Oceanic 'garbage patch' not nearly as big as portrayed in media: researchers

Jan 04, 2011
Trawling for plastics

There is a lot of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, but claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to an analysis by an Oregon State University scientist.

Further claims that the oceans are filled with more plastic than , and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, pointed out Angelicque "Angel" White, an assistant professor of oceanography at Oregon State.

"There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world's oceans is troubling, but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists," White said. "We have data that allow us to make reasonable estimates; we don't need the hyperbole. Given the observed concentration of plastic in the North Pacific, it is simply inaccurate to state that plastic outweighs plankton, or that we have observed an exponential increase in plastic."

White has pored over published literature and participated in one of the few expeditions solely aimed at understanding the abundance of and the associated impact of plastic on microbial communities. That expedition was part of research funded by the National Science Foundation through C-MORE, the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education.

The studies have shown is that if you look at the actual area of the plastic itself, rather than the entire North Pacific subtropical gyre, the hypothetically "cohesive" plastic patch is actually less than 1 percent of the geographic size of Texas.

"The amount of plastic out there isn't trivial," White said. "But using the highest concentrations ever reported by scientists produces a patch that is a small fraction of the state of Texas, not twice the size."

Another way to look at it, White said, is to compare the amount of plastic found to the amount of water in which it was found. "If we were to filter the surface area of the ocean equivalent to a football field in waters having the highest concentration (of plastic) ever recorded," she said, "the amount of plastic recovered would not even extend to the 1-inch line."

Recent research by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that the amount of plastic, at least in the Atlantic Ocean, hasn't increased since the mid-1980s – despite greater production and consumption of materials made from plastic, she pointed out.

"Are we doing a better job of preventing plastics from getting into the ocean?" White said. "Is more plastic sinking out of the surface waters? Or is it being more efficiently broken down? We just don't know. But the data on hand simply do not suggest that 'plastic patches' have increased in size. This is certainly an unexpected conclusion, but it may in part reflect the high spatial and temporal variability of plastic concentrations in the ocean and the limited number of samples that have been collected."

The hyperbole about plastic patches saturating the media rankles White, who says such exaggeration can drive a wedge between the public and the scientific community. One recent claim that the is as deep as the Golden Gate Bridge is tall is completely unfounded, she said.

"Most plastics either sink or float," White pointed out. "Plastic isn't likely to be evenly distributed through the top 100 feet of the water column."

White says there is growing interest in removing plastic from the ocean, but such efforts will be costly, inefficient, and may have unforeseen consequences. It would be difficult, for example, to "corral" and remove plastic particles from ocean waters without inadvertently removing phytoplankton, zooplankton, and small surface-dwelling aquatic creatures.

"These small organisms are the heartbeat of the ocean," she said. "They are the foundation of healthy ocean food chains and immensely more abundant than plastic debris."

These small pieces of plastic were taken during trawls as part of a project to study their prevalence in the ocean. (photo courtesy of C-MORE project)

The relationship between microbes and plastic is what drew White and her C-MORE colleagues to their analysis in the first place. During a recent expedition, they discovered that photosynthetic microbes were thriving on many plastic particles, in essence confirming that plastic is prime real estate for certain microbes.

White also noted that while plastic may be beneficial to some organisms, it can also be toxic. Specifically, it is well-known that plastic debris can adsorb toxins such as PCB.

"On one hand, these plastics may help remove toxins from the water," she said. "On the other hand, these same toxin-laden particles may be ingested by fish and seabirds. Plastic clearly does not belong in the ocean."

Among other findings, which White believes should be part of the public dialogue on ocean trash:

  • Calculations show that the amount of energy it would take to remove plastics from the ocean is roughly 250 times the mass of the plastic itself;
  • Plastic also covers the ocean floor, particularly offshore of large population centers. A recent survey from the state of California found that 3 percent of the southern California Bight's ocean floor was covered with plastic – roughly half the amount of ocean floor covered by lost fishing gear in the same location. But little, overall, is known about how much plastic has accumulated at the bottom of the ocean, and how far offshore this debris field extends;
  • It is a common misperception that you can see or quantify plastic from space. There are no tropical plastic islands out there and, in fact, most of the plastic isn't even visible from the deck of a boat;
  • There are areas of the largely unpolluted by plastic. A recent trawl White conducted in a remote section of water between Easter Island and Chile pulled in no plastic at all.
There are other issues with plastic, White said, including the possibility that floating debris may act as a vector for introducing invasive species into sensitive habitats.

"If there is a takeaway message, it's that we should consider it good news that the 'garbage patch' doesn't seem to be as bad as advertised," White said, "but since it would be prohibitively costly to remove the plastic, we need to focus our efforts on preventing more trash from fouling our oceans in the first place."

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Quantum_Conundrum
2.3 / 5 (28) Jan 04, 2011
It looks like the whole thing has been just another green/AGW alarmist hoax. No big surprise here.
zslewis91
3.2 / 5 (21) Jan 04, 2011
ah,Yeah? duh, der. /sarc/*

Hey @QuantumK, lets start a "physorg" bible study group so we can all think like you do...jesus christ that'd be sweet. /sarc/+

gunslingor1
2.5 / 5 (15) Jan 04, 2011
Quantum_Conundrum, don't you think scientists have better things to do than pull practil jokes on you? Or are you now going to change your stance and claim scientists are just trying to creat work for themselves? Which one, you've used both and it is unlikely both.

As for the article, it is pretty good. I didn't agree with a few things, I think she is being far to conclusive for a single tour of the area, specifically:

Or is it being more efficiently broken down?

-plastics do not break down in seawater, it actually makes them last longer.

But the data on hand simply do not suggest that 'plastic patches' have increased in size.

-Data on hand? who's data, yours?

This is certainly an unexpected conclusion, but it may in part reflect the high spatial and temporal variability of plastic concentrations in the ocean and the limited number of samples that have been collected."

-thats more like it, truthiness is better than misleading statements.
Sean_W
3.5 / 5 (15) Jan 04, 2011
While the hysteria should have been obvious from the beginning of this story, it is nice to see some small attempt to replace myth with facts.
gunslingor1
3.7 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2011
During a recent expedition, they discovered that photosynthetic microbes were thriving on many plastic particles, in essence confirming that plastic is prime real estate for certain microbes.

-everything on this planet, every place in our solar system (practically), is prime realestate for some type of microb. And they aren't eating the plastic, just living on it, very few exotic organisms can consume plastic, this is the reason we use it to store our food. If organisms could eat it, we would still be using glass more.

From her research:
"Nonetheless, we did observe several instances where the feeding tubes of Vellela vellela which were obstructed by small pieces of plastic."

Also, has anyone seen a news article saying the patch is as deep as the goldengate bridge? I've been looking and can't find a thing, never heard that said before.

Quantum,

Forget the AGW guys, this is a separate issue. Though, do you really think we should use our oceans as garbage dumps?
Quantum_Conundrum
3.8 / 5 (13) Jan 04, 2011
Forget the AGW guys, this is a separate issue. Though, do you really think we should use our oceans as garbage dumps?


Nope.
Sean_W
3.3 / 5 (17) Jan 04, 2011
-plastics do not break down in seawater, it actually makes them last longer.


You know, I have been told that plastics last for thousands (some have told me millions) of years. Then I see videos of poor people recycling trash into crafts for cash and the plastics they are accumulating are all falling apart. But we are supposed to beleave that this degradation magically stops when the pieces reach a certain size. So I would like to know, how many pieces of plastic have been tested for hundreds of thousands of years in water, salt or otherwise while bathed in sunlight (especially UV) and exposed to bacteria and other crap.

We were also told that bacteria could never survive in, much less eat, petroleum. Until the found lots of them doing exactly that at spill sites. Maybe people should stop telling nature how to behave - climate, evolution and the biosphere don't check in with the cultural elite in the media and academia before taking action.
El_Nose
4 / 5 (14) Jan 04, 2011
HOW did you tie AGW back into this article QC?? it isn't even related or mentioned
Quantum_Conundrum
2.4 / 5 (17) Jan 04, 2011
HOW did you tie AGW back into this article QC?? it isn't even related or mentioned


Well, you know, the whole theme going with the environmentalists making a claim that is over 3 orders of magnitude worse than the actual data suggests?

Previously, they made it sound like there was an actual matt of plastic waste twice the size of texas in the ocean. Now this scientist says that isn't true, if you take the highest rate of plastic seen and skim an area the size of a football field, you'd only get 1 inch worth o fplastic.

Well, that's an almost insignificant amount compared to the prior false claims that it was a matt twice the size of texas.

Now what motivation do these liars have for exaggerating their findings so much previously?

AGW ties into it because environmentalists are of course always got their hands in the AGW pot stiring up trouble. I'm sure they'll claim some connection soon anyway.
QuantumDelta
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 04, 2011
Who made such a claim? - Cuz, although I have heard it as well, I certainly couldn't give you a source, or study.
deatopmg
2.3 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2011
YOH! all of you, look at the title. This "pollution" is a media driven event, i.e. it sells advertising space or time by getting YOU to read, listen, or buy.

Everything the media reports, whether lame stream, Fox, CPB/NPR, is driven by money and/or ideology.

OBSERVE and THIMK!
CaliforniaDave
4 / 5 (8) Jan 04, 2011
"Calculations show that the amount of energy it would take to remove plastics from the ocean is roughly 250 times the mass of the plastic itself"
WTF? I am well aware that mass and energy are equivalent (as in E=mc^2) but suspect this is just poor science or sloppy writing, I expect better from Physorg...
trekgeek1
3.4 / 5 (8) Jan 04, 2011
When people talk about the global warming conspiracy, I always think about this:

http://i.usatoday.net/news/opinion/cartoons/2009/December/e091207_pett.jpg
gunslingor1
2.8 / 5 (6) Jan 05, 2011

You know, I have been told that plastics last for thousands of years...


Sean,

plastics are relatively inert, it is why they have replaced glass which is even more inert. If organisms could consume it, we would not be using it to store food.

How do they know the lifetime of plastics? excelerated corosion tests. You asking something equivalent to "how does GM know how safe their cars are when they don't test them in real world crashs".

As for your petroleum rant, yes there are a few bacteria that can eat petroleum, some can live in arrsenic rich water, some can live in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, some have even survived the 2 year trip through space and life on mars. So? Do you want to live in a world where natural selection, corrupted by man, results in a planet full of plastic and petroleum consuming microbs? Every animal has a nitch, and each new nitch closes an old one. Enjoy your fish, fish were already considered toxic prior to the spill.
yoatmon
3 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2011
Garbage patch in the Pacific:
It doesn't matter how big that patch is. What matters is that it is there and doesn't belong there! In the silly attempt to play down this event, I'd like to hear those bitching - making this playdown - if they find a dogs turd on their own doorstep.
gunslingor1
2.8 / 5 (8) Jan 05, 2011
yoatmon,

I agree, those on here trying to play down the event and mark all those concerned for their environment (including AGW) simply as alarmists trying to make money are far worse than those presenting the worst case senario (giant garbage patch). Fact of the matter is this problem is highly unstudied and this girl just took a single tour and place 15 probes over an area that would usually take 500 probes to cover. I'm not saying her conclusions are wrong, I'm saying they are presented as too conclusive for simply "analyzing the data AT HAND". There is virtually no data at hand. People don't want to look at this problem, best case senario of a study, we spend tons of money to clean up our mess, worst case, we spend even more money. So it is being largely ignored.

I don't approve of exagerating the situation, I don't approve of presenting the worst case senario as reality, mainly since reality on this issue is so uncertain.

What matters is we are destroying our planet.
Modernmystic
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2011
HOW did you tie AGW back into this article QC?? it isn't even related or mentioned


Is planet hunting related to studying stellar formation? It's very relevant because it shows a trend in this KIND of "science".

This is a common trend amongst environmental scientists...exaggeration is how they get their grants. No science or actual facts necessary.
gunslingor1
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2011
It is important for some of you to understand how plastics degrade with time, and how we have determined this.

First, how do plastics degrade? Primary via light or photons. Light doesn't corrode plastics, but after excessive exposure, it makes the plastics brittle and they crack into little pieces, which does increase the weathered surface area but also decrease the chances of futher cracking as the pieces get smaller.

This stuff is used because it is realtively non reactive with our enviroment. Glass is even better and is not a major environmental concern because, once the piece get small enough, they turn into sand.

Okay, so how do exclerated corrosion tests work? If your modeling the life of plastic over 1000 years during a 1 year timeframe, you would expose the plastic to 1000 x more light than it would see in a typical year, 1000x more movement, an appropriat facor of heat,etc. It isn't 100% accurate, but it is usually 90% accurate and edges results on the side of caution
gunslingor1
2.6 / 5 (8) Jan 05, 2011
This is a common trend amongst environmental scientists...exaggeration is how they get their grants. No science or actual facts necessary.

-Really where are your sources?
-I think it is far to say that SOME environmentalists, not necessarily knowledgeable scientists, are exagerating the facts out of concern for their planet. But I also think it is far to say that the a large number of companies, congressman, and lobiests are downplaying the facts out of concern for their wallets alone. Which really desires to be attacked more?
exaggeration is how they get their grants.

-Really? You really think the primary method scientists use to obtain grants is exageration? Can you please provide examples, you should at least have a few proven examples to make such an EXAGERATED claim. Go on, if your not excessively EXAGERATING this claim, prove it. I'm afraid your not just an exagerater yourself, but also a hypocrite.
CSharpner
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2011
What matters is we are destroying our planet.

Yes and to get more people on board, we need to insist that our media and scientists as well, present the data "as is" rather than exaggerating it. When the exaggerations are exposed, we lose people that might have been on board to help and discredit the movement in general.
gunslingor1
3.3 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2011
Csharpner,

It is human nature, to take a large group of people and ask them a question, some will be honest, some will exagerate, some will downplay; this is especially true when the issue is important. I do think we should do something about the terrible propaganda and media agenda in this country, but I'm not willing to watch the planet wither in the meantime.

Also note, that even if, tomorrow, AGW is proven 100% and every single person on the planet beleive it as valid, there will still be a lot of people who don't care. I've met tons of christians who beleive god gave us the earth to do what we like with, even destroy. They look at earth as a gift to be used and thrown out, I look at it as borrowed or just the most precious gift ever, to be preserved and displayed on a mantle, not to pick out the best chucks and discard.

These guys are around now, just as AGW exageraters are; based on our inaction on the issue, it is clear who has the loader voice in the corrupt media.
gunslingor1
4 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2011
Posting this again in case you decide to respond with words rather than ratings:

This is a common trend amongst environmental scientists...exaggeration is how they get their grants.


-Really where are your sources?
-I think it is far to say that SOME environmentalists, not necessarily knowledgeable scientists, are exagerating the facts out of concern for their planet. But I also think it is far to say that the a large number of companies, congressman, and lobiests are downplaying the facts out of concern for their wallets alone. Which really desires to be attacked more?

exaggeration is how they get their grants.


-Really? You really think the primary method scientists use to obtain grants is exageration? Can you please provide examples, you should at least have a few proven examples to make such an EXAGERATED claim. Go on, if your not excessively EXAGERATING this claim, prove it. I'm afraid your not just an exagerater yourself, but also a hypocrite.
antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2011
Still...we need to clean up this gunk sooner or later - or else it'll just continue to accumulate and/or end up in the stuff we put on our tables.
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
Still...we need to clean up this gunk sooner or later - or else it'll just continue to accumulate and/or end up in the stuff we put on our tables.


-Check the content of mercury, plasticizers & pharmaceutical drugs contained in the fish you eat now; our toxic garbage is already on our dinner tables budy. It is part of the reason 38% of deaths are caused by cancer, which is primarily caused by air pollution but it all adds up. Mercury poisoning at a young age also results in symptons similar to autism spectrum disorder, which is in fact on a scary rise as I am sure you have heard; not saying there is a connection, but common sense tells me there is. The real fear is that cancer is on a seriously scary rise. In 1950, 60% of the population smoked, 20% of deaths were cancer related. In 2000, 20% of the population smoked and 35% of deaths were cancer related. In 2010, 38% of deaths were caused by cancer. Average=3% per decade. These are facts, challenge them, please.
Kingsix
5 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2011
Quantum that first comment is just stupid, it doesn't even hold true to the story. She says that the amount is alarming. And it would definitely be the media blowing things out of proportion by wanting a good headline or not understanding the science before making claims.

I do like how you can see some of the "surface dwelling creatures" in the picture of the collected plastic. They are on the left lower quadrant, soft of look similar to water striders.
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
As for cleaning up the oceans, good luck with that; if you thought landing on the moon for the first time was expensive, its laughable. just in this one little hydrolic belt discussed here, your talking about picking up trash on a surface area comparable to the entire U.S. Not to mention there is probably trash 1-4 miles throughout the water column, mostly accumulating on the bottom. If we cannot remove the trash from the US landmass (static medium), how on earth can we expect to remove it from the sea (fluid dynamics).

No, I hate to say it, but there is one thing I've learned: once the damage is done to an ecosystem, costs to restore or even replace the ecosystem far excede any profit gained by many decimal points. Deepwater horizon case in point, and they are only concerned about mitigating the VISIBLE effects.

I wish there was another way, but preventative maintenance and good design from the start is the only solution in my mind. The damage that is already done will persist.
Kingsix
2.7 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
Gunslingor:
I would say that your cancer related deaths (related to smoking) could be traced back looking at whether people had smoked at all.
If you look at an average live expectancy of 70 (older people don't have our great expectancy of 82),and trace that back to people born in 1941. From before 1941 until the 90's smoking was very
Stat on Tobacco.org in 1945 44-47% of Americans smoke, in 1942 75% of Austrailian men smoke.
20 year lag in cancer from smoking (wiki :tobacco smoking) age of lung cancer deaths in the US: 70 (wiki:lung cancer)
Basically it should be 2040-2050 before we see not smoking take a bite out of cancer deaths. Its not like stopping smoking after 40 years negates the risks.
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
Its not like stopping smoking after 40 years negates the risks.

-interesting you use that number; doctors, based on statistical data, say a person who smokes 1 cigarette a day for 1 year requires 40-50 years of not smoking in order to reduce their cancer risk down to a normal level.
-look, I'm not a doctor but my father is and I read the research continuously. Most doctors will tell you air pollution, not smoking, is the leading cause of cancer. This is because smoking is an intermitent process, maybe a pack day, while pollution is a constent 24h/day process. Doctors say living in Manhattan is equivalent to smoking 5 packs of cigarettes a day; LA is even worse. And these areas of high pollution alway, without exception, show higher cancer rates above the average of 38%. All this is very easily determined with existing data such as hospital records, no data mining necessary.

There is a similar corolation in areas of high fish consumption associated heart/brain disorders+.
geokstr
1.2 / 5 (6) Jan 05, 2011
When people talk about the global warming conspiracy...

You know, even conservatives would like to make sure we take care of this planet. But when the left uses highly speculative science, Photoshopped fakery and outright fraud to push environmental "solutions" that just happen to be a Collectivist wet dream list to do so, you will get push back. In addition, what happens is that science in general will lose its cherished reputation for unbiased, objective investigation and will increasingly just be viewed as another form of propaganda, which, of course, is precisely what the left would like to use it for.
yoatmon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2011
@ Kingsix - 46 minutes ago:
I think that your logic of reasoning is not correct. Smoking itself constitutes a health hazard. A person radiant with health is probably less susceptible to detrimental results of smoking. Smoking is more harmful to a person that has a rather ill constitution.
Well, smoking some 100 or more years ago, in a relatively intact environment,was more than likely less harmful than nowadays. The atmosphere surrounding us is being saturated more and more with pollutants with every day that passes.
The pollen from grasses, trees and other plants drifting through the air reacts chemically with diluted sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. Some of the substances may act as a catalyzer, others as a reactant. The heat of a cigaret or cigar sets of undescribable chemical reactions that no one is really aware of. The individual who smokes does not only inhale nicotine but additionally a myriad of other substances that certainly do not contribute to his well-being.
Yellowdart
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2011
Most doctors will tell you air pollution, not smoking, is the leading cause of cancer.


Actually, I believe the largeset exposure vs. carcongenic risk goes to Radon.
gunslingor1
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2011
When people talk about the global warming conspiracy...

You know, even conservatives would like to make sure we take care of this planet. But when the left uses highly speculative science, Photoshopped fakery and outright fraud

-your backing yourself into an unjustifiable unprovable corner budy. Show me one example of environmental scientists using photoshop to doctor images, show me one of "out right fraud"; if you claim the climitgate scandal as an example, then you haven't read the emails and are simply lieing. Show me the email of concern.

-as for speculative science, which is the act of presenting a hypothesus as theory or law, I can agree that both sides have been guilty of this. But, don't you dare forget that GW was an identified environmental process back in the 60s and was denied as a valid process by conservatives until recently, and even now they still filibuster climate legislation. They have lost credibility on the issue, oil has deep pockets.
gunslingor1
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2011
-What do conservatives, by definition, stand for? They stand for a limited approach to goverment, a conservative approach. You'll notice these same conservatives do not want regulation of companies whether food, oil, envirnoment, whatever. They beleive that markets can regulated themselves; they even beleive this is the case for markets that do not participate in capitalism, such as consumers power and gas bills...the consumer only has a single choice, so no capitalism here. Yet, at the same time, the are perfectly fine with regulating the people; no gay marriage, no gay military, no abortion, etc (guns are the exception).

So, what does this all mean? In the end, at face value, conservatives represent coorporations while liberals represent consumers; of course, the overlap is obvious. The point is, those who take bribes and manipulate science to suit the purpose of their constituents will make far more money siding with oil companies than university professors. Obvious choice.
Kingsix
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
by no means was I trying to say that all of our problems come from things like Smoking. Yeah we have a lot of pollution problems on our planet. I was merely offering a possible alternative to gunsligors request to challenge him on why cancer deaths were not going down with less people smoking.
The real fear is that cancer is on a seriously scary rise. In 1950, 60% of the population smoked, 20% of deaths were cancer related. In 2000, 20% of the population smoked and 35% of deaths were cancer related. In 2010, 38% of deaths were caused by cancer. Average=3% per decade. These are facts, challenge them, please.


Oh and gunslingor, I am not American, but we have the same politics here. Right or Left Wing - Their approaches to gov may differ, their reasons for being there are the same. Power=$, no matter how many say they are there to help the people. [/blockquote]
Kingsix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2011
Sorry about the poor quoting, forgot the / for endquote.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2011
I do think I realized that Kingsix, and it is possible something along those lines could possibly be right, but you have to be careful. It was hard to read your first post, but it was presented as a real theory or fact when, as you admit, it is only speculation and a hypothesis. Whereas, some of my statements where fact and some were theory. If your going to speculate, that's 100% fine, just don't use speculation as a response to fact, at least not without clarifying it or without a real intent to prove it.

.....to challenge him on why cancer deaths were not going down with less people smoking.

-my concern isn't that cancer rates from non-smoking related sources isn't go down, my concern is that they are skyrocketing. 3% increase per decade since 1940; if this continues, within 40 years, 50% of deaths will be caused by cancer. Population will start to decline at 55%, this is a real concern. Heart decease is also exacerbated by air pollution and cigarettes.
gunslingor1
2 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2011
-we know what causes most cancers, certainly the large magority. Its a game of statistics. When an abnormal molecule (carcinogene) penetrates the cellar wall and nucleus, it can literally bind with or replace DND creating a rouge cell. Sometimes the cell replicates out of control, sometimes it just dies, sometimes something else happens; DNA is complicated. Some people have resistence to this molecular invassion; George Burns smoked 5 cigars a day and died of old age at 100. It is a statistical game based on exposure to carcinogens, genetics and luck.

So, what are carcinogens? There are an uncountable number but, generally, any molecule that does not normal penetrate the nucleus can be a potential carcinogen. Our bodies evolved with the natural world, so most natural molecules have already been programmed for effective rejection by the nucleus. Burning is the process of random oxidation of complex organic molecules, resulting in a plethoria of unseen molecules with every puff.
gunslingor1
2 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2011
Most doctors will tell you air pollution, not smoking, is the leading cause of cancer.


Actually, I believe the largeset exposure vs. carcongenic risk goes to Radon.


-I completely agree, but your statements are misleading because they lack in units.
-Being exposed to Radon (or uranium,aspestos,etc)for say a full month straight carries a much hirer risk than living in New York for a full month straight, but the world is exposed to pollution every day, every hour, every second of every year. Everytime your in your cars, your house, or the remotest locations, some amount of pollution is there, Radon is rarely there. Since cancer is a statistical game where the house (cancer) always wins so long as you keep playing, pollution wins as the worlds greatest death mechine. Its killed more people than Holocaust. Hows that for envirnomentalist fear mogering, lol, sorry sorry, I do believe all this and you are welcome to prove me wrong =).
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2011
In 1950, 60% of the population smoked, 20% of deaths were cancer related. In 2000, 20% of the population smoked and 35% of deaths were cancer related. In 2010, 38% of deaths were caused by cancer. Average=3% per decade. These are facts, challenge them, please.


It's simple math:
1) Rate of death is always 100%. Some causes of death have been successfully combatted in the past decades which means that those that we have not made any headway against (like cancer) will cause a higher percentage of the overall death rate - even if the toxicity in food/air/whatever doesn't change at all.

2) Cancer is (to a certain extent) a probabilistic illness. This means that over a given timespan you are likely to get cancer with a certain probability (even if no adverse factors like toxins are present). Increase of average lifespan (which has happened over the past few decades) will therefore automatically lead to an increase of cancer cases by percentage.
trekgeek1
3 / 5 (6) Jan 05, 2011
When people talk about the global warming conspiracy...

You know, even conservatives would like to make sure we take care of this planet. But when the left uses highly speculative science, Photoshopped fakery and outright fraud to push environmental "solutions" that just happen to be a Collectivist wet dream list to do so, you will get push back. In addition, what happens is that science in general will lose its cherished reputation for unbiased, objective investigation and will increasingly just be viewed as another form of propaganda, which, of course, is precisely what the left would like to use it for.


Damn those collectivist solar, wind, and electric vehicle conspiracies. Or collectivist emission regulations?
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2011

It's simple math:
1) Rate of death is always 100%. Some causes of death have been successfully combatted in the past decades which means that those that we have not made any headway against (like cancer) will cause a higher percentage of the overall death rate - even if the toxicity in food/air/whatever doesn't change at all.

2) Cancer is (to a certain extent) a probabilistic illness. This means that over a given timespan you are likely to get cancer with a certain probability (even if no adverse factors like toxins are present). Increase of average lifespan (which has happened over the past few decades) will therefore automatically lead to an increase of cancer cases by percentage.

-I do not deny that a drop in deaths from other sources will lead to an increase in deaths from cancer, but certainly not a 100% increase. And, as you probably know, they have made great improvements in treating and even, for the most part, curing cancer in some patients. Kemo does work.
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2011
I have a simple question.

If cancer rates are up and the sky is falling and "OMG WE'RE ALL BEING POLLUTED TO DEATH!!!!"...then, uh why has the life expectancy in industrial "polluted" nations skyrocketed SINCE they industrialized and began "polluting everything and everyone to death"?

Just a minor flaw I'm seeing in some of the "logic" being bandied about here...
gunslingor1
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2011
I have a simple question.

If cancer rates are up and the sky is falling and "OMG WE'RE ALL BEING POLLUTED TO DEATH!!!!"...then, uh why has the life expectancy in industrial "polluted" nations skyrocketed SINCE they industrialized and began "polluting everything and everyone to death"?

Just a minor flaw I'm seeing in some of the "logic" being bandied about here...I have a simple question.

If cancer rates are up and the sky is falling and "OMG WE'RE ALL BEING POLLUTED TO DEATH!!!!"...then, uh why has the life expectancy in industrial "polluted" nations skyrocketed SINCE they industrialized and began "polluting everything and everyone to death"?

Just a minor flaw I'm seeing in some of the "logic" being bandied about here...


I have a simple answer. Medicine has come an extremely long way since the industrial revolution. Life is now extended for most people with illness that were untreatable back then. Infant mortally also lowered life expectancies of those years.
gunslingor1
2 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2011
-We are starting to push the limit were AIDS patients are more likely to die of old age than of AIDS.
-Heart attack victims now can get diffibulators, artifical hearts (usually extending life by at least 5 years), transplants, statins, and a plethoria of other life extending medicine.
-Infant mortality has dropped by orders of magnitude.
-We have CAT scans, MRIs, etc.
-We have Cancer treatments that relativevly probably cure 60% of cancer victims.
-etc

This is precisely the primary reason health care is so much more expensive then it was back then, its a hell of a lot better.

I sincerely hope your response isn't going to be "Okay, so polllution is no big deal, we'll extend the life of cancer patients to old age soon enough!" It would show little knowledge or thought on the issue. I would be equivalent to saying "Hey, people can live to old age with AIDS now! Therefore no one should wear a condom" I have heard this flawed logic before, which is why I mention it.
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2011
My simple response is your response is completely irrelevant. It didn't address my point at all, in fact no response can refute my point. It's an unequivocal fact that human life is longer, and human survival is BETTER since the "ewvilll industrial revolution". My position is as unassailable as someone who states the Earth isn't flat.

Your response did nothing more than explain WHY I'm right. It did nothing towards proving me actually wrong...
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2011
Maybe I am misunderstanding the point you were trying to make. My reading of your first post led me to the conclusion that you were refuting my facts concerning cancer rates. Based on your last post, it now sounds like you were trying to make the point that increases in cancer rates do not matter because life is getting better in general as we progress as a species. Is this correct? Otherwise, what is your point?

If the latter is true, I ask, how do you think life gets longer and better as we progress as a speicies? Its by people recognizing a problem and acting to correct it, not by throwing our hands up saying someone will fix later. That's all I'm doing man; I'm an engineer in power with a doctor for a father. There is serious cancer problem that needs correcting; this will extend life expectancies even further than current levels and will make life overall better. Why resist?

Your point? You want to ignore cancer and offset these deaths with new treatments for other deseases?
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 06, 2011
Ignore cancer? No indeed, that's the kind of thing we did before industry provided us the time, tools, and people to address not just cancer, but ALL disease...
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2011
Please clarify the point you were trying to make with these statements. You agree with my cancer statistics and agree that cancer is a big problem that should be solved, what the heck was your point?

I have a simple question.

If cancer rates are up and the sky is falling and "OMG WE'RE ALL BEING POLLUTED TO DEATH!!!!"...then, uh why has the life expectancy in industrial "polluted" nations skyrocketed SINCE they industrialized and began "polluting everything and everyone to death"?

Just a minor flaw I'm seeing in some of the "logic" being bandied about here...


No one is argueing that industry is bad, cutting costs without regards for health, that is the problem. Right now, this is happening all over industry, but by far no worse a place than air emissions.
gunslingor1
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2011
I mean seriously, what the hell point are you trying to make? I identify a big problem, your response is to attack me, even though you agree with my statistics and agree the problem should be fixed.. You must be crazy man.

Maybe your angry because I presented a tipping point of 55% which, if trends continue, will be reached in 60 years. At this point, in theory (as previously stated, this is theory), more people will die each year than people are born. This is a major concern. Consider 30 years after this, 100 years from now. If trends continue, 100 years from now 68% of deaths will be cancer related, not accounting for advances in medicine.

Medicine keeps getting better, smoking rates keep plumeting, but cancer is spreading like a plague. It is the leading cause of death next to heart desease. So yes, I am a little concerned that you donot consider this a serious situation that we morally must fix, and fully have the capacity to fix while modernizing production in parallel.
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2011
And it is blatantly obvious that someone is grading these comments on personal desires, not accuracy or quality of comment. Of course, whomever is doing this is a real pussy for not defending their beliefs with words.
gunslingor1
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2011
It didn't address my point at all, in fact no response can refute my point. It's an unequivocal fact that human life is longer, and human survival is BETTER since the "evilll industrial revolution". My position is as unassailable as someone who states the Earth isn't flat.

-aaaah, I think I understand now. Your assuming I'm a vegetarian hippy who lives in the woods and hates modern technology. Well I'm not, I prefer modern technology like nuclear, not obsolete technology like burning anything with BTUs without regards for health or planet. I'm a computer engineer budy, I love new technology and hate the old; so no, I am not proposing we live with the wolves, I'm proposing we modernize to save lives, create a longer lives, create cheaper power, and minimize the risk of a single species destroying gods gift in a few hundred years.

You are right, things are better since the industrial revolution, I never implied they weren't. So? Do we stop here or make it even better?
Skepticus_Rex
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
Do you want to live in a world where natural selection, corrupted by man...


Modern medicine has already corrupted natural selection. Many people who otherewise would have died under natural selection have been saved thereby. People with horrid genetic diseases and genetically prone to various cancers have bred and spread rather than dying out. And, this is just the beginning of the results of our interference with the way things were.

Of course cancer deaths are increasing. So is the population of people more likely to be predisposed to cancers and related deaths. Dinosaurs had cancer. We weren't there to give it to them or to ourselves way back then.

Genetic makeup is often a major factor rather than exposure to carcinogens, although I do agree that keeping the oceans clean is in our best interest for far more reasons than one.
Glyndwr
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
O Well thats fine then Physorg lets keep throwing our junk in ahaha......I just will avoid seafood if I can then ;)
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
Genetic makeup is often a major factor rather than exposure to carcinogens
The reason why this is such a problem is because it climbs the food chain and results in infant mortality. We've seen this in the inuits and other whale and seal eating people in the world as well as in dolphins. The levels of toxins and carniogens reach significant levels in the body of men and women. We get cancers as we're elderly, no big deal in the evolutionary scheme of things, but we store these posions in our fat jsut as the animals did. When a woman breastfeeds she passes these toxins into their newborns, resulting in death of the first children, incidences of childhood cancers and birth defects, mental retardation, and even things as vile as heavy metals poisoning. That's a heavy price to pay for our "progress".
Parsec
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
It is a complete myth that microbes cannot eat plastic, and yet another one that plastic doesn't break down in seawater. The main reason that plastic decomposes so slowly is because bacteria cannot access the long polymer chains, only the ends. But at the ends, the polymer strands decompose just like any other hydrocarbon. The main effect of seawater is both mechanical weathering and sunlight (ever seen how brittle plastic gets in the sun?). Breaking the pieces into very small bits then enhances bacterial decomposition.
scidog
1 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2011
if the trash patch was the size of my living room it would be too big....
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
Modern medicine has already corrupted natural selection.....

-Only for humans, not the ecosystem as a whole. Anyway, mans effects on the ecosystem are already undeniable; 1/3 of the worlds useable landmass is covered by farms, north american rainforests virtually no longer exist and where once larger than south americas, etc. The point is, any effect we have, should have a goal of minimizing the effects and at least trying to improve the ecosystem. The post you responded too was in response to someone who beleives our effect negligable or do not matter if significant.

It is a complete myth that microbes cannot eat plastic

-never said they couldn't, but I ask: which microbs, what percentage of the microb biomass consists of these microbs, and what is the metabolic rate compared with real food?

if the trash patch was the size of my living room it would be too big....

agreed, but we first need a goal achievable for industry, human nature change will follow
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Jan 17, 2011
but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists


We just don't know... but it may in part reflect the high spatial and temporal variability... and the limited number of samples that have been collected


I could name a few other areas where the credibility of science is compromised by the wild claims of extreemists when the evidence doesn't really support the claims.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 17, 2011
I could name a few other areas where the credibility of science is compromised by the wild claims of extreemists when the evidence doesn't really support the claims.
Many of those tinmes it is the claim of the media that is portrayed and not the alleged extremist. The Daily Mail is one such example.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) Jan 17, 2011
I could name a few other areas where the credibility of science is compromised by the wild claims of extreemists when the evidence doesn't really support the claims.
Many of those tinmes it is the claim of the media that is portrayed and not the alleged extremist. The Daily Mail is one such example.


-110% true, and is definitely the source of QC's conspiracy theories.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (5) Jan 18, 2011
-110% true


Negative 100% true? I assume that's a hyphen and not a minus sign?

Many of those tinmes it is the claim of the media that is portrayed and not the alleged extremist


But most of the time the [bold]proven[/bold] extremists provide direct quotes to accompany the press release regarding their research. You know the ones I'm talking about. There's no shortage of activist scientists and professors. Just try to deny it. I double dare you.

In fact, it's hard to find a research press release that doesn't include some kind of personal opinion, bias, or political comment (in certain fields of research, I should say, because some fields are not like that very much).
GSwift7
3 / 5 (6) Jan 18, 2011
You can pretend that the researchers and universities are neutral, but I can site many examples of blatant bias. There's an organized PR campaign to eliminate any dissenting opinion or evidence.

I can site one very good example:

Over the summer the 100 quare mile iceberg story was big news. The original press release contained quotes from the lead researcher on the Petermann glacier. The original version included his cautionary comments that it wasn't a sign of global warming. In fact, he said that glacier isn't shrinking, and that it has produced icebergs of that size many times before. He explained that glaciers stop calving when they are shrinking.

I quoted those parts of the statement on this web site. A couple weeks later, those cautionary comments were removed from the press release on the University of Deleware web site. They even got sites who quoted them to scrub their versions as well. I can find no trace of the original statement now. That's an organized activity.
gunslingor1
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 18, 2011
-context is key. For example, climategate. The media kept plastering over the news a single word, "trick" with zero context thus inflating it to scandall status unjustifiably. If you read the hacked emails, that word appeared 8 times and was irrelevant, mentioning party tricks and such.

Over the summer the 100 quare mile iceberg story was big news.

-a single event is never 100% certainly a sign of global warming. What you might hear is "this COULD be a result of GW" which isn't dishonest at all.

From the 1st result of a google search
"The calving itself hasn't been directly linked to climate change but it is related to the natural processes occurring on the ice sheet," said Rob Massom
[link]http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61P15H20100226
[/link]
Now, please, go try and find evidence of when Nanci Polosy said "Bush is so far in the pockets of big oil, he is incapable of making the right choices".

I disproved yours, now its your turn.
gunslingor1
2 / 5 (4) Jan 18, 2011
From one of his project team members, a separate interview:

He said it was hard to judge whether the event occurred due to global warming because records on the sea water around the glacier have only been kept since 2003.

"Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn't," Muenchow said, adding that the flow of sea water below the glaciers is one of the main causes of ice calvings off Greenland.

[link]http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/07/biggest-ice-island-greenland[/link]

Him and his university sound like reasonable intelligent scientists to me.

So what is your beef with them? Why must you lie? Why are you trying to sully the name of scientists? You seem to have an agenda here, and you obviously don't have the best interests of humanity at heart... Why would someone want to maintain the status quo? Perhaps you make a little cash from oil? What other reason now that I've disproved the envirmentalist
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 18, 2011
But most of the time the [bold]proven[/bold] extremists provide direct quotes to accompany the press release regarding their research. You know the ones I'm talking about. There's no shortage of activist scientists and professors. Just try to deny it. I double dare you.
Yeah, that's true. The reason why that is true is simple.

When I read a research paper, the title is "Implications of black carbon in the troposphere"

When I read the media article about it the title is "Carbon balance in the ecosystem threating ice free arctic in 2035."

The media has slow news days, and that's when the crazy shit comes out in the papers.
gunslingor1
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 18, 2011
From you:
The original version included his cautionary comments that it wasn't a sign of global warming


From the researcher:
"Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn't," Muenchow said, adding that the flow of sea water below the glaciers is one of the main causes of ice calvings off Greenland."

You lied about his original comments as well as it being strickened from media. I am more familiar with this incident than you, obviously.

So where is this supposed environmentalist conspiracy? You need to understand where your news is coming from and who is telling it. Your blaiming scientists for media propaganda when the wild outlandish things you are hearing are nothing more than media hype. You'll notice the media still has to stay with in the law, so it isn't that hard to read between the lines.

Please though, stop lieing and get ride of that dishonest agnenda, I don't want to see you in hell.

gunslingor1
1 / 5 (4) Jan 19, 2011
No response Gswift? I called you a blatant lier, your not going to admit you were wrong or defend yourself are you? As usual, only opinions that align with your beliefs and desires matter to you, you care nothing for fact.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
Sorry, I didn't return to this page till just now.

The quotes you have are NOT the original press release. Muenchow's original statements specifically stated that the Petermann glacier isn't shrinking and that this iceberg is 100% not caused by global warming. He specifically stated that the Petermann glacier has always calved that way. If you look up the story on the UDEL web site, you'll see that their current version doesn't even have the comments you quoted. The original version had quotes similar to what I said above, though I paraphrased a bit because of course I can't recall the exact wording.

Google the following to see the revised version of the UDel press release page:

Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD scientist reports

They changed their statements and removed anything that detracted from the AGW alarm. The first quote you gave isn't even from Muenchow, who was the lead researcher and spokesperson at the time.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
I called you a blatant lier


And you were wrong. Nothing I said was even a little bit wrong.
gunslingor1
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
Prove it Gswift. You have no proof, and the quotes you just gave do not match the quotes you used previously.

There is no conspiracy here.

They changed their statements and removed anything that detracted from the AGW alarm.


"Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn't," Muenchow said

-yes, perhaps he was quoted wrong and in defense of being sued, a single anti AGW web designer was forced to change the comments. Your making to many assumptions and broad sweeping comments.

What ever website you were talking about, it sounds more like he was misquoted and, under threat of criminal charges, was changed to reflect his real words which I showed above.

Anyway, there is cirtainly no conspiracy, I found the real quotes above.

Who are you claiming is doing this anyway? Him, the university, media, or scientists?

You are wrong sir, again. You have 0 proof, I provided proof = u r wrong.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Jan 19, 2011
Prove it? lol. That's what I'm trying to tell you. The quotes you have aren't original ones. I'm talking about the official page on the University of Delaware web site, where they had two or three paragraphs written by Muenchow. I don't see how it could have been a mis-quote, as you suggest, when it was written my Muenchow himself.

The quotes you have from Muenchow and other people are NOT the original statements they had for the first few days after the press release.

Yes, I'm making a clear accuasation that someone at the University asked to have the comments changed. I'm not saying it's a conspiracy. It only takes one department head with an agenda to do stuff like that. It happens all the time, so I don't see why you are so incredulous about it. If you haven't noticed stuff like this happening, then you must live in a cave, under a rock and have your head burried in the sand.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
The quotes you have aren't original ones.

-I don't know what you mean by original. This was hot issue a year ago, full of media hype. There was not a signal interview with this guy, there were many.

I tell you what, lets here it from the source of the quotes, see what he has to say. After all, if he really beleived that and the university quited him, he should be pretty upset with the university and may even have grounds for lawsuite.


Dear Mr. Muenchow

I have been discussing an accusation of supposed "environmental extremists" and how they supposedly manipulate science to suite their needs with an associate blogger. I asked for examples to prove to see if there was any evidence of this, and your name came up. Supposedly, you made statements on your UDEL page saying 100% for sure that the 100m ice sheet was NOT caused by AGW. Supposedly, these comments were taken down by 'someone' to promote a pro AGW agenda.


gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
I remember clearly and have confirmed that you very precisely said "Nobody can claim this was caused by global warming. On the other hand nobody can claim that it wasn't." Which , In my opinion, was an accurate and well thought out statement. If you have the time, please review the last 10-20 posts on this article comment section and let us know your thoughts, from the source. I feel a responsibility to educate the uneducated, as I am sure you do as well. Here is the link (last 10-20 comments should cover it): [link]
Thanks for your Time
[redacted name]


email has been sent.
AndreasMuenchow
1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
GSwift7: Please stop making false and slanderous statements about me and my institution. Details with documentation and sources on what I wrote, said, and did can be found at at my web-site muenchow dot cms dot udel dot edu. At no point did anyone anywhere pressure me to say or write A when I meant B. Your conspiracy theories involving me and my institution are nonsense.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
Wow, that's unbeleivable Gswift. You rate the poor guys comments to a one simply because your lies about him were proven wrong. What kind of person are you? I'm going to have to write the webmaster, we need to get you kicked. The guy took the time to defend himself, and you coward behind a rating rather than admit your wrong. Please change for the sake of humanity.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2011
Wow, that's unbeleivable Gswift. You rate the poor guys comments to a one simply because your lies about him were proven wrong. What kind of person are you? I'm going to have to write the webmaster, we need to get you kicked. The guy took the time to defend himself, and you coward behind a rating rather than admit your wrong. Please change for the sake of humanity.


I'm not getting in-between the 2 (or 3) of you on this, but I thought it relevant to look up who rated Andreas a 1. Looks like it was "geokstr" who rated Andreas a 1, not GSwift7.

...not making any other point and not siding with anyone here. Just copying info that's available on this site for everyone's convenience.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 19, 2011
FTR I just rated you a 1 gun...
gunslingor1
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 19, 2011
lol, I stand corrected. My apologies gswift, sorry for accusing you of rating him a 1. See, was that hard Gswift? You can find his email online if you doubt his identity. He could not post his entire thing, spam filter (links) you know the deal, here is the response he tried to post, for the record:


Swift7: Please stop making false and slanderous statements about me and my institution. The original press release at

[link]www.udel.edu/udaily/2011/aug/greenland080610.html[/link]

never changed. In subsequent interviews and congressional testimony I answered questions without ANYONE ever pressuring me. Further details are at

[link]
muenchow.cms.udel.edu/html/PetermannClimate
[/link]

while the original peer-reviewed scientific paper on Petermann Fjord at

[link]
muenchow.cms.udel.edu/papers/Johnson2010JGR.pdf
[/link]


May I ask why ModernMystic?