Monday, November 29, 2010

It's not over while I'm still breathing

...which might be attributed to Roger Federer, rather than a quote from "Avatar". Anyhow, R-Fed beat R. Nadal yesterday (Sunday) in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour final in London, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Basically, Nadal ran out of gas after being pushed to the limit by Andy Murray the day before, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6; an astonishing 3 hour, 11 minute THREE-SET match!

I hope Murray doesn't keep us waiting much longer and finally wins a major next year: preferably Wimbledon.

Here's the Daily Mail coverage. I'll have to read more about the Nadal-Murray semi to see if I can find the definitive description.

Murray so close: Nadal finds his best form to topple the British No 1 and reach first ATP World Tour final

Federer has the power: Swiss master beats rival Nadal to claim London title

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is England playing for an Ashes Test draw?

OK, I admit, I thought the first Ashes Test was over (hah) when England went out in their first innings for only 260, and Australia came back with 481. That was before the second innings; captain Andrew Strauss for England started with 110, and then Australia couldn't get Jonathan Trott (135) and Alastair Cook (235!!) out. So England declared (which means for you non-cricketers that they said they were done, and dare Australia to get as many runs (or more) as they had scored. Which means that Australia would need 297 runs to win.

This on day five, the last day of the first Ashes test in Australia, Brisbane to be exact. So there's two choices, basically; either England gets all of the Aussies wickets before the day is over and the Aussies haven't matched their score -- in which case they win -- or more likely, they don't get all the wickets, but the Aussies don't make the score, and it's a draw. (The other possibility is that the Aussies get 297 runs by the end of the day. That'd be real bad for the Brits.)

So I think they're playing for the draw, but if they get lucky, that's even better. As I finish writing this, the score for the Aussies is 55/1 (51 runs, one wicket down) and there aren't a lot of overs (25 or so) left. So this one's most likely to end in a draw. (An over is 6 bowls.)

The next test starts on Friday, December 3, in Adelaide.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Out of curiousity: Rita Coolidge

Out of curiousity, I checked to see what Rita Coolidge has done recently. The last professional item that Wikipedia has on her is that she released a jazz album in 2006, titled "And So is Love". Wikipedia also says she now lives in the Avocado Capital of the World, Fallbrook, CA.

But, when I search around a little more, I found a page indicating that she performed at the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival in 2009. And she has a Web site, natch:

which says she was touring in 2010. The site isn't working quite right; the photo gallery links aren't linking to photo galleries.

But here's a recent picture (blurry) of her in concert this year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Slowing or not? It'll take awhile to hash this out

I'm going to have to do more reading about this, but there are two different reports out that a) global warming is slowing, and b) that the data showing global warming is slowing are wrong.


Here's part 1: Global warming has slowed down over the past 10 years, say scientists

Not all for good reasons: "Scientists say one of the major factors is the rise in heavy industry and pollutant 'aerosols', particularly in Asia," the article states.

Here's part 2: Data suggesting global warming slow-down is wrong

Meat of the argument:

The change in methodology [of measuring sea surface temperature] lead climate experts to believe that the rate of warming had slowed down from 0.16 °C per cent per decade to 0.09 °C per decade, a change of 0.07 °C,which is quite a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

The claim has now been brought into question by John Kennedy and colleagues at the UK Met Office who have now found that the real slowdown was significantly smaller.

Kennedy suggests that the change in the way the temperatures are measured could account for up to 0.03 °C of the change.

Meanwhile, back in the States:

NASA study finds Earth's lakes are warming

"Researchers Philipp Schneider and Simon Hook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used satellite data to measure the surface temperatures of 167 large lakes worldwide.

They reported an average warming rate of 0.81 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, with some lakes warming as much as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The warming trend was global, and the greatest increases were in the mid- to high-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere."

Two new global warming studies spell trouble for Lake Tahoe

Besides melting snowpack, the lake itself is warming up (as discovered by the study immediately above):

Lakes in the the Northern Hemisphere’s mid and upper latitudes showed the most warming. That includes Lake Tahoe, which has heated up by 3 degrees Celsius since 1985, putting it behind only Russia’s Lake Ladoga.

I just can't wait to see how this whole shebang will get spun by Morano, McIntyre, Watts, as well as the lesser lights.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Travolta baby arrives

The Travoltas, John and Kelly (aka Kelly Preston) welcomed their new son, already named Benjamin, today. Congrats to both, but particularly the lovely 48-year old mom.

Now, there was a tabloid reporting that Kelly had an egg donor. I suppose that's possible (and could have been medically necessary), but we'll probably have to wait quite awhile to see if there's a difference in resemblances. But the fact is, kids usually look more like their fathers than their mothers. So it might never be obvious. I tend to doubt the egg donor story, but it does remain in the realm of possibility -- and really doesn't matter if the Travolta baby is robust and brings them happiness (as well as late-night diaper changes and feedings, and all the other good baby stuff).

No, not Oscar

Olivia Wilde, formerly of "House", lately of "Tron" (she seems to gravitate toward projects with one-word titles) has some pictures in Details magazine, as reported by the Daily Mail. It's possible to find her wearing less (like here), but this set has a very high attractiveness factor. In particular, the video has her looking very appealing. She has great hair, intense eyes, a warm smile when she flashes it, and she personifies the term "willowy". She can act, too.

A romantic comet flyby coming soon

Fresh off the EPOXI flyby of Comet Hartley-2, NASA has another re-use mission, this time the Stardust spacecraft. Stardust is going to flyby Comet Tempel 1. If that name sounds familiar, it's because it's the same comet that was visited by, and smacked by an impactor from, the Deep Impact spacecraft. That's the same Deep Impact spacecraft that got renamed EPOXI and flew by Comet Hartley-2!

It's nice to see some symmetry here. Anyway, I don't know what more they'll learn from Tempel 1 this time, but they hopefully will learn more about it.

NASA Spacecraft Burns for Another Comet Flyby

Stardust NExT

Oh yeah, whysit a "romantic" comet flyby? Because it will be on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UN Secretary General puts climate deniers on notice

A "must read" (if you haven't already):

UN demands "concrete results" from Cancun summit

Speaking to reporters in New York yesterday, UN under secretary general for planning Robert Orr said that the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which is due for release in 2014, will be much worse than the last report released in 2007.

That report warned that based on business-as-usual projections, average global temperatures could rise by as much as six degrees by the end of the century, resulting in a catastrophic impact on the global economy. (That ought to make some of the world's nations pay attention!)

Orr said the early indications revealed that the next report, which will be based on a wide range of scientific papers, will show that "just about everything... will be more dramatic than the last report, because that is where all the data is pointing." (Despite what you've heard from the conservative, right-wing, mostly American, know-nothing climate deniers. Speaking of them...)

He added that UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon will attend the summit and make it clear that countries "should not take any comfort in the climate deniers' siren call" and must instead be aware that climate change "is happening in an accelerated way".

(Which is what the scientifically honest and informed have known for several years already.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top 10 list of image subjects found searching "Ursula"

1. Ursula from the "Little Mermaid" (Disney)
2. Ursula Mayes (or Meyes)
-- WARNING! Searching this name could fry your eyeballs (in the nice way)
3. Ursula Andress
4. Ursula Vargues
5. Ursula Burns
6. Ursula Brooks
7. Saint Ursula
8. Ursula Le Guin
9. Ursula Plassnik
10. Ursula Bogner / Ursula Corbero

You are invited to find out who these people (or characters) are. I knew 1,3,7, and 8.

One of my memorable Ursulas, Playboy Playmate Ursula Buchfellner didn't show up in this contemporary search. Ursula + October + 1979 finds her, though. And in this manner I also found out that Stacy Keibler was born on October 14, 1979.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Serious energy projection includes nuclear

A reasonable report on ways to get the world energy situation CO2-free by 2050 -- a laudable goal -- includes nuclear energy in the portfolio. It is, as I would hope and expect, a combination of technologies that pulls off this impressive trick. Getting there will require substantially more gigatons of effort from the world's major economies (yes, United States, that means us, and yes, China, that means you, too).

Risø Energy Report 9: CO2-free energy can meet the world’s energy needs in 2050

Developments in non-fossil fuel energy technologies: 2010-2050

Full report (PDF style)

Based on existing plans, world nuclear capacity may therefore increase from the present 340 GWe to more than 1,000 GWe in 2050, enabling nuclear power to provide 20% of all electricity.

As noted in Nature, "States or the Union", state initiatives, exemplified by the fact that California didn't vote out their GHG emissions-cutting plan, may force more progress than the GOP climate zombies in Congress want or expect; plus, the military's green push, which has been described multiple times in recent articles, may also force societal evolution down this path.

How they knew the dust in Hayabusa was from Itokawa; fast-spinning asteroid

Interesting short article about how the determination was made that the miniscule motes of dust found in the Hayabusa sample chamber (chamber A; they haven't opened chamber B yet) were extraterrestrial dust from the asteroid and not terrestrial contamination. To put it basically, they were the sames composition as the asteroid was expected to be based on other observations, and they weren't the composition of dust either from where Hayabusa launched or where it landed.

Hayabusa confirms return of asteroid particles

Another short article indicates that the asteroidal pipsqueak that went by us a few days ago was a spinner (cricket term, as the Ashes in Oz are coming up fast); it completed a full rotation in 31 seconds.

Tiny asteroid that buzzed Earth is a fast-spinning rock

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Actually, it's a trick question. Nothing's wrong with the picture at all, and I find it hard to find any faults with this up-and-coming starlet.

It's her name. Oops.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Playboy reveals more of Kelly Brook

Just thought some of us would like to know; there are a couple of new pictures in circulation (easily findable) from Kelly Brook's recent Playboy shoot. I think two of the three are better than those which appeared in the magazine.

Playboy mansion for sale?

Actually no, and this is old news (it may have sold by now): back in May, a condo unit in the converted Chicago Playboy mansion (the original) was on sale.

Playboy condo

Well, somebody else will almost certainly buy it, or has already, but I still dream about spending a night in the mansion with Candy Loving.

Sherwood Boehlert tries to talk sense into GOP numbskulls

Can the party of Reagan accept the science of climate change?

(Short answer to this rhetorical question: not if you're drinkin' what the Tea Party's servin' !)

Boehlert attempts to be the voice of reason, but with the army of near-catatonic zombies intoning the talking points that have been repetitively circulated and reiterated in the conservo-blogosphere, he's spitting fire into the wind. The net effect of the propaganda blitz on global warming has been, for conservative right-wingnutters:

1) an increase in the strength of the opinion that ALL science is suspect [partly due to the meme that scientists paid by grants produce the science that they're expected to];

2) an increase in the strength of the opinion that Joe Bubba Layman can have just as informed a viewpoint on global warming after reading a couple of posts on WattsUpWithThat or ClimateDepot as trained, dedicated, and honest climate scientists have; and

3) an increasingly strident tone that anybody who states or repeats the basic scientific understanding of climate change is part of a socialist, global conspiracy to slap down the economic prowess of the Western world.

All of this is entrenched in the backassward provinces of the U.S. The Europeans are astonished at this level of ignorance (except for the vested interests over there, which aren't nearly so influential as they are here).

Additional information: the Climate Zombie Caucus of the 112th Congress (from Climate Progress)

Hereby hangs a tale: small Italian goalie could play large for women's World Cup berth

Profile of Anna Picarelli, Italy's goalie, in Los Angeles Times

"Content you, gentlemen. I will compound this strife.
'Tis deeds must win the prize... "

(Taming of the Shrew, set in Padua)

Critical game Saturday in Padua, Italy for the U.S. women to make it into the World Cup next year.

The effect of La Nina:

Year-to-date (January-October) was rated warmest ever by NASA and NOAA. University of Alabama - Huntsville lower tropospheric satellite temperatures rank year-to-date second behind 1998. But October is 8th warmest for NOAA, 3rd warmest for NASA. La Nina is pulling down the end-of-year global temperatures, as expected.

Globe has 3rd or 8th warmest October on record; year-to-date period warmest on record

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More indicators of earlier spring

Mentioned in passing; another study has found evidence that spring is arriving early, based on the budding of flowers in Ohio.

Budding research links climate change and earlier-flowering plants

I guess it doesn't matter what the thermometers and weather stations indicate (or don't) if nature is pointing in the direction that climate is going.
Well, actually it does -- it verifies the consistency of the trend we're feeling now and makes it more worrisome when regarding projections into the future.

Telescopic video of Comet Ikeya-Murakami

NASA has a stirring video of Comet Ikeya-Murakami, which is currently just passing by. It was filmed with a remotely-operated telescope. The 'scope is in New Mexico, the operator is in Alabama.

New comet video

Here's a still image. It's a pretty little dirty ice block, spewing CO2 jets (that's new info from the Comet Hartley-2 observations by EPOXI)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Transcript of live coverage of the House Science Committee hearing on Climate Science

I followed along while this was going on... and much of the commentary was better and more informative than the testimony. So here's a link to the transcript of comments:

Live coverage of House climate hearing

Favorite comment:
"[Richard] Alley's uncertainty graphic was a good one... The chance that the sensitivity "could be a LOT higher than the estimates" is not balanced by a corresponding chance that the sensitivity "could be a LOT less"... "

oh, and this one too:

"[Richard] Feely talks of global data on ocean portion of co2 going mostly into the highest portion of the ocean. Latest cruises around world's oceans has meant "no all" on acidification etc"

Yeah, and Joanne Nova (aka Jo Nova) thinks that this isn't a problem. Bitch!

Sir Clive Sinclair is a super-silverback

Just in case you haven't heard this one already, Sir Clive Sinclair, credited as being the inventor of the original pocket calculator and also some small, early personal computers -- and therefore very wealthy -- married a lovely young lap dancer named Angie Bowness, who is now Lady Sinclair. (He has three children from an earlier marriage.) Apparently he met Angie when she was doing a short stint in the men's club, because she discovered her rent in London was kind of high. She's also a model, and has the goods to be good at it. Sir Clive met her because despite escalating age, he liked to go out at night and have a good time, as it were.

They met 14 years ago when the nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow sat his friend beside the 19-year-old dancer at a dinner party. “She was Miss England at the time, and I thought she was really quite lovely.” [quoting Sir Clive. I imagine she was.]

Well, according to calculations, Clive is 70 and Angie is 34. And she looks somewhat younger under the right circumstances. [Cue first link below.] According to the articles, she divides her time, spending some of it at Sir Clive's home, and some of it at home in London with her son (not his).

An unlikely Lady?: Sir Clive Sinclair's young wife poses for sexy beach calendar shoot

Based on the above, I think that Sir Clive is probably totally OK with this arrangement if Lady Sinclair spends a portion of the time that she's at his house totally naked.

Or at least dressed like this:

More on this arrangement:

The beauty and the boffin

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Julianne Moore's Bulgari ads (banned in some places)

Julianne Moore did a series of advertisements for Bulgari -- and they were deemed too risque for some billboards in Venice (I guess when you share the square with a cathedral, you have to make SOME choices based on taste and decorum). But this is Venice where courtesans went around bare-breasted and masked during the Carnival. Hmmm...

This is an astonishingly lovely 49-year old woman. She deserves an award for looking this good.

Here's the pictures, size reduced. If you click the picture here, it gets bigger.

If you want to see the lovely Julianne without the props, the very small pictures below have her without props (but still not displaying anything erogenous, unlike in "Short Cuts" and "The End of the Affair", amongst others).

The little satellite that could - DID!

Hayabusa did it! The never-say-quite-dead, get-home-even-if-you're-three-years-late asteroid rendesvous satellite Hayabusa did indeed capture tiny grains of the asteroid Itokawa that it visited and bumped, hoping to dislodge bits of space rock. So the news (complete with photographic verification) is that it did knock some dust loose, and got it into the sample chamber.

A couple of articles:

Hayabusa probe succeeded in returning asteroid dust to Earth

Success! Hayabusa captured asteroid dust (this one is pretty good; excellent images, including a large version of the scanning electron microphotograph of some of the 1,500 asteroid particles)

Jen Schefft has a baby

There a lot of celebs and starlets pregnant and nearing their dilation days (still waiting on Kelly Preston and John Travolta)... so I am certainly not going to try to keep up with everyone who pops one out. But since I mentioned that former Bachelorette Jen Schefft was pregnant back in May, I should be polite and report that she has achieved parturition.

It's A Girl! Former Bachelorette Star Jen Schefft Gives Birth To Her First Child

Country Music Awards fashion review

Just looking over the CMA awards fashion gallery; here's my quick thoughts:

Thumbnail gallery (CMT)

Laura Bell Bundy -- beautiful!
Sara Evans -- looked good
Kimberly Williams Paisley -- stunning in blue
Martina McBride -- bad look
Jerrod Niemann -- hottest date
Katherine Heigl -- Josh Kelley is a lucky, lucky man
Taylor Swift -- beautiful but understated; oh, those KISSable lips!

Julianne Hough -- too much dress, wrong hair color
Gwyneth Paltrow -- best dress, best bod (see below)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Breaking up a comet

Based on a rather small sample set (comets Borrelly and Hartley-2, and also probably the asteroid Toutatis), it looks like a lot of comets could be contact binaries, or at least potato-shaped. This tells me that the weak point of a comet like that would be the narrow center.

If it should be found that there's a comet on an impact course with Earth, then (like in Armageddon), it should be possible to drill into the center of the narrow part, place an explosive device, and then blow the binary apart. This would obviously put each of the parts into a different orbit, probably (I say that carefully) no longer on an impact course, provided this is done sufficiently well advanced of the predicted impact date.

I think the best approach for longer-term prospects (like asteroids) would be to land a few plasma engines on the surface, turn them on, and gently push the dangerous rock into a different orbit. Again, this requires sufficient lead time. [Unsurprising, others more versed in rocket science agree.]

NEO defenses require global consensus, efforts

For short-term impact warnings, it's hard to tell what could be done at this point. We don't have the technology to get there and turn a potential impactor with months to spare. Part of the prior planning should be to build up a technology base to have the availability of technology that could do the job. I'll have to see if there are reports out of the recent meeting.

If an impactor is discovered only days out, well then, there's going to be big hole somewhere on Earth and we'll have to deal with it somehow.

Despite whatever we do - unless we get serious

New projections indicate that short of really trying a lot harder to implement alternatives (and if nuclear power isn't part of that effort, it's hard to see how in the globe there could be any seriousness to the effort), demand for oil is going to keep increasing. And that leads to the obvious question of what we, as a civilization, are going to do when we run out of the easily-extractable form of it?

Oil demand to rise for 25 years, despite green push

The IEA [International Energy Agency] thinks that Canadian oil sands might be part of the answer. At a significant cost to the local and global environment, I rush to add.

"In particular, the IEA noted that increasing demand would force oil companies to unconventional sources, such as oil sands and shale, which are not only costly and will drive up prices, but which also generally emit more greenhouse gases."
Yup -- but there is a way out:

"However, the IEA said that the commitment last year by Group of 20 industrialized and emerging market countries to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies "has the potential to, at least partly, balance the disappointment at Copenhagen."

It added that removing the subsidies which cost governments a hefty $312 billion last year, "could make a big contribution to meeting energy-security and environmental goals, including mitigating carbon dioxide and other emissions."
See my list of five things that could make America competitive again.

OH, and by the way -- if we don't get to it, it's going to be costly.

"The IEA estimated meeting climate change goals would shave 1.9 percent off global GDP in 2030, more than double its estimate last year of 0.9 percent."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rachel McAdams rocks the blonde look

Rachel McAdams is something of a cute chameleon; and her hair color regularly changes with the role. She was a redhead in "The Notebook", a brunette in "The Time-Traveler's Wife", chestnutty for "Sherlock Holmes" (though she was blonde at the premieres, likely because "Morning Glory" was filming).

And she was rockin' the blonde look on the red carpet for the "Morning Glory" premiere.

Very fetching. Very McAdams. Apparently "Morning Glory" attempts to do for Rachel what "Pretty Woman" did for Julia Roberts, which is to show that she can carry a movie and be cute and wonderful and fall-in-lovable in the role. And apparently she has some success with the attempt. Reviews are mixed, and since critics are paid to be critical, it's probably better than some of them say it is. (I'm surprised "Unstoppable" is doing so well with the critics, who generally don't give high praise to action movies.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Republicans screw us if they screw government-funded science

They're not in power yet, and they've only been counting their wins for a week-and-a-half,
but already the Republicans in Congress are talking about budget cuts (and not about
not extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Hypocritical.)

As anyone who knows anything about it can tell you, only about 1/3 of the budget is "cuttable", i.e., discretionary spending. And that's what the Republicans always target. And rather than think about what truly robust research-and-development does for an economy (not to mention for our environment, though they'd never mention that, would they?), they target science agencies for cuts. NSF, NOAA, NASA, DoE. Not to mention that they pay lip service to the need for NSF to improve science and math education - to keep the U.S.A. "competitive".

This is so typical of them. "Reducing the size of government" is GOP code for trying to slice and dice out of the government things they don't like. As, for example, cutting the education department and increasing school vouchers. This would allow more religious conservatives to get their kids out of public schools (and their evil curricula) and into private religious schools (with their God-blessed curricula), so they wouldn't have to be taught the evils of evolution. Don't like the EPA's ability to enforce clean air, clean water, and climate regulations, even if the Supreme Court says they can? Cut the EPA!! Don't like the inconvenient data that NASA satellites are transmitting about Earth's declining environment? Cut the NASA budget!! - but keep funding big-ticket, big-contractor projects like the James Webb "1.6 billion over" Space Telescope. (Oh, that might get cut and slowed down too, of course. Happy News for Everybody).

The thing is, there's a pretty general consensus that cutting government science R&D funding will reduce our competitiveness, and reduce our economic ability to generate jobs in new sectors of the economy. But if you want to not have to raise taxes (or even BETTER, cut them!), then research science takes a hit. And that's just plain Stupid, but when Congressmen think that God has promised us he won't raise sea level (subject of an upcoming post), well, what are you going to do.

The budget commission says to raise the retirement age to 67, or 69, in decades. Do something meaningful, you cowards, instead of something Stupid like cutting the budgets of government science agencies.

Na'Vi navels

OK, yes, I've been watching "Avatar" a few times on HBO, even though it's 2D and not 3D. I hadn't really paid attention before, but in addition to the female breasts (which I did in fact notice), the Na'Vi also have navels. Now, director James Cameron is on record (Playboy interview, Playboy Web site) as saying that they aren't placental mammals, so one really has to wonder what other function the navel would indicate. And all we can do is wonder right now.

If you look closely you can see a couple of Na'vi navels in the picture below.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No place to hide: overfishing in Southeast Asia

As if this wasn't expected, a report is out detailing another depredation and decimation of fish stocks (as well as declining larval fisheries in mangrove coastal areas).

Trawlers emptying Southeast Asia's seas

The data and trends are daunting and disturbing, bordering on downright depressing.

"Mr. Allison said the habitat for young fish, or fry, is also shrinking because the mangrove swamps which provide food and protection are being obliterated by coastal development including tourist resorts."

here's some numbers:

According to World Fish data, there were 10 times more fish in the Gulf of Thailand in 1965 than 30 years later.

In Malaysia, the decline was between 80% and 90%, while in the Philippines it is estimated that there was a 46%-78% drop in fish stocks.

Bottom line (I've heard this before; have YOU?)

"He [Allison] urged enforcement authorities to adopt conservation measures such as encouraging the use of hook and line traps that net only targeted fish, and aquaculture to produce popular species.

"The aquatic system is quite resilient and they can recover if we can remove some of the pressures. What is needed is the political will and motivation to do so," he said."

Yeah, and we need that in this country to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age (see my suggestions here). I seriously doubt either is going to happen. Like I said, disturbing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Germans still schizoid about nuke power

While Chancellor Merkel has the foresight to realize that Germany needs an increasing amount of energy and that major contributions from renewables are A Long Way Off, the citizenry is protesting it -- and using a nuclear waste shipment to focus the energy of their protests.

Part A:
"Under a previous government, Germany decided in 2000 to switch off the last of the country's reactors by around 2020, but Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to keep nuclear power until the mid 2030s."

Part B:
"The shipment [of radioactive waste] may have arrived but the government is further than ever from its aim of getting people in Germany to accept nuclear power," Florian Kubitz from protest group Robin Wood said.

{OK, Robin Wood, there's a joke there... sorry}

Part C:
"The protests in Gorleben show ... Merkel has in fact won little with her nuclear policy and lost a lot politically," the influential news magazine Spiegel said on its website."

But just imagine what mandatory blackouts would do to public sentiment!

Five steps to make America competitive (and reduce the debt)

1. Raise the age for first payout of Social Security 5 years.
Justification: we're living and working longer. Companies should grant senior employees (60+) two weeks of leave without pay, in addition to leave with pay. This would save tons of money as the U.S. population ages. Allow hardship exemptions.

2. Initiate a carbon tax, starting low and increasing.
Justification: It will raise revenue immediately, it can fund renewable energy and efficiency programs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil imports and improving national security.

3. Allow states widespread implementation of red-light and speed cameras
Justification: Raises revenue for roads that is decreasing due to increased energy efficiency (lower gas tax revenues), and increases safety. Get bad drivers that drive up insurance rates for
everyone off the roads. Also get aggressive drivers that kill and injure people off the roads.

4. Initiate a Civilian Conservation Corps again
Justification: Create jobs right now (yes, government but temporary) to perform jobs necessary but unglamourous: cleaning parklands, national and state park maintenance, infrastructure inspections and repairs (roads, sidewalks, staircases, etc.), wastewater treatment mechanisms (such as rain gardens and stormwater catchments). Creates a resume-building job for people that want to work, and helps preserve our natural environment, and public health.

5. Legalize and tax marijuana nationwide
Justification: lots of money, especially since the FDA is targeting tobacco, which currently still provides a lot of revenue, and besides, it's unethical to fund government on the backs of addicts.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due Department:

Nice article about the "Witch of November" gales in the Great Lakes region from Watts Up With That. Very good weather history of some dramatic and catastrophic events.

35 years ago: The Witch of November Come Stealin'

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

USGS describes alteration of river flows

Press release from the U.S. Geological Survey:

Most River Flows across the U.S. are Altered by Land and Water Management, Leading to Ecological Degradation (the full report can be gotten by clicking on the appropriate link in the press release)

This isn't very surprising, but it's good (in a research-descriptive way, not in an ecologically sound way) to see it quantified.

Two quotes from the press release illustrate the theme of this research publication:

“This USGS assessment provides the most geographically extensive analysis to date of stream flow alteration,” said Bill Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water. “Findings show the pervasiveness of stream flow alteration resulting from land and water management, the significant impact of altered stream flow on aquatic organisms, and the importance of considering this factor for sustaining and restoring the health of the Nation's streams and ecosystems."

“Management practices related to water demand continue to alter stream flows in many places,” said Jeff Ostermiller, Water Quality Manager with the Utah Division of Water Quality. “Understanding the ecological effects of these flow alterations helps water managers develop effective strategies to ensure that water remains sufficiently clean and abundant to support fisheries and recreation opportunities, while simultaneously supporting economic development.”

Annual and seasonal cycles of water flows — particularly the low and high flows — shape ecological processes in rivers and streams. An adequate minimum flow is important to maintain suitable water conditions and habitat for fish and other aquatic life. High flows are important because they replenish floodplains and flush out accumulated sediment that can degrade habitat.

Monday, November 8, 2010

S. Fred Singer completely loses it

"The American Thinker" only appeals to those thinking with half (or less) of their brain, the part that controls the right side of their political functioning. And TAT is hosting a new op-ed (I'd rather call it a dumb-ed) from archaic dinosaur climate skeptic Fred Singer, making rather audacious claims that new investigations of climate change by CoochieCoochie-nelli and the incoming Republican raucous caucus will, in his stunning words, "Or Hearings on Climategate by the U.S. Congress may uncover the "smoking gun" that demonstrates that the warming trend used by the IPCC does not really exist."

or alternatively:
"It has become increasingly clear that any observed warming during the past century is of natural origin and that the human contribution is insignificant. It is doubtful that any significant warming is attributable to greenhouse gases at all."

Oh dear f*cking God, Fred. Not even Patrick Michaels will agree with you. Any skeptical scientist with a shred of decency and honesty will have to admit that increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are going to cause some warming. The skeptical position that is most in vogue is that a) there might be feedbacks negating some of the warming, b) we can deal with it if we have to, and c) we have more important things to worry about right now.

But there's a warming trend, and there's nothing else that can cause the warming trend except increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. And the warming trend is satellite data, dating from 1979, with an upward slope. Yes, the IPCC uses this. And no, no matter what Coochie and the Repub Retards say about it, it's not going to go away and it's not caused by anything natural. And that trend should be Exhibit 1 when Dr. Roy Spencer testifies in front of Congress. As in, "Please explain the warming trend in your satellite data, Dr. Spencer." Not to mention the fact that the same satellite data show stratospheric cooling, which is explained by the fact that the stratosphere cools radiatively, and if it gets less heat coming upward from Earth's surface, it's going to cool off. Why does it get less heat coming upward from Earth's surface? The increasing heat-trapping caused by increasing concentrations of CO2. (How does Dr. Roy explain that? More clouds? When there isn't any conclusive evidence of more clouds over the length of his data set? Ouch, that'll leave a mark.)

The Republicans can shorely try to skew testimony and debate toward the email imprecations of a few climate scientists. And talk about suppression of papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals (even if the editorial process was roundly circumvented if you actually look at what happened). But no amount of investigation and Congressional hearing grandstanding will get around the fact that virtually all the direct observational data, and virtually all of what is called "phenological indicators" (things like
butterfly emergence,
spring flowering,
ice thaw on lakes,
bird nesting,
and hundreds of other examples) point in the same direction -- WARMING.

Illegal bluefin tuna trade worth billions

Brief followup (to this) with a point to an article and a study estimated that the illegal tuna fishing trade was worth billions.

How does a species stand a chance against that kind of economic pressure?

Tuna black market is worth billions, study finds

Zenyatta valiance

I think it's different for a horse than a human. Had Michael Phelps failed to out-touch Milorad Cavic in the 100-meter butterfly at the Beijing Olympics -- despite the fact that it would have been a truly outstanding swim by Cavic -- Phelps would have been labeled a failure, though his "comeback" in the final 10 meters would be pretty amazing either way. It might have been a lot different for Jason Lezak, too, if he'd lost by a couple hundredths of a second rather than capped off an out-of-body comeback with a win.

Zenyatta was and is famous for her closing speed, and she was 19-for-19 with it. In the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic, the amazing stretch run, passing all the other horses in the field save one as if they weren't even close, fell short. But rather than be disappointed that she fell short of 20-for-20, you've got to give credit to a horse that put it all on the line and missed by a head. Because the horse doesn't care about money or fame or history; it just likes to run. For Zenyatta, missing out on perfection was exciting, and not disappointing to a sports fan. The opinions of fan that lost money betting might be different, but that's their problem.

Andrew Beyer on Zenyatta

YouTube video of the race

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Illegal fishing might save bluefin tuna

Believe it or not, chefs in Japan are advising restaurant guests to forget about tuna, because not enough suppliers can prove the tuna was caught legally -- while at the same time, another report indicates that 1-in-3 tuna is caught illegally.

This heartens my heart:

"Masanori Miyahara, chief counselor of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, said consumers may have to "just forget about tuna for the time being."

This is JAPAN????

I am fond of this too:
"The big Western European fishing nations - Italy, France, Spain - have started to clean up their act after years of often illegal overfishing.

"You have to realise that within the bluefin tuna, all the countries were lying," says Dr Jean-Marc Fromentin of ICCAT's own scientific committee."

Light and enlightenment are dawning.

"The Japanese, for their part, are going out of their way to show that they care about the sustainability of the fishery, particularly after Japan led an effort earlier this year to defeat a proposal to ban the Atlantic bluefin trade by the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites)."

But there's a problem:
"But new fleets - in less-regulated places from Turkey to Libya - are ramping up their operations."

So, the best thing to do would be to: ban trade in bluefin tuna. All of it. From everywhere.

There's a conference on November 17 in Paris. Let's hope that light continues to shine brightly.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Cheryl Cole's sex ban over?

As ones of us may recall, when Cheryl Cole was recovering from malaria, her doctors recommended that she refrain from exertion in the manner of human copulatory activities.

She seems to have recovered fairly well, and she made a cross-ocean, cross-continent 24 hour visit to "Dancing with the Stars" companion (?!?) Derek Hough. And while she was visiting, she hid behind the dashboard ...

though while she was leaving, she was fine with being photographed, and looked fine -- and happy and glowing and refreshed and satisfied and ... you know what direction I'm headed with this, right?

Anyways, there isn't a whole lot that can be done on a 24-hour pass other than dinner and a movie and a good night's ... sleep. Well, that just has me wondering if and when the docs gave her the green light to, how do I phrase this, be human again. Totally. And I'm hoping for Derek's sake that he's involved with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Incoming -- would the nations of the world work together?

Contemplate this; an asteroid is spotted and computed to be on an intercept/impact trajectory with Earth. Would there be a haphazard, every-country-for-itself response to the potential impact, or could the nations of the world band together to launch (real or figuratively) a program to deflect the rogue rock?

That's what the workshop was about:
Workshop Emphasizes Need for International Response in Dealing with Earth-Threatening Asteroids

"The workshop brought together for the first time space agencies to discuss the future deflection of a hazardous asteroid, said former shuttle astronaut, Tom Jones, Chair of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Committee on Near-Earth Objects.

“Representatives from NASA and the European Space Agency, facilitated by Secure World Foundation and the Association of Space Explorers, talked substantively about how their programs could be coordinated to gather important planetary defense knowledge about asteroids, what asteroid research is needed to facilitate deflection planning, how space agencies should demonstrate asteroid deflection technologies, and when future planning meetings should take place,” Jones said.

moving on down the piece a bit:

Taking a leading role in the workshop was Sergio Camacho, space science researcher, former Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and now Secretary General of the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC).

Camacho assisted in defining future planning tasks and studies for the MPOG that will later be merged with findings of other experts to create a final report to the UN committee. Such a report will recommend how to react to an impact threat from a Near Earth Object, or NEO.

Now, here's my question. What would happen if TOMORROW (that would be November 6, 2010), a telescope spotted a 100-meter asteroid with a 100% certainty of impact on June 12, 2011? Astronomers quickly determine that, given orbital uncertainty, the impact will take place close to the southwestern coast of Australia (and might hit it). Perth and environs would be most at risk.

What would we, collectively as nations and humans, do about it? Would we go the Armageddon route, or just hope it smacks ocean and get ready to mitigate?

I remember Lindsay Frost from way back

I saw the beginning (didn't have time for the whole thing) of "Collateral Damage" a couple of nights ago, and I hadn't realized that soap-opera alum Lindsay Frost had the small but important part of Arnold's wife, who gets killed in a car bombing.

According to IMDb, she'd been doing regular series work through 2007. Somewhat interestingly, she played Elizabeth Smart's mother in a 2003 movie about the kidnapping, the actual real-life trial for which is occurring now.

Lindsay Frost

Lindsay had the unenviable job of following Meg Ryan as Betsy Stewart Andropolous on the just-ended-after-forever soap "As the World Turns".

Whereabouts of Sarah Michelle Gellar

Haven't heard much from new mom Sarah Michelle Gellar lately; checking IMDb, it shows that she had what looks like an indie film last year ("Veronika Decides to Die"), and this year had an HBO pilot that didn't get picked up. I expect she'll find more work soon; she's too good not to.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar's afternoon with baby Charlotte

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Richard Leakey takes population bull by the horns

Richard Leakey, famed anthropologist and son of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey:

... said this, in response to:
"Give me an example or two of conservation issues that really trouble you."
"Look at the fish stocks. We've basically cleaned out the sea, in relation to commercial species and numbers that would make them commercially viable. In inland waterways we've poisoned them with mercury and other things to the point where we can't eat them. There's that. I think we're setting up for a fall with our constant use of antibiotics and antiviral medicines for plants and animals. Sooner or later something's going to get a resistance and you could wipe out the chickens of the world. Or you could wipe our wheat or rice. Then you're not talking about the United States, you're talking about the globe with six or seven billion people. This has implications."

And he said this, in response to:
Al Gore's film had a policy objective at the end, capping carbon dioxide emissions. If you were to do a similar film for conservation efforts, what would your policy objective be?
"It's hard to say because the film isn't written, but waste is an important aspect people can address, wasting of resources. I think also smaller families to address population. I think population size is something we've got to address and I think people have got to be persuaded this is a serious issue. I know this is long-term but people somehow have got to be made to realize - and I doubt I can do it but I've got to take a shot at it - that this really is a crisis. We have had mega-extinctions before, where 70 to 80 percent of the population has disappeared, and there's no reason to suppose we're not into another one. We're not far away from that number today. We're losing species in numbers that simply aren't sustainable."

Great questions from Eric Berger, great (startling plain and stark) answers from Leakey.

As one might expect, many of the comments attack the messenger and the message. My least favorite (and most noticeable) is the one that accuses Leakey of being racist: "So unfortunately I'm afraid the subtext of Dr. Leakey's remarks about population is "There are too many black and brown people being born." But, nah, he wouldn't think anything like that would he? I mean look at that face! Could that be the face of a closeted racist? I mean it's the face of...of an... old...white...Establishment... dude...but...but..."

This is both unfair and uninformed, and as another commenter astutely noted, this is partly about resource management. We, the U.S., the "First World" are overpopulated because we use resources far over what we need. It's a different kind of resources... in the overpopolated Third World, what's being overused are things like firewood, water, native species (bushmeat in Africa, medicinal animal parts in China), land (poor management practices requiring continuing destruction of forests for agriculture), and health (look at China's environmental problems).

If there weren't so many people consuming so much now, our current problems would be a lot less dire. And I don't use that word erroneously or inadvisably.

China thinks addressing climate change is a "common duty"

China says nations have a common duty and responsibility on climate change

Chinese leaders have made noise that addressing climate change is a common duty of mankind, but they still think that the world's leading economies -- other than theirs -- need to take the most drastic steps to address it.

Given what happened in this country on Tuesday, November 2, not much is going to happen from the U.S. sector in the foreseeable future.

The following two statements are a good illustration of the phrase "talking out of both sides of one's mouth":

A Chinese climate change official said countries share “a common duty and responsibility” to tackle the issue, even in the absence of an international agreement on what steps to take. Nations shouldn’t delay acting on climate change, Sun Zhen, deputy general counsel at the National Development and Reform Commission’s department of climate change, said at a global warming forum in Hong Kong today. “Evidence of the effects of climate change is there,” he said.


China said at the Tianjin meeting richer nations should pledge deeper emissions cuts before developing nations are asked to do more. “Developed countries should accept their historic responsibilities over climate change,” Sun said today.

So we've still got an Alphonse-Gaston situation in front of the global climate change action plank. And nobody (meaning nation) is willing to step out there first.

Why Paul Driessen is a Total Environmental Idiot

Here's some of the drivel that Driessen purveyed a day before Halloween, and it's pretty scary that someone actually thinks like this:

Few examples are as immediate, costly and far-reaching as the new ozone, dust, mercury and carbon dioxide rules that EPA regulators are trying to impose, under the guise of protecting air quality, planetary climate and human health. Few corporate executives or citizens are as exempt from basic legal standards as the energy and climate czars, czarinas, bureaucrats, and government-funded scientists and activists who seek to inflict their anti-hydrocarbon agenda on us, regardless of the science – or the impacts on jobs, prosperity, families and civil rights progress.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new mercury, ozone and soot rules alone would eliminate up to 76,000 megawatts of generating capacity by 2015, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation calculates. That’s 7% of total US electric generating capacity – enough to power 38,000,000 homes under normal conditions. It’s 1.2 times the all-time peak electricity demand record for the entire state of Texas.

(skipping down a bit)

EPA claims coal-fired power plants release “40% of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions.” But only a quarter of this is deposited in the contiguous United States. The National Center for Atmospheric Research says total mercury emissions from U.S. power plants are roughly equivalent to what comes from trees burned in forest fires. (Natural mercury in soils is taken up by trees through their roots.)

Some 30% of mercury that lands in the US comes from other countries. And according to data collected by the Science and Public Policy Institute, when emissions from volcanoes, oceanic geothermal vents and other natural sources are also factored in, US power plants may account for as little as 0.5% of total annual US mercury emissions and 0.002% of global emissions.

As for that deposition thing: what goes up must come down, Driessen. A lot of it goes into the oceans. And that gets uptaken by phytoplankton, and then zooplankton, and then little fish, and then big-fish, bioconcentrating its way up the trophic levels. To the point that it is recommended that pregnant women not eat very much fish, and not any of certain kinds of fish:

Consumption of Fish and Seafood During Pregnancy

Doesn't really matter if that mercury from coal-fired plants got deposited in the contiguous United States, does it? Ask Daphne Zuniga or Jeremy Piven if mercury in seafood can be a problem. If you don't think so, don't bother to take your EDTA pills when you go on an all-sushi diet. (You can look at lake sediments and see the reduction in lead due to the banning of lead in gasoline. Still think that was a bad idea? Did this environmental regulation cause you heartache and pain too, Mr. Driessen?)

Here's some source material on anthropogenic and total emissions of mercury:

Global anthropogenic emissions of mercury to the atmosphere

And this from the U.S. Geological Survey on ALL types of mercury emissions to the atmosphere (note that I'm ignoring deep-sea hydrothermal vents, because that is a silly point Driessen makes, because that mercury is totally isolated from the majority of Earth's ecosphere, and usually just precipitates out in a metal-rich mound around the vents):

Sources of mercury

Here's some more "good" stuff on Hg:

Atmospheric Emissions: technical background report

How Mercury Emissions Reach Tuna And Other Seafood, And Why Mercury Contamination Is Likely To Worsen

A New Source of Methylmercury Entering the Pacific Ocean

"[The authors] indicate that total mercury levels in the North Pacific Ocean water have risen about 30 percent over the last 20 years. The authors attribute the rise to increases in global mercury atmospheric emission rates, particularly from Asia.

Big increase in ocean mercury found; study predicts more human threat from fish

And here's a very recent paper:
Global mercury emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic and natural sources

The oceans are a major emitter of mercury (but most of that mercury goes right back into the upper ocean, in a surface water cycle). Anthropogenic sources double the emissions to the atmosphere, and this is the extra Hg that gets into the ecosystem.

And here's a great figure from Wikipedia:

"This chart shows the level of atmospheric mercury deposition detected in ice cores from the Upper Fremont Glacier in Wyoming. Heightened deposition rates correspond to volcanic and anthropogenic events over the past 270 years. Preindustrial deposition rates can be conservatively extrapolated to present time (4 ng/L; in green) to illustrate the increase during the past 100 years (in red) and significant decreases in the past 15-20 years.

Now, there's the socio-philosophical point to be made that you either lead or be part of the herd. The United States has led the world in conservation and environmental legislation: no country ever has been as comprehensively strong with national parks, endangered species, and environmental protection (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency). Driessen advocates economic self-interest that would make us secondary citizens of the world with respect to the environment. Should we as Americans accept that? Or should we not continue to be leaders of this planet, and not shirk our responsibility to the Europeans (which on many issues we already have)? I think that if we can reduce the amount of Hg reaching the oceans by 30%, we should do it. We should set the example. We should be world leaders.

Driessen also splutters:
When Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, their first order of business should be investigating the “manmade climate disaster” industry. They should subpoena federal employees and grant recipients, question them under oath regarding their funding and activities, and hold robust, public, expert debates on the science, economics, costs and supposed benefits of cap-tax-and-trade, carbon dioxide “endangerment,” ozone, and other punitive government policies that are strangling our nation’s energy and economic future.

They need to ensure that basic rules of honesty, transparency and accountability are finally applied as forcefully to regulators and taxpayer-funded scientists and activists, as to the rest of us.

Yes, I think the Republicans should expose how continuing to burn coal, as advocated by Driessen and his ilksters, harms the environment, from mountaintop stripping to bioconcentration of mercury in fish. And that bioconcentration potentially puts the health of unborn children at risk.

And I thought conservative Republicans were worried about that. Silly me.

The stuff that dreams are made of

She dresses like a dream, looks completely put together, slender and
attractive (this after having a child)...

and she also gives her man an impromptu, full-on, up-against-the-wall-lover,

How close to perfect is Kate Beckinsale, anyway?

Kiss me quick: Kate Beckinsale

But wait, there's still MORE:
Fifteen smart celebrities

Studied French, Russian and literature at Oxford University. She also won the W.H. Smith Young Writers’ competition twice with short stories and poems. Speaks German,Russian and French fluently.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I keep thinking I shouldn't physically desire Sophia Bush, because she still looks like a teenager.

She's 28!

I should get over that.

Here's what inspired this particular posting:

Sophia Bush on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

U.S. cities running out of water

The ten great American cities that are dying of thirst

I hate to say I told you so (so I won't, but I'll probably have a chance soon): the article above has a list of 10 major cities in the U.S., not some Third World dry desert country like Yemen, that will likely face water shortages and water restrictions, if they haven't already -- and most of them have. The problem with water globally will likely focus the world's attention on the main ecological, environmental, and climate problem that the world faces: to whit, and simply, too many people living on this planet. Too many people, too few resources. And this simple equation will continue to take a bigger bite out of our collective lifestyles with each year the population grows and the world's governments do not come up with a collective way to make our collective existence on this planet sustainable.

And I don't think the Tea Party Republicans have a clue about how to do this.

What the election probably means for the nuclear power industry

Because Republicans a) express concern about our economic strength, b) are concerned about military readiness and risk reduction (in some cases), and c) don't like environmentalists very much -- I think that having the Republicans take back power will be an overall net benefit for the nuclear power industry. I just don't want them to get too much power, which means I sincerely hope that they don't get the Senate. That would help put a check on the rhetoric-snarling Tea Party congresspeople who think shutting down the government to make a "statement" is a good idea.

Nonsensical, but most of their ideas are. Trouble is, now their ideas will inhabit the halls of Congress.

Republicans also want to help big business, and by helping the nuclear industry they can shore up their energy credentials by talking about, and actually doing something, about reducing our reliance on oil and gas imports. And nuclear is one of the best ways to put more electricity into the grid, to power plug-in hybrids. It's also a good way to power desalination plants, which (if you read my short item about water resources and big U.S. cities, posted next) is going to be important, too. Most of those cities are in reach of a coastal desalination plant and a pipeline; in particular, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, San Antonio, and Houston (all on the list) could get water from the ocean. The pipeline would be a little longer for Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Fort Worth.

Impact of fish farming

It's very, very, very hard for me to eat any kind of wild-caught fish these days. I satisfy my health needs and enjoyment of seafood (yes, I do like it) with farm-raised seafood: salmon, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, and the occasional lobster, because the Maine lobster fishery is well-managed and sustainable. Trout is also possible, because most trout is from hatchery-bred fish. Beyond that, there isn't much. I do really like tuna subs, too; at least it's skipjack or yellowfin, and not bluefin. And I might have two tuna subs a month, at most. (And I wouldn't mind eating Asian carp, aka "silverfin", properly prepared, as much as possible!)

Asian Carp Recipes

Asian Carp: the next Chilean Sea Bass?

More Asian Carp recipes (in PDF style)

Apparently you have to watch out for bones -- but they taste good.

Now, I know that fish farming is not a total panacea for the world's seafood and fishery problems. And fish farming causes problems, too (some of which could be alleviated if they'd go a little further offshore). The following article discusses how to evaluate when fish farming is too much fish farming:

Even the best farmed fish can cause problems

My thought for election day

After all the jokes and snide remarks about George W. Bush's intelligence, and his frequent demonstrations of its approximate level, Republicans and independents have managed this day to elect a bunch of people to national office who are demonstrably dumber than he is.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Valuation of ecosystems

World bank calls for ecosystems to be valued

"The natural wealth of nations should be a capital asset valued in combination with its financial capital, manufactured capital and human capital," [World Bank President Robert] Zoellick said.

"National accounts need to reflect the vital carbon storage services that forests provide and the coastal protection values that come from coral reefs and mangroves."

"He gave an example of coastal mangroves being cleared for shrimp farming."

"Under the proposed economic model, the value that mangroves have in protecting coastal areas from flooding and the loss of fish would also be factored in."

"People would then be in a better position to determine the economic consequences of clearing the mangroves, rather than look at [JUST] the short-term benefit of shrimp farming."

"The World Bank move comes after a UN-backed report was released at the Nagoya summit saying degradation of the world's ecosystems was costing the global economy between two and five trillion dollars a year."

OK, here I am thinking to myself, it seems to me that I have heard something like this before.


Still thinking...


Al Gore, "Earth in the Balance"

"The heavy use of pesticides may ensure that the grain we grow achieves the highest possible short-term profits, but the excessive use of pesticides poisons the groundwater reservoirs beneath the field. When we add up the costs and benefits of growing the grain, the loss of that freshwater resource will be ignored. And largely because we have failed to measure the economic value of clean, fresh groundwater, we have contaminated more than half of all the underground reservoirs in the US."

"Every time we consume something, some sort of waste is created, but this fact is conveniently forgotten by classical economists. When we consume millions of tons of CFCs each year, are they gone? If so, then what is eating the hole in the ozone layer? When we consume 14 million tons of coal each day and 64 million barrels of oil, are they gone? If so, where is al the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere coming from?"

Gee, and just NOW the World Bank thinks this might be a good idea? Where were they in 1992? (Probably building dams and bridges and roads in biologically-sensitive, ecologically-fragile areas, I would guess.)

Good resolution video of Merapi pyroclastic flow eruption

I said in a recent post that the picture was of a nasty pyroclastic flow;
this one is a very nice (if that can be a way to describe it) video of
a pyroclastic flow in action.

Helpful Hint: do NOT stand where this thing is coming directly at you.

I like big pumpkins

Doesn't everyone?