With all the damage being done in the Gulf, it is amazing that there isn't an equally unabating flow of outrage as well. Can it be that people still believe that the waters of the earth are nothing more than a giant dumping ground? Out of sight, out of mind? A poor Blogfish, or any of his other sebastes relatives, don't stand a chance with that kind of mindset. How many experts does it take to convince people that the health of the land - and the people on it - depends on the health of the sea? We recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. With all the work he did, with all of his celebrity, was even he unable to wake people up? I'm glad he is not here to see it. This is not a little oil on the water -- this is the equivalent of Chernobyl on our doorstep. It's time to treat it as such. This is an issue of national security.
Some accuse the President of not acting, or of at least not acting fast enough. The truth is, there is little or nothing he can do. Do you think that NOAA or even our Navy have the capability to stop this? The reason he has had to make a deal with the devil (aka BP) is that they are the only ones that have anything even approaching the technology needed. When the Navy does heavy salvage (such as the recovery of the turret of the Monitor) they turned to Oceaneering -- the same folks the oil industry uses! Oceaneering, and companies like them, are not the enemies in this saga. If there are heroes, it will probably turn out to be them. The problem is corporate greed -- and the corporate takeover of our government, led by the Bush/Haliburton (er., Cheney) oil cartel. People who our willing to risk our and our children's world to put another million or two in their offshore retirement accounts.
Forgive an old Rockfish, but what country is this? Since when does our country field more mercenaries in a war zone than soldiers? Since when does half our government spend its time trying to dismantle and deregulate itself, only to cry foul and blame it on the other half when the unregulated banks fail, unregulated oil companies pollute our oceans, and the big boys walk home with big bonuses. We need to do a major re-think and then act on it.
What to do? First of all, we need to make sure that this doesn't happen again. For the ocean, we must not allow this type of work to continue until there is confirmed research that they have the capability to undo any damage they do. We need to get spokespeople for the sea in positions where they can oversee and, yes, control this. Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau and others like them have spent their lives studying this environment. Heaven forbid we put someone like that in charge rather than some politician whose ocean experience is limited to exploiting it.
Second, we need to invest in this research. The waters of the earth are the basis of our survival, yet we are the equivalent of children peeing in their own swimming pool. NOAA should have a budget like the Navy, and the Navy should have a budget for underwater research alone the size of NASA. We know far less about the bottom of the ocean than we do about the face of the moon. Our very survival depends on it.
Third, we need to stop over-fishing, off-shore dumping and other such bad behavior. Factory ship fisheries destroy more than they catch. Runoff from heavily fertilized farms brings chemicals to the sea that create "dead zones" the size of states every year. This is not going to magically go away. Yes, the cost of corn or fish may go up, yes some people may find their jobs gone or changed, but this is not about money. Again, this is about survival.
Finally, we need our President to stand up and do what needs to be done. If the Republi-can'ts
don't like it - tough! Its amazing how their tune changes when their mess is in their backyards. "Get your Big Government hands off my health care...but hurry up and get down here to clean up this oil spill!" Tell the teabaggers to try making their brew with Gulf water. It's their buddies who made it that way.
Just a view from the bottom of the grotto...
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
One of the most interesting technology-related items I've come across recently was a Berkeley Breathed cartoon in which Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat come across a college student laying paralyzed on the sidewalk because all of his electronic gadgets have failed and he has gone "un-entertained for twenty minutes!!" This brought to mind Jimmy Buffett's tune, "Everybody's on the Phone" (www.buffettworld.com/lyrics/takeweather.php#phone). Communication is great...as long as you have something worth communicating.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Okay, tried Flickr, which I can see might be nice for some things. The Blogfish found another of his relatives at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsteves/38306035/. Still, in speaking about technology, one should probably be careful about what one puts out there. You never know when something might come back to haunt you - just ask Paris Hilton!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
What is a Blogfish? A close relative of the Sebastes Nebulosus, the Blogfish is known to frequent the waters of the California coast between Catalina Island and Monterey Bay. Unconfirmed sightings have also been made as far afield as the Hawaiian Island chain, and it has been suggested that this is actually a seasonal migration which has previously gone unnoticed in the scientific record. The Blogfish is a large, pugnacious and singularly unattractive creature who inhabits a depth range from the intertidal zone to about 20 fathoms. Seldom observed in the wild, much less photographed, the Blogfish is adept at camouflage to such an extent that its very existence was long thought to be a myth.