No Shortage of Eccentric Oil Leak Ideas for BP

An underwater camera captures a plume of oil during operations to cut the broken riser pipe at the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, June 1, 2010. BP oil spill oil leak CBS

Updated at 6:46 p.m. ET

BP's repeated failure to plug the massive leak gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico hasn't dissuaded the public from brainstorming solutions for sealing the blown-out well with a young genius and "Avatar" director James Cameron coming up with ways to help.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

The company abandoned efforts to seal the hole releasing millions of gallons into the Gulf Saturday after trying to flood the damaged wellhead with dense drilling fluid, the so-called "top kill" method. BP now plans to siphon as much oil as possible from the leak until a relief well can be completed.

Following the failure of "top kill" and the lack of success with BP's "top hat" and "junk shot" remedies, a 21-year-old genius suggests the company try her "seabed retread" idea.

Alia Sabur told the New York Post that BP's engineers should attach deflated car tires to a pole, put it into the well's hole and inflate the tires to cut off the flow of oil.

She's not the only person to put forward such a solution. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told a Boston radio station Wednesday that one Bay Stater suggested filling the leaking pipe with air bags that could then be inflated to stop the flow.

Sabur attends Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she is earning the doctorate in engineering she started at age 14, the tabloid reports. At 18, she broke a 300-year-old record by becoming the youngest college professor, the tabloid reports.

The prodigy told the newspaper her idea isn't flawless; the tires might not be able to expand fully, which might prevent the pipe from staying put.

Still, she wouldn't be the most colorful character to think of new ways to stanch the oil flowing into the Gulf.

Cameron met with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies Tuesday for a brainstorming session.

"60 Minutes" Interview: James Cameron

Actor-director Kevin Costner has invested more than $24 million to develop devices now under consideration to help clean up the spill.

An oil and water separator Costner's been investing in for 15 years machine clogged up when it was tested on the spill, CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports. BP's trying to tweak it and retest it.

BP's Mike Ustler said the company has received between 8,000 and 10,000 ideas for handling the spill, Cobiella reports. Those ideas have come from members of the public and from competitors Chevron, Exxon and Shell.

Teams of scientists are separating the promising ideas from the impossible, Cobiella reports. The company said some 250 ideas, all from its website, are being tested now. Those ideas range from GPS equipment tracking where oil washes up to massive ships skimming large amounts of oil.

Then, of course, there's still the "nuclear option," in which a Russian science editor suggested detonating a nuclear device a mile under the Gulf to seal the leak. In a column, the editor estimated the chance of success is around 20 percent.

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