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Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science Hardcover – March 24, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
from garbage to sneakers to dead bodies, are carried around by the
surface currents of the ocean. I particularly liked the extended
discussion of how careful observation of flotsam may have persuaded
Columbus that the ocean wasn't too wide to cross to India. The book
also gives some nice descriptions of what its like to conduct science
However, as a physical oceanographer, I was disappointed and finally
infuriated by the book's neglect of the discoveries of literally
hundreds of scientists who have studied ocean circulation in the last
century. The book argues for new names of the major ocean gyres but
says little about how the gyres work. Other fascinating topics in
physical oceanography poorly explained by the book are the
relationship between the wind and ocean currents, the existence and
cause of strong currents on the western side of gyres, and the way the
Earth's rotation creates a simple relation between water velocity and
pressure. An intrinsic feature of ocean dynamics is that surface
water tends to converge (draw together in the center) in the
subtropical gyres and diverge (float apart) in the subpolar gyres.
This is very important for understanding why garbage patchs would
accumulate in the subtropical gyres and make landfall adjacent to the
subpolar gyres. Based on the book's discussions of physical
oceanography, I suspect the book could have said more about garbage
and other flotsam as well.
The large gaps in explanation would be less irritating if the book
didn't sometimes give the impression that Dr.Read more ›
Contents: Preface: A New World, Chasing Water; Oil and Icebergs; Messages in Bottles; Eureka, a Sneaker!; Coffins, Castaways, and Cadavers; The Admiral of the Floating World; Borne on a Black Current; The Great Conveyor; Ashes to Ashes, Life from the Sea; Junk Beach and Garbage Patch; The Synthetic Sea; The Music of the Gyres; Appendix A: Urban Legends of the Sea; Appendix B: A Million Drifting Messages; Appendix C: The Oceanic Gyres; Appendix D: Ocean Memory; Appendix E: Harmonics of the Gyres; Acknowledgements; Illustration Credits; Glossary; Further Reading; Index
Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer wasn't always an oceanographer; his undergraduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering and after college, he landed a job with Mobil Oil. Soon, he decided he wanted a graduate degree and gravitated toward two possibilities; nuclear engineering and oceanography. His wife was interested in library sciences. Deciding on a college that was strong in all three took him to the University of Washington. It was there that Dr. Ebbesmeyer decided on oceanography.Read more ›
It was Ebbesmeyer's mother in 1991 who clipped an article for him to see. Nike shoes were landing all over the Oregon coast. Beachcombers helped him document where the shoes were found, and he started asking questions about where they came from. Nike was helpful. Not only could it tell him the exact location of the spill, but every single shoe is stamped with an ID number, which can be tracked back to the particular container that spilled it. Ebbesmeyer teamed with colleague Jim Ingraham to use a computer program called the Ocean Surface Current Simulator.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It took a few years and several attempts but I finally got through this book. It's dull and long winded, but the topic is fascinating. Read morePublished on December 12, 2013 by fourdegreesc
Ebbesmeyer tells a great story about Earth's flotsam and jetsam while serving as a role model for future oceanographers and coastal policy managers. Read morePublished on November 26, 2013 by steffen schmidt
This is a fascinating look at how water currents work - as illustrated by the movements of flotsam and jetsam all over the world.Published on September 22, 2013 by Louisa Beckett
In order to educate the public about the plight of our trashy oceans, I have to educate myself first. This is an easy to read book. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by Sandra Dubpernell
Flotsametrics is entertaining, tremendously educational and informative while including anecdotes that had me roaring with laughter.
Can't wait to share it with friends. Read more
This is a book that provided me with fresh ideas about the ocean gyres of the world and how these affect so many things we rarely wonder about - how salmon return, how oil spills... Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by Andrew Wilson
Not a technical scientific paper full of obtuse jargon and data(which the author has done a good deal of in the past) - just a very interesting and informative look at a hopefully... Read morePublished on December 8, 2009 by R Grimes