Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mayflower,AR. Environmental Devastation Reversed. Bad MS Drug. Marathon medals on eBay. Faberge Egg Found. Deepwater Horizon Three Years Later. Turtle Genes. Tsunami Debris. Kepler's Miscalculation. Shores of Tripoli.


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

Mayflower, meet Exxon: When oil spilled in an Arkansas town

Spilt oil from Exxon pipeline run through homes in North Woods Subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas in this April 1, 2013 photo released to Reuters on April 11, 2013. REUTERS-EPA-Handout(Reuters) - “Warren Andrews had just finished putting up balloons for his stepdaughter's 18th birthday party at their suburban home in Mayflower, Arkansas, when his wife came inside and said something was wrong.

Spilt oil from Exxon pipeline run through North Woods Subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas in this March 29, 2013 photo released to Reuters on April 11, 2013. REUTERS-EPA-Handout


After stepping out of his house, and taking one glance, he immediately dialed 911.  "I don't know what's going on, but I've got a river of oil coming down the street at me," Andrews told the operator.

Five minutes later, the slick of noxious black crude spewing from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline was eight feet wide, six inches deep and growing fast.”From:

and: “UPDATE 3-Exxon pipeline leaks thousands of barrels of Canadian oil in Arkansas” at:

and:  “Exxon Mobil pipeline leaks ‘a few thousand’ barrels of crude oil in Arkansas” at:


Apr-13 Update Fingerprinting Lake for Exxon Tarsands Oil Contamination in Mayflower

“Fingerprinting the water beneath the surface of the water for Exxon tar sands oil in Lake Conway, Mayflower Arkansas with donated OPFLEX technology as endorsed and approved by BP in the Gulf of Mexico.”


From me:  Haven’t we had enough oil spills?


Can Large-Scale Environmental Devastation Really Be Reversed?

“Our soil and water are becoming increasingly contaminated and infertile on a global scale due to poor farming practices, ignorance and greed.

imagesCAO28XAU The barren Loess Plateau in North-Central China became a model of how whole ecosystems can be restored through sustainable agricultural practices.

Similar ecosystem restoration in South America, Africa and the Middle East have illustrated how formerly devastated lands and villages can be transformed into vistas of lush, thriving vegetation.

imagesCA5IJUVV Man-made ecological damage has manifested itself in more ways than on farms and forests. Greed and power have been the basis for such travesties as genetically modified crops, BPA, melamine and plastic contamination, slash-and-burn” farming and monocropping have caused untold damage that won’t be remedied without people being informed and empowered to make a change.

You can make a change in your own back yard.”

'What Happens When Humans Don’t Understand How Ecosystems Function?'

This same trend in Jordan prompted the government to take action. Working with civil engineers and scientists, Liu sectioned off areas to allow the land to rest for three years. In an amazingly short time, grass began to appear. A plant species last recorded in the 1800s and thought to be extinct emerged on its own.

“Grasses develop perennial root systems that spread, encouraging microbial communities living and growing in this microclimate that’s created,” Liu explained. “Then you won’t have direct sunlight hitting, and UV radiation sterilizing this microbiological habitat. Then, everything will change – you’ll have a cumulative situation where there’s always vegetation, organic matter and biodiversity.

“You can see the relationship between hydrology and vegetation and biological life. That’s the basis of the air and the natural water system. It’s how the atmosphere and the hydrological cycle were created and how they were constantly renewed. …If we emulate those and don’t disturb them, we can live in the Garden of Eden.”

Greening the Desert – Can This Be Replicated in Other Parts of the World?

"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert."

Complete article with more videos at:


Ingredient in New MS Drug Linked to Serious Brain Disease

Reports found four psoriasis patients who took similar drug developed rare but sometimes deadly condition.

WEDNESDAY, April 24, 2013 (HealthDay News) — “The active ingredient in a drug that's expected to become a popular treatment for multiple sclerosis has been linked to four European cases of a rare but sometimes fatal brain disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

The ingredient, dimethyl fumarate, is used in a drug called Fumaderm that was approved in Germany in 1994 to treat the skin condition psoriasis. It is also in a different but closely related medication called Tecfidera, which was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is known as a fumaric acid ester, which is commonly used as a food additive and has been used to treat psoriasis in Germany for 30 years.

According to reports published in the April 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, however, four patients who were taking Fumaderm to treat their psoriasis developed PML.”  More at:


Sale of Boston Marathon medals on EBay angers manufacturer

Medal“There are some people who will try to find a way to make monetary gain from a tragedy. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is no different. At the time of this posting, seven people are selling their 2013 Boston Marathon medals on EBay, with various pitches to entice people to buy. This has caused outrage in some who feel these sellers are trying cash in on the tragedy of the bombings last week.

One seller lists his medal with a pitch that includes: "2013 Official Boston Marathon Finishers Medal given only to qualified runners who finished before the bombing took place."”  More at:,0,3077869.story


Stolen Egg Found: $1.3 Million Faberge Style Object Found Near Swiss Border.

stolen faberge egg“Don't you hate it when you just can't remember the last place you left your $1.3 million egg? A stolen egg encrusted with hundreds of jewels was recently recovered near the Swiss border, after being missing for four years.

The bejeweled ovum was burgled in 2009 from a Kuwait import-export firm based in Geneva, and its location has remained unknown ever since. But last Thursday, a suspicious looking BMW was pulled over during a routine roadblock near the border between Switzerland and France, and the egg was found inside the car, according to International Business Times. Two men in the vehicle were promptly arrested, along with a third man trailing behind in a Jaguar.

"Under questioning the three men unconvincingly claimed they had found the jeweled work of art lying on the ground, or had bought it cheaply in a flea-market," police told the Associated Foreign Press.”  More at:


“How Did They Let This Happen?” Reflections on the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Three Years Later

“Many of us remember the images from the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that left 11 people dead. The disaster opened a gushing wellhead that emptied 5,000 barrels of oil per day into the ocean off the coast of Louisiana. I worked as a teacher in Louisiana as these events unfolded, and for me, what happened eight days later was as poignant as the news on that first terrible night because it happened in my classroom.

On April 28, 2010, the world watched as clean-up crews set the Gulf of Mexico’s waters ablaze—the latest attempt to control the vast oil slick. The disaster became the topic for discussion among my 7th grade students in Jefferson Parish, less than 100 miles from the smoldering oil rig. The local news had just reported that oil would be washing ashore within hours.

My students were scared. They sought assurance and answers. They wanted to know why it was happening. The BP oil spill was more than an ecological disaster happening offshore; the impacts were real and they were quickly hitting home.  One student heard from his father, a commercial fisherman, that “all of the oysters and fish were going to die and there was going to be no more seafood.”

As students pictured the oil washing ashore and destroying beaches, many feared that their parents would lose their jobs in the tourism-based economy that the Gulf Coast relied upon. They talked about the places they had visited and loved—Jean Lafitte down the road, the beaches of Alabama and Gulf Islands. “Will we be able to go this summer?”

They turned to me and asked, “How did they let this happen?”

Being an English teacher, this would have been a great opportunity for me to invoke the lessons of The Lorax and provide a literary analogy. But I just told them to hold on to how they felt in that moment and not forget it.

This was just the beginning of a nightmare that went on to last 87 days. Over 210 million gallons of oil later, gulf ecosystems have been permanently changed. As we mark the three-year anniversary, the restoration continues. We still do not know the long-term consequences of the BP oil spill and how it will affect the landscape and aquatic life for years to come. A recent National Wildlife Federation report states the remnants of oil and dispersants continue to plague dolphins, sea turtles, and coral, which are dying at an abnormally high rate.

Three years later, more oil rigs are drilling in the Gulf of Mexico than before the BP oil spill. In the past year, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued 112 new drilling permits for wells deeper than 500 feet—more than each of the two years prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Have we forgotten the lesson from three years ago? I at least hope that my students have not.”  From:


Turtle genes may aid human health

“The western painted turtle might offer clues about stroke and heart attack recovery, researchers say.

 Researchers have decoded the DNA of the western painted turtle in the hopes that a greater understanding of these reptiles could one day improve treatment for people who suffer a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers identified 19 genes in the turtles' brain and 23 in the heart that are activated in situations with low oxygen. These genes also occur in humans. The study authors said their findings might lead to treatments to repair tissue damage due to oxygen deprivation associated with cardiovascular emergencies.”  More at:


Barnacle-Covered Boat Confirmed As 1st Debris From Japan Tsunami To Reach California

California Tsunami DebrisCRESCENT CITY,  Del Norte County (CBS/AP) — “Federal officials say a fishing boat that washed ashore in Northern California is the first debris to reach the state that’s been confirmed as having come from the Japanese tsunami.

The Del Norte Triplicate reports that the 20-foot vessel belongs to the marine sciences program at Takata High School in the town of Rikuzentakata in the Iwate prefecture. It washed ashore in Crescent City on April 7.”  More at:


On This Day:

Universe is created, according to Kepler, Apr 27, 4977 B.C.:

“On this day in 4977 B.C., the universe is created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science. Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.

Kepler was born on December 27, 1571, in Weil der Stadt, Germany. As a university student, he studied the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus' theories of planetary ordering. Copernicus (1473-1543) believed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system, a theory that contradicted the prevailing view of the era that the sun revolved around the earth.

In 1609, Kepler published the first two of his three laws of planetary motion, which held that planets move around the sun in ellipses, not circles (as had been widely believed up to that time), and that planets speed up as they approach the sun and slow down as they move away. In 1619, he produced his third law, which used mathematic principles to relate the time a planet takes to orbit the sun to the average distance of the planet from the sun.

Kepler's research was slow to gain widespread traction during his lifetime, but it later served as a key influence on the English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and his law of gravitational force. Additionally, Kepler did important work in the fields of optics, including demonstrating how the human eye works, and math. He died on November 15, 1630, in Regensberg, Germany. As for Kepler's calculation about the universe's birthday, scientists in the 20th century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about 13.7 billion years.”


To the shores of Tripoli, Apr 27, 1805:

“After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton leads a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.

In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli. Lieutenant Presley O' Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase "to the shores of Tripoli," from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign.”

“From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of Tripoli;
We will fight our country's battles, In the air, on land and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom, And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze, From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev'ry clime and place, Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands, And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job-- The United States Marines.
Here's health to you and to our Corps, Which we are proud to serve
In many a strife we've fought for life, And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy, Ever look on Heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded, By United States Marines.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there.

Jay and I worked on the extension of my roof over the front porch. It’s slow going, up and own ladders constantly.  I could rent a scaffold from a man down the street, but we can’t work on it every day.  Also, I don’t know how I would haul it.  I can see I am going to have to buy tires and tags for my utility trailer.  I still can’t let Gummie-cat out on the screen porch as we haven’t got any of the new roof on yet, so there is still a gap. 

My daughter called to say that the patient, my ex and her step-dad, is now off the ventilator.  Also, as the traffic would be too bad coming through Houston on a Friday afternoon, she wouldn’t be here until today.

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