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Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for February 22nd, 2010

Britain and Argentina Headed Toward Another War?

Posted by feww on February 22, 2010

It’s about oil, again!

Another War in Falklands Could Flare Before Natural Gas Does

The Falklands War, which followed Argentina’s “re-occupation” of  the Falklands in 1982, claimed the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers.

Argentina considered the action as the “re-occupation of its own territory,” where as the British government saw it as an “invasion” of a “British dependent territory” and dispatched its naval force to retake the islands.

The limited war fought between the two countries resulted from the centuries-old dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, as well as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which were initially occupied by France in 1764.

The islands lie in the South Atlantic, about 400 miles east of Argentina and some 8,000 miles away from Britain.

Geographically, Argentina has a legitimate claim to the sovereignty of Falkland Islands—proximity.

Cancun Summit 2010

Leaders of 32 Latin American and Caribbean countries unanimously backed Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands at a 2010 Cancun summit in Mexico, said a report .

In their  statement, the 32 leaders reaffirmed “backing for Argentina’s legitimate rights in its sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom relating to the ‘Malvinas Question,'” and condemned the oil drilling operations.

The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on the UN to debate Argentina’s sovereignty claim to the islands.

“What is the geographic, the political or economic explanation for England [Britain] to be in Las Malvinas?” Lula asked.

“Could it be because England is a permanent member of the UN’s Security Council where they can do everything and the others nothing?”

The Undesired

Desire Petroleum, a UK energy company, probably owned by one or more of the multinationals, is about to begin drilling for oil in the territorial waters of the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, despite strong objections from Argentina.


The semi-submersible Giant oil rig Ocean Guardian, built 24 years ago, traveled 62 days  from Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth to the Falklands. Source: Desire Petroleum.  “Desire Petroleum estimates potential oil reserves exceeding 3.5 billion barrels and more than nine trillion cubic feet of gas. … In 1998 six wells were drilled to the north of the islands that revealed the presence of a rich organic source rock that could hold up to 60 billion barrels of oil.”

The oil fields near Falklands are said to hold an estimated total of 60 billion barrels; however, Desire Petroleum, has said “the amount which could be exploited commercially would probably be a fraction of that.” BBC UK reported.  [The rest of it would be released in the ocean to keep an oil-rich marine environment.]

Desire Oil has towed a platform to a drilling site about 100km (62 miles) north of the Falklands. Drilling was scheduled to  start at 06:00UTC today.

Argentina, which has long claimed the islands, known locally as las Malvinas, filed a claim with the United Nations “for a vast expanse of ocean, based on research into the extent of the continental shelf, stretching to the Antarctic and including the island chains governed by the UK, ” BBC reported.

Based on the claim, Argentina says drilling by the UK company violates its sovereignty and has since imposed shipping restrictions around the Falklands, and has threatened to take “adequate measures” to stop “British oil exploration in contested waters around the islands.”

Argentine government has asked its neighbors to also impose shipping restrictions in the area, and  is further seeking support from Latin American countries.

According to desire oil, Argentina is about to start its own exploration off the west west coast of the islands.


Map of the region with exploration areas marked. Source: UN/ BBC UK.

Comments made by various parties:

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: Britain is acting irrationally and it’s high time it realized the “time for empires was over.”

Argentinian Govt:  No war this time, but Britain must negotiate sovereignty.

UN: He who has nukes calls the tunes.

Desire Petroleum [having towed the giant rig, the Ocean Guardian,about 13,000 km (6,950 NM) from the Cromarty Firth, Scotland] : “Desire is an oil company and it’s exploring for oil and not getting involved in what Argentina is saying about going to the UN. The rig is sitting firmly inside UK waters.” Even if the commercially viable quantities of oil were to be found in the are, it would many years before any oil would be recovered. The Company spokesman added.

Falklands Legislative Assembly [“The Licensor”]:  We have “every right” to do “legitimate business.”

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband:  British oil exploration in the Falklands is “completely in accordance with international law.” [British government may be occupied by Israel-first interests, but Britain is not like Israel.]

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown:  UK government has “made all the preparations that are necessary to make sure the Falkland islanders are properly protected.” [We have nukes; Argies don’t.]

Related Links:

Posted in Desire Petroleum, energy war, Malvinas, offshore oil, oil and gas exploration | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Alcohol Sales and Violence: Spatial Link

Posted by feww on February 22, 2010

If you ever thought there were link between alcohol sales and violence in the neighborhood, you would have been right, of course. But the worst kind of violence is drug related: Fire-Earth

Indiana University: Public Release

More alcohol sales sites mean more neighborhood violence: Indiana University study

More alcohol sales sites in a neighborhood equates to more violence, and the highest assault rates are associated with carry-out sites selling alcohol for off-premise consumption, according to new research released Feb. 21 by two Indiana University professors.

Using crime statistics and alcohol outlet licensing data from Cincinnati, Ohio, to examine the spatial relationship between alcohol outlet density and assault density, Department of Criminal Justice professor William Alex Pridemore and Department of Geography professor Tony Grubesic found that off-premise outlets appeared to be responsible for about one in four simple assaults and one in three aggravated assaults.

The findings were released today at a press briefing entitled “Using Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis to Better Understand Patterns and Causes of Violence” and presented as part of the Feb. 18-22 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, Calif.

“A higher density of alcohol sales outlets in an area means closer proximity and easier availability to an intoxicating substance for residents,” Pridemore said. “Perhaps just as importantly, alcohol outlets provide a greater number of potentially deviant places. Convenience stores licensed to sell alcohol may be especially troublesome in this regard, as they often serve not only as sources of alcohol but also as local gathering places with little formal social control.”

Using different suites of spatial regression models, the researchers found that adding one off-premise alcohol sales site per square mile would create 2.3 more simple assaults and 0.6 more aggravated assaults per square mile. Increases in violence associated with restaurants and bars were smaller but still statistically significant, with 1.15 more simple assaults created when adding one restaurant per square mile, and 1.35 more simple assaults per square mile by adding one bar.

“We could expect a reduction of about one-quarter in simple assaults and nearly one-third in aggravated assaults in our sample of Cincinnati block groups were alcohol outlets removed entirely,” Grubesic noted. “These represent substantial reductions and clearly reveal the impact of alcohol outlet density on assault density in our sample.”

The study examined 302 geographic block groups that encompassed all of Cincinnati, with each block group containing about 1,000 residents. Block groups are subdivisions of census tracks and represent the smallest unit available for socioeconomic analysis using data from the Census Bureau.

Crime statistics from January through June 2008 provided by the Cincinnati Police Department found 2,298 simple assaults and another 479 serious assaults had occurred in the study area during that time. The location of each of these criminal events was geocoded to show the precise location where they occurred. The researchers, using data from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control for Hamilton County, Ohio, then used the same geocoding techniques to spatially aggregate the city’s 683 unique alcohol sales outlets into those block groups. The arithmetic mean, or average, density of assaults was 69 per square mile, while the average density of alcohol outlets per square mile was 20.

The researchers pointed to possible implications from the research on both public policy and on future research within the field of criminology. Pridemore said ecological studies of alcohol and violence similar to this one, while appearing more and more over the past 20 years in journals of disciplines like public health, geography and epidemiology, have been rare in criminology journals.

“We believe that alcohol outlets, as a source of community-level variation in levels of interpersonal violence, deserve greater attention in the criminological literature,” he said. “The nature of our findings should encourage further investigation of the nature of the ecological association between alcohol, violence and other negative outcomes within communities.”

Grubesic said explanations for crime ecological theories like collective efficacy, social disorganization and social cohesion rely on elements like poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility, anonymity of community members and willingness to intervene on another’s behalf, are difficult to remedy through public policy. That is not the case with alcohol outlet density, he said.

“Alcohol outlet density, on the other hand, is much more amenable to policy changes,” Grubesic pointed out. “Unlike other negative neighborhood characteristics that often seem intractable, regulating the density of outlets, and to some extent their management, can be readily addressed with a mixture of policies by liquor licensing boards, the police and government agencies that regulate land use.”

Contact: Steve Chaplin
stjchap@indiana.edu
Indiana University

Posted in aggravated assaults, Causes of Violence, epidemiology, public health, violence | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gulf of California: Habitats to Watery Graves

Posted by feww on February 22, 2010

For Public Consumption

Damage to threatened Gulf of California habitats can be reversed

Protecting vulnerable reproduction sites key to long-term health of fish populations

Once described by Jacques Cousteau as the “world’s aquarium,” the marine ecosystems of the Gulf of California are under threat. Destructive new fishing methods are depleting the sea’s habitats, creating areas that are ghosts of their former existences (see Scripps explorations story “Threatened Gulf”.

But, as Octavio Aburto-Oropeza of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego will describe during a presentation at the 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Diego, habitat conservation can revitalize once-depleted marine ecosystems (session: 8:30-10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, Room 6D, San Diego Convention Center).

One recently emerging threat is a highly destructive fishing method called “hookah” diving in which fishermen use crude oxygen piping to walk along the seafloor for long periods. The technique is typically conducted at night when fish are resting, allowing the hookah fishermen to spear or grab large numbers of vulnerable fish and invertebrates.

Aburto-Oropeza’s findings on reversing the effects of such threats are part of a series of research studies headed by the newly launched Gulf of California Program based at Scripps Oceanography.


More than 20 different groups of high-value commercial species, including invertebrates such as blue crabs and fish such as snappers, grunts and snooks, are part of the mangrove forests of the Gulf of California, including this forest off Dazante Island inside the Loreto marine protected area. Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

“In these studies, whether reefs or mangroves, we are trying to show that the destruction on the coast and overexploitation in other areas are diminishing the biomass (the amount of organisms in an ecosystem) in several areas,” said Aburto-Oropeza. “With lower biomass, the large predators, the keys to a robust marine ecosystem, are missing and that causes disruption down the marine food web.”

But there is hope to counteract such damage, says Aburto-Oropeza.

One successful example is Cabo Pulmo, a little-known protected area near the southern tip of the Baja peninsula that is thriving and a living example of the benefits of protected marine areas. Restricted of fishing since 1995, Cabo Pulmo features a robust mix of sea life and flourishing fish populations. Other successes include Coronado Island inside the Loreto marine park and Los Islotes inside Espiritu Santo marine park.

“Different sites recover in different ways, but they all have increased in biomass, especially top predators,” said Aburto-Oropeza.

“The common thing is that they have reduced or eliminated fishing activity.”

Beyond simply shielding certain locations, Aburto-Oropeza’s presentation will cover new research that reveals the strategic importance of protecting areas that are key for fish species populations. In particular, these include important sites such as fish “spawning aggregation” areas, where fish converge in large numbers to reproduce at select times of the year, and sensitive nursery habitats that are vital to ensuring healthy ecosystems.

“For some species these spawning aggregation events occur two to four times per year, and can represent 100 percent of the replenishment of their populations,” said Aburto-Oropeza.

Aburto-Oropeza and others recently calculated the economic value of mangroves at roughly $37,500 per hectare per year. An ongoing study has shown that a fish species called gulf corvina provided 3,500 tons of landings in 2009 in one community, a volume worth $3 million.

Contact: Mario Aguilera
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
University of California – San Diego

Posted in Baja peninsula, gulf corvina, hookah, mangrove forests, Oceanography | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Storm GELANE – FINAL UPDATE (Feb 22)

Posted by feww on February 22, 2010

Tropical Depression GELANE Fading on the Way to Port Louis, Mauritius


Tropical Storm GELANE
IR Satellite Image (BD Enhancement).
Source: UW-CIMSS. Click image to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone GELANE (TC 16S) Details

  • Date/Time: 22 February 2010 –  01:00 UTC
  • Position:  Near 20.0ºS, 59.5ºE
  • Sustained Movement: 305  degrees
  • Forward speed:  15 km/hr ( 8 kt)
  • The system has been tracking  NORTHWESTWARD.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: 55 km/hr (~ 30 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 75 km/hr (~ 40kt)
  • GELANE is currently a Tropical Depression on FEWW New Hurricane Scale

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 4.3m (13 ft)
  • Location: TC GELANE was located about 205 km North-Northeast (85 degrees) of  Port Louis, Mauritius.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, GELANE, hurricane, storm, TC 16S | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »