February 17th, 2008

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The Pacific Trash Vortex

Sometimes it takes a satirist to spread the word about real things you think only a satirist would come up with.  Several months ago, the Over the Hedge comic strip announced the true fact that raccoon spit can paralyze dogs.  Now, Colin McEnroe's column in today's Hartford Courant (Oh, Like You Could Shoot Down A Spy Satellite) has revealed the existence of huge area in the Pacific Ocean called the North Pacific Gyre.

The Gyre, also known as The Pacific Trash Vortex, is a Sargasso Sea type area where plastics and other trash and debris are collecting into a mass twice the size of Texas.  Some sources describe it as a "floating continent" of trash, but it's more like a soup of undegraded plastic that ocean life mistakes for plankton.  It may be an oceanic version of the Asian Brown Cloud that hovers over southern Asia.