Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Magma..... Oooooooo.....

What lies below: swarm of earthquakes detected beneath Mount St Helens

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Great football story

The Leicester Supremacy – a triumph that was never supposed to happen

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pscylla and Charybdis - A tale of pot holes & erratic driving

I have lived in eight states since I was able to legally get behind the wheel of a car.  My jobs always required me to do a moderate amount of travel by car.  I have not experienced worse roads until I was stationed in the state which boasts it is the home of the motor city.  More affluent cities and townships can and do ensure that the road repairs are fairly prioritized to the worst conditions getting altered first.

Road in need of repair.
This is a mild example

Michigan roads
This one looks more like a really angry sea than an urban road

However, it seems that this practice is not within reach of all municipalities.  Our house is about 3 miles away from the main thoroughfare, I-94.  Drivers (myself included) spend a lot of time dodging the ever changing potholes and sinkholes.  Is this a conspiracy between the state and the repair shops to drum up more business?  I am just kidding.

The Ann Arbor public radio station has a great commentator who always has something pithy and funny to say about the politicians in Lansing.  One proposal about a fix was to increase auto registration fees %20, to decrease the impact on the budget, which had a big surplus this year.
I will let you come to your own conclusion about the fairness of that.

Being a retired USCG person, I am glad to say that the state of the waterways and their markers is much better.  Of course Governor Snyder has nothing to do with the conditions of the lakes and rivers that cover most of Michigan.  The element that creates danger, is the individual boaters and their lack of respect for Mother Nature and education about the Nautical Rules of the Road.  

Navigation Rules International Inland
You can download the manual at this link

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I love snow and ice!!!

Climate change is on my mind as I alternate between morning infotainment of the sports and news varieties.

I was cleaning the kitchen and I listened to a relay of Science Friday thru my Roku* and the Tune In streaming channel.  It was a great show, as usual.

It reminded me of part of the curriculum of my graduate program at the Dub.  At that time it was in the School of Marine Affairs.  Don't get me started on all the goofy questions you get when you tell someone that you got a masters degree in Marine Affairs.  They need to change that at some point....

My advisor was one of the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
He always had interesting stories about some of the debates that went on during those meetings.  Would have been fun to be a fly on the wall for some of those...

Years later I was working in Alaska in fisheries management.  I lived in Juneau, where the land was rebounding based on the retreat of the glaciers.  Good for the people who owned home, bad for the boaters who were navigating by landmarks or GPS only, when it came to depth soundings.  I love tides, it makes the boaters more educated about mother nature.

In some northern parts of the state, some of which I had visited as part of my job, you find the zones where  polar bears and walrus were quite common.

Since I spent some time holding the rifle for 'polar bear watch' while up in Barrow taking a sea ice research class, I will just tell you a little about their conditions based on the recent decreases in the amount of sea ice in the arctic.

I have toured the holes that the seals make in the ice so that they can come up to breathe.  The polar bears depend on the existence of these holes to hunt during the coldest part of the year.  I was in Barrow for a few weeks in May, so the ice was still fairly thick.  A few months later would be entirely different.  The whalers could still use their subsistence whale allowances (bowhead, primarily) to hunt in the summer, but the polar bears are not so lucky.

That is why you see a lot of pictures like the one above.  This bear is either incredibly dirty, or it could be a hybrid between a grizzly and a polar bear.  The point is that both humans and other animal will be affected by climate variability, and we need to be aware of its consequences.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Aquarium Update

Our little piece of ocean here in the midwest resides in the basement.  We have a 29 gallon salt water aquarium which has hosted a wide variety of sea creatures.

The current inhabitants are a couple turbo snails, one bumble bee snail, and a pencil urchin

We used to have three of these guys, but they didn't survive the cross country move, and or the long spined urchin that ate itself into an early watery grave.

Pajama Cardinalfish
Pajama Cardinal Fish - borrowed from this cool blog

I guess as of wednesday I should say ONE turbo snail.  The big one was about 5 cm in diameter, but I think it has been dispatched by the urchin.  This is the second urchin we have hosted, and though they are supposed to be tank cleaners and vegetarians, they both eventually decided that the occasional meat dinner.

I eventually want to turn that aquarium into coral setting, so the urchin will have to be turned back into the fish store for credit.

For some other salty creatures I have desired or hosted, please check out my other blog.