25 September 2013

This Week in Water

This week, a virtual torrent.

Some believe the radiation in the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4 is a potential existential threat to humanity and that TEPCO and the Japanese government are incapable of dealing with the situation.

British Petroleum ("BP") wants to suspend settlement payments to U.S. Gulf Coast residents and businesses affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton has pleaded guilty to destroying evidence in the same matter.

How much arsenic is tolerable in our drinking water?

The recent flooding in Colorado has spawned at least 10 separate oil and gas spills. You might have known this, but I'll bet you didn't know that the recent thousand-year Colorado flooding was a direct result of Colorado's political initiatives in legalizing marijuana, liberalizing abortion regulations, and decadent homosexual activity of public figures—at least according to one radio Christianist.

Algae biofuels have proven to be remarkably efficient and cut carbon emissions by up to 70% by comparison to petroleum.

The car of the future might be made using magnesium extracted from seawater.

The second annual IF Water Conference took place in Louisville, KY this week, exploring issues relating to Earth's most precious resource.

Water scarcity affects as many as 2 billion people worldwide and is getting worse. And  global warming isn't helping. This despite the 5 new aquifers recently discovered in the Turkana region of Kenya.

Dam operations can either be beneficial or detrimental to the local ecosystem and should be studied and evaluated on that basis.

Some Floridians have filed to pump 100,000 gallons of water a day out of their local aquifer. They have no intention of doing so but hope to prevent others—big Agro and developers—from taking this valuable resource. Mississippi soybean planters are planning to reduce the amounts of water withdrawn from the local aquifer for irrigation.

Retreating glaciers in Switzerland are a direct signal of global warming. Their rate of shrinkage is increasing. As is the decline in Arctic sea ice—something which accelerates the pace of warming. As is the accelerating decline of the world's coral reefs. One of the reasons coral reefs are declining has to do with overfishing of top predators like sharks.

Overfishing is devastating the world's fish stocksHong Kong's government will no longer allow shark fin, bluefin tuna, or black moss on State menus.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, drought in the U.S. is a creeping, incremental disaster that isn't getting sufficient attention because it is wide-spread and its progress uneven. Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. watersheds is 'stressed' as demand for water outpaces supplyChina is being forced to face its own water scarcity crisis. As is Australia.

Rising sea levels have prompted the sinking island state of Kiribati, inhabited since 3000 BC, to explore the possibility of transitioning to man-made floating islands. And, yes, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), scientists do know how to measure sea levels. Willful ignorance is self-destructive for humanity.

A major earthquake struck a remote part of western Pakistan this week. It was so powerful it caused a new island to rise 70 feet out of the sea off the country's southern coast.

A monster typhoon, Super-Typhoon Usagi, considered the most powerful storm on the face of the Earth in more than a quarter century, was headed toward Hong Kong and Taiwan. Torrential rains have killed dozens in the Philippines.

A plague of jellyfish is having deleterious effects all over the world on fisheries, shipping, power plants, and even global warming and the biodiversity and acidification of the oceans. Some, however, have the advantage of being edible. Watch for more jellyfish recipes at your local seafood restaurant.

Scientists are using ear wax, plugs of up to a foot long, to determine what is killing off endangered blue whales. It can also provide a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

Paleontologists in Peru have uncovered 40 million year-old fossils of ancient whales in the Ocucaje desert that could provide clues to the link between marine mammals and their terrestrial ancestors.
"“To see the world in a grain of sand…”, this is the first line of William Blake's poem “Auguries of Innocence” [N.B.: Also too my motto for which see above right] which describe a series of paradoxes about innocence, evil and corruption. But in a biological sense, this line can also describe how “a grain of sand” could gives a glimpse of how evolution works using the remains of planktonic foraminifera which resemble grains of sand to the naked eye and date back hundreds of millions of years."
A yachter discovered an underwater pyramid estimated to be some 200 feet high in the waters off the Azores Islands. The pyramid appears to be perfectly shaped and oriented by the cardinal points of the compass.

Greenpeace activists protesting oil exploration had a run-in with armed Russian sailors in the Arctic. Putin called them pirates then retracted it.

A New Jersey man caught the notorious testicle-eating Pacu fish, an invasive species kin to Piranha and native to the Amazon, in a lake near Passaic, NJ. I'd advise you guys to avoid skinny dipping there. Speaking of testicles, certain female squid can change their appearance to make them look like they have testes. They do this in order to spurn the advances of male squid.

In sports, Larry Ellison's U.S.A. Oracle yachting race team has staged an incredible comeback in the America's Cup coming from an 8-1 deficit to the Kiwis from New Zealand to tie the series of races at 8-8. Weather permitting, the final is scheduled for today in San Francisco Bay. UPDATE: Looks like Ellison's team won. Just wow!

By the way, contrary to Internet rumor, upgrading your iPhone to iOS 7 will NOT make it waterproof. Just thought you needed to know.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, drought in the U.S. is a creeping, incremental disaster that isn't getting sufficient attention because it is wide-spread and its progress uneven.

It has not gone unnoticed by our corporate overlords.

Randal Graves said...

Someone's gotta profit off of misery, who better than someone with experience.