ifitwasmyhome.com is a little google maps mashup that lets you visualize the bp oil spill by superimposing it on your current location.
these things are always tricky to visualise, for lack of reference points, but this map shows a very concrete term of comparison: slovenia. the whole of slovenia is engulfed in that stain (plus big chunks of italy, austria and croatia).
for us living here, and exploring this country, it surely puts things in perspective.
we have a engineer friend that works for a big company, making oil drilling platforms, the kind that floats in the sea, slowly digging a little hole until they find oil. he’s in shanghai every other month to supervise the construction work, and today he invited us to visit the steel factory where they make the structure for his projects.
it was really neat, like visiting a rusty steel yard and we got to learn about all the processes that are involved in making these really big things, the different kinds of steel, how they weld them together, sand baths and galvanizers, semi-submersible stuff, etc etc.
at one point, we saw a worker just drawing a sort of wrench on a steel plate and cutting it out! :D they don’t invest the money on proper tools, but at the same time, it gives you a small idea of the potential of the materials and tools they handle. cut, weld, repeat. pretty cool!
note the drawing on that folder!
can you see us there? :)