Understanding the world’s oceans more essential than ever

SOS ocean-acidification
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The report is the culmination of a collaborative project…looking at the future for: commercial shipping — without which world trade would cease; for navies — so vital for security; and the health of the oceans — addressing the challenges of pollution, climate change and exploitation of resources…

Leading the ‘Ocean Space’ section…experts from the University’s Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute report that since the start of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a 30 per cent increase in ocean acidity and that 25 per cent of atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. In addition, some 16 per cent of global protein intake comes from fish with an increasing amount of the world’s medicines, materials and energy also derived from the oceans.

By the year 2030, the experts forecast that twice as many offshore structures will exist including 100 times more wind turbines than at present, and that 50 per cent of the world’s oil will be produced offshore. They also predict that within the next 15 years, 50 per cent of the global population will live in coastal regions.

To mitigate against these effects and to develop opportunities for the future, they’ve identified a number of key transformational Ocean Space technologies that will make the biggest impact now and in the future. These include:

Advanced materials — rise in the use of ultra-strong materials for ocean structures using embedded sensors to enable remote sensing and support the ability of materials and structure systems to self-repair when damage occurs;

Big data analytics — extracting and using complex data from activities such as resource extraction, exploration and environmental protection to influence the way humankind perceives and interacts with the oceans;

Sustainable energy generation — offshore energy-generation platforms and algae stations will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, mitigate pollution and have a minimal carbon footprint, so their impact on the environment will be relatively small. The combined use of these technologies, say experts from the SMMI, will help the world address the effects of climate change, the higher expected frequency and severity of extreme weather, the further reduction of land-based resources and the increasing coastal populations.

We need grownups in charge of our government, our economy, to respond to world-class analyses of questions facing our future on Earth. Traditional national leaders are in scarce supply. Governments formed of the same conservatives who promulgated the context leading to the Great Recession are hardly likely to have any answers. Any answers, that is, beyond platitudes – and lies.

They can rely to some extent, of course, in the ignorant folk who put them in office. If you’re not bright enough, well-enough informed to choose between the evil of two lessers – much less build or participate in a grassroots movement for qualitative change – you waste a constitutional right.

I don’t mind folks getting what they deserve. When they ask for stupid – they usually get stupid. But, condemning the rest of the world to what follows naturally upon their ignorance is barbarous and backwards.

Canada’s ruling Conservatives have a wee problem

A Toronto businessman who ran for parliament with Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s party is out of the race, after being caught on video urinating into a coffee cup.

The news about Jerry Bance, who was filmed while working as an appliance repairman, capped a bad week for Harper, who faces re-election as Canada has entered a recession.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation used hidden cameras in 2012 to record Bance peeing into the cup and pouring it down the sink while on a service call. The homeowner was in the next room.

Bance runs an appliance repair company; the CBC was reporting on home repair companies.

Bance had been running in a Toronto district in the 19 October election, but a Conservative party spokesman said on Monday: “Mr Bance is no longer a candidate.”…

The opposition New Democrat leader, Tom Mulcair, did not miss a chance to mock Bance and the Conservatives.

“He must be someone who is adept at Stephen Harper’s trickle-down theory of economics,” Mulcair said.

When I mentioned this to my wife, she responded – “What’s happening to the Canadians? That’s certainly not a very Canadian thing to do. What do your relatives in the Maritimes think?”

I explained – it’s not that Canadians are adopting the crass ethos of their southern neighbor – which is living through the transition from Imperial Overlord to Mediocrity not really in charge. It’s just that Canadian Conservatives have decided to emulate American conservatives. So, racism, nativism, male supremacy, ignoranus economics are the rule of the day. That leads inevitably to the extension of boorish behavior to every aspect of life.

No doubt some True Believer will stand for office calling for the expulsion of First Nation folks from some chunk of terra firma capable of squeezing out something profitable.


Pic of the day

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With the relentless blowing of horns and the deployment of a straw-spreader, farmers showed their anger over a drop in prices that has intensified since the opening up of the milk market early this year.

“Prices have gone down 30-40 percent for most farmers and our farms are really going bankrupt like this,” said Sieta van Keimpema, vice president of the European Milk Board farmers group.

Hay, hay, whadda-you-say. Rock’n roll is here to stay!

FBI spies on Burning Man festival to “prevent terrorism”

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The FBI has admitted to gathering secret intelligence about the annual Burning Man festival since 2010.

In response to a request under the 2012 Freedom of Information Act, the security service said its Special Events Management unit has kept files on festival-goers, known as ‘burners’ – to ‘aid in the prevention of terrorist activites and intelligence collection’.

But the FBI’s 16-page response to the question by Inkoo Kang is heavily redacted, with information about the technology being used to secretly gather the information being blanked out…

The FBI document describes the festival as a ‘cultural and artisan event, which promote (sic) free expression by the participants’…

The FBI said its involvement was ‘even more critical in the light of the ongoing war on terrorism and the potential for additional acts of terrorism being committed in the United States.’

But later the FBI warns: ‘The greatest known threat in this event is crowd control issues and use of illegal drugs by participants.’…

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Predictably, the FBI promotes their own full employment by seeing saboteurs everywhere and anywhere folks listen to music and have a good time.

I guess it keeps a certain number of conservatives out of twelve-step programs for constipation and in fresh air.