Boston Globe, Big Picture: Disaster unfolds slowly in the Gulf of Mexico.
You need BG’s big photos to capture the scale of the crisis.
Discover Magazine: Testimony Highlights 3 Major Failures That Caused Gulf Spill.
“They have horribly underestimated the likelihood of a spill and therefore horribly underestimated the consequences of something going wrong. So what we have now is some equivalent of a fire drill with paper towels and buckets for cleanup.”
NPR: Lettuce Recall Expands As FDA investigates E. Coli.
Here we go again. “Many of those who became ill were college students in the three states. Middle and high school students in New York were also sickened, including a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause bleeding in the brain or kidneys. Local health authorities in Dutchess County, where the students fell ill, said they are all expected to make a full recovery.”
ProPublica: EPA Approves BP’s Use of Questionable Chemicals to Break Up Oil.
“The chemicals break up the oil and then disperse it, so instead of having the oil collect at the surface, dispersed droplets of oil can spread more quickly and in more directions. This means the droplets linger longer in the water, collecting on the seabed and harming the ecosystem offshore.” Not a very good solution, in a sea of not-very-good solutions.
Reuters: Lessons from the Exxon Valdez spill.
Eurekalert: Organic farming shows limited benefit to wildlife.
”Comparing farm by farm, the researchers found a 55 per cent drop in yield compared to a 12.4 per cent increase in biodiversity. However, comparisons between larger areas found that ‘hotspots’ with a greater density of organic farming showed a 9.1 per cent increase in biodiversity across the board.” So, this is a fascinating upset of my mental applecart. Farming *itself* is bad, and whether it’s organic or not, the detriments seem to recommend conventional farming because it has higher yields for less acreage. The net biodiversity benefits of organic are counterweighed by their huge increase in acreage required. Doesn’t touch the nutrient argument, but still ...
Discover Magazine: Volcano shocker.
Watch close. You’ll see shockwaves at :20 and :38, and more as the video continues. WOW.
ProPublica: Offshore Drilling Regulator Understated Risks of Oil Spills in Plans to Expand Drilling.
“Last week, we reported that in addition to the spotted history of the Minerals Management Service, the regulator responsible for overseeing offshore drilling, parts of the agency had withheld data on offshore drilling from those on staff who were responsible for assessing environmental risk.” Surprised? No. Outraged? Yes.
Things Bears Love.
Don’t look if you’re going on a hike in Yellowstone or Glacier anytime soon ...
Discover Magazine: BP Will Tow a “Containment Dome” to the Oil Leak Site Today.
“BP says this morning that it has successfully capped one of the three places where oil is leaking deep down in the Gulf of Mexico. But as of now, that hasn’t slowed the flow of oil.”
Ghost in the Machine: Drill Baby ... Spill.
Kevin lays it out with his usual flair: “And speaking of our old friends on the right, it seems the ‘Drill Baby Drill!’ camp has gone mysteriously silent ... for now.”
Sunset through the dust, this evening.
Black-Chinned Hummingbird. ISO was rather high, because of the dark of evening, so I had to run NoiseNinja. I’ll have to catch him earlier in the day for a proper portrait.
Photoshop Insider Blog, Matt Presents: Five Lessons From a Recent Landscape Shoot.
Numbers 1 and 5 are best, ‘Get up earlier than you think’, and ‘It’s all about luck.’ You can make your own luck by JUST GETTING OUT THERE more often.
Luxist: Sleep Underwater in the Maldives.
SF New Mexican: Snowmelt runoff promises to strengthen S.F. River flows.
”Santa Fe’s two municipal reservoirs are almost full because of snowmelt runoff and the city water staff is increasing water releases into the Santa Fe River through mid-May. The city water division announced Thursday it would release between 15 and 20 cubic feet per second of water from Nichols Reservoir beginning today through May 15. That’s twice the amount the city began releasing from the reservoir earlier this week. People along the river, especially those with children, should be aware of rising water levels and the increased speed of water flows.” I’ve bolded that for emphasis; folks usually let their kids go down to the waterline and play without supervision. Not a fantastic idea when the flow gets high. The river channel is narrow and rocky. Be safe.
Great that we’ll have a rushing river again, for a while.
NPR: Oil Spill From Sunken Rig May Threaten Gulf Coast.
UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY’S LINK: Apparently the actual potential leak amounts are not accurate yet. “At the worst-case figure of 336,000 gallons a day, it would take more than a month for the amount of crude oil spilled to equal the 11 million gallons spilled from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.” So it’s potentially much worse than the item I linked yesterday.
OK, so I did take a photo.
Those travelling to Santa Fe and beyond need to know that the roads are clear and dry.
New Scientist: Whale poop is vital to ocean’s carbon cycle.
“Previous studies have shown that iron is crucial to ocean health because plankton need it to grow. “If you add soluble iron to the ocean, you get instant phytoplankton growth,” says Nicol. The amount of iron in whale faeces means that protecting Antarctic whales could swell populations of phytoplankton, which absorb carbon dioxide.” Is anyone really surprised that there’s a symbiosis working here? This is why all of nature is precious. Upset the applecart by eliminating a species, who knows what havoc it will wreak.
NPR: Early Animal Rights Poem Discovered: A Mouse’s Plea.
Airshows.co.UK: Tiger Club Invades Gatwick.
In addition to volcanic ash, England is beset by Tiger Moths.
Flickr: Eyjafjallajökull Volcano.
Excellent photos of the Iceland Volcano eruptions. Via Kevin Murphy’s Twitter (otherwise known as Ghost in the Machine).
NPR: Meteor Turns Night Into Day In Midwest.
“Check out what happened over eastern Iowa last night.” The video’s quite impressive.
Guardian.UK: Airports closed as volcanic ash drifts toward UK.
Thanks to volcanic ash from Iceland’s erupting volcano, airports are shut down in the UK. Here’s why it’s bad to get ash in your jet engines, as if you really need to have it explained. I think anyone can imagine why the stuff would be instant seizure for moving parts.
BBC News: Low solar activity link to cold UK winters.
”They identified a link between fewer sunspots and atmospheric conditions that ‘block’ warm, westerly winds reaching Europe during winter months. But they added that the phenomenon only affected a limited region and would not alter the overall global warming trend.” Yet the sunspot cycles have been, for the most part, much higher than before and during the turn of the last century. I still think sunspot cycles have great influence over the Earth that simply hasn’t been discursively tested for yet. That doesn’t mean I doubt global warming, however. I think we obviously have an impact. I just think there are more input factors than we generally believe.