Monthly Archives: January 2012

SATELLITES DETECT ABUNDANCE OF FRESH WATER IN ARTIC

Rising seas in Arctic Ocean (CPOM/UCL/ESA/Planetary Visions)
23 January 2012

ESA satellites show that a large dome of fresh water has been building up in the Arctic Ocean over the last 15 years. A change in wind direction could cause the water to spill into the north Atlantic, cooling Europe.
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMD7FNXDXG_index_2.html

The results are remarkable: since 2002, the sea surface in the studied area has risen by about 15 cm, and the volume of fresh water has increased by some 8000 cubic km – around 10% of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean.
Researchers from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at University College London and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre used data from ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites to measure sea-surface height over the western Arctic from 1995 to 2010.

The results were published yesterday in the online version of the scientific journal, Nature Geoscience.

The scientists conclude that the dome could be a result of strong Arctic winds accelerating a large ocean circulation known as the Beaufort Gyre, causing the sea surface to bulge.

A change in the direction of the wind would cause the fresh water to spill into the rest of the Arctic Ocean and even reach the north Atlantic.

This could slow a key ocean current, stemming from the Gulf Stream, and subsequently cool Europe.

This current keeps the continent relatively mild compared to other areas at similar latitudes.

“When we looked at our data on a year-to-year basis, we noticed that the changes in the sea surface height did not always follow what the wind was doing, so we thought about reasons why this might happen,” said Katharine Giles, CPOM research fellow and lead author of the study.

“One idea is that sea ice forms a barrier between the atmosphere and the ocean. So as the sea ice cover changes, the effect of the wind on the ocean might also change.

“Our next step is to look into how changes in the sea ice cover might affect the coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean in more detail to see if we can confirm this idea.”

Sea ice can be measured by different types of satellite data. Radar altimeters on satellites such as the two used in the study, Envisat and ERS-2, can be particularly useful when observing inaccessible areas like the Arctic.

Envisat, the largest Earth observation satellite ever built, will mark 10 years in orbit in March.

ERS-2 was retired in July 2011, but 20 years of data from it and predecessor ERS-1 on oceans, land, ice and atmosphere will continue to be used by scientists for years to come.

“We were able to produce the Beaufort Gyre results thanks to the overlap of the ERS-2 and Envisat missions and long-term satellite data availability,” said Seymour Laxon, director of CPOM and co-author of the paper.

ESA will continue to monitor the Arctic with the upcoming Sentinel series of Earth-observing satellites for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.

Later this year, the first results of seasonal changes in sea-ice thickness from data acquired by ESA’s CryoSat-2 satellite will be presented.

PCE IN DRINKING WATER LINK – INCREASED RISK OF MENTAL ILLNESS

ANOTHER COMPELLING REASON TO  TREAT YOUR DRINKING WATER!!!

PCE in drinking water linked to increased risk of mental illness:
January 25, 2012
http://www.wateronline.com/article.mvc/PCE-In-Drinking-Water-Linked-To-Increased-0001

Early childhood exposure to water contaminated with the solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) increases the risks of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study by BU School of Public Health researchers has found.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found that while there was no association between PCE exposure and the incidence of depression, people with prenatal and early-childhood exposure had almost twice the risk of bipolar disorder compared to an unexposed group. The risk of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) was raised by 50 percent. Those with the highest exposures reported the highest rates of the two mental illnesses.

PCE, a solvent used in dry-cleaning and other industries, is a neurotoxin known to cause mood changes, anxiety, and depressive disorders in people who work with it. To date, the long-term effects on children exposed to PCE have been less clear.

From 1968 until the early 1980s, water companies in Massachusetts installed vinyl-lined water pipes that were subsequently found to be leaching PCE into the drinking water supply. Researchers from BUSPH have been studying the effects of that exposure on both children and adults who were living on Cape Cod. The new study focused on prenatal and early-childhood exposure in eight towns: Barnstable, Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich, Brewster, Chatham, and Provincetown.

Ann Aschengrau, professor of epidemiology at BUSPH and the study’s lead author, said that while it is impossible to calculate the exact amount of PCE people were exposed to, “levels of PCE were recorded as high as 1,550 times the currently recommended safe limit.

Ann Aschengrau “While the water companies flushed the pipes to address this problem,” she added, “people are still being exposed to PCE in the dry cleaning and textile industries, and from consumer products, and so the potential for an increased risk of illness remains real.”

While the study examined the association between PCE exposure and schizophrenia, the authors said the number of schizophrenia cases was too small to draw reliable conclusions. In addition, they noted that the study relied on self-reports of mental illness, with subjects asked if a health care provider had ever diagnosed them with a mental disorder.

The new study comes on the heels of another BUSPH study that found children exposed to PCE-contaminated drinking water before birth and in early childhood were more likely to use illegal drugs later in life. That study, also published in Environmental Health, found that people with high exposure levels during gestation and early childhood had a 1.5- to 1.6-fold increase in the risk of using two or more illegal drugs as teenagers or adults. Specific drugs for which increases were observed included cocaine, hallucinogens, club drugs, and Ritalin without a prescription.

Besides Aschengrau, the team of BUSPH researchers on the new study includes: Janice M. Weinberg, Patricia A. Janulewicz, Megan E. Romano, Lisa G. Gallagher, Michael R. Winter, Brett R. Martin, Veronica M. Vieira, Thomas F. Webster, Roberta F. White and David M. Ozonoff.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program.

For more information, visit

http://www.ehjournal.net/imedia/1134701935608720_article.pdf?random=730401

SOURCE: Boston University School of Public Health

REALLY COOL SCIENCE: HOW TO START A FIRE WITH WATER

Need to start a fire and have no lighter? All you need is a clear water bottle or jar, some water, and kindling—and for the weather to be very sunny during noon time. Tilt the water bottle or jar at an angle so that the water in the container can focus the sun’s light into as small of an area as possible. Keep the container at this position for as long as possible until enough heat is created to start a glowing ember.
http://thesecretyumiverse.wonderhowto.com/blog/start-fire-with-water-0132733/

ICELANDS WATER THEME PARK (ABU DHABI NEXT)

Visit the ultimate water vacation spot in  amazing in Iceland – Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, Iceland’s Water Theme Park.  

Link to video of park’s many impressive features:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnCtRvDghno
Video producers Moviemedia was appointed by WOWRAK to do this marketing and promotional film for the regions biggest water theme park.

 In Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Iceland they also have the world’s biggest man made waterfall. The film had to be ready in time for the opening and that meant we had to shoot even before the park was completed fully!

Shooting was a challenge but it was also packed with fun. That’s what theme parks are designed for, fun!

Based in Dubai, Moviemedia is a professionally staffed and equipped video production company known for its accommodating and ‘gung-ho-will-do’ attitude in providing comprehensive script to screen services to the business, industrial and commercial sectors.

Site of Abu Dhabi‘s Water Theme Park on Yas Island (grand opening 2015)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98hjNl5txnA

FUNNIEST EVER! – DIARY OF A SNOW SHOVELER

For all who are experiencing the less than desirable effects of many winter storms and many snowfalls – Enjoy this extremely humourous account from your friends at Rainsoft Ottawa.

DIARY OF A SNOW SHOVELER

December 8 – 6:00 PM     It started snowing.  The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktail drinks and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven.  It looked like a Grandma Moses Print.  So romantic we felt like newlyweds again.  We love snow!

December 9     We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape.  What a fantastic sight!  Can there be a lovelier place in the whole world?  Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had! Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a little boy again.  I cleared both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplough came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12    The sun has melted all our lovely snow… Such a disappointment!  My neighbor tells me not to worry – we’ll definitely have a White Christmas.  No snow on Christmas would be awful!  Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again.  I don’t think that’s possible.  However, Bob is such a nice man, I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

December 13     Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20F. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplough came back this afternoon and buried everything again.. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn’t huff and puff so.

December 15     20 inches forecast for today.  I sold my van and bought a 4×4 Blazer.  Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and 2 extra shovels.  We stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out.  I think that’s extravagant. We aren’t in Alaska, after all.

December 16     Ice storm this morning.  Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt.  Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17     Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere.

Today the electricity was off for 4 hours.  We had to pile the blankets on to stay warm.  Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her.  Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her.  Gee I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20     Yippee the electricity’s back on, but we had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night.  More shoveling!  Took all day. The damn snowplough came by twice.  Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey.  I think they’re lying.  Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they’re out.  Might have another shipment in March.  I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 22     Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today, and it’s so cold, it probably won’t melt till August.  Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to go to the loo.  By the time I got undressed and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel.  Tried to hire Bob who has a plough on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he’s too busy.  I think the asshole is lying.

December 23     Only 2 inches of snow today.  And it warmed up to zero.  The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning.  What is she, nuts?!!  Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago?  She says she did, but I think she’s lying.

December 24     6 inches fell, but the snow was packed so hard by the snowplough, I broke my shovel.  Thought I was having a heart attack.  If I ever catch the son-of-a-bitch who drives that snowplough, I’ll drag him through the snow by his hair and beat him to death with my broken shovel.  I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been!  Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplough.

December 25 – Christmas Day     Merry Christmas! 20 more inches of the damn slop tonight – Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil.  God, I hate the snow!  Then the snowplough driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude.  I think she’s a real idiot.  If I have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” one more time, I’m going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26     Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my nerves.

December 27     Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,750 to replace 4 of my pipes.

December 28     Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29     10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in.  That’s the silliest thing I ever heard.  How dumb does he think I am?

December 30     Roof caved in.  I beat up the snowplough driver, and now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass.  The wife went home to her mother.  Nine more inches predicted.

December 31     I set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8     Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed???

HARBIN, CHINA 2012 ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL

BEST SLIDES I COULD FIND ON THE INTERNET:
Last year’s Harbin Ice and Snow Festival image set was very popular, so who are we to deny your fix for 2012. Some amazing sculptures and buildings have been carved out of the ice and snow in Harbin, China once again.

Enjoy, from your friends at Rainsoft, Ottawa
http://totallycoolpix.com/2012/01/harbin-international-ice-festival-2012/

JAPAN DEBRIS FIELD SWIRLS TOWARDS CANADA, U.S. WEST COAST

CANADIANS AND AMERICANS, THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL TO SAVE OUR ENVIRONMENT, NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPgreOZzXlo&feature=related

Cars, whole houses and even severed feet in shoes: The vast field of debris from Japan earthquake and tsunami that’s floating towards U.S. West Coast
‘If you put a major city through a trash grinder and sprinkle it on the water, that’s what you’re dealing with,’ Some of the debris to hit the West Coast may be radioactive following the devastation at Japanese nuclear power plants..

A vast field of debris, swept out to sea following the Japan earthquake and tsunami, is floating towards the U.S. West Coast, it has emerged.
More than 200,000 buildings were washed out by the enormous waves that followed the 9.0 quake on March 11.
Scientists say the first bits of debris from Japan are due to reach the West Coast in a year’s time after being carried by currents toward Washington, Oregon and California.
They will then turn toward Hawaii and back again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific Gyre

See also:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=R1F13J31JFo&feature=fvwp

COULD TAP WATER CAUSE LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE?

from Water Online, January 18, 2012, By Kevin Westerling, Web Editor

http://www.wateronline.com/article.mvc/Could-Tap-Water-Cause-Lou-Gehrigs-Disease-0001?sectionCode=TOC&templateCode=EnhancedStandard&user=2702840&source=nl:32982

In what could be a life-saving discovery, a toxic molecule sometimes found in drinking water has been linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

As reported by Miller-McClune, botanist Paul Cox and biologist Sandra Banack have spearheaded a consortium of scientists in researching the effects of the toxic molecule beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) present in cyanobacteria, which blooms in water and is often referred to as blue-green algae (though, scientifically speaking, it bears no relation to algae). Their studies indicate that as the consumption of BMAA increases in humans, so does the incidence of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS has been the focus of the researchers because of its severe nature — victims are paralyzed and typically die within five years — and the ability to accurately diagnose the disease in living patients. However, the findings also link BMAA concentrations to increased incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Like ALS, they have no known causes and no cure.

The work of Banack, Cox, and their team first met with resistance from the scientific community, in part because funding and research has focused on genetics as the cause of these neurodegenerative diseases, and also due to the fact that BMAA is not one of the 20 “building block” amino acids that make up proteins in all living organisms. Additional research, however, showed how BMAA could accumulate in nerve cells, giving scientific credibility to the hypothesis.

One study, by neurologist Elijah Stommel of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, found that the rate of ALS doubles around lakes reported to have cyanobacterial blooms throughout New England, and he is building a database of ALS cases in the northeastern United States. There and elsewhere, sources of exposure to BMAA include direct drinking water, food (especially shellfish), or swimming in contaminated water.

According to the Miller-McClune article, no water treatment plants in the United States are known to test for BMAA. Standard water treatment methods such as sand filtration, powdered activated carbon, and chlorination have proven effective in removing the toxin, but flocculation was deemed less effective. Cox has lobbied for more BMAA monitoring, and the Institute for EthnoMedicine — which he cofounded with Banack in 2004 — has developed a dipstick-type water test to do so, as well as filter technology to remove the compound.

“People need to be very careful about the water they’re drinking,” the article quoted Cox. “At this point we suspect there may be a tie between cyanobacterial toxins and your risk of progressive neurodegenerative disease — but it’s still a hypothesis.”

If Cox and his colleagues are right, it would provide tremendous encouragement to the scores of people affected by these devastating illnesses. In fact, Phase II clinical studies are underway for a drug that could potentially remove BMAA from the body and slow the progression of ALS, which is diagnosed in around 5,600 Americans each year.

Needless to say, he has a lot of people rooting for him.

Comments

Scary stuff!!! This is why more and more people do not rely on city water. RainSoft Reverse Osmosis is the answer for our customers.

HOLDING HANDS — AWWW!

Here’s your Friday ‘Awww!’from your friends at Rainsoft Ottawa – Make sure you watch to the very end, even after they separate.

http://stevebass.posterous.com/holding-hands-keep-watching-even-after-they-b

Enjoy!

WATER REDUCTION ACTIONS

Note:  – First column – Popularity in %

- Numbers following Actions reflect the number of gallons saved.

http://practicallygreen.com/actions/water-reduction

43%   Upgrade toilets that take more than 1.6 gal / flush to standard toilets   100
81%    Rely on nature for watering your lawn    100
3%      Replace lawn with plantings that need minimal irrigation    100
22%    Install or upgrade to a dual-flush toilet     50
4%      Bathe young children together    50
6%      Give young children a bath every other day unless it’s really needed    50
1%       Reset your automatic sprinkler to water once a week    50
26%    Install a high-efficiency toilet (less than 1.28 gallons per flush)   50
4%      Use drip-irrigation system    50
99%    Wash only full loads of laundry    20
26%    Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway    20
25%    Reduce showers to 5 minutes or less    20
40%    Upgrade older faucets & shower heads (older than 1994)    20
6%      Add a rain sensor to your automatic sprinkler system    20
63%    Install low-flow shower heads in all showers    20
1%       Take navy showers    20
26%    Fix a leaky faucet    20
6%       Install one low-flow faucet    10
60%     Turn off the faucets while brushing teeth    10
52%     Turn off the faucets while shaving    10
7%       Install one low-flow shower head    10
51%     Run dishwasher only when it’s full    10
36%    Load dishwasher without rinsing dishes thoroughly    10
12%     Install low-flow valves in all faucets      10
1%       Use a car wash that participates in the WaterSavers Program    10
1%       Install a shower timer     5
24%    Track water usage monthly    5