tirsdag den 9. juni 2009

Why we need to see the sea

Det vi ved om havenes dyb kan samlignes med at tage en tur igennem USA på en havetraktor ...

What we know about the under water world of the oceans can be compared with the knowledge we would get from a ride across the US on a garden tractor ...

(Great movie ;-)


The ocean is a vast, deep, dark place. It has long been a source of mystery and fascination, inspiring epic tales. Early attempts to measure and better understand its depths involved dropping a rope overboard until the end hit bottom, then hauling up the line hand over hand, counting the lengths. The length of rope between a person's hands when outstretched - roughly six feet - was known as a fathom, and the verb 'to fathom', as a result, came to mean to measure the depth of something and ultimately, to comprehend it. After all, once we measure something, we immediately know something about it and can start to understand it.

But can you imagine measuring the entire ocean with lengths of rope, when some parts are nearly seven miles deep? Not only would it be practically impossible, but it's a project that's difficult to even imagine pursuing. You might even say it's unfathomable. The truth is, even with the help of today's satellites, the most sophisticated global maps of the ocean floor are really just guesswork. Satellites can hardly see past the surface of the water, let alone the ocean floor, and so the ocean remains relatively opaque to our eyes, our technology, and for the most part, our understanding. [...]

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