The purpose of life is a beach part 2

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This morning, on my way to work, I listened to NPR. One of the guests, Ebbesmeyer described his recent work on tracking items found by beach combers. Once again I came to realize how the beach provides us not just with pleasurability but also measurability. Without beaches we would not be able to track Rubber duckies.
In fact an object caught in the gyre of the North Pacific for instance can take up to 6 years to go around. Since a typical item can spend 10 cycles before washing up on a beach, these items provide us with a fascinating insight into our history as well as the nature of ocean currents and circulation. Figure 10.17 Trajectories that spilled rubber duckies would have followed had they been spilled on January 10 of different years. Five trajectories were selected from a set of 48 simulations of the spill each year between 1946 and 1993. The trajectories begin on January 10 and end two years later (solid symbols). Grey symbols indicate positions on November 16 of the year of the spill. Hence the grey circle gives the location where rubber ducks first came ashore near Sitka. The code at lower left gives the dates of the trajectories. From Ebbesmeyer and Ingraham (1994). Source The beach surely is a miraculous place where a scent of purpose is only overwhelmed by the smell of salt water spray.

2 Comments

By only mentioning the first two years of the duckies voyages you missed the most exciting part of their story. Many of the duckies passed through the Aleutian Islands, entered a different circular current, passed through the Bering Straight, entered a third current, were frozen in the Arctic icepacks, ‘passed round the pole (avoiding the opening to the interior of the hollow earth :)), entered the North Atlantic system of currents and finally drifted ashore in New England. What are the odds? At least a googleplex to one!!! Surely the duckies had divine guidance on their exodus.

Get hammocks…Great blog by the way..

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 20, 2004 11:17 AM.

Oldest hemoglobin ancestors offer clues to earliest oxygen-based life was the previous entry in this blog.

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