Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now three times the size of France, research suggests
Researchers have known since 1997 that a massive patch of garbage has been swirling around in the Pacific Ocean. A new study shows that the patch has grown far faster than expected.
Where does a plastic straw go after someone litters it on the sidewalk?
Often, that piece of plastic will make its way down a storm drain, then into a creek, a river, and finally into the ocean where, in many cases, currents carry it to where billions of other plastic pieces end up: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of concentrated trash between California and Hawaii that spans three times the size of France.
The garbage patch was first discovered in 1997 when oceanographer Charles Moore and his crew sailed through it in one of the most remote regions of the Pacific Ocean.
“It seemed unbelievable," Moore wrote in Natural History. “But I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments."
A three-year study published Friday in Science Reports shows that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is larger, growing faster, and has different characteristics than researchers previously thought. Most notably, the results showed that the patch takes up about 1 million square miles – four to sixteen times larger than previous estimates. Worse, it appears to be growing exponentially.
Everything there is to know about our new research on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in 1 minute. Learn more on https://t.co/eWQgxo4ZLP pic.twitter.com/J1gRHdJmKb
— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) March 22, 2018
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.
- According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
- Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
- Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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