August 4, 2009

In the Pacific Ocean, there is an island of trash the size of Texas.

"The vortex of currents which pushes the debris together is known as the North Pacific Gyre."

32 comments:

Big Mike said...

I think you need to fix a link.

peter hoh said...

Maybe Kim Jong-il has a vortex, too.

Scott M said...

I saw this earlier today and marveled that this has been around for years and not much ado has been made over it.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about the bad link. Fixed.

Alex said...

Amazing the environmental devastation caused by man. Not only the Holocene warming, but trashing of the planet. What would Obama say?

paul a'barge said...

where are the pictures? Because I don't believe this kind of thing unless we have pictures to back up these claims.

There are too many enviro-bots running amok these days making outlandish claims.

Methadras said...

The ocean for all of it's glory is a giant toilet for human and marine effluent. This is nothing new and I seriously have to question the origin of said debris.

Alex said...

Does it really matter what % if from North America and from Asia? We all created this mess, we made the Pacific Ocean into a toilet bowel, where it once was a pristine sea.

TosaGuy said...

This screams for a spin-off show to "deadliest catch" and "whale wars" where a monster trawler plies the seas scooping up trash.

bearbee said...

Old news.
Garbage Island

kevin said...

Skeptoid debunked this years ago.

kevin said...

Skeptoid debunked this years ago.

NKVD said...

We all created it? I didn't. If you did, then get busy cleaning it up. Why are you sitting there typing. Get your freakin' trash spike and start spikin'!

shadycharacter said...

Kevin is right. This is another stupid scam story:

http://skeptoid.com/episode.php?id=4132&comments=all#

Original Mike said...

Yeah, it was my understanding too that this thing is way overblown.

dbp said...

When a comment thread goes over 200can we call it a gyre? I'm tired of vortex and gyre is cooler--with 50% fewer letters.

XWL said...

Here's a link to skeptoid's article and podcast on the subject.

The BBC article doesn't claim that it's a permanent physical island of horizon to horizon trash, rather it's a region the size of Texas where trash collects and as it degrades contaminates the region. The headline is misleading, but they do use single scare quotes, so they have an out if anyone claims they've been mislead.

Seems unwise to take a sailing ship to a spot where you have doldrums. Hope they don't drift to a point where they can't get under sail again (most likely they have a diesel engine on board to get them back to the wind should that happen, but then they might end up doing more environmental damage by having to use their motor than whatever damage is mitigated by the 'clean-up' they do while there, sounds mostly like this is a just an excuse to get some foundation to pay for their summer vacation, Meade+Althouse should have offered to pick up a few bags of trash while in Bachelor's Gulch and Obama might have thrown some stimulus money their way and paid for the whole trip, it could have been a net of 2 green jobs saved/created for a modest investment in Obamabucks).

XWL said...

Oops, here's that link

Shadycharacter also pointed to the skeptoid article, but I hypertexted it for your convenience.

fivewheels said...

Are there slithy toves in the Pacific Gyre?

rhhardin said...

It must be where water on the average sinks. That means surface currents inward to that point, and the currents carry anything that floats to that point and then leave it all behind as it goes down.

The same thing is responsible for huge dust bunnies. Where the air on the average rises, currents carry dust inwards to that point, and leave it behind as they rise, producing a marvelously large lint ball at the base of stairs and so forth.

When will man learn to properly wrap and dispose of belly button lint so this does not happen.

rhhardin said...

A remaining mystery though is why there is Doberman hair behind the bed.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Here's some more commentary (TNR post from a year ago).

Freeman Hunt said...

It's not a solid mass and so really nothing like an island.

Leland said...

I bet it is a good way to get grant money to take a sweet yacht on a Pacific cruise.

All you have to do afterwards throw over board all the refuge at the end of the cruise, take a picture, and go back for more grant money.

Garbage Island = Gravy Train

PatCA said...

I'm skeptical.

Big Mike said...

@Leland, you maybe have it, friend. Back when my wife and I were in grad school (we wrote in cuneiform on clay tablets) one of my wife's classmates decided that she wanted to be a volcanologist. Funny how her grant requests were always to study the volcanoes in Hawaii.

Skyler said...

Jeez, some people will believe any bad news, no matter how obviously stupid.

hawkeyedjb said...

Jimmy Hoffa abides there.

Comrade X said...

stop trashing the ocean red-staters!

J said...

"we made the Pacific Ocean into a toilet bowel, where it once was a pristine sea"

This part of the ocean was never pristine. Areas of ocean with this type of current have always collected garbage. Granted, man's contribution has no doubt increased over time, but the video demonstrates pretty quickly that the "island of garbage" meme is preposterous (and it's an environmentalist video); indeed, it shows a bird taking a break on a floating piece of plastic. Do you have something against birds taking a break?

There's no question we pollute the environment. Why is it so unfashionable to acknowledge that we derive enormous benefit from doing so?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"fivewheels said...

Are there slithy toves in the Pacific Gyre?"

Only when 'tis brillig.

" J said...

... indeed, it shows a bird taking a break on a floating piece of plastic. Do you have something against birds taking a break?"

We have a several years' tradition in our family of awareness of birds' needs to take a break.

Julie said...

Not only the Holocene warming, but trashing of the planet.........
___________________
Julie
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