I want to believe that Ellis just makes these things up. But he cites references.

Gaia Has A Bumhole

So I wake up this afternoon to Alex Steffen informing me that We're All Doomed. To wit, the executive editor of was telling me that permafrost on the Arctic seabed has been warmed away, allowing vast underground pockets of methane to ascend in great "chimneys," causing the sea to foam and scientists to fall over in horror because methane is a greenhouse gas twenty times better at its planet-cooking job than good old CO2. These underground deposits were lidded over before the last ice age, apparently, and would have stayed bunged up if, ha ha, there hadn't been rapid climate change in the Arctic over the last twenty years.

Should all concerns be confirmed, it appears that we're all going to die from the escape of monstrous planetary farts from beyond history.

Funnily enough, though, Spook Turds From The Bottom Of The Sea are washing up on the shores of New Zealand. Now, this is New Zealand for you: a six foot long barnacled white lump of fatty crap turns up on the beach. What do the locals do?

Mrs Wilkie was keen to cut the greasy lump into blocks and sell it as moisturising sunblock.

Because that's the first thing you think of when an alien turd the size of a Smartcar plonks itself on the sand. Not "what in hell did that come out of?" But "can I screw a few dollars out of people by conning them into rubbing sea-monster shit on their skin?" You can at least rely on the English to try and screw it or smoke it first.

I can't yet construct a workable theory explaining that these things were fired out of an underground sphincter in the Arctic. But I'd like to, if only to make James Lovelock swallow his tongue. Wouldn't it be lovely to explain to him that we discovered where all the indigestible trans fats that we place into the earth in the form of dead people actually go?

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23 Responses:

  1. cjensen says:

    Mystery blob washing up on a beach? I'll take whale carcass for $10 Alex.

  2. rapier1 says:

    There is only the one picture but it seems barrel shaped to me. I'm guessing it was a shipment of some fatty thing that ended up in the water somehow. The container that gave it that particular shape deteriorated and it washed up on shore. The shape just doesn't seem to be likely a result of natural processes. Its too regular, symmetric, and smooth. Thats just me though.

  3. strspn says:

    It's impressive because it's so visceral, but several million tons of methane is nothing compared to the 28+ billion tons of carbon dioxide we spew each year.

    • cattycritic says:

      My thoughts exactly. in CO2 tons (haha), that's still only 20*several million which is still (assuming "several" <= 10) 200 million tons, max. This is less than 1% of the CO2 amount you just cited. So it is just an um, drop in the sort of gas bucket, there. Or something. I have a solution though: let's head down there, drink lots of beer and light it.

  4. vomitrocity says:

    I like the idea of it being "sea-monster shit."

  5. moonracer says:

    Wow, yeah, the idea of people smearing mystery goo from the ocean on their bodies as sun screen is insane. There's a very good chance it will do nothing as sunscreen and also the off chance that it is toxic waste or something else you really shouldn't cover your body with.

    • editer says:

      Of course, sunscreen is a bigger deal in New Zealand than it is up north: In the southern summer the planet is physically closer to the sun in addition to the axis angle, so the skin and eye danger is greater.

      Given that, I can sort of understand why they'd say "Sunblock? Sure!"

  6. abates says:

    According to the news here, the popular theory was that it was Ambergris, a substance produced by sperm whales.

    Which it probably wasn't.

  7. mcity says:

    I want to have kids, y'know. I really do.

    • strspn says:

      Please call your government and legislators and ask for infrared interferometers so we can find somewhere to put them.