"Could Cornstarch Have Plugged BP's Oil Well?"

As a kids' plaything, it's called oobleck -- a cornstarch suspension that flows at slow speeds but freezes into a solid when you try to move it fast. Washington University scientist Jonathan Katz has just published an article saying it might have succeeded in a "top kill" of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf well where ordinary drilling mud failed.

Source: NPR, 03/08/2011

"Author Explains History Behind Tunnel Disaster"

An author tells the story of the Hawks Nest, WV, hydroelectric tunnel, whose drilling Union Carbide began in 1927. It was run as a mining operation, but not regulated by any government agency. Of the 5,000 men who worked on the tunnel over 18 months, at least 764 men, mostly African-American migrant workers, died of the industrial disease silicosis, well known even then. Managers wore protective masks during inspection visits, but did not provide any to workers. The company hired doctors to tell the men it was their fault, and buried them in unmarked mass graves. West Virginia kept the story out of the state's history curriculum until last year.

Source: Beckley Register-Herald, 03/07/2011


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