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NASA Uses Rubber Ducks In Climate Study

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the science-toys dept.

Earth 33

NASA researchers have dropped 90 rubber ducks into holes of Greenland's fastest moving glacier: the Jakobshavn Glacier in Baffin Bay. Scientists are unsure as to why glaciers speed up in the summer months. One theory is that the summer sun melts ice on the surface of the glacier, which creates pools of water, which then flow into moulins -- narrow tubular shafts in the glacier. These then transport the water from the top to the underside of the glacier. The rubber ducks, labeled with the words "science experiment" and "reward" in three languages, along with an email address, may provide some answers. It is hoped that in addition to bath time, the ducks can make a livable climate lots of fun.

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As usual, the private sector does it better. (4, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144191)

There is already a flock of rubber ducks roaming around the arctic, probably still caught in one of the pelagic LaGrange points where ocean currents circle endlessly. The ducks were in a container that washed off the deck of a cargo ship. That is very sad because the West will never quite recover from this heartbreaking loss of a vital ton of injection-molded plastic crap from China.

In any event, this news item shows that once again, the private sector has done it smaller, faster, and cheaper than those bureaucratic zeebs at NASA.

Re:As usual, the private sector does it better. (0, Flamebait)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144605)

If we put enough plastic crap in the ocean the water will not evaporate. If water vapor a greenyhouse gas is not released glowbull worming will not happen.

UNLEASH THE plastic DUCKIES
and condoms and garbage bags and glad bags and food containers and stuff.....

`

Re:As usual, the private sector does it better. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25146111)

If we put enough plastic crap in the ocean the water will not evaporate. If water vapor a greenyhouse gas is not released glowbull worming will not happen.

UNLEASH THE plastic DUCKIES
and condoms and garbage bags and glad bags and food containers and stuff.....

`

I know you're not serious... but I'd like to point out there already *IS* a crapload of plastic floating around in the oceans. Due to the currents in the ocean it stays in the upper 300 ft of water, in the center of the ocean. It's vast quantities of dumped/lost plastic products, anything you can think of, consumer items as well as tons of the plastic pellets use by the plastic industry.

It's a serious hazard for everything that lives in and on the ocean. The plastic will collect in the stomaches of e.g. birds. Ervery oceanic bird has pieces of plastic in their stomach. They do die from undernutrition because their basic hunger signal gets disturbed.

Also these plastics gather up a lot of toxins, releasing it to everything that eats the plastic, and to everything that eats anything that ever ate the plastic, so eventually, us.

I've seen the results of all this, you won't believe the amount of plastic floating about. It's *HUGE*. If you live near the sea and go to the beach with a shovel and a sieve with mazes of like 2 mm, and filter *any* (seriously!) scoop of sand you'll see at least a couple, but probably a dozen pieces of plastic. Then look at your beach and imagine how many scoops that is!!

See here [naturalhistorymag.com] for a study on this subject... there's more plastic in the ocean then plankton!

Re:As usual, the private sector does it better. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25147705)

I'm more concerned that the plastic in the ocean will be eaten by only the stupid birds and sealife, causing a widespread Darwin effect and creating a race of super-intelligent animals that will battle humans for control of the world.

I mean, we're running out of oil...can we afford another war right now?

Death by Archimedes? (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about 6 years ago | (#25150089)

Hasn't anyone considered the low-lying Pacific islands that will get swamped by the rising sea level that all these floating/bouyant objects will cause. I calculate that one rubber duck displaces 0.1 cubic centimetre of water, so it will only need 2,000,000,000 or so to drown the islands of the Maldives [wikipedia.org] .
P.S. I made the figures up, but I'm sure there's some sad clod out there who can do the math for real...

private sector inspiration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25144929)

I haven't RTFM. I thought the "private sector event" inspired this. I certainly remember the original story.

Re:As usual, the private sector does it better. (1)

media_Assassin (176375) | about 6 years ago | (#25153593)

In any event, this news item shows that once again, the private sector has done it smaller, faster, and cheaper than those bureaucratic zeebs at NASA.

Actually, this news item shows that the bureaucratic zeebs are the ones who did it:
"In the name of climate change science, researchers at NASA have dropped 90 rubber ducks into holes of Greenland's fastest moving glacier ..."
from TFA at: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/09/22/nasa.ducks/index.html [cnn.com]

AL GORE! (3, Funny)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144197)

Soon the water will be warm enough to take a bath with those duckies.

Be careful (4, Funny)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144323)

Think what awful things could happen if someone wrote on the bottom of one of these duckies, "I seem to be having this tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle."

Rubber Duckie you're the one (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25144383)

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
I find a little fella who's
Cute and yellow and chubby

Re:Rubber Duckie you're the one (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144713)

Rubber Duckie [wikipedia.org] lyrics [nih.gov] .

Re:Rubber Duckie you're the one (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#25145661)

You could at least link to the classic [sesamestreet.org] .

Ducks! Quack! Quack! (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 6 years ago | (#25145533)

You think they're cuddly, but I think they're sinister [google.com] .

Re: NASA Uses Rubber Ducks in Climate Study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25144483)

I wonder if some set of wavelengths of light might not be able to get energy to lower levels of the glacier? However, the article doesn't seem to measure the time lag between the speed up of the glacier and time of year.

A Wikipedia pointer to information on the

    Jakobshavn Glacier
which is the subject of the experiment.

Somewhere.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25144687)

Ernie is crying.

Sounds like a Pixar Film... (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25144751)

Here's the original rubber duck pioneers: a crate full of rubber ducks washed over the side of a container ship. The brave little ducks (and their turtle friends) sailed the world's oceans, even surviving a four year trip frozen through the arctic.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0731/p01s04-woeu.html [csmonitor.com]

We should continue this tradition by landing a rubber duck on the next spacecraft to Mars. A fitting tribute.

Re:Sounds like a Pixar Film... (1)

RegularFry (137639) | about 6 years ago | (#25163949)

If the human race needs an emblem, we could do a lot worse.

What's the cost-per-kilo for payload on a probe? What would it actually cost to land a rubber duck on Europa?

Reward? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25145051)

How much do they pay? Is it scaled to the economy of the finder's location? How long till it expires? Is it inflationally adjusted?

We must have Science types here who've been involved in tagging programs. What are the going rates? Is there any consensus or guidelines? How do you structure the budget for returns well after the program has ended, and most of the people moved on? Do University secretaries have a list of all past return programmes and updated contacts?

We could make up a RFC - Bottle Note Protocol.

Re:Reward? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 years ago | (#25145377)

If you RFC BNP you better put a provision in there for reliability. Last time I found a bottle I opened it and some girl with a ponytail came out and offered me three wishes. She rescinded the offer when I said I wanted to fuck her 3 times. :(

Re:Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25185021)

That's the best part, once they get the address to send the reward, the scientists have everything they need!

Bert did this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25145081)

http://www.bertisevil.tv/duckie.htm

Will the e-mail address still wor k in 10,000 year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25145177)

I can see it now, in 10,000 years, a scientist will find the duck and try to contact NASA. Will thet answer the e-mail?

In other news.... (2, Funny)

indy_Muad'Dib (869913) | about 6 years ago | (#25145299)

Nasa upgraded its weather research supercomputer with wind up mice.

We of the Eco-Guerrilla Duck Front (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 6 years ago | (#25145411)

We of the Eco-Guerrilla Duck Front demand, nay, insist, that our friends the ducks be set free from their glacial chains and replaced with Organic Jello Slugs.

Slugs don't mind being frozen on ice floes and don't quack piteously when their little rubber feet shatter under the glacial tides ... they just glide over such things.

Where can Donald volunteer? (2, Funny)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | about 6 years ago | (#25145597)

My rubber Donald wants to volunteer to be part of this experiment. Does anyone know where he can sign up?

Missing Rubber Duck Report (3, Funny)

renegadesx (977007) | about 6 years ago | (#25146039)

Missing: One large yellow rubber duck, answers to the name 'Rubber Duckie'
Has made apperances on childrens television shows
Please report any information on the whereabouts on Rubber Duckie to Ernie, Sesame St NY. +123 (456) 789-10-11-12
Cash reward

Hmmmm, seems familiar (1)

stoofa (524247) | about 6 years ago | (#25149005)

www.ifoundaduck.com [ifoundaduck.com]

Great budget! Media coverage for just 90 ducks? (1)

bboxman (1342573) | about 6 years ago | (#25149093)

Is 90 ducks all it takes to get coverage in CNN these days? I can't credit the science behind this, but kudos to whoever is managing the media relations for this project... Great return on a very small investment (say, 10$ a duck?) -- much cheaper than buying a add spot.

better tracking with APRS (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 6 years ago | (#25150707)

They should have applied for a grant and gotten much more detailed data. A rubber duck is plenty large enough to hold a GPS reciever, an APRS transmitter, and enough battery to keep it going for a couple months if the transmission rate is kept low enough. Some small solar cells would extend the useful life.

I doubt it would do well at the bottom of the glacier, but at least they would know where it disappeared from the surface and would possibly know when and where it pops back out (if it pops back out).

http://aprs.org/

News at 11, dead dolphins found with rubber..... (1)

dalewj (187278) | about 6 years ago | (#25150911)

as uual whenever you do something to nature it screws somethign else.

cute idea thou

What's with the picture? (1)

Zymergy (803632) | about 6 years ago | (#25153701)

What's with the picture?
Are those ducks floating on top of a sea of blue foam earplugs following their release from a tragic cargo container ship accident?
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