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Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the earth-plus-plastic dept.

Earth 123

sciencehabit (1205606) writes 'Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii. The new material--which the researchers are calling a "plastiglomerate"--may be becoming so pervasive that it actually becomes part of the geologic record.'

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123 comments

UV (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47168901)

Riddle me this batman... UV light breaks down plastic, I've witnessed it every time I restore a car, or an old computer. All the plastic becomes brittle, breaks down, and eventually crumbles to plastic dust... Why doesn't this happen to the plastic in the ocean -- and everywhere else?

Re: UV (5, Insightful)

GreyLurk (35139) | about 2 months ago | (#47168921)

The plastic dust is probably what makes up the Plastiglomerate

Re: UV (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169513)

Yeah, but if a volcano makes 1000 times more dust than the plastic from trash, then why aren't there Volcano rocks everywhere?

Checkmate atheists.

Re: UV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169591)

Buy a shovel.

Re: UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171333)

They are.

A lot of them get ground up by streams and rivers, which lays the resulting sand/sediment in layers - which get compressed by continental drift forming sandstone...

Granite is a volcanic rock - it just never made it to the surface before it cooled. As are diamonds. And flint.

Obviously you didn't check :)

Re: UV (4, Informative)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 months ago | (#47169881)

This may be an interesting parallell to what happened during the Carboniferous era, when apparently plant matter didn't rot away until the fungi evolved the ability to break down lignin. As a matter of fact, there are a few fungi that are able to attack some kinds of plastic too.

Re:UV (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 months ago | (#47168959)

These conglomerates are made of burned plastics. UV will likely break them down eventually (by "eventually" I mean "much less than geological time").

Plastic in the ocean does the same thing.

Re:UV (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 months ago | (#47168977)

I just wonder how long it will be until some microbe evolves that can chew on polymers, breaking them up into something digestible.

Re:UV (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 months ago | (#47169113)

>microbes eating plastic

You're not the only one to ask that question.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/... [goodreads.com]

I picked that book up in the 70s and the story sorta stuck with me. Worth the read.

--
BMO

Re:UV (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47169743)

They were routinely adding antibacterial agents to nylon when I worked in a nylon spinning plant back in the 80's. I think the practice goes back to the 50's or 60's.

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170635)

And they'll evolve to either be resistant or consume those as well.

Re:UV (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 2 months ago | (#47171709)

They were routinely adding antibacterial agents to nylon when I worked in a nylon spinning plant back in the 80's. I think the practice goes back to the 50's or 60's.

Was that to protect the nylon from bacteria or to prevent bacteria from hanging around on the nylon and infecting whoever wears it next?

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170093)

The very fact that plastic breaks down at all, even in dark environments, shows that there are at least some microbes that munch on chain polymers. In fact there is research taking place right now to create artificially enhanced bacteria, that will go munching through plastic pollutants and eventually the plastic solids itself

Re:UV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170621)

Bacteria have evolved to deconstruct plastic (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110328/full/news.2011.191.html).

Re:UV (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 months ago | (#47168987)

So geologists can't use this a marker for the Anthropocene? They'll have to use subway tunnels instead?

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169963)

Maybe, if the UV can get through all the rock, sand, and coral surrounding the plastic. The problem with the "breaks down" solution is everything that it harms in the process of getting "broken down" to nothing. We'll be seeing a lot more about this as nanotech expands. Got children?

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171343)

Some rocks also break down in UV - mostly from heat and uneven cooling in MUCH less than geological time (like 3 years or less).

Re:UV (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168979)

Just because it becomes smaller particles doesn't mean it goes away and it doesn't mean it becomes less harmful you useless, clueless shitsack.

In fact, you worthless shitstain, what it does do is make it easier for it to invade systems and environments where it shouldn't be - like the insides of animals.

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169069)

+1

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169981)

How harmful is it in the concentration we are talking about?

Will I ingest more of it in a lifetime than I will when I stand next to a CNC-mill for an hour?

Re:UV (1)

The123king (2395060) | about 2 months ago | (#47170179)

If your ingesting the shavings from a CNC-mill, you're doing it wrong

Re: UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173077)

True and funny!

Re:UV (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47169521)

Riddle me this batman... UV light breaks down plastic, I've witnessed it every time I restore a car, or an old computer. All the plastic becomes brittle, breaks down, and eventually crumbles to plastic dust... Why doesn't this happen to the plastic in the ocean -- and everywhere else?

Most of the plastic IS the dust - the big plastic garbage patch is made up of really tiny pellets after the big chunks have broken down.

And what's happening looks like the plastic is breaking down and the pieces are starting to glob together forming some strange multi-material piece of plastic.

Of course, once the dust gets small enough, the breakdown has to happen by UV only. In a big chunk, the plastic becomes brittle and the wave action helps break it down further, but once it's dust, it's too small for mechanical breakdown.

Re:UV (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47169733)

It does, eventually, all depends on the type of plastic and is heavily dependent on the time it takes antibacteial agents within the plastic to break down. It's been known for quite some time that there does not seem to be any surface anywhere on the planet that does not have some microscopic plastic dust sprinkled on it. What these guys have noticed is that recent formations of sandstone/mudstone(?) contain plastic dust. To paraphrase the great Carlin, "The Earth doesn't care, it just incorporates palstic into a new paradigm - The Earth plus plastic."

Re:UV (2, Funny)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 2 months ago | (#47170041)

I don't get it, metal rusts I've seen it on my car all the time, how can there be metal in rocks? You can't explain that.

Re: UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170937)

All metals come from the earth. They are mined from rocky deposits as ore. When they are processed the result changed their elemental structure. Many rocks have iron in them. The iron and steel you see is rusting by a chemical reaction called oxidation only possible after the changes brought about by our processing.

Re:UV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171065)

Riddle me this batman... UV light breaks down plastic, I've witnessed it every time I restore a car, or an old computer. All the plastic becomes brittle, breaks down, and eventually crumbles to plastic dust... Why doesn't this happen to the plastic in the ocean -- and everywhere else?

And what happens to the plastic dust?

Re:UV (1)

alta (1263) | about 2 months ago | (#47171121)

I'm sure the plastic that's exposed is broken down but...

1. This article is mostly about plastic that's melted in beach campfires along with a bunch of other crap. If the UV rays are only hitting the surface of the plastic it's not going to break down the crap inside.

2. Stuff floating in the ocean only has a little bit exposed to the UV Rays. Most of it is going to be underwater. Even if it rolls around in the waves what spends times exposed is going to be much less than something sitting stationary getting hit by the sun.

Re:UV (1)

gizmo2199 (458329) | about 2 months ago | (#47171673)

I think it has to do with the fact that the plastic trash melts either by campfires or lava and can't be carried by the wind or water, so it gets buried, thus no sunlight. This buried melted plastic gets fused with sand and coral to form a stone.

Only one picture - nfm (1)

ghn (2469034) | about 2 months ago | (#47168903)

Only one picture - nfm

Re:Only one picture - nfm (3, Informative)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 2 months ago | (#47169361)

The first link contained one picture with a subsequent link to a PDF containing more pictures. The second link contained multiple subsequent links which have multiple pictures.

Re:Only one picture - nfm (1)

KlomDark (6370) | about 2 months ago | (#47173527)

Nebraska Furniture Mart??

standardized fossil record (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168925)

available in 2 liter, 1 liter, 20/16/12 oz. for your convenience.

Don't Miss the Rush... (4, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 months ago | (#47168947)

Now is the time to start buying mining rights for all that valuable plastic ore.

Re:Don't Miss the Rush... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47169179)

I think you will burn more in fuel then you would get back in crap-plastic.

Re:Don't Miss the Rush... (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 2 months ago | (#47171179)

Except that the beaches in Hawaii are considered public land -- nobody owns them and access to the seashore must be granted by owners of abutting property.

Re:Don't Miss the Rush... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 months ago | (#47174837)

Now is the time to start buying mining rights for all that valuable plastic ore.

"That plastic 'ore"?! I don't think that Katie Price [mirror.co.uk] is for sale at the moment...

Our age will be known as... (5, Funny)

guygo (894298) | about 2 months ago | (#47168951)

The Plasticene.

Re:Our age will be known as... (3, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 months ago | (#47169409)

I think The Obscene will capture the spirit better.

Re:Our age will be known as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169493)

Yes children, beeeljuns and beeljuns of eons ago, our forefathers (and us) chucked our plastic cups, plates and gadgets into the environment. After several beejuns and beeljunsor eons they were transformed into ROCK! We know their age by the fossils found in these rocks, and date the fossils by the rocks ... oh, wait - rocks made in a few short years, not beeljuns and beeljuns of pseudo-science eons. Oops.. (ducks)

Re:Our age will be known as... (2)

BigZee (769371) | about 2 months ago | (#47170075)

I presume the next layer after this one will be shoes

http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/w... [wikia.com]

George Carlin was Right! (5, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 months ago | (#47168955)

Re:George Carlin was Right! (4, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 months ago | (#47170373)

Parent link George Carlin (Q:"Why are we here?" A:"Plastic, asshole.") routine was insightful. Reporting on environmental problems needs to better distinguish between serious harms like habitat loss and species extinction, resource conservation issues (one generation using everything up - like fresh water - disadvantaging later human generations), and what researchers call "fetishizing". The "fetish" is used when people are made to feel guilty about something (e.g. "waste") and continue to attach guilt and responsibility to the item based not on risk but on past human ownership. This can lead to regulations which disadvantage recycling (secondary copper smelters), secondary markets (e.g. used display devices and cell phones) disproportionately to the risk.

There are some interesting academic papers on environmental fetishes and untended consequences of fixations based on previous human 'ownership' and 'guilt association'. Many environmentalists are scientists and are aware of the 'quasi-religion' of moral risk association, but are afraid to speak openly about it the same as the Renaissance's great thinkers were afraid to publicly pose their doubts about Christianity. The philosophers doubted much about sources of Christian ethics but were concerned about replacing it with anarchy. Scientific environmentalists have similar concerns about exposing "fetish" environmentalism without discrediting actual moral progress on stewardship.

Re: George Carlin was Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173151)

Sounds sexy

Re:George Carlin was Right! (2)

lazybratsche (947030) | about 2 months ago | (#47173245)

Do you have any links to those papers or related articles? I am intrigued, but I won't be searching for "environmental fetishes" on a work computer...

Re:George Carlin was Right! (2)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 months ago | (#47175431)

Mostly it comes from Marx, "commodity fetishism" (see wikipedia). Using the same concept Marx used to describe how the labor added value of goods and commodities are unseen but known and measurable. Similarly, in regulating an object which is "waste" or "discard" differently from the same material mined and smelted attaches a fetish, ignoring hidden environmental and economic costs of production a waste or secondary commodity. I learned the concept from papers by Josh Lepawsky and Ramzy Kahhat on electronic scrap, but it goes back at least to 2003 http://oae.sagepub.com/content... [sagepub.com] , or more recently by Graham Pickren of Univ of Georgia 2013 "Political ecologies of electronic waste: uncertainty and legitimacy in the governance of e-waste geographies"

Hey.... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47168991)

> some of it is turning into stone.

Recycling!

Re:Hey.... (2)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 2 months ago | (#47169167)

Carbon sequestration!

http://www.theoceancleanup.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169041)

The results of a feasibility study shows that we can cleanup the floating plastic in the north pacific gyre, hopefully that will reduce the amount of the plastic pollution in Hawaii

George Carlin called it (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 months ago | (#47169057)

Re:George Carlin called it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169101)

The planet isn't going away... we are!

Let's hope so, and the sooner the better.

Re:George Carlin called it (3, Insightful)

Flozzin (626330) | about 2 months ago | (#47169165)

Get out of here. We are nature too. Just because we are self aware does not make us different. We evolved just like every other species. Beavers change their habitat too. Just we do it so much better. Self hating humans are the worst type. If you truly believe this then hopefully you made the choice to NOT have children.(as opposed to the forever alone basement dwellers where everyone else has made that choice for them)

Re:George Carlin called it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169991)

Ya, damn all you bastards for daring to save the human race from itself! We have every right to exterminate ourselves! I'm right behind you Flozzin!

Re: George Carlin called it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173885)

Honestly, I've made the choice of only having two children precisely because of these issues. I know you are being sarcastic, but we should start thinking on these lines indeed. Growth and sustainability are not compatible.

And yes, I know two is not a solution, but at least it does not increase the problem... It has not been easy, my wife still wants a larger family.

Re:George Carlin called it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47175381)

Earth put us here for a reason, maybe it was to wipe everything out or change everything to make way for its next phase. Unless we landed here as a bacteria on an asteroid and evolved into what we are and don't belong. I don't know, let's party!

I don't think they are rocks (3, Insightful)

Flozzin (626330) | about 2 months ago | (#47169155)

How are these things rocks? We made them, then they melted. The grabbed onto rocks sure. But once you stick to a rock you become a rock? Rock's are minerals. I wasn't aware plastic is now considered a mineral? If I melt glass around a rock, can I call that a new type of rock? Or can I take super glue and glue some pebbles together and call that a new type of rock?

Re:I don't think they are rocks (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 months ago | (#47169265)

Do you consider coal to be a rock?

And neither does anyone else... (5, Informative)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about 2 months ago | (#47169269)

Please, RTFA!

The scientists in this article are classifying the characteristics of a new heterogeneous material, which is a necessity as the time for breakdown of this material may make it a significant part of the fossil record.

The scientists are not saying it is a new form of rock. Only possibly the submitter or samzenpus are (mistakenly) saying this.

To repeat: RTFA, no new rocks here!

Re:And neither does anyone else... (2, Funny)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47169321)

Please, RTFA!

You must be new here.

Re:And neither does anyone else... (1)

Flozzin (626330) | about 2 months ago | (#47169371)

"stumbled upon the new rocks on a beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. These stones, which they’ve dubbed “plastiglomerates,”"
I did rtf. It says new type of rock all over it.

Re:And neither does anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169517)

I did rtf

You read the newspiece reporting an academic paper, not the paper itself.

Re:And neither does anyone else... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169395)

FTA:

Here, we report the appearance of a new “stone” formed through intermingling of melted plastic, beach sediment, basaltic lava fragments, and organic debris from Kamilo Beach on the island of Hawaii.

See figure 4 for, imho, the most descriptive pictures

Iron Age...Plastic Age. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 months ago | (#47169599)

I can see the history books... the Plastic Age, beginning in the the mid 20th century....

We really are in the plastic age. When everybody has a form of computer... guess that is the computer age--- although it's impact is not as deep as plastic yet... so does it count as an Age yet?? Iron Age changed everything... so I suppose computers were there around 2000? (remember world... but then the Iron Age began before it was world wide...)

Internet Age... are we at that yet? Seems these huge changes are happening quickly.

Sandstone... is that a kind of rock? it's a mix of sands.. and i bet this plastic rock is stronger.

Re:Iron Age...Plastic Age. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47171947)

Socially, we are in the information age.
Economically, we are moving into the service age,
Geologically possible the plastic age.

Rock is a aggregate of materials. This could lead to a new classifications of rock; which will be interesting for out petrology friends.

Re:Iron Age...Plastic Age. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173539)

Typically the "ages" refer to the primary building material.

We've been in the "polymer age" for quite some time, but may be transiting to a "carbon age"/"diamond age" soon if grapheme and other carbon nan-structures ever manage to do the amazing things it's been speculated to be capable of.

Re:I don't think they are rocks (1)

jiriw (444695) | about 2 months ago | (#47170553)

How are these things rocks? ... once you stick to a rock you become a rock? ... plastic is now considered a mineral? If I melt glass around a rock, can I call that a new type of rock? Or can I take super glue and glue some pebbles together and call that a new type of rock?

Even if you DNRTFA....
Apparently ... depends... in this form, yes... 2* yes, sort of...

How did you think Sandstone and Shale are created... or Obsidian? What do you think Amber is? Just because it is ground up other stuff with nice fossils in it (Sandstone/shale), a kind of glass (Obsidian) or has a non-geological origin (tree resin in case of Amber) doesn't mean it can't become rock.

Re:I don't think they are rocks (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 2 months ago | (#47171561)

Super-glue plus pebbles it a type of rock... It's called conglomerate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't think they are rocks (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 months ago | (#47173257)

If I melt glass around a rock, can I call that a new type of rock?

There's already glass conglomerate minerals.

Or can I take super glue and glue some pebbles together and call that a new type of rock?

That would be a plastiglomerate, because cured cyanoacrylates are plastics.

Humans (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169239)

Well done humans. Polluting everything. Great work.

You think you're going anywhere on a spaceship? You're already on one (Earth) that took zero effort to maintain, and you couldn't even manage that. You're going to be able to manage all the complex life support systems on a spaceship? Haha. Fools.

Re:Humans (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169389)

Wow, you are so wise. I wish the whole world could be as smart as you. That whole spaceship Earth thing, blew my mind! The way you've removed yourself, sort of transcended above the discussion like a celestial being looking whimsically down on an inferior race. I'm sure your coworkers appreciate your many (unsolicited) opinions on many topics.

Re:Humans (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#47170761)

Charlton Heston says it's ok for humans to condescend on humanity.

The defendant has been found guilty and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169283)

is hereby sentenced to the Terran plastiglomerate mines for the term of his unnatural life.

Awesome! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169301)

Yeah this is controversial and will piss off all the hippies, but I think it's awesome how humans are affecting the ecosystem of earth. And years later, when we are gone and monkeys evolve again, these new intelligent animals will piece together the fact that there was once intelligent life here based on structures such as this.

Re:Awesome! (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47169501)

And years later, when we are gone and monkeys evolve again, these new intelligent animals will piece together the fact that there was once intelligent life here based on structures such as this.

No, years later when dinosaurs evolve again they'll assume that the substance is derived from dead mammals. Then the ultra-intelligent and efficient reptiles will dominate for another few million years, living lightly off the land such that vast swamps of plants that were never cut down produced oil so that the next mammal cycle has something to burn..

Re:Awesome! (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 2 months ago | (#47169683)

We've only got one, or maybe two such cycles left before solar expansion pushes us outside the temperature range for life on this planet.

Re:Awesome! (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 months ago | (#47169741)

Put some thrusters on earth, and fire prograde.

(whattaya mean, "too much KSP"?!?)

Re:Awesome! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47171549)

I'm worrying about getting my retirement account fully funded and you're worried about ... solar expansion?

Go away.

Re:Awesome! (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 2 months ago | (#47172083)

The OP was talking about another petroleum cycle to produce fuel for another round of intelligent organism to use. Hopefully your retirement plans are finalized before that several hundred million year process has completed.

Re:Awesome! (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 2 months ago | (#47172755)

I'm not sure mine will be. I write code for a living.

Re:Awesome! (2)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 months ago | (#47169915)

Yeah this is controversial and will piss off all the hippies, but I think it's awesome how humans are affecting the ecosystem of earth.

There isn't anything strange or awesome about a species affecting the ecosystem of Earth - the oxygen content of our atmosphere is largely due to cyanobacteria and the like. Apparently there is little on this planet that isn't affected to a significant extent by life - even things like land erosion and plate techtonics.

Re:Awesome! (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#47170779)

Charlton Heston says monkeys will inherit the Earth. Again.

A new kind of (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47169437)

Horta

Like organic things in dinosaur era (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169551)

Does this mean that like organic things in dinosaur era which turned into petroleum in favorable conditions, these plasticrocks will turn to rock oil ?

Re:Like organic things in dinosaur era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171577)

Yes. Rock oil.

I propose we use the Greek word for rock ("patra") combined with the Latin word for oil ("oleum") to name this. We shall call it "petroleum".

As the plastic breaks down, it will turn back to petroleum, and these rocks will be rich in resources.

Typical AAAS tripe (2, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 2 months ago | (#47170567)

Here's the key phrase out of the abstract: "...melted plastic during campfire burning... [increases] the potential for burial and subsequent preservation". Why? Because lumps of melted plastic stick to sand or rocks, and hence are more likely to not blow away, be degraded by UV or whatever.

This is a topic for a scientific paper, and deem headline-worthy by the AAAS? I knew there was a reason I cancelled my membership a couple of decades ago...

Re:Typical AAAS tripe (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47171613)

You sure you didn't cancel your membership to the AARP?

This was posted in the proceedings of the Geological Society of America, Not the American Academy for the Advance of Science (AAAS).

* For those of you fine Slashdotters not of the American persuasion, the AARP [aarp.org] used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons, likely to differentiate itself from the AAA, the American Automobile Association. Now it appears to be just called AARP.

Re:Typical AAAS tripe (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 2 months ago | (#47177171)

You sure you didn't cancel your membership to the AARP?

This was posted in the proceedings of the Geological Society of America, Not the American Academy for the Advance of Science (AAAS).

* For those of you fine Slashdotters not of the American persuasion, the AARP [aarp.org] used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons, likely to differentiate itself from the AAA, the American Automobile Association. Now it appears to be just called AARP.

Spend more time fact checking and less time trying to prove people wrong:

The first link in the article blurb above is to a headline on the AAAS website, which publishes the journal Science.

Re:Typical AAAS tripe (1)

Kevin by the Beach (3600539) | about 2 months ago | (#47172413)

We can lump this in with climate science and prove that mankind has no impact on the environment. /* snark snark */

Now Monty Python Makes Sense (1)

moofo (697416) | about 2 months ago | (#47170885)

"What also floats in water?
- Bread. - Apples.
- Very small rocks. - Cider! Great gravy.
- Cherries. Mud. - Churches."

I knew that small rock would float one day !

They were visionary !

Re:Now Monty Python Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171045)

"What also floats in water?
- Bread. - Apples.
- Very small rocks. - Cider! Great gravy.
- Cherries. Mud. - Churches."

- Witches
- Ducks

Re:Now Monty Python Makes Sense (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | about 2 months ago | (#47172791)

More witches!

Plastic melting Trend!!! (1)

Alex Taylor (3668185) | about 2 months ago | (#47171001)

Current melting trends estimated that 1 trillion pieces of plastic could be released into the ecosystem in the next ten years.

global warming? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 months ago | (#47171719)

So instead of releasing the carbon into the atmosphere we're pissed off because now we have ugly rocks that are made of trapped carbon?

If this plastiglomerate can remain in the environment for eons, then I'm thinking we should make more of it, a lot more of it.

Re:global warming? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47171979)

To bad it uses more then it traps.

Re:global warming? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 months ago | (#47174283)

it uses it therefor it traps. but I assume you meant the word "use" in some other way...

we are pulling hydrocarbons from deep underground and if we continue to either burn it or allow it to decompose, it will become CO2 and contribute to the greenhouse effect. Anything that could sequester carbon long term is better than the nothing we are doing today.

the eventual goal would be to stop pulling material out of the ground, and reverse the trend and put carbon back faster than we take it out. We're so far away from doing that that I don't believe there are any viable plans written up to accomplish it.

Perfect way to make our mark (1)

Abhishek Dey Das (3683551) | about 2 months ago | (#47172473)

And that's how we make our mark.... boo yaa....

Half Life did it first... (1)

MrLint (519792) | about 2 months ago | (#47173441)

So HL2, came out in back in 2004 had this quote in it, from the character of Dr Breen : Are all the accomplishments of humanity fated to be nothing more than a layer of broken plastic shards thinly strewn across a fossil bed, sandwiched between the Burgess shale and an eon's worth of mud?

While certainly this is not a surprise consequence to anyone in a scientific field(s) involved. I find it somewhat ironic that the sentiment (no pun), showed up in a video game.

Only one? (1)

BranMan (29917) | about 2 months ago | (#47173733)

Am I the only one that thought... Cool!

VHS Tapes and the Boomers (0)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 2 months ago | (#47174393)

I always thought that they should build Boomer retirement communities out of all those VHS tapes that were sold to them during the 80s and 90s. Where are they now?

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