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Researchers uncover highest-ever amount of microplastics on ocean floor – CBS News

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Researchers have uncovered the highest-ever concentration of microplastics on the seafloor. According to a new study in the journal Science, scientists recently found 1.9 million pieces in an area of about 11 square feet in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Over 10 million tons of plastic waste enter oceans each year — but the visible floating plastic that has led to anti-straw and anti-plastic bag movements accounts for less than 1% of the ocean’s total plastic.

The other 99% is thought to live in the deep ocean — and the new study helps to explain how it ends up there. Researchers were able to track deep-sea currents and show how they act like “conveyor belts” to transport microplastics across the seafloor. 

To conduct the study, a team of scientists collected sediment samples from the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Italy before extracting and analyzing the plastic within it. After studying deep ocean currents and mappings of the sea, the team was able to demonstrate how currents distribute microplastics along the seafloor. 

Researchers said “microplastic hotspots” occur when flowing seafloor currents concentrate plastics in large sediment accumulations. They are essentially the deep-sea counterparts of “garbage patches” that collect on the ocean surface and wind up on beaches. 

These “garbage-patches” have been widely researched, but researchers were surprised at what they found when they traveled to the depths of the sea.

“Almost everybody has heard of the infamous ocean ‘garbage patches’ of floating plastic, but we were shocked at the high concentrations of microplastics we found in the deep-seafloor,” lead author Dr. Ian Kane from The University of Manchester said in a press release

A graphic illustrating the transportation of microplastics by currents along the seafloor. 

University of Manchester


The microplastics found by researchers were mostly made up of tiny clothing fibers, which can easily enter oceans if not filtered out properly in wastewater treatment plants. 

Along with microplastics, these currents also trap oxygenated water and nutrients, meaning important seafloor ecosystems are absorbing the plastics — possibly ingesting and passed them up the food chain. 

Scientists hope their findings will help to predict the locations of other microplastic hotspots and lead to further research on their impacts on marine life in oceans around the world. 

“Our study has shown how detailed studies of seafloor currents can help us to connect microplastic transport pathways in the deep-sea and find the ‘missing’ microplastics,” said co-lead author Dr. Mike Clare of the National Oceanography Center. “The results highlight the need for policy interventions to limit the future flow of plastics into natural environments and minimise impacts on ocean ecosystems.”

Researchers said the amount of plastic is so high, it has essentially become part of the makeup of the ocean floor — a potentially devastating threat to biodiversity. 

“It’s unfortunate, but plastic has become a new type of sediment particle, which is distributed across the sea floor together with sand, mud and nutrients,” said Dr. Florian Pohl from Durham University. “Thus, sediment-transport processes such as seafloor currents will concentrate plastic particles in certain locations on the seafloor, as demonstrated by our research.”

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SpaceX Sent NASA Astronauts Into Orbit Using Linux – Futurism

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Club Penguin

This past weekend, Elon Musk-led private space company SpaceX made history by launching a pair of NASA astronauts into orbit, an accomplishment that could upset the balance of the international space industry.

According to a terrific breakdown by ZDNet, the historic launch also contributed to a shift in power from proprietary software to open source — by running the Falcon 9 rocket on a version of the open source operating system Linux.

Kernel Space Program

The unspecified version of Linux, according to ZDNet, runs on three dual-core x86 processors — a redundancy system that keeps the astronauts safe by making sure all three units agree before executing each command.

ZDNet also pointed to a 2013 Reddit post in which SpaceX employees confirmed that Dragon and Falcon 9 both on Linux.

Linus Spacevalds

SpaceX isn’t the first group to bring open source software into orbit.

The International Space Station itself, where the NASA astronauts launched by SpaceX are now residing, reportedly switched to Linux from Microsoft’s proprietary Windows operating system in 2013.

READ MORE: From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX [ZDNet]

More on Linux: Linux Creator: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Are “A Disease”

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How to watch the 'strawberry moon' eclipse from anywhere Friday – CNET

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A brilliant full moon rises at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.


NASA/Kim Shiflett

Get ready to look to the night sky on Friday. A full “strawberry moon” is on the calendar, and it will come with an understated partial eclipse for some parts of the world. While the moon will be at its absolute fullest on Friday around noon PT, you’ll have several opportunities to enjoy the view. The moon will  still look full from early Thursday morning through early Sunday morning, NASA said Monday.

North America will miss the eclipse, but the Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the lunar event from Italy above a view of the Rome skyline. Mark your calendar for noon PT on Friday, June 5, and visit the project’s web TV page to join in.   

A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth’s outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn’t know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.

Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. “For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable,” NASA said.

Unfortunately, the “strawberry” nickname for the June full moon doesn’t refer to a color, but seems to be an old reference to the strawberry harvest season. NASA’s Gordon Johnston rounded up a list of alternative names for this month’s moon, including mead moon, honey moon, hot moon and planting moon.

Even if the eclipse is too faint to detect, you can still take a moment to bask in the light of a lovely full moon this week. 

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What to expect from the ECB today [Video] – FXStreet

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– Overview of market sentiment at the European open (00:00).

– Detailed look at what to expect from the ECB announcement today (2:22).

– Merkel over delivers on the latest German stimulus package (17:40).

– Oil volatility here to stay as OPEC+ meeting looms (19:17).

– UK hits out at China over HK security law as they look for 5G alternatives (26:18).

[embedded content]

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