We Want to Hear From You!

This is a blog for the community, by the community! Submit writings, opinion columns, and/or pics of anything you think is important to share with fellow Denver Harbor residents! All submitted things will be given the credit of the person who wrote or sent in the work. Email us @ ourdhstreets@gmail.com.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Published by Daniel Bvon May 14, 2010 in Energy
- From the Houston Museum of Natural Science's blog- BEYONDbones-

On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people were lost and over 5,000 barrels of oil a day have been pumped into the gulf. It is a tragedy and one of the worst environmental disasters of all time.
This blog will help to explain why there is oil offshore, what an offshore oil rig is, what cementing and containment domes are and how we can help.
Crude oil is made form the desiccated remains of microscopic organisms that plied the water ways millions of years ago. They died (the very theme of nature), fell to the bottom of the ocean and were covered by layers of rock, sand and other debris. Through compression and temperature they were converted into hydrocarbons (crude oil and natural gas). Thanks to plate tectonics, many of these hydrocarbon reservoirs have ended up on land, but there are also many that are still under the ocean floor.
Colorful Old Oil Barrels
Creative Commons License photo credit: Magnera
The Mineral Management Service has estimated that there are 17.8 billion barrels of oil off the cost of America (for comparison the Ghawar field is Saudi Arabia has 60 billion barrels). So why do we drill for oil offshore?  Here are a few numbers that will help explain.  America uses 21 million barrels of crude oil each day (most have been refined into gasoline), but we only produce 9 million barrels a day.
The two countries that we import most of our oil from, Canada and Mexico, also have large offshore oil projects. Canada produces around 368 thousand barrels a day and Mexico produces 2.2 million barrels form their offshore wells. Other counties such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia also have offshore production.
So what are offshore platforms? An offshore oil rig is like an extreme onshore rig. Not only does the rig have to drill thousands of feet through the earth, there is also have hundreds of feet of water on top of the drilling site. The rigs must also survive whatever the sea can toss at them, whether it be waves, hurricanes or tsunamis. There are many different types of offshore oil rigs. Deepwater Horizon was a semi-submersible rig, meaning that there were large tanks that would fill with water to submerse some of the oil rig, so that it would not move off the site it was drilling at. It can be put in water depth from 200 to 10,000 feet. A fixed platform is fixed in place by cement or steel legs and can go up to 1700 ft. A jacked up platform can use their legs to jack the platform up till it is above the water level, and then jack back down to move to a new location. They usually operate in up to 400 ft of water. A drillship is not a platform at all but a ship that can be used to drill wells. Its uses a series of thrusters to maintain position and it can operate in up to 13,000 feet of water.
Semi-submersible rig
Creative Commons License photo credit: roger_melb
So which one is the best one? Because all the different offshore options can operate in varying depths and environments, it really is dependent on the location.
Cementing has come up a lot in the news recently. Most people may not know what that means. After a well is drilled and the casing is laid in, a special mixture of cement can be poured down to help support the well. It can help to keep the pressure constant, to reinforce the well walls or to plug up a well that is no longer producing. The cement used for the wells very from well to well. The mixture is based on the rock in the well and other variables such as the pressure at different depths.
If the pressure becomes too much an uncontrolled release can occur called a blowout. It can be oil, natural gas, water or a combination of two or three of those. One the most iconic examples of a blowout is Spindletop. No one wants a blow out. Not only does can it cause environmental damage but it can threaten the very lives of the people who work on rigs. To stop this there are automated measures and human control methods. For example, an operator could notice a change in pressure in the drilling mud. He would then try to relieve the pressure in a controlled method. If all else fails a blow out preventer can be used. A blow out preventer is a device that physically plugs the well so nothing can escape.
So if a blowout happens, then what? What happens when an offshore oil rig can’t stop producing such as Piper Alpha or Deepwater Horizon? Remote operated vehicles (ROVs) can be sent down to assess the situation and try to stanch the flow. A remotely operated vehicle is just that, a vehicle that is operated remotely by a person. If the ROVs can not stop the well a containment dome can be lowered down to cover the leak. A containment dome works by covering the area and then channeling the pressure off, and in this case to collect the crude oil. The first containment dome lowered down on the Deepwater Horizon was unsuccessful due to a build up of methane hydrates (or fire ice) on the dome. There are plans to drop a smaller dome, which would be easier to heat up if methane hydrates forms.
There are also efforts to contain and remove the oil that has come up. One of the choices is to burn off the crude oil. This can only be done under certain conditions, such as low winds, calm seas, and can not work on every spill. Another way is to put a boom around the spill to contain it and reclaim it. If the oil is on the surface, a skimmer can be used to gather and separate the oil. Chemicals can be sprayed on the oil spill to make the oil disperse or to clump together. Two types of dispersants have been spread on the Deepwater Horizon spill to help disperse it.
Another way to try and stop the oil that is coming out of the well is to drill a relief well. This would take the pressure off the well hole (it is like opening another hole in a shaken coke bottle to take the pressure off the main hole).
So what can we do? The national wildlife federation has created a page to help with that. Check with your barber or hair stylist to see if you can donate hair to make a boom. The best thing you can do is become energy aware. To understand where we get our energy from and how much of it you use. That is the first step to true energy independence.

Find this and more by visiting www.hmns.org 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Channeling Malcolm X

Before he was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, he was Malcolm X. And before he was Malcolm X, he was known on the streets of Harlem, as Detroit Red. I discuss him this day with respect and with relevance to you and I today.
When I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X four years ago, I didn't expect to read what I read and found in those pages, but I found it touched & shaped me as a woman - as a Brown woman - as a Brown woman who was becoming aware of her Self and her place in the world.
I read the story of a boy who was so caught up with the 'dog eat dog' that he was lost in the world wind of it. He sold drugs, he pimped, he robbed, and he went to jail - only to find hisSelf in jail.
Malcolm was more than a preacher for the Nation of Islam, he was a teacher to us all. What I loved about Malcolm's story is that he didn't shy away from the truth of who he was and as he changed, he was not afraid to say he'd been changed. He was not afraid to call out the evils of the world after he'd seen himself though those evils. He was not afraid to say what needed to be said although he was well aware that it might cost him family, friends, and his life. He looked back at his hustle on the streets of Harlem, not with embarrassment or apologies, but with purpose and understandings & helped me see my self in my hood and then took me on an international journey of discovery.
The changes that are happening in ourSelves and in our communities of color are again at odds with the status quo- just like they were when Malcolm hit the streets and started talking to the people about it. He never made excuses, he found reason.
Today, as our skin tone & our very existence as gente of color- Black & Brown- has come under attack by laws like Arizona's SB 1070 & Houston's 287G, it's that much more important to take responsibility for our past, learn from that and our present, and make moves with pride in our Selves for the future.
....And if you haven't read The Autobiography of Malcolm X or don't know too much about who he is, do yourself the favor---> you can start here.
Many people are trying to figure out how to make real change happen - I learned through Malcolm that it starts by arming yourself with knowledge- through books and the street- and then taking what you learn & discussing it with those you love- that's how you build community. That's how you reach the youth.
Malcolm did & said everything he did & said because he loved his people & who he was because of who he had been. Channel that...by any means necessary.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Denver Harbor Can BBQ!

Come on out (or enter to compete) in Denver Harbor's 1st Annual Cook Off! A little friendly competition, family fun, good eats, Palmers in the background- and all will be made possible by you- the community! Check details below!

Denver Harbor Cook-Off

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Palmer’s Ice House

I-10 E @ Wayside Houston, TX 77020

General Cook-off information

Time : 8am – 5pm

Entry Fee: $40.00 per parking space (approx 10 x 18, enough for a pop up tent, and pit.) 2 spaces max. Site must be clear by 6pm, however you are invited to stay as long as you like inside Palmer’s. If you want 2 spaces, $80.

SPACE IS LIMITED!!! First come, first serve!

Events: Enter one category, or enter all!

11am Salsa*

12 pm Chili – NO BEANS, NO FILLER!

1pm Chicken

2pm Pork – any type of pork

3pm Wildcard (Anything Goes!)

4pm Awards

There will also be an award for showmanship. (Cleanliness, booth appearance, hospitality)

All Entries must be prepared on-site, no-pre-marinades.

*Salsa may be prepared off-site (due to electricity). Salsa must be prepared by a team member and must be homemade. Your word is good with us.

Awards :

All Categories 1st – 3rd place Showmanship 1st place only


It is the team captain’s responsibility to be mindful of safety and the behavior at their respective tents. Unacceptable behavior may result in being asked to leave the cook-off area. Cook-off Committee or Sponsors will not be responsible for any theft, damage, or injury.

This is a family oriented event. No Generators allowed.

Propane and notes…

Propane tanks are prohibited (Fire Dept. Request)

How does this effect Chili? You can use a small pit (Old Smokey) to prepare your chili. There was no propane back on the old trail rides… Hank Hill doesn’t like this rule…

Teams responsible for their own water and ice.


Send a Check or Money Order to: Daniel Hinojosa, 7502 Alderson, Houston, TX 77020 along with the Info below. If you wish to pay in cash, contact Daniel at 713.373.6703.

By paying your entry fee, you agree to all rules and regulations. This is a family oriented event.

Team Name:

Team Captain Name:

Telephone Number:


Sunday, May 2, 2010

DH Presente @ May Day March- Houston

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 was a day to remember. The range of the people- in every way imaginable- was the most beautiful thing to see. We came together to build bridges & to see people from all walks of life fight for human rights - respect & dignity. The Houston Chronicle counted 7,000 people, the HPD counted 8,500 people, and the organizers counted about 11,000 people. Whatever the number, the message was clear: Houston is proud of it's cultural diversity. The people are remembering that they and they alone have the power to create & direct things that work in their communities & they will stand up for that cause as children of the Sun & the Earth. Here are the pics we took!

If you attended the march and would like to give us your words about the event &/or have your pics up on the blog, please email them to ourdhstreets@gmail.com.
(You will be given full credit for all submitted things)