At the time of this writing it appears a workable, if slow, solution has been implemented to contain the Gulf's oil crisis, though debate still exists as to its efficacy. The cap recently placed on the well appears to be slowing the flow as planned, but the end-term solution is meant to be two relief wells drilled into the problem well, which will then be permanently sealed off via the new pathways with mud and cement. The downside: The relief wells won't be complete until late August.
In addition to the "What should BP do" website, there's been no shortage of Monday-morning quarterbacks weighing in on how best to plug the hole, but even a casual perusal of the proposed solutions reveals that most people (including your correspondent) don't have a full enough grasp of how fiendishly complicated it is to plug an undersea well gushing millions of gallons of oil. Many transpose common plumbing solutions, like the well is just a huge toilet, and there's many suggestions of the childish "Why doesn't BP just..." variety, as if it's as simple as putting a hat back on a snowman.
Thus far the only practical crowdsourcing solutions we've seen are those proposing ways to clean up the spill once the hole's been plugged. There is, most famously, Kevin Costner's Ocean Therapy machine:
There is a biomass powder solution:
There is another powder solution called Aerohaz, from a company that reportedly went out of business years ago:
And then there is the YouTube leader (at press time), with over 1.5 million hits, of two good ol' boys demonstrating a hay and bluegrass solution.
If anyone happens across an actual design solution for plugging the well, written by someone who has a clear knowledge and understanding of the problem, please e-mail us!