Thursday, November 30, 2006

The sound of silence

I know that things have been quiet around here, but, well, sure the election results took a bit of the rage against the machine out of my sails, and then of course Thanksgiving and all that. And I mean afterall, according to Tom Tancredo I live in the Third World (the irony being of course that "white of European descent" Miamians have been saying that to each other for years), so you shouldn't expect too much anyway.

So just to keep things rolling along, some bits and pieces guaranteed to sober you up real fast.

An article in last week's Science (which my friend on the right Jason Coleman thinks is an outlet for "junk science" - as opposed to the spewings about global warming that emanate from right wing ideologues at the Hoover Institution) basically suggests that we are likely to see a meltdown in ocean biodiversity by mid 21st century unless we change the way we exploit and pollute the cradle of all life on the planet. Very sobering indeed. Human beings have an unmitigated history of violating that cardinal rule of right living: "don't shit where you eat."

And just in case you can't get access, here is the summary of the article:

Science 3 November 2006:
Vol. 314. no. 5800, p. 745
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5800.745



News of the Week

ECOLOGY:
Global Loss of Biodiversity Harming Ocean Bounty

Erik Stokstad

Environmental groups often argue that biodiversity offers tangible benefits to people. Now, a group of ecologists has put that argument to the test with the most comprehensive look yet at the human impact of declining marine biodiversity. On page 787, they report that the loss of ocean populations and species has been accompanied by plummeting catches of wild fish, declines in water quality, and other costly losses. They even project that all commercial fish and seafood species will collapse by 2048. "It's a gloomy picture," says lead author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Yet the team provides a glimmer of hope, concluding that people still have time to recoup these ecosystem benefits if they restore biodiversity.

Although none of these points is new, some experts say the study strengthens the case for the practical value of biodiversity by marshaling multiple lines of evidence and taking a global look. "This is a landmark paper," says Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University in Corvallis. Others aren't convinced yet. "It falls short of demonstrating that biodiversity losses are the primary drivers of why the services have declined," says Donald Boesch of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Cambridge.

Junk science, eh, Jason?

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