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Want free Lego? Head to Cornwall
July 21, 2014 10:25 AM   Subscribe

"Let me see if I can find a cutlass," says Tracey Williams, poking around some large rocks on Perran Sands with a stick.

She doesn't manage that, but does spot a gleaming white, pristine daisy on the beach in Perranporth, Cornwall. The flower looks good for its age, seeing as it is 17 years old.
Seventeen years after being swept overboard, one container full of Lego pieces still regularly spills its treasure on a Cornish beach. That sounds cute but it points at a hidden world of oceanic currents and the threat of plastic and its durability to the ocean's health.
posted by MartinWisse (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
OMG LEGO octopus is so cute and un-LEGO-like. And comes in glow-in-the-dark light-blue!
posted by steef at 10:35 AM on July 21


If you thought stepping on a Lego on carpet was bad, wait until you step on one embedded in sand...
posted by Runes at 10:42 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Scientists Are Mapping the Ocean's Plastic Because 99 Percent Is Missing
it's likely that as it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, fish are eating it. Which, thanks to the magic of the food chain, means we're eating it too
posted by stbalbach at 10:43 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


So appropriate that it happened to be pirate-themed Lego.

Maybe one day an unmanned cargo drone full of Space Lego will crash on the moon.
posted by CaseyB at 10:46 AM on July 21 [9 favorites]


I wonder if LEGOs are better or worse at tracking currents than rubber ducks, or just different.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on July 21


This FPP showed up as "Want free Lego? Head to..." in my 'contact activity' pane, and I was very disappointed when it turned out I couldn't get any free lego. :(
posted by yeoz at 10:53 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


The gifts of the sea can take many forms. If it weren't for the downer ending of plastics choking the life out of the entire planet, I'd advocate for arranging for all beaches to be covered in Lego some of the time.

Wait, that'd mean no barefoot walking at the beach. Hmm, might need to rethink this one.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:17 AM on July 21


I will recommend the book Flotsametrics for what seems to be the third time.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:19 AM on July 21


Maybe one day an unmanned cargo drone full of Space Lego will crash on the moon.

Those poor bastards would have made it, too, but their helmets all cracked at the chin.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:19 AM on July 21 [7 favorites]


> I will recommend the book Flotsametrics for what seems to be the third time.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:19 AM on July 21

It seems that way for a reason.

But it sounds interesting and this was the first time I'd see it, so I'll see about getting a copy. Thanks for the lead.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:21 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


This is cool until I got started thinking about scientists on the Pacific Gyre examining gull carcasses stuffed with condoms and tiny plastic pirate hats and feeling like the stature of their field has been somewhat diminished.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:28 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Maybe one day an unmanned cargo drone full of Space Lego will crash on the moon.

As of 2016, there will be Lego on Jupiter.
posted by Rumple at 11:41 AM on July 21 [10 favorites]


"These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon. I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough, Devon. It's quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbour had found a green dragon, you'd want to go out and find one yourself."
I hope society rejects fiat currencies and returns to the long-respected plastic-lego-octopus-standard.... or maybe a bi-ABS octopus/dragon system.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:28 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


If you wanna watch a crappy documentary about it, where more time is spent on the sea-sickness of the film crew than the plastic, check out Garbage Island.
posted by Joe Chip at 1:01 PM on July 21


There's a part in The World Without Us that talks about the staggering amount of plastic entering the ecoystem. Those damn little scrubby things in some shampoos, for example.

I suppose one way to approach the tragedy is considering the rich variety of creatures that will evolve to eat all this stuff eventually, but that's cold comfort.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:35 PM on July 21


"The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up"

We always called them Legos, but I get that the proper plural is just Lego. So, shouldn't it be "where Lego keep washing up"?
posted by vytae at 2:48 PM on July 21


I wonder if LEGOs are better or worse at tracking currents than rubber ducks, or just different.
The ability to date them based on the parts might be helpful. An upwelling of Bionicle in this year's El Nino or whatnot. Hopefully there's some Lego nerds in the ranks of oceanographers and climatologists. who am I kidding of course there are
posted by condour75 at 2:55 PM on July 21


If you thought stepping on a Lego on carpet was bad, wait until you step on one embedded in sand...

I'd expect that stepping on Legos in sand would hurt less than Legos on carpet. The sand isn't able to push the Lego back into your soft arch the way compressed carpet is.
posted by aubilenon at 3:43 PM on July 21


This is cool until I got started thinking about scientists on the Pacific Gyre examining gull carcasses stuffed with condoms and tiny plastic pirate hats and feeling like the stature of their field has been somewhat diminished.

"Court magician! Read the intestines of a seagull and tell me my future!"

"Certainly, your majesty... Oh dear. Best you stay away from the docks for a while."
posted by rifflesby at 6:50 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Lego is an uncountable noun, like sand or money. So 'keeps'. (Which is why 'I stepped on a lego.' also sounds very wrong to me).
posted by Helga-woo at 12:22 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Lego is an uncountable noun, like sand or money.

Lego is a brand name. The company insists that the pieces be called "Lego bricks" and not just "Lego" or "Legos".
posted by Fleebnork at 5:38 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Lego is an uncountable noun, like sand or money

Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me.
posted by vytae at 3:37 PM on July 22


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