James Cameron Is Probably Not the Answer to the Oil Spill

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A few weeks ago, film director James Cameron volunteered his fleet of deepwater submarines for use in combating the ongoing oil spil in the Gulf of Mexico. Now federal officials are reportedly turning to him for ideas that might help them put an end to the disaster. Yet Cameron, who directed Avatar and Titanic, seems ill equipped for this role.

There's no question that Cameron has technical expertise to bring to the table, but it doesn't seem to be the kind that's most needed at this juncture for dealing with the spill. He is certainly well versed in 3-D cinematography and even in underwater filming and robotic vehicle technology, but BP is already using the best available remote-operated vehicle (ROV) technology for dealing with the current spill.

What's desperately needed is a viable plan for stopping the leak—and Cameron doesn't appear to have experience in the area. He's also talented at out-of-the-box thinking, but no more so than some of the lesser-known people (and Kevin Costner) who have submitted ideas to BP in the weeks since the leak began.

Maybe in the future Cameron can use his experience to help develop an underwater 3-D camera for ROVs, making it easier for them to be remotely piloted and producing better images for flow-rate analysis. But in the meantime, it's unclear what expertise the legendary director could bring to bear when it comes to killing a mile-deep gushing oil well.