Saturday, September 8, 2012

Arctic Ice. Veterans. Oyster Reefs. Libor Scandal In AK? Actos Side Effect. Rainbow Bridge. Energy Myths. Sea Turtle. Coal Mine In CO. New Amsterdam. Galveston Hurricane.

For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old:

Arctic sea ice just hit a record low. Here’s why it matters.

“The Arctic Ocean’s vast, frozen expanse of ice is rapidly vanishing. On Monday, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic had reached its lowest level since satellite measurements began, breaking the previous record in 2007. That’s particularly striking because the summer melting season still has about two more weeks to go.

NSIDC sea ice extent map

The Arctic has lost more sea ice this year than at any time since satellite records began in 1979, Nasa says.

The sea ice extent at 26 August (white) is markedly different from the 1979-2000 average (orange line)

It’s clear that Arctic sea ice is now shriveling more quickly each year. And scientists say the melt has been driven by both global warming and other pollutants that humans have put into the atmosphere. So why does the disappearing sea ice actually matter? Partly it’s a sign of how quickly we’re heating the planet. Yet the vanishing sea ice can also have its own side effects, from warming up the Arctic further to unlocking once-frozen areas of the north for oil and gas exploration. Below is a rundown of what we know about Arctic sea ice and why it’s worth watching.”  More at:


War Veterans Recover at Brooke Army Medical Center

“More than 624,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have filed disability claims (both physical and mental), the Military Times reported in January and a recent ABC news report says that according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 1,286 service members who are now amputees as a result of those two wars.”

Chief prosthetist John Fergason measures the residual limb of U.S. Army PFC. Heath Clemons, 21 from Cameron, MO, while fitting him for a leg prosthesis at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI) rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), Aug. 8, 2012. Clemons lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Maiwant, Afghanistan, May 29, 2012. Thousands of U.S. military war wounded, most suffering from amputations, burns and functional limb loss in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq.  (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have made the term IED (Improvised Explosive Device) a household term. IED injuries result in thousands of US military war wounded suffering from amputations, burns and functional limb loss. The vets spend months (and sometimes years) in outpatient care, many at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. The BAMC comprises the Center for the Intrepid that is home to the largest inpatient medical facility in the Department of Defense. The hospital is the DOD's only burn center and Level 1 trauma center in the US. Getty Images photographer John Moore takes us inside the hospital, showing some of the wounded's steps to recovery. -- Paula Nelson (33 photos total) From:


Group trying to save Galveston Bay's oyster reefs

"Oyster reefs"Galveston Bay produces oysters and shrimp and blue crabs more than any other place in the state of Texas," Galveston Bay Foundation President Bob Stokes said.   "Unfortunately, we had about 50 or 60 percent of our oyster reefs damaged or destroyed by the sediment that got stirred up from Hurricane Ike," Stokes said.

That meant big trouble for the bay's ecology. "The fact that they can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day for one individual oyster," said Matthew Abernathy with the Galveston Bay Foundation.  They are nature's filtration system, removing silt and contaminants from the water. They also serve as habitat for fish and invertebrates. But with more than half the reefs destroyed by Ike, something had to be done.

"The purpose of this project is to enhance and help reestablish healthy oyster reefs in Galveston Bay," Abernathy said.  Matthew Abernathy leads the restoration program through a process called oyster gardening. It begins here at Tommy's Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Clear Lake.  "We go through a bout 6,000 oysters a week," the restaurant's owner Tom Tollett said.  Tollett is the pearl of this project. He supports the program by recycling his shells.  "We take them and we put them in bins so that the Galveston Bay Foundation can come and pick the oysters up," he said.

Birds Perching on Bags of Oyster ShellsThe shells are transported to Texas City, where they sit in the sun for six months. The process is called sun bleaching. It removes unwanted bacteria and organisms from the shells. Then, they're bagged and prepped for gardening.  "And we take bags, mesh bags full of oyster shell like this and we hang it off of piers out here in the bay. And what it does is this provides a hard substrate for the oyster larvae to attach to," Abernathy said.  Young oysters develop on the recycled shells and when they're large enough, they're placed into the bay to repopulate the reefs.

"We want to bring life back to these oyster beds. We say these beds are ours. They actually belong to the state," Buddy Schultz said.  Nearly 20 bagged shells are hanging from Schultz's pier at Pelican Rest Marina. He's hoping the reefs in his area will show signs of life once again.

But there's one thing to keep in mind about these oysters.  "The oyster restoration projects and these near shore oyster reefs that we're working on in Galveston Bay are not for public consumption," Abernathy said.  These oysters are grown solely for the purpose of enhancing habitat creation, water quality and shoreline protection -- all for the benefits of improving this beautiful Texas gem called Galveston Bay.”   More and video at:


Alaska: the next Libor litigation frontier?

The aurora borealis is seen above residential homes along Osborne Road near Nome, Alaska March 10, 2012. REUTERS/Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz

The aurora borealis is seen above residential homes along Osborne Road near Nome, Alaska March 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz

(Reuters) - “The Libor scandal, which began in London with bankers accused of manipulating a key global interest rate, has reached the Alaskan wilderness.

Or at least that's the hope of New York plaintiffs' lawyer Brian Murray. He filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of investors in Alaska - as well as investors in Wyoming, North Dakota and about 20 other states - that accuses banks of violating various state antitrust laws in allegedly rigging the London interbank offered rate.” More at:


Bladder Cancer Not the Only Severe Actos Side Effect

Actos Pills Bladder Cancer Lawsuit“Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals alleging that extended usage of Actos leads to bladder cancer and tumors. A recent federal whistleblower lawsuit states that Actos also may be connected to suicide, schizophrenia, epilepsy and grand mal seizures. The Actos whistleblower lawsuit was filed by Dr. Helen Ge who worked for Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Ge's lawsuit alleges that patients who took Actos had a much higher rate of bladder cancer, cardiovascular problems, suicide, schizophrenia, epilepsy and grand mal seizures when compared to similar drugs like Avandia. In addition, Dr. Ge's Actos lawsuit alleges that Takeda Pharmaceuticals repeatedly obstructed Actos connection to heart problems and multiple types of cancer (including bladder cancer.)”  From:


A Rainbow Turned to Stone, Rainbow Bridge

As you approach the viewing area from the docks, Rainbow Bridge peeks out from behind the cliffs.

“Rainbow Bridge is the world's largest known natural bridge. The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time--from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 300,000 people from around the world who visit it each year.
Please visit Rainbow Bridge in a spirit that honors and respects the cultures to whom it is sacred.”     Read More


Top Ten Home Energy Myths

Programmable thermostatSource:

“Some ideas are so widely held that they appear to bear little scrutiny or even a second thought. While often factual, such common wisdom can also be based on outdated or erroneous information such as old wives’ tales or urban legends.

Widespread misconceptions about home energy use can cost homeowners on their energy bills and lead to unnecessary home maintenance and reduced comfort. Ten common home energy myths that may be costing you, include the following:”      Rest of article at:


The Survival of the Sea Turtle

“Watch the miraculous journey of infant sea turtles as these tiny animals run the gauntlet of predators and harsh conditions. Then, in numbers, see how human behavior has made their tough lives even more challenging.” View full lesson on TED-Ed BETA:


Forest Service Reloads Assault On Colorado Roadless Area

Agency pushes lose-lose-lose-lose coal mine expansion

The Sunset Roadless Area.
(Photo: Ted Zukoski)

“Coal is dirty.

It’s the dirty fuel that gives us mercury in our lakes, acid rain in our skies, carbon pollution, leaky ash ponds, and scraped-off mountains and buried streams in Appalachia.

And just like the coal itself, Arch Coal’s proposed West Elk mine expansion into the Sunset Roadless Area in western Colorado will be a lose-lose-lose-lose proposition. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s going away.

The Forest Service is proposing to OK the mine’s expansion under the roadless area, a natural, rugged landscape of beaver ponds and aspen stands, lynx habitat and giant spruce trees, elk and deer habitat and dramatic scenery of the adjacent West Elk Wilderness.

To get at the coal under the roadless area, the mine says it will need to drill wells to release methane from the mine. Methane is a hazard to miners, but when released into the atmosphere, it’s a climate change-causing gas on steroids, with more than 20 times the heat trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.  Infrastructure to remove the methane will require bulldozing more than 6 miles of road and nearly 50 one-acre well-pads, cutting the heart out of the roadless area.

So, Loss No. 1: Natural lands in the Sunset Roadless Area……

Loss No. 2: Unnecessary methane pollution………

Which leads to Loss No. 3: Our money…..

But wasting America’s natural gas isn’t enough for Arch Coal. It wants a discount for mining the coal (a nearly $5 million cut in royalty payments), making this an even worse deal for taxpayers—Loss No. 4.”

Complete article at:


On This Day:

New Amsterdam becomes New York, Sep 8, 1664:

“Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrenders New Amsterdam, the capital of New Netherland, to an English naval squadron under Colonel Richard Nicolls. Stuyvesant had hoped to resist the English, but he was an unpopular ruler, and his Dutch subjects refused to rally around him. Following its capture, New Amsterdam's name was changed to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who organized the mission.

The colony of New Netherland was established by the Dutch West India Company in 1624 and grew to encompass all of present-day New York City and parts of Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. A successful Dutch settlement in the colony grew up on the southern tip of Manhattan Island and was christened New Amsterdam.

To legitimatize Dutch claims to New Amsterdam, Dutch governor Peter Minuit formally purchased Manhattan from the local tribe from which it derives it name in 1626. According to legend, the Manhattans--Indians of Algonquian linguistic stock--agreed to give up the island in exchange for trinkets valued at only $24. However, as they were ignorant of European customs of property and contracts, it was not long before the Manhattans came into armed conflict with the expanding Dutch settlement at New Amsterdam. Beginning in 1641, a protracted war was fought between the colonists and the Manhattans, which resulted in the death of more than 1,000 Indians and settlers.

In 1664, New Amsterdam passed to English control, and English and Dutch settlers lived together peacefully. In 1673, there was a short interruption of English rule when the Netherlands temporary regained the settlement. In 1674, New York was returned to the English, and in 1686 it became the first city in the colonies to receive a royal charter. After the American Revolution, it became the first capital of the United States.”


Deadly hurricane batters Texas, Sep 8, 1900:

“One of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history hits Galveston, Texas, on this day in 1900, killing more than 6,000 people. The storm caused so much destruction on the Texas coast that reliable estimates of the number of victims are difficult to make. Some believe that as many as 12,000 people perished, which would make it the most deadly day in American history.

Galveston Island lies just off the Texas coast. It is long and narrow, about 28 miles long by 2 miles wide, and is barely above sea level. The harbor on the bay side of Galveston was a prime port with numerous rail connections. As a major hub for trade, thousands of people settled on the island at the end of the 19th century.

It was a Friday afternoon when the residents of Galveston first got an indication that a storm was imminent. For a few days the storm had been bearing down on the Texas coast, coming across the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys. At the time, there was no reliable warning system in place for hurricanes; it was not until 1908 that ships began radioing the mainland about approaching storms.

The storm hit Galveston on Saturday, September 8, with sustained winds of at least 115 miles per hour; the town's wind gauge blew away so the wind speed may have been even higher. A Category 4 hurricane, the storm brought with it an enormous storm surge and, by 3 p.m., water had covered nearly the entire island. It came in waves that were 15 feet higher than the mean tide. At the Bolivar Point lighthouse, there was a report that salt water spray from the ocean reached a height of 115 feet. Buildings crumbled and fell from the force of the water and high winds ripped the roofs off of nearly every building in town. Many Galveston businesses and families had installed slate roofs after a serious 1885 fire and these roofs became flying weapons of destruction as the hurricane tossed them through the air.

The St. Mary's Orphanage collapsed and killed all the inhabitants. At the Ursuline Convent, 1,000 people gathered seeking shelter, but when a 10-foot retaining wall fell, the entire front part of the convent collapsed. Ships in the harbor were tossed into each other and some were later found 30 miles away. Survivors reported seeing corpses floating all over and around the island. Thousands died in Galveston and at least another 2,000 on the mainland coast also perished. Precise numbers will never be known, in part because thousands of bodies were disposed of in the Gulf of Mexico without being counted or identified. When Clara Barton of the Red Cross came to Galveston soon after the disaster she said, "It would be difficult to exaggerate the awful scene here."

Galveston began to rebuild almost immediately. On October 2, 1902, construction began on a massive protective sea wall. Two years later, the wall, 16 feet thick by 17 feet high and constructed of cement, stone and steel bars, was complete. By 1910, the population of Galveston had grown to 36,000. Thanks to the city's preparations, when a comparable storm hit in 1915, only eight people died.”



“The word "hurricane" comes from Hurican, the Carib god of evil. Hurricanes typically form in the tropical zones north and south of the equator. They can be hundreds of miles wide and last for several weeks as they move across the ocean. The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season runs from June through November.

In 1953, the U.S. National Weather Service, which tracks hurricanes and issues advisories, started giving storms female names in order to help scientists and the public follow them. Beginning in 1979, men's names were also used. The World Meteorological Organization assigns one name for each letter of the alphabet, with the exception of Q, U and Z. The lists of names are reused every six years; however, when a hurricane is especially deadly or costly its name is retired and a new name is added to the list. In 2006, "Katrina," along with four other names from the 2005 hurricane season, was taken out of service. Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states in August 2005, was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.”



After doing some more research about healthy food, tending to emails, phone calls and junk mail, I knew I had to get to get back to work on the cargo trailer drapes. I had been putting it off for too long.

That was when I realized what a task I had ahead of me to make them for all five windows.  I hadn’t wanted to gather this fabric, as it is very thick and would have looked terrible.  So I had started to make pleats on the first drape which was very time-consuming.  Then it was obvious that each pleat would also have to be sewn vertically for about 10” too, to make them hang right.  The cargo trailer will in all likelihood be sold to a man, and men are not keen on drapes.  The kitchen drapes might get in the way of the cook stove, so I think I will buy some pull-down shades, and replace the fabric with my fabric.

Not much to show for it, but I was busy all day.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Always wondered how "Hurricane" got its name.