Archive for December, 2012

Monday Moaning

It may well be New Years Eve (at least here in Brazil) but I have been watching videos and looking at photos from around the world.

Just because it’s New Year, doesn’t mean I can’t have a Moan!

Here is an example, New Year’s fireworks display from Copacabana Beach last year. Sixteen minutes of fireworks (the clip is just 1:22).


Did you watch until the end? Did you see the amount of pollution that was pumped into the atmosphere, all that carbon?

Here we are in the midst of critical irreversible climate changes and we still do this…

Imagine the collective carbon and pollution from celebrations all around the world.

We aren’t serious about wanting to survive, are we?

“But it’s New Year!” goes up the collective shout.

What’s to celebrate if there are no people around?

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 22,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Nature Ramble

Been absent the last couple of weeks, blame it on the silly season.

This week it’s a swim rather than a ramble, so get your togs on we’re off to the sea around the Isle of Skye in Scotland to look at a shellfish that I have never heard of before.

Flame shell reef off Scotland could be world’s biggest

Experts believe the colony of Limaria hians in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and mainland, is the largest of its kind

Flame shells group together on the sea bed and their nests create a living reef to support hundreds of other species. Photograph: Marine Scotland/PA

The discovery of a large shellfish reef on the west coast of the UK could be the biggest find of its kind in the world, experts believe.

The reef, made up of more than 100 million brightly coloured and rare flame shells, or Limaria hians, was found in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and the Scottish mainland. It covers an area of 4.6 sq miles (7.5 sq km) and was discovered during a survey commissioned by Marine Scotland. It is the largest known colony of flame shells in the UK and possibly the world, say experts.

The Scottish environment secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: “The seas around Scotland are a hotbed of biodiversity and the clean and cold waters support many fascinating and beautiful species.

“With Scottish waters covering an area around five times bigger than our landmass, it’s a huge challenge to try and understand more about our diverse and precious sea life.

“This important discovery may be the largest grouping of flame shells anywhere in the world.

“And not only are flame shells beautiful to look at, these enigmatic shellfish form a reef that offers a safe and productive environment for many other species.”

Flame shells have a similar shape to scallops, with many neon orange tentacles that appear between the two shells. They group together on the sea bed and their nests create a living reef to support hundreds of other species.

Read more

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I love the last sentence…

“Who needs space travel when we’ve still to fully explore and understand the oceans and seas here on planet Earth?”

Doesn’t that say so much?

These Flame Shells (Limaria hians) from Scotland and parts of the English coastline should not be confused with the Flame Scallop (Lima scabra) from the Caribbean, also a stunning looking species.

Flame Scallop (Lima scabra)

A small look at the wonderful world of nature.




Make you Fink on Friday

You’ve all heard about Rednecks, but have you ever thought they maybe the original recyclers?

Watch this short video…

A Green Christmas

“As we finish up the year 2011, I want to thank all of you for your educational posts over the past year.
I am so totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery!I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.I can’t use the remote in a hotel room because I don’t know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I can’t sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed, and maybe it has never been washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I can’t touch any woman’s purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public restroom.

I must send my special thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I took it all out of every bank, since they are all insolvent and ready to go under, but, now I can’t sleep because of the large lump in my mattress.

I also gave a considerable amount of money to a sick girl on the internet (Penny Brown) who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time (sent in care of George Soros).

Now I am really short on money, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

Or, that check from Bernie Made-off will finally arrive! Afterall, he promised, and it IS overdue.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa’s Novena has granted my every wish.

I can’t have a drink in a bar because I’ll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with one of my kidneys gone.

I can’t eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I can’t use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains and takes rust off of car battery bolts.

I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer doesn’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up, or someone walks by with a credit card remote reader and steals all my personal financial info.

I no longer use Plastic Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can’t boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to the movies because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.  Or there are bed bugs in the seats.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer buy cookies from Girl Scouts since I now have their secret recipes.

Thanks to you I can’t use anyone’s toilet but mine because a big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

And thanks for that great advice I can’t ever pick up a coin dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I can’t do any gardening because I’m afraid I’ll get bitten by the deadly Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.If you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump.  I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor’s ex-mother-in-law’s second husband’s cousin’s best friend’s beautician…Oh, by the way… A German scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse. Don’t bother taking it off now, it’s too late.

P.S.: I also now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because I was told by e-mail that germ-infested water splashes over 6 feet out of the toilet.”


Author Unknown

Source: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

Nature Ramble

I am continually amazed. I mean, I am no slug when it comes to nature and her many and varied species, but this week I was introduced to a beautiful animal that I had no idea existed.

Sunda Clouded Leopard

Existing in mainland Asia, Indonesia and Borneo, it is rarely filmed. A BBC Nature story drew my attention and I followed up.

Credit: Suzies Den

The rare Sunda Clouded Leopard has two subspecies; for Borneo and Indonesia. The species was only discovered in 2007 and this recent news means zoos and wildlife researchers must be careful with any breeding programmes. It’s thought the different species evolved after being separated by rising sea levels after the last Ice Age. The big cat remains on the endangered list as they need large hunting areas which are currently threatened by logging and plantations. – Suzies Den

From YouTube:

A video I made using a bunch of random video clips and photos of clouded leopards. The song is The Glade by Joel McNeely and is off of the Last Of The Mohicans soundtrack.

Saturday Satire on Eco-Crap


Make you Fink on Friday

We often ask ourselves, at least the those who think do, questions like, “Why are we here?” “What is our purpose?”

We come up with various answers, the most popular is to do God’s bidding, others say we are here to propagate and evolve.

I don’t believe in the first, but the second has a ring of truth, but then I don’t think that is the answer either.

If an earthworm asks the same questions, the answer is easier. “We are here to process compost into viable soil.”



Consider this: Earthworms are more than just fish bait. They are the main contributors to enriching and improving soil for plants, animals and even humans. Earthworms create tunnels in the soil by burrowing, which aerates the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to reach deep within the soil. Earthworms eat the soil which has organic matter such as decaying vegetation or leaves. Plants cannot use this organic matter directly.  After organic matter is digested, the earthworm releases waste from their bodies called castings. Castings contain many nutrients that the plant can use. Some people even use earthworm castings as garden fertilizer.UPenn

Maybe our purpose is inline with that of the earthworm, in that we are here to process aspects of nature into more useful aspects.

But somewhere along the line we lost the plot. We found God who gave us the right to rape the planet, which we continue to do with ever increasing efficiency.

The Earth formed ~4.5 billion years ago along with the rest of the solar system from the disk of rock and gas left over after the formation of our star. Image: Science World

Now, the Earth has existed for billions of years, and more trillions before that as pre-planetary matter. The more or less million years that man, in his various forms, has existed is totally inconsequential when compared to spacial time

Man moved from being a hunter-gatherer to being a farmer, hence from being a nomad to a being of fixed abode in the space of 10,000+/- years. The rate at which we have developed has increased on an exponential curve. We have gone from cheese and beer 7,500 years ago to hamburgers and Coca Cola today, we have gone from being lean mean hunting machines to fat lazy creatures who rely on technology.

Was this in Mother Nature’s design?

Who knows?

But what of the planet before we were here?

The planet underwent cycles, ice ages, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and interglacial periods.

We were not here, so our influence was not an issue.

But now the planet is undergoing changes and we are here. We have a collective guilty conscience. We believe that we are responsible for global warming, greenhouse gases and climate change.

But I challenge you. The changes that are occurring are all a part of the natural cycle, our influence may have exacerbated the changes to a greater or lesser degree than we imagine.

The above are thoughts that have been coursing through my grey matter for some time, yesterday I read an interesting post that confirms that I am more than just a pretty face…

The Cause Of Extreme Weather Events

By Richard Mills

“Over the last few months we have been witness to many extreme weather events – heat waves, Europe suffering from a severe cold snap, the worst in twenty five years, extreme flooding in Australia, Brazil and China, to drought in the U.S. Many say the cause is global warming, and lay the blame squarely on greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. Are we, and our activities at fault? What can we look forward to if/as the earth continues to warm?The Earth’s climate has been continuously changing throughout its history. From ice covering large amounts of the globe to interglacial periods where there was ice only at the poles – our climate and biosphere has been in flux for millennia.

Last Glacial Maximum:

This temporary reprieve from the ice we are now experiencing is called an interglacial period – the respite from the cold locker began 18,000 years ago as the earth started heating up and warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age. Approximately every 100,000 years or so our climate warms up temporarily. These interglacial periods usually last somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 years before another ice age starts. Presently we’re at year 18,000 of the current warm spell.

Serbian astrophysicist Milutin Milankovitch is best known for developing one of the most significant theories relating to Earths motions and long term climate change. Milankovitch developed a mathematical theory of climate change based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations in the solar radiation received by the Earth from our Sun – it was the first truly plausible theory for how minor shifts of sunlight could make the entire planet’s temperature swing back and forth from cold to warm.

Milankovitch’s Theory states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun, cyclical variations in three elements of Earth/sun/geometry combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that reaches us. These three elements are:

* Variations in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity – the shape of the orbit around the sun, a 100,000 year cycle
* Changes in obliquity or tilt of the earth’s axis – changes in the angle that Earth’s axis makes with the plane of Earth’s orbit, a 41,000 year cycle
* Precession – the change in the direction of the Earth’s axis of rotation, a 19,000 to 23,000 year cycle

These orbital processes are thought to be the most significant drivers of ice ages and, when combined, are known as Milankovitch Cycles.

Other Climate Change Drivers:

* Changes occurring within the sun affects the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface. These changes in intensity can cause either warming – stronger solar intensity – or cooling when solar intensity is weaker.
* Volcanoes often affect our climate by emitting aerosols and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Aerosols block sunlight and contribute to short term cooling, but do not stay in the atmosphere long enough to produce long term change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) has a warming effect. For about two-thirds of the last 400 million years, geologic evidence suggests CO2 levels and temperatures were considerably higher than present. Each year 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 enters the earth’s atmosphere – six billion tons are from human activity, approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants

These climate change “drivers” often trigger additional changes or “feedbacks” within the climate system that can amplify or dampen the climate’s initial response to them:

* The heating or cooling of the Earth’s surface can cause changes in greenhouse gas concentrations – when global temperatures become warmer, CO2 is released from the oceans and when temperatures become cooler, CO2 enters the ocean and contributes to additional cooling. During at least the last 650,000 years, CO2 levels have tracked the glacial cycles – during warm interglacial periods, CO2 levels have been high and during cool glacial periods, CO2 levels have been low

* The heating or cooling of the Earth’s surface can cause changes in ocean currents. Ocean currents play a significant role in distributing heat around the Earth so changes in these currents can bring about significant changes in climate from region to region

In 1985 the Russian Vostok Antarctic drill team pulled up cores of ice that stretched through a complete glacial cycle. During the cold period of the cycle CO2 levels were much lower than during the warm periods before and after. When plotted on a chart the curves of CO2 levels and temperature tracked one another very closely – methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, showed a similar rise and fall to that of CO2.

Temperature Anomaly: Small rises or falls in temperature – more, or less sunlight – seemed to cause a rise, or fall, in gas levels. Changing atmospheric CO2 and methane levels physically linked the Northern and Southern hemispheres, warming or cooling the planet as a whole. In the 1980s the consensus was that Milankovitch’s Cycles would bring a steady cooling over the next few thousand years. As studies of past ice ages continued and climate models were improved worries about a near term re-entry into the cold locker died away – the models now said the next ice age would not come within the next ten thousand years.

Effect: It’s obvious that the orbital changes, as explained by Milankovitch’s Theory, initiate a powerful feedback loop. The close of a glacial era comes when a shift in sunlight causes a slight rise in temperature – this raises gas levels over the next few hundred years and the resultant greenhouse effect drives the planet’s temperature higher, which drives a further rise in the gas and water vapor levels and so on. The earth will continue to warm, polar ice caps will melt, so will the Greenland ice sheet and most glaciers. More sunlight will be absorbed by the Earth’s oceans, causing increased evaporation. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas and amplifies twofold the effects of other greenhouse gases. With Earth’s ice gone there will be significantly less sunlight reflected back into space, vast expanses of Arctic tundra will thaw releasing unbelievable amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent then CO2.New weather patterns next century: By the end of this century scientists expect our weather to have changed substantially. Because of increased average global temperatures the tropical rain belt will have widened considerably and the subtropical dry zones will have pushed pole-ward, crawling deep into regions such as the American Southwest and southern Australia, which will be increasingly susceptible to prolonged and intense droughts. The polar jet stream has already been altered, wide swinging north-south deviations (meanders) have become the norm – deviating far from its normal path and meandering north into Canada, the jet stream brings warm air while dipping far south over Europe, the polar jet stream brings record cold and snow. Ocean currents will be altered, further impacting our climate, and sea levels will rise. Freshwater aquifers will suffer from saltwater intrusion, once habitable zones will become uninhabitable. As the meanders meander extreme weather follows.

Conclusion: According to science the world is going to continue to get warmer, cyclical variations in three elements of earth/sun/geometry combined to produce more sunlight reaching the earth. Increased sunlight caused a slight rise in temperature – greenhouse gas levels rose and the resultant greenhouse effect is driving the planet’s temperature higher, which drives a further rise in gas levels and so on.A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change will amplify extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and the highest wind speeds of tropical storms. Extreme weather events are going to happen with increasing frequency, the climate for the area you live in is going to change, regardless of what you/we do. We are all watching and experiencing the events and changes in real time.

We should be talking, we should be discussing how best to prepare ourselves, we should not be wasting resources fighting a battle – greenhouse gas reduction – we can’t win. Preparation for the changes we know are coming should be on all our radar screens. Is preparation on your radar screen? If not, maybe they should be.”

Now, if you got this far, congratulations on your perseverance if you did; you’ll see that my hypothesis is not that far from reality.
The planet, and thereby us, are in the latter part of an interglacial period. It is not surprising, therefore, that we should experience/or begin to experience some changes as we head into the next glacial period, or ice age.
In this respect, we are running around the farmyard like the proverbial chicken sans head trying to plug up the holes we have created. Whereas, we should be concentrating on how were are going to adapt to the new era.
This is inadequate for survival

This is inadequate for survival

Think about this…

Every dwelling, house, apartment building, skyscraper on this planet is totally inadequate for us to survive an ice age and the coming climatic changes.

So sorry, but that includes your place.

The last ice age saw the extinction of the woolly mammoth, you know, the ones we are finding buried in the permafrost of Siberia today.
Will some future ‘human’ species be finding us under the permafrost in a few thousand years?
Have we got our priorities in the right order?
It seems as though it doesn’t matter one iota if you are a global warming or global warming hoax pundit. Man cannot see further than the next dollar!
Are we doomed to become known as the intelligent species who couldn’t save themselves?

The Power of Nature

Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed

It’s like watching ‘Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes’, says filmmaker James Balog. He’s describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Chasing Ice, released in the UK on Friday, follows James Balog’s mission to document Arctic ice being melted by climate change.


A new verb for me… Icebergs calve.

I knew that cows calve, whales calve, but icebergs…

Change the World Wednesday – 12th Dec

On a roll, and can’t stop.

Read this yesterday morning…

On the 12th day of Christmas … your gift will just be junk

Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake?

Illustration by Daniel Pudles

There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly-button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub-holder; a “hilarious” inflatable Zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World Map.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine T-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped iPhone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog. No one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smartphone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and by the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food, or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.

This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask, “spending on what?” When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.

Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts,” says a woman in a TV ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator. An ad for a Google tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features. The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.

The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010, a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this Earth are diminished.

So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s edition of Radio 4’s The Moral Maze, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it somehow with authoritarianism. When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for God’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

George Monbiot

How right he is, we are literally trashing the planet to buy and give presents that are, in the main, useless trash.

The challenge

Show that you care this Christmas, find some alternative way of showing that you care.


If you must give a present, make something from recycled materials.

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