Saturday, February 7, 2009

Aquatic This and That

Google Ocean! Science Friday! Sylvia Earle!

Yes- all three of those friends-of-the-aquatic came together yesterday on the radio. Check out NPR's Science Friday edition, and listen to the podcast here. While Dan (also a friend-of-the-aquatic) did not seem too enthusiastic about the show (no, sadly it was not about whales) perhaps others will share in my enthusiasm.


In other aquatic (but not marine) news: I finally finished Marc Reisner's compelling book, Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. I am now fascinated and frightened by the prospect of water politics and water rights in our country. Did anyone know that over 600 people died when the St. Francis Dam collapsed in the 1920s in California? Me neither (either?). Just one of many largely-unrevealed facts about the history of water development in the United States which Reisner articulately exposes. If I ever got around to doing that "GoodReads" thing, I'd recommend this one highly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hello Fish: An Aquatic Round-Up for the New Year

Hope everyone's year is off to a swimming start. So much aquatic to share in the new year!

The New York Times has a nice aquatic slide show accompanying its article on esteemed oceanographer, Sylvia A. Earle. Her recent book, "Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas," looks pretty amazing. In addition to being a personal hero of the blog aquatic, Earle is also the author of several award-winning books- including aquatic blog's favorite, "Hello Fish!"

In other news, the blog aquatic feasted on crab once again this year. The roommates went crabbing on the Oregon Coast and brought back enough Dungeness and Red Rock crabs to stink up the freezer good, and their crabbing endeavors intrigued the blog aquatic PDX. But the real crab feasting came back in the crabtastic bay area. Much better than last year, where I swear I could taste a hint of oil spill on my crab. This year was buttery perfection.


Finally, a bit of sobering aqua-health news about another side of The Aquatic: our drinking/ wastewater. Oregon Association of Clean Water along with well, just about every other major environmental agency throughout the country (we're just partial to the Beaver State), report trace amounts of prescription drugs contaminating our water system. Hormones, antibiotics, stabilizers- you name it: all in our drinking water. The sources are prescription pills that are only partially metabolized by people, or simply flushed unused down the toilets. (In fact, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy still recommends flushing certain unused drugs.) Prescription drug residues and toxins are ending up in our water system where water treatment plants - designed to only treat bateria and viruses- are unable to filter them out.

Many questions remain about the long term effect of consuming prescription drugs (Brita doesn't do you a whole lot of good here)- but who wants to wait and find out? (The Canadians and Europeans sure don't, but of course, we're like little drugged up lab rats here in the U.S. with our wait-and-see environmental health policies).

While not exactly a new problem -- our own special aquatic-lover, Ms. Seaman, has been all over this issue for years -- there is new legislation being introduced to reign in the rampant excess drugs flooding our world aquatic. Currently one of the biggest obstacles to simply returning unused drugs is that the Drug Enforcement Administration mandates a law enforcement official is the only person who can collect prescription drugs from a patient. Some new legislation to be proposed in 2009 will require that pharmaceutical companies be responsible for collecting unused drugs. Support local Drug Take Back Programs and prevent - some- pills from being flushed away...

Well, 2009 looks promising for the aquatic-minded. And, as always, the Blog Aquatic will see that a smallish fraction of your '09 aquatic needs will be met in a somewhat timely- (but ever-eager) manner.

Till then, Good-bye, fish.