Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

This should be flagged.

Why do people let crazy ideas like this get media time?

"Giant Hamburger Headed Towards Reef Could Replenish It".

Like the thing about robot fish saving the reef, or a garbage collecting boat clearing the plastic from the oceans.

May as well be writing about how aliens will be coming to save The Reef.

It enables climate change deniers.




Just because there are natural phenomenon which you do not understand because you didn't think of them yourself doesn't mean they're bullshit.

Just because this hasn't happened in the 150 years we've been semi-accurately recording things in the south Pacific doesn't mean it's not a common occurrence.

Volcanic ejecta is extremely mineral rich, and when combined with decomposing organics makes some of the best, most fertile soil you can get.


There was no need to fabricate that part of the story for it to be interesting. It could have simply been about how freaking cool it is that the ocean has been turned into a sea of pumice (something I didn’t know was possible) and that someone sailed through it.


Indeed, although in this case it seems it was not fabricated. According to the Guardian article, the idea came from Geologist Scott Bryan:

Bryan said the raft will be the temporary home for billions of marine organisms. Marine life including barnacles, corals, crabs, snails and worms will tag along as it travels toward Australia and become a "potential mechanism for restocking the Great Barrier Reef".[0]

This was then more widely reported as "Scientists say..."

It appears Bryan is a geologist specializing in volcanology who has expertise in pumice rafts, but not in marine biology[1]. One would have hoped he would know better than to make such statements to the media.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/25/massive-...

[1] https://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/scott.bryan


I'm afraid your second link is not supporting your claim. He has expertise in pumice rafts and their effects on marine biology. Check out "Rapid, long-distance dispersal by pumice rafting" from him. I'm not an expert on the topic, but seems to be a widely cited work. Do you have some reason to disagree with his work or his conclusions?


But is that really going to “replenish the Great Barrier Reef?” That implies that the reef is just waiting for seeding by organisms for it to flourish and that is very likely not the case.


I get where you are comming from, though had this been a BBC link or something more acceptable within social-media TLD's for source, would the response be the same.

But yes, it may be a case of over-positivism as I call it, being so optimistic that a natural disaster is viewed from the prism of - that's good news. More so when one natural disaster can be perceived as a solution to another disaster, albeit one in which we played a part. Heck, it's even possible to say that this volcano underwater would not of erupted had we not changed the climate.

But however we look at it, it would be nice to see some more balanced perspectives without the over-positive spin. Will this heat up the ocean in the vicinity due to it absorbing more heat, will it starved of oxygen as it blocks photosynthesis in the area it travels. Those tangents of thought get overlooked, yet have just as much plausibility than latching onto how this is the saviour of the coral reef.

But one question I have - pumice volcanic rock, what gas is trapped in that rock?


I mostly agree with you, but it should be flagged because it has "could" in the title, which turns it from news about something interesting into bullshit speculation.


So you would object to the 1969 headline "today Neil Armstrong could walk on the moon"

Or how about "residents advised to evacuate, as hurricane could strike town"

Very few things are guaranteed, and I for one would like to be forewarned about things.


Definitely doesn’t fit the humans are bad narrative.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: