Will fish survive?

Amphibians, mammals , and birds will be forced by climate change to relocate to cooler areas outside their normal range, if they can find the space.

What of the fish? Where can they go as the waters warm around the world? Researchers are looking at these questions to see how vulnerable the world’s freshwater and marine fishes will be to climate change. Physiological data is used to predict how nearly 3,000 fish species will respond. Lab experiments from the last 80yrs on nearly 500 species were compiled.Experiments were conducted to measure the highest temperatures the fish could tolerate before dieing.

It was found that there is a great difference in being able to handle temp changes between fresh and marine species. Marine fish in the tropics and freshwater fish in northern climates were the most at risk when temps increased. Fish in tropical oceans may already be living in water that is approaching their upper limit…not much wiggle room. Fish in the far north tend to like cooler water and not much tolerance to warming water.

Fish will have to adapt , migrate, or die off. Fish can evolve, but this needs time ..and there is not much of it left. So, they will have to move, but to where and how? Is there path blocked by dams? Are their fish ladders?

Can we restore vegetation along the edges of water ways to help shade and reduce water temps to benefit the fish.

Fish around the world face mounting pressure from climate change. Continued efforts to support conservation strategies that allow species to survive the rapid changes are required.


Hidden dangers in flood waters

With the recent hurricanes and subsequent flooding I thought we could look at the hidden dangers in flood waters.

In the case of Houston bacteria and toxins have been found in the flood waters. Precautions need to be taken when returning home. How far the toxic water stretches is unclear , but there have been breaches at waste treatment plants. Consequently water flowing down the Briarhills Parkway contains E-coli or fecal contamination at 4x the safe level. Water taken from a living room near the Buffalo Bayou had E-coli  135x what is considered safe. This water also contained elevated levels of lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals. Water in homes is of particular concern as it can warm up and remain in one place becoming something of a breeding ground for bacteria.


Residents and medical people in Houston are starting to see infections likely caused by exposure to dirty floodwaters. Children, the elderly, and people with immune disorders should keep out of homes until they are cleaned up.

Healthy people with cuts and scrapes are open to infections as well. Contact with the water is not recommended. Backyard pools are like giant toilets that you can not flush.

Molds…green , black, and yellow are showing up. Sediments can contain lead, don’t let your children play in it.

If you are going to be dealing with flood waters at some point you might want to use a mask with filter, goggles and gloves, and rubber boots. Change your clothes immediately upon finishing your activity.


How a quarter in a frozen cup could keep you from getting sick

Our thoughts go out to those south of us that are getting hit by Hurricane Irma, and to those in Florida who are about to feel the power of Mother Nature through Irma.

How will putting a quarter in a frozen cup of water keep you from getting sick?

If a hurricane is approaching and you have to evacuate, freeze a cup of water and put a quarter on top.

When you come back, check the cup and the placement of the quarter. If the quarter is still on top the frozen food will still be good. If the quarter is at the bottom there was a power outage and mostly likely the food thawed and would not be good to eat. If the quarter is in the middle , the was a power outage, but not for too long and the food will most likely be fine.

…and that is how a frozen cup of water and a quarter can help prevent you from getting sick from food poisoning.



Development of Water Based Cellphone Battery

Last year the problems of lithium-ion based batteries was highlighted with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 . Batteries were exploding. This has led to more improvements and research into water based electrolyte batteries.

Common lithium-ion batteries can explode when charging . There is a release of electrolytes as energy travels back and forth between electrodes. These organic materials are flammable. The new battery uses a protective layer of salt, preserving the electrodes and holds more energy.

The main thing is that these new batteries are safer. The electrodes are protected from breaking down, and there is a 4 volt output. So the new batteries are safer and there is a good output of electricity..the drawback is life expectancy. Lithium ion based batteries have a life of some 700+ cycles whereas the water based batteries have a life expectancy of some 70 cycles.

I think as this new technology gets refined we will see the life expectancy of water based  batteries to grow. The demand for better batteries has never been stronger and will continue to grow as there are so many uses for batteries today….electric cars, smart devices, and other electronics demand top quality power sources.

Lithium in tap water may cut dementia.

Researchers out of Denmark have released research finding that an increased level of lithium in drinking water may cut risk of dementia. Lithium is natural to tap water, but the amount varies. the researchers from the U of Copenhagen studied the medical records of 800,000 people. Some 74,000 with dementia and the rest without.

The experts are intrigued  and encouraged at the possibility of prevention of this terrible disease.

Tap water was tested in 151 locations around the country. It was found that where lithium was available in the water in moderate amounts dementia increased by 22%, compared to where low levels were available. Where lithium was in the water at the highest levels the risk of dementia was cut by 17%.

This is believed to be the first study of its kind, looking at the association of lithium in water vs dementia. It does appear that in areas where humans were exposed to higher levels of lithium in their water a lower rate of dementia is noted.

Lithium is presently used medicinally in the treatment of bipolar disorders. The element is known to alter a wide range of biological processes in the brain and is shown to be protective. The amounts used in the medical field are much greater than what appears in tap water. We are therefore talking about the effects of small amounts over a long period of time.

The importance of this finding is not without consequence as there is at present no drug or treatment that can reverse or slow the progression of this disease. Obviously , more study will be required.

…more ice water found on Mars.

Scientists have found large deposits of ice water around Mars’s equator. This will of course spur on future colonists or at least astrobiologists looking for life on Mars.

A reanalysis of data from the NASA spaceship Odyssey found evidence of water around the equator…bulk ice sitting just below the surface. The idea of water on Mars is not new. In 2002 ice was found at the poles and in 2008 the Phoenix lander stretched out its robotic arm and scratched the surface..finding frozen water hidden there.

The process of mapping the evidence of water continues to become more accurate. The importance of this would be that when we first put colonists on Mars we should put them near a water source.

Scientists are excited by the consideration that the equatorial ice melts and could provide a home or habitat for microbes…life on Mars. Dark streaks on steep slopes are potentially water seepage from water melting or from and aquifer. Habitats that can support local life could host life from Earth as well. For this reason there are strict protocols to ensure any equipment sent from earth must be sterile. The Martian climate is presently inhospitable to Earth’s organic matter , but we need to watch out for the transfer of our microbes and what they could do Mars.

Not all Antarctic glaciers are melting.

A new study has found that not all Antarctic glaciers are melting. There has been some attention lately given to the melting and breaking off of large areas of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. This activity is not seen on the western Ross Sea coast. The pattern of advance and retreat of the ice pack is not evident here.

The western Ross Sea is an area of great importance to the Antarctic, with a large and diverse ecosystem. It is also the home of several research stations , including the U.S. McMurdo station..the largest on the continent.

Historical maps and satellite images going back 50yrs were used to study some 700kms of coastline, including 34 large glaciers. All showed normal activity. The results suggest changes in the drivers of glacier response to climate..air temp, snowfall, and ocean temperature has been minimal over the lat 50 years.

This comes as interesting news given the recent cracking up of the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula.