Thursday, August 6, 2015

Red Tide: Massive Toxic Algae Bloom In Pacific, China's Stealth Drone,

Red tide: Massive, ‘incredibly thick’ toxic algae bloom in Pacific now stretches from California to Alaska

 A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.

This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 64 kilometres wide and 200 metres deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat.

So-called “red tides” are cyclical and have happened many times before, but ocean researchers say this one is much larger and persisting much longer, with higher levels of neurotoxins bringing severe consequences for the Pacific seafood industry, coastal tourism and marine ecosystems.

Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the area now closed to crab fishing includes more than half the state’s 252-km-long coast, and likely will bring a premature end to this year’s coastal crab season.

“We think it’s just sitting and lingering out there,” said Anthony Odell, a University of Washington research analyst who is part of a NOAA-led team surveying the harmful algae bloom, which was first detected in May. “It’s farther offshore, but it’s still there.”

The survey data should provide a clearer picture of what is causing the bloom which is brownish in colour, unlike the blue and green algae found in polluted freshwater lakes. Marine detectives already have a suspect: a large patch of water running as much as 3 degrees centigrade warmer than normal in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob.”

The brownish bloom was particularly thick off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and Odell said it was unusually dominated by one type of algae called Pseudo-nitzschia, which can produce the neurotoxin domoic acid.

Trainer said this bloom is the worst she’s seen in 20 years of studying them. Harmful algal blooms have usually been limited to one area of the ocean or another, and have disappeared after a few weeks. This one has grown for months, waxing and waning but never going away.

This is really unprecedented territory for us

“It’s been incredibly thick, almost all the same organism. Looks like a layer of hay,” said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.

The current bloom also involves some of the highest concentrations of domoic acid yet observed in Monterey Bay and other areas of the West Coast.

“It’s really working its way into the food web and we’re definitely seeing the impacts of that,” Kudela said, noting that sea lions are getting sick and pelicans are being exposed. And now that the Pacific is experiencing its periodic ocean warming known as El Nino, it may come back even stronger next year, he said.

In May, grainy pictures emerged of a huge new twin-fuselage, high-altitude Chinese drone called the Divine Eagle. Those in the know instantly labelled it the "stealth-hunting drone". Stealth technology is the equivalent of electronic camouflage for planes, making them hard for enemy radar to spot – but the Chinese drone is certainly big enough to carry the special radars developed to detect stealth aircraft. It's able to fly high enough to detect them long before they can reach their targets. Its radar is rumoured to have been able to pick out an American stealth F-22 Raptor off the coast of South Korea almost 500km away.

To some analysts, the Chinese drone represents the death of stealth – for others, merely a serious threat to the future of the technology on which America has based its air superiority.
Stealth, or "low observable technology", is a combination of aircraft design, tactics and electronic countermeasures designed to make planes less visible to radar and other systems, which the US has pioneered. As well as trying to create the lowest possible radar signature by getting rid of the tail, it also tries to reduce things such as infrared emissions from the engine exhaust and electromagnetic emissions from the computers on board. Stealth tactics involve looking for gaps in air-defence systems.

When people think of stealth aircraft, they tend to picture the triangular black F-117 stealth fighter and B-2 bombers that penetrated Saddam Hussein's much-vaunted air defences at the start of both Gulf wars – or perhaps the troubled Lockheed F-35 Lightning stealth fighter programme on which the UK has gambled the future of its aircraft carriers. However, the Horten Ho 229 flying wing developed by the Nazis during the Second World War was probably the first. While the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane used some basic stealth technology, the great leap forward in stealth really occurred in the 1970s with the Lockheed Have Blue project to develop a stealth fighter. This programme led directly to the F-117 and B-2.

Thousands of Christians are fleeing Islamic persecution in Pakistan and going to Thailand, only to be further persecuted by the Thai government, and the world is silent on this evil.

Thailand is not amongst the signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, and so it does not have a proper asylum system for its country, and thus Pakistani Christians are not treated as refugees but as illegal immigrants. Many times, and quite very often, Thailand will not even accept Christians, even when they are declared authentic refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
The poor can't and don't escape, but the middle and upper classes flee to Thailand …[Back in Pakistan] they are doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, said:
Pakistan's blasphemy law has been used in a way to target religious minorities… There has been violence perpetrated against people accused of blasphemy. When facing that kind of persecution, many have no choice but to leave.

Pakistani Christians are frequently stopped by Thai border guards when they are suspected of being followers of the Christian Faith "even with a legal visa or plane tickets." A great many number of Pakistani Christians are not allowed to come into Thailand until they have paid a bribe. Many are not allowed to cross the border until they have paid a bribe or a fine. One Christian man, Raymond John, recounted from when he and his family had to pay the guards 112,000 Pakistani rupees ($1100):
Christians who have come to Thailand have stated that the refugee process is everything but convenient. Sunny Gil is one of them. He said that when he arrived in Thailand in August of 2013, he was given an appointment with the UNHCR for an interview in May 2015 to be assigned refugee status. But, when the time arrived for the interview, it was postponed for a year. Sunny Gil said:

Moreover, to make matters worse, Pakistanis are not even allowed to work because they do not have refugee status, and, therefore, they have no legal income and no way to earn a living. They often make their money doing illegal jobs or begging and seeking charity from churches. Cyril Lamran of the Christian Asylum Seekers Association of Thailand, a refugee himself, said:
We want to work and we want to earn and support our families on our own… But they're not giving us the opportunity for us to earn and not providing us basic human rights.

1 comment:

ally said...

The north Pacific Ocean is going to continue to get much warmer as the continuing nuclear reaction from Fukushima will heat up the ocean immensely. It's just putting out radiation into the Pacific with no signs of letting up. The overall temp was raised approximately 5 degrees Fahrenheit after the nuclear disaster.......