So I wake up this afternoon to Alex Steffen informing me that We're All Doomed. To wit, the executive editor of Worldchanging.com 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?
I want to believe that Ellis just makes these things up. But he cites references.
Tags: doomed, mad science, space
Current Music: Cassettes Won't Listen -- Worried Sick ♬
Mystery blob washing up on a beach? I'll take whale carcass for $10 Alex.
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.
I don't know... my chinchillas' poops are regular, symmetric, and smooth.
Is your chinchilla's poop 3.5 feet long and 2 feet in diameter?
We're going to need a bigger boat.
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.
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.
Sigh. Apparently it's several hundred thousand, "Estimates for the amount of carbon locked up in the hydrates vary from 500 to 5000 gigatonnes." Which would make it very substantial.
Also, pound for pound, it's 25x worse for global warming than CO2.
I was going to comment and say exactly that. The gas hydrates are HUGE. They just all haven't melted yet.
In the permaforst of Alaska and under the antarctic ice is just the beginning.
Firstly, I meant hundred thousand million above, per "gigatonnes."
Secondly, I concur that we should light it on fire if we can't trap it.
But wait, might this be easy to trap? Just fly UAVs with methane detectors and when you find some leaking, place tanker ships on top of the bubble streams, with huge sheets of plastic under water arranged to funnel the methane so the tanker can collect it.
Cartoon physics got us into this problem, and By God cartoon physics will get us out of it!
I like the idea of it being "sea-monster shit."
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.
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!"
According to the news here, the popular theory was that it was Ambergris, a substance produced by sperm whales.
Which it probably wasn't.
If it was ambergris, that would be worth quite a bit more money than skin creme, wouldn't it?
Yeah, I think it would. :)
Supposedly dogs love ambergris (http://www.ambergris.fr/identification_of_ambergris.htm) but the stories I've read always mention dogs being almost afraid of this thing.
I want to have kids, y'know. I really do.
Please call your government and legislators and ask for infrared interferometers so we can find somewhere to put them.