Book: Flotsametrics and the Floating World, How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science, 2009
Authors: Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano
The mark of anything good – book, movie, food – is that it transforms something intimately known, makes it new. With Flotsametrics, the ocean is deepened even as it is deconstructed into a highly predictable system of ebb and flow. Turns out the ocean is a composite of interconnected slabs of water (unified by temperature and salinity) that are practically subterranean continents of their own, circling the planet via a network of slow-turning gyres. If you’ve heard of the Eastern Garbage Patch, this book will explain it in its home context. You will find out too that Japanese glass fishing floats should keep washing up on beaches for another fifty or more years, based on Ebbesmeyer’s formulas for predicting gyres’ periods, thereby deducing flotsam’s half-life. When you look out to sea again, your gaze will be sharper, will fathom through to the bottoms.