Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Monday Meltdown

I suppose it's been building for some time:

"Chernobyl’s human-free zone teems with wildlife, study finds" by Sarah Kaplan and Nick Kirkpatrick Washington Post  October 10, 2015

WASHINGTON — The study by Tom Hinton, a radioecology expert at Fukushima University in Japan, and Jim Smith, an environmental science professor at the University of Portsmouth in England, is the first real census of wild animals in the remote area along the Belarus-Ukraine border uninhabited by humans for decades.

Species flourishing in the exclusion zone were vanishing from other parts of the former Soviet Union, likely due to increased hunting, poorer wildlife management, and other economic changes.

The presence of wolves is particularly telling. As apex predators, they are a sign of the health of the entire ecosystem. This indicates to researchers that chronic exposure to radiation has had no impact on overall mammal populations.

(Blog editor cannot describe the complete, abject, and utter dejection he felt when reading such a thing. It's over with this pre$$, sorry)

This doesn’t mean that the zone isn’t dangerous, Hinton stressed.


He and his colleagues didn’t study the individual- and molecular-level damage caused by lingering contamination. While whole populations aren’t dying out, individual animals might be getting sick. And the soil in areas close to the reactor site still exudes radiation.

Say again?

But, Hinton said, ‘‘the environment is very resilient.’’

Yeah, IT is; we are not.

So when do the luxury condominiums go up?

The print copy ended there. 

The web version added this:

For Hinton, who is currently studying the effects of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the impact is both astounding and sobering.

‘‘It’s an amazing experience from a wildlife perspective, but it’s also a sad experience because you see homes that have been abandoned and you imagine the people’s lives that have been disturbed,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s sad to see the houses and the cars and the baseball bats and you envision the life that people had to drop and leave. But you also see wild boar running around and you don’t see that as soon as you leave the zone.’’

It sure is.


Gee, the vegetation doesn't look to good. 

Meanwhile, regarding a more recent and ongoing danger:

"At least three people were killed in extensive flooding this week in eastern Japan, authorities said Friday, with the deluge prompting the release of an unknown amount of contaminated water from a closed reactor. An additional 23 people were still missing, according to public broadcaster NHK. Tropical Storm Etau, which came ashore Wednesday, brought with it heavy rainfall. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. said rainwater containing radioactive material flowed into the ocean from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Friday."

And has been to the tune of 300 tons a day, every day, for the last four+ years.

Related1 dead, 22 missing in Japan flooding

Now on to much larger issues:

Japan’s ruling bloc to vote on military bills amid protests
Japanese Parliament scuffles over military bills
Japan OKs law to boost military role

It was quietly passed late Friday.

Okinawa stalls bid for US Marine base

Then they will just have to invade again.

"A Japanese man was killed by two unidentified gunmen in northern Bangladesh Saturday, less than a week after the killing of an Italian aid worker prompted fears foreign nationals would be targets of extremists. Police said Kunio Hoshi, 66, was shot three times while riding a rickshaw. A suspected Islamic State statement claimed responsibility for Hoshi’s killing, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamic websites (New York Times)."

Sorry, but SITE means it's $HIT propaganda. 

Why would they kill a Japanese? Because they are aiding the U.S. war project?

I can't help wondering if Fuku has something to do with these events:

"Scientists foresee worldwide bleached coral crisis" by Seth Borenstein Associated Press   October 08, 2015

WASHINGTON — The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse.

Triggered by global warming and the El Nino, record hot ocean water is causing fragile coral to go white and often die, threatening picturesque reefs that are hotspots of marine life, experts say.

The spread of sickly white started more than a year ago in Guam, then devastated Hawaii, infected the rest of the tropical Pacific and the Indian oceans and has now infested Florida and the Caribbean. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international reef scientists pronounced it a global coral bleaching event, only the third in recorded history.

No place with coral has been spared, though some regions — such as Hawaii — have been hit harder than others, experts said. Excessive heat stresses the living coral, which turns white and then becomes vulnerable to disease.

‘‘We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year,’’ NOAA coral reef watch coordinator Mark Eakin said. ‘‘The bad news for the U.S. is we’re getting hit disproportionately just because of the pattern of the warming.’’

He called bleaching a crisis, especially with worsening global warming forecast for the rest of the century: ‘‘If that’s not a crisis, what is?’’

Eakin said he’s especially concerned about Hawaii, which already suffered through bad bleaching in 2014.

‘Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now,’’ Eakin said. ‘‘It’s severe. It’s extensive. And it’s on all the islands.’’

In one part of northwestern Hawaii, ‘‘the reef just completely bleached and all of the coral is dead and covered with scuzzy algae.’’

Also see: Coast Guard rescues boater adrift for five days off Hawaii

Florida started getting hit in August. The middle Florida Keys aren’t too bad, but in southeast Florida, bleaching has combined with disease to kill corals, Eakin said. It has also hit Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is about to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, he said.

Warm water causes bleaching and ocean temperatures are at record high levels, partly because of steady manmade global warming and partly because of the El Nino, which is an occasional warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, Eakin said. Add to that Hawaii’s ‘‘blob,’’ a pool of warm water that has stagnated in the northeast Pacific.

The last super El Nino, in 1997-1998, was the first global bleaching event. A smaller El Nino in 2009-2010 was the second.

So far the 1998 bleaching was worse, but that was the second year of an El Nino and we’re in the first of two years now, Eakin said.

Oceans worldwide are by far the warmest on record — August 2015 was four-tenths of a degree warmer than in August 1998. Next year, he said, may be as bad as this year or even worse.

NOAA produced forecasts of bleaching that show it as a giant red blob moving across the globe again. And what worries marine ecologist Gregor Hodgson, who heads the group ReefCheck, is the forecast that the blob will hit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia next spring.

The computer model forecasts ‘‘this horrendous dramatic’’ impact on the Great Barrier Reef, Hodgson said. ‘‘It’s truly terrifying.’’

I'm so sorry, I simply no longer believe NOAA, period. Sorry. 

This isn’t just a problem for divers and fish; coral reefs are crucial globally, Eakin said. Coral reefs protect shorelines, produce tourism dollars and help provide food for 500 million people around the world, he said.

Even though coral reefs are one-tenth of 1 percent of the ocean floor by area, they are home to 25 percent of the world’s fish species, Eakin said.

‘‘You kill coral, you destroy reefs, you don’t have a place for the fish to live,’’ Eakin said.


You know what I think is killing the coral, and this goddamn pre$$ will never admit it. They barely even report it, the spineless jellyfish.


"Summer might be over, but experts have continued to make trips to the beach, hoping to learn more about the habits of great white sharks lurking off Cape Cod. A dead 12-foot great white shark was found washed up on Pleasant Road Beach in Harwich Saturday night, prompting a response from the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries the following morning. Greg Skomal, a biologist for the state,  checked the outside of the shark’s body for any visible bruises or punctures that may have led to the shark’s death, but found no obvious signs of trauma, officials from the conservancy told the Globe Monday. In the video taken by the nonprofit research group, Skomal is asked what may have killed the shark, causing it to wash up on the beach. “I may never find out,” Skomal responds. “We don’t know why these things happen most of the time.” Still, several samples were taken from the shark’s body for further examination."

Pilot whale beaches itself, dies in Rock port
State extends closing of South Shore oyster beds
Key fishing area for Atlantic cod in dire shape, officials say
Seal deaths off Calif. coast, warming may be linked

But not Fukushima spewing of radiation.

Forecasters predict an unusually wet winter, thanks to El Niño
Waiting for El Nino on a remote Pacific reef
Evidence mounts for El Nino that could ease Calif. drought
Water usage tumbles again in Calif.

The heavy rains helped, but it shows people get it.

Obama leads climate-change efforts.... With both China and India now aboard the effort to fight climate change, all the world’s major economies are committed to the carbon-curbing cause. These efforts alone will not be enough. Rather, they should be seen as platforms on which to build. Certainly they set the stage for productive talks when world leaders convene in Paris in December for the next climate-change conference. None of this would have happened without President Obama’s efforts. The president deserves real credit for his determination to push world climate-change efforts ahead, despite myopic GOP opposition at home."


"India’s long-awaited pledge for a global climate pact shows how the world’s third-worst carbon polluter is making significant efforts to rein in the growth of emissions linked to its fast-surging demands for energy, analysts said Friday. India’s emissions will continue to grow as its economy expands, but the increase relative to economic output will be lower than it is now."

It's all relative and forget about the  ‘junk science.’’ Just get the message out.

Electrical Engineer's Study to Change AGW "Debate" ?

Look, I'm no longer going to argue with gas bag Kerry.

Better I just pinch a loaf for him to chew on.

"Africans reject UN climate deal" Associated Press  October 18, 2015

STOCKHOLM — African countries Sunday dismissed an early draft of a UN climate accord as “unbalanced” and demanded amendments to even consider it at the final negotiating session before a landmark conference in Paris.

The move by the African bloc came on the eve of week-long talks in Bonn, Germany, on what’s envisioned to become the most ambitious agreement ever to fight global warming.

Delegates on Monday were supposed to start line-by-line editing a 20-page draft that contains multiple options on how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

But the African countries, many of which are among the most vulnerable to climate effects such as desertification and sea level rise, said the draft “cannot be used as a basis for negotiation, as it is unbalanced, and does not reflect the African Group positions, and crosses the group’s red lines.”


Looks like Africa is getting a bad rap.

Also see:

Explosions in birthplace of Boko Haram kill 48
South Sudan strife imperiling aid
Berklee to open pan-African music school in Gabon
Internet Cat Video Festival coming back to Berklee Performance Center
Conservationists rally in South Africa, other countries

Speaking of the South:

"A report card by America’s Watershed Initiative gave the Mississippi River basin a grade of D+, with an aging transportation infrastructure topping the list of concerns. The report said new strategies are needed that respond to climate change. "

Work underway as South Carolina tries to recover from floods

I wonder if you will be able to keep your coverage afloat.

Unless I'm sick, I don't believe I have forgotten anything.

Warnings issued as typhoon nears

Typhoon kills two, displaces thousands, leaves nine provinces in Philippines without power

The deaths will take their minds off the terrorists.

"Heavy haze forced Malaysian authorities to shut schools Tuesday in three states and two key cities as aircraft prepared to begin cloud-seeding operations in an attempt to produce rain to help clear the air. Indonesia intensified efforts to extinguish the forest fires that cause the haze. The thick, dirty white haze is mostly caused by fires illegally set in Indonesia to clear land for farming. Officials said the cloud-seeding is planned for three days but will depend on cloud availability and weather conditions. The inter-monsoon season is expected to start in late September, bringing more rain over the peninsula to clear up the haze." 

Cleared it up for me.

Malaysian police fire water cannons at Malay protesters

Think about that for a minute. Is that any way to use the water? 

That's crazy!

"State rulers in Malaysia press for inquiry into prime minister" New York Times  October 07, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In a rare and explicit intervention in politics, Malaysia’s state rulers have called for a swift and transparent investigation into a political scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying his failure to resolve allegations of corruption had created a “crisis of confidence” in the country.

Malaysia’s central bank and anticorruption officials are investigating whether millions of dollars transferred into Najib’s accounts came from companies linked to a government fund that Najib oversees.

The statement by the state leaders — nine sultans who have a largely ceremonial role — was their most direct intervention in politics in recent history. Analysts said it was likely to provide support for the embattled officials who are investigating the scandal and buttress the position of the growing ranks of Najib’s political opponents.

“The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government, which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth,” said the statement, which was released Tuesday and circulated by Bernama, the national news agency.

John Pang, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said Najib, who faces significant opposition from within his party, now appears more isolated.

The suspected graft in the scandal, which centers on the sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, has alarmed Malaysians. One set of transfers made into Najib’s account, according to a statement by Malaysia’s anticorruption commission, was for nearly $700 million.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing, but he has not publicly explained the source or purpose of the money."


Air pollution in Singapore caused by Indonesian forest fires
Ruling party in Singapore wins majority

I just couldn't see my way to reading it, sorry.

Magnitude-6.6 quake hits Indonesia

"Indonesia seeks help in quelling fires"AP  October 09, 2015

JAKARTA, Indonesia— Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Thursday the government has asked other countries for help in extinguishing forest fires that have caused widespread haze in Southeast Asia.

All that carbon that you are to be blamed for, human!

The country has been unable to put out the rugged forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, where fires have been worse this year due to intentional burning, especially on peat land, and the absence of rain because of the El Nino effect.

‘‘We have asked for help yesterday and have been assisted by Singapore,’’ Widodo told reporters. He added that assistance from Russia, Malaysia, and Japan was in progress. He said three planes were expected to arrive Thursday.

Indonesia has already deployed 25,840 soldiers, police, and fire personnel in six provinces to fight the fires with 25 aircraft conducting water-bombing and cloud-seeding operations.

More than 200,000 people have suffered acute respiratory infections in at least seven provinces, while media reports said at least six people have died."

And the migrant crisis that hasn't received as much coverage:

"Rape accusations spur Rohingya upheaval in Indonesia camp" by The Associated Press   September 30, 2015

BLANG ADOE, Indonesia — More than 200 ethnic Rohingya stormed out of an Indonesian encampment Tuesday as tensions erupted following alleged rapes and beatings by locals at the site, where members of Myanmar’s long-persecuted minority have been held since arriving by boat four months ago.

The protest occurred after authorities forced one woman to go to a hospital. Other Rohingya did not want her to leave, fearing she could be abused more if separated from the group, said Steve Hamilton, deputy chief of mission at the International Organization for Migration in Indonesia.

That ‘‘caused some panic and a brief chaotic response, with Rohingya trying to stop the ambulance,’’ he said.

Four females and six males, aged 14 to 28, said they were attempting to flee the camp Monday night because they wanted to go to neighboring Malaysia, where a large community of Muslim Rohingya exists, Hamilton said. They said they were stopped by Indonesian men wearing masks and were taken into the woods, where they were beaten and three of the females raped, including a 14-year-old.

‘‘When they returned to the camp, word of sexual abuse and torture committed by local residents blew up at the camp,’’ said Lhokseumawe district Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Anang Triarsono.

He said that anger boiled over when the Rohingya surged out of the camp carrying clothes and other supplies. They were later persuaded to return.

Print ended there.

‘‘We very much regret this incident and will definitely thoroughly investigate it,’’ said Amir Hamzah, a spokesman for the district government in North Aceh. He said the females were traumatized and wanted to seek medical attention, but were stopped when Rohingya men in the camp insisted they stay.

Immigration officials were working to identify everyone who returned to the camp Tuesday night after the tensions calmed, and some women were being examined at the hospital, said North Aceh Deputy Police Chief Major Irsyad Haryadi.

‘‘We are still investigating this serious case while waiting for the hospital results,’’ he said. No arrests have been made, and Haryadi said it was difficult to find witnesses to corroborate the story.

Since Myanmar opened up following a half-century of military rule in 2011, an estimated 130,000 Rohingya have fled violence and persecution, sparking the largest boat exodus in Asia since the Vietnam War. 

And we have the largest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII.

Can there be any more doubt?

Earlier this year, the situation spiraled after a crackdown on people smugglers in Thailand and Malaysia left thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded at sea when their agents and captains, fearing arrest, abandoned them.

Several countries in the region refused to let the boat people to come ashore in May, worried that opening the door to a few would invite a massive influx.

Under international pressure, Indonesia and Malaysia finally allowed the boats to land and said they would temporarily host those on board until a more permanent solution could be found.

Hundreds of Rohingya ended up in Indonesia, but it was never their intended destination. They are being held in camps, cannot work and are separated from family members, including those living in Malaysia.


And there are more important things going on in Myanmar:

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi opens election campaign on Facebook

Her campaign headquarters are at the CIA.

"Myanmar, some rebels ink cease-fire, a partial victory for President Thein Sein less than a month before a historic national election. The United Wa State Army and the Kachin Independence Organization, which controls large swaths of territory near Myanmar’s northeastern border with China, were among groups that didn’t agree to the cease-fire, dealing a blow to Thein Sein’s efforts to forge a nationwide deal before the Nov. 8 election. The clashes have tested Thein Sein’s control over army commanders since he took power following a 2010 election that ended about five decades of direct military rule. Even with the agreement, voting in next month’s elections has already been canceled in more than 400 villages and towns in five states, after the country’s election commission determined that it couldn’t guarantee a ‘‘free and fair’’ poll because of concerns about ethnic violence."

Myanmar reaffirms election date

And way down under:

Turnbull defeats Abbott to become party leader, prime minister of Australia

"He's a former investment banker and lawyer who is more open to the outside world and less conservative, alert to the risks of climate change, and a “force.”

They divorced Abbott over same-sex marriage. 

Time to sit back, smoke a cigarette, listen to the kid's side of the story, and decide what to do next.


Music calmed me down.

Britain unveils plans to fight extremism in young Muslims

Damn kids.

Native Hawaiian election effort hampered by lawsuit, divisiveness

I wonder what is really happening out there.

Typhoon death toll rises in Philippines

I'll say a prayer for them. Hope it doesn't affect the scallop catch.

UPDATE: Journalist plumbing Chernobyl, Russian life wins Nobel