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Q&A: Disposal of tar balls, oil residues cleaned from gulf beaches

Hammacher Schlemmer sales

The cover of every issue of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog features an item selling for thousands of dollars. The latest issue features a personal hovercraft selling for $17,000. I've always wondered if they ever sell these items, and, if so, how many for an average issue.

As you might expect, retailers are reluctant to give out information so specific in nature. And Hammacher Schlemmer & Co. Inc. is a private company.

The company was founded in 1848 and has been publishing a catalog since 1881, carrying what it calls "the best, the only and the unexpected." It says it circulates 30 million catalogs a year. It has headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Niles, Ill., but its only store is in New York City.

According to records, Hammacher Schlemmer & Co. had sales of $152 million in 2008. Published reports estimate that 70 percent of its revenues come from catalog sales.

Tar ball, oil residue disposal

How are the tar balls and other oil residues being disposed after they have been picked up off the beaches, etc.?

Waste Management is taking solid waste from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to landfills in Vernon, Ala.; Pass Christian, Miss.; and Campbellton, in Florida, according to the Associated Press.

BP says 761 tons of crude-contaminated waste already has been buried at the two landfills in Alabama and Florida. About 13,100 cubic yards of oily waste have been buried in Louisiana, where the amount is being tallied by volume instead of weight, according to the AP.

The AP also reported that liquid waste is handled separately. The oily residue is processed for sale where possible, and the water is reused or injected underground, it said.

U.S. gun deaths high, not highest

I heard the other day that gun deaths in the United States dwarf those of other countries. Is that true?

It's true that the United States has some of the highest murder by gun numbers in the world.

In raw numbers, from the Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2002), the United States was fourth with 9,369 murders by gun. South Africa was first with 31,918, followed by Colombia (21,898) and Thailand (20,032). A sampling of other nations: Germany 269, Canada 144, Spain 97, Australia 59, Japan 47 and the United Kingdom 14.

In rate per 100,000 population (U.N., 1998-2000), the United States was eighth at 2.8. South Africa was at 72, Colombia 51, Thailand 31, Zimbabwe 4.9, Mexico 3.4, Belarus 3.2, Costa Rica 3.1. Germany was 0.46, Canada 0.5, Spain 0.24 and Australia 0.29.

Q&A: Disposal of tar balls, oil residues cleaned from gulf beaches 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:13am]
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