Global Warming – Major Scam or Impending Reality?

Global Warming Scam or Reality
Global warming is the gradual increase in average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere

Global warming seems to be one of the most debated issues of modern civilization; everyone has a strong opinion about it one way or the other.

Global warming causes fights at family gatherings, and discords between friends. But how many people really understand the arguments on either side of the debate? It seems like people form their opinions based on how they feel, or what they want the answer to be, rather than based on information or evidence.

We’ll break down the arguments on both sides, and then let you decide for yourself whether global warming is all smoke and mirrors, or if you might want to go out and buy a hybrid vehicle.
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Open Letter: Aussies Stop Killing The Great White Shark

South African great white shark
The endangered great white migrates to Australian waters where a culling operation is now in progress. As top-level predators, sharks regulate the marine life they feed on by removing the sick, weak and injured — click to enlarge

Open Letter to the Honorable Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Colin Barnett:

Dear Mr. Premier,

I’m writing to you about the Australian Shark Cull Policy, which targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. This policy was initiated late last year following a spate of fatal attacks in 2011. Despite widespread criticism in Australia, you have refused to back down, claiming your catch-and-kill policy is justified.

South Africa is a world leader in shark research and the killing of great white sharks is prohibited in South African waters.

Australia should not be allowed to make unilateral policy decisions that affect the global ocean environment. Furthermore, the Australian cull policy violates international laws. It targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. An independent study has found that there is no proof that this initiative will reduce attacks and shows that it would probably have an adverse effect on the environment. Continue reading “Open Letter: Aussies Stop Killing The Great White Shark”

Sunset on The Bot River Estuary #6

sunset on the Bot River Estuary
The sun dips behind the Kogelberg mountains at sunset on the Bot River Estuary — click to enlarge

It’s 17:53pm as the sun dips behind the Kogelberg mountain range.

The windless and warm conditions and the absolute silence magnify the beauty of the Bot River Estuary.

This estuarine system lies on the eastern border of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve on the Southern tip of Africa.

Dramatic Changes On The Banks Of The Bot River Estuary

Bot River Estuary
Looking North over the Bot River Estuary, the renowned Arabella Estate is visible at centre on the opposite bank. In the middle distance, just left of centre, a group of four pelicans is feeding in the shallows — click to enlarge.

It’s amazing to see the changes that have taken place in the last six months, on the the Bot River Estuary.

Everywhere the banks of the estuary are taking on a more beach-like appearance. On clean white sand, sea shells, sea weed, red-bait and cuttlefish are in evidence.

The water tastes salty and it’s not unusual to see large shoals of tiny fish being preyed upon by diving sea birds, kestrels and duikers.

In the middle of August 2012, the mouth of the Bot River Estuary was artificially breached. This was done after consulting with the Bot River Estuary Forum (BREF), and estuarine specialists (9 Images, click here for Flickr slideshow).

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Gold In The Sky At Sunset On The Bot River Estuary

Sunset On The Bot River Estuary
Sunset On The Bot River Estuary -- click to enlarge

Here on the southern tip of Africa it’s 7:50pm and the sun is sinking on the beautiful Bot River Estuary.

One can just make out the estuary mouth at extreme left on the horizon.

The estuary mouth remains closed to the sea for long periods, sometimes years, before it opens naturally to start a new breeding cycle for the many species of fish that populate the estuary.

Image: John L Bradfield

Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach

Southern Right Whale placenta washed up on the beach
This Southern Right Whale placenta was washed up on the beach on the Southern Coast of Africa near Hermanus -- click any photo to enlarge

One beautiful sunny morning, a few days ago, while walking the long stretch of beach named Grotto Beach near Voëlklip on the Hermanus coastline, I came across this amazing sight — the after-birth of a Southern Right Whale, washed up on the beach. At least, that’s what I think it was.

The whale that is seen most often in Walker Bay is the Southern Right Whale, so my assumption is that it once belonged to a Southern Right. However, other species do make an appearance occasionally so one can’t be certain.

I didn’t know what this was at first. It looked alien lying there half buried in the sand. I took these photographs and it was only a few days later, after doing some on-line research that it finally dawned on me — it was a whale’s placenta.

You can get an idea of the size (once you’ve gotten over the gross factor) by comparing the footprint in the sand on the next photograph. At about 3 meters (10 feet) long it’s huge (3 Photographs).
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Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

Fishing in the Bot River Estuary
Fishing in the Bot River Estuary is not what it seems . .

It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.

This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.

Conventional wisdom, and experience, has it that garrik, steenies and large mullet are the most likely catches. These along with leervis, steenbras and elf are popular angling and table fish. Continue reading “Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary”

Native Indian Class Action Lawsuit Scores $680 Million From USDA

North American Native peoples
North American Native peoples -- click to enlarge

On Thursday this week a nationwide class action lawsuit was settled. The historic Keepseagle settlement agreement requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay $680 million in damages to thousands of Native Americans and to forgive up to $80 million in outstanding farm loan debt.

The Indians filed the Keepseagle class action lawsuit 11 years ago. They alleged that for three decades Native American farmers were denied the opportunity to obtain low-interest rate loans and loan servicing from the USDA. The Indians alleged that this resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses for Indian farmers. They said that these loans were given instead to their white neighbors.

Native American Indians once inhabited the present United States from Coast to Coast. Today they number 4.9 Million (2008). Apart from language, the differences between Indian tribes is barely perceptible. They were once grouped into eight radically distinct languages, four of which are still in existence today.

Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers

Weaver Ants farming aphids
Weaver Ants farming aphids, carrying them to different plants to ‘milk’ the aphids of their sugary liquid excretion

With the Earth’s population exploding and nearly every arable acre already cultivated, the future of farming is a looming concern. For inspiration science is looking to the leaf-cutter ant which has mastered single crop agriculture and represents the apex of ant agriculture.

Monoculture crops are the rule in modern agriculture. This is why modern crops are especially vulnerable to disease. A pathogen that can infect one plant will likely be infectious to the rest.

Today the banana industry is being threatened by a fungus known as Tropical Race Four. This infection has resisted every counter-measure and may eventually doom modern bananas altogether.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the latest crisis has hit the Australian Pistachio nut industry. In December 2010 torrential rainfalls created ideal conditions for an outbreak of the moisture-loving anthracnose fungus. Australia’s pistachios originate almost entirely from a single cultivar developed in the early 1980s. Continue reading “Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers”

Wild Horses at Sunset on the Bot River Estuary

Wild Horses grazing at sunset
The Bot River Wild Horses grazing at sunset -- Photo: John Bradfield

Today at sunset I strolled down to the “lagoon” otherwise known as the Bot River Estuary. Lo and behold, the wild horses were grazing on the grassy banks in the distance about 200 meters (650 feet) away.

The Bot River Estuary which lies at the edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve near Hermanus in the Western Cape of South Africa

Fortunately I had my camera with me and I decided to get nearer and take some photos. As I approached them the three stallions in the herd watched me carefully before deciding that I was not a threat. In the fading light I was able to take a few — uploaded here for your enjoyment (4 photos).

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