BP’s Math Problem

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BP has been telling the world that only 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking out of its well in the bottom of the Gulf each day, despite the fact that outside experts believe the correct figure is probably more like 95,000 barrels. BP also says that the pipe inserted into the well to siphon oil to the surface is drawing about a fifth of the oil. As of their last announcement, that was about 1,000 barrels of oil per day.

But now BP says that actually it’s siphoning 5,000 barrels per day—in other words, the total amount of oil the company says is spilling into the sea. But the live-feed of the spill site that was made available today clearly shows a whole lot of oil leaking into the Gulf.

So does that mean BP is acknowledging that the spill rate is much, much higher? Are they admitting that they’ve been lying to us for the past month about how bad the spill actually is? Or is BP just bad at math?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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