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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
Canadian geese are just one example of the wildlife population that is devastated by oil spills.
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A Hairy Situation!
News story originally written on April 29, 1998

Stories of 'ordinary' people who make 'extraordinary' discoveries are exciting! Here's a story for you-

Oil spills are on the news a lot. That's partly because they cause so much damage to the environment and partly because there's no good way to fix the damage oil spills cause.

An inspiration of Phillip McCrory of Alabama may bring about new recovery techniques for oil spills. McCrory was watching tv news about 1989's oil spill in Alaska. "I saw an otter being rescued whose fur was saturated with oil," said McCrory. "I thought, if animal fur can trap and hold spilled oil, why can't human hair?" You see, McCrory is a hairdresser in Alabama.

McCrory starting experimenting at home. Using his son's wading pool and a pair of his wife's panty hose stuffed with human hair, he went to work creating (nd cleaning up!) his own mini oil spill. The human hair really did soak up the oil!

After a lot more research McCrory realized, "I'd found a commercial use for what's really a waste product. Tons of human hair are cut every day and tossed into landfills."

McCrory went to NASA and NASA agreed to test his technique. So far, NASA has found McCrory's method to be quick and cheap.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF