Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Kevin Costner Solution" to Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster

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Kevin Coster at his CO Cabin Home
Kevin Costner says in an interview in Live magazine: "I've invested enormous amounts in technologies I thought would help the world.

"There's nothing to show for the millions I've invested. My God, most people would want to die if they lost $1,000 or $100,000. I've lost $40million plus.

"But I knew that if I was right it would change things in an incredibly positive way. Do I regret that? Yes. Has it changed my life one bit? No, because I haven't been moved by money."

Costner was first moved to action by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, where the tanker struck a reef and lost 11million gallons of oil off Alaska.

Horrified by the primitive methods used to battle spillages, he set up Costner Industries Nevada Incorporated with his brother Dan. They discovered a technology used in the nuclear industry to separate chemicals by centrifugal force and set about adapting it. But the project failed.

Next, he created a subsidiary to launch a battery with a flywheel that could store four times the energy of an ordinary one. The firm even had a contract to make them for NASA, but the deal lapsed.

Costner's movies, which also include box-office smashes The Bodyguard and Field Of Dreams, have grossed an estimated $1billion. But he has suffered bad luck in other ventures as well as his green projects.

Notably, he ploughed money into "Dunbar Resort" a South Dakota casino with a Dances With Wolves theme, but that plan also collapsed. However, Kevin remains philosophical. "I'm not the shrewdest businessman," he admits. "I'm more of a dreamer."

Now Kevin Costner has stepped forward to help with the Gulf oil spill caused by the April 20 explosion of the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

According to Billy Nungesser, president of Southern Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, Costner and his scientist/businessman brother Dan, will be in the region to demonstrate a device designed to separate oil and water. Records from the EPA indicate the Costner brothers have promoted an oil-water filtration system in the past through their company Costner Industries Nevada Corporation. Details regarding the device are expected to be revealed tomorrow.

“Sometimes it takes a star to come in with their money and time to make a difference,” Nungesser said at a press conference held by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Kevin Costner is also planning to donate an astounding $26 million toward the cleanup effort.

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The May 21, 2010 issue of the LA Times published the following article that was also picked up in the Seattle Times May 22, 2010:

A Kevin Costner oil fix?

The "Kevin Costner Solution" to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.

By Louis Sahagun
Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2010

Kevin Costner began project during "Waterworld."
Friday's developments

"Top-kill" approach: BP says it will likely be at least Tuesday before engineers can shoot heavy mud into the blown-out well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Three ultra-deepwater rigs and other equipment are at the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. They're preparing for a delicate procedure called a "top kill" that BP hopes will stop the flow of oil.

Beach closed: Officials in the island resort community of Grand Isle, south of New Orleans, closed the public beach because thick globs of oil the color and consistency of brownie mix were washing up.

Spill probe: The Obama administration picked former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Reilly to lead a seven-member presidential commission investigating the oil spill. Obama wants the panel to study the causes of the spill and issue a report within six months suggesting improvements.

The tube's impact: BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Friday that a milelong tube inserted into the leaking pipe on the seafloor is sucking about 92,400 gallons of oil a day to the surface, a figure much lower than the 210,000 gallons a day the company said the tube was sucking up Thursday. Suttles said the higher number is the most the tube has been sucking up at any one time, while the lower number is the average.

Oil flow: BP has conceded that more oil is leaking than its initial estimate of 210,000 gallons a day, and a government team is working to determine exactly how much is flowing. Even under the most conservative estimate, about 6 million gallons have leaked so far, more than half the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

Seattle Times news services

LOS ANGELES — The "Kevin Costner solution" to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.

Costner has invested 15 years and about $24 million in a novel way of sifting oil spills that he began working on while making his 1995 maritime film, "Waterworld," a post-apocalyptic epic that was plagued by problems and was a huge box-office flop.

Fifteen years later, BP and the Coast Guard plan to test six of his massive, stainless-steel centrifugal oil separators next week. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser welcomed the effort, even as he and Louisiana officials blasted the Army Corps of Engineers for delays in approving an emergency plan to build sand "islands" to protect the bayous of his parish.

"It certainly is an odd thing to see a 'Kevin Costner' and a 'centrifugal oil separator' together in a place like the Gulf of Mexico," said actor Stephen Baldwin, who is producing a documentary about the oil spill and Costner's device. "But, hey, some of the best ideas sometimes come from the strangest places."

Meanwhile, "Avatar" Director James Cameron has said he would make his underwater vessels available.

It is not the first time Hollywood has come up with cutting-edge technology. Paul Winchell, a versatile ventriloquist and the voice of Tigger in "Winnie the Pooh," was also an inventor who patented an early artificial heart in the 1960s. In 1940, movie star Hedy Lamarr helped design an unjammable communications system for use against Nazi Germany.

Costner was unavailable for comment. But his business partner, Louisiana attorney John Houghtaling, said, "Yes, Kevin is a star, but he took his stardom and wrote all the checks for this project out of his own pocket. This was one man's vision."

Details of any contractual relationship with BP were not disclosed. Asked if the actor would charge for use of the machines, Pat Smith, a spokesman for Costner, said, "We don't know yet."

Houghtaling said Costner bought the technology, developed with help from the Department of Energy after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, and turned it over to a team of scientists and engineers for fine-tuning.

"The machines are essentially like big vacuum cleaners, which sit on barges and suck up oily water and spin it around at high speed," Houghtaling said. "On one side, it spits out pure oil, which can be recovered. The other side spits out 99 percent pure water."

Talk about the machine has intrigued BP, the party responsible for the well blowout that caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. "BP has agreed to test Mr. Costner's machines," BP spokesman Mark Proegler said. "Of course, they need to meet regulations with respect to discharge."

With oil washing up on a portion of southeastern Louisiana's swampy edges, word of Costner's devices and their potential capabilities triggered intense lobbying over where they should be stationed first.

High on the list of prospective sites is Plaquemines Parish, where "we've already lost 24 miles of marshland," Nungesser said. "Everything in it — frogs, crickets, fish and plant life — is dead and never coming back."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Favorite Friends Picture Web Sites

WA Black Bear

This amazing picture of a bear was taken on May 13, 2010 by photographer Amanda. The bear run across a golf course while she and he husband were golfing in Central Washington State.

American black bears are the most common and widely distributed bears in North America. In Washington, black bears live in a diverse array of forested habitats, from coastal rainforests to the dry woodlands of the Cascades’ eastern slopes. In general, black bears are strongly associated with forest cover, but they do occasionally use relatively open country, such as clearcuts and the fringes of other open habitat.

The statewide black bear population in Washington likely ranges between 25,000 and 30,000 animals. As human populations encroach on bear habitat, people and bears have greater chances of encountering each other. Bears usually avoid people, but when they do come into close proximity of each other, the bear’s strength and surprising speed make it potentially dangerous. Most confrontations with bears are the result of a surprise encounter at close range. All bears should be given plenty of respect and room to retreat without feeling threatened. No problem in Amanda's case!

See => "Amanda's Veranda" web site showcasing Amanda's photography talent.


Black Hills "Shooting Star" Wild Flower

This May 15, 2010 Custer State Park "Shooting Star" is my favorite spring flower in the Black Hills. They seem so delicate yet they dazzle you with their beauty, in highly determined locations.

See my favorite Black Hills Photographer web site => "J'ellen in the Black Hills" Photographer Jann travels extensively all over the Black Hills and captures unique images with her amazing talent and patience. She researches each image subject for accurate descriptions to match her eye for camera framing. Many of her images are one-of-a-kind views that may never be see in a life time of living in the Black Hills.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Best Places to Retire to That You've Never Heard Of ~ Contributor Rounsie DHS54-LHS52

May 14, 2010; ABC announced :

Deadwood, South Dakota

Retirees drawn to raw nature and motorcycles can find their bliss in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

"The buffalo still roam out there, and so do retirees now," says Abbott, editor of Where to Retire.

The Black Hills, set off from the Rocky Mountains, offer breathtaking scenery of tree-covered granite mountains and national parks including Mount Rushmore.

The Old West town of Deadwood, which became an economic hub after gold was discovered there in 1876, is now a national historic landmark known for its gambling halls and Wild West history. Its downtown area has been meticulously restored with turn-of-the-century streetlamps and Victorian architecture.

The nearby town of Sturgis is best known for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which has been taking place each year since 1938 and draws thousands of bikers each year.

Retirees who decide to take a chance on the Wild West won't be alone. Almost half of the population in Deadwood is above the age of 45, with an unusually high 16.8 percent older than 65.

May 14, 2010, Rapid City Journal added:

Deadwood Real Estate Center agent Eric Henneman said many retirees choose Deadwood for a second home during the summer. "A person can get into a pretty nice house, even a new one, for a low as $160,000," he said. "There's a plethora of rural properties outside of town, starting at $200,000."

Henneman said the trend is for people to buy homes, live in them for part of the year, then rent the houses out to tourists. Additionally, many retirees spend winters in warmer climates. Frequent special events in Deadwood and the Black Hills create a nice atmosphere for part-time residents, he said.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brandi Carlile Concert by Contributor Peggy56

Play only one video at a time

DickD Comment:

I feature interesting music, from my personal view, on the web site right column. A while back, I featured => Brandi Carlile who is a young Seattle area native with great song writing and performing talent.

In keeping with my mission statement, I encourage contributing articles of interest. I try to publish them when we both are in agreement.
Peggy56 is one my web site's most ardent supporters. A while back, Peggy commented by email how much she liked Brandi's feature. She enjoyed Brandi's music talent so much, she attended one of Brandi's CA concerts.

I am so impressed with Peggy's email I asked to publish it as a contributor article. She finally agreed!!

Peggy56 is shown as ''Mom" on the images which are a product of her family. Following is Peggy's unedited article with her supplied images.

Select on Images for Larger View

Hi Dick, ~~I want to share with you my Brandi story…It was a great experience in my life and even though the concert was canceled I got to see her and the rest of the group and to actually be there and hear them in person for a few songs.

Our son tried to get tickets for us (they had been sold out for some time)….but he was told there might be a possibility that we could get them but... we would not be able to know until the day of the concert. We went up to see => Petaluma, CA on this past March 12th and stayed overnight just in case by some “miracle” we would be able to get tickets.

The morning of the concert we drove down to the Mystic Theater and parked on the street near the theater (right next to the theater there is a restaurant and saloon called McNear's Saloon & Dining House). We were going to have brunch there so we had just parked and were talking about how much we liked the little town and all of the old buildings and “small town atmosphere” (People there are very friendly and there are a lot of very old interesting buildings). Anyway, right after we parked, we saw this beautiful big black tour bus came up the street … (OMG… was them just arriving!!……. I think they had played in LA the night before). We watched it circle around the block a couple of times and then we decided it probably had parked on the street behind the theater. (The McNear's Saloon & Dining House we had planned to have brunch at is actually attached to the theater and many people go there before concerts to dine before the shows.)

We went into the restaurant and decided to see if we would make reservations for dinner that night (thinking that we at least may be able to hear some the concert even though we could not get in to see it.) We made the reservations for 8pm and then went over and sat down to have a bit of lunch. The food was very good and we were talking to the friendly waitress and asking her about the concert. (We had kind of given up hope of being able to get tickets by this time….unless we could find someone perhaps a “scalper” who was selling them outside the theater) The waitress just happened to say to us “The bartender has a few tickets for sale” We couldn't believe it!! We immediately went over and bought our tickets…..I couldn't believe it until we actually had the tickets in our hand! Someone was looking down on us that day!! We canceled the reservations for dinner because we wanted to get in line early for the concert.

We went to the theater at 6:30pm and got in line because we wanted to be able to be close (there were about 20 people already ahead of us….shortly after we got there, the line grew quickly….and stretched a long way around the block….(we were glad we got there early) The time seemed to go fast while we were waiting in line because while we all waited we got into conversations with other people who were standing by us. There were people there from Sacramento and San Francisco.. One girl said that she had been to over 45 of Brandi’s concerts! Lots and lots of very dedicated fans .……nice people…..friendly and fun!!

You will not believe where I got to stand…..I was standing in the very first row right by the stage!! ( I could have almost reached out and touched Brandi!!) Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be that close!!

The opening band that played before Brandi was a interesting Blue Grass group ……Then came Brandi (the three songs we got to hear…… fantastic!) Sadly, after the third song Brandi left the stage…..everyone wondered what was wrong….after a while they announced that she wouldn't be able to finish the concert. Of course everyone was disappointed….but concerned for her. The crowd was calm and everything was orderly as we all exited the theater. It took quite while to leave because as we left they were giving the people refunds or passes to be used for her next appearance there.

When we came out of the theater, there was a man there with a big big bicycle and I jokingly said "Oh, it's our limo" he said to me "come on...hop on and take a ride" I replied...."Are you serious?" He said "Of course" So I had quite the experience (by this time it was nearly midnight)) That is what the picture of me riding the big bike is all about.
(Not a very good picture but you can see how long the bicycle is)

They stamped our wrist outside the door before we went in..that is my wrist with the stamp they used on me. Some of the other people had the same stamp and others different ones but they seemed to be stamps from long ago......we were all joking claiming to have the "best tattoo".

Brandi is scheduled to be at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga in June. I am hoping to go to see her then. She is so talented and it was such a privilege to be able to see her..and the rest of the group. They are exceptional......their tour schedule is really something!!

When did you first see them? Brandi has such an incredible voice and the songs she has written are beautiful and have such depth.

The following images are not very clear.....but I wanted you to see the big bike. The man in the picture is the bike owner.

I had such a great time going to Brandi's concert......even though it turned out a little differently than I had expected!


PS: By the way, I do have tickets to see Brandi again in Petaluma on June 25th. Hopefully, she will be able to finish the whole concert. She has such a demanding schedule to keep up with......anything can happen...but I am thinking positive! One of my Mother's day's day gifts was a Brandi Carllile CD....that I didn't already have.....of course, I was pleased!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

4-15-2010 ~ South Dakota Outpost, Deadwood, one of Forbes "America's Prettiest Towns"

Thanks to dhsclassmates contributor Rounsie DHS54-LHS52 who sends link for this award. Deadwood is one of three USA Towns picked for Natural Vs. Man-Made Beauty.

Select on image for larger view

See complete article => Forbes America's Prettiest Towns

Also read related dhsclassmates article => 2008 True West Magazine of Deadwood in Top 10 Western Towns


May 5, 2010, Rounsie LHS52 See also => Rapid Journal "Deadwood's Beauty no Accident"

True West Magazine, Meghan Saar writes about General Custer's final days

4/27/2010, Meghan Sarr writes a poignant story about Mrs. Libbie Custer and General Custer's last days. Following is an excerpt " . . . On Sunday, June 25, while her husband George and his men were perishing on a Montana battlefield, Libbie found herself at her home with the women. They were all trying to console themselves by singing hymns, while one of them “sat dejected at the piano and struck soft chords that melted into the notes of the voices.... The words of the hymn, ‘E’en though a cross it be, Nearer, my God, to Thee,’ came forth with almost a sob from every throat,” wrote Libbie in her 1885 memoir, Boots and Saddles, Or Life in Dakota with General Custer. . . ."

Meghan's magazine article includes 6 high value historical images. One is captioned (signed) in General Custer's own hand. This image is in front of the Custer's home and shows the General and Lilly along with his staff and their wives.

See the complete article and images in => True West Magazine.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dorothy "Dottie" Provine Day's Death Update

May 2, 2010, DickD Comment and Update:

The Dorothy "Dottie" Provine Day's death article (see below) has turned into a Deadwood School Classmate story. Her death has been reported Nation wide over the past week. Today's Seattle Times reports that her parent's names were William Provine and Irene Curran Provine. They lived in Deadwood until Dorothy was 9. Then they moved to San Fransisco and later settled in Seattle WA.

A check of the 1938 Deadwood Telephone Book shows no telephone number listed for Provine. This is odd for a "Seattle Businessman".

I now consider "Dottie" Provine as a human interest article of a famous actress born in Deadwood and a Deadwood School classmate. In Deadwood's history, people like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Potato Creek Johnny, and Deadwood Dick(s) [ie, Nate Love, Richard Clark, Richard Bullock, ?] made Deadwood more famous by their death. Dorothy's death is not on that same level but has an interesting Deadwood attachment . . .

I welcome these kind of articles. You can send them to me at the email address in the right column.

As a matter of personal choice, I do not like to do obituary articles. I avoid many them by their sheer number, frequency. and mostly I not aware of them. I try to space them out, as this web site will not become a regular obituary source.