Saturday, October 31, 2009

A tale of two blondes


#1, Isabel Lucas, lately from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. She's also a lovely hair model for Fekkai, as shown here.

All of the following are entirely safe:

More of Isabel

Even more

Her brief career (is taking off)

And Wikipedia reminds me that she was in Shia Lebouf's car when he crashed it. Boy am I glad she wasn't badly hurt. It also says she's quite enviromentally-focused. Not much not to like here.




#2: Nicola McLean: Daily Mail informs us that she's expecting her second child. This was the first I've heard of her; Wikipedia (again) fills us in on her glamour modeling career, and the rest of her life. She's enhanced what the good Lord gave her, a couple of times.

I was struck when contemplating Nicola that the British press is much better at just covering the lives of pretty girls than the U.S. In the U.S., you seem to have to have something else, career-wise, going on. In the UK, to get mentioned (and mentioned again, and again, and again) in the tabloid press, all that is really required is substantial pulchritudinal assets. Usually that ends up meaning a job of some kind utilizing such assets, but it doesn't seem necessary to garner press coverage. In Nicola's case, she's also a lingerie model, specializing in cup sizes further along in the alphabet than D.

Not much not to like about that, either.

Bikini-level stuff:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


Exhibit C (she has stretch marks, which the Brit press has been unkind about; I don't mind)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Echoes of Ehrlich, not good for the environment

I have engaged in Friday frivolities before -- and shall again, if you wish to skip to the next post (above this one). But the news today on the environmental front is not good this Halloween Eve, and it shows, despite all the consumer-happy, blithely ignorant positions and postulations that you might hear from some political shadings of indigo, violet, and blue, that renewable resources are only renewable if they are allowed to renew. They can be exhausted beyond their capacity to renew themselves --

-- and we are seeing more and more clear definitive examples of that. We stand near the end of this first decade of the 21st century on the cusp of a Crave New World; a world in which we crave things that we either need or want, things that if we get them will be costly and expensive compared to their relative abundance only a few short years ago.

In short, I'm talking about two things: 1, water, and 2, fish.

1. WATER

One would expect that in desert arid countries, the first manifestations of water shortages and their impact on the populace would be perceived. That would be quite true, and the apparent leader in this race that no country wants to win is Yemen. My lead is a recent story, but it is easy to go back and find out that this is not "new" News:

2009: Yemen's water crisis a Mideast warning

Aquifers are being depleted and lowered, mountainous areas are drying up, and (as I refer to my post on the poisoned Pearl River from yesterday), social unrest is beginning to burgeon because of it.

Rather than summarize beyond that (the link is clickable, of course), I'll provide more click-fodder.

2005: Yemen: Focus on water shortage


2006: Yemen Water Crisis is "Extreme", World Bank


2007: Yemen faces water shortage


Suffering from water shortage in Yemen


2008: Yemen faces dangerous water shortage


"Yemen’s minister of environment and water says the country’s water supply has collapsed and the situation is irreversible, and that a total loss of water supply cannot be stopped, only delayed.

Yemen’s minister Abdul-Rahman al-Iryani told reporters, “This is almost inevitable because of the geography and climate of Yemen, coupled with uncontrolled population growth and very low capacity for managing resources,”

The country is reliant on groundwater, which is not being replaced quickly enough to cope with a rapidly rising population, growing at 3% a year. The country’s 21 aquifers can no longer keep pace with demand."


It's not like they can say they didn't see it coming. But what strategies can be conceived to deal with it? Apparently, part of the problem is the cultivation of qat, a narcotic herb that lots of Yemeni men chew. Well, I guess one of the things they could do is get other countries to grow qat -- but then what do you do with the farmers in Yemen who lose this cash crop?


2. FISH

Actually, first of all, the news article is sort-of good, in a bad way. That's because scientists are urging a total bluefin tuna fishing ban. IF it could get done -- IF it could show the expected results (which are noted in the 2nd article) -- this demonstration that drastic conservation measures can actually provide results would be great for a lot of other depleted fisheries, including the Chesapeake Bay menhaden I wrote about.

Scientists back bluefin tuna ban

Scientists Say Ban Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Trade–and Sushi Chefs Shudder

Tuna ban justified by science

The hunt for tuna: a tough catch

10 days to decision.


And here's the other part of the picture:

Hong Kong's ghostly seas warn of looming global tragedy


This article paints an even more dire picture of the situation, in a place that epitomizes the dangers of over-consumption. Hong Kong is humans cheek-by-jowl, and they have to eat, and there's a tradition of eating seafood, as the article depicts. But Hong Kong has hardly any (if any) fish to catch, so they import everything, and their waters are polluted, either locally or from the poisoned, nutrient-laden waters flushing out of the Pearl River delta. But buried in the article (actually in a picture caption) is this nugget of hope, tiny as it may be, if there could somehow be a gestaltic realization by much of humanity that this trajectory has got to be averted.


"Across all regions, we are still seeing a troubling trend of increasing stock collapse," said Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University, lead author of the study published in the journal Science in July.

"But this paper shows that our oceans are not a lost cause." Worm, a co-author of a pessimistic report in 2006 predicting that overfishing could lead to a total collapse of global seafood stocks by 2048, said the latest study had given him new hope. Several regions in the United States, Iceland and New Zealand had made significant progress in rebuilding stocks devastated by decades of overfishing through careful management strategies. "This means that management in those areas is setting the stage for ecological and economic recovery," Worm said.

"It's only a start - but it gives me hope that we have the ability to bring overfishing under control." Worm cautioned that the analysis - the most comprehensive to date - was mostly confined to managed fisheries in developed countries where long-term data on fish abundance is collected. The threat of collapse could thus be even higher in the remaining 75 percent of the world's fisheries. The study found that a range of management strategies helped protect and restore fishing stocks, including nets that allow smaller fish to escape, closing some areas to fishing and placing limits on the total allowable catch.


We are on the cusp of the next decade of the 21st century (2000-2009 is ten elapsed years, remember) -- we are on the edge of destruction of the lifestyle that many millions of us have become accustomed to.

What will be the impetus for change?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

China's environmental woes worsen -- the polluted Pearl

I still predict that there will be growing social unrest -- potentially leading to revolution or civil war -- in China because of their environmental problems. I could likely list at least 50 stories about pollution in China...

<- The Pearl River in Guangzhou

... and its effects on the populace, if I had three hours to compile them.

So the following article is not surprising -- it's part of a basic underlying problem in China -- the government is not serving the people in the arenas of health and environmental protection. I don't know what their equivalent of the Cuyohoga River is, but they need it to catch fire -- as soon as possible. Otherwise, the people of China will continue to suffer from the deficiencies of government with regard to taking care of their own. If large portions of the population suddenly realize that the government doesn't have their own best interest at heart (news flash -- it doesn't), then the groundswell of unrestiveness could turn into an earthquake.

Poisoning the Pearl River Delta

Savant

This one just dumbfounded me. The abilities of the brain are obviously still beyond our limited power to emulate.

Basically, 26 year old Stephen Wiltshire sketched, with incredible detail, the skyline of New York City after taking one 20-minute ride in a helicopter over the city.

Autistic artist draws the skyline of New York

Here's the drawing of Rome that the article refers to.

His Web site: The Stephen Wiltshire Gallery

Extending the boundaries of what is humanly possible.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Climate skeptic Propaganda at its worstest BEST from Dr. Roy Spencer

Dr. Roy Spencer doesn't allow comments on his blog. Rightly so -- he'd likely get some indignant replies and/or pithy retorts. I would rather address his contentions. So here I do. I will email the good doctor with my link. I doubt he'll respond; he's much too busy promiscuously promulgating his worldview. And besides, I'm just Oakden Wolf, not a "prime time player". But I can certainly smell the smoke that Dr. Roy is blowing.


About.com describes an “urban legend” as an apocryphal (of questionable authenticity), secondhand story, told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific…series of events….it’s likely to be framed as a cautionary tale. Whether factual or not, an urban legend is meant to be believed. In lieu of evidence, however, the teller of an urban legend is apt to rely on skillful storytelling and reference to putatively trustworthy sources.

By "putatively trustworthy", Roy is probably referring to hundreds of research papers that support the current scientific viewpoint on how climate change is occurring, and all the scientists in laboratories and universities around the world who have written those papers. By using this phraseology, he is calling the trustworthiness of all of these people, their honesty -- collectively -- into question.


I contend that the belief in human-caused global warming as a dangerous event, either now or in the future, has most of the characteristics of an urban legend. Like other urban legends, it is based upon an element of truth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose concentration in the atmosphere is increasing, and since greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, more CO2 can be expected, at least theoretically, to result in some level of warming.

Not just "theoretically", Roy. Modeling recent warming requires increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and their radiative effects. The models don't even come close otherwise. I suspect Roy's response is that the models don't include natural cloud feedbacks, so they can't be trusted. But when you use the radiative effects of increasing atmospheric CO2, they reproduce the recent warming pattern quite well. Hmmmm....

But skillful storytelling has elevated the danger from a theoretical one to one of near-certainty. The actual scientific basis for the plausible hypothesis that humans could be responsible for most recent warming is contained in the cautious scientific language of many scientific papers. Unfortunately, most of the uncertainties and caveats are then minimized with artfully designed prose contained in the Summary for Policymakers (SP) portion of the report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This Summary was clearly meant to instill maximum alarm from a minimum amount of direct evidence.

Thank you for your interpretation, Roy. It may also have been phrased this way out of necessity, with the need for clearly articulating the steps necessary to avoid serious climate consequences which could potentially affect the life and health of future generations of humans on this planet.

Next, politicians seized upon the SP, further simplifying and extrapolating its claims to the level of a “climate crisis”. Other politicians embellished the tale even more by claiming they “saw” global warming in Greenland as if it was a sighting of Sasquatch, or that they felt it when they fly in airplanes.

And the melting ice lakes of Greenland, draining through the ice surface in minutes, are not real, Roy? Yes, some politicians have made statements that strain credibility, to communicate with constituents. Apparently this is a new development that you have not witnessed before!

Just as the tales of marauding colonies of alligators living in New York City sewers are based upon some kernel of truth, so too is the science behind anthropogenic global warming. But there is a big difference between reports of people finding pet alligators that have escaped their owners, versus city workers having their limbs torn off by roving colonies of subterranean monsters.

Point taken, you are right here.

In the case of global warming, the “putatively trustworthy sources” would be the consensus of the world’s scientists. The scientific consensus, after all, says that global warming is…is what? Is happening? Is severe? Is manmade? Is going to burn the Earth up if we do not act? It turns out that those who claim consensus either do not explicitly state what that consensus is about, or they make up something that supports their preconceived notions.

Horse hockey, Roy. If you ask climate scientists involved in the process, they will say it is happening, it is partly-to-mostly caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (yes, "manmade" - from human activities), and they will agree that a 2-3 degrees Centigrade temperature rise (or higher) would cause significant climate changes, most of which are likely to lead to serious problems.

If the consensus is that the presence of humans on Earth has some influence on the climate system, then I would have to even include myself in that consensus. After all, the same thing can be said of the presence of trees on Earth, and hopefully we have at least the same rights as trees do. But too often the consensus is some vague, fill-in-the-blank, implied assumption where the definition of “climate change” includes the phrase “humans are evil”.

This is called "conflation". Since you like definitions, conflate means "to bring together : fuse b : confuse OR to combine (as two readings of a text) into a composite whole. So what you have done here, Roy, for dramatic effect, is to conflate "climate change" with your own biased societal viewpoint, that many of those working toward altering the climate trajectory are adding to this a bias against humans and human activity. That's your opinion, unsupported by fact, and the statement here is added for emotional effect. Add to this that you're an evangelical Christian and some brand of Creationist, and your science partner John Christy is also a devout Christian, your viewpoint here is a projection of your religious bias onto the argument, wherein you view supporters of the natural environment as atheists or pantheists who do not apparently accord humans the same place in the theological Universe that is accorded humanity in the Christian religion.

And I'll support this:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/7/3/749593/-Melding-Creationism-and-Climate-Denialism:-Dr.-Roy-Spencer

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/2/14/203632/973/595/457049

http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/yes-roy-spencer-is-a-creationist/

It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting. A relatively recent survey of climate scientists who do climate research found that 97.4% agreed that humans have a “significant” effect on climate. But the way the survey question was phrased borders on meaninglessness. To a scientist, “significant” often means non-zero. The survey results would have been quite different if the question was, “Do you believe that natural cycles in the climate system have been sufficiently researched to exclude them as a potential cause of most of our recent warming?”

Your thesis here is totally wrong. Scientific truth is NOT decided through voting. The opinions of scientists here were sampled by polling. And your dimunition of "significant" is deliberate. There is a definite difference between "non-negligible", "detectable", and "significant" ---------- and you very likely know that.

And the answer to your next question among those who study climate enough to understand it would certainly be a strong "YES". There might be a few more hedgers, but not many.

And it is also a good bet that 100% of those scientists surveyed were funded by the government only after they submitted research proposals which implicitly or explicitly stated they believed in anthropogenic global warming to begin with. If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded. Is it any wonder that scientists who are required to accept the current scientific orthodoxy in order to receive continued funding, then later agree with that orthodoxy when surveyed? Well, duh.

Once again impugning motives and honesty in the scientific community, Roy? The problem is, there is little plausibility in questioning the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, because their effect has been established in a multitude of ways, and proven to be a major actor on modern and past climates. It is not "orthodoxy" -- it is established scientific fact. Questioning it effectively requires the strong refutation of all these multiple lines of data and analysis. Your fringe scientific interpretations do not have a strong base of support. And I guess you must not have gotten funding for a long-shot proposal, either.

In my experience, the public has the mistaken impression that a lot of climate research has gone into the search for alternative explanations for warming. They are astounded when I tell them that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that warming is just part of a natural cycle generated within the climate system itself.

Hmmm... might they be similarly "astounded" to discover that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that the extremely high surface temperatures on the planet Venus were generated by the proximity of Venus to the Sun? After all, the Sun is hot and Venus is a lot closer to the Earth than the Sun, isn't it? Your possibility is not a reasonably hypothesis because paleoclimatological research and modern-day observations have quantified the role of natural climate variability, and something else is needed to sufficiently drive temperatures upward or downward SIGNIFICANTLY -- i.e., to induce a climate trend lasting centuries or millenia. You've done some fairly good scientific research with satellites, Roy, but your idea is a non-starter, DOA, hardly better than the work of an amateur hack questioning the Theory of Relativity on the back of a paper napkin.

Too often the consensus is implied to be that global warming is so serious that we must do something now in the form of public policy to avert global catastrophe. What? You don’t believe that there are alligators in New York City sewer system? How can you be so unconcerned about the welfare of city workers that have to risk their lives by going down there every day? What are you, some kind of Holocaust-denying, Neanderthal flat-Earther?

Again with the conflation. Why is it that any calls to take prudent steps to address the potential serious consequences of climate change are met by conservatives and skeptics with this persecution complex? The level of climate skepticism evinced publically is on the level with belief in the flat earth or Obama's illegitimacy to be President based on supposed uncertainty about where he was born or who his father was. It is indicative of belief held because of an underlying political and philosophical position, with psychological underpinnings. (Similar to Scientific Creationism and Intelligent Design belief in light of the evidence of science.) It is opinion, based on the workings of the emotional mind, not the intellectual mind. [This might be perceived as saying that religious belief is related to the working of the emotional mind, and that it doesn't have a intellectual component. Religious belief can have both, but it is likely rare indeed to find someone whose religious belief (not their theological knowledge) does not have an emotional/mystical(spiritual) aspect.]

It makes complete sense that in this modern era of scientific advances and inventions that we would so readily embrace a compelling tale of global catastrophe resulting from our own excesses. It’s not a new genre of storytelling, of course, as there were many B-movies in the 1950s whose horror themes were influenced by scientists’ development of the atomic bomb.

Our modern equivalent is the 2004 movie, “Day After Tomorrow”, in which all kinds of physically impossible climatic events occur in a matter of days. In one scene, super-cold stratospheric air descends to the Earth’s surface, instantly freezing everything in its path. The meteorological truth, however, is just the opposite. If you were to bring stratospheric air down to the surface, heating by compression would make it warmer than the surrounding air, not colder.

Oh, please Roy: was "The Core" or "Volcano" based on real geology? Hardly. These are brainless entertainment. Tommy Lee Jones' shoes would have caught fire when he was suspended over a molten lava flow. No science here -- move on.

I’m sure it is just coincidence that “Day After Tomorrow” was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed the 2006 movie “Independence Day,” in which an alien invasion nearly exterminates humanity. After all, what’s the difference? Aliens purposely killing off humans, or humans accidentally killing off humans? Either way, we all die.

Emmerich seems to have a fondness for watching famous landmarks get destroyed.

But a global warming catastrophe is so much more believable. After all, climate change does happen, right? So why not claim that ALL climate change is now the result of human activity? And while we are at it, let’s re-write climate history so that we get rid of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice age, with a new ingenious hockey stick-shaped reconstruction of past temperatures that makes it look like climate never changed until the 20th Century? How cool would that be?

This is a blatant falsehood, pure and utter. Neither of these climate events have been eliminated; they have been better characterized. This is further promulgation of a long-lived skeptical strawman -- a hallmark of propaganda. Roy, here you're sucking on the milk expressed by the body politic of the climate skeptics here -- and that's not an appealing image.

The IPCC thought it was way cool… until it was debunked, after which it was quietly downgraded in the IPCC reports from the poster child for anthropogenic global warming, to one possible interpretation of past climate.

It is far more than that. There is a good understanding of the MWP and LIA and what caused them, and their climate extents.

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter6.pdf

On page 467, the plots look particularly hockey-stickish. This constitutes a downgrade? I suspect you want your readers to think so. By the way, the next two pages provide a detailed discussion of the Medieval Warm Period. Would you allow me the usage of an actual quote?

"The evidence currently available indicates that NH mean temperatures during medieval times (950–1100) were indeed warm in a 2-kyr context and even warmer in relation to the less sparse but still limited evidence of widespread average cool conditions in the 17th century"


So this is the actual reality of "getting rid of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age". Not so disappeared as you would have your gullible gobblers think, is it, Roy?

And let’s even go further and suppose that the climate system is so precariously balanced that our injection of a little bit of that evil plant food, carbon dioxide, pushes our world over the edge, past all kinds of imaginary tipping points, with the Greenland ice sheet melting away, and swarms of earthquakes being the price of our indiscretions.

Hmmm... you say "imaginary". I have a question, Roy: will you please evaluate the climate consequences of a massive injection of continental glacial meltwater into the North Atlantic Ocean? This happened near the end of the last glacial period, as the glaciers were receding. There was an effect on the Earth's climate. What happened? Are there tipping points related to oceanic circulation?

Would you also please evaluate the effect of massive amounts of methane injected into the atmosphere approximately 55 million years ago? Was that a tipping point (and did greenhouse gases have anything to do with it)? Are there tipping points related to extinctions and marked global temperature changes?

In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen, in their attempts to forge a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. Indeed, these politicians and governmental representatives need it to be true. Their careers and political power now depend upon it.

Oh Roy: it is true. That's the point of my responding to you like this. It's not an urban legend. It is a salient fact.

And the fact that they hold their meetings in all of the best tourist destinations in the world, enjoying the finest exotic foods, suggests that they do not expect to ever have to be personally inconvenienced by whatever restrictions they try to impose on the rest of humanity.

This frames the argument as one of elitists (rich) vs. the general public. It is [sigh, again] an attempt to appeal to your audience on an emotional level. It is unfortunate that international diplomacy is conducted this way, but it is. I would prefer virtual Web casts, but much of diplomacy is performed out of public sight, by handshakes and gentleperson's agreements and by face-to-face contact. Attacking the messenger is just SO propagandish. Unfortunately it works.

If you present these people with evidence that the global warming crisis might well be a false alarm, you are rewarded with hostility and insults, rather than expressions of relief. The same can be said for most lay believers of the urban legend. I say “most” because I once encountered a true believer who said he hoped my research into the possibility that climate change is mostly natural will eventually be proved correct.

The evidence is contrived and biased, the "research" has been refuted (sometimes within days of publication), the alternative hypotheses have been weighed and tested and found to be lacking in explanatory power. That's why there's hostility -- because this is the employment of fraudulent science to affect policy. Does smoking cause cancer, Roy? What is your opinion of the scientists and corporations who systematically tried to cast doubt on that linkage?

Unfortunately, just as we are irresistibly drawn to disasters – either real ones on the evening news, or ones we pay to watch in movie theaters – the urban legend of a climate crisis will persist, being believed by those whose politics and worldviews depend upon it. Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion.

And finally, here you fall back to your pal Christy's contentions, that the cost of not raising the standard of living of the poor and oppressed -- the same citizenry whose representatives are asking that the rich nations of the world accept their responsibility to future generations, which is to help them respond to the increased threats of climate change -- is more important than taking steps to insure the continued viability of the global ecosystem as the impact of
climate change increases.

I don't know how many gullible people you influence with your propagandic editorializing, Roy, but I know you are followed and read by many who find you various ways, potentially through Rush Limbaugh or Tech Central Station or Marc Morano or Watts Up with That. But I do know that it is sad a well-trained mind must warp his perceptions and his science in service to a political and philosophical viewpoint. But over time, I have come to expect this from you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A beautiful picture of autumn

I just like this one.

Cold weather doesn't prove anything

Oh my: parts of the United States are having a cold autumn!

The Cold War Hits Home: October in Like a Lion, Out Like a Fridge

And even parts of Europe:
"October 22nd. A weather station in Berchtesgaden National Park in Bavaria has recorded the coldest temperature ever in Germany during the month of October. The thermometer dipped to -24.3C or -11.7F. Clear skies, calm winds and fresh snow was the perfect combination for the record chill. The city of Augsburg, Germany has been 9.3 degrees colder than average during the past week. Prague in the Czech Republic is supposed to be in the mid 50s at this time of year. They had 3 days with temperatures stuck in the 30s and even picked up some snow flurries."

But meanwhile:

Tropical air creates balmy Britain

and

Heatwave sweeps across Sydney

"A Bureau on Meteorology spokesman said no records were broken on Wednesday but the warm October temperatures were becoming more common.

"It's getting a bit more common to get temperatures like that, so you might get two or three October days a year where you see temperatures around 35 degrees," the spokesman told AAP.

"We had temperatures like that last summer, around January, February but we had a similar warm outbreak like this last September."

He said warm temperatures in mid-spring were becoming "more normal".


But wait, there's more:

In China:

Water shortage hits as Jiangxi drought lingers

"The average temperature for September was 2.5 degrees Celsius above average, equaling the record high of 26.7 degrees set in 1963. The rainfall so far this month was only 6 millimeters, 90 percent less than normal."

And finally, in Alaska (I recommend reading the whole post, if you've got the time):

News from the Arctic: October to date

"The table below gives locations and October 2009 temperature anomalies to date:
LocationTemp. Anom. (°F)
Fairbanks+7.7
Barrow+10.3
Kotzebue+6.6
Nome+3.3
McGrath+8.9
Valdez+3.2
Bethel+5.7
Cold Bay+2.7
King Salmon+8.0
Kodiak Island+4.1
Yakutat+2.6

They won't use these to amend their comments. I don't use them to PROVE my point, but to point out the fallacy in theirs. McGrath, by the way, had a day where the minimum and maximum temperatures BOTH broke the old record high. You know what to do with that information, right?

UPDATE: McGrath broke its all-time October high on 10 October with a temperature of 67°F. The minimum temperature of 49°F broke the previous record high minimum for the date, but not the old record high temperature of 55°F."

Thus, it's perfectly true: colder-than-normal temperatures somewhere don't prove anything. But they do help sway susceptible minds.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It just makes sense

The potential for a Copenhagen climate deal is apparently hinging on a formula by which rich countries would compensate poor countries for development that is less carbon intensive -- and the poor countries say it's only fair, because the rich countries got rich on cheap energy, i.e., burning fossil fuels.

Unsurprisingly, I agree that they have a point. The problem is, will the rich countries see the wisdom in ponying up? Unsurprisingly, I think the answer is NO.

Rich-poor divide could be Copenhagen climate 'deal-breaker'

While most officials remained positive about a climate deal being reached at the December 7-18 summit, [Jeremy] Hobbs' [executive director of Oxfam International] comments highlighted a growing concern that efforts to replace the Kyoto protocol could be hampered by the problems of securing agreement between developed and developing countries.

"Things are looking possible, but this is a potential spanner in the works," Hobbs said. "This could be a deal breaker."

Many leaders of developing countries at the conference pleaded for help to switch to cleaner energies, saying their countries were hardest hit by a crisis the developed world helped to create.


Now, when you read the following:

Cutting Non-CO2 Pollutants Can Delay Abrupt Climate Change, Solve 'Fast Half' of Climate Problem

which says:

"Cutting HFCs, black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane can buy us about 40 years before we approach the dangerous threshold of 2°C (3.6°F) warming," said co-author Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego."

and it also says:

"Like black carbon, ground level or tropospheric ozone doubles as a major climate forcer and health hazard. It also lowers crop yields. A recent study reported that ozone's damage to crop yields in 2000 resulted in an economic loss of up to $26 billion annually. It is formed by "ozone precursor" gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, methane and other hydrocarbons, many of which can be reduced by improving the efficiency of industrial combustion processes. Reducing tropospheric ozone by 50 percent could buy another decade's worth of time for countries to start making substantial cuts in CO2."

The report also recommends biochar for carbon sequestration. Seems simple enough; grow plants, pyrolize them, bury them. Grow more plants, pyrolize them, bury them. Repeat as necessary. Someone just needs to bioengineer a super fast-growing tree that grows like a weed and can be cut and burned like a crop.

So give the developing countries clean energy technology and help them produce biochar. Seems simple enough to me.

36 football fields a minute? Let's check

According to the following report, deforestation is claiming forested woodlands at a rate of 36 football fields a minute:


Forests Disappearing At Rate Of 36 Football Fields Per Minute

This is from the World Wildlife Foundation. Now I know that deforestation is a bad thing, and I don't doubt that it's happening. But this seems rather fast.

A football field is 120 x 53.3 yards = 6396 square yards = 5347 square meters. Let's be conservative and call it 5000 square meters. So that's 36 x 5000 = 180,000 square meters a minute.

180,000 square meters a minute = 259,200,000 square meters a day.
259,200,000 square meters a day = 94,608,000,000 square meters a year,
which 94,608 square kilometers a year.

The United States is 9,161,923 square kilometers. Doing the percentages, that would mean that an area equivalent to 0.1 percent of the total surface area of the United States is deforested every year.

Which surprises and troubles me. I guess that's possible.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cute Soap Opera Actress Appreciation Day #2

I didn't think I'd be doing this almost annually! (I'll try to do it a little more often).

Kara Tointon, formerly on Brit soap "Eastenders"























For MORE (in the best cautious sense of the word):

FHM

Daily Mail article

Major League Baseball prognostications

I predicted NLCS: Dodgers in 6. Turned out Phillies in 5. What happened? Phillies relief pitching tightened up, Dodgers relief pitching lost it, but how often do you seen a last-out game winning RBI in a playoff series? 4 times, they said, so that's history for ya.

I predicted ALCS: Yankees in 5. Turned out to be Yankees in 6. Obviously when you combine good pitching with A-Rod actually in gear, Teixeira doing it with bat and glove, and the rest of the 2009 Yankees all contributing, this is another Yankees you-get-what-you-pay-for team, and this time the Yanks fans are actually getting what they paid for.

World Series: Yankees in 6, but with at least two extra-inning games.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We all have our own likes

I have always liked pictures of women wearing men's dress shirts -- and apparently nothing else. Eva Longoria has provided a recent example, which is really actually not very revealing, but it's the thought that counts:

Eva Longoria fashion fotoshoot

This is from this Daily Mail article, which despite the raciness of the headline, is not revealing and qualifies as romantic:

Eva Longoria Parker goes topless for sexy clothes ad with husband Tony

Here are a couple of other examples of this genre:

Shannon Johnson poses nicely

Fergie (obviously wearing something besides the shirt, but still...)

Just what I was thinking (a little riskier)

This could go in a lot of different directions

Small but wow (edgy)

From the same theme

And also from the same theme

Fourth from the same theme (she's just watching TV)

Version with untied bowtie (the James Bond look)

An outstanding example

And a selection from La Senza (this is linked because I recommend shopping for the individual items)

This may be the definitive word on the subject (as well as a tribute)

It's Friday, of course.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

350.org events

I don't know if you;ve heard, but on October 24 (Saturday, one day after I'm writing this) there will be lots of "actions" regarding climate change and actually trying to change our climate change trajectory.

I wish I could go to this one:

Forum: Changing Minds of Climate Skeptics
, but it's too far away on what looks to be a rainy Saturday and I won't be near Baltimore this weekend.

There is this event down in Lusby:

get the w3rd out


but I sure can't tell what they're doing down there.

Anyway, if you're so inclined, go to www.350.org and find an event near you, if you can.

By the way, thanks to RealClimate for posting my missive, #137.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nuclear news: Taiwan and Finland

First, Taiwan is going to tax energy and CO2 emissions:


"The plans approved Monday covered taxes on sources of energy such as fossil fuels and CO2 emissions, but not the broader environment tax proposed earlier by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, a government-funded think tank."

and: "The energy tax would be levied on users of products such as gasoline, diesel, liquid petroleum gas, and also coal, which will lead to higher petroleum and electricity prices. The new taxes would be imposed incrementally, only reaching their full rates in the 10th year after becoming law.

Taiwan, which imports 99% of its energy needs, must "normalize energy pricing and improve energy efficiency through the taxes," said Minister without Portfolio Liang Chi-Yuan. "


which may partly explain the following:

Alarm as Taiwan wants to extend life of oldest nuclear plant


"The application is for extending the life of the plant's two generators from 40 to 60 years," the cabinet-level council said in a statement. Conservation activists Tuesday voiced severe concerns about what they called a risky plan, also citing a shortage of space to store the nuclear waste."

but: "Taiwan's carbon dioxide emissions could be 7.3 million tonnes lower each year if the nuclear power plant is allowed to keep running after 40 years of operation compared with shutting it down, government officials say."

This is a standard boiling-water reactor, built in 1978, by GE and EBASCo (now Tetra Tech EC) -- there's no reason to expect a better-than-average lifetime for this unit. I do know that a serious accident would affect the nuclear comeback. I'd rather see them shut it down on schedule (2018) than extend and regret.

Here's more on the issue of aging nuke generators from the New York Times.


This isn't good for the industry. Another Three Mile Island or Chernobyl would be bad news for a world that doesn't need bad energy news right now. Retire, retool, and replace. I'm available for road trips!

On the other hand:
Nuclear power renaissance?



Second, Finland is not going to build three nuclear power plants (despite, remember, planning to cut their C02 emissions an astounding 80% by 2050):


"Finland, which is building its fifth nuclear reactor, has yet to decide how many reactors it will need in the next decade but it will be fewer than three, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said Tuesday.


"I don't believe that based on calculations (on future energy needs) the government could decide (to accept) all three nuclear reactor applications," Vanhanen wrote on his blog.

Three utility groups -- Fortum, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and Fennovoima -- have submitted applications to the government to build a new nuclear reactor in the Nordic country.

"Each plan has to be reviewed carefully, compared with each other and the efficiency of additional nuclear energy has to be compared to other ways to cut CO2 emissions," Vanhanen said.

Part of the problem is that the Oliluoto 3 plant start-up is delayed (again). Why say you're going to build three plants when you're going to be way behind on the ones already being built?

The Finns said this earlier, anyway: Finland needs at most one more nuclear reactor by 2020: government


And we still do need to deal with nuclear waste (Yucca Mountain should NEVER have been shut down):

The pressing need for more nuclear waste storage

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Magnetic stripes on the sea floor

(Click the image above; it looks better on a white background. Then come back.)

This is about climate.

Plate tectonics was doubted when all it had was conjecture and a few continental shelves that sort of fit together. That was until paired magnetic striping was found on either side of the mid-0cean ridges. It was predicted -- and verified. In a classic demonstration of Occam's Razor, everything else: the Emperor Seamounts, the Ring of Fire, sea level rise and fall, even major geologic eras -- fell into place.


A lot of people have trouble believing that climate change is real because it's "in the future", it can't be seen now, and they can propose other explanations for it: variability of the Sun, galactic cosmic rays, even just bad data. Now, real climate scientists will tell you (us) that increasing greenhouse gases are the parsimonious explanation for the trends and patterns and changes we are observing -- but the general public, and particularly those inclined to be misled, don't have evidence like the magnetic stripes on the sea floor that brooks no other explanation.

That's what is needed.

Worries about water

A compendium of concerns regarding water resources around the world.

I. Kenya drought dries up river

This severe drought in the wildlife heart of Africa is getting tough on those wildlife; the accompanying text says:

"... at least 24 elephants had died in the region, reported BBC News. Zebras, buffalo, and carnivores were also dying, said Reuters. The impact was not limited to wildlife: many news reports describe decimated herds of goats, cattle, and other livestock..."

Supposedly the rainy season begins in October. I hope it's a wet one.

Next:
II. Some Canadian rivers at risk of drying up


Lists threats to 10 major rivers in Canada, including the "mighty Mackenzie".

Catch this part: "South Saskatchewan River - is Canada's most threatened river. Hundreds of dams exist throughout its watershed and 70% of the flow is withdrawn for agricultural and urban use. The water scarcity typical of the region's arid climate is expected to intensify under climate change, which experts describe as an emerging water crisis."

and this:

"Saint John River - is the longest river in Atlantic Canada. Hydropower dams on the river have dramatically altered river flows and contributed to the decline of the Atlantic salmon population that is now endangered. Downstream from the dams, river flows can fluctuate by as much as 91% over a 24-hour period; at times flows are reduced to the point that the riverbed almost dries up."

That is frigging RIDICULOUS.

Moving on...

Of course, the Murray-Darling River system drought in Australia has to be mentioned, but this might be a wake-up call:

From September 28, 2009 (this is not a fabricated headline -- this is REAL):

III. Adelaide latest victim of global water shortages
Australia's fifth-largest city could be reliant on bottled water as early as next week as overuse and drought stretch the Murray river to its limit



"Another dry year will deplete our reservoirs and the water in the Murray will become too saline to drink. We are talking about 1.3 million people, who are not far off becoming reliant on bottled water. We are talking a national emergency," said South Australian MP David Winderlich.



As early as next week, water from parts of the river may become too dangerous to drink, which would require the water authority to begin delivering supplies to hospitals, clinics, aged care facilities and local supermarkets in plastic bottles, said Winderlich.



"There's simply too many people pulling water out of the river," said Roger Strother, Coorong council mayor. "We've been saying that one day it would catch up, and this summer is when it is going to happen. It could be next week."


(Remember, winter in the Northern Hemisphere means summer in the Southern Hemisphere.)

Finally, in the Himalayas:

IV. Experts warn glaciers in Indian Kashmir melting

Starts off with:
"Indian Kashmir's glaciers are melting fast because of rising temperatures, threatening the water supply of millions of people in the Himalayan region, a new study by Indian scientists says. The study by Kashmir University's geology and geophysics department blamed the effect on climate change, and said it endangered the livelihoods of two-thirds of the region's nearly 10 million people engaged in agriculture, horticulture, livestock rearing and forestry.

The Kolahoi glacier, the biggest in the Indian portion of divided Kashmir, has shrunk to about 4.44 square miles (11.5 square kilometers) from about five square miles (13 square kilometers) in the past 40 years, the study found. Shakil Romshoo, an associate professor in the department who led the three-year study, described the rate of melting as "alarming." He said Tuesday that Kolahoi had shrunk by 18 percent, and over the same period, other glaciers in the region had shrunk by 16 percent."


But wait, there's more:

IV, Part II. Melting Glaciers Threaten India And Pakistan’s Water Supply


which mentions:
"Other small Kashmir glaciers are also shrinking and the main reason is that the winter temperature in Kashmir is rising," noted the study. The amount of snowfall in Kashmir, called the "Switzerland of the East", has obviously declined.

Regardless of infrequent snowfall, the failure of snow to freeze and compact itself into stronger crystals has aided in a quicker meltdown, experts note. "If you talk about Kashmir and you look at the statistics of climate change, it is melting faster here than any other place in the world," Sally Dotre, a professional from Cambridge University, said to AFP.

"And that's going to have a dramatic effect in Kashmir and Pakistan, because it is already affecting water levels," she added. River levels have decreased drastically by two-thirds in only 40 years."

I do have a question about that last sentence. If the glaciers are melting faster, shouldn't water levels be going UP, albeit temporarily?

Nonetheless, this not a good era, water-wise.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some Possible/Plausible Environment and Ecological Headlines for the next 30 years

February 15, 2011
2010 is Record-Setting Warmest Year Globally
Lingering El NiƱo pushed sea temperatures higher; Arctic warming persistent and sustained; "new mark recognized by national, international weather and climate agencies"



March 20, 2014
Stephen McIntyre Admits He Made 'Mistakes'
Fostering climate skepticism by statistics misled blog followers on consequences, realities of human-caused warming; actual shape of modern climate change "is a hockey stick", he concedes



April 29, 2017
Bluefin Tuna in Mediterranean "No Longer Economically Viable"
Surviving populations are too scattered and undersized to justify catch effort


September 13, 2021
Last Bit of Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Cap Disintegrates
Ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer was predicted more than a decade ago, "but this is earlier than expected", says expert


August 12, 2022
Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Now $300 a Bushel
Gourmet item on menu due to scarcity



July 30, 2025
Continental United States Suffers Third Week of Blistering Heat
Major Midwest and Southeast cities see high temperatures topping 100 for 22 consecutive days


February 2, 2028
Lake Chad is Gone
Iconic African lake 'no longer a contiguous aquatic ecosystem', say scientists


May 20, 2032
Coral Reefs Are Relics of A Better Environment -- Only Decades Ago
Coral reef ecosystem collapse is widespread and global; 10% of former reef zones may still be worthy of 'aggressive protection'



May 15, 2035
Polar Bear Population Plummeting to New Lows
King of the Arctic now down to 20% of numbers in first decade of the century; walrus population is also "way down"



December 30, 2039
All U.N. Member States Commit to UN Accord on Climate Change
5% Reduction in CO2 emissions to 2035 levels by 2060 agreed to "in principal"

(Next time maybe I can try to make them funny. But it isn't easy.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chesapeake Bay of Kashmir: Dal Lake

I'll probably write more about this later, but the picturesque "Jewel of Srinagar" -- a lake with luxury houseboats and palaces -- is in horrific shape. The government plan is to basically relocate everybody living on or around the lake to try and rescue it.

Like that has a chance. They won't be able to get them to move until the lake looks like and smells like a well-used outhouse. (And it's well on it's way.)

A few links on the issue:

The Dal Deluge

Fight over future of Kashmir's iconic Dal Lake (includes pictures and video)

A £180m weeding job: The lake that has shrunk to half its original size

I'm providing the middle of this article. The last paragraph is the sobering perspective.

On the east of the lake boatmen were hauling out weeds on behalf of the local authorities. On this side, however, the boatmen gathering the dark-green algae were farmers collecting it for their own use. Mr Dar, 62, who has been working as a boatman for 50 years, paddled to one of the lake's numerous floating gardens where, on a buoyant "field" made of reeds and composted weeds, the farmers raise a variety of crops.

"I grow tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and marrows," said Gulam Hassan, who was gathering weeds, leaning with all his weight on the supple willow pole to lever his dripping green haul from the water.

It is estimated that there are around 40,000 farmers such as Mr Hassan living on islands dotted around the lake who make their living in this way. As part of the plan for the Dal drawn up by the state and federal authorities, all will be forced to relocate to new homes in Srinagar, the state's summer capital that sprawls around the southern end of the lake. Many of these farmers are angry about the plan, saying it will mean an end to their livelihoods.

Although the new money to clean up the Dal has come from Delhi, much of the energy behind the effort belongs to Jammu and Kashmir's youthful Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. He has made restoring the lake one of the top policy priorities. In an interview, the Chief Minister said that for decades people had considered the Dal a refuse dump where sewage could be pumped. "We did not wake up to the fact that it was going to fill up and catch up with us. A very concerted effort is now needed to clean it up," he added. "I am sure that we can rescue it. Without the Dal, Srinagar is just another town in the hills."


Dal Lake in Wikipedia (more pictures, and links to MORE pictures)

This small picture gives a bit of an idea of the lake's charm.

-----
In a related story (which I thought I posted about, but can't find), the lake palace featured in the James Bond movie "Octopussy" -- one of the better Roger Moore efforts -- recently didn't look like much of a lake palace, due to drought:

India's Lake Palace becomes Mud Palace, as drought takes its toll on the romantic resort


It wasn't a very deep lake to begin with, but still... this is rather striking.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shakira has hips -- and abs

Shakira has been demonstrating her extraordinary dance capability and flexibility on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "Saturday Night Live" this past week. I noticed (because I notice these things) that her abdominals are quite toned. I find this quite attractive. So here's a few examples of how nice they are. I should mention that she's a remarkably talented singer and dancer. No doubt about that.

Low-rez

HIGH-rez

Wow-rez

Brad Paisley is lucky more than one way

Brad Paisley is talented, good-looking, award-winning, and is married to Kimberly Williams.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B -- how many women can look this good pregnant?

More over-the-shoulder glamor

I found this gallery of public appearance back-exposing glamor at the NY Daily News:

Bringing sexy back: Stars go backless

I particularly like the fashions of Christine Taylor (Ben Stiller's wife), who dares deep; Kate Hudson, discussed earlier; supercute Emmy Rossum (sorry about the divorce, though, hope the next relationship goes better) and luscious Eva LaRue.

Regarding Rossum: (Yellow caution light, but I'm probably being overly cautious)
This is inviting (dare to think)

Why aren't there any other pictures of her wearing this?

How is Finland going to do this?

There is international angst and hand-wringing about cutting carbon emissions. Both the developed countries (U.S., Canada, EU, Australia) and developing go-go-go economies (China, India) say that it's just too hard to cut emissions and keep their economies either a) going or b) growing.

Meanwhile, Finland says that it's going to cut it's emissions 80% (yes, 80 Percent) from its 1990 levels by 2050.

This is what they say: Finland says aims to cut emissions 80 pct by 2050

The report set out scenarios showing that emissions would be curbed by boosting energy efficiency in all sectors, increasing the use of low-carbon technology and renewable energy, and through carbon capture storage (CCS) and nuclear power.


There's got to be more than just that statement. How are they going to do this?

Energy efficiency is a big factor, I bet. There has been a lot written (and seemingly much ignored in the U.S.) about how a serious commitment to efficiency improvements would make major strides toward curbing our excessive emissions.

There is more to it than that. Link below is to a PDF:

FINLAND -- Energy Mix Fact Sheet

They got 23% of their energy from renewables and 16% of their energy from nuclear (in 2004). Renewables mainly means hydropower.

So if you increase the amount of energy that renewables and nuclear give you, implement carbon sequestration (it's in their plan) and use energy efficiency to cut the amount of oil you need, they think it's possible. The problem with elsewhere is that renewables have to be something other than hydropower. I.e., more nuclear, maybe more solar, and maybe biofuels.

But at least the Finns are trying. It'd be cool if the other countries stopped whining and started trying.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Canalis dazzles at the London Film Festival

George Clooney walked the red carpet for his new movie, but it was his current paramour that wowed the paparazzi:

Clooney and Canalis at premiere

I guess they use tape discreetly to keep a dress like that from seriously delightful malfunctioning.

This particular picture is very forthcoming*.

* "being about to appear or to be produced or made available"

Bigger and badder bolides

Over Canada last week:

September 25 bolide over Ontario


Over the Netherlands this week:

Netherlands Fireball, from the Planetary Society

Over India 65 million years or so ago:

Giant Impact Near India -- Not Mexico -- May Have Doomed Dinosaurs

Actual paper abstract: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CONTEMPORANEOUS SHIVA IMPACT STRUCTURE AND DECCAN VOLCANISM AT THE KT BOUNDARY

Neither the article nor the abstract indicate how they date the impact to around the time of the K/T boundary. Anybody know?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One of the craziest ideas ever -- and it just might work

I was thinking the other day about what could be done to significantly affect and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay on a short-term basis. A lot of untied threads of thought wove together for me to come up with this crazy idea. The thing is, if the right people could be convinced that this should be done, it really could work. It would require vested interests to look beyond the mathematics and profits of short-term gain and do something that would have a significant impact, as both a demonstration of how to change an ecological trajectory for the better and with actual, measurable, visible, useful improvements.

So here's the idea: make the Chesapeake Bay (CBay) a huge menhaden fish farm. And later searching found that I'm not the only one thinking this.

Hear it out.

Menhaden is overfished in the Bay; anybody that knows anything about the ecology of the Bay will admit it. Menhaden are a key intermediary in the estuarine and oceanic food chain. They are filter feeders (this is CRITICAL), so they don't have to eat zooplankton to get fat, they actually eat phytoplankton.

An overabundance of phytoplankton is plaguing the CBay due to excessive nutrient inputs from agriculture and urbanization. This leads to increased turbidity -- otherwise known as "the water is cloudy", and also, more significantly, so-called "dead zones" on the bottom where oxygen gets used up when the overabundance of phytoplankton sinks and gets eaten by bacteria -- a process which uses up oxygen (called "respiration" -- bacteria do it, we do it, just about every Animalia does it).

Furthermore, prized sportfish -- rockfish/striped bass (I call 'em stripers) are hurting because the menhaden is overfished. They are underweight and diseased. Other fish that would eat menhaden are probably in the same, ahem, boat.

Menhaden is overfished because of one company and one usage: Omega Proteins, which catches the menhaden and turns it into fish meal, to be fed to other fish on fish farms, or to livestock Links #2 and #7 below mention how this might not even be necessary; and it's expensive. Old habits die hard, and no politician wants to do something that would cause people to lose their jobs, especially in an impoverished rural coastal region like Virginia's Northern Neck.

But what if the long-term plan actually made the situation better? That's the beauty of this crazy idea.

Here's the plan, in a nutshell. Shut down the menhaden fishery in the CBay -- but not the Atlantic -- for 3-5 years. Let the CBay population recover. Given the abundance of phytoplankton in the polluted CBay and the lack of filter-feeding competition, they ought to go nuts (and studies show the marine reserves allow for astoundingly rapid recoveries of overfished stocks, if you just give the d*mn fish a chance!) This could even help oyster recovery if the waters where reestablishment efforts are being attempted get cleaner.

Letting the menhaden populations recover should help improve the water quality of the CBay, because the bigger menhaden populations will attack the overabundant phytoplankton problem. This should reduce the bottom dead zones (helping out the crabs), get seagrass beds recovering due to improved water clarity (already worked in Tampa Bay) and give the stripers something more to eat. Meanwhile, the employees of Omega Proteins can a) still work with menhaden caught in the Atlantic, or b) get aid to get through the moratorium, because they is already precedent to do this with crabbers! The articles say that the menhaden fishery is worth a paltry $22 million a year! That's chicken feed (PAUSE FOR EMPHASIS) in the Reinvestment and Recovery Act!!! (And one article linked below puts the value of sportfishing at $2 billion. For those familiar with the phrase "order of magnitude", that's 2 orders-of-magnitude. Otherwise known as 100 times more money.)

So in this 2-for-1 deal, we let the menhaden get oily-fat and populationally happy dealing with the effects of urban and agricultural pollution that has made the Bay an ideal place for them to grow, and the populations rebound, and then Omega Proteins can harvest them *sustainably* for other fish farms around the world and for animal feed -- though I'm not sure that's necessary. The current conditions in the CBay should make it an ideal large-scale menhaden fish farm. (And yes, I know that this probably amounts to ecological geo-engineering, but it's really about returning balance to a drastically unbalanced estuarine ecosystem). This doesn't mean we shouldn't collectively try to address the underlying problems in the CBay watershed, but the current track record of how that's working can be summed up in two words: IT ISN'T.

There's actual precedent on a natural scale that this could be successful. Early in this century, the mussel populations in Narragansett Bay bounced back, big-time. There was enough of them to make the water in NBay remarkably clear. And then, very sadly, they got hit with an anoxic event that killed them off massively. (And this might not have happened if the NBay menhaden populations were robust!) The thing about CBay menhaden is that most of the populations can survive low oxygen levels in the Bay (though there have been fish kills in anoxic tributaries).

So that's the plan. To rephrase a famous catch phrase from a TV show:

"Save the Menhaden. Save the Bay." (Even the syllables work.)

The problem is Virginia. Virginia needs to step aside and let the Feds help Omega Proteins cope with a 3-5 year moratorium. And Omega Proteins needs to realize its corporate responsibility to the health of the CBay and give this plan a chance.

The other thing about this is: former Representative Wayne Gilchrest already introduced legislation to do this!! See 1st link below.

Supporting material:

Menhaden
1. This Act may be cited as the `Atlantic Menhaden Conservation Act'.

2. The Most Important Fish in the Sea

3. The sad story of menhaden

4. Cardin proposes bill to increase Bay funds, make cleanup legally binding has this crazy idea in it:
"The proposal would also place a moratorium on commercial menhaden fishing in the Bay-which has been criticized by recreational anglers and some scientists. Menhaden are important food for fish such as striped bass, and also filter algae from the water. The ban on menhaden fishing would stay in place until the secretary of commerce determines that menhaden catches in the Bay do no harm to its water quality or ecology."
5. Menhaden
includes this:
"An impact study by Southwick Associates indicates that the Reedville operation results in a positive economic impact of 45 million dollars annually of which the State of Virginia is the primary beneficiary.. That needs to be compared to the value of the recreational fishery in Maryland and Virginia. Currently that fishery amounts to more than 2 billion dollars annually and supports about 16,000 jobs. Feedback from that segment indicates declines in income because it is getting harder to find gamefish. Studies of rockfish dietary needs indicate declining health due to lack of food. While it is difficult to put a number on the negative economic impact on recreational fisheries there is not much question that it it exceeds by a significant margin the loss of the industrial harvest of Menhaden."

6. Greenpeace menhaden wars (not as exciting as whale wars, but I'm glad they think it's important). This article contains this precious nugget: "They have now demonstrated that their real agenda is to put Omega out of business, even if it means risking the safety of Omega's fishermen," spokesman Toby Gascon said. [Which sounds an awful lot like the scientific Japanese whalers.]

7. Use of Turkey Meal as a Replacement for Menhaden Fish Meal in
Practical Diets for Sunshine Bass Grown in Cages
(careful, it's a PDF)

Narragansett Bay mussels

8. Study: Bay lost billions of mussels

9. “Dead Zone” Summer Killed Billions of Ocean State Mussels

10. The case of the dead shellfish

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

As promised, MLB league championship predictions

Yankees vs. Angels: Yankees have too much pitching and too much firepower; A-Rod has figured out how to deliver in the playoff spotlight. Yanks in 5.

Phillies vs. Dodgers: I think the Phillies relief pitching problems will catch up to them in a couple of critical late-inning situations, and Manny will be involved in at least one of them. Phillies in 6.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can't we just make something?

If you look at projections for careers in the next decade, they tend to say for the U.S. that manufacturing will decline, but service sector jobs will increase. This means, mainly:

Health care
Education
Accounting and Finance

Now, the problem with this is that a service-sector economy has to service some people (eventually) who get their money from manufacturing and selling things. We know what's happening(ed) to automobiles; we don't make cell phones here; and green technologies also require someone to buy them. Now, thinking of Copenhagen, maybe we could entreat China and India to buy some of our advanced-technology green items in exchange for not putting binding targets on them -- not that they were going to accept any in the first place.

Searching a bit, I discovered some speculation about where manufacturing could be enhanced.

+ Green technology (solar, wind, fuel cells, etc.)
+ Nanotechnology
+ Aerospace (as long as everyone keeps flying on airplanes)
+ Medical high-tech (but this ties into the insurance/health care debate)
+ Food service technology
+ High-speed rail (but generally the Feds have to foot some of this bill)
+ Specialty drugs
+ Advanced textiles

That's a mixed bag. Obviously the iron & steel era is over. The next generation is certainly silicon, aluminum, and Kevlar.

Christina Hendricks got married

Christina Hendricks of Mad Men (but more memorably of Firefly, in one show that aired and one that didn't) got married. She defines "voluptuous". I tend to doubt that an article could be written about her that didn't use the word!

Mad Men star Christina Hendricks says 'I do' as she marries in New York restaurant

I hope their personalities are compatible, because on the physical level, he's a lucky guy. (Real or not.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sporting news and pictures

I'll predict the World Series winner after the divisional playoffs are over. I'm not surprise the Yankees advanced, though boy do I wish Minnesota could have scored when they had the bases loaded in the top of the 11th. Angels demolished Boston, who had their number previously; as I write this, the Rockies and the Phillies are playing in frigid Denver with the Phils just taking the lead. Weirdly, I'd pick the Dodgers over the Phillies but the Rockies over the Dodgers.

Here's a slightly risque picture from the Daily Mail's Top 50 sporting photographs of all time. Because it's from the UK, it won't be overloaded with U.S. baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. For fun, I'll make a list of how many pictures came from each sport when it's done.

Link to the article describing pictures 50-41
.

16th century relics from the "Mary Rose"

I found this quite interesting: I have heard off and on about the raising of the Mary Rose, the lead ship of Henry VIII's fleet, which sank in a naval engagement with the French in 1545. Despite the sinking, this doesn't seem to me to be a very well-known historical event. I'll rely on Wikipedia below for the details.

What I had remembered reading was that the Mary Rose had sank because it was poorly-designed, i.e., to look at it in a simple way, it was top-heavy. According to what I've just read with regard to the news article (see the Wikipedia link, #2), this is too simple. The real reason it sank appears to be that it had fired a broadside and then executed a sharp turn, and the gun ports weren't closed after the broadside. So the turn heeled the ship too low, and water entered the ship through the open gun ports. Result: the Mary Rose headed to the bottom.

A few years ago the ship was raised, and is undergoing preservation, and will go on display in a museum. This is all described in the linked article, which talks about the relics that have been found and includes a short video. Link #3 is the Daily Mail article with more pictures.

Mary Rose relics to be unveiled

Mary Rose (Wikipedia)

Saved from the sea, the secret Tudor hoard of the Mary Rose on display for the first time

Silverback speculation

She: Padma Lakshmi, one of the most beautiful women in the world, newly and happily pregnant.

He: Ted Forstmann, CEO of IMG, billionaire, top 400 richest Americans. Recently observed dating Padma Lakshmi.

He: born 1940 (age 69). Rich head of thick silver hair. Other pertinent biographical details >>> never married and no kids.

Motive and opportunity?

Glowing Padma Lakshmi debuts her baby bump...but still won't reveal who the father is

I wonder if we'll ever know.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This'll be brief, but interesting


Two posts ago I reprised the "Looking Back, Looking Good" theme. I would be so remiss if I didn't mention the November Vanity Fair, with Penelope Cruz on the cover. Over there.

If you've managed to keep reading:
There's also a good article about her and her career. She's not one-dimensional, by any means, and that means as a person/woman, not just her alluring curvaceousness.

There's also a look back at many pictures that she's had in that particular magazine:

Portfolio


Make sure to take note of #4 and #7, in terms of looking back.

OH well. I'll have to try and get serious tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One more thing

No more jokes: see below. Speaking as I was of women that get prettier with age and kids, Heidi Klum isn't pregnant anymore.

I was getting worried. I know that women don't REALLY pop when they give birth, but Heidi looked like she was in potential danger of exploding.

It's Friday again

I've got a bit of a babe BACKlog. So forthwith:

Way, way back near the commencement of this blog I had a couple of posts under the theme of "Looking Back, Looking Good", otherwise known as the fetching view of a lovely woman with lots of exposed back and frequently an impression of not wearing much else. So today I have a collection of a few -- relatively safe -- and then some commentary.

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Sienna Guillory gets ready for a bath

This is a tad riskier, from her TV miniseries role as "Helen of Troy"

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Kate Hudson has an abnormally gorgeous backside, as displayed thusly and thongly:

One

Two

Three

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Kelly Ripa gazes back

Now, here's a couple more of Kelly: Being cute in a bathtub (nothing objectionable), and looking amazing in a bikini.

Here's a few more in a bikini:

One (with an outie)

Two (a threefer)

Three

Commentary: these are all after birthing three kids. This woman has an ab workout to die for. And even though we might all want a little more topside, with this much fitness parading around, who CARES? Congrats to Kelly -- and hunky lucky hubby Mark.

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Which brings me to Louise Redknapp. Let's get the back story out in front first:

Who is this, you ask? Well, she's a former singer and bikini model, currently doing a reprise of that for Triumph lingerie. Searching with that terminology is SO worth it. She's married, with two kids, to an ex-football (soccer) player who's now a pundit (I don't know about what) in the UK. Here's an article about that:

Jamie and Louise Redknapp on why family values are more important than living the high life

The thing is -- there are also pictures of her modeling while younger that can be discovered. She is one of those highly amazing women who has gotten prettier with age and kids. Now, if I was making the ultimate desirability checklist -- not necessarily the list of what I want in a wife, just the list of what I'd want in a wife in terms of apassionata, there would be a few things I'd put near the top:

1. Models lingerie and swimsuits.
2. Looks better in her 30s than 20s, after having kids.
3. Looks good when viewed from behind.
4. Looks good when viewed from in front.
5. Looks ready for apassionata while modeling lingerie (example).

Ms. Redknapp does fit the bill. It's that old fertility thing again: young and lovely equates to fertile (visually-speaking) and thus equates to desirable, from a procreative standpoint. And aren't we all intrigued by that?

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Finally, from purely a standpoint of callypygial pulchritude (a subject touched upon lovingly above with regard to Kate Hudson), the link below to recent Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is WAY RISKY!!!!, but also artistically and manfully appealing.

Olga by the pool, au naturel and au-fully wonderful

She's also the new face of the drink Campari -- clothed, but still pretty nice to look at.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Copenhagen dilemma

Several links below talk about the major problem that is stalling (potentially game-ending) climate action in Copenhagen. Time's running out, and here's the basic summary, which you can review by reading the articles at the links.

1. Developed, i.e., wealthy, mostly "Western" nations (including Australia) don't want to agree to any binding emissions restrictions. They want everyone to play nice, set their own restriction goals and time-tables, and then live up to them.

Comment: HAH. Like that's gonna happen.

2. Developing large nations don't want any restrictions on economic growth forced on them. They point out, with some justification, that the wealthy nations built their economies on cheap energy and unrestricted emissions. So why should they have to hold back the raging forces of economic growth because of their impacts on climate change, when the wealthy nations didn't have to? Rather, they're willing to be part of emissions restrictions (to an extent) if the wealthy nations pay their fair share for what they've done in the past.

Comment: I can see where they're coming from.

3. The bit players, the poorest countries who may get hit the hardest by climate change effects: sea level rise, increased or decreased rainfall, increasing extreme events, degradation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems (affecting food resources and production), increasing populations that want some degree of better lifestyles -- are appealing to the developed and developing nations to do something.

Comment: Life isn't fair, but it should be fairer.

4. The group that has the most at stake -- the youth of the world, and future generations -- has no advocacy representation. It is them who the negotiators and leaders should be thinking of the most; but foisting problems onto future generations to take care of in favor of maintaining status quo commerce and strong economic growth -- which is predicated on increasing populations, and I think we're starting to see some problems with that -- is politically and governmentally expedient.

Comment: EVERYONE says they worry about the children, except they don't really worry about what's going to happen to them when they GROW UP.


Do I have a solution? Are you kidding? Coming up with a treaty "formula" would require nations and their populations to do something that is anathema -- actually agree to actions that don't always serve their self-interest first. There should be (as if) a commitment to the fact that we all live on the same planet, and we're screwing the hell out of it.

What I would do if I was in charge (and the EU, remember, has actually floated a proposal like this, see the link) ------ is put a carbon tax on everybody keyed to national production and consumption. See, if you're producing and consuming, then you're using energy and releasing carbon. Less carbon emissions = less tax. That's an incentive to ramp up alternatives, but it will take time. The tax revenues would be given partly to developing nations (who would also be paying the tax at a lower rate) for compensation as they implement their own methods of reducing emissions. The other part of the tax would be paid to the nations that have the least wherewithal to deal with it and the lowest economic output.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? The number one lesson here is that there is no national altruism; abandoning your own people (or being seen to have done so) is never seen as politically wise. What needs to be done is to change perceptions -- current policies are abandoning the youth and still-unborn future generations to a highly uncertain and perilous future. To actually do something substantive would be to accept our current responsibility to them. What needs to be done to make world leaders serve constituents that don't exist yet?

I don't know.

Articles:

What's to become of the Kyoto Protocol?


UN climate chief hails Bangkok talks

China: Climate talks sabotaged
"As time winds down before the Copenhagen meetings, poor countries are complaining that rich nations seem to be on a path to carve out a new agreement that forces them to cut their emissions, while rich nations will get away with minimal cuts.

The United States, Japan and Australia have offered a number of proposals in Bangkok, moving away from internationally binding emissions cuts. Instead, individual countries would pledge their own cuts without binding timetables and targets."

India wants less 'evangelical' climate talks

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This is not going to be easy. Renewables aren't all they're cracked up to be in arid regions:

"German developer Solar Millennium announced plans to build two large solar farms in the state's arid Amargosa Valley. Hard-hit from the recession, the hundreds of jobs the project would create was welcome news to the Nevada community. But now the people are divided ever since the company disclosed that the project would require 1.3 billion gallons of water a year -- about 20 percent of the valley's available water. While some are worried about the impact of the solar farms on the environment, others are hoping to earn money selling their water rights.

That quote is from this:

Water an issue for some renewable energies