Tags >> ocean
Jan 06
2010

Project Kaisei

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , waste , toxic , Science , research , planning , ocean , nonprofit orgs , international , Ideas , garbage , fish , events , environment , education , design , conserve , coast , California

Bruce Robinson

Far out in the oceans of the world, away from the continents and even shipping lanes, vast floating seas of plastic garbage form an intractable sort of water pollution, something the bay area’s Project Kaisei  is working to combat.

The north Pacific gyre is 700 to 800 miles across, explains Mary Crowley,  co-founder of Project Kaisei, but it is not a solid mass of garbage so much as a shallow stew of floating debris.

The north Pacific Gyre is believed to hold the largest plastic Vortex anywhere on Earth, but Crowley observes that there are numerous other gyres across the seas, and each of them have their own growing expanses of floating garbage.

Returning from the Pacific Gyre, the Kaisei sailed under the the Golden Gate Bridge on August 31st. Kaisei is a Japanese word meaning "Ocean Planet."

 

Dec 28
2009

"Tamalpias Walking"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , parks , open space , ocean , Marin , history , environment , coast , author , art

Bruce Robinson

Marin County artist Tom Killion has spent his life portraying different views of Mount Tamalpias--but filtered through the techniques of Japanese woodcut printmaking.

 

When he set out to draft the text for Tamalpais Walking, Killion discovered he had a lot to learn about the history of Mount Tamalpais.

   Tamalpais Walking is the most recent in a series of collaborations between Killion and poet Gary Snyder, Their previous joint effort was The High Sierra of California in 2002. Killion will be at Copperfields Books in Sebastopol on June 3 to talk about their books.

 

Even though Japanese woodcuts are distinctly stylized, Killion says he was also intrigued by the accuracy of detail that the masters were able to incorporate.

 

Killion's website shows and sells many of his prints, including the samples reproduced below. There is also a page explaining his technique, including this favored hand-powered press.

 

 

 

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]