Wednesday, September 30, 2009
First, the mining.
Exceptional 500-carat diamond found in South Africa's Cullinan mine
(In case you're not up on your gemology, the Cullinan was the largest diamond ever found until the Golden Jubilee, and it spawned the two largest blue-white diamonds in the world, the Cullinan I and Cullinan II, in the British crown jewels (crown and scepter, respectively).
Now the archaeology.
Emperor Nero's rotating banquet room found
Of course, that's the PG-rated news.
This one's a little more racy.
Pity the Emperor never got to "party" in his rotating room.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner 'badly shaken' after horror Aston Martin crash
You don't see cricket players doing this kind of thing.
Flintoff 'ashamed' by Cup antics
(Well, this was old news. But it was funny.)
Seaweed invasion plagues France's pristine Brittany
Now, looking at this, there might be something to those alternative energy ideas of going directly from algae to biofuel.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Space debris gets some respect
Bad: Nearly 70% of Argentine forests lost in 100 years (freely translating from the article headline)
But WHY? you ask: "Faced with the breadth of the devastation in the province, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to deforestation in natural forests, following an appeal by indigenous populations. The move ran counter to the provincial authorities, which had authorized forest exploitation." When it's between environmental heritage and preservation on one hand, and jobs/growing economy on the other, the local government and the business community will ALWAYS choose jobs and a growing economy.
Out there: Jordan is going to build a two-billion dollar pipeline to pump water from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea and also to desalinate the Red Sea water. The thing is: this is actually good for the bizarre environmental heritage of the Dead Sea, because it's headed toward disappearance as it stands. My question is: what's the power source for the desalination plant. My hoped-for answer: solar power would seem to be a real good candidate.
My question: is the image on the right in the article a projection for the future?
The era of true enviro-engineering officially starts here. (They could have gone with the Hungry as the Sea solution: tow a tabular berg to Saudi Arabia from Antarctica and use all the ice for fresh water. I'd like to know the economics of the gas needed for the tow vs. the cost of desalinization.)
OK, the real news on Suzanne is not that she was wearing vines in a beauty pageant -- it was that she's a third generation beauty queen. You can read the story; her mom and her grandmother were both beauty pageant winners, but in the picture, I'd say her aunt (in light blue) is the real gem.
Regarding Suzanne in the group picture and in the solo below; that outfit with the too-short blouse, flat tummy, small waist, and tight jeans gets me every time.
More on Zito:
She says, in part:
"The simple thing – a straight-out carbon tax – would be the most honest way to deal with it. It has as much chance of flying as a lead balloon, especially since Republicans have settled on an ideology that says we have no responsibility to pay for anything and Democrats have one that says a seemingly infinite supply of the very rich is waiting to be soaked."
I disagree with what she says about ideology: I see it more that the Republicans have settled on an ideology that says if you can pay for it, fine; if you can't, you shouldn't want something you can't pay for. Democrats, on the other hand, are trying to pay for too much for too many well-meaning programs, but without a robust industrial base to generate profits for taxes, we don't have the money to pay for it, and she's right -- there isn't an infinite supply of rich people with inheritances to get the money from.
Meet in the middle? We all have a stake in the success of future generations. Everyone should have to pay something toward reducing America's carbon energy dependence. I just need to figure out how much everyone should pay. It does seem true that the more wealthy you are, the more carbon you need to maintain a lifestyle,
so a carbon tax shouldn't be regressive; but the downside may be that a higher percentage of energy in a lower-rung (income wise) family goes for basic needs that aren't optional. So how to balance this out... ? Still working on that.
Bonus! Follow-up on Heidi Klum, who's about as big as it's possible to get in this pregnancy process. I think it's OK to have a little fun with Heidi, who likes to have fun, and who is so beyond-reasonable beautiful that it's nice she can look closer to normal when she's pregnant (however, that black dress at the Emmys was NOT close to normal).
Sunday, September 27, 2009
2. Abbie Cornish. This is a safe link. She's an up-and-coming starlet.
Abbie Cornish quietly makes a name for herself (article)
2a. http://www.brightstar-movie.com/ (has audio)
3. Green problems give Democrats the blues (I'll comment on this later)
4. Things in the ground, Part I:
Feathered fossils prove birds evolved from dinosaurs, say Chinese scientists
Great images of the fossils in this article.
5. Things in the ground, Part II.
In pictures: Britain Anglo-Saxon Treasure Find
6. Suzanne Celensu brings new meaning to green. (Safe, but enjoyable.) More on this later, too.
Friday, September 25, 2009
India's tiger protection plan 'failing': experts
The federal government swung into action in 2007 after India's tiger population plunged to just 1,350 -- just over a third of the 3,700 estimated to be alive in 2002.
A new tiger conservation plan chalked out some bold and urgent steps to end the poaching menace, move forest dwellers away from reserves and transfer tigers from one reserve to another while monitoring their movements.
Wildlife experts and directors of the 38 Indian tiger reserves met in Delhi last week for a conference on the highly-prized animals which were estimated to once number about 40,000 before independence from Britain in 1947.
"India has framed all the policies and is doling out ample monetary aid to save the tiger but it is clearly not trickling down," said Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection of India who attended the conference.
"Poaching cases are just not stopping."
In the last nine months, 25 tigers have been killed by poachers and another 43 have died due to other causes.
On average, poachers kill 30 tigers every year in guarded reserves with demand driven by China where pelts, claws and bones are prized in traditional medicine.
Full-size (no labels)
I've linked both the small version of the Equinox image of the Saturnian ring system (with the gaps labeled) and the full-size one on the Cassini Web site. This is in case you get confused when trying to remember all the different gaps and ring segments in the Saturnian system (which happens to me all the time!). So this image should help keep things straight. Now if I could just remember where Daphnis and Pan are located...
My question: Is the E-ring missing?
My answer: It's partly due to Enceladus, and very tenuous.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The woman behind Heidi is pointing out the current location of her feet, since Heidi obviously can't locate them visually at this stage.
Jude Law's one-timer gives him something to remember her by
McDreamy or McSteamy?
I know what they did last winter
Amanda Beard produces a next-generation Aquaman (and will he be as photogenic?)
No consensus for global tuna trade veto
I have a quick translation for this: bluefin tuna is too profitable right now to give up. As soon as there are so few tuna left that it becomes unprofitable to get the scant few remaining (the scant few being too few to allow populations to recover, of course), then we can talk about a ban.
Why is bluefin tuna SO endangered? The onus is on Japan, and the United states.
Fish consumption and trade on the rise
China has been consuming more, but also producing more, too. Apparently quite a bit of tilapia and carp???
Global fish trade facts (careful, it's a PDF)
Japan imports $14 billion worth of seafood, the U.S. $13.3 billion, as of 2006.
Top fish exporters and importers
Spain has TRIPLE the per capita fish consumption of average fish consumers globally!
Empty coasts, barren seas
"The EU is partly to blame for overfishing world fish stocks; it ranks among those with the largest fishing fleets – 90,000 of the world’s 1.3 million decked vessels. It is estimated that about 80% of all species in EU territorial waters are overfished. Spain and the UK lead in the number of foreign fleets outside
Europe. Some estimates suggest that about 60% of fish landed in the EU come from outside its territorial waters."
"But while aquaculture is projected to take pressure off the world’s oceans, we should note that it is also increasingly contributing to their demise. The rapid expansion of farming shrimp, salmon and other carnivorous high-value species such as cod, sea bass, and tuna has increasingly diverted fish catch into industrial feed rather than food for people. This comes into direct conflict with local food security, as it takes 2–5 kg of wild-caught fish, processed into fish meal and fish oil for feed, to produce a single kilogram of farmed fishmeat.16 In 2006, the aquaculture sector consumed an estimated 23.8 million tonnes of small pelagic fish in the form of feed inputs (about 26% of total world catch from capture fisheries), including 3.72 million tonnes used to make fish meal, 0.83 million tonnes to make fish oil used in compounded aquafeeds, and an additional 7.2 million tonnes of low value/trash fish as direct feed or in farm-made aquafeeds."
The fish and seafood market in Japan
"Japan is the world's largest consumer and importer of fish and seafood products. Imports accounted for about 45% or nearly $17.3 billion(1) of the total fish and seafood market in 2005. About half of Japan's total fishery product imports consist of shrimp, tuna and marlin, salmon and trout, crab, processed eels, cod and pollock roes, and processed shrimp. Although per-capita Japanese fish and seafood consumption has fallen slightly in recent years, Japan's self-sufficiency in supplying its domestic demand is falling at a greater pace, creating increased dependency on imports. Total fish and seafood sales in Japan were estimated by Thomson Business Intelligence to be $104.5 billion in 2005--up from $98 billion in 2004--and are projected to reach $141.8 billion by 2010."
"The average per-capita fish consumption in 2004 was 34.5 kg (net weight), down from 35.7 kg in 2003, but still remains the highest fish consumption rate in the world. The average Japanese household spent $1026 on fish and seafood in 2005. Total fish and seafood sales in Japan, estimated by Thomson Business Intelligence to have increased from $98 billion in 2004 to $104.5 billion in 2005, may reach $141.8 billion by 2010.
Japan is also the world's largest fish and seafood importer, importing nearly $17.3-billion worth of fish and seafood products in 2005. Because of the immensity of the Japanese fish and seafood market, Japan is generally considered the world price-setter for fish and seafood products."
More, specifically about tuna:
"Japan is the world's largest producer and market for fresh and frozen tuna and tuna-based products (excluding canned tuna). On average, a Japanese household spends $77 on tuna per year, well-above the $43-per-year average for shrimp, the second-most consumed fish and seafood product. Consumer spending on tuna increases dramatically in December, with prices reaching up to $22 per saku (120-150 g) in the last week of December (leading up to most important holiday in Japan, shogatsu [New Year]). Bluefin tuna, southern bluefin and bigeye tuna are the highest-priced tunas."
"Consumers and buyers in Japan are fairly price conscious and with prices increasing, these factors are changing Japanese consumption of fish and seafood products. For example, Japanese consumption of surimi has fallen to 52% of the global total from 65% five years ago, due to the rising popularity of surimi in Western countries. Since domestic retailers do not accept price hikes for kamaboko, Japanese surimi importers are often beaten on price by foreign companies.
Many restaurants and fish retailers are dealing with the increased prices by revising their menus or selling fish in smaller portions. For example, the Mutenkura sushi bar in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, have increased their offering of non-sushi dishes to account for 30% of their menu, thereby reducing the impact of rising fish prices. Ito-Yokado Co., a major supermarket in Japan, reduced the quantity of sashimi it sells in packs in order to cut the unit price by 13%, but has maintained the same price. If the fish gets too expensive, fish and seafood retailers will withdraw the pricier fish from their offerings. Many sushi restaurants stopped offering salmon once it became more expensive than delicacies such as toro (fatty tuna) or uni.
In Japan, as consumers adopt a more Westernized diet and increase consumption of meat, fish and seafood consumption has fallen. Where traditionally the Japanese diet relied almost entirely on fish and seafood for animal protein, in 2003 fish consumption accounted for only 39% of total animal protein intake. Markets for traditional products (e.g. herring roe, smelt, or spawn on kelp) are stagnant or declining. In 2004, however, the volume of fish and seafood consumed by Japanese households still exceeded that of meat by 37%.
Consumers are purchasing fewer fresh fish and seafood products directly from retailers, and are consuming more fresh fishery products in the food-service sector and through consuming ready meals (e.g. boxed meals, rice balls). This change in consumption patterns can be attributed in part to an increase in the number of
single-member and two-member households, which tend to prefer convenient meal solutions, and an increase in the number of working women, which has decreased households' time available for cooking from scratch."
In my evaluation of this, the time is right to get Japan to back the EU bluefin tuna ban, and to get their consumers to change their patterns substantively. That would give the ban a chance to stick. Gut the market, and then gut a lot less bluefin tuna. Get the Japanese to enjoy turkey sushi (and the U.S. can export a lot of that).
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Well, if or if not, California wants to tackle the problem.
State Joins Forces with Non-Profit Groups to Find Solutions to Ocean Waste and Toxicity of Plastics
"The Watershed Project embraces the reality that marine debris and the growing amount of plastics in our ocean must be addressed in the context of a cradle-to-cradle approach said Linda Hunter, Executive Director of The Watershed Project. Manufacturers, municipalities and citizens need to work together to take responsibility for the tsunami of trash that we create every day."
Good luck to them.
And she's not wearing the shoes on her feet.
Here's the charity:
Heels that Heal
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Part 1: Once feared extinct, Angolan sable wins new hope for survival
When I first saw this, I thought that all giant sables were thought extinct; which seemed strange, because I'd seen them in zoos rather recently. Turns out this is just about the Angolan giant sable subspecies (which the title of the article said), but I thought that that Angolan sable was substantially different than the other giant sables. I'm not knocking diversity and this is good news, but still, we'd still have giant sables (for awhile) if we lost the Angolans.
Anyway, the large news here is that they found a captured a male sable.
"After six years of monitoring stealth cameras and tracking dung samples, the team has finally captured 10 pure-bred giant sables for a breeding programme and tagged dozens of others to monitor their progress. ... The search then turned to the more remote Luando Reserve, where the only lead was a positive DNA test on a dung sample collected on an earlier trip. There they found two herds, in total around 40 giant sable, and chose one for the breeding area. Even after several weeks back in the capital Luanda, Pedro is still ecstatic about his encounters with the giant sables.
"Getting close to that first male was just incredible," he said. "But for me the most emotional part was when we put the male into the area with the females and stood back to watch them interact. "We only took one because if we put two in there they would kill each other, but this one we chose is at his prime so we hope will be good for breeding." ... A leading authority on the giant sable, Richard Estes of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology: "I did not think we would find a single male, so to find as many as we did was amazing. This is an absolutely seminal step for the project."
Seminal (from the Merriam-Webster dictionary) -- he certainly chose his words wisely.
Which brings me to part 2.
What really makes a woman want to sleep [aka have sex with] a man?
Trust me, there's science here.
There are seven different sections in the article: Size Matters [height, if you're worried]; The Scent of Sex; Fit for Sex; The Face of Attraction; A Sexy Voice; Something In the Way He Moves; and Sexy Personality -- but the one I find most interesting (and I've read about this particular aspect of sexual attraction before) is the Scent of Sex aspect:
According to new scientific research, a woman will literally sniff out a man's genetic make-up before she decides if he's right for her.
A woman's sense of smell reaches a peak around the time of her ovulation, the 24-hour window -during the monthly menstrual cycle in which she can become pregnant.
The genes responsible for fighting off disease-causing bacteria and viruses are found in a group of genes called the major histocompatibility complex, or MHC.
Different people have various versions of these genes - and it turns out that women can benefit in two ways from mating with men whose MHC genes are dissimilar to their own.Such a mate is likely to have more dissimilar genes in general, so finding someone dissimilar attractive might help to prevent many of the birth defects associated with reproducing with close genetic relatives.
A second benefit is any children of such a union will have a more robust immune system.
The interesting thing is that women seem to be able to sniff out men with dissimilar MHC.
In a revealing study, Brazilian researchers asked 29 men to wear cotton skin patches for five days to absorb their sweat - and thus their body odours.
A sample of 29 women then smelled each cotton patch and evaluated the odour on a scale from attractive to unattractive.
Scientists identified the specific MHC complex of each man and woman through blood tests. Women found the aromas of men who had a complex dissimilar to their own to be the most desirable.
The odours of men who had a complex similar to their own made them recoil in disgust.
This highly developed sense of smell can have a profound effect on women's sexuality.
Evolutionary psychologist Christine Garver-Apgar studied MHC similarity in 48 couples.
They found that as the degree of similarity between each woman and man increased, the woman's sexual responsiveness to her partner decreased.
Women whose partners had similar genes reported wanting to have sex less often. They had less motivation to please their partner sexually compared to the women going out with men with dissimilar genes.
Women with MHC-similar partners also reported more frequent sexual fantasies about other men, particularly at the most fertile phase of their ovulation cycle.
And their sexual fantasies about other men did not just remain in their heads. They also reported higher rates of sexual infidelity.
[This last part is really interesting, because studies of birds have shown that even in stable nesting pairs, the female frequently goes out and gets some on the side so as to increase the bio-diversity of her offspring.]
And thus, thematically, we have human females chasing different men to maximize the genetic fitness of their offspring, and we have seven female sables chasing a male to have offspring.
Other studies show women prefer tall men as husbands and put an even greater emphasis on height in shorter-term sex partners. Women even place importance on height when selecting sperm donors.
Two studies also found that taller-than-average men tend to have a greater number of live-in girlfriends and more children, confirming their popularity for romance and reproduction.
And there does seem to be an underlying logic in women's preference for tall men. In Western cultures, tall men tend to have higher socio-economic status than short men.
Each added inch of height has been shown to add several thousand pounds to a man's annual salary.It is estimated that, on average, 6ft men earn more than £100,000 across a 30-year career than 5ft 5in men.
Tall silverbacks that smell right and who are in pretty good shape, with square jaws and a sense of humour, get the babes?
This explains George Clooney.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Chile Vaccinates Salmon Against Deadly Virus
Here's the numbers:
"We hope to vaccinate between 10 and 12 million fish over the next six months, Alejandro Pino, a manager at the Recalcine pharmaceutical company which manufactures the drug, told AFP.
He said the vaccination programme, along with stepped up oversight of fisheries, was needed to save the once-thriving salmon industry, a source of millions of dollars each year in revenue.
Now, I wondered, is that feasible? So I looked up a fish vaccination company:
Eurofish Fish Vaccination Services
and they say, regarding how fast they can do this:
"Eurofish normally attend sites as a team of between 4 and 6 operatives, each capable of vaccinating 2000 fish per hour, giving an optimum capacity of 120,000 fish per day for a normal working day of 12 hours. Teams can be tailored to meet clients’ requirements - the company can, for example, provide the service of anaesthetising the fish, in which case a team of up to 7 personnel could attend the site."
OK, so 10 million/120,000 fish vaccinated per day = 83 days. 83/5 = 16.6. So at optimum speed, they could get this done in a little over four months.
Count me impressed. I'd like to see a video of how each operative vaccinates 2000 fish an hour, which is a remarkable 33 fish stuck a minute. I can barely eat 33 potato chips a minute.
Here's what the job looks like:
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
But be that as it may be, the "plight" the Maryland watermen caught my attention. Basically, they are saying that everyone needs to get on the ball to clean up the Bay because they have to take part-time jobs so that they keep doing their other part-time job, which is maintaining the sorry state of the Bay's fisheries (and that means shellfish, crabs, and fish). Attitudinally, it sounds like this:
He said both watermen and the bay itself are "at the brink of collapsing," necessitating strict controls on pollution from all the various sources.
[Larry] Simns [President of the Maryland Watermen's Association] said watermen pay the price for pollution and mismanagement. There was the famous rockfish harvest moratorium in the 1980s, recent restrictions on crabbing and persistent talk of shutting down the oyster harvest.
"They don't mind putting a moratorium on watermen when stocks get low, but they won't put a moratorium on building," he said.
Well put. Simns recognizes that there are a lot of vested interests involved in screwing the Bay royally, but that his platoon should be able to keep pulling out about as much as they want if everybody else would just get together and clean the Bay up.
Look at it this way: the Chesapeake Bay's watershed extends to New York, but New Yawkers are going to be far more interested in what affects the Hudson than what flows into Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania has so little Bay coastline that they basically see it as a downstream dump, and the lovely Susquehanna carries the agricultural runoff of half the state into the upper Bay (and some acid runoff from coal mining, too, and that also includes West Virginia). Speaking of WV, Virginia and West Virginia haven't agreed on much since they split up during that little contretemps called the Civil War, and though they contribute both the Potomac and the James into the Bay, they seem to think that the problem is mostly Maryland's. Now, Democrats Warner and Kaine have been a tad more cooperative than Gilmore and Glendening, who probably would have preferred derringers at 20 yards than actual conversation, but still, Maryland seems to get most of the blame for what's wrong with the Bay. And if Maryland can't control Tyson and Perdue's chicken poop and the combined suburban runoff from the DC and Baltimore sprawling suburbs (except hey wait a minute, DC isn't part of Maryland, so the Anacostia -- or is the the gonna-cost-ya -- River doesn't fall under Maryland's purview), so DC is yet another jurisdiction that has to be somehow involved, but the Feds keep punting this ball back to the states. Who are doing a d*mned poor job of it.
But look what they're up against. Agricultural interests; farmers complain about increased restrictions on what runs off their farm fields and what gets discharged from the excretory systems of their livestock. Illegal dumping abounds because legal dumping costs more. Grow-at-all-costs developers (why oh WHY is housing starts such a fricking important economic indicator? -- it's partly an indicator of how increasing less open land gets converted into homes, driveways, and parking lots) are treated like royalty if they bring venture capital to the table, especially in these economic times. Commercial fishing -- has Virginia yet tried to rein on Omega Proteins' rape of the filter-feeding menhaden? (Let me check: doesn't look like it.) And this particular region also hosts a thriving, commuter-clogged economy, and we certainly don't want to put the brakes on THAT -- despite the amount of water yanked out of the rivers for drinking and lawn-watering and power plants (OK, yes, nuke plants need cooling too) and all the excess fertilizer dumped into sewers and all the food waster dumped into disposalls.
How the heck are we going to clean this mess up? As the saying goes, the answer to that question is: not easily, and not quickly.
The problem is, because the Bay is shared by so many states, it is seen as a shared resource and not a national ecological and historical heritage. Washington DC would not be where it is, and neither would Mount Vernon, were it not for the Bay. Neither indeed would Norfolk or Hampton Roads be as important. Of course Baltimore's primary reason for existence was the Bay: it had a port, and of course the port had a fort, and the Key to that is the National Anthem. And the Bay's oysters used to be a gigantic cash crop, and up until a few years ago, crabs were pretty noted as a Bay specialty too. But again, this is economic exploitation, not ecological preservation. (Oh yeah, Annapolis has a bit of a connection to the Bay; so does the Potomac River all the way to Harper's Ferry; we could talk about how many Civil War battlefields lie within 100 miles of Bay waters, or the Monitor vs. Merrimack, so I could delve deeper into the historical importance, from colonial day to modern day) -- BUT I WANT TO MAKE A POINT.
And my POINT is: the Bay is unique, probably like no other estuary in the entire United States. Had it been viewed as such, as an ecological and historical gem, not as an economically-exploitable, multi-interest facilitator of commerce, it might have been viewed as something to preserve, just as explorers in wonderment saw everything in the valley of the Yellowstone and decided that it was too unique to lose.
Had we collectively viewed the Chesapeake Bay as too unique to lose and made it a national park, then the wildlife (terrestrial and aquatic) would be protected. Activities occurring outside of Chesapeake Bay National Park would all have to be viewed in terms of their potential impact on the ecosystems of the Park. Oysters, crabs, stripers, menhaden would be exporting themselves to waters external to the Bay, not trying to survive in the oxygen-depleted, murky waters of the current Chesapeake Sewer. If this had happened early in the 20th century and maybe part of the Bay was preserved as a cultural heritage park, those plighted watermen would be getting their oysters and crabs out of the Bay the traditional way, like the Indians, and they wouldn't be complaining that there was too little left to make this a viable lifestyle. And there would be recreational opportunities galore: sailing, clean beaches, skin diving to see the beauty of a thriving oyster bed, larger and more viable national wildlife refuges with waterfowl and the things they eat, ungutted coastlines, nook and cranny bays and rivers to be explored by kayak or canoe or skipjack --------------
---- this is a vision of something that will never be, but something that ought to have been. And so I think and wish and hope that these valiant multilateral efforts that accomplish nothing would see the Chesapeake Bay as the mid-Atlantic equivalent of the Everglades, which is a park that was beset with outside influences that threatened its viability, but which (despite what sea level rise is going to do to it) was deemed worthy of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in restoration money to try and preserve a tenth of what it was before all the outside influences started kicking in to nearly destroy it. Why can't developers be taxed 10% of everything they profit in a development (of any kind) that lies within the Bay watershed? Oh, I know it's a lot of money. But when I talk about what the Bay used to be to my kids (hopefully I'll write more on that theme soon), they think it's a dreamland, a fantasy, an abstraction, a far-removed-reality that couldn't really have ever existed.
The Chesapeake Bay should have been a national park. It's a shadow of its former self, and that is a national shame and tragedy. I feel sorry for the watermen, because they are like typewriter repairmen, trying to hang on in an environment in which their skills are antiquated anachronisms. But it didn't have to be that way.
It didn't have to be like this: Chesapeake Bay Might Now Also Be a Health Threat to Humans
A compendium of a few more articles
Large sanctuaries urged for recovery of wild oyster population
Beauty on the Brink
Failing the Chesapeake
By the way, through the wonders of the Internet, this particular idea did actually come under consideration, around 2002:
Chesapeake Bay National Park?
Chesapeake Bay National Park? Study considers adding bay to system
But yeah, that didn't work:
Bay Gateways Network's future in jeopardy as funds are eliminated
"The White House [aka the Bush Administration], which did not include funding for the Gateways Network in its last two budget requests, has in policy statements encouraged Congress to terminate the entire Statutory Aid program. The House has also recommended the elimination of the program, and for the past two years followed the lead of the White House and eliminated funding for the Gateways Network.
This is not surprising to me.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Now, what's available at the link below is no more daring or provocative or scandalous or revealing than a nice bikini. However, it is an accumulated compendium of wowness that one should be CAUTIOUS of inspecting if it is possible that disapproving eyes might be glancing over your shoulder or reviewing your URLs. But if the loveliness of youthful lines and curves is appealing to you as it might be clear that it is to me, well, this is one sweet and warm cup of tea.
(Found out about her from this Daily Mail article.)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My question: if it happenstances that way, what does that do to the top 10?
Current list of top 10 warmest years, globally (Hadley Climate Research Unit T3)
2. 1998, 2007
5. 2003, 2006
7. 2001, 2004
So if 2009 comes in 5th (let's put it 5th in both, even though the placement might be a little different in both), here's the new rankings:
2. 1998, 2007
6. 2003, 2006
8. 2001, 2004
Interesting is what this does to either data set. For Hadley, it drops the cool 2008 off the 10th spot, so this aberrant La Nina-influenced year is no longer in the conversation, and places 2-9 are all after Y2K. For GISS, 1997 drops out, leaving only one year not in the first decade of the 21st century in the top 10.
What was anyone (particularly the dissonauts) saying about a 10-year cooling trend?
(Dissonaut: a combination of dissenter, disparage, and dissonance, cognitive. Also implying
that most of them are spaced-out, spacey, or just plain space cadets.)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
What's interesting to me is that while the 2002 even looks a bit stronger over the Equator, the area of warm anomaly was much narrower than the current state. I don't know if that means anything or not. The SST anomalies south of Central America look about the same.
So is this one going to hang on 'til winter? Still too soon to tell.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I thought I knew that the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world's tallest building, but they've been surpassed. Petronas Towers now rank third tallest of completed buildings, and they'll be fifth when the ICC in Hong Kong and the Burj in Dubai are finished.
Here are links to descriptions of the top five:
1. The Burj, Dubai
2. Taipei 101
3. Shanghai World Financial Centre
4. International Commerce Centre
5. Petronas Towers
Tall athletes and the lovely petite women who love them
included a profile of superstar distance swimmer Grant Hackett and his singing pop star wife, Candice Alley. At the time of that writing in June, they were expecting twins.
Well, they are now the parents of twins. Petite Candice carried the twins nearly to term. Congratulations and good on ya (as if I knew Aussie slang).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Answering the latter question is easy a little: wash full loads whenever possible; to save money (not necessarily energy) wash during off-peak hours. Now this might save a little energy because bringing peak generators online generally uses a bit more energy.
Here's a couple more links on that:
6 Energy Saving Tips for the Dishwasher
Dishwashers (Energy Star)
As for that question "Who invented the [machine] dishwasher?", I found a fascinating site that I haven't even read all of yet:
Chemistry in the Cupboard: Finish which provides everything you would EVER want to know about dishwashing.
And it told me that Josephine Cochrane invented the first machine dishwasher in 1893, because her servants keep chipping her fine china. After I found that, I sort of vaguely remembered that story, but I don't know from whence or where.
That's a dose of esoterica for ya.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Up to two million march to US Capitol to protest against Obama's spending in 'tea-party' demonstration
Other sponsors of the rally include the Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform and the Ayn Rand Center for Individuals Rights.
Yup. Global Warming "Facts" from the Heartland Institute
This is what the Heartland Institute's "science director" says:
"Lehr opened by noting, "When I point out in a couple of different ways that we're not responsible for the warming,"
which is ridiculous.
He also says this:
"We need 70 per cent of the public recognising this scam before the government will respond. In the United States we have risen in the past five years from 32-34 per cent recognising that global warming was not man-caused to right now around 54
and the idjit also says THIS:
"The shocking number is that, of that 4 per cent, man only contributes 3 per cent. That's our power plants, our automobiles, our own breathing; everything we do on the planet contributes 3 per cent. 97 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from the ocean and from plants."
Well, I see about two million people who think this guy is a scientific genius; all are definitely citizens of unscientific America.
Pardon me while I get nauseous.
Friday, September 11, 2009
This is the most bad:
UN climate talks could fail, EU ministers warn
"French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told AFP that Copenhagen would be judged as a success if there is the willingness from rich countries to help poorer ones deal with the effects of global warming.
"It is the richest who must share most of the burden with developing countries," Kouchner said.
This is less bad:
European Commission offers aid for developing countries on climate change
"The commissioner proposed that the EU pay between 10 and 30 per cent of the global total of the international public finance part of the requisite financing, which would amount to between 2 billion euros and 15 billion euros a year by 2020. The precise amount finally decided upon would depend on the relative weight accorded to two principles: the ability of a country to pay and its responsibility for emissions."
This is astonishing (and unlikely):
Wind could meet China's electricity needs by 2030: study
"McElroy's team used meteorological and geographical data to calculate China's total wind capacity and then estimated how much power could be delivered profitably at different floor prices.But how many turbines do you really need? And how fast do they have to be built? And can T. Boone Pickens explain all this to me?
They found that wind energy providers could profitably supply all of China's projected electricity demand by 2030 if they receive at least 0.516 yuan (7.6 US cents) per kilowatt hour for the first 10 years."
further on down it says "Benefits in terms of improvements in Chinese air quality would be substantial, however, and there could be important benefits also for the Chinese economy." By contrast, meeting future needs with coal could increase carbon emissions by 3.5 gigatons a year from the current annual level of 6.6 gigatons.
Health problems caused by air pollution are currently estimated to cost 0.7 to 4.3 percent of China's GDP, the authors note."
and finally: A network of wind turbines operating at as little as 20 percent of their capacity would be able to produce as much as 24.7 petawatt hours of electricity annually, which is seven times the country's current consumption. "Wind farms would only need to take up land areas of 0.5 million square kilometers, or regions about three quarters of the size of Texas," said co-author Xi Lu, a graduate student in McElroy's group at Harvard.
Kate Beckinsale and her dazzling new dress make a big splash at Hollywood premiere. But does her daughter like it?
Laliberte set to put cirque in space
Circus man ready to make 'fairy tale' come true in space
Thursday, September 10, 2009
That's amore: George Clooney takes girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis for a romantic motorbike ride around Lake Como
George Clooney and his new girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis enjoy la dolce vita on Italian boat trip
George Clooney goes public with new girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis at Venice premiere
Now, about Elisabetta. It's possible to do an image search for her photogenic countenance, pulchritude, and comeliness. If you do, be warned: she's been photographed wearing swimsuits and bikinis. And less. Comely indeed.
The only thing that has kept GC from achieving true silverback status is lack of offspring. He says (and promises) he won't ever have kids. Actually, I have to admire a man who is actually responsible about that. I wonder if there's a woman that could change his mind. Seems to me that Elisabetta could be persuasive if she wanted to be...
"This decision marks an important step in the protection of Atlantic bluefin tuna," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.
"We must act on the best scientific evidence available to us -- and scientists say that urgent action is needed to safeguard the future of one of the ocean's most emblematic creatures."
But as seems always, fishermen seem to think fisheries are an inexhaustible research (quoting from the article again):
But a fishermen's association grouping fleets from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain termed the Brussels' stance as "nonsense."
Lest we forget: A Run on the Banks:
How "Factory Fishing" Decimated Newfoundland Cod
"The shock came in 1988. New modeling techniques and the latest stock survey revealed that many groundfish stocks were on the edge of collapse. The northern cod stock--by far the largest and most important--was in the worst shape of all. Fisheries scientists concluded that quotas had to be more than halved in order to prevent this stock's collapse. Politicians were appalled; the proposed quotas would have caused economic chaos throughout Eastern Canada. So the politicians compromised what could not be compromised. Quotas were cut by only 10 percent."
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
But if you want to see mind-blowingly gorgeous right away, just click this link to the full-size picture of Stephan's Quintet.
A smaller version:
It happened with the Montreal Protocol and ozone. Now it appears that the much of the world is waking up to the fact that some fisheries may disappear forever if there is not serious protective action taken in a somewhat immediate fashion.
So if you want to save this:
The European Union is preparing to back a temporary ban on bluefin tuna fishing which would see the suspension of catches around the world, a source linked to the dossier said Tuesday.
A bit further down in the article it says:
"According to the proposal put to the UN agency against illegal wildlife trade CITES, stocks are so fragile that the species should be classified as being at threat of extinction.
"The idea is not to definitively ban fishing but to suspend it for two years, for example, to allow the species to build up again," the source in Brussels said.
As the Nike slogan goes: JUST DO IT.
(This story is just plain funny, were it not for the fact that there are families involved.)
The spanking senator
Hope the ride was worth the cost.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Water Scarcity In Southeast Australia Started 15 Years Ago
"The data shows the first signs of diminishing water availability in Australia appeared somewhere between 1993 and 1996 when the rate of water resource capture and use started to exceed the rate of streamflow supply,” Dr van Dijk said.Summary translation: when you start to take out more than's going in, you'll end up having less.
"The data also reveals that the impact of the drought on Australia’s current water resources is broadly consistent with both the historical trend and climate change predictions.Summary translation: don't base long-term planning on periods of extraordinary abundance. California is learning this now. And this should also apply to every state budget in the United running-low-on-cash States of America.
“Parts of Australia have had record low rainfall the last several years, but our records aren’t very long and the drought may still be within natural limits.”
“What makes the situation appear so much worse is that the sixties and seventies were quite wet. That’s also when we started capturing river flows in large reservoirs for our growing cities and irrigated agriculture. In retrospect it appears we have become over-reliant on what is now looking like ‘bonus’ rainfall during that time."
This one will feature a close look at Jason Lezak, who managed an out-of-his-body last 15 meters to beat France in the 400-meter freestyle relay; and made Michael Phelps 8-for-8 instead of 7-for-8.
Greenspan film to feature Jason Lezak
I want to see it. Unfortunately I don't subscribe to Showtime. I'm gonna have to find someone that does...
In case you want to see it again (someone filmed it on-screen as it happened)
It still looks impossible.
Monday, September 7, 2009
New Treaty Would Cast Net Over Illegal Fishing
"Over 90 countries, including more than 30 from Africa, have agreed on the language of a new treaty to crack down on illegal and unregulated fishing.
The treaty would toughen port security and make it much harder for vessels to unload illegal catches. Its official name is the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
David Doulman, an official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in Rome, says, "It's an attempt to block the entry of illegally caught fish into international markets, so that the perpetrators of this type of fishing will not be able to benefit…or it will be more difficult for them to benefit."
Supposedly, according to other sources, this thing is set to be signed in December and then needs to get ratified by 25 countries. Let's hope this won't be nearly as hard to pass through the process as cap-and-trade is going to be in the U.S. Senate.
Against Elena Dementieva: 5-7 6-4 6-3 .
Against Maria Sharaopova: 3-6 6-4 7-5 .
Against Nadia Petrova: 1-6 7-6(2) 6-3 .
After she got stomped on in the first set, ageless Dick Enberg commented that Melanie had Petrova "right where she wanted her". Pretty darn remarkable.
Now she has to see if her magic can extend to defeat a woman whose first name doesn't end in " "a" and whose last name ends in a different vowel (Danish 19-year old Caroline Wozniacki).
We'll see. Quite a run, and quite a lot of fun to watch.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
September 2009 release
I haven't had a chance to look at all 95 pages; have fun if you want to!!!
I started with the first 10 pages, and this one caught my eye:'
Spider Trough Network
Browse image (it's more fun to go to look at the full-resolution images, which load easily, I will add)
There ought to be a contest to find the most unusual (or most eye-catching) image in this release; then a lot more people would look at them ALL quite closely.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The thing about her is, despite her obvious cuteness and assets, she doesn't take great still pictures. She's more engaging in action than frozen in time. This one, in a nice dress, (totally safe) isn't bad, but I've yet to find the definitive "hot" Chriqui capture.
Here's a set of pics from the Entourage Season Six premiere (courtesy Popoholic). One thing she does is smirk at the camera sometimes. When the smile is more natural, she heats up.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux wedding news (Danielle's dad didn't get invited)
Check out the honeymoon suite; as the saying goes, if you have to ask...