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Oil Spilled In BP Gulf Coast Disaster Could Power A Moped To Uranus

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Infographic by Matthew Doxtad

Comments: 16

The tragedy happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now is terrible. Every day more and more oil leaks out.

The New York Times suggests 35 million gallons of oil has already flowed into the ocean. When Handshake saw this number, we thought, “Hey, we should find a way to represent that.” Originally, we thought we’d make a post called Moped to the Moon.

Then we thought, “Hey, maybe we can do Moped to Mars.

And then we did the math. Man were we wrong.

Space Moped to Uranus (not to scale)

Sure, it turned out you could actually drive a moped to Mars. But when there’s enough leftover oil to power a 1.6 billion-mile trip to Uranus and it’s all floating in the Gulf of Mexico, the Uranus jokes just don’t seem as funny.

Well, here’s the math for anyone who’s interested. Cause if our high school calculus teacher taught us anything, it’s “You gotta show your work.”

The math:
35 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf (as of June 3) according to The New York Times.
One barrel of oil produces 19.5 gallons of gas according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
A moped gets 100 miles per gallon according to the Lazy Enviromentalist. And some get even better. Here we come, Betelgeuse.
The minimum distance from Earth to Uranus is 1.6 billion miles according to Windows to the Universe.

35 millions gallons of oil divided by 42 gallons of oil = 833,333 barrels.
833,333 barrels times 19.5 gallons of gas = 16,250,000 gallons of gas.
16,250,000 gallons of gas times 100 miles per gallon = 1.6 billion miles.

Also, if you like math, don’t fret, there’s plenty left to do.

You may have noticed that only so much of that oil can be converted into gas. Well, the rest of it is generally churned into other petroleum-based products.

Your challenge: Calculate the percentage of New York State that could be covered in a 1 cm thick plastic sheet IF all the remaining oil in the Gulf were converted to plastic. Reply with the number in the comments below.

Or, better idea: all this oily destruction is kind of depressing. Make us (and you) feel better: Just twitpic some adorable kitty pictures @handshakemag.

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16 Responses to “Oil Spilled In BP Gulf Coast Disaster Could Power A Moped To Uranus”

  1. avatar Vijaya says:

    Show the work- those words haunted me through high school. Good article.

  2. avatar Kevin Morris says:

    With a smart use of Jupiter’s gravitational pull, we could possibly slingshot (shoot?) our space moped even further. Neptune? Pluto? Alpha Centauri? Any astrophysicists out there want to crunch the numbers?

  3. avatar Garrick Otero says:

    If we use the sun instead of Jupiter, we could travel back in time. Captain Kirk did it in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, just to save some lousy hump-backed whales. We could stop the oil leak before it started or, better yet, send a humanoid robot to kill Steve Jobs mom before she conceives him.

  4. avatar Garrick Otero says:

    BONUS: Then we could come back to our time and invent the iPhone ourselves, get rich, and turn in the internet into our own personal fiefdom, just like him.

  5. avatar TJ Huddle says:

    The more I think about it, the more Garrick’s plan seems like the only sensible way to go. We’re goin’ to the sun! (at night, of course)

  6. avatar Doxtad says:

    I’m convinced. And I’ve already got mixtape ideas for this space trip.

  7. avatar Garrick Otero says:

    Doxtad’s song is much more optimistic than mine:

  8. avatar Garrick Otero says:

    No cassette. It’s a space moped. It definitely has a CD player, at the very least.

    Shitty Pun: Brings new meaning to “Satellite Radio.” (giggle)

  9. avatar Garrick Otero says:

    A solar travel tip from the Gods:

  10. […] On a lighter note (while still being kind of really serious), this chart from HandshakeMag: […]

  11. avatar Nick Cicero says:

    great graphic. “moped to uranus” sounds like a great band name too. i smell a lot of hits.

  12. avatar scooteresque says:

    a moped and a scooter are two different things. pictured here is a scooter, not a moped. despite this, i still like the infographic.

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