Imagine that all of the water in the oceans evaporated, just leaving the salt (sodium chloride) behind. Now imagine that you gathered up all that salt and spread it equally over the Earth’s land surface (perhaps with a little help from a few million other people). How deep do you think that layer of salt would be? One estimate is 500 feet, or just over 150 meters!
For the last year, I have not been publishing many blog posts. I can now reveal that the reason for this is not laziness (at least not entirely), but due to the fact I have been writing a book about the oceans. The book is called “Do Fish Sleep?: and 38 other ocean mysteries” and it is available to buy for kindle* via Amazon for a very reasonable price ($2.99 in the US, £1.99 in the UK, and EUR 2,99 in Europe). Over the next few months I will be publishing the entire first chapter of the book (Ocean Secrets), one “ocean mystery” at a time, on Words in mOcean, starting tomorrow with “Why Is the Ocean Salty”. It is my hope that you will enjoy what you read and go on to buy the full copy of the book. For more information, please read the “preface” below or visit the Amazon page.
Whether you are on a boat trip or cruise and want some appropriate songs, or whether you just want to imagine that you are out at sea whilst in the office or lab, we have some tunes for you. Below are 16 of the best ocean songs out there, including some beauties from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin.
The Kooks – Seaside
Disney – Under The Sea
If you are sat in a cold bath and turn on the hot tap, what happens? The water close to your feet becomes unbearably hot and the water near the top half of your body doesn’t noticeably change temperature. Fundamentally, the same process happens in the oceans. The sea nearest to the equator heats up as it receives the highest amount of energy from the sun; the sea nearest to the poles generally loses heat. In the bath, you slosh the water about as it enters the tub to distribute the heat more evenly. In the oceans, currents perform the same job, helping to move heat from the equator to the poles and make higher latitudes more habitable. If, for some reason, the currents transporting heat to higher latitudes slowed, the effect would be similar to you not mixing your bath water. Your feet (the equator and tropics) would become hotter, and your body (the subtropics and poles) would become colder. This is exactly what scientists think they observed in 2009/2010 in the North Atlantic, and they think this may explain some of the freak weather that was observed during that period.
In survival situations people often talk about the rule of three. It is said that humans can only survive for 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without heat, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Not wanting to be left out, it seems that some phytoplankton also obey a rule of 3 according to a new study: they can survive for 3 weeks without key nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
This satirical article on The Daily Mash made me smile today, and seemed to be begging to have a few words changed around in order to make it even more appropriate for academia. Enjoy:
Universities have revealed new measures to help you spend all your time doing work and publishing papers.
As well as radically extending university opening hours, universities will demolish your house and put your children in “permanent daycare” as part of plans to ensure all academics live on campus by 2020.
By Jeff Hawkes
New plans to rejuvenate working conditions for Ph.D. students in the UK were revealed today, receiving a poor reception. The plans are being introduced due to an explosion in PhD student recruitment over the past few decades.
“It used to be that having a degree was fantastic for ones employment opportunities, but over the years the UK has allowed the value of higher education to decrease and become gradually less relevant to a candidates eventual job. Now go-getting youngsters who want to ‘get the edge’ on their rivals are having to earn an extremely specific research doctorate in order to apply for any job earning more than minimum wage”, said social analyst Frank Bosser.
“We’re expecting that over the coming years the average Joe will need some years of teaching experience at university level in order to leave higher education with any employment prospects whatsoever”. It’s quite a normal ‘educational inflation’ effect when there aren’t enough jobs to go around and so people by default continue to get more qualifications. The problem is that the universities stay the same physical size, so ‘something’s gotta give’” Continue reading ‘Battery’ PhD students to increase UK university productivity by ‘up to 75%’
DEFRA report shows the massive pressure that is being put on UK marine science by commercial interests: from setting the research agenda, to running public services for profit, and the desire to dismantle public bodies such as CEFAS and the Met Office.
Think of an extreme environment where life survives in the ocean. What springs to mind? The mind boggling pressures and eerie quiet of the deep-sea perhaps? Maybe the icy environments at the poles? Possibly even an estuary, where organisms are flung from one salinity extreme to the other on a daily basis. There is another extreme environment though, one which few of you probably even considered, one that covers about 30% of the planet and is currently expanding under the influence of climate change: large swirling systems of rotating currents that occur in the centre of oceans known as subtropical gyres. Continue reading Ocean Deserts: it’s a hard life in the tropics, but not if you’re small