Archive for 08/13/2011

The China Post –

American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad jumped into Cuban waters Sunday evening and set off in a bid to become the first person to swim across the Florida Straits without the aid of a shark cage.

Tanned and freckled from long hours training in the open seas of the Caribbean, the 61-year-old Nyad expressed confidence before starting off. She said the still air and flat water were perfect conditions for her attempt to make a 103-mile (166-kilometer), 60-hour swim from Havana to the Florida Keys.

 

“The adrenaline’s flowing now,” Nyad said at a jetty in western Havana as she looked at the water. “I don’t believe much in destiny, but you have to take what you can get, and this is what I dreamed of: a silver platter.”

She changed into a black swimsuit and blue swim cap and an assistant greased her shoulders and armpits to prevent chafing in the salty water. Nyad played “Reveille” on a bugle, thanked several dozen well-wishers who came to see her, then jumped feet first into the sea.

She swam away just before sunset, escorted by kayaks and several larger boats carrying her support team.

Earlier in the day, Nyad said it has been a lifelong dream and she hopes her feat, if successful, will inspire people to live vigorously during their golden years.

 

“I also want it to be a moment for thousands, and I dare say millions of people my age, who are going to look and say, ’60!’” Nyad said at a news conference. “The joke is 60 is the new 40, and it’s true. We are a younger generation than the 60 that went before us.”

She called the attempt a “symbolic moment” for increasing understanding between the United States and Cuba, two nations torn by five decades of animosity and mistrust.

“I’m under no delusion that my swim is going to make any new political ramifications,” she added. “But it is a human moment between the two countries.”

Nyad spent the day eating, hydrating and meeting with members of her team. Five boats planned to sail alongside with 45 support crew on board, from navigators, nutritionists and doctors to shark wranglers and a film crew that has been documenting her story.

Full story…

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Betsy Blaney and Marcia Dunn –

In parched West Texas, it’s often easier to drill for oil than to find new sources of water.

So after years of diminishing water supplies made even worse by the second-most severe drought in state history, some communities are resorting to a plan that might have seemed absurd a generation ago: turning sewage into drinking water.

Construction recently began on a $13 million water-reclamation plant believed to be the first of its kind in Texas. And officials have worked to dispel any fears that people will be drinking their neighbors’ urine, promising the system will yield clean, safe water. Some residents are prepared to put aside any squeamishness if it means having an abundant water supply.

“Any water is good water, as far as I’m concerned,” said Gary Fuqua, city manager in Big Spring, which will join the cities of Midland, Odessa and Stanton in using the water.

When the water finally reaches the tap, Fuqua said, its origin is “something I wouldn’t think about at all.”

Similar plants have been operating for years in Tucson, Ariz., parts of California and in other countries. Water experts predict other American cities will follow suit as they confront growing populations, drought and other issues.

“It’s happening all over the world,” said Wade Miller, executive director of the WateReuse Association based outside Washington. “In some places … resources are down to very low levels, and this is one of the few resources available.”

The Colorado River Municipal Water District in West Texas began considering a wastewater recycling plant back in 2000 and broke ground last month on the facility in Big Spring, about 100 miles southeast of Lubbock. When finished late next year, it should supply 2 million gallons of water a day.

Full story…

Angie Yack –

Some sailors who served on the Navy destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford gathered Wednesday to watch it be pushed to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to become part of a manmade reef.

“It’s sad to see it being sunk,” said Lee String, 46, of Westville, N.J., who served on the ship in 1985 as a welder, pipefitter and plumber. “It was once a proud-looking ship, but it’s better to see it go to that purpose rather than razor blades.”

Officials say the 563-foot ship, which was decommissioned in 2003, is the longest vessel ever sunk as an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean.

It took about 3½ hours for the ship to submerge. Water initially entered the ship through the seacocks and started flooding the bottom of the hull. Then, just before 4 p.m., the bow went up slightly and the stern quickly flooded as the ship went down.

“I didn’t think she was going to do it at first. She definitely took her own sweet time going down,” said Scott Horne, 39, of Portsmouth, Va., who served a tour of duty on the ship. “She always put up a fight for a lot of things when we were under way. She always had her own way of doing things, but the mission always got accomplished. It’s the same with this — she put up a fight, and then when she finally decided to let go, she did.”

Plenty of manmade objects, including several retired New York City subway cars, are already submerged in the Atlantic to create habitats for sea life and new opportunities for deep-sea anglers and scuba divers.

The Radford’s resting spot is about 130 feet of ocean on what is known as the Del-Jersey-Land reef, named for Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. It lies about 25 miles off the Indian River Inlet in Delaware; Ocean City, Md.; and Cape May, N.J.

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Hydro International  –

During Black Sea oil pollutions monitoring a natural oil source was detected, located in the Turkish sector 7km off the coast near Rize. The source was examined based on the analysis of multi-temporal satellite images by ScanEx specialists together with the experts of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology.

Location of the source was determined based on the analysis of oil spills detected on 14multi-temporal radar images of ENVISAT and RADARSAT-1 satellites, acquired within 2003-2011.

The GeoMixer web-mapping application was used in the study. The spot with coordinates 41°09’10”N and 40°41’06”E, being the center of a group of spills is quite a precise indicator of the location of the oil source on the sea floor. The source is located in the deepwater part of the sea at the depth of 1,100 meters at the foot of the continental slope.

This oil seep has been known since XIX century, studied applying different methods, however this is next to no information available about it. Therefore a decision was made to study it using space radars and geoinformation technology.

Oil seepage volumes can be assessed by measuring spills acreage on radar images and based on simple physical considerations, connecting the thickness of oil film with its color that varies from rainbow in the place of surfacing to silver-grey on the circumference of the slick, – explains Senior Researcher of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology Andrei Ivanov.

The area of the sea, covered by oil sheen, depending on the hydrometeorological conditions constitutes from 3 to 21 sq.km (9.7 sqkm on average), which enables to assess natural oil seepage volumes.

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My Fox DFW –

A French entrepreneur backed by a software company claims to have proved that he can tow giant icebergs across the world to end drought conditions.

Georges Mougin, 86, has championed his plan to harvest icebergs to solve water shortages for 40 years — and a computer simulation now shows that the ambitious project might be possible, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

Under the plan, engineers would encircle an iceberg with a harness that contains a skirt made from an insulating textile. The skirt unfolds underwater and covers the iceberg to stop it from melting.

With the help of ocean currents, the iceberg is then towed to drought-stricken lands.

“They are floating reservoirs,” Mougin said.

He formed his company, Iceberg Transport International, in 1976 but shelved his iceberg-towing project after he was told repeatedly that it was too expensive and too difficult.

However, in 2009, he was approached by the French software firm Dassault Systemes, which provided Mougin with 15 engineers to build a computer simulation to test his ideas.

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