Thursday, October 23, 2008

BOOOOOO!!!!! Boo Sarah Palin!!!

A moose-hunting, pro-big oil, anti-global climate change, evangelical "hockey mom" is going to potentially be a heart beat away from being the next leader of the free world. This is ridiculous. Drill baby drill is one of her mottos. Open ANWR to drilling is her rally cry. Man has had no effect on the current global climate change is her honest opinion. She thinks wolves should be hunted. This article was just posted yesterday on gristmill:

'We have seen this before'

Palin can't name a single man-made cause of climate change

Posted by Kate Sheppard at 3:37 PM on 22 Oct 2008
Read more about: Muckraker | news | politics | elections | presidential race 08 | Sarah Palin | climate | video
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Sarah Palin has now offered a variety of views on climate change. When asked about her changing rhetoric on the issue at the VP debate, Palin said, "There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet." She added, "I don't want to argue about the causes."

In an interview yesterday with a local NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, she was asked to elaborate about what some of those man-made causes might be, but she couldn't name a single one. Instead, she again claimed that is shouldn't matter what's causing climate change.

"Right, well what I have said about this is really the debate at some point, had better shift to, no matter the cause, whether it all be attributed to man's activities or just the natural cycle of climate changes in our earth's history," she said. "We have seen this before."

That is not the scariest part. As a VP candidate, she has been embroiled in scandals and conflicts of interest since day 1 - Her abuse of power (Troopergate and firing the town librarian while she was mayor bc the librarian refused to censor books), using tax payer funds on unneccessary expenditures (her kids travel, new hockey rink for wasilla that raised taxes and sunk the town in debt), flip-flopping (pro bridge-to-nowhere before she was against it, has the highest per capita pork funds requests and grants despite running on an anti-pork legislation platform), her husband works for BP (she vetoed legislation supporting wind and solar power in Alaska) and, for someone who is so "pro-America" and a "real American" her husband was an active member in Alaska Independence Party (and she has even attended and spoken at AIP conventions) - who want Alaska to secede from the union and have repeatedly tried to get it onto the ballot. For someone who is so pro-America, that kind of link doesn't make much sense, does it?

The most shocking thing to me is that this is all off limits. The media eats up the nonsense spewed out by the GOP and their dirty politicing, yet they dont bring up any of this. It blows my mind.

I am not telling you who to vote for, I am telling you to vote smart.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Endangered Species Act ENDANGERED!!!

Image from open photo

First, apologies to anyone who has came across my blog recently and has seen no updates since March. I have been very busy with writing manuscripts, attending national meetings, conducting research and working on my other blog, which focuses on that research.
Unfortunately there has been so much environmental news lately, it is hard to keep up. But one thing that really "grinds my gears" is the lame duck administration and its blatant attempt to decimate the Endangered Species Act, by making proposing major rule changes in which aimed at bypassing "the review process for construction projects, such as highways, dams, and mines. Currently, under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies must consult with scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine whether a project is likely to affect any of the 1,353 animal and plant species listed as endangered or threatened.

The draft rules, which do not need to be approved by Congress but are subject to a 30-day public-comment period, would let each agency decide for itself whether a project would harm listed species." See the CSMonitor for the full article by following this link.

Well you can imagine I was none to happy to hear about this and immediately sent emails to both of my US Senators, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and got responses back from each, agreeing that the administration is wrong in this new ESA draft and that they will do everything in their power to make sure this does not happen.
This is Senator Schumer's response:
Dear Mr. Carroll:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern over recent proposals to change the regulations for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA is an invaluable tool for protecting endangered animals, habitats, and the overall health of our environment. I am committed to protecting this vital law and will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that these potentially disastrous proposals are not enacted.

Since it was enacted in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has protected hundreds of species from extinction. Scientists and conservationists have credited the ESA with restoring the populations of species as diverse as the bald eagle, the gray whale, the Hawaiian goose, and the San Clemente Indian paintbrush. Perhaps the most striking example of the ESA’s success is the story of the Big Bend gambusia, a two-inch fresh-water fish that lives only in Texas. At its lowest point, there were only a few dozen individuals surviving. Today, Big Bend National Park has more than 50,000 of these fish living in the wild.

Conservationists point out that the Endangered Species Act protects not just the endangered species it covers, but many other species, too. The ESA requires the government to protect species’ habitats, which means that when a single species is listed as endangered, its whole ecosystem is protected.

One of the most important provisions in the ESA is the requirement that federal agencies consult with the wildlife experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) before undertaking major actions which might affect endangered wildlife. Under regulations that have been in place since 1986, FWS and NMFS have the discretion to determine when and if another agency needs to consult them.

Despite nearly four decades of success protecting wildlife, the Administration has proposed changing the ESA regulations on consultation. The changes allow other agencies to decide when to consult the wildlife experts, instead of leaving the decision up to the FWS or NMFS. As many experts have warned, this leaves the fox to guard the henhouse. Conservation experts have said that this will lead to more environmentally damaging activities. Lawyers have also pointed out that making these changes will probably lead to more lawsuits, as courts are asked to enforce the protections that used to be left to the FWS and NMFS. As a result of these changes, projects will become more expensive, take longer to complete, and prove more damaging to wildlife.

I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that ESA remains a powerful tool for protecting wildlife, wild places, and the environment as a whole. To date, there have not been any legislative proposals to block these regulatory changes, but I am closely watching this situation to find ways to protect ESA.

I am deeply committed to protecting the environment and endangered species. In the 110th Congress, I am a sponsor of the Climate Security Act and the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act, the Clean Water Restoration Act, and the Beach Protection Act, and a bill which would permanently ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I have also pushed to increase funding for important domestic and international conservation programs, including the Wildlife Refuge system; the Land and Water Conservation Fund; and international conservation funds, such as the Great Apes Conservation Fund, the Rhinoceros Conservation Fund, the Tiger Conservation Fund, and the Wildlife Without Borders regional program.

Protecting the environment is an important responsibility, one which I take very seriously and I will continue to make this, and other, environmental issues a top priority in the Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can ever be of assistance to you on this or any other matter.


Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at . Thank you.

Now, normally, this would be enough for me, but the real troubling thing is this election season, especially with the newfound infatuation with Gov Palin's nomination to the GOP ticket. The real puzzling thing is how much her nomination has bumped up McCain in the polls. I mean I know the environment is not the number 1 issue with anyone in either party, but her environmental track record is atrocious, and at least should be aired to a more broad audience than it already is. This article illustrates her opposition to any scientifically based arguments for environmental policy, her pro-aerial wolf hunting policies, among other things. In the coming weeks, I will try to illustrate the environmental track records of all parties involved.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Only 8 years in the waiting...

"For the first time since President Bush took office in 2001, his proposed budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration exceeds what was approved the previous year. "

-the San Diego Union Tribune

Wow!!!! This is amazing... An actual boost in a budget for the sciences... By this President? All I can say is WOW!!!

Read the article here.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Lost City Pumps Life-essential Chemicals At Rates Unseen At Typical Deep Ocean Hydrothermal Vents

The Lost City is a deep sea hydrothermal vent - pretty fascinating geological formations...

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2008) — Hydrocarbons -- molecules critical to life -- are being generated by the simple interaction of seawater with the rocks under the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Being able to produce building blocks of life makes Lost City-like vents even stronger contenders as places where life might have originated on Earth, according to Giora Proskurowski and Deborah Kelley, two authors of a paper in the Feb. 1 Science. Researchers have ruled out carbon from the biosphere as a component of the hydrocarbons in Lost City vent fluids.

Hydrocarbons, molecules with various combinations of hydrogen and carbon atoms, are key to cellular life. For instance, cell walls can be built from simple hydrocarbon chains and amino acids are short hydrocarbon chains hooked up with nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur atoms.

"The generation of hydrocarbons was the very first step, otherwise Earth would have remained lifeless," says lead author Proskurowski, who conducted the research while earning his doctorate from the University of Washington and during post-doctoral work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Read the whole thing here.

The carbonate structures at the Lost City Field include these spires stretching 90 feet tall. The white, sinuous spine is freshly deposited carbonate material. Added digitally to this image are the remotely operated vehicles Hercules and Argus that were used to explore the hydrothermal vent field during an expedition in 2005 funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Credit: Kelley, U of Washington, IFE, URI-IAO, NOAA)

Scots scientist discovers six new species of fish in Indian Ocean

It seems like every few months, a ton of new marine species are being discovered, which is great. It is also unfortunate, considering the state of peril our oceans are in and will continue to be in this period of global climate change. This is from the
IT IS the fishiest of gifts to bestow on that special someone ahead of Valentine's Day. Slippery and squat, it is hardly beautiful in the conventional sense. But when Dr Nikki King discovered a new species of fish she did not think twice before naming it after her fiancé.
Dr King first set eyes on the unlikely token of her love during a deep-sea research expedition in the darkest depths of Southern Indian Ocean.

Working aboard the Royal Research Ship Discovery, she was part of a team on the Benthic Crozet project, a research initiative investigating biodiversity off the Crozet Islands, a small sub-Antarctic archipelago.

When a trawl landed a bounty of fish, Dr King, from the University of Aberdeen, singled out six species she thought unusual. In the middle of an ocean with limited facilities, she decided to store them and take them back to base.

"I could only identify the six so far – not down to species level. So we packed them into preservative and took them home," she said. There, the research fellow asked the assistance of an expert team of taxonomy experts, Dr Peter Møller and Professor Jørgen Nielsen of the Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, and Professor Guy Duhamel of the Paris Natural History Museum.

After some painstaking work, her instincts were proved right – until now the species were completely unknown to science, a discovery that fulfils a professional ambition of Dr King's.

"Ever since I set my heart on becoming a marine biologist I hoped I would discover one new species, so to have discovered six is tremendously exciting," she said.

In line with scientific custom, Dr King was given the honour of naming the new species, and the name of her fiancé, Michael Cousins, a geophysicist, immediately sprang to mind.

Now, somewhere in the depths of the ocean, there swims a 42cm long brown eelpout, Pachycara cousini, that is testimony to their love.

Of the other six fish, Dr King saw fit to name one after her boss at Aberdeen, Professor Monty Priede. For the director of the Oceanlab centre, it marked the second such time his name has been given to a new species, having already had a two-headed parasitic worm given his surname.

He was, though, delighted that his staff member saw fit to pay tribute with Pachycara priedei.

"We are used to discovering new species as we explore the deep sea but usually they are small worms and shrimps," Prof Priede said. "Finding six new fishes in one expedition is remarkable.

"Dr King did very well spotting the significance of these fishes among the catches.

"For a zoologist having a species of animal named after one is the ultimate professional accolade. I am delighted that a little pink fish now carries my name."

The research expedition's exploration area and the cruise vessel it
self gave rise to Careproctus crozentensis, Apagesoma (new species) and Careproctus discoveryae.


THE new species found in waters surrounding the Crozet Island is just the latest discovery by staff at the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab marine science facility.

Last year, Professor Monty Priede, the director of the unit, and his team carried out the first comprehensive study of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater region between Iceland and the Azores, comparable in size with the Alps. They found a new species of sea shrimp, the ostracod, and a rare amphipod called Phronima sedentaria.

Among the 2,000ft underwater cliff faces the team also found unknown corals and rare viper fish.

The purpose-built Oceanlab facility was the first oceanography research centre of its kind. It opened in 2001 and is planning a £3 million expansion.