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Deepwater Oil Spill

  1. Giant Plastic Maxi Pad Could Clean Up Oil Spills

    While the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is in our collective rearview mirror, the countdown has begun to our next senseless, ecologically shattering oil spill, which is really not an "if" but a "when." In an instance of not quite so cold comfort, though, we may have a better way to clean up the next spill. A team of scientists at Penn State has proposed a new cleanup method -- massive polymer sheets that float on water and can sop up as much as 40 times their own weight in spilled oil.

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  2. How Much Oil Are We Losing in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

    It's a well-documented point of modern psychology that people tend to have a hard time wrapping their heads around very large numbers -- for instance, really knowing what a million means versus a billion -- and the vastness of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill tests our comprehension. What, for instance, does it mean that 2500 square miles of ocean surface are currently covered with oil, or that under the worst case scenario, we'll lose 1.8 million barrels? In short, how much oil are we losing, in terms we can understand? Two people have given us tools to help visualize these vast amounts. Google engineer Paul Rademacher, who started the Google Earth browser plug-in and currently works as a Google Maps engineering manager, has harnessed the power of Google Maps to illustrate how much oil was lost in terms of familiar cities: In the graphic above, you can see the DC metropolitan area, and other overlays include New York, San Francisco, and London. You can check out his map tool here. Information is Beautiful's David McCandless has given us another, after the jump, which further underscores what the oil loss means in terms of the world's oil consumption and our remaining oil reserves.

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