The purpose of life is a beach part 2
By Pim van Meurs
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
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).
The beach surely is a miraculous place where a scent of purpose is only
overwhelmed by the smell of salt water spray.
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.
Posted by: John
J. McKay at April 20, 2004 11:00 PM
Originally posted at The Panda's Thumb.