Although it sounds absolutely bonkers, a common technique for cleaning up oil spills is burning as much as possible, then scooping up the residue. Trying the same technique in Arctic conditions is complicated, burning faster but hiding sooty residue within the ice.
Oh, ferrofluids, is there anything you can't do? Researchers led by MIT's Markus Zahn have devised a technique for separating oil from water. Using magnets. Tiny, tiny magnets that temporarily transform polluting oil into a magnetically manipulable ferrofluid.
Most everyone knows that oil and water don't mix. Oil molecules are non-polar, meaning their charge is distributed more or less evenly throughout their structure. Water, on the other hand, is polar — different parts of each water molecule carry a weak positive or negative charge.
The Gulf oil spill was an ecological disaster of unmitigated proportions — but some scientific good may come from it. As a side effect of this horrific incident, for the first time scientists have been able to observe how the oil becomes an aerosol, transferring from the sea to the air in an unspoiled environment.
Need a break from holiday commercialism? Want to send a much-needed gift to groups cleaning up one of 2010's worst disasters? Great! Check out Breaking Waves, an anthology featuring award-winning writers like Ursula K. Le Guin and Vonda McIntyre.
Flip on the news and you'll see pundits a-go-go discussing the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico. But how does one actually determine this amount? Diandra Leslie-Pelecky explores the fluidity of the figures and potential clean-up solutions.
Today scientists revealed the results of an investigation into the severity of the Deepwater oil spill. The plume of petroleum hydrocarbon chemicals measures a staggering 22 miles long, and has settled in a deep underwater layer (see photo).
In the 1970s, BP released Offshore Oil Strike, a board game about the excitement of deep-water drilling. Will you, dad, or grandma be the first to gain $120,000,000 game-winning petro-dollars?
A new cap (pictured) was lowered into place Monday over BP's gushing oil well in the Gulf, and today was temporarily sealed. For the first time in three months, oil is not gushing into the ocean from this disaster.
Things are starting to look grim for the new cap that BP officials said they might use earlier this week to seal the still-gushing well in the Gulf. Their concern is that the cap might make the leak worse.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa have created a simulation of the potential spread of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill over 360 days. Their hypothetical scenario? All sorts of bad.
Damon Lindelof recently wrote a blockbuster movie treatment for the Deepwater Horizon leak. His take? "We're gonna reverse-ARMAGEDDON this shit and call it a sequel." But wait! J.J. Abrams did Armageddon. Here's our idea of what Lindelof's script should resemble.
Boneshaker author Cherie Priest writes a heartbreaking, unsettling essay about the Gulf of Mexico disaster, and the responsibility we all share.
This map mashup allows you to position the BP oil disaster on top of any region in the world. It's a good way to wrap your mind around how huge this thing really is. [via If It Was My Home]
Now that the U.S. Attorney General's announced that the oil spill has made almost a third of the Gulf of Mexico off-limits, people are taking their anger to the internet. Here's a collection of pissed-off, BP-inspired cartoons, videos and illustrations
Engineer Nick Pozzi has a simple solution to the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast: use empty supertankers to suck up the oil. He says he knows it will work - because it did the last time this happened.
The Deepwater Horizon oil leak is still spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, but just how much oil is being wasted daily? This infographic breaks down the disaster with absolutely depressing lucidity. [David McCandless via Information Is Beautiful]