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Some 210,000 gallons of oil continues to pump out into the Gulf of Mexico
each day in the wake of last month’s oil rig explosion. British Petroleum (BP), the company responsible for the rig, and now the spill, tried to stop the flow over the weekend by putting a giant dome over it. That plan, however, ran into problems
. BP is now considering putting a smaller dome, called a top hat
, that the company hopes will succeed where the earlier attempt failed. There has also been talk of filling the drill hole with debris in a bid to stem the flow, and using chemical dispersants to break up the oil in the water. Meanwhile, those on shore are preparing for the slick’s continued presence. Many official crews are creating booms, big floating barriers that contain the oil and lift it off the water. In episode 287 of The World’s Technology Podcast, you’ll hear about a unique, low-tech idea for such a boom, using what you see above — human and animal hair stuffed into used nylons. Yep, hair in hose. Why hair? Well, think about why we use shampoo — hair is a pretty good oil collector! It’s a program spearheaded by Lisa Gauthier of an outfit called Matter of Trust
, and you can find out more about the project
, including about how to help
Also in WTP 287, we take you inside Britain’s super-secret listening agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. It’s not often that a reporter gets to take a peek under the hood of the GCHQ, but the BBC’s Gordon Corera was given the chance. We’ll feature some of his full documentary, Cracking the Code. We’ll focus on the tech stuff, but you can also listen to the entire radio documentary. You can also read about the not-so-warm welcome Corera and his producer received.
If you’ve followed our podcast for some time, you know we like to feature technologies made in the developing world, or with the developing world in mind. This week, however, we meet Carolina Vallejo, a masters student at NYU who has turned the idea slightly on its head. Carolina decided to create a website and a competition called Design for the First World. The idea is to get thinkers, designers and artists in the developing world to, well, solve the problems of the developed world. “The Rest Helping the West,” is how Carolina puts it.
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(Photo courtesy of Matter of Trust)