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Alaskan Blob Is an Algae Bloom

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-sixes-here-just-a-couple-of-nines dept.

Earth 130

Bryan Gividen writes "Time.com is running a story on the previously unidentified blob floating off of the coast of Alaska. The article states that the blob is an algae bloom — far less sinister (or exciting) than any The Thing or The Blob comparison that was jokingly made. From the article: '"It's sort of like a swimming pool that hasn't been cleaned in a while." The blob, Konar said, is a microalgae made up of 'billions and billions of individuals.'"

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Great. Now let's find out ... (3, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755871)

... how we can turn this thing into something useful. Gasoline, maybe?

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (5, Informative)

LeoPercepied (1564829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755917)

It already works as oxygen generator...

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (5, Insightful)

Sinn3d (1594333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756089)

Till it dies off .. then we might get another dead zone.

When algal blooms die off, oxygen is used to decompose the algae which creates hypoxic conditions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology) [wikipedia.org]

Ofcourse I didn't RTFA... maybe this isn't a harmfull kind.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756265)

Summer's here! The Algae's in bloom and love is in the air! Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756753)

Summer's here! The Algae's in bloom and love is in the air! Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

If I eat and drink the algae I may not make it to tomorrow...

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28760555)

They're just tiny plants, more or less. So some species are edible, some not so much.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

Talennor (612270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756457)

Look on the bright side, a dead zone is carbon sequestering! Organics that should rightly be metabolized into CO2 are left out of the atmosphere since there's no O2 hanging around!

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (2, Interesting)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756873)

It's true, and a side benefit is we get a layer of water saturated with toxic hydrogen sulfide. Millions of years later, all of that sequestered carbon may be returned to us in the form of coal or oil.

There's a fair amount of evidence indicating this has happened on a global scale. Mostly we call that evidence 'Arabia'.

The Dead Zone (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756893)

That'd be good, I thought that was a good show. Will it be on the USA channel again?

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756933)

Don't worry. Gohan will just lock Garlic in there again.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (4, Interesting)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758943)

Till it dies off .. then we might get another dead zone. When algal blooms die off, oxygen is used to decompose the algae which creates hypoxic conditions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology) [wikipedia.org] Ofcourse I didn't RTFA... maybe this isn't a harmfull kind.

That's an excellent point - and I was going to visit this idea until I read your post. It would be very interesting to see a study on the local ecosystem, and if there are any issues with nutrient runoff nearby from local human population, logging, or agriculture (the usual suspects for nutrient loading and algal blooms). I found it dubious that a quote in the article seemed to indirectly point to global climate change as a cause (the quote was "...as a result of global change"). Seems like it's so easy to scapegoat that as the villain responsible for any malignant ecological change without the need for any, you know, real science. (It's also easier to get grants when a hypothesis or grant proposal's title suggests an agenda-based search for a causal link between phenomena X and global climate change)

The phenomena that most commonly leads to algal blooms, anoxic water columns, and ultimately a dead zone (or fish kill) is known as eutrophication [wikipedia.org] . I spent my first years of undergrad (literally) knee deep in poo studying nutrient loading in water tables...ultimately leading to eutrophication. What a great wake-up call for me to get the hell out of the natural sciences. Poo stinks almost as much as academic bureaucracy and begging for grants! :)

Not going to happen. (1, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28760261)

Till it dies off .. then we might get another dead zone.

When algal blooms die off, oxygen is used to decompose the algae which creates hypoxic conditions.

Not going to happen in the cold waters off the coast of Alaska. Think about it a little bit. Oxygen solubility is at near maximum in these waters, while decomposition rate decreases with lower temperatures.

Are you still looking for oxygen? Look at the H20 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756249)

Don't screw with that algae, let the animals deal with it. You enviro-harvesting civil-energy fags should try to make somthing without f*cking-up the environment. I swear, every time some unusual biological development occurs then it's always the same counter foresight of "let's embrace" or "derive fuel" from it to run your shoddy japanese car.

Here's an idea: leave the f*cking thing alone and find a way to run your car engine on hydrogen and oxygen derived from the saltwater that green turd was floating on.

Bringing-up Palin just because this thing is floating near Alaska only makes yours and others' posting just as f*cking lame. Karma fags, every single one of you, trying to say anything to get modded-up by either one of the graduated AOL'ers or the 13-year-old DSL uTorrent n1ggers leaching as much black-on-white monster-d1ck hermaphrodite pr0n.

Re:Are you still looking for oxygen? Look at the H (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756825)

You left out lolcats...

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757225)

I'd like to remind you all of the post I made the other day in the Dow/Algenol article. So, now that we know the blob is algae, let's really hope it doesn't get pissed at Dow!

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755977)

Isn't that all The Blob was doing - Turning us in to something useful for itself?
How would doing that that make us any better?

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756105)

It would make us better because we would be driving SUVs and the blob won't even have a car!

I feel not only 'better', but much better each time I drive mine.

Miso Soup? (2, Funny)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756125)

... just add Tofu.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (4, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756447)

... how we can turn this thing into something useful. Gasoline, maybe?

Nope. Can't do that. Leave it alone.

This Study was performed by an independent panel of researchers from Miskatonic University, peer-reviewed by a group of scientists from Innsmouth, Massachussettes.

Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (-1, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757141)

So your "argument" is "ad hominem"?

Sorry, but: FAIL.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757181)

Use Google before commenting on something you obviously know nothing about.

Oh, and...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28759597)

(a) If grandparent was being serious, it would be argument from authority, not argument ad hominem.
(b) If you don't get H.P. Lovecraft references, you really should do us all a favor and go back to Digg.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758369)

What do we know? Noctilucent clouds migrating south, strange blotches on Jupiter, huge algae blooms off of Alaska-- and, most damning of all, a malfunctioning toilet on the ISS.

Something is happening out there. Something BIG. :-)

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (2, Funny)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756761)

Harvest it for pearls, but beware the mindworms. They'll turn you crazier than Sister Miriam Godwinson.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756931)

Harvest it for pearls, but beware the mindworms. They'll turn you crazier than Sister Miriam Godwinson.

Deer lord, I'ven ot hear that name in a while!

Please don't go on. That game kept me locked in a darkroom for about 2 years at uni with nothing but weed and drink to keep me going. Always played as the university. Just makes me sad that I lost my X-pac for it. Downloaded a new copy aye, but the original version of the Xpacis worth big bucks now.

Re:Great. Now let's find out ... (2, Informative)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757275)

In my area we feed algae to the talapia and other exotic, food fish. There are lots of good fresh water fish that love gobbling up weeds an algae.

Wow, nice. (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28759685)

News: Previously unidentified life-form identified.

First response: How can we turn this thing into something useful, like gasoline?

Moderation: +5 Interesting.

Slashdot: News for greedheads, stuff you can sell.

Re:Wow, nice. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28759985)

What, you'd rather wait till it dies and creates another dead zone?

Slashdot: News for enviromental destruction loves, stuff you can mock.

Billions and billions... (5, Funny)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755913)

The blob, Konar said, is a microalgae made up of 'billions and billions of individuals.'"

Am I the only one who could not help but hear that quote in Carl Sagan's voice?

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756445)

Even weirder, the first time I read it, I thought the blob's name was Konar and was communicating with us.

Now that would be News for Nerds...

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756629)

Anyway, the technical term is Zillions.

Re:Billions and billions... (1, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756927)

Wikipedia points out:

From Cosmos and his frequent appearances on The Tonight Show, Sagan became associated with the catch phrase "billions and billions". As Sagan himself stated, he never actually used the phrase in the Cosmos series.[18] The closest that he ever came was in the book Cosmos, where he talked of "billions upon billions":[19]

A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars -- billions upon billions of stars.

        -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos, chapter 1, page 3[20]

However, his frequent use of the word billions, and distinctive delivery emphasizing the "b" (which he did intentionally, in place of more cumbersome alternatives such as "billions with a 'b'", in order to distinguish the word from "millions" in viewers' minds[18]), made him a favorite target of comic performers including Johnny Carson, Gary Kroeger, Mike Myers,[21] Bronson Pinchot, Harry Shearer, and others. Frank Zappa satirized the line in the song Be In My Video, noting as well 'atomic light.' Sagan took this all in good humor, and his final book was entitled Billions and Billions which opened with a tongue-in-cheek discussion of this catch phrase, observing that Carson himself was an amateur astronomer and that Carson's comic caricature often included real science.[18]

I read an interview with him once where he was asked about it, and he responded that it makes him kind of frustrated, since the phrase is nonsensical. There's no change in order of magnitude, so there's no point in tacking on the extra "and billions."

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28761093)

Yeah, well, anyone who's ever watched Cosmos knows that he's said plenty of nonsensical things. It may have made sense to someone baked out of their gourd, but his spiritual commentary was just inane, and his earnest effort to convey his excitement about the universe made the "billions and billions" quote quite plausible. So while it may not have been something he ever said, it certainly captures the essence of (the public image of) Sagan.

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757473)

Ah... I miss Carl Sagan. We really need some more "science celebrities" out there like him to inspire young children everywhere the way Sagan did. Perhaps I am missing out on something or we simply don't have those people any longer. My earliest recollections were of this really old guy with an angry face and an angry voice who played with toys while demonstrating physics. Not sure I ever knew his name, but as a child, I was fascinated by the things he did. I didn't grow up with Mr. Wizard on his first go around, but I enjoyed his show the second go even though I was an adult by that time. Bill Nye the science guy? Put him away with the rest of the pop-culture short-attention-span people. Science does require more than 15 to 30 second clips to really grasp and appreciate and often takes hours or even days to really get into.

But Sagan was the king of astronomy and stuff like that. And yes, his voice and mannerisms had a lot to do with it. But how else can you attempt to describe the vastness of space and all the stuff floating around in it without using catchy things like "billions and billions?" Sure it was repetitive, but it never got old with me.

We definitely need celebrity science people... we need a paleontologist, a geologist, an astrophysicist, an archaeologist, and who knows what else to come together into a series that really goes over the world and the galaxy and universe and just tell amazing stories about everything. I know I'd watch it all the time. We need more about stuff like that.

Oh how I miss those days when I loved learning about all that stuff.

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28759111)

My earliest recollections were of this really old guy with an angry face and an angry voice who played with toys while demonstrating physics. Not sure I ever knew his name, but as a child, I was fascinated by the things he did.

From that description, I can only assume you mean Julius Sumner Miller [wikipedia.org] , because "physics is my business" is burned into my brain.

When I was a kid, I'd rather watch him instead of cartoons, even if he was freakin scary.

Re:Billions and billions... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28760507)

Thanks for that. Yes, that's the man. I kinda knew he wasn't from the U.S. but it was a little hard to tell exactly where he was from. The information you linked to explains a lot. Yes, it was kinda scary looking but I got over that pretty quickly.

Re:Billions and billions... (2, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28759285)

a paleontologist, a geologist, an astrophysicist, an archaeologist

walk into a bar...

so... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755925)

So, it is alive!

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756353)

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Re:so... (5, Funny)

Caledfwlch (1434813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756435)

Sponge Blob!

Re:so... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756811)

It's not a sponge; it's algae, you retard! >_>

At least RTF'ing title!

Re:so... (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756847)

Outside of your mother's basement, there is a concept called "Humor." I suggest you google it.

Introduce Genetically Modified Algae (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28755927)

to produce methane and ..........

KKKKAAAABBBBBOOOOOMMMMM.

Yours In Science,
Kilgore Trout

Ok, guys... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28755935)

Whose turn was it to chlorine the ocean?

Re:Ok, guys... (4, Funny)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755963)

Remember the previous post? "... from the-real-reason-palin-resigned" dept?
'nuff said.

Cut down on the f*cking lame posts. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756101)

That includes you too.

I swear, ever since signal 11 left slashdot for kuro5hin, this place has turned to a shitmare.

Re:Ok, guys... (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756751)

I thought you said iodine! Doh

Re:Ok, guys... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757751)

Hey, that's not funny. Seriously, if we put chlorine in the ocean, where will we get baby seals to club?

I read that as... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28755943)

Alaskan Bob. Then I thought to myself, "hey, isn't that the guy who eats raw fish and is cool?"

Alaksan Bob (5, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755947)

For some reason I initially read the headline as "Alaksan Bob", and assumed it was going to be about Sarah Palin's replacement.

Mind you, she probably can see this blob from her house...

Re:Alaskan Bob (1, Insightful)

awpoopy (1054584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756369)

You almost got it right. Here's the real story.
Alaskan Blob to replace Sarah Palin.
News at eleven. </satire>

Re:Alaskan Bob (2, Funny)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757001)

Glad to see a smarter politician in charge for once :)

Re:Alaksan Bob (4, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756529)

Actually she's planning on flying overhead in a chopper and shooting it. We she gets bored of that she'll probably upgrade to a flamethrower or a rocket launcher.

Re:Alaksan Bob (3, Funny)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757465)

We she gets bored of that she'll probably upgrade to a flamethrower or a rocket launcher.

Yeah, and then when that doesn't work, she'll resign from blob shooting, claiming that it is a "superficial political blood sport" and "I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory." [politico.com]

Re:Alaksan Bob (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757041)

It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska's Blob. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our Blob.

my question is... (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755951)

how does that huge thing stick together?

Re:my question is... (4, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756037)

Love.

Re:my question is... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758301)

Yep, that gooey gluey stuff. Kinda disgusting, actually.

Re:my question is... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756187)

how does that huge thing stick together?

Krazy Glue. It can hold a man suspended in mid-air!

Re:my question is... (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757801)

I'd assume through loose bonds formed during growth. Maybe it grew up in a calmer area in a bay, and then it was knocked lose once it was a decent sized mass and it simply kept on growing.

All right... (1, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28755955)

I, for one, welcome our new photosynthetic overlords.

Can't we... (0, Flamebait)

Igorod (807462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756019)

Just feed Palin to it? Finally something useful other than polar bear bait!!

Re:Can't we... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756231)

How about Obama's crack babies?

shoggoth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756075)

i thought it was a shoggoth.

Comet Impact off Alaska! (1)

BrightSpark (1578977) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756095)

It missed Jupiter after all. :-)

Microalgae? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756097)

If that's microalgae, I'd hate to see macroalgae.

Re:Microalgae? (1)

cylcyl (144755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756595)

yeah thinking the same thing.
They say that it's square miles in area, so, let's say 2. As this is microalgae. algae would be 2x10^6 sq miles in surface area. Earth is 197x10^6 sq mile in size.
so, a hecto-algae would cover the entire earth!

Perhaps a small antidote to global warming? (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756109)

Because when these die most will fall to the bottom of the deep ocean and get buried taking their carbon with them. Perhaps millions of years from now this bloom WILL be back as oil! :)

Re:Perhaps a small antidote to global warming? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756415)

At which time future "intelligent" life use it up at unsustainable rates to power a new fangled invention called distance vision so they can watch re-runs of a comedy called "Cheers."

Uh, wait a minute....

what it really looked like... (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756117)

I first thought it was a ton of barber hair dumped in the ocean that had become a bacterial colony. That's what it looked like. But I can see it being algae now.

Whale Semen (5, Funny)

Stu1706 (1392693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756143)

It would have been way funnier if it turned out to be whale semen.

Re:Whale Semen (3, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756427)

Thar she blows!

Re:Whale Semen (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758317)

Thar she blows!

Let me explain something to you...

Re:Whale Semen (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758483)

Well, I didn't say she *swallowed*. Still, a whale of a good time was had by all.

Far less sinister? (3, Insightful)

sxltrex (198448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756293)

How do we know? Maybe The Blob was just a really angry algae bloom? Those Deadliest Catch guys better not piss this one off!

siiiigh (2, Funny)

PumpkinDog (1253988) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756355)

just when i thought my monday couldn't get any more boring :(

Konar (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756413)

The blob, Konar said, is a microalgae made up of 'billions and billions of individuals.'"

OK, who had to read that sentence again and double check that the microalgae called Konar didn't speak?!

Warmer water leads to . . . (5, Informative)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756459)

algal blooms. One of the prime symptoms of anthropogenic warming is disproportionate warming at night and at the North and South Poles. We're a smart bunch here at Slashdot, right? (Right?) We can figure out what that means.

Like a previous commenter said, yes, when they die they'll take some of their incorporated carbon down to the sea floor. Along the way, microbes are going to be decomposing it. They use oxygen to do that. If there's enough algae (and this sounds like there is) what that means is that all the fish and everything else that needs oxygen dies in that whole zone. It's like the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is major Not Good.

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756711)

You are saying this cannot be a symptom of non-anthropogenic warming? I think you are tilting at windmills!

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756877)

Silly poster, all warming is anthropogenic. Al Gore said so!

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756839)

There's not a lot of oxygen [untamedscience.com] on the ocean floor.

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (1)

hitnrunrambler (1401521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757375)

There's not a lot of oxygen [untamedscience.com] on the ocean floor.

I'm not sure exactly what you meant by pointing out that fact...
so I'm just going to assume you wanted to inspire a free-association session stemming from that statement. Here goes:

In deep ocean conditions there is very little oxygen near the ocean floor, in shallow water the environment should have abundant oxygen all the way down.

If you deprive a poor man and a rich man of all of their resources, they will be equally broke and unable to sustain their dependents.

If you deprive a oxygen poor environment and an oxygen rich environment of all of their resources, they will be equally dead zones and unable to sustain their dependents.

This will have a bad effect on something, somewhere; now, why is it there?

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756909)

i for one think it'd be a lot neater if there were fewer life forms on earth, and specifically in the oceans. seriously, wouldn't it be awesome if all the seas in the world were covered my a similar goo?

Re:Warmer water leads to . . . (1)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758323)

The difference is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico takes up a huge area because of how shallow it is there, and does not have the deep ocean floor as compared to the Pacific. The hypoxic conditions can be much more readily diluted in the Pacific.

Ben Elton : God's phlegm (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756493)

Read 'Stark'

Timescape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28756671)

Anyone else think of the novel Timescape by Gregory Benford? I hope someone is working on inventing a tachyon beam that can contact the past...

The real question should be why is it there? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28756833)

These do not happen at the poles. It normally requires warmer water. So, what is feeding this in such cold water?

Re:The real question should be why is it there? (4, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28757325)

I think it's a bit much to say these do not happen at the poles. We simply haven't encountered one yet. Algae do live in cold water, the question's just why are there so many all of a sudden? This area of the ocean is pretty rich in marine life normally, though the water is cold. There's a ton of fishing and even a show about crabbing in the general area, and colder waters (especially where they mix with warm water) are incredibly rich in nutrients (though I don't know enough offhand to say this is one of those areas, it.. prroooobbably is, or is close to one).
Algal blooms in the gulf and off the west coast tend to be caused by runoff from agricultural waters rich in fertilizers. I doubt there's much of that so far north, but there may have been some nutrient-stirring or even -releasing during the recent earthquakes up there? That's a total stab in the dark. I'm not a scientist or even an amateur in this field, but I do know that shaking water can stir stuff up from the bottom.
though looking at wikipedia.. this has happened before, at least near this area. Down near the bottom there's a picture of a bloom from 1998 in the Bering Sea (the rich sea area I was talkin about) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algal_bloom [wikipedia.org]

This might really be more a case of people unfamiliar with a phenomenon blowing it way out of proportion because they don't know that it's happened before. The original article did mention there was concern it was an oil spill, and that quite often there's investigations into strange things in the area that are thought to be oil spills but rarely turn out to actually be so... so at this point I'm thinking this has happened before, if maybe not quite on this scale, but it just wasn't picked up widely by news organizations so you and I never knew about it.

Re:The real question should be why is it there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28760009)

It couldn't be undersea volcanoes providing warmer water and various nutrients... We've mapped the entire ocean floor, know where all the volcanoes are, and know exactly at all times how much heat they're putting into the ocean and what they're spewing. So it's definitely not that.

Re:The real question should be why is it there? (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28760661)

I think it's a bit much to say these do not happen at the poles. We simply haven't encountered one yet.

If that statement was logically sound, couldn't you use it to refute any negative 'fact'?

Simple statement: People can't fly
Your response: Don't say that, we just haven't found any people who can do that YET

Simple statement: People can't drink a gallon of arsenic laced with Hydrofloric acid.
Your response: Don't say that, we just haven't found any people who can do that YET

Re:The real question should be why is it there? (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28760723)

Considering how drivers over here are surprised by icy roads in the winter, every winter, leading to numerous crashes come first snow, I'm inclined to believe your theory about this news.

Carl Sagan would be proud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28758023)

'billions and billions of individuals.'

But does he pronounce it as "billyuns and billyuns"?

Air and Food (1)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28758393)

It isn't exciting ??
We kept hearing a few years ago that this was exactly the kind of activity that
was responsible for much of the breathable air on our planet, plus food the the fishies...
And this isn't something to be marveled at ??? Cripes...

That's No Bloom (-1, Troll)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28759361)

It's just Sarah "Bailin'" Palin's brain cells, trying to evolve on their own to the point that she can form a coherent sentence or political strategy.

send EATR after it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28760387)

they said it was a vegetarian, well heres their chance to prove it.

And I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28760399)

...it was about time for messages from the future to arrive [wikipedia.org] .

THIS FP FOR GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28760667)

have left in share. FreeBSD is Smith onhly serve
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