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Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer breeze

Back where I grew up (rural Ohio), on still summer days, you get this certain kind of breeze. It arrives by itself, usually sometime in the afternoon, out of the clear blue sky as it were, and does little more than shake a few leaves before leaving as quietly as it came. It's very easy to  miss. However, to people who live in the country, these breezes carry a lot of meaning - they often foreshadow big storms.

Does the same hold true for human storms?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ecological and Political Fallout from Enbridge Oil Spill

A ruptured 30-inch pipeline owned by Enbridge has released as much as one million gallons (3.7 million litres) of oil into the Kalamazoo river in southern Michigan. Dozens of residents have been evacuated along the river, and local officials have called for the evacuation of several dozen homes (to prevent residents from inhaling benzene) and for other residents to avoid drinking or cooking with well water. Containment efforts have been focused on keeping the oil from entering Lake Michigan, which the governor of Michigan warned would be a 'tragedy of historic proportions'. At the moment, federal EPA officials are declaring that the spill has been contained, well short of reaching Lake Michigan - an account challenged by at least one emergency response official

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bright Side Wednesday: Oil Spills

I'd like to introduce you to a new feature on this here blog: Bright Side Wednesdays.

Most days start off the same. You lie in bed and think about your failures, the lifetime's worth of burned and never-built-in-the-first-place bridges, and the evil in the world, and the dwindling number of days separating you and the moment when you're pulled from the game by the Pale Gym Teacher and told to hand in your earthly gym clothes and hit the eternal locker room, and so on. At about 11:00 am you pull yourself together enough to finally get up and make scrambled eggs, but you don't do a very good job at that either.

But not on Wednesdays, brother. Wednesdays, we wake up early and hit the coffee hard. Wednesdays, we look on the Bright Side.

Pictured: the bright side of things
(note: Photo taken in May. Flowers are now wilted and dead. Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday morning coming down

Well, another weekend comes and goes and Water Blogged can only look back fondly, recalling late-night homemade pizza, a great and greasy Sunday morning breakfast, and a rocky paddling trip that nearly made us Water Logged, yet became very much worth it when it yielded an enchanting encounter with a juvenile gray whale.

You have to have money to make pizza and greasy breakfasts on weekends, however, so WB returns to the working world on Monday to find that scientific progress has not stopped. For example, it now demonstrates what should be starkly obvious: virtually all climate scientists agree on the basic concepts of anthropogenic climate change, and those who dispute anthropogenic climate change tend to have "substantially" less expertise and profile than their counterparts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Draft standards for organic aquaculture contain a lot of bull sediment

When faced with managing serious impacts of important oceans industries, the Canadian government sometimes pulls out their weaksaurus. Unlike a normal thesaurus, the weaksaurus doesn't give you synonyms. Instead, it kind of gives you words that vaguely convey a weaker version of the original word. We'll call them weakonyms. For example: if you look up the word "prevent" in a normal thesaurus, you get responses like "prohibit" and "stop". You know - synonyms. Government's weaksaurus, however, gives you the weakonym "mitigate", which kind of changes the meaning of the thing that you're doing but whatever. That's just an example that I've seen first-hand.

The recently released draft standards for organic aquaculture, put out by the government of Canada (the Canadian General Standards Board and DFO), have some great weakonyms, most of which serve to weaken the language in the standards for fish aquaculture. For example: while it says that invertebrate aquaculture has "waste" that must be collected and disposed of properly, it says that open net pen finfish aquaculture apparently only has "sediment", the buildup of which on the seafloor must only be "minimized". Excellent use of the weaksaurus!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

While I was gone

Well, we here at Water Blogged are back from a great low-cost west coast vacation and have only an unpacked backpack of dirty clothes, a memory card with hundreds of photos, and a car of declining health to show for it. Also, I have a hard-earned FYI: you may think it would be faster and easier to cross the border late at night due to a lack of crowds, but brother, let me tell you: you do not want to be the only source of entertainment for a group of border agents working the graveyard shift.

"And here's where I told him that importing more than 1 kg of cantaloupe
put him in violation of Subsection 31.1a of the 'Enemies of the State" Act!'"

And now WB returns to face a week's accumulation of ocean-related developments:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More evidence that we barely know anything

Just like your uncle Jerry, the ocean smells salty, has a thing for driftwood, and overall is a pretty reliable source for bizarreness. For instance: who would have thought that coral larvae - which the LA Times memorably described as "tiny hair-covered sacs of cells" - show a very strong attraction to the sounds of coral reefs when they are choosing a place to settle. Let me repeat that: these little things, which are tiny larvae in the Phylum Cni-freaking-DARIA, pretty much choose their home based on the quality of the neighborhood jams. Maybe not the most mature way to choose a home, but then again...they are larvae.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Maiden Voyage

So this here is Living Oceans Society's new blog. My name is John, and I'm honored to be the guy tasked with not mucking this up.

You're busy, I'm busy, so I'll get to the point: oceans are amazing things. They are where things like this guy  live, where this guy used to live, where Kevin Costner's career went to die:

And, incredibly, where it also may be reborn.

Bizarre! And the mystery of the oceans extends even beyond its yin-yang relationship with Kevin Costner's fortunes. We know so little about oceans that virtually every day brings some new insight or discovery into their workings - or about how we are thoroughly fouling them up. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to keep up on these new developments, and that is what we will share on this blog - the latest oceans news and discoveries, whether they be fascinating, heartbreaking, frustrating, encouraging, or just really, really cool.