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NASA Uses Rubber Ducks In Climate Study 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the science-toys dept.
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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NASA Uses Rubber Ducks In Climate Study

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  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot&ideasmatter,org> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:32PM (#25144191) Journal

    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: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by mrmeval (662166)

      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: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @01:55AM (#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?

      • 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...

    • 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! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sh3l1 (981741) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:33PM (#25144197) Homepage
    Soon the water will be warm enough to take a bath with those duckies.
  • Be careful (Score:5, Funny)

    by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:42PM (#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."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:47PM (#25144383)

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

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:14PM (#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.

    • 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? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:44PM (#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.

    • 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. :(
  • Nasa upgraded its weather research supercomputer with wind up mice.
  • 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.

  • by bigsteve@dstc (140392) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @08:39PM (#25145597)
    My rubber Donald wants to volunteer to be part of this experiment. Does anyone know where he can sign up?
  • by renegadesx (977007) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @09:38PM (#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
  • 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.
  • 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).

    ht

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

    cute idea thou

  • 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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