You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Southern Ocean? I don't think so!

Speaking of daft scientific theories and actions, as I was a week ago, apparently, some people are claiming that there's a "fifth ocean." Poppycock!

The article I've linked to says in part that "the International Hydrographic Organization created the fifth world ocean..." The IHO (Pronounced "I - Ho") didn't create a bleeding thing. They did what all lazy, publicity-starved "academics" do - They went mucking about with something already settled to create a bit of pointless controversy and pick up birds at cocktail parties.

I must admit, I do see the temptation. When your primary job is tracking ocean currents and borders and the like, one must get stone bored quite frequently. Redefining oceans and naming the new, made-up ones is a helluva lot sexier than tabulating reports on incremental variations in ocean temperature in the South Atlantic hydrosphere. The eyes glaze over at that dour prospect. By comparison, an agriculture report would read like Ian Fleming.

However, this decision makes about as much sense as changing the theme song to Starsky and Hutch back in the 70's. Furthermore, the name is complete rubbish. The "Southern Ocean?" A roomful of Puritan chartered accountants could have come up with something better than that. Why not the "Penguin Ocean" or the "Frigid Ocean" for starters? Why not the "Bottom Ocean?" How about the "Fictional Ocean," just to get the accuracy bit down?

The final bit of silliness is the justification for the "fifth" ocean. According to Commodore John Leech of the IHO, the main justification of the body, who did all this without even a quorum of member countries approval (proving that most nations also think of this sort of thing as attention-starved, bird-attracting quackery), was that the southern parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans are set apart as a "different ecosystem." Well, so is the bleeding North Atlantic from the Southern Atlantic, etc. etc. and no one give's as much as a bent farthing. Why stop at one new ocean? Why not make the Mediterranean an ocean and upgrade the Riviera a bit?

No, the real reason is that a bunch of aging, desperately bored hydrographers had some sort of scientific, mid-life crisis. For everyone's sake, next time just go buy an Aston-Martin or take up wakeboarding instead of wasting our time with tosh like this.

I personally will never see the Southern Ocean, because it doesn't bleeding exist. Nyah! So, there.

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