They're a mile beneath the ocean. There's a fiber optics pile of wreckage around it. The water is really cold. The Gulf is hot at the surface, but it's really super-cold down there, and the oil coming out is under tremendous pressure itself - counterpressure to the tremendous pressure at the bottom of the Gulf of the water itself. The oil coming out of the pipe is very hot. But then again, it's really frigid down there in the water. So what happens, you have all this hot oil mixing with the cold water down there.

I called this post, "Is There a 'Feynman Fix' for Leaking Well?" And this is about use - the controlled use of explosions. You have a tube coming up through thousands of feet of sediment from an oil deposit way, way farther down in the earth. And the Defense Department, over decades and generations, and others have figured out ways to use explosives artfully. 

You know, and even if that box contraption works, it's not actually going to plug the leak. It's sort of a makeshift idea to trap most of the oil. The remedy to actually stop the oil involves drilling a second hole into the side of this very small pipe. And once they've located it, that approach could take a good deal longer to do. So what would you do? If you had an idea of how to stop the oil from leaking, maybe capture it better, what would you do? We'd like to hear your ideas. We welcome your suggestions.

 I'm so sorry to not be sitting in an air-conditioned studio in Manhattan... (Soundbite of laughter) FLATOW: Yeah, but life's rough. Somebody has to be down there. But we're reading your blog, Andrew, and people really came up with a lot of different suggestions, did they not? Mr. REVKIN: Oh, there are a lot, and obviously, it's very easy for the oil company to say, well, you know, we've got to stick with what we know. We don't want to make the situation worse. But just this morning, I got another email from an applied physicist - those are people who use physics to do stuff - Brian Rathno(ph), at California, who kind of confirmed what I had sort of mused on over a week ago, May 1st in a post.

Here to talk about some ideas are my guests. Robert Bea: He is the co-director of the Marine Technology and Management Group in the Center for Risk Mitigation and a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Bea. Dr. ROBERT BEA (Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California): Happy Friday, Ira. FLATOW: You had some experience on an oil rig, did you not?

Dr. BEA: Indeed. As my first assignment, I went to work as a roughneck on a drill rig in 1960. FLATOW: Wow. That's... Dr. BEA: It's a long time ago. FLATOW: You were out there in the well. Andrew Revkin is a reporter and writer of the New York Times DotEarth blog. He's been collecting ideas from his readers about potential solutions to the spill, and he joins us by phone from Costa Rica.