I think making them pay the actual total cost of cleanup might be a better solution. By that I mean they must clean every grain of sand that oil touched, if this bankrupts them good.
Only higher oil costs will move us to better fuels.
Did I miss the part of the article where it says that they desalinate the water first? Wouldn't salt water rain be very bad for farming, fresh water fish, and contaminate reservoirs, streams, and lakes?
"That's real cute, linking to Google searches like that."
Whooo boy I got some news for you.
It is America's Taliban - go watch Jesus Camp and tell me otherwise.
And then when they do "cause distress" to a user who sues for massive damages, people like you are going to cry and whine about tort reform and frivolous lawsuits.
It's just more efficient to set up "best practices" in a sufficiently general way so that the standards can be met freely; welcome to reality. It's either this; the status quo; or a massive "coffee burn"-type lawsuit.
And I would argue that although the numbers have probably gone up for homicide on a world wide scale, there is far less nationalistic or religious conflict on the Earth today and the percentages of death related to that have dropped drastically since World War II.
True, but one can question whether that is because there is less nationalistic and religious feelings or because the world, as a whole, has been in a very stable economical growth ever since WWII. What brought along nazism and fascism was in large part the economic collapse of the Great Depression. Sure, the disputes and the dislikes were always there and decided who were the victims but it's the collapse that fuels the hatred and scapegoating.
Many people have talked of the possibility of a global economic collapse, not just merely a financial crisis like we have seen but entire countries going off on a debt deathspiral with hyperinflation, chaos and collapse dragging others with it. Eventually people may simply refuse to correct their economy and pay their debts, like there has been huge protests in Greece now against the budget cuts. Many other countries are not far behind.
If that comes to pass, I think you will see many old and new hatreds come alive again. I have heard more than enough slurs to know those feelings are far from dead, they're just slumbering because most people are content with the life they have. There's no coincidence that after the financial crisis with rising unemployment all over Europe the extreme right is gaining steam as well. The glossy surface is to shut down the borders and protect the jobs and lives of those already living there but it's quite clear who is wanted and not wanted.
A mere 65 years and counting is short, very short. Remember that for example the Romans had their Pax Romana, a peace that lasted over 200 years before decending into back into wars and chaos again. It's far too early to say that WWII was the "war to end all wars". That was what they said about WWI too, when they just called it "the Great War", before we decided to make a series out of it. The world is currently consuming vast amounts of fixed resources, not just oil but all sorts of deposits built up over millions of years and that'll be gone in decades or at least a century or two. What we see today may not last despite the progress of technology.
Many people (also porbably disproportionally highly represented on Slashdot) dedicated their lives to studying bodies and minds of different organisms present on our planet. They find those creatures curious despite having superior intelligence. Heck, many would make great sacrifices for the opportunity to study extraterrestrial lifeforms.
Not saying it must be the case for "aliens"...but considering they would be highly technologically advanced, they surely have some form of scientific curiosity.
And Earth might be valuable to life similar to us.
"...this is not the fault of an airline having mis-judged its margins but an unprecedented restriction on normal business. I think that there is a good case, in moral terms, for at least having the EU refund the costs brought on by passenger rights legislation."
I disagree 100%. Airspace has been closed before due to volcanic ash. It has been closed for extended periods for other events. Iceland is a volcanic island and the prevailing winds blow toward Europe. The airlines could have insured against this event.
The airlines chose not to prepare for a rare event and it bit them in the ass. They knew the rules of the game upfront. I see no reason to reward them for failure.
It wasn't an overreaction, but it was the wrong thing to do.
Banning all flights was simple and expedient, but it was a big sledgehammer solution. A more nuanced response would have involved looking at what routes were compromised and what routes might be safe, and introducing new routes if needed. In addition, regulators in Europe should have required any aircraft that flew to be subject to additional inspection and maintenance.
But no love lost for the airlines. I believe officials understood that given an inch the airlines would take a mile and before you can say "frequent flyer" an aircraft would have fallen out of the sky and the executives whining about losing money would have fallen all over themselves blaming the regulators for the tragedy.
I'm curious, do those planes normally fly at their max height and when flights resume do they also intend to do that? I just found it odd that they flew the plane as high as it was rated for during a test for damage in the atmosphere. Was this supposed to maximize the risk or reduce it and will they follow the same protocol once they begin flying again?
Who lost billions? Do you suppose the airlines gave back all the money they were paid for tickets? Even if they did, do you suppose all the people who were stranded decided to stay where they were and not fly home when flights started up again?
It's even possible the airlines made money. This time of year many flights might well go half full, but you can bet everything is stuffed to capacity catching up on the backlog.
One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.