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What can 28,000 rubber duckies lost at sea teach us about our oceans?

What can 28,000 rubber duckies lost at sea teach us about our oceans?
In 1992, a shipping crate containing 28,000 plastic bath toys was lost at sea when it fell overboard on its way from Hong Kong to the United States. No one at the time could have guessed that those same bath toys would still be floating the world's oceans nearly 20 years later. Today that flotilla of plastic ducks are being hailed for revolutionizing our understanding of ocean currents, as well as for teaching us a thing or two about plastic pollution in the process, according to the Independent. Since that fabled day in 1992 when they were unceremoniously abandoned at sea, the yellow ducks have bobbed halfway around the world. The charismatic duckies have even been christened with a name, the "Friendly Floatees," by devoted followers who have tracked their progress over the years. "I have a website that people use to send me pictures of the ducks they find on beaches all over the world," said Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer and Floatee enthusiast. Also on MNN: Related:  Oceana Currents

Eight Beaches Where Strange Things Wash Ashore Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn (photograph by the author) For those with the beachcombing drive, even the most average-looking stretch of sand holds allure. But while collecting rocks and shells is nice, some beaches are home to more unusual objects. Below is a selection of beaches known for strange debris, and some of the more remarkable objects that have washed ashore: DEAD HORSE BAYBrooklyn, New York Horse bone at Dead Horse Bay (photograph by the author) Once home to a garbage dump and several horse rendering plants (hence the name), the beach at Dead Horse Bay is now embedded with pre-1950s glass bottles, broken china, cosmetics containers, leather goods, and children’s toys, plus bones and teeth from the carriage horses that once plied New York City’s streets. Debris at Dead Horse Bay (photograph by the author) Tree full of trash at Dead Horse Bay (photograph by the author) LEGO BEACHCornwall, England Lego on the beach (photograph by davidd) GLASS BEACHFort Bragg, California CARDIGAN BAYWales

The mystery of the inscribed rubber-like blocks that keep washing up on to Europe’s beaches One of hundreds of Tjipetir planks washes ashore on a European beach. (Tom Quinn Williams/Courtesy of Tracey Williams) Tracey Williams still remembers the exact moment she came across the bizarre object that would change her life. It was the summer of 2012, and she was ambling along the beach with her dog near her home in southern England when she saw it — a plank the size of a chopping board inscribed with the word “Tjipetir.” Williams had no idea what to make of it. “I thought maybe it was a street sign or maybe a box,” she told The Washington Post in a phone interview. Weeks passed. Those twin discoveries would ignite a years-long, continent-wide quest to discover the murky origins of floating blocks washed up on beaches in Western Europe — a quest that would eventually turn up a tale of German submarines, World War I conquests and whispers of the Titanic. Tracey Williams holding her two Tjipetir tablets. A March map showing where the blocks have washed up.

Did these chunks of rubber go down with the Titanic? Mystery surrounds fragments - which first started washing up two years agoLast week more than 100 pieces were deposited on Chesil Beach in DorsetIdentical 'Tjipetir' engraved tablets have appeared all over Northern EuropeTjipetir was a 20th centruy rubber plantation in West Java, IndonesiaSome believe the pieces come from wreck of the Titanic - which sunk in 1912 By Jack Crone for MailOnline Published: 13:58 GMT, 10 November 2014 | Updated: 17:18 GMT, 10 November 2014 Mystery continues to surround the origin of the 100-year-old fragments of rubber that have been washing up on the shores of Britain and northern Europe for the last two years. Last week, conservationists cleared more than 100 rubber sheets, two rolls of rubber, three rubber ingots and several tablets from Chesil Beach in Dorset. Scroll down for video Discovery: Izzy Imset, a local dive shop operator at Chesil Beach in Dorset, found this collection washed up on the shore Mr Trewhella said: 'It's a bit of a mystery.

Le mystère des «plaques de Tjipetir» ravive le fantôme du «Titanic» Des centaines de plaques de gomme, arrivées sur le littoral atlantique ces dernières années, pourraient s'échapper des cales englouties du «Titanic». Fin janvier, Benjamin se promène avec sa famille sur la plage de Mimizan, à la recherche de bois flotté. Mais les tempêtes des dernières semaines ont déposé sur le sable un curieux objet: une plaque de gomme grisâtre, d'environ 30 cm sur 50, gravée dans toute sa longueur d'une étrange inscription: «Tjipetir». Très vite, le jeune garçon apprend qu'il n'est pas le premier à faire ce genre de découverte, comme le raconte Sud-Ouest . Dès les premières investigations, le mystère s'épaissit un peu plus. La solution la plus crédible voudrait que ces plaques proviennent de la cargaison de quelque navire ayant fait naufrage au début du XXe siècle. Cette théorie est d'autant plus séduisante qu'elle est scientifiquement cohérente. Les plaques doivent donc provenir d'un autre bateau.

Tjipetir mystery: Why are rubber-like blocks washing up on beaches? 30 November 2014Last updated at 19:48 ET By Mario Cacciottolo BBC News For the past few years, 100-year-old rubber-like blocks from Indonesia have been mysteriously washing up on beaches in the UK and northern Europe. The Titanic has been suggested as one of the possible sources - but now a beachcomber says she may have solved the puzzle of the Tjipetir blocks. In the summer of 2012, Tracey Williams was walking her dog along a beach near her home in Newquay, Cornwall, when she spotted a black tablet on the sand, made of something resembling rubber. It looked like a large chopping board and the word "Tjipetir" was engraved into it. Her curiosity piqued, she began to research the origins of these mysterious blocks. It also transpired that these blocks had been appearing on beaches across northern Europe, baffling everyone who had found them. This image appears to show Tjipetir blocks on an Indonesian plantation in the late 19th or early 20th Century Source: Wrecksite

Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans / Rosetta First measurements of comet’s water ratio Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans 10 December 2014 ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans. The measurements were made in the month following the spacecraft’s arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August. Comet on 20 November – NavCam One of the leading hypotheses on Earth’s formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off. In this scenario, it should have been delivered after our planet had cooled down, most likely from collisions with comets and asteroids. The key to determining where the water originated is in its ‘flavour’, in this case the proportion of deuterium – a form of hydrogen with an additional neutron – to normal hydrogen. Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud in context Notes for Editors

Here’s all the plastic in the ocean, measured in whales Let’s see how closely you know your marine doom-and-gloom: Just how much plastic can be found in the oceans? A) A lot. B) A whole helluva lot. C) Both A and B. D) All of the above. While those answers are all FINE, now we can get a little more specific thanks to a study by the 5 Gyres institute. This was actually less plastic than the researchers expected to find at the surface, but they suspect the missing plastic is likely being eaten by organisms, or otherwise mulched by the gyres, and sinking deeper into the oceans.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society