Voices Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset. Some parts of England have suffered the wettest January since records began

Three Independent letter writers covered the issue superbly

Rig engineers accused of ignoring tests that foretold disaster

Managers and engineers aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig may have made a "fundamental mistake" in ignoring the results of tests conducted just hours before the explosion that doomed it, according to testimony given by a BP investigator to a congressional committee.

Steve Connor: A worrying set of results for marine life – and for humans

The oceans are critical to our understanding of climate change because of the way they interact with the atmosphere. They absorb both heat and carbon dioxide and their moderating influence on global warming is undisputed – about half of the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere since industrial times has been absorbed by the oceans. It may come as a surprise to find that scientists are still trying to work out the scale of the temperature rise of the oceans in recent decades. But this is understandable given the size of the surface area covered by the oceans and the depths to which they extend.

Patience on Capitol Hill runs dry as firms try to shift blame for oil leak

Top executives from BP and two other companies involved in the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last month were chastised repeatedly yesterday at a key US Senate hearing for attempting at the outset to shift blame for the disaster to one another.

Bubble of methane triggered rig blast, say workers

The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.

Companies team up with Abu Dhabi over green jet fuel

Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP have signed up with an Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle to develop green jet fuel from “pickle weed”.

Emma Bamford: Liferafts are not always the best bet in a crisis

Sea safety regulators now instruct that a boat is usually a much safer place to be in a huge ocean than a liferaft, which is akin to a small tent perched on top of a lilo. The lessons learned from the 1979 Fastnet disaster, in which 15 yachtsmen and women died, many in their liferafts after abandoning ship, helped to form this guideline. So for skipper Richie Fearon to order the amateur crew of Cork off the boat, the situation must have been perilous indeed.

24-Hour Room Service: The Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Steaks but no stakes at this hip hangout

First person: 'I survived the Northwest Passage'

Kev Oliver, 42

Scientists uncover new ocean threat from plastics



Scientists have identified a new source of chemical pollution released by the huge amounts of plastic rubbish found floating in the oceans of the world. A study has found that as plastics break down in the sea they release potentially toxic substances not found in nature and which could affect the growth and development of marine organisms.

My Life In Adventure Travel: Alexandra Cousteau

'My favourite place is the place I've never been to'

Katy Holland: Surf's up! Time to teach my beach boys how to take to the waves

Are we there yet? It's exhilarating to spend so much time in the sea, even if you do end up drinking most of it

Griddled prawn and asparagus salad

Serves 4 as a main

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto: It's been a long, cold, lonely winter but, here comes the Sun. (And yes, it's all right)

The last time solar activity slowed this much, whole empires fell. But the past few days' activity may augur well

Quadriplegic sailor challenges elements again

Fundraiser aims to sail solo around the British Isles aided by 'sip and puff' controls
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?