13 May 2014

This Week in Water

Archaeologists believe they might have found Christopher Columbus's lost 1492 flagship, the Santa Maria off the coast of Haiti.

James Cameron's deep sea robotic research vessel, Nereus, imploded some six miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand. Though Cameron is the director of such films as "Titanic" and "Avatar", he is also a renowned deep sea explorer.

The deepest parts of the Mediterranean Ocean floor are littered with tons of human rubbish.

Ever wonder how the ancient Egyptians managed to sledge the giant stone blocks of the pyramids across those fine, sinking sands? An ancient drawing found in a tomb shows workers saturating the sand with water before moving the giant sledges.

An ancient drawing found in the tomb of Djehutihotep shows a large statue being transported by sledge. A person standing on the front of the sledge wets the sand.
A 37-year old indigenous Peruvian activist and mother has thwarted not one but two planned massive hydroelectric dams that would have displaced the Ashaninka peoples and destroyed their ancestral lands.

Many scientists believe the western Antarctic glacier is melting faster than anticipated and that its irreversible retreat will cause sea levels worldwide to rise upwards of four feet.

Meanwhile, the Wilkes Basin in eastern Antartica is proving to be more vulnerable than expected to potential melting due to warming temperatures. It holds enough ice to cause seas to rise anywhere from 10-15 feet.

The Earth's mantle under Antarctica is moving at such a rapid rate it is changing the shape of the land at a rate that can be measured by GPS. Some of this is due to ice loss.

Studies are showing that Southern Ocean winds are the strongest they have been in 1000 years.

The worst floods in decades hit the U.S. Gulf Coast after 24 hours of rain. Some areas were under four feet of water.

Political denial of climate change and global warming is keeping Alabama from preparing for rising seas that menace its port of Mobile.

High tides in Miami are now filling the streets with seawater.

Massive flooding in Afghanistan claimed over 100 lives. News feed here.

Over 2100 people died in landslides in remote northeastern Afghanistan. The landslides resulted from torrential rains.

About 1600 gallons of oil-based lubricant leaked into a southeastern Ohio river after an equipment failure at a fracking well.

Seismologists assert that fracking causes earthquakes.

Wet countries will continue to get wetter and dry countries will continue to get drier, hydrologist predict, resulting in crisis levels of greater flooding and deeper droughts as the century progresses.

Historic levels of drought continue relatively unabated in California and Texas.

Sacramento plans to build a battery made entirely out of water.

Jupiter's moon Ganymede may possess ice and liquid ocean layers, increasing the chances that life may have developed there.

[BTW: If your blog receives a ping! that seems to originate from somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean over the next week or so, it's liable to be me checking in. Don't expect Comments. I will be next week in water, hoping for a smoother diving experience than last year's Ni'ihau near-fiasco. Expect pics!]

01 May 2014

This Week in Water

Over 200 South Koreans, including many school children, were killed when a ferry sank. The catastrophe has rocked the country. The Prime Minister resigned over the country's handling of the disaster. News feed here.

Historic flooding hit the low-lying, sandy Panhandle area of Florida this week. Some places received as much as 20 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period—more than most hurricanes. News here.

One of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of the year so far has been Darren Aronofsky's Noah. The Bible's flood narrative is not the only ancient text depicting a global-scale deluge. The older Epic of Gilgamesh is one notable example, with Utnapishtim being the supposed model for the Biblical Noah. Some believe the archetypal event which these mythic stories seek to recap was a rise in the Mediterranean Sea circa 5600 BC which breached the Bosphorus Strait and caused an arguably catastrophic rise in the heavily civilized region around the Black Sea. If you're interested.

Tropical Cyclone Ita slammed into Queensland, Australia.

California's historic drought continues with only spotty relief. Consequences are unpredictable but, most likely, extremely dire.

All but three Texas counties have been a declared disaster area due to ongoing drought.

China says more than half its groundwater is of poor or extremely poor quality due to pollution.

Local New Mexican activists, including blogfriend Frances Madesen, are trying to stave off monied oil and gas interests seeking to void/avoid/evade the area's anti-fracking ban in the Mora County.

Big fight to save the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S.

A CSX Corp train carrying crude oil crashed and burst into flames, sending its cargo into the James River near Lynchburg, Virginia.

Dutch Police arrested 30 Greenpeace activists, including the captain of the Rainbow Warrior, seeking to block a Russian tanker from docking in Rotterdam and delivering its cargo of oil drilled in the pristine Arctic.

Portland, OR, will discard 38 million gallons of drinking water after surveillance video captured a 19-year old man urinating into a reservoir. [UPDATE: Thanks to the vigilant Frances Madesen in the Comments for pointing out that Portlandia has decided not to dump its drinking water, but to monitor it in a separate area to determine how long it will remain fresh and clear. You know, it seems like there would be ways to filter such things, especially before the water enters the system. But what do I know? Thanks, FM!]

So, what do we do when we run out of water? Scientific American explores the issue.

The World Bank wants to privatize the world's water supply.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy is seeking to expand its wave energy test site in Hawaii.

Cutlets, sashimi, steak, and other dishes made of whale meat were served to Japanese politicians to signal that country's defiance of World Court rulings against whaling.

"Texas 'Boats 'N Hoes' PAC with links to GOP candidates sinks." [No, really, that's a quote.]

Speaking at the National Rifle Association convention recently, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin referring to terrorists said: "They obviously have information on plots to carry out jihad. Oh, but you can't offend them, can't make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists." [So is that.]