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Floating Fact or Fiction?

Posted February 01, 2011 7:00 AM

If an Oregon State University researcher is correct, the Pacific plastic garbage patch is a fraction of the size that's been reported in the media. Instead of covering an area twice the size of Texas, as has been widely reported, this researcher contends that the flotilla of trash is less than 1% the size of that state. Where did the media's data come from and who should be believed?

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#1

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/01/2011 9:32 AM

So the researcher, Angelicque Wright, is implying that certain environmentalist groups and the media have been grossly exaggerating an environmental problem? Well, that would be a first!

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#2

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/01/2011 10:35 AM

Where did the media's data come from and who should be believed?

Just trying to help.....

Does the UN have anything to do with it.......

or Al Gore maybe.

Maybe he'd like to be a spokesman for the garbage. I hear he's a good man and is more than qualified on the subject.

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#3

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/01/2011 10:43 PM

BTW--Anyone hear from Senor Gore, lately? Divorce maybe? Masseuses lawsuits , maybe? Asking a young lady to help him with some "old growth timber"?? Never heard a word during the Gulf Oil spill , either---Be interesting to see how he is spending his first $100 million, from his Carbon Offsets company...

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 11:46 AM

The last I heard he stated he didn't beleive in the global warming, that he did all that for media attention and to win votes.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 12:09 PM

Yes--I believe you are right--It was all about the "little votes"..Always looking out for the "Little Votes"--Thank you for reminding me!

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#4

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 2:10 AM

I have come across articles that detail the extent of the patch. I looked briefly at solution options for this marine patch problem. Does anyone know who might have looked at solutions in depth? I know the Gulf Oil Spill was researched by 1000's of people but I have not come across similar for the marine garbage patch.

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#5

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 7:04 AM

Probably a year ago I went on google earth to look at the great garbage patch. I figured that something the size of Texas would be clearly visible. I saw nothing. I didn't pursue it further, but wondered if they were exaggerating, or if google deliberately erased it from their images.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 9:23 AM

well I guess it all depends on the definition of "patch".

When I first heard it, I thought it was a 2 foot thick carpet from the reports. but the definition is probably more like a milk carton every 2 square miles.. which is bad enough when you look at the size of the ocean I guess...who knows

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#9

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 1:30 PM

I just checked with my friend Wikipedia. Looks like a large part of the patch is made up of broken down particulate, which explains why it wouldn't be visible from satellite images. It also mentioned that an NSF funded study suggested the area is twice the size of Texas, but it all depends on what concentration you consider high enough to include in the garbage patch.

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#10

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

02/02/2011 4:58 PM

Mr. Dunning is usually pretty level-headed about these things. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4132

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#11

Re: Floating Fact or Fiction?

03/05/2011 2:59 PM

There's no reason to doubt the reported size of this patch. It may very well be that size. The confusion stems from what is visualized when the term "patch" is used. The various ocean currents give the patch it's cohesiveness, but it's still a relative term. The vast majority of the individual components that make up the patch are generally smaller than a dime. And in this case, "cohesive" simply means that one particle may be 1 meter away from the next, or just as easily be 100 meters from the next. They don't actually stick to each other... it's more like they are "corralled" by the currents and kept in a certain area.

So you won't see the patch if you are in the middle of it, due to the spacing of the pieces. And you won't see it from space due to the size of the pieces. It's no myth. It just needs to be viewed in the proper perspective. Environmentalists haven't gone to great lengths to dispel the mental image of a floating raft of garbage because that would certainly take attention away from it. They haven't said it was a raft. And they haven't said it wasn't. Perhaps this method of promotion is borderline manipulative. But truth be known, there are so many sceptics of anything that environmentalists say, that unless they use every small advantage they can find, many of the issues of our planet will be ignored by the public because they are not visible in our day to day lives, or are not sexy enough... as opposed to something like baby seal bashing. It's a means to an end. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But the world does tend to ignore environmental issues if they are not "in your face", until they reach critical levels. That's just the way of the world.

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