I've dug out a load of stuck vehicles so I have a keen insight into why this dig-out effort just isn't going to end well ...
Thursday, January 17, 2019: That small snowfall is sure hanging around due to chilly and cloudy weather. However, it faces some warmish rain this weekend – and a high into the 50s on Sunday, after which we could challenge a loosely-kept record. Between 6 pm Sunday and 6 am Monday, we could see a temperature drop of over 40 degrees, possibly ending with insane single-digit cold. In fact, there could be a 30-degree drop in just a few hours, as the lower edge of a polar vortex slides out of the dead north and over us … though not all that far further south.
With the wetness from snow melt and Sunday rains on the ground when the fierce frigidity sets in, it could make for some insane black ice, not to mention unopenable front doors. Vehicles could suffer the worst when it comes to being iced over. I’ll likely forget this along with you: Anyone not pulling their windshield wipers from off the glass had better not suddenly throw on their wipers, as some folks do to shoot cleaner on the glass, automatically activating the wipers. The cost and effort to replace modern windshield wipers is a pain in the rump.
A bit weirder – though we all know we live in the most regulated state in the nation – it is unlawful to let your vehicle idle outside, allowing it to warm up. I know quite a few folks who have remote engine starters. Who will know? The bitter cold causes condensation to show as it comes out the tailpipe, alerting any over-aggressive officers to take note. While I doubt any of our cool local cops would go that Napoleonic enforcement route, should a grumpy neighbor or over-ambitious tree hugger call in the boys in blue, they might be forced to go citation on you. Hey, one never knows in this bizarre day and age.
Most shoreline folks know the running water routine, though some folks think a drip is enough when plumbers have told me that below zero wind chills demand a pencil-thickness flow. What’s that? Oh, sorry … pencils were these writing tools with a round piece of graphite running through them …
Here's just about the exact force I leave my faucets running.
Remember: It’s wind-driven cold that bursts pipes. And we’ll be seeing that.
If you have a ground-level house, you might want to climb under during the day and look for light coming in where it shouldn’t. Incoming light surely shows where wind is leaking in. Seal those bleedin' cracks.
Trick: Force yourself to get up in the middle of the frigid night and flush the toilet. While you’re at it, turn on the shower, hot and cold. By the by, if the water sputters when you throw it on full force, or if rusty water comes out, you came that close to a freeze-up. Nice catch.
GOPRO RATED: A “Wow!” to my new GoPro7. I needed a new GoPro since my last one went to GoPro heaven. When it had given up the ghost, I mulled over competitors within the GoPro-wannabe camera market. I even ventured into the low-cost realm with a $39 Chinese knockoff model. And it was worth maybe $39.
In the well-researched end, I scrimped and saved to get the top-end GoPro 7, selling at about $399 -- though I used gimmicks to reach a final cost of $349, including an extra battery, by taking on an Amazon credit card. I got it within 48 hours, free shipping with “Prime.”
I won’t get into the GP7 learning curve, which is a bit steep when trying to master its touchscreen set-up. Also, somewhat demanding were the two tight doors to reach the battery and slots. Opening and closing the cover to those doors, which must be done to charge battery and remove the memory card, is tricky. Importantly, those doors must be closed perfectly – flush with camera – to assure the camera’s water tightness. There’s no longer a clear housing to seal the camera. It’s watertight on its own, though it does come in an open casing, which acts mainly as protection from bumps and drops.
But the main tell is in the shooting. While I’m just breaking it in, the captures so far are remarkably crisp and clear, very true to color. I think it’s the sharpest looks ever produced by a GoPro. A real difference-maker is the built-in stabilizer. This upgrade was what sold me on the GP7. I read it’s hot … and it is. For me, that stabilization is huge, especially when thinking in terms of the various GoPro mounting points on my truck. All of them rock and roll when I’m off road. The stabilizer surely smooths the look of the ride.
I’m anxious to put my GP7 through the grind, though that will have to wait until more cooperative weather. For those who frequent this blog, you should be seeing video evidence of this action cam’s capacities.
Below: You might have already seen this Holgate video but now knowing it was my GoPro’s maiden voyage you can take notice of how bumpy the beach surface is … but not such a bouncy deal for the GP7:
You have to read it to believe it. Below is a tender(loin) news story of a man, a bear and a selfie … attempt. You know where this is heading, right?
The report offers some insights into the odd and highly unwonderful world of taking selfies with known-carnivorous forms of wildlife.
I’ve watched -- in a train-wreck-watching way – videos of catastrophic stunts done to garner acclaim within the social media viewership. But, there is something profoundly “What were you thinking!?” about someone literally walking up to a wild bear with “Smile” on their clueless lips.
Researching such selfie fails, it turns out bears are among the most common selfie-enders -- meaning they’re among the most often chosen for pics. Say what?! I might vaguely understand this penchant if the Yogi Bear Show was still in production. Maybe it’s time to bring back Yogi – "smarter than the av-er-age bear” -- and Boo-Boo, maybe Coen Brothers style. “Hey there, Boo-Boo. Screw the pic-a-nic baskets and watch me eat the intestines clean out of this tourist.” “Oh boy, Yogi, can I eat the liver?”
Man ‘trying to take selfie' dies after being mauled by bear
Prabhu Bhatara killed on the spot, forest ranger says
After stopping to go to the toilet on his way home from a wedding, Prabhu Bhatara is said to have spotted the injured animal in the Nabarangpur district of Odisha in India.
His fellow SUV passengers advised him against trying to take a picture with the creature.
As he sidled up, the bear struck and a struggled ensued. A stray dog also stepped in and bit the bear but its intervention failed to deter the larger animal.
Forest ranger Dhanurjaya Mohapatra said Mr Bhatara “died on the spot.”
He added: “The bear is being treated for its injuries.”
India had the highest rate of deaths linked to selfies for the two years between March 2014 and September 2016, with 60 per cent of all deaths taking place there, a study claimed last year.
Here's a local broadcast (low quality) news video showing the bear attack ...
While (flick on photo)
Man attacked by shark was previously mauled by a bear and bitten by a rattlesnake ...
It gets weirder ... and warmer, apparently
New York Files Suit over fluke allocations highlighting issue of fish moving due to cimate change
by John Sackton
January 16, 2019
New York is filing suit against NOAA over 2019 fluke allocations, which it says is based on 40 year old fisheries data.
The lawsuit comes after other states on the Mid-Atlantic council have refused to revise their more favorable allocations, and at a time when the fluke population is moving north due to climate change and warming waters.
New York has 7.6% of the fluke quota, while Rhode Island and New Jersey have 15.7% and 16.7% respectively, and Virginia and North Carolina have 21.3% and 24.7%.
The issue of reallocation of historical effort as fish move to new areas is affecting a number of fisheries beyond fluke. For example, it affects black sea bass, and cod in New England. In both cases, holders of quota have seen the fish move from their adjacent waters to other areas.
New York is essentially saying that since the fish have moved, it is no longer equitable to rely on an older allocation model.
"The Federal Government’s reliance on inaccurate and outdated data to set limits on commercial fluke fishing in New York is a direct threat to our state’s fishing industry," said Attorney General Letitia James.
"This suit asks that the federal government use the best available science to allocate fluke fishing quotas, and to ensure that New York’s fishermen and women are no longer denied their fair share of the permitted catch. "
Before filing the lawsuit, New York made numerous requests to federal agencies to correct these allocations. In March 2018, the State filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, demanding that commercial fluke allocations be revised to provide New York’s fishing industry with equitable access to the fishery.
In addition, the State provided multiple formal comments to the federal government challenging its unfair commercial allocation of this shared natural resource. The state said that the publication of the 2019 allocations in the federal register requires New York State to take formal legal action against the federal government over commercial fluke allocations.
Scientific studies have shown that the distribution of summer flounder and the summer flounder fishery have shifted north toward New York waters since federal allocations were established.
The current federal fluke allocations were set in 1993, based on data from the 1980s, when the fluke population had been fished to very low levels. Since then, the population has recovered; larger, older fish are more common, and these bigger fish tend to be found closer to New York. In addition, fluke may be found further north due to rising water temperatures associated with climate change.
Prior to the March 2018 petition, New York State had been pursuing equity for its commercial fishing industry, as well as modernization of regulations to reflect the fishery as it currently exists, by participating in the amendment process to the fluke fishery management plan through the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. This amendment process has been ongoing since 2014, but has not resulted in a new management plan.
The announcement claimed that New York’s repeated efforts to introduce alternatives that significantly increase New York’s share of the commercial quota for fluke have been thwarted by other voting members representing the interests of other states. In the absence of action from the council, New York is calling on the federal government to end this unfair treatment.
(A tiny frog in Costa Rica. A tigerbeetle in Madagascar. A flatworm in the Tundra. These are all creatures one might expect as candidates for new species status. But a whale?! Yep, somehow a leviathan, pushing 33 feet long, had gone unnoticed until it was first "discovered" -- and duly distinguished from all other whale species, in Japan, 2003. Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) is a rare bird. And after the one first discovered was sashimi-ed, it was rarer still. But last week, other Omuras were found in the troubled waters off oft-embattled Sri Lanka, where relative civil peace is apparently holding after decades of fierce nationalistic infighting. To me, this is yet another form of treasure hunting ... )
New whale species discovered in Sri Lankan waters
Marine biologist Asha de Vos bumps into a new and rare species of whale in her home country.
Accidentally running into a whole new species of whale on the job? For marine biologist, conservationist and educator Asha de Vos, who’s a specialist in Sri Lankan blue whales, it’s all in a day’s work. She tells us more about her latest discovery—an Omura’s whale just off the shores of Sri Lanka, in the Northern Indian Ocean—and why this finding is significant.
What’s special about this species of whale?
Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was only described as its own whale species in Japan in 2003. That’s just 14 years ago — amazing, considering that they grow to 33 feet and aren’t exactly microscopic! They have a distinctively long, narrow body and asymmetrical markings. Before 2003, this species was spotted in the South Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, and Eastern and Western Indian Oceans, plus one sighting of a dead stranded specimen in Iran. But we still haven’t been able to answer basic questions, like what their range is, or how many there are.
Because of the sporadic sightings across the Indian Ocean, scientists believed that the Eastern and Western Indian Ocean populations were likely distinct, but our sighting, which took place in the Northern Indian Ocean, may change that. Any further details we have about this species come from research done on the resident population in Madagascar — but who knows whether they have different adaptations across their range?
An Omura’s whale recently spotted by Asha deVos’s team in Sri Lankan waters. Photo: Oceanswell
Tell us the story of how you made this discovery.
Back in February 2017, I was doing routine field work with blue whales off the southern coast of Sri Lanka. To be honest, when whales approach our boats, we see little of them, particularly because most keep a low profile — unlike the more showy humpbacks. That’s why it’s often difficult to register their characteristic features at a glance. However, my non-profit Oceanswell, which is home to The Sri Lankan Blue Whale project, maintains photo-identification catalogues for all whale species in our waters. So when we stopped our boat and this unusual looking whale approached us and started circling, I began taking photographs.
This individual whale was very relaxed, so I was able to take plenty of photos of the whale’s characteristic features. As soon as we got back to our field house, my students started to sort through the photographs, as they would on any day. That’s when we began to realise that what we’d seen was quite different to anything we had ever seen before. Its unusual markings — like the asymmetrical colouring (its right side lower jaw is light, while on the left it’s dark) and its chevron marking — were very clear. I promptly sent off a few of the images to a couple of my colleagues who are familiar with this species — Dr Robert Brownell and Dr Salvatore Cerchio — and they confirmed that we had indeed found an Omura’s whale.
What interesting facts should we know about this particular whale?
This individual had an entanglement scar on its upper left jaw, which tells us that entanglement in fishing nets is clearly a problem for this species, and something we need to address. Also, we spotted a tyre-like marking on the left side of this individual. Based on sightings in Madagascar, this is thought to be a remora attachment point. (Remora are suckerfish that attach themselves to host animals like whales and sharks.) Funnily, even though we see remoras hitching rides on blue whales in Sri Lankan waters, we don’t see similar markings on blue whales. We think this is because of the difference in the physical characteristics of the dermis.
What is the significance of this species in this area? And how can we have missed it before? It seems kind of hard to lose a whale!
This sighting is significant because it is the first time we have documented Omura’s whales within Sri Lankan waters. Not only does that add another whale species to our already pretty diverse list, but it also shows us that our oceans are teeming with life, and we know next to nothing about them. I saw this whale just 7 kilometers offshore — an area populated by fishermen and the whale watching industry. So if we can overlook a species that is so big and obvious and moving close to humans, imagine what else we might be missing out on?
Seventy percent of our planet is ocean, but we have only explored less than 5 percent of this space. The discovery of this whale in Sri Lanka’s waters just serves as a reminder that we live in an incredible world where exploration and discovery is still possible. The more we know, the more we can care and protect!
There were a couple whales out there today. Thought I had both of them on the video but it kicked in just after the first one submerged. Blackfishing was slow but Dante Soriente
led the way with fish to 8 1/2 lbs. With Nick Luna
Freezing temps don't stop us!! Maintaining Barnegat Bay water quality equipment is a year-round job!
A few 9”gliders with a thin profile that I’ll be displaying at Demo Day put on by the Ct. Surfcasters on the 26th. See you there!
Rhode Island Fishermen: Raimondo Sidelined Us from Wind-Power Talks
Copyright © 2019 The Providence Journal
By Alex Kuffner
January 16, 2019
Rhode Island fishermen are accusing Gov. Gina Raimondo of cutting them out of talks with Vineyard Wind about compensation for lost access to ocean fishing grounds where the New Bedford company plans to install 84 giant wind turbines.
The state's Fishermen's Advisory Board, the group convened to represent the commercial and recreational fishing industries in the face of offshore renewable energy development, is set to meet Tuesday to consider a potential payout from Vineyard Wind. Yet, as of late Monday, the board had not received any details of a proposal.
Lanny Dellinger, chairman of the fishermen's board, questioned why he and other members have been kept in the dark. He also said any negotiations that have taken place have violated state regulations.
"I don't know why the governor feels it's more important to benefit Vineyard Wind than our own fishing industry," he said. "Maybe we're just small potatoes in their eyes and easy to run over."
Raimondo spokesman Josh Block said that the governor's office "has been in contact with Vineyard Wind regarding an economic-development package for Rhode Island if the project is approved," but he referred questions about compensation to the state Department of Environmental Management, which regulates the fishing industries.
DEM spokesman Michael Healey said the agency's "only role is developing a science-based estimate of the value of the commercial fishing landings in the proposed Vineyard Wind construction area over 30 years" -- the estimated project lifespan.
Rhode Island coastal regulations require the developer of any offshore wind farm to mitigate any negative impacts on the state's fishermen through a variety of options that include payouts.
The negotiation of any agreements "shall be a necessary condition of any approval or permit of a project" by the state Coastal Resources Management Council, according to the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, the nationally recognized policy adopted by the state to balance the development of offshore renewable energy with other users of the waters off the Rhode Island coast.
"Mitigation shall be negotiated between the Council staff, the [Fishermen's Advisory Board], the project developer, and approved by the Council," states the policy, part of the Rhode Island Code of Regulations, which, according to the Secretary of State's website, "has the full force and effect of law."
The policy also envisions a comprehensive and potentially lengthy negotiation.
"The reasonable costs associated with the negotiation, which may include data collection and analysis, technical and financial analysis, and legal costs, shall be borne by the applicant," it states. "The applicant shall establish and maintain either an escrow account to cover said costs of this negotiation or such other mechanism as set forth in the permit or approval condition pertaining to mitigation."
Although the specific numbers associated with a compensation package haven't been submitted to the fishermen's board, the DEM's analysis that the package would be based upon was released Monday afternoon and estimates the fishing value in the project area over 30 years to be $35.6 million. The agency considered only the potential lost revenue to fishing boats and not the broader impacts on fish processors and other businesses involved throughout the industry.
At a meeting earlier this month of the fishermen's board in which Raimondo came under heavy criticism, Jason McNamee, DEM marine fisheries chief, said his staff was directed not to consider the wider effects, acknowledging that the analysis is simplistic. He said the analysis was requested by the governor's office.
Vineyard Wind is at the head of a pack of developers vying to develop lucrative offshore wind farms in the waters off southern New England. Last month, it was one of three companies that each agreed to pay $135 million for the rights to new leases in the region.
The $2-billion project currently before Rhode Island regulators is in an area where Vineyard Wind holds a lease. The auction for that lease took place four years ago before competition heated up; the company paid only $150,000 for the rights to it.
The problem all along with the company's plan for an 800-megawatt project in those waters south of Martha's Vineyard has been the proposed layout of the turbines from northwest to southeast and the narrow spacing -- less than a mile in some places -- between the turbines.
Fishermen have historically fished the area from east to west, dividing it into rows where lobster traps and other fixed gear are set out and open waters where trawlers and other mobile-gear boats can work. If the wind farm is laid out in a different direction, Rhode Island fishermen who catch squid, lobster and Jonah crab in the area say, they will not be able to safely navigate through it. Vineyard Wind has admitted as much, but the company says it's too late to change the configuration.
Vineyard Wind's tight schedule is driven by its intention to qualify for federal tax credits, which, the company says, are a necessary part of the equation in offering utilities in Massachusetts a low price for power from the wind farm.
It's because of that time frame that the vote by the fishermen's board was scheduled for Tuesday. A week later, on Jan. 22, the Rhode Island coastal council is set to decide whether to grant what's known as a "consistency certification" to the project.
Final say over the wind farm rests with the federal government because the project is located in federal waters. But the Rhode Island council still has some jurisdiction because under federal law any project that would affect fishing or other Rhode Island activities or resources must be consistent with state policies.
When the coastal council granted Vineyard Wind a stay on Nov. 27 to negotiate the mitigation package with fishermen, the motion presumed that talks would include the fishermen's board. Chair Jennifer Cervenka proposed a stipulation, approved by the council, requiring Vineyard Wind to submit weekly status reports on the negotiations with "fisheries, Rhode Island officials and CRMC staff."
Even Batter than the Real Thing? Fish and Chips Goes Vegan
By Damian Carrington
January 16, 2019
Quorn launches ‘fishless fillets’ made with protein derived from fungus
Fish and chips is the latest British favourite to get a vegan makeover, with Quorn launching both battered and breaded “fishless fillets”.
The fillets will be made using protein derived from a fungus and the company promises to replicate the texture and flakiness of real fish. The launch follows the success of the Greggs vegan sausage roll, which has been selling out across the country.
Both products aim to capitalise on the rapidly growing numbers of people eating less meat, fish and dairy products. About a third of Britons have stopped or reduced their consumption of meat, while the Veganuary campaign signed up a record 250,000 people in 193 countries this year.
People are reducing their consumption of animal products for a variety of reasons, including concerns over their health, animal welfare and the environment. Most people in rich nations eat more meat than is healthy and research indicates that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact.
The Quorn fillets, which will be available in supermarkets from March, give consumers a new alternative to fish. Many of the world’s fish stocks are over exploited and independent research has shown mycoprotein causes lower carbon emissions than farmed fish.
The fishless fillets have taken five years to develop, said Geoff Bryant, the technical director at Quorn Foods UK, who added: “The launch marks the logical next step in helping people reduce our reliance on our oceans for protein.”
In 2018, the UK launched more vegan food products than any other nation. The Quorn fillets join a wide range of “faux fish” products on sale in supermarkets, from fishless fingers to vegan versions of tuna, smoked salmon, prawns, scampi, sushi and even caviar. Vegan alternatives to fish, such as “tofish”, have also gone on sale in pubs and chip shops.
Will McCallum, the head of oceans at Greenpeace UK, welcomed the Quorn fillets, saying: “More than 3 billion people depend on the oceans for their primary source of protein, yet 90% of the world’s fish stocks are either being fished at the maximum level or overfished. If we want healthy oceans, we have to look at ways to reduce fishing both by looking at sustainable fishless alternatives, using more sustainable fishing methods and putting large areas of the ocean off-limits so that wildlife can recover.”
However, Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “It is perfectly possible to buy and consume fish from sustainable sources. As the International Council for Exploration of the Sea makes clear, all of the main species groups in the north-east Atlantic are not only fished at sustainable levels but are on track to produce high average yields.”
Joseph Poore, a food sustainability expert at the University of Oxford, said: “Quorn is leading the market in innovation, and I hope they go further by backing up their sustainability claims with labels on their products spelling out their emissions, impact on biodiversity, water and pesticide use.”
Today's you-never-know-when segment ...
What You Need to Know About Making a Citizen's Arrest
Whenever possible, you should report wrongdoing to the police instead of taking action on your own. Police officers are equipped with the proper intervention tools and trained to deal with incidents which may escalate to become violent.
Making a citizen's arrest without carefully considering the risk factors may have serious unintended consequences for you and others involved. In most cases, an arrest consists of either actually seizing or touching a person's body in an effort to detain them.
Before deciding whether to make a citizen's arrest, you should be aware of the Citizen's Arrest Laws and consider the following:
- Is it feasible for a peace officer to intervene? If so, report the crime to the police instead of taking action on your own.
- Your personal safety and that of others could be compromised by attempting an arrest. Relevant considerations would include whether the suspect is alone and whether they possess a weapon.
- Will you be able to turn over the suspect to the police without delay once an arrest is made?
- Do you have a reasonable belief regarding the suspect's criminal conduct?
Making a Citizen's Arrest
If you do decide to make a citizen's arrest, you should:
- Tell the suspect plainly that you are making a citizen's arrest and that you are holding him or her until police arrive.
- Call the police.
- Ask explicitly for his or her cooperation until police arrive.
- Avoid using force, if at all possible, and use it to the minimum possible otherwise.
- Do not question or search the suspect or his or her possessions. Your purpose is only to temporarily detain him or her until police arrive.
- When police arrive, state the plain facts of what happened.
Citizen's Arrest Laws
In most cases, you must find a person either in the act of committing a crime, or escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest that person, in order to lawfully make a citizen's arrest. In particular, if you are arresting a person for an indictable offence, which is the most serious type of offence and includes violent offences, you can only make the arrest at the time you witness the person committing the offence. It is against the law to arrest a person after any lapse in time for having committed an indictable offence, unless it is relation to your property.
In special circumstances of any type of criminal offence that is committed on or in relation to your property, you may either:
- arrest a person you find in the act of committing a crime; or
- arrest a person within a reasonable period of time after having found that person committing a crime.
To be eligible to make a citizen's arrest for a crime on or in relation to property, you must be one of the following:
- the owner of the property;
- in lawful possession of the property; or
- have been authorized by the owner or the person in lawful possession of the property.
The law allows you to use as much force as is necessary for the purpose of making a citizen's arrest, as long as you are acting on reasonable grounds. However, any force you use must be tailored to the circumstances, and you are criminally responsible for any excess force you use. In addition to the potential for a criminal prosecution, you may also face a civil lawsuit in relation to your conduct and any injury you cause.
The law requires that when making a citizen's arrest, the arrested individual must be delivered to a police officer without delay. If you make a citizen's arrest and do not call the police as soon as possible, the arrest might be ruled illegal, and you could face civil or criminal consequences.
Correctly identifying a suspect
In the special circumstances of making an arrest
"within a reasonable time after" observing an offence (as opposed to while the offence is in progress), you are strongly urged to exercise additional care in confirming the identity of the suspect.
It is always extremely important to correctly identify a suspect and their criminal involvement. If you make a citizen's arrest at the very time a person is found committing a crime, the correct identification of the suspect will not likely be called into question.
However, if you make an arrest
"within a reasonable time after" observing the offence, the accuracy of the identification of the suspect may be called into question.
You need to be conscious of the fact that situational factors such as the presence of a weapon, the number of individuals involved, environmental factors and heightened stress levels can negatively affect your recollection of a past incident and your ability to correctly identify a person you have previously seen committing an offence. Even if you genuinely believe that you have correctly identified the suspect after the crime was observed, the risk of mistaken identity is real, and must not be minimized.
If the person you attempt to arrest is the wrong person, the situation is potentially very dangerous. The person being arrested will not understand why they are being detained and may not submit to the arrest. In these circumstances, there is a real risk that if you arrest the wrong person, you could provoke a violent confrontation, and risk injury or death.
A citizen's arrest is a very serious and potentially dangerous undertaking. Unlike a police officer, private citizens are neither tasked with the duty to preserve and maintain public peace, nor properly trained to apprehend suspected criminals. Exercise extreme caution when attempting to make a citizen's arrest.