Saturday, October 30, 2010

Star Fish Wash Up on Oregon Beaches

Hundreds of star fish -- "sea stars," more correctly --  have washed up on an Oregon beach and scientists don't know why.  Heceta Beach, well known to myself, since I live roughly fifty miles from there and visit that area frequently, witnessed the mysterious die off of sea stars this past Thursday. So far, no other Oregon beaches have reported mass beachings of sea stars; just Heceta Beach:

“We found it very curious,” said Justin Ainsworth, shellfish biologist with the wildlife agency. “We haven’t had any calls like this in my time here. We contacted past biologists from this office and they couldn’t recall anything like it in the past 30 years.”
Even more curious was the fact that, after they made calls to the coastal wildlife offices in Astoria and Coos Bay, they realized that Heceta Beach seemed to be the only place where the phenomenon occurred.
Theories include the recent storms in the area as a cause for the sea star deaths, but the article points out that  other scientists disagree with that idea since the storms affected other areas, which didn't report any incidents of washed up animals. See Die-off of sea stars at Florence unexplained:Heceta Beach appears to be the only spot along the Oregon Coast where the creatures washed up.

Behold the Amazing "Mimic Octopus, Wizard of the Sea" !

This is truly amazing footage of octopi and their incredible abilittes to mimic other sea creatures. Greg Taylor at The Daily Grail has posted the video clip; see it here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jellyfish Swarms: Menacing or Misunderstood?

In recent years, reports of havoc caused by swarms of jellyfish have inspired speculation that these simple, otherworldly creatures are capitalizing on changes we have brought to ocean ecosystems.

Scientists are finding we could be jellyfish's potential benefactors. Overfishing relieves them of competition and predators. Nutrient-rich pollution can cause phytoplankton blooms, providing feasts for some jellies and reducing the water's oxygen content, which could favor their high tolerance for low oxygen. The warmth of climate change could foster expansion among some species. We transport invasive species to new environments, where they thrive. And coastal development provides new shelter for the jellies' stationary life stage, called a polyp.
An article called "The Jellyfish Joyride," published in 2009 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, discusses the theory that, without a change on our part, these pressures could push ecosystems topped by fish and marine mammals to devolve into ones dominated by jellyfish, as they may have been 500 million years ago.

It is exactly the type of summary Steven Haddock dislikes.
Too easily villainized?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thanks to Doc 40 for the item: a California student found a GPS object on his car, and, well... turns out his musings on if he was being tracked were founded. Yes, he was, by the FBI. Who showed up and demanded return of their little toy. Yasir Afifi, a twenty year old student and American citizen, had the interest of the FBI for "three to six months."

Jesse Ventura's "Conspiracy Theory" Returns

 Jesse Ventura returns with Conspiracy Theory on TRU TV. Last night's opening episode was about biological experiments at Plum Island. Valid questions, gone unanswered: why is Plum Island moving to Kansas, why is Homeland Security in control, what were those creatures that washed up on shore anyway, are our representatives in Washington really so naive and/or stupid, (that last one being rhetorical.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Filthy Rich, Behaving Filthy

Item on the Doc 40 blog, about the rich, the very very filthy rich, and their anger. Yes, they're angry. They're fed up. They're damn mad. They're tired of being kicked around.
yes, some of the richest, most pampered people on the planet — people who literally wallow in luxury every day, with never a concern about losing a job, a home or health care, or getting their kids into college — these people are wailing in self-pity. They are Wall Street hedge-fund operators, which essentially means they are high-flying financial flimflammers. What has stoked them into an elitist fury is a Barack Obama proposal to close off a ridiculous tax loophole that has let them pay only 15 percent of their lavish income in taxes, rather than the 35 percent rate that us commoners pay. One of the richest of the ragers, Steve Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group, sees Obama's proposal as an outrageous intrusion into the suites of the elite, comparing it to "when Hitler invaded Poland."