Oil and Water don’t Mix

Standard

emulsion....did we forget about emulsion?

I know oil and water don’t mix. I remember my mother making her own special salad dressing in the special salad dressing mixing bottle ( the Tupperware cruet circa 1967) and it was so cool, like science class. There was a line to fill for oil and then a line to fill for vinegar. You fill the vinegar first then the oil….cause the oil floats above the vinegar. Add some seasonings, shake and VOILA! Salad dressing!! Now, the trick is to always shake it before using otherwise you will just get a bunch of oil on your lettuce as it separates, which is gross, you will only ever make that mistake once. The oil will NOT stay mixed with the vinegar. What a lesson in the properties of OIL!!! And I learned this when I was maybe 4 years old. I am 37 years old and this was one of those lessons I just never forgot (after taking a bite of oil covered lettuce).

So, imagine my surprise when this morning on the news I heard some high-ranking, super smart, ocean professional, government type guy saying that most of the oil from the Gulf oil spill is below the surface contrary to popular belief. Popular belief is that all of the oil floated to the surface and has been skimmed or burned or washed up on beaches. I guess the very smart, professional, ocean/government type guy never made his own salad dressing….or went swimming in the ocean.

Cause here is what I was thinking…the oil would stay separate in the salad dressing bottle when it was NOT moving. But give that bottle a shake or a rumble or any bit of movement and the oil mixed with the vinegar. So, dump millions of gallons of oil into a constantly moving and shaking ocean and the oil will stay mixed. It will not have the chance to separate and stay separated. Ofcourse, I am no scientist, I am not a government official, I am not even the smartest person I know so I don’t go around spouting about my theories on how oil behaves. What do I know….

But if this oil theory occurred to me, if this is something that I assumed to be true, how come our extra super smart know all about the ocean and oil government officials didn’t figure this out until today? And why have they not figured out what they can do to correct the situation? Again, I am dumbfounded that these brainiacs are behind the oily eight ball when it comes to saving our planet or reducing the harm that this oil spill has done.

Ok, ok, maybe they have been so focused on plugging the leak that they just didn’t have time to think about the millions of gallons of oil that had already escaped. Poor overworked, well paid, health care covered smarty pants. They can only handle one thing at a time! I guess they are waiting for us to throw them a parade for plugging the leak (4 months later) before they start to think about how to clean up.

In the meantime, might I suggest enlisting a paper towel company to do drags below the surface…like 22 feet and lower. Bounty works wonders. Household Hints from Helousie says that to skim the fat from gravy rip a paper towel so it has a jagged edge and submerge it under the surface of the gravy and drag…it will collect the fat and oil from the gravy, trapping it in the fibers of the paper towel. It may leave some paper flecks but really, that is like fiber and we all know fiber is way better than fat or oil.

I have no solutions, really. I yet again assumed that the people who have studied the ocean and oil, who get paid to fix the issues, would have known that oil and water really do mix when shaken or even stirred. And when you add another ingredient to an oil and vinegar mixture, it stays mixed longer. Like a chemical dispersant, or salt, or fish or plants or sand. In reality, I am pretty sure these geniuses have moved on to hydro fracking or the best one I have heard yet geo thermal drilling!! In California!!! No matter that it causes earthquakes. What better place to drill? California is already used to earthquakes. Makes sense. Oil? What oil?

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One response »

  1. I got real confused about halfway through. You’re saying that the official on the radio said that most people think the oil has floated to the surface and been skimmed off, but a lot of the oil is still beneath the surface. Isn’t that exactly the same thing that you’re saying? That because the ocean is constantly moving, a lot of oil is still beneath the surface? Did I misread something?

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