Ocean Phytoplankton Drops 40 Percent Since 1950

The microscopic plants that form the foundation of the ocean’s food are declining. The tiny organisms, known asphytoplankton, work hard to gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world’s oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land. But their numbers have dwindled since the dawn of the 20th century, with severe consequences for ocean ecosystems and the planet’s carbon cycle. Researchers at Canada’s Dalhousie University say the global population of phytoplankton has fallen about 40 percent since 1950. That translates to an annual drop of about 1 percent of the average plankton population between 1899 and 2008 and the greatest loss in in the last 5 years. Just as the heating of the poles is accelerating, so will the loss of some microbes. Warmer temps may mean more of other kinds of microbes, but the key concern is how that relates to C02 and Methane. C02 and Methane are the greatest concerns to planet Earth. The scientists believe that rising sea surface temperatures are to blame. “It’s very disturbing to think about the potential implications of a century-long decline of the base of the food chain,” said lead author Daniel Boyce, a marine ecologist. They include disruption to the marine food web and effects on the world’s carbon cycle. In addition to consuming CO2, phytoplankton can influence how much heat is absorbed by the world’s oceans, and some species emit sulfate molecules that promote cloud formation.

C02, methane and sea bugs

C02, methane and sea bugs

“In some respect, these findings are the beginning of the story, not the end,” Boyce said. “The first question is what will happen in the future. We looked at these trends over the past century but don’t know what will happen 10 years down the road.” The study “makes a sorely needed contribution to our knowledge of historical changes in the ocean biosphere,” said David Siegel of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Bryan Franz of NASA in an essay, also published in Nature. “Their identification of a connection between long-term global declines in phytoplankton biomass and increasing ocean temperatures does not portend well for [ocean] ecosystems in a world that is likely to be warmer,” they wrote. “Phytoplankton productivity is the base of the food web, and all life in the sea depends on it.” Boyce said he and his co-authors began their study in an attempt to get a clearer picture of how phytoplankton were faring, given that earlier studies that relied on satellite measurements produced conflicting results.

The scientists dug back into the historical record, well past 1997, the year continuous satellite measurements began. They examined a half-million data points collected using a tool called a Secchi disk, as well as measurements of chlorophyll—a pigment produced by the plankton. The Secchi disk was developed in the 19th century by a Jesuit astronomer, Father Pietro Angelo Secchi, when the Papal navy asked him to map the transparency of the Mediterranean Sea. What Secchi produced was a dinner plate-sized white disk that is lowered into ocean water until it cannot be seen anymore. The depth it reaches before disappearing gives a measure of water clarity. That can be used as a proxy for phytoplankton population in a given area, since the tiny organisms live close to the ocean’s surface, where they are exposed to sunlight they use to produce energy. Data gathered with a Secchi disk are roughly as accurate as observations collected by satellites, Boyce said, although satellites have greater global reach. The researchers found the most notable phytoplankton declines in waters near the poles and in the tropics, as well as the open ocean. They believe that rising sea temperatures are driving the decline. As surface water warms, it tends to form a distinct layer that does not mix well with cooler, nutrient-rich water below, depriving phytoplankton of some of the materials they need to turn CO2 and sunlight into energy.

Death of the Ocean

Death of the Ocean

This may also have a lot to do with the China Algea Sea. The largest algal bloom ever recorded in China has turned the Yellow Sea green and may be related to pollution from agriculture and industry. Officials in the city of Qingdao had used bulldozers to remove 7,335 tonnes of the growth from beaches according to the Xinhua news agency. The phenomenon has become an annual occurrence in the region over the past six summers. This year’s incident has swathed 28,900 sq km (11,158 sq miles), twice as much as the previous biggest bloom in 2008. The algae, called Enteromorpha prolifera, is not toxic to humans or animals. However the carpet on the surface can dramatically change the ecology of the environment beneath it. It blocks sunlight from entering the ocean and sucks oxygen from the water suffocating marine life. The algae thrives on an abundance of nutrients in the sea. University of Cambridge and EnAlgae Project researcher Dr Brenda Parker said that the Chinese bloom may well be linked to industrial pollution. “Algal blooms often follow a massive discharge of phosphates or nitrates into the water. Whether it’s farming, untreated sewage or some kind of industrial plant that is discharging waste into the water,” she said. The recent explosion of the algae pointed to a dramatic change in the ecosystem which was probably not natural. “That would probably be an indicator that something is a little bit unbalanced,” said Parker. She said that the 2009 example algal bloom on the Brittany coast was a similar example of a human-induced algal bloom.

It is vital that we all shift our perspective towards a balanced approach to living in accord with nature as apposed to polluting our natural resources that are clearly warning us of significant changes ahead.

Mobile Alerts that “Cry Wolf”

Last week while enjoying some good food, alarms began to sound and could be heard from all over the restaurant. One by one people began to look at their phones. Most would just swipe the alert away while others glanced at the message, while still others ( mostly older ) could not figure out to make the alarm stop. That was funny to watch.

Within minutes the alarms stopped while literally everyone immediately went back to talking, eating or staring down at their device again. This got me to thinking, how did my phone become a beckon for the authorities to be able to alert me? “Updates”, that’s how. I hate updates. I wish someone would do a study and find out how many operating system updates really do fix bugs and valid security fixes versus just embed themselves into our tech and the fabric of our everyday lives. I’m not a conspiracy freak, but do realize that our liberties are consistently being diminished and no one seems to notice. It seems everyone wants more tech and more tools never to stop and ask, “is this even beneficial to our lives” and the pursuit of happiness?

Alert, Alert

Alert, Alert

I get a little bummed when technology forces things on me that I may not want. Today, we have no choice but to “ACCEPT” the terms & conditions that so frequently beg for our approval from our mobile devices. Say no ( which I do a lot ) and eventually, your device doesn’t function optimally. Say yes, and you end up with all sorts of stuff that can easily strip away another small percentage of your privacy. No options.

Since when did the weather service (or those constituents who govern it) decide that they have to worn us of thunder storms and dust storms when we can see them coming with our own eyes? Here in Phoenix, if you just look outside and scan the horizon and you can see what weather is coming. Now my point. What good does it really do when 95% of the people getting the alerts just ignore them? They are coming so frequently that no one will know when the real emergency hits.

Someday when there is a legitimate emergency, the majority will not be aware because they have become so immune to the alert and just discard the message. Someday, that message could be important, and maybe even their very own child as the topic of an Amber Alert.

I’m all for using technology to increase communication, but what “is” being alerted to us and for what purpose is getting a little out of hand.

Can we be “over-connected”?

The connected world

The connected world

The arrival of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) marks a major watershed in the global consumer economy. Internet connections will be built into a massive quantity of new products, from air conditioners to light bulbs and security alarms. These will all be controlled through apps and websites, and feed data into the cloud. Start ups specialized in home automation, established consumer electronics giants, and large Silicon Valley-based tech companies are all poised for a huge battle over this new consumer space, sometimes also referred to as the “Connected Life” market.

A report from BI Intelligence, recently examined the forces and numbers driving growth in the consumer Internet of Things or IoT, including the mind-boggling numbers for total market size. It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of the Internet of Things because it will come to encompass all manner of products we don’t normally think of as high-tech, such as UV-filtering window shades and door locks.

Here are some of the top findings:

  • Defining the Internet of Things: It’s helpful to think about IoT devices as a new device category or layer that exists as the connective tissue between the formerly static non-connected world, and the world of PCs, tablets, and smart phones. For example, a connected washer and dryer unit can report energy usage and cycle settings to a smart phone app.

 

  • The size of the opportunity: Machina defines “Connected Life Market Revenue” as the sum of all of the revenue accruing from the sale of connected devices and all related services. They see revenue ballooning to $2.5 trillion by 2020.

  • How can it be so large? Many consumer categories are crossing into the IoT: These include kitchen and home appliances, lighting and heating products, and insurance company-issued car monitoring devices that allow motorists to pay insurance only for the amount of driving they do.

  • Large manufacturers are already making big plays: These include LG, the Korean manufacturer of home entertainment systems and appliances and Friedrich, maker of AC units.

  • Start ups are making a grab for this market too: SmartThings has built its entire business model around easily deployable sensors, monitors, and apps that allow consumers to run everything in their home through their smartphone. It raised a $3 million seed round late last year. We also expect companies such as Apple, Google, and others to get more involved.


DO YOU REALLY NEED IT?

If you’re like me, you’ll ask the question “how does all this inter-connectivity benefit our lives? The simple answer is that for most of us, it doesn’t. But for the companies who continually vie for more data and more details on where we live and how, they stand to reap the rewards by learning details about our usage patterns that they previously had no access to. At a time when most rational people are trying to find ways to unplug and free themselves from our already insanely connected life, I personally fail to find any benefit with my refrigerator sending details about the frequency of the door opening or it’s contents to the mother ship. Sorry that’s just me. In fact, I question all the seemingly useless connections and apps that are marketed to all of us in the attempt to make us believe we cant live without it. Life was simpler 20 years ago. You could leave work and spend time with your family and build a family unit. Instead, today we are available, working and being summoned by a wide range of people and systems 24/7, which only serves to remove time from our family life.

I do use and enjoy technology. I just try to determine the features and benefits prior to using or downloading it. In fact, about once a month I will comment on some new technology that actually benefits my life, but always seem to find myself saying, I could still live without it.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic, I would enjoy hearing from you about your personal position on being connected.

Technology is great, but…

Ever wonder where the information you are reading comes from? Has it ever occurred to you that you really do not know? I spend a lot of time doing research and I try to cover a wide range of sources to gather facts. It is not easy since much of the data comes from the web and there is virtually no hard and fast way to confirm that the data you read on the web is 100% factual. This raises all sorts of questions. People are attached to their mobile device 24/7 and are sharing enormous amounts of information each second of each day without confirming authority. I’m not talking about kitten videos or talking oranges!

Is it possible that much of what we read on the web is false? If this is true, then what does it say for our future? Where does it lead the millions of people who are learning things that are false? Years ago, to be published, you had to have verifiable data to back up your claims. It was typically vetted by numerous people. Even the press had certain standards before they published news stories. Now we see fabrications being published on Fox, CNN and CNBC every day.

FACT: First developed by researchers at MIT, who wrote a script that would go out onto the Internet and grab data on a specific subject and then re assemble the data into official looking science papers complete with peer reviewed acknowledgements and a high ranking scientist authors. The script would then automatically re-write and re-publish these fake papers and post them all over the web.

If this was done back in 2005, what on earth is possible today? The embarrassing lapse was exposed by French computer scientist Cyril Labbe of the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble. He also spotted more than 100 other “nonsense” papers unwittingly published by the New York-based Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the journal Nature reported.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-02-science-publisher-gibberish-papers.html#jCp

It’s no secret that scientists have ego’s and they all want to share what they have learned and be acknowledged for their work. Still, there are thousands of examples of fraudulent information being released for two things. Notoriety and money. Since Global warming began it has fueled a heated debate. First that it was a lie and within just 10 years became the subject of billions in study grants. Follow the money, it always leads to the human condition. Fast forward from 2005 to 2013 and we are now in the troughs of the topic of Global Climate Change and the many recent news reports from the IPCC and others of glacial loss, sea level rise, increase storm activity and agricultural catastrophe. Arguments still abound on the cause, but it is happening and will affect us all. We are going to see a lot more changes in the way the Earth treats us, but for many of us who have been paying attention, this is not new. There are many things we can do to mitigate our own personal risk.  I suggest starting with a few informative documentaries.

Ethos, and I Am are both very well done and each tells a different story of what we all face and what we should be prepared for without over reacting to doomsday.

ETHOS tells of the fragile foundation the worlds financial system is built on and the dangers of over consumption and debt. Two topics I have been speaking about for seven years. Far too many people are being influenced by mass media trickery and can’t seem to pull away from the negative energy that will certainly be their demise. I sold 90% of my possession in 2009 and have been light ever since. There is much freedom in that. Learning about Aquaponics, clean water and various energy sources will serve me and enable me to care for my children in the future.

I Am, explains how each living thing on Earth (as well as in the universe) is connected through a powerful hidden field of energy. How the disruption of community came to be and the toxic nature of competition and how it is unraveling socio-economic balance. Both of these films can be found on Netflix and You Tube. Tom Shadyac a producer of many leading box office comedies found himself faced with a debilitating condition that lead him to ask a few philosophical questions which changed his life.  Tom takes us on a journey that teaches and inspires us to what really matters in the world and how everything we do as individuals does “affect” the entire world. Again, something near to my heart.

So although science is awesome and progress is good, we all need to embrace more of the  Ethnosphere and how we are all connected to it. Just like the sun is the key to our planets heartbeat, (and may be connected of all our weather and earthquakes) so to is the human heartbeat the connection to the Earth and everything on it.

Milky Way’s Magnetic Field Mapped

If the Milky Way were one giant magnet, sprinkling iron filings around it would trace the galaxy’s magnetic field. Scientists have found a more practical way to map the field using the Planck telescope. Planck measured the polarization of microwave light that permeates space. When light is polarized, its electric fields all point in the same direction. Light reflecting off interstellar dust grains becomes polarized in the direction the grains are aligned; that direction, in turn, is steered by the galaxy’s magnetic field. Planck’s map, reported in four papers posted May 5 at ArXiv.org, shows the entire sky with a dark band through the center representing the plane of the galaxy. Darker shading reflects more-polarized light. The lines mark the direction of the magnetic field. The galactic magnetic field is about 100 million times as weak as a refrigerator magnet, and yet it may be crucial to the formation of stars. The field map is also important for understanding the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, the flash of light emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang, which the BICEP2 team recently used to see gravitational waves from the primordial universe (SN: 4/5/14, p. 6).

Now a little more about science and what people know and do not know about it.

Take the origin of the universe question. Asked if the universe began with a big explosion, 39 percent of Americans polled (in 2012) said yes. But if you said “according to astronomers, the universe began with a big explosion,” the correct response rate jumped to 60 percent.

It’s well-known, of course, that the phrasing of a question can greatly influence polling results, which is one of the reasons why all such surveys should be evaluated skeptically. So it might be a good idea to rethink the relationship between polling questions and the scientific knowledge that members of the public really ought to have. Is it really necessary for the ordinary citizen to understand cosmologists’ consensus on the universe’s origins, or how lasers work? Well, maybe not. But pollsters point out that such questions are merely meant to be indicators of broader comprehension of science and its principles. Trumpeting concerns about ignorance on any specific question misses the point. It’s the more general understanding and appreciation of science and its methods that’s really important — and that really should be the emphasis of general science education.

In fact, I’d contend that the problem with science education is not that it fails to inculcate enough facts, but that it tries to inculcate too many. Science classes in high school and intro classes in college seem to be taught as though everyone needed preparation to pursue a Ph.D. Seriously, calculating solubility constants in high school chemistry classes is about as useful as teaching drivers’ ed students how to maneuver an F-16 fighter jet. Important general principles that could (and should) be retained for a lifetime are diluted to the point of homeopathic impotence by a flood of excessive technical detail. Same hold true for  a basic understanding of fiscal knowledge. Our current youth have no idea how destructive debt and consumption will be in their life.

This science topic was inspired by the physicist Richard Feynman’s famous remarks on the one sentence about science that would be most important to pass down to future generations.

He said “All things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.” Everybody should know that much about science.

And here are a few more basics that are useful to know.

  1. Science successfully explains natural phenomena through rational investigation and logical reasoning rather than by recourse to superstition and mysticism.
  2. When scientific disputes arise, the ultimate arbiter is not expert authority or common sense but experimental evidence, guided by theory.
  3. Scientific theories are not “guesses” but are logi­cally rigorous attempts to explain the observed facts of nature and to predict the results of new observations.
  4. When a theory’s predictions are confirmed, it becomes an essential tool in the further practice of science, but even good theories may someday be superseded by theories more comprehensive or more accurate. In other words, we never know as much as we think!
  5. The universe is vast and old, with our sun only one of bil­lions of stars in a local galaxy, joined by billions of similar galaxies occupying the depths of space beyond.
  6. Life has changed over the eons, with complex creatures evolving from simpler precursors, and human beings therefore occupy one branch of an immense fam­ily tree of living organisms — all sharing attractor fields, and a common molecular machinery driving basic life processes.
  7. As Einstein demonstrated, conceptions of time and space based on everyday life don’t apply accurately to all speeds and all realms of space.
  8. The microworld of the atom, and realms even smaller, obey “quantum” laws completely at odds with common sense, and notions of cause and effect and the very nature of reality are inherently blurred on that scale. ( I like to call these “God’s Laws” that we still know very little about )
  9. The way a thing works is often influenced by its connections to other things and the ways that they work, a principle that applies to everything from the networks of cells in the brain and the body’s other organs, to ecological and economic systems, to human interactions and social institutions. ( Yes it’s all very complex and there is beauty in that )
  10. Little is certain in science but much is highly probable, and the proper quantification of probabilities is essential for inferring facts, drawing conclusions and formulating sound judgments.

Finally for me, I think we all need to stop arguing about things we don’t yet understand, and instead focus our attention on how we can work together to solve the glaring problems of our world like war, famine and greed.

Be well everyone.

Could Global Warming trend be over?

The sun is a major factor in our solar system and literally affects everything here on Earth. I’ve been watching a growing number of bright minds talk about  the sun and how it affects how we live, but they don’t get much airtime due to the vast number of stories about C02, Global Warming and ice melt. The video below is a guy who has been watching the sun for a long time and I think worth sharing for those of us who enjoy research.

Warming or cooling, our food supply is no less in jeopardy. A full thirty % of land in the U.S. is used to grow corn. The reason? Well, multinational corporations are finding new ways to use corn that never used to exist before. For one example: The majority of cows raised for the beef industry are now raised on corn. Unfortunately, before they raced ahead in an attempt to grow them bigger and faster, no one stopped to find out if it made sense. Truth is, it doesn’t make sense because the cows digestive system is not designed to digest corn. Increase in eColi anyone?

More corn, more sugar shit for the masses. Few realize that high fructose corn syrup is in 90% of all food on store shelves and is made from chemicals and corn.

TRUE: The FDA conducted over 50,000 food inspections annually in 1970. In 2007 they did less than 9,000.

TRUE: There used to be over one thousand slaughterhouses in the U.S. and now there are only 13

Faster, Fatter, Bigger Cheaper – that is the corporate moto for growing food to feed a growing population. This equates to no accountability and no integrity of our food supply. Bad food means more sickness. More illness means more need for healthcare. More healthcare means politics takes over. Sound familiar?

TRUE: In 1996, Two % of all soybeans had the genetically modified patented gene inside

TRUE: In 2008, Eighty % of all soybeans have it

Monsanto has 75 full time attorneys protecting their seed patents and countless teams of investigators harassing farmers who choose not to use their GMO seeds.

The US Government has passed bills to prevent anyone from posting a disparaging picture or text comment about the food production, cattle ranchers or slaughterhouses controlling our food supply.

If you havnt rented Food Inc. you should. Some things we all should be aware of.

Now for the “sun part” Some scientists agree the climate change patterns may be shifting due to the significant changes in the sun’s solar activity. We may be starting to cool off and Global Warming may be near its cyclic end. That’s said, Climate extremes may be here to stay and may actually get worse. More reason to learn how to grow healthy organic food Aquaponically. 

SEE VIDEO

California drought and food supply

By now everyone with a TV or mobile device is aware of the challenges facing California due to the extensive drought. However, I’m not sure everyone in America understands how it affects them. As conditions worsen by the day, policy makers and local residents are actually arguing about protecting some rare fish instead of diverting water from reservoirs and canals to the agricultural regions that need it most. Additionally from my research only two new Desalinization plants are currently under construction at a hefty cost to tax payers. Why is it that Australia can figure it out and California cannot? Australia has the first wind powered desalinization plant.

Wind Powered Water

Wind Powered Water

Are coastal residents so ignorant that they would vote down an efficient wind turbine that would deliver all the clean water they could need for a lifetime simply because they think it’s unsightly and affects their ocean view? Priorities rarely seem to mesh with logic anytime emotion is at play.

 

California is one of the biggest suppliers of fruits, vegetables and nuts to the United States. In fact 82% of the world’s Almond supply comes from California. Expect prices to double at the very least. A recent report by industry expert stated the following. “The less obvious consequences of how climate change may affect the nation indirectly through shifts affecting the Southwest, given that Southwestern states produce more than half of specialty fruit, nuts and vegetables for the U.S., and more than half of the nation’s shipping container traffic comes in through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. All of these conditions, particularly those in mid to Northern California, where a large percentage of U.S. food is produced, have implications far beyond the state. The drought’s effects will ripple far beyond the fields. Consumers can expect tighter supplies and higher prices for most fruits and vegetables by summer. And farm suppliers will feel the pinch. “We’re in the middle of what potentially is looking like a huge catastrophe,” said Ryan Jacobsen, chief executive of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “We’re looking at some very harsh realities, as far as water allocations.”

Flushing toilets only once a day, as one member of the audience suggested, certainly does help, the panelists agreed, but efforts to cut back on residential water use only go so far given that “agriculture consumes almost 80 percent of the water in our region.” This has been a driver for the Aquaponic community since Aquaponics is very water wise and uses 90% less water than soil farming. Large commercial Aquaponic farms are being converted from soil farms in an attempt to stay alive. This drought is causing farmers to look for solutions and Aquaponics is a major solution. The drought causes a wide range of negative effects and the obvious ones are; loss of jobs, economic degradation, and significant property value decline. What is a house worth when nothing comes from the faucet?

Fire Danger Earlier in 2014.

“It’s unprecedented for us to do this in January,” said Battalion Chief Mike Giannini, whose Marin County Fire Department is one of the first to be called upon to send aid north. “We’ve sent crews this early in the year in the past to Southern California, because their fire season never seems to end,” Giannini said. “But not up there. Not to places like Humboldt, which has coastal, high-humidity, forested types of conditions we would normally equate with low fire danger.”

Together these spell problems for the nation’s largest state, 40 million people, and 4th largest economy in the world. Let’s hope and pray they get their priorities worked out and please let’s all pray for rain and a much needed summer El Nino`for all our sake.