Scientists Just Found What May Be Canada’s Largest Cave

❝ A helicopter team counting caribou in British Columbia, Canada, recently made an unexpected discovery during an aerial survey: Crewmembers spied an opening to a massive cave that had never been seen before and which might be the largest cave in the country.

❝ A biologist with the helicopter crew that spotted the sizable opening dubbed it “Sarlacc’s Pit,” after the lair that housed the predatory sarlacc in the “Star Wars” movie “Return of the Jedi,” according to the CBC. The deep and wide cave was probably hollowed out by glaciers over tens of thousands of years, and it gradually became exposed to the sky after the glaciers receded…

❝ After rushing water tumbles over the precipice into the cave’s depths, it likely flows into a subterranean river that emerges above ground 6,890 feet (2,100 m) away, at an elevation that’s about 1,640 feet (500 m) lower than the water’s entry point, archaeological surveyor John Pollack told Canadian Geographic. This hints at the length of the underground chambers in the cave, he explained…

❝ While the unofficial name “Sarlacc Pit” certainly holds appeal for “Star Wars” fans, British Columbia province representatives will be working closely with First Nations people in the region to find out if there is an existing indigenous name for the cave

Wow! How I’d like to spend a summer exploring that cave.

Canadian diver may have found an Atomic Bomb we lost 66 years ago

❝ The water conditions were perfect — “beautiful, clear, green” — when Sean Smyrichinsky went diving last month off the north coast of British Columbia…

Using a DPV, or a diver propulsion vehicle, Smyrichinsky plunged 25 to 30 feet down into the bay…Ahead of him, a mysterious object emerged.

“And I thought, what a cool rock formation,” he said. “It’s perfectly round.”

As he approached the formation, Smyrichinsky discovered it wasn’t a rock, but something that appeared man-made.

It was perfectly round, he noted, with circles and bowls “the size of basketballs” cut into it.

❝ He rushed back to the surface to tell his friends, boat captain Richard Hamilton and fellow diver Chrissy Anderson, about the bizarre object he had spotted…

n the evenings, he consulted with fellow divers and fisherman in nearby boats to try to corroborate what he had seen. All of them dismissed him.

It wasn’t until Smyrichinsky was preparing to go home when an “old-timer” at a local village took him seriously…

❝ “…“Hey, maybe you found that old bomb they lost?”

“That old bomb,” the older fisherman explained, was from a U.S. Air Force B-36 bomber that had crashed over British Columbia in 1950.

The wreckage from the plane was discovered a few years later, in a remote location, but a Mark IV nuclear bomb that it had reportedly jettisoned ahead of time was never recovered…

❝ The Canadian Navy has since deployed a ship to explore the site of the crash and invited Smyrichinsky to join them — something that has particularly thrilled the diver, who usually lives in Courtenay, B.C., where he runs the Union Bay Diving shop…

Smyrichinsky’s discovery does match up with the location of the 1950 bomber crash, Maj. Steve Neta of the Canadian Armed Forces told CBC News.

Neta also told the news network that the lost bomb was a “dummy capsule” and is not likely a nuclear weapon.

“Nonetheless, we do want to be sure and we do want to investigate it further,” Neta told CBC News.

The Canadian naval ship should arrive later this week, and Smyrichinsky plans to join them later this month…

Is there a lost-and-found reward from Uncle Sugar?

British Columbia’s policy of killing cubs not based on scientific reality

The fate of two orphaned bear cubs remains uncertain as a B.C. conservation official says they show signs of habituation to humans. A conservation officer was suspended after reportedly refusing to destroy the cubs last weekend.

B.C.’s most experienced rehabilitation specialist for black bears said Wednesday it is crazy for the Ministry of Environment to assert that two eight-week-old cubs on Vancouver Island needed to be killed because they’d become habituated to human food.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said Angelika Langen, co-founder of Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers. “There is absolutely no scientific proof that cubs that follow their mothers for (human) food at this age have learned anything…

Langen said of the more than 300 black bears her facility has released in the past 25 years, not one has run into trouble by rummaging for human garbage. Bears receive ear tags and microchips to identify them after release…

There’s been an outpouring of support for conservation officer Bryce Casavant, who was suspended without pay after sparing the lives of two black bear cubs near Port Hardy on Sunday.

The B.C. government has since revised those conditions to a suspension with pay pending an investigation into the incident.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 55,000 people had signed an online petition asking for the officer’s reinstatement.

Ricky Gervais, the British actor, comedian and animal rights advocate with nine million Twitter followers, has urged the government to “reinstate this honourable man.”…

Conservation officers killed a total of 1,872 black bears during the past four years across the province — an average of almost 500 per year, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Environment. The ministry does not keep statistics on how many were cubs…A total of 137 cubs were taken to rehabilitation centres.

I tire of bureaucrats stuck into policies promoted centuries ago to keep cattle herds happy – municipalities continuing in happy ignorance. We move into nature’s habitat and expect guns to control conflicts.

Let’s go to the beach and play in the radioactive water from Japan!

12/30/14 — Radioactivity from Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors has turned up off the British Columbia coast and the level will likely peak in waters off North America in the next year or two, according to a Canadian-led team that’s intercepted the nuclear plume…

The radioactivity “does not represent a threat to human health or the environment,” but is detectable off Canada’s west coast and the level is climbing…The team’s seawater measurements reveal Fukushima radioactivity first showed up 1,500 kilometres west of British Columbia in June 2012, more than a year after the Japanese nuclear accident.

By June 2013, the “Fukushima signal” had spread onto the Canadian continental shelf off the B.C. coast, and by February 2014, it was detectable “throughout the upper 150 metres of the water column,” says the report, showing how the Pacific currents are carrying the radioactive plume slowly across the ocean. It says the Fukushima’s radioactive signal off the B.C. coast is now double the “background” radiation in the ocean from atmospheric nuclear bomb testing…

The scientists predict the Fukushima radioactivity off North America will continue to increase before peaking in 2015-16 at levels comparable to those seen in the 1980s as a result of nuclear testing. Then levels are expected to decline and, by 2021, should return to levels seen before that Fukushima accident — considered one of the most serious nuclear reactor accidents…

A huge earthquake off the coast of Japan in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that flooded the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants. Loss of backup power led to overheating, nuclear meltdowns and evacuation of the Fukushima site. Land and farms around the nuclear plants were severely contaminated and a large radioactive discharge washed into the Pacific…

While the Cesium-134 from the accident will disappear within a few years, Cesium-137 can linger for years.

Thus, the scientists predict the Cesium-137 levels off the North American coast will not return to the levels seen before the Fukushima accident until 2021.

The level of Cesium-137 in the water is far below levels seen in the 1960s and 1970s from nuclear weapons testing and “well below Canadian guidelines for drinking water quality,” they say.

I recall the response from many scientists in the 1960s and 1970s. They campaigned to stop the nuclear weapons testing exactly because it was contaminating Earth’s air and water. Now, we’re supposed to believe everyone passed through that era without harm so radioactive contamination at those levels are safe.

I worked with materials used in nuclear reactors in the 1950s and 1960s and recall many occasions when we were notified that the level of radiation previously declared safe – was no longer considered safe. Sorry, folks.

I have to ask the arch-typical question of the scientists and politicians who say we needn’t worry. Any of you live on the seashore – and let your kids play in that water?

Fundamentalist measles threat from Canada

TrueBeliever

Health officials in Canada’s westernmost province are battling a large measles outbreak that is now threatening to spill over the border into Washington state.

As many as 330 cases of the highly contagious disease have been reported since early March in British Columbia’s lower Fraser Valley, near Vancouver, according to Paul Van Buynder, MD, chief medical officer of Fraser Health.

All but two of those cases have occurred among members of an orthodox Protestant sect that doesn’t believe in vaccination…

Four ill members of the congregation live across the U.S. border in Washington and have been isolated, but Van Buynder said Whatcom County officials now think a fifth person — not part of the church — has been infected…

The report comes as New York City health officials are reporting additional cases in an outbreak there, bringing the total to 25, including 12 children and 13 adults. Most of the children were too young to have had their measles shots and only four of the adults had a verified vaccination.

All told, the CDC said, there have been 104 cases of measles reported so far this year in the U.S., although that total did not include the Washington cases and only 23 cases in New York City. Most states had no cases but California is reporting 50.

Measles is officially eliminated in both the U.S. and Canada, but imported cases [and stupid cases] continue to cause disease.

Van Buynder said the Fraser Valley outbreak is epidemiologically linked to a large continuing epidemic among orthodox Protestants in the Netherlands that has been raging since May 2013 and had caused more than 2,600 cases by the end of February 2014.

An earlier outbreak in Canada — 42 cases in Alberta in the fall of 2013 and winter of 2014 — was also linked to the Netherlands epidemic.

The religion defense against vaccination is such crap when you consider the numbers of unvaccinated children – still too young to vaccinate – put at risk by True Believers.

The carbon tax in British Columbia works just fine

A carbon tax is just what it sounds like: The BC government levies a fee, currently 30 Canadian dollars, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions resulting from the burning of various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and, of course, coal. That amount is then included in the price you pay at the pump—for gasoline, it’s 6.67 cents per liter (about 25 cents per gallon)—or on your home heating bill, or wherever else the tax applies. (Canadian dollars are currently worth about 89 American cents).

If the goal was to reduce global warming pollution, then the BC carbon tax totally works. Since its passage, gasoline use in British Columbia has plummeted, declining seven times as much as might be expected from an equivalent rise in the market price of gas, according to a recent study by two researchers at the University of Ottawa. That’s apparently because the tax hasn’t just had an economic effect: It has also helped change the culture of energy use in BC. “I think it really increased the awareness about climate change and the need for carbon reduction, just because it was a daily, weekly thing that you saw,” says Merran Smith, the head of Clean Energy Canada. “It made climate action real to people.”

It also saved many of them a lot of money. Sure, the tax may cost you if you drive your car a great deal, or if you have high home gas heating costs. But it also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money if you change your habits, for instance by driving less or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That’s because the tax is designed to be “revenue neutral“—the money it raises goes right back to citizens in the form of tax breaks. Overall, the tax has brought in some $5 billion in revenue so far, and more than $3 billion has then been returned in the form of business tax cuts, along with over $1 billion in personal tax breaks, and nearly $1 billion in low-income tax credits (to protect those for whom rising fuel costs could mean the greatest economic hardship). According to the BC Ministry of Finance, for individuals who earn up to $122,000, income tax rates in the province are now Canada’s lowest.

RTFA. Long, detailed, convincing. Half of anyone quoting the details in the American press will only quote the part about the outbound costs. You already know who.

But, the intricacies aren’t especially difficult, didn’t require an excess of negotiation excepting with the most overtly bought-and-paid-for politicians in Western Canada. Might be worth the effort in some of the leading edge cities and counties in the GOUSA.

Vancouver, BC, launches cigarette butt recycling program

cigarette butts by the sea

What can you say about cigarette butts? They instantly make wherever they are look seedy, they don’t biodegrade, plus they’re highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It turns out, however, that they are good for something. The City of Vancouver and TerraCycle Canada launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program this Tuesday, in which the butts will be collected for recycling.

As part of the Cigarette Waste Brigade program, 110 cigarette recycling receptacles have been installed on several blocks in downtown Vancouver. The idea is that besides keeping the butts out of landfills, they also won’t be littering the streets. People are additionally being encouraged to save up butts in their home or workplace, then send them in for processing.

And no, they’re not being recycled into new cigarette butts. Instead, the cellulose acetate in their filters is being used in the production of industrial products such as shipping pallets. Additionally, tobacco extracted from them will be composted.

Incidentally, in a study conducted at China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University, it was found that discarded cigarette butts could also be used for rust-proofing steel.

The Cigarette Waste Brigade program is part of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, in which Vancouver is aiming to become the greenest city in the world by the year 2020. That plan has also included construction of the LEED-certified Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center, the introduction of a car-sharing program, and the use of recycled plastic in road asphalt.

Vancouver rocks! If they weren’t sitting on an earthquake fault, I might be living there. 🙂

Canadian warships collide – proving Canada, once again, a nation unlikely to behave like the United States


All right – which one of you has a GPS that’s working?

Two Canadian warships made their way home Saturday, a day after colliding while making their way to Hawaii, navy official said.

The HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur were conducting close-quarters towing exercises Friday morning when the accident occurred, the navy said in a statement.

The Algonquin sustained significant damage to its hangar and will no longer be deployed to the Asia Pacific region. The Protecteur’s bow was damaged to a lesser degree.

The damaged ships were expected to reach port in Esquimalt, British Columbia, by late afternoon, CTV News reported. No injuries were reported.

The navy said the collision would be investigated and a Board of Inquiries would issue recommendations on how to prevent similar accidents in the future.

“The Royal Canadian Navy will be conducting an investigation into this unfortunate incident in order to determine exactly what happened,” Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, said in a statement released by the Department of National Defense.

How to prevent similar accidents? Quit trucking around the ocean in a tin can trying to behave like Attila the Hun who lives just south of you. Does Canada need to train to defend BC from an attack by Dragon Boats from Hawaii?

Owner located — of Tsunami motorcycle that crossed the Pacific

We’re reaching that point in time when flotsam from the tsunami that crushed coastal Japan last year is showing up on the western shores of North America on a daily basis. This is one of the more interesting finds.

The Japanese owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was washed out to sea in the tsunami of March 2011 says its discovery on a remote beach on the West Coast of B.C. last week is a miracle.

The owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, a 29-year-old resident of the town of Yamamoto, in Miyagi Prefecture, was tracked down by a Harley-Davidson representative in Japan who saw the story, first reported by CBC News, in the media.

A company spokeperson told CBC News they are now hoping to pay for the return of the bike to Yokoyama and to see if they can restore it for him.

Yokoyama…said he lost his home and three family members in the tsunami and is now living in temporary accommodation. The motorcycle was being kept at his house in the back section of a cube van that he was using as a storage shed when the tsunami struck…

After it was washed out to sea in the tsunami in the makeshift storage container, the motorcycle apparently floated 5,000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean. It was discovered by Peter Mark, a resident of B.C.’s Haida Gwaii, while he was exploring a remote beach on Graham Island.

The bike was rusty, particularly on the wheels and handlebars, but the logo on the fuel tank was unmistakable.

The motorcycle’s licence plate showed it was registered in Miyagi Prefecture, and writing on the container matched photos of a commonly used Japanese moving van. Mark also found a few golf clubs, tools and camping equipment in the container.

Poisonally, I think Harley-Davidson should return a well-restored bike to Yokoyama – and offer a replica model for sale as the HD Tsunami. I know a half-dozen bikers who would consider buying one.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Tsunami ghost ship spotted off the coast of British Columbia

A fishing trawler swept away more than a year ago by a tsunami off the east coast of Japan has been spotted floating near British Columbia…”It looks fairly sound and has rust streak from being out there for a year,” said Marc Proulx, the maritime coordinator of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, British Columbia.

The trawler is part of a giant debris field that was generated by the giant wall of water that struck the east coast of the island nation following a 9.0 earthquake, sweeping everything from cars to houses into the ocean.

The fishing vessel is about 120 miles off the Queen Charlotte Islands, commonly referred to as the Haida Gwaii. The islands are an archipelago on the north coast of the British Columbia.

It was first spotted by a Canadian military air patrol, and it has since been determined that it has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11, 2011, Proulx said.

The Japan Coast Guard identified the owner of the vessel after being contacted Friday by Canadian officials, who were able to provide the identification number on the hull of the ship. The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.

The trawler is considered a navigation obstruction for vessels in the area, according to Canada’s Department of National Defense. Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.

Everyone certain there is no one, nothing on board?