Daily Archives: June 8, 2011

Water Water Everywhere but ….

Don’t forget to include Global Water Dances on your calendar. That date would be June 25th, 2011. For those of you in the Twin Cities, it is happening at the Stone Arch Bridge. There are about fifty locations world wide. Find your nearest event here.

Check out the details here.

And now, your depressing yet important water fact for the day: Bad water kills 1.4 million children every year.*

Videos of the Global Water Dances project:
Continue reading Water Water Everywhere but ….

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 27: They should have seen the tsunami coming.

In terms of radiation fallout Fukushima is said to be approaching Chernobyl by at least certain measures, and the potential for Fukushima to be worse in terms of total radioactive material released is very real. However, the two disasters really can’t be compared sensibly because the circumstances of release, and the potential effects, are very different. It has become increasingly clear that the authorities involved in the initial construction of the plant should have considered the Tsunami risk as a serious factor, and this is not just because the Tsunami actually happened. The consequence of having one’s multi-reactor nuclear power plant swallowed up by the ocean are sufficiently dire that one would want to avoid even a small chance of it happening. Or so they are beginning to realize.

Now, not only is it clear that three of the four reactors suffered full-on melt-downs, it may also be the case that one of the reactors suffered a sort of “China Syndrome” wherein melted nuclear fuel burned itself through all of the containment vessels and through the floor of the reactor plant, to China. China is, in this case, an unknown distance below the surface of the reactor building, where the radioactive material sits now boiling off whatever water seeps down there and makes contact. That may not be exactly what happens, but steam pouring out of the floor underneath a reactor vessel full of holes seems to be a clue…

The level of highly radioactive water in the reactor plants is rising, except in association with reactor number 1. perhaps the “China Syndrome” effect there causes the water to boil off. Or, perhaps the water there is leaking out to the sea. Or, perhaps, no one has a clue.

It is now known that several people have indeed suffered internal radiation exposure, and the number of such individuals known is going up, as medical personnel are examining people. The tea is tainted. The government survived a no-confidence vote but Kan’s resignation is being called for. Questions are also being raised regarding the Independence of the International Atomics Energy Agency.

There are still concerns that the Number 4 reactor spent storage pool will collapse.

In short, since our last update, nothing good has happened by way of progress to contain or mitigate the situation, but quite a bit has been revealed about how bad the accident was at the time it first occurred, and the severity of damage to the reactors, especially 1 and 2, has become more apparent. And, the Japanese people are in the streets demanding action and answers. It has been a long time since Japanese were openly and vigorously protesting something. Which was, if memory serves, the construction of nuclear power plants.

Ana’s Feed

Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 27: They should have seen the tsunami coming.

The Birds of New Jersey

I’ve recently reviewed bird or nature books for some fairly exotic places (see this for all the reviews) including the Antarctic and the West Indies. Now, I have a book on the birds of one of the most exotic places ever: New Jersey!

OK, if you are from New York like I am, you know that was a joke. In all seriousness, New Jersey is an excellent place to go to see wildlife and I’m not talking about Atlantic City.

New Jersey has some of the largest swamps and marshes around, an extensive shoreline, and extensive pine barrens. Why, there are even mountains. The state, small and flattish and stuck between the City that Never Sleeps and the old Middle Colonies is more diverse of habitat than most people realize, and The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution by William Boyle recognizes, describes, reflects, and exploits this.

The Birds of New Jersey is organized differently than many other field guides. The 300+ page book has very few birds on a page (may be an average of 1.5). There is no left vs. right side, but rather, a running single column layout with a header, text, and a picture. Range maps in the margins complement the descriptions. The illustrations of the birds are photographs, and the photographs often have paragraph-long captions with important details.

This layout is visually nicer than you’ll see in any other bird book. It works as a field guide, so getting this book for that function should not worry you. But the text is also more informative and detailed than the average bird book.

One of the nicest tings about this book is the detail in the range maps. Well, technically they are not “range maps” because they cover a very small area in relation to actual bird ranges. They are state maps giving very detailed geographical distribution (against the background of the above mentioned habitat diversity) including little red dots for occasional sightings. I want a book that does this for Minnesota (well, we have something like this but not this pretty).

The book is on the larger end for field guide size, is printed on good quality paper, and is apparently available on the Kindle. I’d love to see a copy of this on the Kindle because I’m rather suspicious that this would work well. If I lived in New Jersey, tough, I’d get a Kindle copy so that I’d have a searchable version of the text.