Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of oil spills and E. coli

The latest piece of big, "bad news," is the oil spill which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico from the Louisana oil rig disaster of April 20th. Now, 9 days later, it's become a real crisis as the spill has moved toward the Mississippi River, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Breton national Wildlife Refuge, and rich oyster grounds.

One fisherman was quoted as saying, "The oil come in everywhere, the shrimp die, the crabs die, the fish die. What do I do?"

MSNBC reports that, "If the well cannot be closed, almost 100,000 barrels of oil, or 4.2 million gallons, could spill into the Gulf before crews can drill a relief well to alleviate the pressure." The size of the oil spill is now, "...600 miles in circumference and about 23 miles offshore." Think about the ecological significance of this event.

A "...decision to burn some of the oil came after crews operating submersible robots failed to activate a shut-off device that would halt the flow of oil on the sea bottom 5,000 feet below." Now where do you think all those toxic fumes are going? Correct! Right into the atmosphere.

Late yesterday, Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed that, "...seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages, plus an unspecified amount of punitive damages against Transocean, BP, Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and Cameron International Corp." Hmmm, Halliburton, doesn't that name sound very familiar? Why yes, come to think of it, this administration is still playing "patty-cake" with them, in a number of different ventures? Yes, siree!
It will be interesting to see what transpires with this latest environmental situation as it progresses. Unfortunately, no amount of money is going to eradicate, or return the Gulf or animal life to what it was before the spill. Sources: The Baltimore Sun and MSNBC

Now, on to another topic: food! It was announced today that the State of New York is now linked to an E. coli O145 Outbreak in Michigan and Ohio! It is reported that as many as 47 have now sickened in three States, in the Marler Blog The Marler Blog is an excellent resource for finding out about what food/health-related challenges are presently occurring.

So, what is E. coli? Well, for the most part, it's the name of a type of bacteria that lives inside the intestines. Most types of E. coli are quite harmless. However, some types can cause illness and diarrhea. One type causes travelers' to have diarrhea. The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and may sometimes result in kidney failure and even death. Needless to say, it's something that one doesn't want to contract.

How do People contract E. coli? Well, one may contract it by drinking contaminated water, eating fruit or vegetables that have been watered with contaminated water, drinking unpasteurized milk, or eating undercooked ground meat. An E. coli infection may also be caught by coming into contact with others who are infected with it, or by working in environments where one might come into contact with human or animal feces.

At this point in time, it is not known for sure, whether or not this outbreak is from hamburger or some leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, or spinach.

So, there you have it, some new issues that are causing a bit of havoc for the planet and Homo sapiens! It seems to be an ongoing saga. Hmmm, I wonder what the final outcome will be?

Oh, by the way, here's a recommendation for some late night reading, for you: The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, a fascinating book that asks us to envision the Earth without us. Think about it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earth Changes: A Fungus Among Us!

I'm not quite sure how I got into the "Earth Changes" mode, but it seems I keep bumping into articles that relate to them. The one I am addressing at this time is as significant as any, as it relates to a fungus known as C. gattii, that somehow got into North America near the end of the last century, and may be as lethal to human life, and other life forms, as any volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami, et cetera.

As a Health.Com article relates, "The fungus hails from the tropics and may have been brought to North America on imported plants or trees. It is believed to have first emerged on this continent in 1999, on Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia. It ultimately infected more than 200 people, killing nearly 9 percent of them."

Symptoms of this fungal infection have been found to include chest pain, persistent cough, shortness of breath, fever, and weight loss. The fungus has also been found to cause meningitis, or inflammation of the membranes lining the brain. The infection may be treated with antifungal drugs. C. gattii is found in soil and trees, but experts haven't as yet determined how humans contract it.

Researchers have found a new strain, that is likely to move into Northern California and other neighboring regions. Other strains of the fungus have been found in people in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in a bottlenose dolphin as far south as San Diego. It seems the fungus is on the move.

This new strain "...seems to have mutated relatively recently, and has appeared in humans as well as in cats, dogs, and other animals. (In animals, symptoms include a runny nose and breathing problems, and other strains have been seen in ferrets and llamas too.)"

"The mutation ' causing major illness in the region, and it's different from what's causing disease on Vancouver Island,' says Christina Hull, PhD, an assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison."

Edmond Byrnes III, a doctoral student in molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University says, "There are no real precautions you can take, because it's hard to tell which areas would be more infected or where levels of C. gattii could be higher."

I found the following comment by Philip Alcabes, Ph.D., an infectious diseases epidemiologist at Hunter College, in New York City, who says "...genetic changes such as those described by Byrnes (re: the fungus) are 'a pretty normal, expectable evolutionary event in nature that has a slight amount of human fallout.'" In my opinion, whatever "human fallout" there is, is too much, and says a "lot" about Dr. Alcabes.

So, there we have it, another disease that has manifested and reared its ugly head, along with all the other earth changes that are occurring. After reading and thinking about this blog, it becomes obvious there are many things that people can do to correct some of the diseases, or planetary events, that we are experiencing these days.

In regards to infectious diseases, people can simply start by improving their personal hygiene! People are known to be excellent spreaders of disease! Simply having good hygiene is a step in the right direction. Maybe one day people won't need a sign in the lavatory that says: Please Wash Hands Before Leaving!
Source: CNN/

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010: un-HaPpY EARTH DAY!

Yes, here we have the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! 40 years and what do we have to show for it? Air and water that's more polluted than it was 40 years ago! Chemicals and additives in foods that mess with the bodies biological systems. Sugar coated this, sugar coated that! Cola, M & Ms, deep fried twinkies, doughnuts, you name it! It's all garbage concocted to make money for some greedy shyster who cares nothing about the environment or the people people who consume it. Children's toys that are dangerous, either from construction or from the toxic paint that is applied to it! Red dye this, blue dye that! Mad cow disease! Oh you think it's gone, well if you do, I've got a bridge to sell you!

Here's a nice little piece from MSNBC: Plastic, sweat pants and more found in dead whale:

At this point this is a relatively short blog, but how much needs to be said about things we already know, that this species, Homo sapiens, has done more than any other species to mess things-up on this planet! About a species that not only destroys itself, but trashes the planet that sustains it. Nuclear waste, human waste, garbage, islands of plastic floating in the oceans, and every day there's more and more of it.

Note: As of today's date, a report was released by MSNBC regarding the Louisana oil rig disaster of Tuesday, April 20th. Approximately 100 workers made it to safety at a nearby supply boat, after their rig exploded. A number of workers were injured, with 11 still missing. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said that crews saw a 1 mile by 5 mile sheen of what appeared to be a crude oil mix on the surface of the water.

"The well could be spilling up to 8,000 barrels of crude oil a day," the Coast Guard said, and the rig carried 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel." Needless to say, occurances like this are devasting to human as well as marine life, and toxifies the water. For further information on this, please go to:

I'm well aware there are people and organizations who "try" to make a positive difference for our planet and environment, but there need to be more! I am constantly reminded about the number of careless, lazy, and lackadaisical people there are, everytime I go out on a photoshoot, or hike. Today was no different; empty plastic bottles, food wrappers, you name it, and in places one wouldn't expect to find litter. The planet is fast becoming the garbage dump of the solar system! Oops, and let's not forget while we're at it the 10,000 +/- various pieces of debris circling our planet from various "space exploration" projects.

Is it too late? Only time will tell!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Changes: 2010 A Year of Change

Earthquakes, tsunamies, cyclones, vulcanic eruptions! Vulcanic eruptions? Oh, yes, how could I forget that another major factor in Earth changes are volcanoes. Especially, when on March 20th, Iceland's volcanic region under Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted after almost 200 years of silence; the last eruption occurred in 1821. This particular volcano is located about 75miles/120kilometers east of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Iceland is a nation of approximately 320,000 people, and is a volcanic area of activity in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic episodes are often triggered by seismic activity (earthquakes), as the planet's tectonic plates move. Magma/lava is forced-upward from the planet's molten core, and then ejected in an eruption (often violent) spilling onto the surface; often accompanied, or preceded, by clouds of smoke, gases, minute particles and water vapor.

A more significant eruption occurred on Wednesday, April 14th, almost a month after the March incident. This new eruption occurred under the ice cap, and was reported by scientists to be 10 to 20 times more powerful than the one in March.

Since Wednesday, travelers across Europe have been grounded owing to the ash and tiny glass particles that are part of the material being expelled from the volcano, and a potential risk for airlines flying through the volcanic clouds. As to when this volcanic activity will cease; no one is certain.

There is also some concern about another relatively close volcano, known as Katla, which has been known to erupt in tandem with Eyjafjallajokull. Katla is situated beneath the vast Myrdalsjokull ice cap, with its last major eruption occurring in 1918; scientists say a new eruption is long overdue.

With the large amount of earth-related activity that has been occurring since the beginning of 2010, it would be sound advice for people to become a little less self-absorbed and take a look around at what's going on in their world, and perhaps prepare themselves for an emergency should it occur. (Source: YAHOO News).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earth Changes Continue

Since my first post on "Earth changes," which was updated on March 4, there have been several more earthquakes of various magnitude, that have occurred in many areas of the world.

As recently as Easter Sunday, April 4th, there was a 7.2M earthquake in Baja California, Mexico, followed by the April 6th, Sumatra, Indonesia, earthquake of 7.7M. Earthquakes of a destructive magnitude seem to be occuring with a more and more regular frequency. It would seem that the planet has entered in a very active stage of global geographic change.

Now a week later a 6.9M earthquake has rocked Yushu county, in the southern part of Qinghai, China, near Tibet, with reports from CBS saying there are over 400 dead and 10,000 injured (reference).

What does all this mean? It means that this is a time for people to wake-up and realize that the planet is, and has always been in constant change. We in the United States erroneously "assume" that tomorrow will be "exactly" as it has always been, and that it's "business" as usual. It's no longer business as usual for the people of China. It's no longer a time to be "unconscious!" Time to wake-up!