Tags >> coast
Dec 02
2009

Modern Piracy

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , transportation , public safety , ocean , news , law enforcement , international , history , economy , coast , Africa

Bruce Robinson

Terrorism in the 21st century is not confined to hot spots in the middle east or attacks on urban centers elsewhere. The upsurge in piracy in waters off Africa and Malaysia can be seen as another form of terrorism, but one that is driven by economic pressures rather than ideological concerns.

The pirates of east Africa, many of them former fishermen who have lost their traditional livelihood, almost always seek ransom for the ships they commandeer. But history professor Richard Kirk, who has made a special study of piracy over the past nine years, notes that the fate of captured vessels in the South China Sea is often much more dire.

 

It’s quite rare for passenger ships to be targeted by pirates, but Kirk knows of at least one instance in which a modestly sized cruise ship came under attack.

 

The original swashbuckling buccaneers of the 16th century are the basis for the romanticized image that has endured, and Kirk says their era lasted almost two centuries.

 

Pirate attacks in 2007

 

Pirate Attacks in 2008

 

 

Nov 23
2009

Blue Whale Death

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , technology , research , protest , policy , ocean , news , legislation , government , fish , environment , employment , coast , California , animals

Bruce Robinson

A month after a blue whale was killed by the propellers of a survey ship off the coast near Fort Bragg, some big questions remain, among them, how did this happen, and could it have been prevented?

The crew of the Pacific Star only became aware of their ship’s deadly encounter with the blue whale when its propeller stopped, reports Shelia Semans, the sea floor mapping project manager for the Ocean Protection Council and the Coastal Conservancy. But that moment was quickly fatal for the whale, a conclusion that was confirmed by examinations of its beached body.

 

Steve Sullivan, an outspoken critic of the mapping project, contends the participating ships have failed to comply with applicable regulations governing sonar surveying, because their sponsoring organizations have disregarded those rules.

Sheila Semans counters that the type of sonar used by the navy and other large vessels in commercial shipping lanes is markedly different than the sonar technology used in sea floor mapping in shallow coastal waters.

This video shows the size of the whale carcass, soon after it washed ashore Oct. 20, a little south of Fort Bragg. The rectangular section of skin and blubber that is missing above the tail was removed by scientists studying the dead animal. The fatal wounds are on the underside, not visible to the camera.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU5IpIL-M0s 300x300]

Nov 05
2009

Voyage of Discovery

Posted by Bruce Robinson in tourism , students , rights , religion , poverty , ocean , international , Ideas , Green , environment , education , coast , climate change , carbon

Bruce Robinson

There’s nothing like seeing other parts of the world first-hand to give one a different perspective on “home.” A Sonoma State professor who did just that last summer with his students in the international Semester at Sea program, reports back.

The Semester at Sea program offers educational voyages that go completely around the world, and shorter trips, such as the summer voyage in which Rocky Rohwedder participated. Rohwedder, a professor of Environmental Studies, explains how that was structured.

That sequence was set up to ease the touring students into new cultures, by beginning with western European nations that have much in common with the United States. But as they traveled eastward around the Mediterranean, Rohwedder recounts, the changes became more dramatic.

As he traveled, Rocky posted regular blog entries from the trip, with many photographs embedded. In this one, he is seen with his son Ryder, in a public marketplace in Fes, Morocco.

 

Click here to find out how to apply for a semester at sea.

Oct 29
2009

Builders of the Pacific Coast

Posted by Bruce Robinson in trees , Science , planning , open space , Ideas , housing , environment , design , coast , California , author , art

Bruce Robinson

From remote cabins crafted of driftwood to stunningly beautiful and unconventional family homes, Bolinas-based writer and photographer Lloyd Kahn collects innovative individual builders up and down the Pacific Coast.

Below are two examples of the buildings featured in the book: The elbaorate temple built by SunRay Kelly at Harbin Hotsprings, and a whimsical gazebo made of driftwood on a Vancouver Island beach.

The farther north he ventured, the more Kahn found projects that had been built in substantial part from found materials—driftwood on the beaches, and fallen timber inland. He says that immersing himself in that world has had an enduring effect in the way he sees potential resources around him now.

Lloyd Kahn's first building experience was with geodesic domes, which led to his first book as well. But  he eventually became disenchanged  the domes, and turned his attention to the more generalized subject of  Shelter, published in 1973. The success of that volume launched his Bolinas-based publishing business,  which concentrates on books about do-it-yourself homebuilding, and health. He'll present a slide show drawn from Builders of the Pacific Coast at Copperfield's Books  in Sebastopol on Thursday night, Oct. 29, at 7  pm.

 

For his next publishing project, Kahn says he will be narrowing his lens to focus on creative “micro” housing efforts, such as this work in progress.

The intricately ornamented staircase and loft below is yet another of the utterly unique homes Kahn has featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast.

 

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