Ideas to cap the worst oil spill in U.S. history are pouring forth almost as fast as the gush into the Gulf.
At BP and government offices, on YouTube, Facebook, radio talk shows and in newspapers, Americans are brimming with plots and plans, sketches and schemes to stop the leak.
They range from earnest ("drop concrete blocks on it") to silly ("two words: ear wax").
In Houston, BP has received 40,000 suggestions, and about 250 of them have made it to the point of serious consideration, spokesman Toby Odones said.
"It's amazing. People are just desperate to get their ideas out there and help," he said. BP, which set up a phone line and website to accept suggestions, isn't ready to reveal any of them, he said.
The company has made some progress stopping the free flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A containment cap over the well is capturing perhaps 11,000 barrels a day. But for anguished Gulf residents scooping tar balls from beaches, and for the rest of the country heartsick at photos of pelicans struggling in oil, the urge to find a solution — to do something — is strong.
Some of the ideas might actually work, scientists say. Like actor Kevin Costner's oil-separation centrifuges, or the oil-eating bacteria proposed by a Denver biological company.
A few are scary. Are we really ready to nuke the well, as one YouTube fan suggested?
Or, as another urged, cut a large hole in a supertanker and sink it over the leak?
Other YouTube suggestions were equally creative. Lower 300-pound steel balls on cables and drop them into the open pipe. Scoop up oily sand from beaches, put it into sandbags and drop them over the leak. Make a huge screw and screw it into the opening on the blow-out preventer.
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