Monthly Archives: April 2012


 “It’s a moment for celebration. It’s a strikingly beautiful animal!!”

Scientists have spotted an extremely rare all-white adult orca off Russia‘s coast and are wondering if it’s the same animal photographed by scientists near Alaska‘s Aleutian Islands…

On a sparkling summer morning in 2010, a group of Russian scientists working near the Kamchatka Peninsula spied a giant swimming ghost: an exceedingly rare, all-white killer whale, diving and surfacing as part of an ordinary orca pod. “It was startling to see this 2-meter-high white dorsal fin shooting up among the other killer whales,” said Erich Hoyt, who oversees the Russian whale-research group that announced the 2-year-old sighting this week by releasing photographs and video. “It takes your breath away.” … Hoyt agreed Tuesday that the Russian whale, his team has nicknamed “Iceberg”, may well be the same creature that made those appearances in Alaska… It’s really 50-50 at this point.”

The discovery of Iceberg near the Bering Sea’s Commander Islands is making news around the globe this week, with many reports characterizing him as the first documented male albino orca to survive to adulthood. But Hoyt and other marine biologists say it’s not clear whether Iceberg is albino, or if the cetacean is just somehow genetically different from its peers. That’s one of the many questions that Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project and an internationally acclaimed whale biologist, hopes to answer when his team returns to Russian waters this spring…

Documented sightings of albino marine mammals are scarce… Perhaps the most famous example was Chimo, known as T4, a young female orca captured in British Columbia in 1970 and displayed for two years at a Victoria, B.C., aquarium. When Chimo died, researchers found the whale suffered from Chediak-Higashi syndrome, an immune disorder that dilutes pigmentation. It kills mammals before adulthood… No one can say how many white orcas there are. The distance between the Aleutians and Russia is nothing for whales that most likely travel between the North Pacific and Hawaii, Hoyt said… In fact, part of the reason it took Hoyt’s team nearly two years to release images is that researchers wanted first to get more information… * When they return to the islands in the next few weeks, they hope to have better luck.* In fact, they hope to look Iceberg in the eye. A pink hue would suggest he’s a true albino. If nothing else, Hoyt said, his team hopes to see and take more pictures of this mystical-looking creature that people already seem to be identifying with as a symbol of wild nature.

“Killer whales are so starkly black that when you see an all-white one it’s pretty amazing,” Hoyt said. “It’s a moment for celebration. It’s a strikingly beautiful animal!!” Either way, Hoyt’s team had other news, too. Iceberg wasn’t the only oddly coloured whale they saw. They saw two young mottled-white whale calves, which suggest Iceberg was healthy enough to father offspring…by Craig Welch Seattle Times environment reporter.

Link – The Seattle times

First all-white orca bull ever observed off the Far East Russian Coast

   We can only hope that in the very near future we’ll be thrilled to see more photos or videos of “Iceberg” and his offspring!!!



Gigantic Rubber Duckie Floats Down the Loire River in France!

The very minute I spotted the headline in my e-mail today, the kid in me started singing Sesame Street‘s “Rubber Duckie” song.
  As far as I’m concerned, the Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman succeeds in accomplishing his mission of “Treating the Loire as a giant bubble bath – the Rubber Duck brings a message of joy, without political or sociological connotation.”

Artist Florentijn Hofman has created a gigantic yellow rubber duckie and sent it floating down the Loire River in France, where the temporary sculpture brings a smile to the faces of all the people it passes. The oversized sculpturebobs and weaves, bringing onlookers together as it travels downstream.

Florentijn Hofman created his giant yellow duckie with the mission of simply bringing people together through the presence of art.

Treating the Loire as a giant bubble bath, the Rubber Duckbrings a message of joy, without political or sociological connotation, its bill twisted into a child like smile.

The duck itself is a durable vessel, made from an inflatable plastic shell, a pontoon boat, and a generator to help propel it forward downstream. It gently moves throughout the environment without disrupting the nature of the marine life in the river below. Rising 82 feet by 82 feet wide, the bath time toy conjures up childhood memories and nostalgic narratives, undeniably creating smiles as it passes through each town.

Hofman’s work often deals with simplistic happiness – his oversized installations serve as diversions that ease the tension of modern life. His work often gives onlookers a moment of serenity amidst times of economic and political turmoil.

The Rubber Duck traveled a 40 mile stretch from Saint-Nazaire to Nantes, France as part of the Loire Estuary art exhibition. The Rubber Duck has already delighted the shores of both Osaka and Sao Paulo, and it will likely continue its journey to other waterways around the world. (by Lori Zimmer, 04/26/12)

Link –


Punography –  a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.



 A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

When chemists die, they barium.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type-O.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

PMS jokes aren’t funny, period.

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Be kind to your dentist.  He has fillings, too.


Did you hear about the cross eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

Broken pencils are pointless.

What do you call a dinosaur with extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.


Earthquake in Washington obviously the government’s fault .

I tried to catch some fog. I mist.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Than it dawned on me .


I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.

Velcro – what a rip off!

Link –


While doing some research on another topic, I came across a photograph of an incredibly beautiful and colourful body of water and became curious enough to search for other photos and the factors that determine the different colours of our lakes and oceans.

I have a fabulous slide show for you that can be viewed full screen below.


What color is water? It is a question that many children ask, not to mention adults, and the answer is invariably that it has no color. It is transparent, clear, see through. Is that answer the correct one?

In order to see the real color of water we must take a look at a large body –  where a great volume of water can be looked through or down into. It can be done scientifically as well, but the human eye can see the intrinsic color of water in the right conditions. You may well have already guessed what that color may be.

NOTE from the Editor: It has been pointed out to me by Joe Larsen, Researcher at USC, that the Rayleigh scattering of the light from the sun (according to which the blue light is scattered more than other colors) is also an important factor in the color of the oceans. Rayleigh scattering is also a reason behind the blue color of the sky.

Color is how the human eye perceives the reflection of different spectrums of light. We perceive color just as we perceive taste: sublime, exquisite, horrible and delicious. It provokes us, it enchants us and our whole world revolves around it. Everything from the clothes we wear, to the foods we eat are determined by color.

It’s only fitting then, that we explore some of Mother Nature’s most colorful works. The kaleidoscope of colors presented in this series of spectacular lake images, encapsulate the incredible natural beauty of enclosed expanses of water.

More info and photos:

  Slideshow link –

  I hope you enjoy the spectacular photography!


Kevin Richardson, animal behaviorist, works with some of the most dangerous animals known to man. He sleeps with lions, cuddles newborn hyenas and swims with lionesses.

Animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson has such an intimate bond with big cats that he can spend the night curled up with them without the slightest fear of attack.

Richardson, 32, who is based in a wildlife conservation area near Johannesburg in South Africa, works his unusual magic on other species too. Cheetahs, leopards and even unpredictable hyenas hold no threats for him

A former student of human physiology who once worked with pre and post-operative human patients, Kevin turned to animals ten years ago when he came to the conclusion that he could trust a lion over one of his own kind every time – well, nearly every time.

A close encounter with an aggressive four-year-old male in the early days taught him a lesson he has not forgotten. The animal pinned him to the ground and started biting him until something about Kevin’s passive attitude stopped him in his tracks.

Kevin has always shown an interest in all types of creatures large and small and from an early age at just 3, was breeding crickets under his bed and keeping a pet toad called “Paddatjie”.  He grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called “The Bird Man of Orange Grove” in his home town to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal’s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them.

Quote from book, ‘Part of the Pride’ –  “As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal’s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them.” “In ‘Part of the Pride’, Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa.”

Link to 4 videos –

Read more –

Kevin Richardson home –



A quote from the book, “The Road to Happiness”, by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher: “I believe that happiness is an attitude of gratitude; and I commit to giving thanks.” 

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” More than anybody else, Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. As a result he devotes more space to the topic of happiness than any thinker prior to the modern era.

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”  ~ Thoreau

“Being happy doesn’t always mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”   ~ Unknown

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” ~
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), Indian leader and politician

“The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.” ~ Desiderius Erasmus (1466 – 1536), Dutch humanist

HAPPINESS ARISTOTLE“Happiness depends on yourselves.” ~
Aristotle (384 BC322 BC), Greek philosopher


        MOVIE LINK –

RAINBOW1Let us all strive to travel our own road to happiness with “The Happiness Creed”.


Here are the results (see my blog of April 11, 2012) of  the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science underwater photography contest. Some of you may have voted for the “Fun Favorite” category entry online.

Congratulations to Todd Mintz of Canada whose entry won first place in the Macro category! 

Best Overall
Headshield sea slug, Chelidonura hirundinina — St. Thomas USVI Ximena Olds, local Key Biscayne resident, has been named “Best Overall” winner of our 2012 Underwater Photography Contest. Olds captured an orange headshield sea slug with a beautiful green seagrass background in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This year’s newest category was the online “Fan Favorite,” where the winner was determined by an online voting poll. The winner was Todd Aki, receiving nearly half of the 1,221 online votes, capturing a very colorful jellyfish.

Macro 1st Place
Todd Mintz, Canada
Yellownose gobies, Elacatinus randalli, in bolder brain coral — Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

Macro 2nd Place
Davide Lopresti, Italy
Porcelain crab, Porcellanella sp. on feathery sea pen
Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Macro 3rd Place
Marcello DiFrancesco, Italy
Emperor shrimp, Periclimenes imperator
Ambon, Indonesia

Wide-angle 1st Place
Mark Fuller, Israel
Lionfish, Pterois sp
Eilat, Israel, Red Sea

Wide-angle 2nd Place
Matt Potenski, New Jersey
Red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle
South Bimini, Bahamas


Wide-angle 3rd Place
Bill Lamp’l, Florida
Soft corals and scalefin anthias, Pseudanthias squamipinnis
Bligh Water, Fiji

Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 1st Place
Douglas A. Kahle, Florida
Juvenile sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus — Dominica

 Fish or Marine Animal Portrait
2nd Place

Rockford Draper, Texas
Paddle flap Rhinopias, Rhinopias eschmeyeri
Bali, Indonesia

Fish or Marine Animal Portrait
3rd Place

Nicholas Samaras, Greece

Best Student Entry
Kyra Hartog
Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Nudibranch, Cratena peregrina
Chalkidiki, Greece

Student 2nd Place
Phillip Gillette, Florida
Harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta
Similan Islands, Thailand

Student 3rd Place
Austin Gallagher, Florida
Juvenile tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, and lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris

Student 2nd Place
Phillip Gillette, Florida
Harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta
Similan Islands, Thailand

Student 3rd Place
Austin Gallagher, Florida
Juvenile tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, and lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris

Posted on April 19, 2012 byRSMAS

Link to RSMAS’ slideshow of winning entries – a must see!!facebox[uw]/11/


A waterspout is a funnel that forms over the water. Waterspouts are much weaker than twisters over the land. When the funnel stretches from the thunderstorm into the ocean or lake, water is the debris that flies in every direction. However, if something like a ship is on the surface of the water then there could be a real threat to the boat. Waterspouts occasionally move inland where their power and danger level increase to that of its viciously twisted sister, the tornado.

What’s happening over the water? Left is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Many waterspouts form away from thunderstorms and even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by the unusual pattern they create on the water. The above image was taken in 1969 from an aircraft off the Florida Keys, a location arguably the hottest spot for waterspouts in the world with hundreds forming each year. Some people speculate that these waterspouts are responsible for many of the losses recorded in the Bermuda Triangle region of the Atlantic photo credit: Joseph Golden, NOAA

Like folks spellbound by a tornado, people on beaches stand and stare as opposed to dashing for safety. The same awestruck curiosity occurs to some sailors on boats or ships. Once a waterspout forms, it could easily work like a supercell over the land where multiple twisters are spawned. If a waterspout were about to collide with your boat, your best bet might be diving underwater but even that is not guaranteed to save your life. Although you would manage to avoid the debris in the air, not enough is known about the vortex in the water. If could be safe or it could be like diving into the vortex of a maelstrom . . . a death sentence.

A person would need to be far above the water level, such as in a plane or on a mountain, to see the first sign of a waterspout. It starts as a dark spot forming on the ocean. The second phase still could not be seen from a ship, but could perhaps could be felt as the wind shifts and speeds up. If a person on a boat happened to look up at the cloud above when sensing the change in the wind, that person might notice a funnel forming in the clouds even though the vortex on the water’s surface is not clearly visible. As the winds increases, the spray is visible from the vortex on the ocean surface. When a waterspout is fully matured, anyone with eyes to see can watch the funnel reach from the cloud to dip and twist into the water. They also hiss and suck at the water instead of the rumbling growl of a twister on land.

*Waterspouts can also form over lakes or rivers, but are most commonly seen over the ocean. They suck up the water in their path, billowing a water spray like a mushroom cloud against the water surface. Waterspouts can range in size from several feet to more than a mile high, and their width can vary from a few feet to hundreds of feet. It is not uncommon to see more than one water-twister at a time. Some ships have reported seeing as many as 30 waterspouts in a single day.

*Many have been spotted over the Great Lakes.

    Images via: Flame, Flickr, One Mom, Stanford, Majorly Cool, wikemedia,

   Source link

I’m having such a great time blogging and can’t believe how much I am learning ( I hadn’t heard of a “waterspout” before this and I think they’re awesome !!!)



‘Exploring the Whole Earth

 NASA’s ‘View of Earth’  is a spectacular slideshow presented by NASA in honour of this year’s Earth Day (link below).

There is also a link on NASA’ site for the 10 most popular earth images taken from ‘Home Through the Astronauts’ Eyes’ and here they are!!!  (You can vote for your favorite on NASA’ Twitter poll.)

Apollo 17 View Of Earth

Mouth Of The Betsiboka River, Madacascar

Mobile Bay, Alabama


The Greater Himalayas

The Sinai Peninsula And The Dead Rift

The Great Lakes

Cleveland  Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

City Lights along France Italy Border

Europe and Africa at night

Hurricane Dean in the Caribbean


 Top 10 images – You can vote for your favorite on NASA’s Twitter poll.

 – 10 most downloaded Earth videos from NASA


Earth Day – Let’s Do Our Part

Excerpts from Earth Day: Take it up – Patrick Langston, the Ottawa Citizen April 20, 2012

Earth Day’s call for collection action aims to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet

…The climate is warming, wildlife habitats are vanishing, resources – from water to oil – are being squandered…“It’s a numbers game: It’s not the contribution one person makes; it’s the collective action. “The only control we ultimately have is over our own actions. (The situation) is scary, but it’s not hopeless,”  – Jed Goldberg, president of Earth Day Canada. None of which means that industry and government are off the hook. Large-scale moves, like controlling environmental damage from resource extraction, for example, are critical.

But individual initiatives can make a huge difference and we’ve come up with 10 that you can implement easily, just in time for tomorrow’s Earth Day… While you’re there, sign up for contest prizes.

Chillin’ out

Get paid up to $400 and reduce the strain on our electricity system while chilling out this summer. ­Hydro Ottawa/Ontario Power Authority’s Heating & Cooling ­Incentive program reimburses you $250 for replacing an existing ­central air conditioning system with an Energy Star-rated one (energy efficiency rating of at least 14.5 SEER and 12 EER) and $400 for a Tier 2 system (minimum 15 SEER and 12.5 EER). There’s also $250 available for upgrading your furnace. Info: 1-877-797-9473,

Green catering

Got a wedding or family reunion? Hire a catering service with an environmental conscience. In Ottawa, The Whalesbone, for example, says it sources fish and seafood from producers using sustainable harvesting techniques (613-266-6743, The Westin Hotel’s sustainable business meeting service includes green elements, like reusable dishes and cutlery and locally sourced food: 613-560-7000,

Go Energy Star

Switching to energy-efficient appliances can reduce energy consumption, saving householders about 30 per cent a year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Using an Energy Star clothes washer during off-peak hours (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) will save roughly $700 in electricity bills over 14 years. That washer will also use 194,000 fewer litres of valuable water during its lifetime compared to a conventional washer.

The Green, Green Grass … or Not

An inefficient gas-powered lawnmower produces as many emissions as driving a typical car 550 kilometres, says the Clean Air Foundation. Options: Go longer between cuts; for smaller areas, switch to a manual lawnmower or a solar-powered model; replace some of your lawn with native plants. As to that leaf blower, don’t even think about buying it — invest instead in an old-fashioned, muscle-building rake and push broom.

Get Off the Bottle

Just say no to bottled water. Not only is tap water in Canada generally safe, but producing and transporting bottled water consumes vast amounts of resources and energy: three to five litres of water, for instance, are needed to produce a one-litre bottle of water, according to the Council of Canadians. Here’s the clincher: a CTV report in 2006 found that a litre of bottled water costs about 3,000 times as much as the same amount of tap water.

Power Bars

Costing as little as $5.77 at Canadian Tire, a power bar can reduce energy use and your hydro bill by shutting off power to televisions, stereos and other electrical devices when they’re not in use. Devices like these typically have an “always-on” feature to power their digital clocks and instant-on capability. That feature can account for five to 10 per cent of a household’s annual electricity usage.

Being a Drip

A drip irrigation system that delivers life-giving water directly to the roots of your vegetables or flowers is about 90-per-cent efficient compared to roughly 60 per cent for an overhead sprinkler, which allows a lot of evaporation – available at Lee Valley Tools starting at less than $50. Just remember that drip systems can clog if the water’s not filtered and the lines not maintained.

Not Just for Fries

To banish food-borne pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, from your home, try vinegar instead of pricey store-bought cleansers. That’s one of multiple tips on Toronto green author and columnist Adria Vasil’s website Vasil’s new book, Ecoholic Body, is one of the prizes in the Take It Up for Earth Day contest. It brims with eco-conscious tips on everything from shampoos to clothing.

Avoid the Drive-thru

Next time you need a Tim Horton’s coffee, park your car and walk into the restaurant instead of joining the drive-thru queue. Allowing a car to idle more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more exhaust than restarting it, according to Natural Resources Canada. Besides, walking will burn up some of the calories in that double-double.

Electronic Waste

Slipping that burnt-out cell phone into the garbage bag won’t doom Mother Earth, but multiply that action by billions of humans with billions of electronic devices and that’s a lot of valuable materials — some of them toxic – going into landfills. Electronics recycling opportunities abound from municipal e-waste drop-off events to partners in the City of Ottawa’s Take It Back program ( Take It Back includes dozens of other products from engine oil containers to bicycle parts.

Links –