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Recession Cuts Operation That Uses Hair To Clean Up Oil

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the hair-today-gone-tomorrow dept.

Earth 119

Matter of Trust, a nonprofit that uses human hair scraps to make mats to clean up oil spills, finds itself with 18,000 pounds of hair and nobody to process it. Lisa Gautier, who runs the organization, says that the recession has closed many of the textile makers that produced the mats and the warehouse that stored them. Unfortunately for Lisa the hair keeps piling up. From the article: "Hair is good at soaking up oil because, up close, the strands are shaped like a palm tree with scalelike cuticles. Drops of oil naturally cling inside those cuticles, says Blair Blacker, chief executive of the World Response Group. A pound of hair can pick up one quart of oil in a minute, and it can be wrung out and reused up to 100 times, Mrs. Gautier says."

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Why process it? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32113436)

My back is more than hairy enough. Just dunk me in, problem solved.

Signed,
CmdrTaco

BP? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113506)

Have they thought of asking BP to buy a textile mill?

Re:BP? (1, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113948)

Who would want to work for BP? They're non-profit, meaning they might be motivated more by helping the environment than greenwashing a terrible company. BP also has a track record of cutting every corner, which obviously led to the current problem, they're probably inclined to spend just as much as they need to squeeze out of liabiltiy, and then they'll get right back to buisiness as usual. Even if BP realized the potential here to develop an effective technology that would prevent them from losing money to lawsuits in future oil spills (the only way such an acquisition would be anything more than for show), they'd turn it into a depressing work environment kicking out all the current employees.

Anyway, I'm guessing the scale of the problem is beyond putting hair on it to solve the problem. 18,000 pounds of hair which can theoretically soak up 18,000 quarts of oil in a minute, or 4,500 gallons, that isn't much compared to the 100,000 gallons leaking out per day.

Re:BP? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114056)

If you can deploy, gather, wring and redeploy in a several hour period (collecting 4,500 gallons each time), it seems like you could soak up a rather significant portion of the 100,000 gallons.

Re:BP? (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114294)

...deploy, gather, wring and redeploy

I'm trying to imagine this. I doubt there is automated equipment to do it and doing it by hand would be super nasty. I'm guessing that the quart per pound of hair is in ideal circumstances such as the mat being submerged in pure oil. Throwing a mat into the ocean would probably soak up more water than oil and then sink. Then you would have a bunch of dolphins with greasy toupees.

Re:BP? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114558)

So what you do is weave it into a circle of mats- which are fed into an old-fashioned wringer-washer on the deck of a tanker- and deployed off starboard aft and recovered port aft....just sail it around in circles, using the friction of the wringers to reel in and redeploy the circle of matts.

If I could come up with this in two minutes, I'm sure a real materials engineer could come up with an actual working solution based on it in a day or two.

Replace the myraid booms with hair socks (2, Funny)

itomato (91092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115024)

1. Talk to L'eggs - acquire off-style hose (save eggs for next years' Easter Bunny Motherlode)
2. Employ otherwise unoccupied Cajuns - capitalize on their andouille skills
3. Deploy Mega-Links of hair sausages off the coast
4. Retrieve, and press with hydraulic press - reclaim watery crude
5. Repeat.

No profit readily apparent.

Re:Replace the myraid booms with hair socks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32115308)

6. Sell the oil back to BP
7. PROFIT!

Re:Replace the myraid booms with hair socks (2, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116374)

8. get gov't subsidy
9. profit^2

Re:BP? (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114590)

Not like fishermen who live off the coast have much to do now that their livelihood is ruined. As of now, there should be a sizeable workforce down in New Orleans with the incentive to actually volunteer to clean up those waters, given that the weather permits them to do so.

Re:BP? (2, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115064)

'I doubt there is automated equipment to do it ...'

There is; it's called a mangle. There used to be manual, then motorised ones attached to the old, drum-type washing machines.

Re:BP? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115670)

Yeah, that's why I put in the part you left out.

But I don't know anything about whether it has been used before (so maybe there is a fairly easy way to deal with it), or anything about how many bodies can be thrown at the problem (If there are thousands of fishermen with nothing better to do, they only have to deal with a few pounds each to start making a difference).

Re:BP? (1)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115196)

If you can deploy, gather, wring and redeploy in a several hour period (collecting 4,500 gallons each time), it seems like you could soak up a rather significant portion of the 100,000 gallons.

No...it's just wash, rinse, reuse! ;)

Re:BP? (1)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114144)

Except that you could use that 18,000 lbs of hair to soak up 18,000 quarts of oil in a minute... repeat every hour and soak up that 100,000 per day...

Re:BP? (2, Insightful)

znerk (1162519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116078)

Except that you could use that 18,000 lbs of hair to soak up 18,000 quarts of oil in a minute... repeat every hour and soak up that 100,000 [gallons] per day...

Quarts, gallons, what's the difference? (Hint: one is four times as large as the other.)

Actually, now that I've done the maths... it would only require 16,667 quarts per hour of clean-up to keep pace with a 100,000 gallon per day leak (100,000 gallons = 400,000 quarts; 400,000 quarts divided by 24 hours = 16,666.6(repeating)). Therefore, 18,000 quarts per hour *would* be enough to get ahead of a 100,000 gallon per day leak, not only cleaning the new leakage, but also incrementally cleaning the existing mess. Of course, this assumes a constant rate of clean-up, with no room for inaccuracy/mishaps, no "half-soaked" hairs, 24 hours per day, etc. Assuming (not sure where the figure actually came from, quite possibly the linked article which I haven't read yet) that you could soak 18,000 quarts per minute, clean-up could be a snap - according to my maths, it would take less than 4 hours to clean up 100,000 gallons of spill using this method (in a perfect world).

Feel free to check my maths, I hold no illusions as to my perfection in any department.

Oh, and get these people some boats so they can deploy.

--
What is the difference between "in theory" and "in practice"?
Well... in theory, there isn't any.

Re:BP? (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114232)

I would wager a dozen donuts that this is a Haliburton fuck up. They where the ones the poured the concrete, and this looks just like the other times they fucked that up.

Not to say BP is saints.

4500 gallons a minute for 100 minutes is 4 days worth of oil leakage. I would wager they could also get more hair from around the coutry with a simples 'send your hair to LA. to help the victims of the oil leak.

Re:BP? (1)

Praeluceo (528253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114434)

Why would Los Angeles want people's hair?
(:

Re:BP? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114732)

There is such a hair drive, saw it on the local news here in Florida. The average hair salon produces about a pound of hair each day, there are close to 400,000 salons in the US. It really won't take long to gather a huge amount of hair. So the bottleneck as according to this article is processing the hair into usable sponge, not gathering the hair.

Re:BP? (2, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114676)

Who would want to work for BP? They're non-profit

Uh, no, they're not. BP is a British limited liability corporation, with stock sold on both the London and New York stock exchanges. Their 2009 annual report states that they made a profit of over $16.5 billion last year.

Re:BP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32115348)

You're misreading the GP.

Re:BP? (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115746)

You're misreading the GP.

No, the referenced post didn't specify. In point of fact, grammatical structure dictates that the "they" in the statement "They're non-profit" is actually a reference to BP (as they are the only previously-mentioned entity), due to a failure on the GGP's part to indicate that he may have been describing the non-profit that is actually gathering the hair.

Mean what you say, and say what you mean.

Re:BP? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115654)

Sorry, I was unclear right there. I mean the place making these hair sponges was non-profit. You're right that BP is about as far as you can get from non-profit.

W...T...F..... (-1, Redundant)

tacokill (531275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114766)

Who would want to work for BP? They're non-profit,

Full stop. What? BP is NOT a non-profit. They never have been. In fact, not only are they a for-profit enterprise, they are publicly traded [yahoo.com] on the London stock exchange and have ADR's here on the New York Stock Exchange.

Re:W...T...F..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114894)

They, as in the guys who are working with hair as an eco-friendly way to clean up oil. Not BP.

Re:W...T...F..... (1)

neltana (795825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115600)

I believe they meant that "Matter of Trust" is a non-profit. The original post suggested that they ask BP to buy a textile mill and I think that Interkin3tic misunderstood that meant that this was a suggestion that BP take over "Matter of Trust." You then misunderstood Interkin3tic's message because you didn't share the same original misunderstanding.

What we need is a third misunderstanding to bring us back around to all being on the same page. Much like 3 lefts make a right, 3 misunderstandings make agreement!

Re:BP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114914)

IDIOT!

4500*60*24=6480000

six million. four hundred eighty thousand. gallons. per. day.

Re:BP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32115174)

Who would want to work for BP? They're non-profit, meaning they might be motivated more by helping the environment than greenwashing a terrible company. BP also has a track record of cutting every corner, which obviously led to the current problem, they're probably inclined to spend just as much as they need to squeeze out of liabiltiy, and then they'll get right back to buisiness as usual. Even if BP realized the potential here to develop an effective technology that would prevent them from losing money to lawsuits in future oil spills (the only way such an acquisition would be anything more than for show), they'd turn it into a depressing work environment kicking out all the current employees.

Anyway, I'm guessing the scale of the problem is beyond putting hair on it to solve the problem. 18,000 pounds of hair which can theoretically soak up 18,000 quarts of oil in a minute, or 4,500 gallons, that isn't much compared to the 100,000 gallons leaking out per day.

Uh...4500 gpm is way more than 100,000 gallons per day. Duh

Re:BP? (0, Flamebait)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115554)

Anyway, I'm guessing the scale of the problem is beyond putting hair on it to solve the problem. 18,000 pounds of hair which can theoretically soak up 18,000 quarts of oil in a minute, or 4,500 gallons, that isn't much compared to the 100,000 gallons leaking out per day.

Way to contribute to the solution. You've been a great help. The hair mats are reusable. The real problem is manufacturing the mats now that the raw material is available. Who cares if it takes a while to clean this mess up. The important thing is that it gets done. You're Negative Nelly attitude is not going to improve the situation.

Re:BP? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115886)

You're Negative Nelly attitude is not going to improve the situation.

I was not saying "This can't work because of the scale of the problem" I was saying "Maybe they're not trying this because of the scale of the problem."

Big difference there. Or not, because frankly, nothing any of us say here is going to actually improve the situation. My negative post is not going to dissuade BP from buying this company and cleaning up the mess even if we accept that it would do anything. Sorry to be a Realistic Ralph here.

The hair mats are reusable. The real problem is manufacturing the mats now that the raw material is available. Who cares if it takes a while to clean this mess up.

There are many factors here that we don't know, which is why I didn't go further into it. Anyway, they're reusable up to 100 times, so that's 450,000 gallons. Keep in mind though that the oil is also not a one-time thing. It's leaking 100,000 gallons per day, or at least it was. So at best this hair solution would reduce the problem by just four days, likely much less than that depending on how well it could be deployed, how effective the hair was at absorbing more oil in the actual environment (IE, not just dunked into a tank of pure oil) and how much it's being overmarketed here.

This is not a solution for the gulf oil problem.

Furthermore, why the trollish tone? Upset about your favorite Neon Evangelion character getting downplayed in the new series?

Re:BP? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116152)

...which would be typical for a lot of the more "extreme" greenies; they'd rather FEEL like they improve the world than actually improve the world.

If the grand total sum of working for BP means the world is a better place than not working for them, then do so.

Re:BP? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116236)

BP also has a track record of cutting every corner, which obviously led to the current problem,

Um, no. We still have no idea what happened, or why none of the several failsafes on the blowout preventer worked.

While BP are legally liable, it's entirely possible that Halliburton (who were pouring a concrete casing around the well at the time of the accident) could be to blame.

Although BP deserve to be dragged over the coals for the failure of the platform, and perhaps for not responding in a timely manner, pointing blame for the failure of the BOP is a much more complicated issue, given that such a complete failure shouldn't have been possible. We simply need more facts.

Cherokee Hair... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32113512)

Well, you know the rest.

EEeesshh (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113598)

Dude, I was trying to eat! Neat concept but super gross :P

Re:EEeesshh (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114306)

Dude, I was trying to eat! Neat concept but super gross :P

Serious question, what's so gross about hair?

Re:EEeesshh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114538)

Hair has the second highest amount of bacteria on your body (second only to your mouth)

Re:EEeesshh (2, Informative)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114618)

Off topic, but that's why cyclists shave their legs. Not because of aerodynamic advantage (like with swimmers) but because when they crash (not if) it reduces their chance for infection in the road rash.

Re:EEeesshh (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115596)

Doubtful. [blogspot.com]

Re:EEeesshh (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116042)

maybe.

but most of the cyclists (triathletes, mostly) I know ALSO shave their arms. I myself have experienced the difference between road rash on shaved and unshaved skin, and it's a very real difference.

Re:EEeesshh (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116678)

I thought it was to let the body cool down faster when sweating.

Re:EEeesshh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32116736)

Well, I reckon for a lot of them it's purely aesthetic. Do you have *any* idea how dorky it looks to have leg hair sticking through skin-tight lycra?

Re:EEeesshh (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114634)

Hair shouldn't be a problem then. Humans stick their tongues into each other's mouths for fun.

Re:EEeesshh (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115740)

Maybe I should rephrase my question. What's so gross about using hair to soak up oil?

As an interesting aside, there are things having sex in your eyebrows right this moment.

Re:EEeesshh (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116878)

Too bad I can't join in.

Re:EEeesshh (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116212)

Dude, I was trying to eat! Neat concept but super gross :P

Serious question, what's so gross about hair?

Maybe you don't, but I bet most people do find cleaning shower drain of long hair and all the attached goo rather gross. Just think of digging that glob of slimy hair out of very unclean looking hole(*). Now imagine a glob of oil-slimy hair mat used for oil spill cleanup. If you don't think that's gross, well, more power to you :-).

(*) Even if you clean your shower drain daily with brush and chlorine detergent, I'm sure you can imagine cleaning one that hasn't been opened in this millenium, while it's been used by long-haired greasy geeks who don't shower often and don't use too much shampoo when they do...

Obvious solution (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113602)

Just dump it all in the Gulf of Mexico... it couldn't hurt!

Re:Obvious solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114756)

Hair is apparently a good fertilizer, so the dumping could be considered as polluting the environment.

Re:Obvious solution (3, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114950)

I don't want it mutating into a giant killer toupee.

Re:Obvious solution (3, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115022)

I heard all the dead drug dealers in the sea off the coast of Mexico will soak up any oil that goes their way.

18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113606)

let's see.. 42k gallons spilling each day... the rate at which this could abso... oops.. FAIL.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (2, Interesting)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32113672)

actually I FAIL because I learned math in the us. you could lay down all 18,000 lbs and collect 4,500 gallons in an hour, making this an actually feasible total of 108k gallons per day, minus wring out time.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114022)

How do you figure 4,500/hour? 18,000 * 1 quart/minute = 4,500 gallons/minute, right?

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114060)

Actually it's 1 gallon per MINUTE per 4 lb hair. Assuming you could collect 4500 gallons in a minute, and wring it out in 9 minutes, you have

4500 gal / 10 min, which is 648,000 gallons per day.

This should be a national effort. The more hair available, the less time needed for reuse and more area covered per unit time.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114540)

So... we need to send more hair? That's what I'm reading. Into the mail it goes, I'll grow more.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114906)

while it sounds great, and hair stylists could do a national call for hair cut donations to this great plan, how does salt water effect it. After all salt water is bad for your hair and sitting in the sun all day, we may need a shampoo/conditioner treatment for the hair every couple of hours, reducing the amount you could collect each day and requiring huge donations of shampoo/conditioner.
Curiously hair stylists/barbers could change professions to oil spill clean uppers, probably get more money doing it.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114164)

The bigger fail is that the reuse is capped at 100. That means that there is an upper limit of 450000 gallons before the hair becomes useless, at any rate. If the current leak is 100,000 gallons/day, even under ideal circumstances this solution could only soak up 4.5 days worth of output.

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114228)

Better than nothing, no?

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114450)

Just wash rinse and repeat... %~P

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116444)

Obviously you missed this part of the article, seems she has 100K lbs more ready to ship to her besides what she has in her storage, so she has about a months worth. If she could find a weaver, this could potentially work well...seems BP could open up one of those out of business textile mills and get some weaving done. "In June, Mrs. Gautier told the hair salons in her network to hang on to their hair for a while. There's at least 100,000 pounds waiting to be shipped, she says."

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114620)

Well, the article said it takes 1 minute for 1 pound of hair to soak up 1 quart of oil. The wringing time depends on how many people (or machines) are working on the wringing... If you had enough people or machines, you could use up all the hair's effectiveness in less than one 8-hour working day I'm sure. Their arms would be pretty sore from all that wringing though!

1 lb hair = 0.25 gallon oil
So 18000 lbs hair = 4500 gallons oil
Max reuse ~ 100 times so ~450k gallons oil total
Oil is leaking out at about 200k gallons per day... We need more hair!

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116370)

No she has plenty to get started. She says she has 18K lbs of hair, and another 100K waiting at the stylists shops ready to be shipped since she is out of room. "In June, Mrs. Gautier told the hair salons in her network to hang on to their hair for a while. There's at least 100,000 pounds waiting to be shipped, she says."

Re:18,000 lbs = 4500 gallons every 12.5 days... (5, Funny)

Dragee (881700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114072)

Clearly, this shouldn't be considered if it doesn't provide a comprehensive solution to the problem. It's the same reason we shouldn't be expanding solar, wind, and nuclear power generation in unison...we should definitely wait for just one technology that will serve all our needs, and not attack issues with a multi-pronged approach.

Hmmm..... (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114902)

Someone missed the day when we talked about diversification and risk....

Re:Hmmm..... (3, Funny)

doug141 (863552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115326)

Not to mention the day we talked about sarcasm.

Re:Hmmm..... (2, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115808)

Someone missed the day when we talked about diversification and risk....

Someone definitely missed something...

Looks like cleaning up the spill... (5, Funny)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114002)

could get a little hairy.

Re:Looks like cleaning up the spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114214)

YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Re:Looks like cleaning up the spill... (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114252)

/puts on sunglasses

YEAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Re:Looks like cleaning up the spill... (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114722)

you forgot to take off your sunglasses and add "EEEEEEYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" after that.

Does it have to be human? (3, Insightful)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114076)

In defiance of logic, our cats seem to shed several times their own volume in hair every week.

Using it to clean up oil spills would be more useful than having it decorate our carpets and furniture.

Re:Does it have to be human? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114196)

So go toss your cat in the ocean already.

Re:Does it have to be human? (-1, Troll)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114250)

I support this if it is still attached to the cats when we throw it in the oil

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114338)

It's possible that cat hair is different enough from human hair so as to not give it the oil-absorbing properties, sure. But I think that's a bit moot; the problem isn't them getting enough hair. At least according to the summary, the problem is that they don't have enough people to PROCESS the human hair they get.

So, sorry, shedding season still doesn't have that much an upside. Better luck next time. :-)

Re:Does it have to be human? (3, Insightful)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114838)

Ah, the organization's page [matteroftrust.org] mentioned by an AC below [slashdot.org] answers my question.

Pet owners: Fur, horse hair and wool is fine. Fur is curly which helps more in making mats. It does seem that human hair has less natural oil and is more efficient in soaking up oil. So, we are finding the sweet spot of ratio fur to hair! Pet hair doesn't have to be shampooed - but we ask that it not be filthy, please.

I think we just found a new cause to donate to.

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115260)

Cat hair isn't hair: it's fur. Don't ask me what the difference is, I just know it's classified as fur.

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115552)

The difference is pretty much just linguistic. Fur refers to the structure on animals, while hair refers to the same structure on people (and sometimes animals). They're both made of keratin, and while the structure does differ, it differs just as much (or little) between any two non-human species as it does between humans and any other mammalian species.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-hair-and-fur.htm [wisegeek.com]

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115732)

The difference might not be just linguistic if "fur" lacks the specific structure described in TFA. Fingernails are made of keratin, too, but they don't have anything else in common with hair.

Re:Does it have to be human? (3, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115346)

Except then I'd be allergic to the ocean you inconsiderate clod.

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115684)

Sure, but getting all those cats to the site of the oil spill would be like... well, like herding cats!

Re:Does it have to be human? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32116510)

don't you mean:

Sure, but getting all those cats to the site of the oil spill would be like... well, like herding programmers!

Re:Does it have to be human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32116230)

How about throwing cats into the spilled oil and then cleaning the cats? Wouldn't that be faster and cheaper?

Re:Does it have to be human? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32116994)

The thousand and two use for a dead cat.

And speaking of BP... (3, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114150)

If you think this massive oil spill didn't have to happen, well, you're right.

Oh, and BP bears responsibility for Exxon Valdez too.

http://www.gregpalast.com/slick-operator-the-bp-ive-known-too-well/?print=1 [gregpalast.com]

.

Re:And speaking of BP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32117140)

Oh, and BP bears responsibility for Exxon Valdez too.

Yeah right... That's why Exxon (not BP) had to pay $5bn in damages.

Blaming BP for the Valdez spill is like blaming the firemen after you set the town on fire. (Admittedly, a fireman who drinks all the money away that you gave him to buy firefighting equipment...)

Old article (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114222)

The article is from last year. I fould a later article that actually has information relevant to the recent oil spill here: http://www.wmtw.com/mostpopular/23473933/detail.html

The actual organization's website, which Slashdot fails to link to, is at http://www.matteroftrust.org/programs/hairmatsinfo.html

Yeah, good at soaking up oil (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114808)

Especially if it's McFly's hair.

Ummm... (4, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114864)

I just listened to a story on NPR with one of the head guys from Matter of Trust, and he mentioned nothing to this effect. In fact, he said there are warehouses all over the country helping store this, they use used stockings for the packaging, and from the sound if there are about 450,000 lbs of hair headed to the Gulf Coast right now. So who's right here? The guy on the radio sounded pretty calm, if not even stoked, about this whole thing, but TFA seems to say that Matter of Trust has no one and no way to help.

Re:Ummm... (3, Informative)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32114978)

Given that TFA is from last August, I'd guess they worked out the problem and that the NPR story is accurate.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32114988)

The article is from last august...

Re:Ummm... (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115786)

I heard that interview. The best part was that the San Francisco area doesn't have as hard of a time finding lots of used stockings to stuff the hair in because of its transgendered community.

So where can I buy these things? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115216)

I've got an older car that drips a bit of oil, where can I buy one of these things to clean up my garage?

Oh if some of the profits go to make more of these to give away thats fine with me.

Here's a quicker solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32115946)

Tighten the bolts on your oil pan.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115218)

... and clean up this here nasty oil spill.

I was just talking about this. (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115252)

I saw this on the news 20 years ago when I was a kid. It's amazing how well it works.

I can't remember more oil cleanup related stories (1)

BigSilverHotdog (1805790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115412)

in the news all at once. At least, not off the top of my head.

Shatner (1)

WolfeCanada (604888) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115512)

Talk to William Shatner, his toupee should be enough to clean it all up.

Re:Shatner (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115728)

This isn't a job for a single toupee... this is a job for Shatner's entire toupee collection!

make the BP CEO do it as a jail diversion!!! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32115726)

make the BP CEO do it as a jail diversion!!!

How about wool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32116988)

If hair works, wool should do fine. There's lots of machines for handling wool.

Besides, you don't need to remove all the oil from the mats each time. You could use something like the old washing machine rollers to get enough oil out to throw the mat back on the spill.

Jersey Shore, South. (2, Funny)

sosiosh (695034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32117428)

If we use those hair mats, not only will we have an oil spill, we'll have a greasy hair spill. The gulf coast would henceforth be known as Jersey Shore, South.
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