Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tragedy at Sea World

Whale kills trainer as horrified spectators watch

A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front of a horrified audience at a SeaWorld show Wednesday, with witnesses saying the animal involved in two previous deaths dragged the trainer under and thrashed her around violently. Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed.

Veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was one of the park's most experienced. It wasn't clear if she drowned or died from the thrashing.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs confirmed the whale was Tilikum, one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer who lost her balance and fell in the pool with them in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia.

Watching trainers and whales, dolphins, porpoises and other creatures play at SEa World and other marine parks has long been a popular past-time, and has inspired many kids to take up suba diving, oceanography and other disciplines.

While Dawn's death is a tragedy, it must be remembered that this is the first death at a marine park, in 9 years. It's hardly as if the whales are rebelling against their trainers and killing them every day of the week.

Still, organizations like PETA will doubtless use this tragedy as a rallying cry to urge that all animals in marine parks be released into the open oceans... where they will be killed by fishermen in due course...

Seaborn and TechnoOcean reserve judgement on what the consequences should be from this tragedy. These whales and dolphins are not pets, they are not domesticated animals, but usually they interact so well with humans that it does seem as if they like the company....

Sea Hunt Honored For Its Inspirational Role

TV series Sea Hunt honored by diving instructors

Sea Hunt, which ran from 1958 to 1961, starred Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson, a former Navy diver, or "frogman" as they were called who travelled the world having adventures, more often than not aboard his boat, the Argonaut.

"The underwater adventure series was honored Saturday night for inspiring a generation of television viewers to take up scuba diving.

"Diving exploded in popularity because millions of kids grew up wanting to be like Mike Nelson," said Zale Parry, a pioneer diver and actor who worked on "Sea Hunt."

"It also helped create an appreciation of the undersea world that needs protection today," said Beau Bridges, actor and son of the late Lloyd Bridges,

The series, which originally ran from 1958 to 1961, has ties to Florida because portions of the episodes were filmed at Silver Springs, Cypress Gardens and Tarpon Springs.

Parry and Lloyd Bridges were honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Association of Underwater Instructors held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverview. Also honored was actor Nicolas Coster ("Santa Barbara" and other soap operas) for his work with teaching the disabled how to dive.

The association's international headquarters is in Riverview and more than 300 diving instructors from around the world attended the event.

"The event was to celebrate our 50th anniversary and dedicate our new world headquarters building so we brought in a lot of the pioneers who helped make scuba diving a sport," said association President Jim Bram. "Many of them are in their 80s now and they got a kick out of the Sea Hunt clips."

"I can't tell you how many people over the years have come up to me and told me how much they loved Sea Hunt," Parry said. "It was an underwater Western with Mike Nelson fighting the bad guys and rescuing people."

Parry, who lives in Oregon, started diving in the 1940s as a young girl: "I was always a swimmer and I loved the water."

In 1953 she became a tester of underwater equipment for Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises. Later, she helped design, build and market the first civilian hyperbaric chamber for divers. In 1954, she set a women's depth record of 209 feet and the next year was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition as the "sweetheart" of scuba diving.

(Zale Parry still going strong).)

"I also was an actress and in 1954 I was in Kingdom of the Sea, an underwater travel series," she says. "And then I was asked to help on Sea Hunt by producer Ivan Tors. I helped with the diving, worked as a stunt double and appeared in several episodes."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whaling to Resume as International Whaling Commission Falters

IWC plan to end commercial whaling , allow Japan to keep hunting in Antartic

Reported by Peter Alford, Tokyo correspondent for The Australian February 23, 2010 -- 8:38AM

COMMERCIAL whaling would be reintroduced on a limited basis and Japan would be able to continue hunting in the Antarctic, under a proposal released today by International Whaling Commission chairman Cristian Maquieira.

The Maquieira proposal cuts across Kevin Rudd's demand for Japan to end its Southern Ocean scientific whaling program by November, before the scheduled start of the next summer hunt.

Mr Rudd has threatened Japan with a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice if it does not accept his ultimatum.

Greenpeace International today described the Maquieira plan as a “disaster” for whale conservation, “send(ing) shock waves through international ocean conservation efforts, making it vastly more difficult to protect other rapidly declining species such as tuna and sharks”.

“The proposal rewards Japan for decades of reprehensible behaviour at the IWC and in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” said John Frizell, head of the Greenpeace whales campaign.

Canberra is expected to reject Mr Maquieira's plan, aimed at securing the future of an IWC at risk of collapse over Japanese so-called scientific whaling and the refusal of several other members to honour the 24-year-old international moratorium on commercial whaling.

Mr Rudd and embattled Environment Minister Peter Garrett are expected to unveil an alternative Australian proposal to the IWC as early as today.

The Maquieira proposal, developed but not endorsed by a “support group” of 12 countries including Australia and Japan, calls for suspending scientific whaling, the means by which Japan gets around the 24-year-old IWC ban on commercial whaling, this summer with quotas to catch up to 990 Southern Ocean whales.

Japan and the other IWC member countries that currently kill whales, however, would receive quotas for the next 10 years, set within sustainable levels for each hunted species.

The support group has not established what quotas would apply in the Antarctic, where only the Japan hunts, but has left the way open for targeted species to include the iconic humpback and still at-risk fin whales, as well as the numerous minkes that make up the overwhelming bulk of the Japanese fleet's catch.

In effect, this is a return to limited commercial whaling, although only open to countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland that by one means or another have flouted the whaling moratorium.

The proposal, part of a wide-ranging suite of reforms to the IWC's moribund rules and procedures, would operate until the end of 2010.

It goes early next month to an IWC working group meeting in Florida and, if approved, from there to the commission's annual meeting where, if approved, it would become the operating regime for governing both whaling and whale conservation activities.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Ages of the Earth

Based on the dating of rocks found in the Earth’s crust, the Earth is about four billion years old.

When dating the earth, time periods used are eons, eras, epochs and so on.

What does it all mean?

Eon: the largest division of geologic time, comprising two or more eras. (When talking about eons with family and friends, make sure you know the discipline of the person you’re talking to. The above is the geologic definition, referring to the earth. Of course things are never that simple….if you’re talking in terms of astronomy, it means “one billion years”.

Era: a period of time marked by distinctive character or events, etc. a major division of geologic time composed of a number of periods.

Period: a rather large interval of time that is meaningful in the life of a person, in history, etc., because of its particular characteristics. The period is the basic unit of geologic time, during which a standard rock system is formed: comprising two or more epochs and included with other periods in an era.

Epoch: a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc. any of several divisions of a geologic period during which a geologic series is formed. A unit of geologic time that is a division of a period.
(Again, epoch has a different meaning in astronomy than in geology).

Age: a particular period of history, as distinguished from others; a historical epoch.
a. a period of the history of the earth distinguished by some special feature: the Ice Age.
b. a unit of geological time, shorter than an epoch, during which the rocks comprising a stage were formed.

Stage: a division of stratified rocks corresponding to a single geologic age.

And there you have it!

Word Origins – from the Online Eytmology Dictionary

1640s, from L. aeon, from Gk. aion "age, vital force, lifetime," from PIE base *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity" (cf. Skt. ayu "life," Avestan ayu "age," L. aevum "space of time, eternity," Goth. aiws "age, eternity," O.N. ævi "lifetime," Ger. ewig "everlasting," O.E. a "ever, always").

1615, from L.L. æra, era "an era or epoch from which time is reckoned," probably identical with L. æra "counters used for calculation," pl. of æs (gen. æris) "brass, money" (see ore). The L. word's use in chronology said to have begun in 5c. Spain (where, for some reason unknown to historians, the local era began 38 B.C.E.; some say it was because of a tax levied that year). Like epoch, in Eng. it originally meant "the starting point of an age;" meaning "system of chronological notation" is c.1646; that of "historical period" is 1741.

1413, "course or extent of time," from M.L. periodus "recurring portion, cycle," from L. periodus "a complete sentence," also "cycle of the Greek games," from Gk. periodos "rounded sentence, cycle, circuit, period of time," lit. "going around," from peri- "around" + hodos "a going, way, journey" (see cede). Sense of "repeated cycle of events" led to that of "interval of time."

1610s, "point marking the start of a new period in time" (e.g. the founding of Rome, the birth of Christ, the Hegira), from M.L. epocha, from Gk. epokhe "stoppage, fixed point of time," from epekhein "to pause, take up a position," from epi- "on" + ekhein "to hold." Transferred sense of "a period of time" is 1620s; geological usage (not a precise measurement) is from 1802.

c.1300, "long but indefinite period in human history," from O.Fr. aage, from V.L. *aetaticum (cf. Sp. edad, It. eta, Port. idade "age"), from L. aetatem (nom. aetas), "period of life," from aevum "lifetime, eternity, age," from PIE base *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity" (see eon). Meaning "time something has lived, particular length or stage of life" is from early 14c.

What Are The Ocean Sciences?

When the average person thinks of "ocean sciences," he or she thinks of oceanography. But there are a vast number of disciplines that study the oceans - and we will cover them all in Seaborn.

Marine biology (Biological oceanography) -- the study of the plants, animals and microbes of the oceans and their ecological interaction with the ocean

Marine chemistry (Chemical oceanography) -- the study of the chemistry of the ocean and its chemical interaction with the atmosphere

Marine geology (Geological oceanography) --the study of the geology of the ocean floor including plate tectonics

Marine physics (Physical oceanography) -- the study of the ocean's physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, waves, internal waves, surface tides, internal tides, and currents.

Acoustical oceanography -- the behavior of sound under water

Optical oceanography -- the study of light and radio waves in the ocean.

Because of this wide variety of disciplines beneath the oceanography umbrella, oceanographers also need a thorough grounding in mathematics. We will not deal with math in this blogzine, but we will provide links to other sites that will help with math, and we encourage girls to work hard on their math skills and not let the stereotype that "girls always have problems with math" discourage you. That is not actually the thousands of women scientists can attest. Here is a website for young girls that will help them learn about math and how important - and easy - it is: (at least to start with!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This blogzine will teach kids and adults about the ocean sciences.

1. A history of oceanography
2. Vocabulary builder
3. Oceanography today