Friday, August 22, 2014

Dog found science disc 50 years too late to get five shillings reward

A dog has found part of a science project in the shape of a disc - 50 years too late to get a reward. Barney the collie brought the red plastic disc to his owner David Russell, after finding it on Silecroft beach, in west Cumbria. It had been thrown into the Irish Sea in the 1960s as part of a study into water movement and gone adrift.

Mr Russell, of Batley, West Yorkshire, returned it to Bangor University but was too late to get a five shillings - the equivalent of 25p in today’s metric system - reward The drifter disc had been released by John Harvey, now a retired oceanographer, who was then working in the university's marine science laboratory.

The disc was one of many released as part of the project and most never came back - this one being washed up more than 100 miles (161km) up the north west coast. Mr Russell said: "There must be something about the currents that bring things to this beach - I've previously found a meteorological balloon here." Mr Harvey said he found it "disturbing" that the plastic had lasted so long - a copper weight attached had eroded away.

"The research told us about the movement of seabed and sea-surface currents in the Irish Sea, and the results were published in a journal in 1968. We typically had return rates of about 34% for our drifters", he explained. The plastic has a very long life in the sea - it is in a good condition after 50 years, which is somewhat disturbing - unfortunately there is far too much plastic in the world's oceans generally."

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