Oil Refinery Explodes in California; Blade Runner Flashbacks Ensue

It's raining down ash in Southern California, after an Exxon Mobil oil refinery exploded. The blast nearly leveled a processing unit and left four contractors with minor injuries. The local Torrance Fire Department says gasoline is to blame. Meanwhile, the aftermath looks like a scene from Blade Runner. » 2/18/15 6:55pm 2/18/15 6:55pm

Denmark Is The Latest Country To Claim The North Pole As Its Own

Although you might think that the North Pole is nothing but a barren wilderness populated only by polar bears and Santa, a surprisingly large number of countries are getting surprisingly bitchy about who owns it — mostly because of the oil underneath. Today, Denmark added its name to the list. » 12/15/14 10:32pm 12/15/14 10:32pm

These 109 Pages of Numbers Are the Supreme Court's Map of California

Along with your standard court documents, the Supreme Court today issued a curious PDF: page after page of coordinates mapping the ocean-side border of California. It's far more specific than any map you've seen, and this has been going on since 1947. » 12/15/14 12:55pm 12/15/14 12:55pm

Terrifying documentary on the fire bombs roaming America's railroads

Boom is a terrifying documentary on a problem that you may not be aware of: America has been invaded by hundred of thousands of moving fire bombs—freight trains with old, cheap tanker cars designed to transport corn oil filled with dangerous flammable oil. Logically, accidents are happening, people are dying, and oil… » 12/15/14 8:05am 12/15/14 8:05am

This Machine Turns Water And CO2 Into Petrol

Despite all the efforts to the contrary, it's an uncomfortable truth that our world mostly still runs on oil, made from dead little creatures and pumped from under the ocean. So a machine that could generate oil, without the need for drills or rigs or pipelines, just by combining hydrogen and CO2, sounds quite… » 11/22/14 3:06pm 11/22/14 3:06pm

Where Deepwater Horizon's Oil Went—and How Researchers Found It

It's over four years since Deepwater Horizon went belly up—but the whereabouts of two million barrels of oil that burst out from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico has remained a mystery. Now, a team of scientists believe they've found it. » 10/28/14 8:40am 10/28/14 8:40am

This Disgusting Pink Plume Could Help Us Clean Up Oil Spills

Even after Deepwater Horizon we're still not ready for the next big spill—but that doesn't mean we're not trying. This weird pink plume could help. » 10/22/14 5:20am 10/22/14 5:20am

The US Doesn't Have Enough Railroads to Keep Up With the Oil Boom

Passenger rail has never been known for punctuality (at least in this century), but over the past year, Amtrak's long distance passenger trains have reportedly gone from being late 35 percent of the time to being late 60 percent of the time. But don't blame Amtrak—it's being forced to make way for the thousands of… » 10/09/14 3:18pm 10/09/14 3:18pm

The Plan to Turn Our Aging Oil Rigs Into Skyscraper-Sized Reefs

Off the coast of Southern California, there's an underwater city. A thicket of almost 30 enormous steel oil rigs, each as large as a skyscraper, bolted to the floor of the ocean. Most of them are elderly, aging giants—and soon, the state will need to make a decision about whether to rip them up or let them stand.… » 9/12/14 10:58am 9/12/14 10:58am

Sensual images of dreamy women are actually incredible oil paintings

Few artists in the world have the perfect command of lighting, color, and oil media technique of Yigal Ozeri. His always sensual and sometimes disturbing hyperrealistic art—which usually focuses on women in dreamy and contemplative states—is simply stunning. Warning: Some paintings are NSFW (nipples shown). » 7/14/14 6:34pm 7/14/14 6:34pm

Thousands of Gallons of Crude Oil Spill In Los Angeles

As many as 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled onto the streets of Los Angeles early this morning when a 20-inch pipeline ruptured. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the oil is knee-deep in places. » 5/15/14 9:19am 5/15/14 9:19am

Why Do Chinese Investors Want to Build a Dubai-Style City In Kenya?

A coalition of 100 investors announced plans to build a "Chinese-controlled economic zone" populated by skyscrapers and luxury residences. Their new city will be in Kenya, but the goal is to "match the glamour of Dubai." What would motivate investors to go to the trouble of building a massive new city in a country… » 4/08/14 2:20pm 4/08/14 2:20pm

The Floating Super-Factories Spawned By Our Insatiable Hunger For Gas

The world's ever-growing demand for gas is driving companies deeper and further into the ocean to drill for it. And, to do so, they're building a new type of ship: small city-sized floating factories that drill, process, refine, and barrel gas while still out on the open sea. Think of them as one-stop gas shops that,… » 4/04/14 1:40pm 4/04/14 1:40pm

25 Years After Exxon Valdez, We're Not Ready For the Next Big Spill

A quarter-century ago, after the Exxon Valdez's captain downed one too many drinks and left a third mate in charge, the oil tanker struck a reef and bled 11 million gallons of oil across 1,300 miles of Alaska's coastline. But the catastrophic oil spills have continued in the US—and we're still not prepared to handle… » 3/24/14 1:00pm 3/24/14 1:00pm

We Can Now Pave Roads With Used Cooking Oil

You might not realize it, but quitting our addiction to oil means more than just finding something besides gasoline to put in our cars. If we really want to stop using fossil fuels, we have to change the way we make roads—and cooking oil might just be the answer. » 2/24/14 12:40pm 2/24/14 12:40pm

The Highest Rents In The United States Are In Williston, North Dakota

You think rents are high in San Francisco? Try Williston, North Dakota. No wait, don't—there's nowhere to live. According to a new study by Apartment Guide, the most expensive rents in the country can be found in this relatively tiny North Dakota town. » 2/18/14 3:20pm 2/18/14 3:20pm

France Will Pay You $5 Million to Invent an Oil-Drilling Drone

France's equivalent of DARPA has a lofty task for you. The National Research Agency is challenging engineers to design and build an autonomous oil-drilling robot that can operate continuously for six weeks at a time. And they're willing to pay you handsomely. » 1/09/14 4:40pm 1/09/14 4:40pm

Oil Companies Could Create Dozens of Toxic Lakes In Alberta

Canada's tar sands are an unequivocal environmental nightmare, ravaging the landscape and spewing billions of gallons of toxic water into the world. Now, oil companies are claiming they've figured out what to do with all that poisonous water: Turn Alberta into one giant man-made lake district. » 12/02/13 3:40pm 12/02/13 3:40pm

The La Brea Tar Pits Remind Us That Los Angeles is an Ancient City

Conventional wisdom designates Los Angeles as a young, capricious metropolis—an underage drinker in the geopolitical nightclub—but it's simply not true. L.A. is actually an ancient city, and the proof is bubbling right up to the surface at the La Brea Tar Pits, one of the richest paleontological sites in the world and… » 10/29/13 12:20pm 10/29/13 12:20pm

Iran Has Hacked US Energy Companies

According to the WSJ, Iran has hacked US oil, gas and power companies. The hackers were able to gain access to control-system software "that could allow them to manipulate oil or gas pipelines". Basically, the hackers are far enough inside that people are starting to get worried. » 5/23/13 8:18pm 5/23/13 8:18pm