One of my favorite songs is The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, sung by Gordon Lightfoot. As I was listening to it yesterday evening on my way home, the lines "With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more / than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty" caught my ear. Lake levels across the Great Lakes have been quite low over the past few years and shipping has suffered as a result. If the Fitz were around today, would it even be able to carry the weight of the cargo it did during that fateful voyage?
With water levels so low, many of the big boats can't carry full loads, and that means more cargo must move via train or truck - both of which contribute to more air pollution. Not that shipping is innocent of environmental consequences - certainly dredging accounts for a fair amount of habitat destruction and probably the "hole" at the bottom of Lake St. Clair. However, there are plenty of reasons to support shipping via water vs. land shipping - in addition to reduced air pollution and traffic tie ups caused by more trucks and trains, the boats are fun to watch (I've spent many an afternoon watching the big barges go by - and a fair amount of time dodging them while sampling fish on the St. Lawrence River) and serve as an important piece of the Lakes economy - bringing business to the port towns and providing jobs both on board and on shore. Ships can travel from the Atlantic to the heart of the North American continent via the St. Lawrence Seaway - and while this opens the door to invasive species and other problems, the benefits of the Seaway for the livelihoods of both the Americans and Canadians living in the region are hard to argue with.
Trying to keep up with the latest and greatest on the climate change science front is like trying to grab hold of a river - but here are a few things that have caught my eye recently...
- Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine in the August 13 issue of Newsweek
- IPCC Working Group II: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability
- Climate Change: A Guide to the Information and Disinformation from the Society of Environmental Journalists
- RealClimate.org and their Wiki to debunk climate nonsense
Remember Fantasia? Walt Disney's masterwork of animation set to classical music? Now imagine that the animated fairies and dancing hippos have been replaced by footage of dolphins leaping across the ocean, erupting volcanoes, and distant planets and nebulae. Last night's performance by the National Symphony Orchestra was absolutely excellent - and I whole-heartedly encourage this type of collaboration to continue. Of special interest was the conductor's podcast, which I was a bit perplexed by at first. Talking through the Symphony? I must say, however, that the commentary was mainly limited to the quieter moments in the music to avoid being too distracting and the information (ranging from background on the composers and previous uses of the music in film to riots following the first performance of "Rite of Spring" and stories about the video footage) was very interesting. Perhaps we will see more of this multimedia concert going in future concerts?
Today is August 3, meaning that it is the birthday of Martha Stewart, Tom Brady, and yours truly :) It is also the day that Columbus set sail and that Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (my dad wouldn't take my mom to the hospital until the ceremony was over - or at least that is the family legend).
More Care2 Stickies Here!
More Care2 Stickies Here!
Friday will be my birthday (shameless self-promotion), and I've gathered several friends up to celebrate a night early. We'll be visiting Wolf Trap to experience "Fantastic Planet: A Symphonic Video Spectacular" on Thursday evening. Wine + symphony + huge screens with digital images of Earth and the universe = good times? In visiting the show's website today, I see that they now have "a groundbreaking and innovative 2-part, audio-described program intended to be transferred to your iPod or other portable mp3 player and brought to the performance of Fantastic Planet." iPod at the Symphony? Okay, I admit that now that I've seen the tease, I cannot survive without downloading the podcast for my listening pleasure - it's like there is a little Steve Jobs whispering in my ear "go forth and become a Pod person."