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November 01, 2007

Is there a Gyre-Nurdle Connection? (logical)

First a disclaimer: the Google Ads are there because I expect this blog to be attracting more traffic in the near future. Their presence doesn’t constitute my professional endorsement of the services offered.

It’s only in the past twenty years or so that we’ve been coming to grips with the notion that the increasing energy consumption that’s been driving the Industrial Revolution for a little over two centuries may finally have raised atmospheric CO2 levels to a point where the Earth’s climate  is being affected in ways that could threaten human survival. Although denied at first- and still far from a settled issue- Global Warming is clearly being taken more seriously in recent years, precisely because the planet’s weather has seemed to become progressively more extreme.

Even more recently, further evidence has emerged that carbon, the essential atom of both life and petroleum, may have once again been thrust by commercial interests into yet another role as stealth pollutant.  My first awareness was coming across an unfamiliar word, nurdle, several months back. I remember being surprised that tank cars of plastic pellets were being shipped as raw material and that so much was somehow apparently leaking into the world’s oceans.

A more recent item, this one in the San Francisco Chronicle, called my attention to another new word, gyre, and to work by a concerned oceanographer named Charles Moore. It also raised the possibility, to me, at least, that nurdles might be both pre-production and post-production phenomena; the latter as a result of photodegradation of the ocean borne flotsam found in gyres. If so, the problem may eventually be even more urgent than Global Warming.

In either event, nurdles and gyres add up to trouble we may be hearing a lot more about in the near future.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 1, 2007 07:27 PM