Louise d’Orléans, Franz Xaver Winterhalter
There are no firm numbers about how often it happens, but it is believed that every year, thousands or even ten thousand containers are lost from large ships traversing the ocean. The contents of these spills end up contributing to large areas of the sea that are replete with tiny, broken up particles of discarded plastic.
One notable case occurred in 1992. Far to the northwest of Hawaii, a cargo ship lost a container carrying 28,000 Friendly Floatee rubber ducks. Thanks to some ingenuity on the part of Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and James Ingraham, these ducks gave an interesting set of insights into our oceans.
Those scientists realized that the ducks would keep floating for years and, since they knew roughly where the spill occurred, they could be used to track how waters circulate through the oceans.
The ducks turned up on beaches throughout the Pacific, and during the mid-2000s even made it to the Atlantic Coasts of North America and the UK. The ducks are still mostly in good shape when they’re found, although the color has often been bleached by the sun (some frogs in the same spill have held their color better).
Dr. Ebbesmeyer set up a website to allow people to report finds that might have been from that batch and says he can recognize them from regular photos, so if you ever find a rubber duck on the beach, feel free to check in.
This spill illustrated both how waters from the Pacific circle in a large gyre, turning slowly in a clockwise direction, and how occasionally some of the water escapes and enters another ocean. On the downside though, it also shows how once plastic trash gets into an ocean, it can still be out there decades later, waiting for the wrong passing fish to eat it.
Image credit: Alexander Kaiser, pooliestudios.com
Read more or report a find:
Emma Watson represents the UN, in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, in Uruguay where she was campaigning for a higher representation of women in politics.
Client: You didn’t return my call yesterday. Pretty unprofessional…
Me: I was giving birth.
Client: You were pregnant?
Note that I had met with this client numerous times, face to face.
One of my friends got pregnant in highschool. She was a great student and a very quite girl. It wasn’t a secret and the school board knew her situation so, although she attended PE classes, she didn’t participate in the exercises and always sat next to the teacher. She wore skintight clothes everyday which allowed us to see her belly grow beautifully round.
Fast forward 8 months to the day when one of my male classmates overheard a conversation about her being so close to giving birth and shouted “SHE’S PREGNANT?!” and ran to tell the boys. In 3 minutes there were shouts of “WHAT?!” and “FUCK OFF!” everywhere and suddenly there are 20 guys running to her and hugging her and say congratulations, and “I’m sorry I didn’t know you were pregnant! How are you feeling?” and carrying her bag everywhere while she laughed and tried to understand what the hell was happening.
Three hours later throughout the corridors of our school there were unknown guys congratulating her, thugs pushing people aside for her to walk and groups of boys murmuring secrets while the girls looked at each other an rolled their eyes.
That was the cutest and funniest and weirdest day of my highschool years. And that is just how oblivious men can be.