Name: Victor Hurdugaci (23)
Country: Romania
Study: Computer Science Engineering (EEMCS faculty)

“I spend a considerable amount of time online. Mostly, I use the internet to solve problems. The internet is a vast collection of answers and I try to get to them as soon as possible, in order to finish my tasks faster.

I follow quite a few websites and with RSS reader I have everything in one place, which helps me triage the information. I currently follow about 25 websites, 10 of which are comics – yes, I love comics. Speaking of which: – excellent geekish jokes.

Both my personal and professional life is strongly connected to the Internet. This is not necessarily because I want to. When I first came to the Netherlands two year ago I didn’t have a Facebook account. I had to create one because many events were announced there and I was excluded from real events just because I wasn’t online. I currently work at Microsoft, where it’s impossible to stay offline because we have branches all around the world and need to keep in touch with fellows from other countries. 

I wouldn’t say that too much of my social life revolves around online communication. Of course there’s lots of online communication, but I prefer face-to-face conversations. I rely on online-based communication just because I don’t have any alternative. While online communication is a revolution and helps a lot, it still doesn’t allow us the express, all the time, the true meaning of the message. I have a blog- – that is more like a personal website where I post both thoughts and projects. It started from my desire to help others, after writing my first tutorial. I want to help others solve their problems faster and focus on what is truly important. I consider myself an amateur blogger and maintain this blog for fun, not for revenue, although I do have some ads on it, but only for covering the hosting costs.“In the Netherlands I had a friend from Bangladesh. Then I met another guy from Bangladesh in Denmark. I told this guy from Denmark that I had met someone else from his country, that the chances of the two guys knowing each other was slim to none. I then added my new friend on Facebook and surprise: we had a friend in common – my other friend from Bangladesh. Apparently they studied at the same high school. After this experience I realized that the world is getting smaller and smaller.” (DR)

The explosion of a pipeline caused oil to start leaking. The pipeline was attached to an oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, some 1500 meters below the surface. Following the explosion, the pipeline caught fire and the oil rig sank. 150,000 litres of oil a day are now leaking into the sea. “There is an investigation going on, so we don’t yet know exactly what happened, but I think it was what we call a blowout,” says professor of offshore engineering, Kees Willemse (Civil Engineering/3mE). “After a drill has made a borehole in the ground, they put a casing in it and fix it with cement. Probably some oil or gas leaked past the casing. This happened under very high pressure, so it went up very fast to the oil rig, which then caught fire.”
There are several systems, including a blowout preventer, that should prevent this from happening. “That machine, which is located on the seabed, should have closed the borehole with its valves when gas or oil leaks. I have no clue why that didn’t work. It often happens that a little gas leaks and the blowout preventer stops the flow from getting out of control.”
Using remote controlled robots, specialists are now trying to activate the blowout preventer. But that’s probably a tough job, Willemse surmises: “They’re operating at a depth of 1500 meters with a twisted pipeline, because of the explosion. The oil rig sank and parts of it are probably lying around as well. So it will be very hard.” These robots are small submarines equipped with powerful lights, a camera and two tentacles to grab and move things.
If the rescue operation with the robots doesn’t work, there are still other options left, however. “They could drill a relief well”, Willemse suggests. “Another oil rig drills a new hole that intersects with the old borehole, into which a substance is placed that will stop the oil from leaking. But this has to be done very precisely, using advanced technology, because it is done at a depth of more than 1500 meters and a further five kilometres into the rock at the seabed.”
This explosion shows that drilling for oil at great depths can indeed be dangerous. Willemse: “It confirms what we already know. We have to be very careful and take extreme safety precautions. It’s very important that oil companies, like BP, in this case, are committed to stopping the oil from leaking. They are using ships to try to keep the oil contained at the surface, while airplanes drop chemicals to break down the oil. I hope this dedication will help to keep the damage to a minimum.”

Redacteur Redactie

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