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Monday, June 6, 2011

News Bits

We've Eaten All The Fish In The Sea

"The ocean seems infinitely huge, but we're emptying it.

That's the message of a 2003 study by Villy Christensen, Sylvie Guénette, and other researchers (via Paul Kedrosky).

The authors took a look at annual catches of popular North Atlantic fish over the past half-century, and estimated the change in fish populations over the last hundred years.

Below is the most frightening chart, which is based on the study (click for bigger).

This first chart is just scary:
Check out Business Insider for more charts!
(via BI)

13 injured when bounce houses go airborne in New York
My friend laughed when she heard about this... clearly she's a terrible person.

"A heavy gust of wind blew away inflatable bounce houses with children inside at a New York soccer event, leaving 13 people injured, authorities said late Saturday.

The Oceanside United Soccer Club in Long Island was hosting a tournament Saturday afternoon when three bounce houses started floating away, said Eric Evensen, a Nassau County police officer.

"As children were inside, a heavy gust of wind blew across the field, raising them off the ground and sending them airborne," he said. "Once they hit the ground, they began rolling and struck several people on the ground."
(CNN thanks to Katie, who may or may not be said terrible person)


Watch A Tugboat Drag An Arctic Iceberg To Parched People Half A World Away
Wayyyy cool.

"Since he was hired in the '70s by Saudi prince Mohammad al-Faisal, French engineer Georges Mougin has tried to figure out a way to tow freshwater icebergs across the Arctic. Now, with 3-D tech, declassified satellite data, and tugboats, he might have cracked the way to quench the world's thirst."

"There are 1.1 billion people in the world without clean drinking water. Meanwhile, billions of gallons of freshwater disappears uselessly into the ocean, the result of icebergs that break off from the ice caps of Greenland and melt into the salty mix.

Do you spot an inefficiency in the system here?

So did French engineer Georges Mougin. And that's why he's invented a system for towing icebergs across the ocean and straight to the world's thirsty. Using 3-D technology, recently declassified satellite data, and the new science of oceanic forecasting, Mougin has created an elaborate method for hauling ginormous icebergs using a "skirt" and a tugboat.

It might sound outlandish, but Mougin has been trying to tap the icecaps for decades. In the 1970s, Mougin was enlisted by prince Mohammad al-Faisal, a nephew of the Saudi king, along with other engineers and a polar explorer, in a venture called "Iceberg Transport International." Faisal planned on wrapping a 100-million-ton iceberg in sailcloth and plastic and tugging it from the North Pole to the Red Sea, though the cost was estimated at an exorbitant $100 million. For a swank conference on "iceberg utilization," he even managed to ship, via helicopter, plane, and truck, a two-ton "mini-berg" from Alaska to Iowa, where the giant block of ice was chipped apart to chill delegates' drinks. According to a Time report from October of 1977, Faisal predicted that he'd have an iceberg in Arabia "within three years."

That didn't happen. The Iowa iceberg conference erupted into discord over price and feasibility.

In Three Easy Steps:
"Step one: You can't just grab an iceberg any time of the year. "There is a season for harvesting icebergs, a bit like tomatoes," says Simard with a laugh. You'll want to consult a glaciologist.
Also, you'll want an iceberg of the optimum size--not too big, but not too small--and shape.

Once you've found the proper Titanic-buster, have your tugboat (yes, a tugboat--more on that later) deploy a floating geotextile belt--made rigid by a series of poles--around the target, effectively lassoing the iceberg."

"Step two: Deploy a geotextile "skirt" to snag the bulk of the beast and to keep as much as possible from melting away. The skirt, which deploys down to 20 feet below the surface of the ice, creates a cushion of cold water around the iceberg, which helps slow melting. And below the surface, icebergs are smoothed by ocean currents, making it unlikely the skirt will tear as it protects its cargo."

"Third and final step (theoretically): Tow that iceberg across the ocean before it melts away."
(Fast Company, thanks to Nick)

And... Here's another episode of
Sarah Palin's Revisionist History Lessons

"Sarah Palin, who brought her magical mystery tour bus to Beantown yesterday, took some time out of her busy schedule (?) to give reporters a wildly inaccurate history lesson on Boston silversmith Paul Revere and his legendary “Midnight Ride”"
(via TDW)

Of course after every blunder lesson, she must remind us that she didn't mess up.
If only those gosh-darned liberal-agenda'd reporters would stop asking tricky "gotcha-type" questions!

(via TDW)

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