 lives which were lost and the 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal; 780,000 cubic meters).

It’s one of the largest environmental disasters in history, The spill area hosts 8,332 species, and several peer reviewed studies and governmental reports have shown that the environmental damage (both in short and the long run) is inestimable. However, when it comes to fines and lawsuits, everything has to be quantified, and this sum was deemed acceptable by both sides.

BP has reportedly already spent $28 billion on cleanup and compensation, but their measures were nowhere near as effective as predicted. If those figures seem absurdly high, then you need to understand the scale at which BP operates. The company has revenues on the order of hundreds of billions, while their net profit was generally around $10 billion – so the fine is basically their profit for a couple of years. The company reported a net loss of almost $8 billion in 2015, but this includes the cleaning money and a part of the fine. They had several years to prepare for this, and while other companies would have been completely dismantled by such a punishment, BP seems to be able to land on is feet.

Out of the settlement money, $5.5 billion will go toward penalties incurred under the Clean Water Act, most of the money will be given to five states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas — and 400 local government entities to cover damages from the spill.

BP fined $17.6 billion following 2010’s “reckless” oil spill

A federal judge has called major oil company BP (British Petroleum) “reckless”, and Transocean and Halliburton “negligent” following the major oil spill of 2010.

Image: kris krüg/Wikimedia Commons

The US District Judge Carl Barbier has ruled that BP’s “gross negligence” was the main culprit for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is considered to be the biggest marine disaster in history. The spill claimed 11 lives, resulting in a total discharge estimated at 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal; 780,000 cubic meters). BP declared the leak closed, but some reports indicate that it is still seeping. The spill area hosts 8,332 species, and several peer reviewed studies and governmental reports have shown that the environmental damage (both in short and the long run) is inestimable.

In 2012, BP accepted criminal responsibility for the spill, and were ordered to pay $4.5 billion, aside for the fine they’ve been ordered to pay now. Judge Barbier said:

 “BP’s conduct was reckless. Transocean’s conduct was negligent. Halliburton’s conduct was negligent.”

All the companies involved have to pay fines – the culpability was divided as follows: 67 percent for BP, 30 percent for Transocean, which is one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors, and 3 percent for Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil field services companies.

“This means that BP will finally be forced to pay what it owes to fix what it broke,” Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold told Cronin. “Is is a long-awaited step toward healing and recovery for the Gulf Coast, its birds and its people. BP said it was above the law; Judge Barbier said the law applies to everyone, even multinational giants.”

BP plans to appeal the decision, claiming that the decision “not supported by the evidence at trial”. The fine puts the company’s future in jeopardy – which is something that over $20 billion in fines should do. But then again – let’s put things into perspective – BP made (in profits) US$ 23.758 billion in 2013 alone – so all this huge fine does is strip the company of a yearly profit.

Just 90 companies are responsible for 60% of all man made global warming emissions – Exxon, Chevron and BP lead the way

The climate crisis we are facing right now (which for one reason or another many people choose to ignore) has largely been caused by only 90 companies – which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the industrial revolution, new research suggests. The study was found that almost all these companies worked in oil, gas or coal.

Climate change and private companies

Oil field owned by BP. Image via The Guardian.

This was the most ambitious effort to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.

“There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. “But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.”

To make the entire situation even more worrying, the study also concludes that half of all emissions were produced just in the last 25 years, well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that greenhouse emissions were directly correlated with global warming, and should have started doing something to prevent the situation we’re in today. So if anything, we’re emitting more and more in recent years.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that if things continue to move in this direction, the world stands within 30 years of exhausting its “carbon budget” – the amount of CO2 we can emit without warming the planet with 2 degrees Celsius. But what this study really does is show that the burden of fighting against this dramatic situation shouldn’t fall on governments alone – a big part of the blame is carried by privately held companies, so therefore, they should also start doing something, before it gets totally out of hand.

“This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming,” former vice-president explained. “Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution.”

90 companies to rule them all

bp chevron exxon

Image credits.

It’s quite surprising that out of the myriad of companies in the world that existed since the industrial revolution, 90 of them are responsible for 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide (914 gigatonne CO2) and methane between 1751 to 2010 – that’s an incredibly small number, that shows the huge scale that these companies are working at. Out of the 90, 83 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers – another industry that’s a major contributor to greenhouse emissions.

What’s interesting is that only 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom and Norway’s Statoil. Another 9 were government run industries – coal producing companies from China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland.

Cement producing facility. Image via NY Times.

But 50 companies, more than half, are private, investor owned. Names that may strike you as familiar, such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell, British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton unsurprisingly pop up on the list.

ChevronTexaco was the leading private held greenhouse emitter, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2% and BP at 2.5%. In between them, the 3 companies almost add up to 10% of all the greenhouse gases ever produced on Earth.

Furthermore, this research showed that we shouldn’t only blame it on the rich countries.

“It seemed like maybe this could break the logjam,” said Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard. “There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it’s not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor.”

Accountability? What accountability?

As bad as the general situation is, there are still many things that can be done – but everything has to start with companies becoming accountable (in a serious way) for their greenhouse emissions.

“What I think could be a game changer here is the potential for clearly fingerprinting the sources of those future emissions,” said Michael Mann, a contributor to the study. “It increases the accountability for fossil fuel burning. You can’t burn fossil fuels without the rest of the world knowing about it.”

Here’s an awesome, interactive pie chart from the Guardian depicting the findings from the study.

The research was published in the journal Climatic Change.

Scientific Reference: Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010. Richard Heede

BP and Halliburton point fingers at each other in the oil spill trial

British Petroleum (BP) accused Halliburton, one of the biggest oil service companies in the world, of destroying evidence which showed they did faulty cement work in the huge oil spill which took place last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

The accusation was launched during a BP court filing and it brought even more mystery and dirt into an already twisted trial, which is supposed to sort out the blame and damage done for the April 2010 oil spill blowout which occurred in April, last year.

Citing depositions and Halliburton’s own documents, BP seem to make a decent claim on this issue, claiming Halliburton “intentionally” destroyed the results of slurry testing for the well, in part to “eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial”. The accusation seems pretty valid, as the information is indeed missing, and Halliburton claims it is simply “gone”; weird how things appear and disappear in the world of major oil companies, isn’t it?

Oil Company will build the longest vessel ever

Well despite what you may think, the oil industry is doing better than ever. With a length of 468 meters, this giant will be exploiting the Prelude gas field, about 500 km away from Australia, relying on a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) plant. However, the vessel will be too far away from land to be connected to a pipeline, so Shell wants to use a liquid natural gas plant right on the ship.

“In simple terms, the facility can be compared to an island with a liquid natural gas plant on it,” says Shell’s Neil Gilmour.

Still, the second largest ship is only 10 meters shorter, but it will weigh so much more, and displace 600,000 tonnes of water. Mark Lambert of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in London says the job will be quite a challenge, but he has faith in the project.

“It’s feasible,” he says, “but they will have to be very careful about how it flexes along its length if fatigue cracking is to be avoided.”

Picture from NewScientist