Fans of the National Debt Clock and similarly themed tickers of impending doom now have a new chronicler of numeric pessimism at their disposal. Witness the Associated Press’ Oil Spill Meter.
The animated online accountant updates with alarming rapidity (in other words, “in real time”) the estimated number of gallons that have been released into the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
The counter also puts the oil spill into perspective for thirsty readers and swimming enthusiasts alike by quantifying the spill in terms of 12-oz. soda cans or Olympic-sized swimming pools. Says Folio::
The reporting of the actual gallons was handled by longtime AP science writer Seth Borenstein, in Washington D.C., who crunched the numbers. “He’s given us equivalents for everything from filling the Washington Monument to a soda can,” said [AP multimedia reporter Ron] Harris.
AP members are allowed to embed the spillmeter in their websites. For the code, check out Folio:‘s article.
“If they cap it and there’s no more oil spilling, we’ll redesign this. If they slow the leak, we can adjust it to keep the numbers accurate,” Harris told Folio.