Thursday, September 30, 2010

James Cameron, Oil Sands Expert

What is it in our psyche that makes us go gaga over celebrities to the extent that we hang on every word they utter even when they don't know what they're talking about?  This week, Hollywood Hero and ex-Canadian James Cameron (of Titanic and Avatar fame) came to northern Alberta to tour the oil sands near Fort McMurray and give his non-expert opinion on their environmental program.  He was accorded the status of royalty, including an audience with the premier of the province, fawning media coverage and a too-polite news conference.  The fact that he has the audacity to spout off about something he has no technical knowledge of rankles me.  The oil sands are a highly scientific and technological work in progress that may just save his California ass from having to ride around horse-and-buggy style twenty years from now.  I would much rather put my faith in humble, dedicated scientists like the late Dr. Loren G. Hepler, a world-class chemical thermodynamicist who toiled at the U of Lethbridge Chemistry Department and the Alberta Oil Sands Technical and Research Authority (AOSTRA) trying to perfect the oil extraction process in an environmentally-sensitive manner (he wouldn't be involved otherwise) than some overpaid movie mogul with too much time and money on his hands.  Hey James, why not start collecting thoroughbred horses and rare buggies with all that moolah?  You're going to need them if oil sands oil is banned!