- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (June 22, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061558427
- ISBN-13: 978-0061558429
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science Paperback – June 22, 2010
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“Part oceanography lesson, part memoir, this cheerful book examines Ebbesmeyer’s life and work as a pioneering oceanographer (the first to work for Mobil/Standard Oil, in 1969) and connoisseur of beach-combed artifacts.” (Publishers Weekly)
“With a whimsical mood overlaying serious science, Ebbesmeyer’s work will appeal to the environmentally minded.” (Booklist)
“As much genial personal memoir as pop-oceanography exposition…When science goes right, we discover how mid-ocean spills of hockey gloves or rubber ducks enhance oceanographic understanding; (The Guardian)
“Light and lively...Shoes, messages in bottles, and floating rubber ducks have kept Ebbesmeyer’s eye on the big picture. Besides, as readers will readily agree, they’ve been a lot of fun to study.” (Natural History magazine)
Whether you want to learn more about how the oceans tick or how we are affecting our environment, or to reminisce about science not being what it used to be, this is a very enjoyable, if at times dark, book. (Nature)
From the Back Cover
Pioneering oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer seized the world's imagination when he and his worldwide network of beachcomber volunteers traced ocean currents using thousands of sneakers and plastic bath toys spilled from storm-tossed freighters. Now, for the first time, Ebbesmeyer tells the story of his lifelong quest to solve the sea's mysteries. He recounts how flotsam has changed the course of history. He reveals the rhythmic and harmonic order in the vast oceanic currents and uncovers the astonishing story of flotsam, altering the world's view of trash, the ocean, and our global environment.
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Top customer reviews
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I teach and write about coastal policy and coastal issues. None is more fascinating than the journey of "stuff" on the rivers that flow across Earth's oceans and move this stuff around, depositing some of it on the beaches, wetlands, marshes, and shorelines of the world. Ebbesmeyer is the "biographer of coastal stuff" as I call him. He wants to know where it came from and what it is.
Marine debris as it is scientifically called, is the fingerprint of the living, moving, blowing, and churning planet in which we live. Debris comes in two favors natural and human.
Natural debris includes anything that grows and floats! Dead whales and giant octopuses, cocoanuts, fascinating seed pods, shells.
Human debris, well you can guess. It's all the things that we have made which get dumped on purpose, fall overboard and float away like Nike sneakers and the now famous yellow plasticky "duckies" that Ebbesmeyer has traced for years around the world. It also includes everything that gets ripped up by its steel and concrete roots by tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons, waterspouts and tornadoes and then deposited in that huge bathtub that covers most of the Earth's surface, the oceans.
In this book you will follow the endless spiraling gyres that circulate Earths waters around the planet and why these huge virtual rivers are so important to our climate and marine life.
You will discover to much delight how a beer company used these marketing channels to distribute thousands of floating bottles of their brew as a marketing gimmick. You will also uncover mysteries of great interest and puzzles as yet un solved about humans and natural phenomena such as the giant garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I have always wondered about those sneakers with a foot still in them that keep wasting ashore in the Pacific Northwest. Murder? Natural deaths? A joke being played by a secret prankster society? I'm hoping Flotsametrics can help answer this and so many other mysteries on the wrack line, the area along the beach and shore where stuff accumulates as the wind and tides do their work.
When I launch the Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) on coastal policy, a free course which you will be able to take on the Internet, we will use many of Ebbesmeyer's marvelous discoveries and insights to help understand the magic and the challenges of our coastal zones. Coastal@iastate.edu is my address for more information on all of this.
This book is written with style and humor but in the final analysis it is a scientific book about a fascinating force on Earth that affects beaches, fish, coral reefs, and life itself. I say it's a must read.
Can't wait to share it with friends.
One suggestion: though the smaller maps of ocean areas are helpful, because the book covers such huge ocean areas, including a world map would be great. This was a great read...I recommend it highly.