Sam and I tuned in to about thirty-five seconds of Fox Radio News online today and heard, I believe, the Tennessee “home burns down because of unpaid fine” story spun into a “that’s what happens when you have government-run fire departments! If that was a private corporation, they’d have done it— and just left you a bill!”
I can’t wait until they spin the “dinosaurs emerged from the Permian-Triassic extinction!” story into a pro-climate change talking point. “They were the dominant lifeforms for over 150 million years! If humanity can survive the crucible of catastrophic ecological upheaval, the planet is ours for eons! It’s our trial by fire.”
Maybe these new earliest dinosaurs— from only two years after the Permian-Triassic extinction event (“informally known as the Great Dying”)— were also the cause of the big Snuff It party. What if those little hands developed a monkey-like curiosity for the Carboniferous material just scarcely buried yet? We think we’re so creative and cutting edge with our fossilfuel-icide but we’re just the latest technological society eager for a quick energy intensive fix…
At least we’ll leave a beguiling thin smear of plastic.
A quick note in treehugger news— a coworker said something about genetically engineered salmon this morning, and I just looked it up. Sure enough, the FDA is holding hearings on both the permissibility of and potential labeling for genetically engineered salmon.
I went looking for some more and found this:
Unlike ordinary salmon, AquaBounty’s genetically modified fish grows during the winter as well as the summer, so it reaches an 8-pound market weight in 18 months instead of 36. That’s accomplished by inserting part of a gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout into the growth gene of a Chinook salmon, then injecting the blended genetic material into the fertilized eggs of a North Atlantic salmon.
Here’s an ocean pout for reference.
So I think this might be in the top ten Worst Places On Earth.
It’s a lake in the southern Ural Mountains next to the site of the second-worst inadvertent nuclear disaster in history. Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets used it as an open-air spent nuclear fuel pit— this only after they stopped dumping it into the local river which flowed into the Ob…
They supposedly kept 4.44 exabecquerels— an SI unit measuring radioactivity, I had to look it up— worth of waste in the lake. A meaningless number, I know— Wikipedia suggests the Chernobyl disaster released 5 to 12 of the same unit, and that’s over thousands of kilometers. This would all be disgusting on its own without the 1957 Kyshtym disaster angle. The nearby Mayak facility had a coolant malfunction in a storage tank leading to a non-nuclear explosion and a radioactive cloud hundreds of miles wide. Hundreds of people died agonizing, mysterious deaths while tens of thousands were evacuated from a closed area the Soviets later covered up as a nature preserve. The CIA found out about it early but kept its lips sealed while rumors swirled for decades; they didn’t want to harm the fledgling American nuclear power industry.
Flash forward to poor Russia— specifically, Russia as of 0935 UTC this morning, courtesy of the Terra satellite. Not all of those are clouds. The fires plaguing Russia are advancing on Ozersk, the renamed town next to the old Mayak facility. Russian scientists had already been warning of the fires aerosolizing leftover Chernobyl fallout. I tried finding a good “Kremlin choked in smog” picture but got too disheartened to search after seeing pravda.ru had “Half-isolated Saakashvili harbors aggressive plans against Russia still” as the top story above the fires. I kid you not, this is the picture they used of him:
Welcome to the twenty-first century, everybody.
CNN says Dennis Blair is resigning; BBC says he is being “replace(d).” Interesting disconnect in terminology there! I also think it’s interesting that, among the BBC’s laundry list of recent spy snafus, they didn’t include this doozy.
Meanwhile in intelligence failures,
(BP) spokesman Mark Proegler said Thursday that the siphon is now drawing about 5,000 barrels a day up to a ship on the surface. That’s as much as government and company officials had estimated the spill was pouring into the Gulf every day for a month. Proegler declined to estimate how much more oil was escaping.
…yeah, I bet he did. I’ve been pretty disgusted with the government’s complacency in regards to BP’s stranglehold on information. I understand that a lot of that complacency was built into the system— this is, after all, the same regulatory regime that capped potential monetary damages, ostensibly to ensure “Mom and Pop,” smaller oil company firms could still compete in the offshore environment. Any system stupid enough to have ever bought that logic probably has a lot of stupid built into its peripheries.
But seriously— CBS had Coast Guard officials blocking camera crews from filming polluted beaches, with the officials insisting “(these are) BP’s rules, (they’re) not ours.” Whose damn Coast are you Guarding? The insinuation clearly seems to be its not “ours” either.
You should go to Teddy Bear Cove and gaze upon the water and chase lizards and find purple starfish the size of your head and hunt for crabs that turn out to be dead and squeeze between big rocks. At least that’s what we did today, here’s proof!
(if you click on the pictures, it makes them bigger)
On the way to Teddy Bear Cove.
Into a magical forest filled with horses.
This one and I had a moment.
Teddy Bear Cove view.
See, we’re not vampires.
Dead crap. RIP.
I swear there is a lizard in this picture somewhere.
Boy and big fallen tree.
After our big day of outside fun, we ventured to the Food Pavilion which I had never before had the pleasure of shopping in since their big remodel a while back. It being Saturday and all, we were bombarded by delicious samples on all fronts- the bakery, specialty cheese section, random chips and candies, and dairy. I thoroughly enjoyed our experience but this is no surprise considering my love for grocery stores. Devin successfully made it an entire lap PLUS a double back through produce which is a huge deal because of his disdain for long, dawdling store trips. We’re a pretty good team since I could seriously spend hours going around and around making sure I didn’t miss anything, he helps keep me in check. Overall analysis of today’s events: Very, very good.
A team of researchers sequenced the gene to produce wooly mammoth hemoglobin.
Then they inserted the gene into bacteria which grew it— and it has anti-freeze properties. Let’s hope dinosaur urine cures cancer and that can be the science story of 2010 instead of ongoing ecological devastation.
(By the way— regarding the Gulf disaster— I really hope it stops increasing exponentially soon. 5k a day— 20k— 200k gallons a day according to this article! I think that’s about 3/10ths of an Olympic size swimming pool. But I also noticed the estimate of total discharge in that article was 1.6 million— almost an order of magnitude less than the estimate I read in another article today.
That’s about 4.2 million gallons then— six Olympic size swimming pools. See if you can find Sam and I getting married for scale.)