Better odds than the lottery: Find a way to fix the oil spill, get rich

The X Prize Foundation announced a $10 million prize for their oil spill challenge. From Kevin Costner's machine to oil eating bacteria, many ideas have been floating around.

At the TEDxOilSpill conference, The X Prize Foundation announced their new oil spill cleanup challenge. The prize is $10 million. According to Fast Company:

The prize is a testament to the difficulty of stopping the oil spill--similarly large X Prizes have been offered for DNA sequencing technology, fuel-efficient vehicles, and robotic moon missions. No word yet on requirements for winners, but [Francis] Beland is already soliciting suggestions at Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Many of you have emailed me to tell me about your ideas, which inspired me to create a website dedicated to oil spill coverage — Life With Oil. There's a form you can fill out to submit your ideas. But you might as well, submit your solutions to the X Prize.

InnoCentive is also taking your ideas, but is not offering money in return.

The oil eating bacteria discovered in an Oregon State University lab looks rather promising. Any word on how Kevin Costner's machines are doing?

But is no solution best? Acting quickly to fix the problem could have made the problem worse. Scientists are saying that it would have better to leave the oil alone, so bacteria and other natural processes would have time to degrade the oil. Instead, chemical dispersants and other harmful interventions were used by politicians to show that they were doing something. And now we are left with underwater plumes of oil.

One of the recorded talks at the TEDxOilSpill conference explains how the amount of oil that we can't pick up will eventually undergo natural biodegradation. Watch the full discussion here:

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Photo: kk+/ flickr

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