In 1992, a cargo ship container tumbled into the North Pacific, dumping 28,000 rubber ducks and other bath toys that were headed from China to the U.S. Currents took them, and news reports said some may have eventually reached Maine and other shores on the Atlantic.
Thirteen years later, journalist Donovan Hohn undertook a mission: He wanted to track the movements of the wayward ducks, from the comfort of his own living room.
BOB BALLARD If you were on a Phoenician ship, and you were carrying 2000 amphorae of a fine wine for the pharaoh of Egypt, what would you do along the way?
ALAN ALDA You'd drink the wine and throw the jugs overboard.
BOB BALLARD You got it! Absolutely! And what if you did that for thousands and thousands and thousands of years? What would you find?
ALAN ALDA A lot of these jugs.
BOB BALLARD A trail. So what I do is I say, OK here's an ancient seaport, lets say its Carthage. I'm gonna drive along here until I pick up the trail and I'm gonna follow it and that's exactly what I did.
ALAN ALDA Now how do you find it? Visually?
BOB BALLARD Yeah, just go along and look for empties. That's exactly what I did and there were the empties. And they weren't broken either! They didn't throw' em over because they were broken, they threw em over because they drank em!
Once all the homeless people are in the containers, it's easy to move them to their next home.
Simple, egalitaian trade based on mutual trust and respect . . . happens every day at the micro level. The simple merchant/buyer relationship when you walk into a store . . .
Tell me more about these zebra-human hybrids!
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