22 September 2016

This Week in Water

Lots to report on this week. It's easy to focus on the depredations of flood, drought, overheating and rising seas, pollution, &c, with respect to our world's most precious resource. However, as promised last time, this post will focus on some positive and interesting aspects on this always timely subject.

Spending time in, on, around, and under the ocean reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases the feel-good hormones—serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine—in humans. [And you wonder why scuba diving is one of my favorite things in the world!]

President Obama has quadrupled the size of the world's largest natural marine sanctuary, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii.

Wondering what we can do to preserve our oceans and other international bodies of water? Here's one look at the subject.

Dolphins use complex language and sentences to chat with each other much the same way humans do. We have yet to crack their code or effectively translate.

Deep water desalination from Monterey Bay may resolve environmental problems posed by seawater intakes from shallower, closer in sources.

One of the driest countries on Earth, Israel, now makes more freshwater than it needs.

Scientists are improving desalination technologies throughout the Middle East, reducing both (a) excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the region's oil and natural gas extrusion industries and (b) excess briny salt waste from desalination.

Engineers from Georgia Tech and Nanjing University have developed a new solar desalination process based on self-assembling nanoparticle membranes using low-cost, abundant, stable materials.

After raising some 1.5 billion Euros, a 21-year old whom we've reported on before is set to test his technological solution for ridding the ocean of plastic.

Harvard scientists have created an artificial photosynthesis system—a bionic leaf—that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels—which may obviate someday the need for drilling for fossil fuels.

Nanotechnology may save the Cascajo wetlands an endangered and contaminated lake near Lima, Peru.

NASA plans to map coral reefs from the air to further demonstrate the impact of climate change and ocean warming.

NASA's Dawn space probe has found signs of water on dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered evidence of volcanoes erupting under ice sheets on the Red Planet billions of years ago.

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft discovered a distinct water-ice signature on the surface of Pluto's outermost moon, Hydra.

NOAA scientists discovered a new form of jellyfish that lights up like a children's toy.

Physicists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a new state of water molecule—beyond gas, liquid, and solid.

Good stuff!

06 September 2016

Baby Blue

I used to do more of this—themed DJ-ing, that is. Got a wild hair this Labor Day weekend and decided to publish a playlist of songs from my iTunes with "Baby Blue" in the title (at least the ones I could find on YouTube). And, still, the greatest use of a power pop tune by a television show or movie has to be the Badfinger version in the final scene of Breaking Bad. Simply. Perfect.

(P.S. There's a terrific song by Evelyn Forever which I cannot find on-line. It's from their album 'Lost in the Supermarket'.)