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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mars was life-friendly more recently than thought

Water flowed on the Red Planet only 2 million years ago, suggests new images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

In the Tuesday study in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, orbiter images reveal melting tundra patterns preserved on Mars, leftovers of an ancient thawing.

“These observations demonstrate that ice melted near the Martian equator within the past few million years and then refroze,” says study researcher Matthew Balme of the Planetary Science Institute, based in Tucson, in a statement.

Cusped cliffs marked by trailing water marks reveal that water once flowed over the study region, 2 to 8 million years ago, according to the study. Balme suggests future landers examine the melt water region for signs of past life on Mars.

source of free photo of Mars:

Genome researchers to turn microscopes on pine beetle epidemic

Genome researchers are turning their microscopes on the mountain pine beetle epidemic that has ravaged British Columbia's forests.

Genome Canada, Genome B.C. and Genome Alberta announced nearly $7.8 million in funding Monday for a research project to map the basic building blocks of trees and the pest that has attacked them.

Dr. Joerg Bohlmann, a professor of biotechnology at the University of British Columbia and one of the project leaders, said genomes could eventually help scientists fight the pine beetle infestation.

"The pine beetle epidemic has affected so far somewhere between 10 and 14 million hectares of pine forests in B.C. and it's going across the Rockies now into Alberta, and we really don't understand how much further it will go," he said in a telephone interview.

"One of the reasons why we have such a poor understanding and such a poor ability to predict the spread of this mountain pine beetle epidemic, is that for the longest time we haven't really fully appreciated that the mountain pine beetle epidemic isn't like an earthquake, which is beyond our control."

Bohlmann said the epidemic is caused by biological agents - in this case trees, bark beetles, and a fungus.

To read the remainder of this article go to:

Overfishing threatens Shark Population

According to a survey releases on June 24th by the Shark Specialist Group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,"a third of the world's open-water sharks-including the great white and hammerhead-face extinction.

"Species hunted on the high seas are particularly at risk,with more than half in danger of dying out.The main culprit is overfishing.Sharks are prized for their meat, and in Asia especially for their fins, a prestige food thought to convey health benefits."

For decades, significant numbers of sharks-including blue and mako have perished as a "bycatch" in commercial tuna and swordfish operations.

"More recently, the soaring value of shark meat has prompted some of these fisheries to target sharks as a lucrative sideline",said Sonja Forham, Policy Director for the Shark Alliance and co-author of the study.

The Spanish fleet of so-called surface fishing boats ostensibly targets swordfish, but 70% of its catch, by weight, from 2000 to 2004 was pelagic sharks.

"There are currently no restrictions on the number of sharks these fisheries can harvest,"Fordham stated."Despite mounting threats, sharks remain virtually unprotected on the high-seas."

"Sharks are especially vunerable to overfishing because most species take many years to mature and have relatively few young."

"The demand for shark fins, a traditional Chinese delicacy, has soared along with income levels in China over the last decade.Shark carcasses are often tossed back into the sea by fisherman after the fins are cut off.Despite bans in international waters, this practice-known as "finning"-is largely unregulated, experts say.

Some 100 million sharks are caught in commercial and sports fishing each year, and several species have declined by more than 80% in the past decade alone,according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Source:Edmonton Journal June 25th, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Salt Finding From NASA's Cassini Hints at Ocean Within Saturn Moon


PASADENA, Calif. -- "For the first time, scientists working on NASA's Cassini mission have detected sodium salts in ice grains of Saturn's outermost ring. Detecting salty ice indicates that Saturn's moon Enceladus, which primarily replenishes the ring with material from discharging jets, could harbor a reservoir of liquid water -- perhaps an ocean -- beneath its surface."

"Cassini discovered the water-ice jets in 2005 on Enceladus. These jets expel tiny ice grains and vapor, some of which escape the moon's gravity and form Saturn's outermost ring. Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer has examined the composition of those grains and found salt within them."

"We believe that the salty minerals deep inside Enceladus washed out from rock at the bottom of a liquid layer," said Frank Postberg, Cassini scientist for the cosmic dust analyzer at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Postberg is lead author of a study that appears in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature."

"Scientists on Cassini's cosmic dust detector team conclude that liquid water must be present because it is the only way to dissolve the significant amounts of minerals that would account for the levels of salt detected. The process of sublimation, the mechanism by which vapor is released directly from solid ice in the crust, cannot account for the presence of salt."

"Potential plume sources on Enceladus are an active area of research with evidence continuing to converge on a possible salt water ocean," said Linda Spilker, Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Our next opportunity to gather data on Enceladus will come during two flybys in November."

"The makeup of the outermost ring grains, determined when thousands of high-speed particle hits were registered by Cassini, provides indirect information about the composition of the plume material and what is inside Enceladus. The outermost ring particles are almost pure water ice, but nearly every time the dust analyzer has checked for the composition, it has found at least some sodium within the particles."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

"Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn.It was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel. Until the two Voyager spacecraft passed near it in the early 1980s, very little was known about this small moon besides the identification of water ice on its surface. The Voyagers showed that Enceladus is only 500 km in diameter, about a tenth the size of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and reflects almost 100% of the sunlight that strikes it. Voyager 1 found that Enceladus orbited in the densest part of Saturn's diffuse E ring, indicating a possible association between the two, while Voyager 2 revealed that despite the moon's small size, it had a wide range of terrains ranging from old, heavily cratered surfaces to young, tectonically deformed terrain, with some regions with surface ages as young as 100 million years old."

"The Cassini spacecraft of the mid- to late 2000s acquired additional data on Enceladus, answering a number of the mysteries opened by the Voyager spacecraft and starting a few new ones. Cassini performed several close flybys of Enceladus in 2005, revealing the moon's surface and environment in greater detail. In particular, the probe discovered a water-rich plume venting from the moon's south polar region. This discovery, along with the presence of escaping internal heat and very few (if any) impact craters in the south polar region, shows that Enceladus is geologically active today. Moons in the extensive satellite systems of gas giants often become trapped in orbital resonances that lead to forced libration or orbital eccentricity; proximity to the planet can then lead to tidal heating of the satellite's interior, offering a possible explanation for the activity."

"Enceladus is one of only three outer solar system bodies (along with Jupiter's moon Io and Neptune's moon Triton) where active eruptions have been observed. Analysis of the outgassing suggests that it originates from a body of sub-surface liquid water, which along with the unique chemistry found in the plume, has fueled speculations that Enceladus may be important in the study of astrobiology (which is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This interdisciplinary field encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry, life on Mars and other bodies in our Solar System, laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space).

The discovery of the plume has added further weight to the argument that material released from Enceladus is the source of the E-ring."


Galaxies 'Coming of Age' in Cosmic Blobs

"New data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has helped NASA pinpoint the "coming of age" of galaxies and black holes. This is a crucial stage of the evolution of galaxies and black holes -- known as "feedback" -- that astronomers have long been trying to understand. The discovery also helps resolve the true nature of gigantic blobs of gas observed around very young galaxies."

"About a decade ago, astronomers discovered immense reservoirs of hydrogen gas -- which they named "blobs" – while conducting surveys of young distant galaxies. The blobs are glowing brightly in optical light, but the source of immense energy required to power this glow and the nature of these objects were unclear."

"A long observation from Chandra has identified the source of this energy for the first time. The X-ray data show that a significant source of power within these colossal structures is from growing supermassive black holes partially obscured by dense layers of dust and gas. The fireworks of star formation in galaxies are also seen to play an important role, thanks to Spitzer Space Telescope and ground- based observations."

"For ten years the secrets of the blobs had been buried from view, but now we've uncovered their power source," said James Geach of Durham University in the United Kingdom, who led the study. "Now we can settle some important arguments about what role they played in the original construction of galaxies and black holes."

"Galaxies are believed to form when gas flows inwards under the pull of gravity and cools by emitting radiation. This process should stop when the gas is heated by radiation and outflows from galaxies and their black holes. Blobs could be a sign of this first stage, or of the second."

"Based on the new data and theoretical arguments, Geach and his colleagues show that heating of gas by growing supermassive black holes and bursts of star formation, rather than cooling of gas, most likely powers the blobs. The implication is that blobs represent a stage when the galaxies and black holes are just starting to switch off their rapid growth because of these heating processes. This is a crucial stage of the evolution of galaxies and black holes - known as "feedback" - and one that astronomers have long been trying to understand."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

Sources of images:Left panel: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Durham Univ./D.Alexander et al.); Optical (NASA/ESA/STScI/IoA/S.Chapman et al.); Lyman-alpha Optical (NAOJ/ Subaru/Tohoku Univ./T.Hayashino et al.); Infrared (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Durham Univ./J.Geach et al.); Right, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Climate burden of refrigerants rockets

Environmentalists push for tougher regulation of chemicals meant to help the ozone layer.

Written by Jeff Tollefson :
(Information about Jeff can be read at:

"Modern refrigerants designed to protect the ozone layer are poised to become a major contributor to global warming because of their future explosive growth in the developing world, scientists report this week."

"Hydrofluorocarbon chemicals (HFCs) were developed to phase out ozone-depleting gases, in response to the Montreal Protocol. But they can be hundreds or thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide as greenhouse gases in trapping heat. HFCs are deployed in refrigerators and air-conditioning units, and their use is poised to grow in the coming decades."

"In the new study, a team led by Guus Velders at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in Bilthoven analysed the latest industry trends and then modelled HFC production to 2050. Their results suggest that HFC emissions could be the equivalent of between 5.5 billion and 8.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by 2010 — roughly 19% of the projected CO2 emissions if greenhouse gases continue to rise unchecked (G. J. M. Velders et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA doi:10.1073.pnas.0902817106; 2009)."

"The new numbers will fuel the efforts of environmentalists and others who have been pushing for aggressive new HFC regulations. Manufacturers could shift towards using HFCs with the lowest climate impact during the transition to a new generation of refrigerants — still under development — that affect neither the ozone layer nor the climate."

"Now is the moment to make a decision to steer this in a direction that you want," Velders says. "The developing world is already in the transition to HFCs."

"Although it makes no policy recommendations, the study could play into an ongoing political debate on regulating the chemicals. HFCs currently fall under the umbrella of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, but advocates say the fastest and cheapest way to handle them is under the ozone treaty. Montreal delegates plan to discuss the issue when they meet in Geneva next month."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

Premier says apology punishment enough after Alberta MLA's comments

"Edmonton-Calder Conservative MLA Doug Elniski is vowing to be more careful about what he posts on his blog.

The politician apologized late Monday afternoon for controversial comments he posted on his blog and insisted that he is not sexist.

"I can't defend or justify this action in any way at all," Elniski said.

On Tuesday, the rookie MLA was called to a meeting with Premier Ed Stelmach about the situation.

"These are all distractions they're totally inappropriate, they don't reflect my values, they don't reflect the values of our government, they don't reflect the values of the caucus nor of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party," Stelmach said Tuesday.

The apology given by Elniski is enough punishment and the MLA will not be removed from any of his committee assignments, the premier said.

A guide will be distributed to all Conservative MLAs outlining what is appropriate to write on social networking sites, according to Ron Glenn, the premier's chief of staff.

In his blog, Elniski offered advice to junior high school girls. He suggested that a girl wear a smile when entering a room, and that men don't want to hear about that "treated equal" stuff.

Elniski's blog was taken down on Monday afternoon. He will now have his postings reviewed before he re-starts the blog, Elniski said."


An apology is not good enough for me, and I imagine it is not good enough for the people of our province, especially the women of our province and the world! Elniski's views are clearly sexist and he should be forced to resign his seat in the Alberta Government, and be replaced with a person who is tolerant towards women and all groups.If Mr. Elniski is a chauvanist one wonders what other intolerant viewpoints he has towards individuals or groups of people in this world!

Elniski words are clearly showing he has beliefs and an attitude that the female gender is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the male gender. He has made Alberta and Albertans look bad in the eyes of the world, made us look intolerant and backward in our thinking, and he should resign his seat in the legislature!

After some investigation, what is even more appalling to me is that I discovered that at one time Mr. Elniski actually was employed in the field of "Adult" education (see:, and that currently he serves as deputy chair of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Committee. Do the people of this province want someone with his attitudes in charge of Alberta's main financial resource, if he is going to show bias towards women and girls? I say no!

What is really interesting about this situation is that the residents of Alberta apparently have been told we cannot contact Mr. Elniski personally to express our views to him about his behavior. I say this because I was unable to send an email to
Mr Elniski containing my views about his behavior. Has Mr. Stelmach shut down the Mr. Elniski's email address so that the residents of this province cannot contact him?

I suggest all of you write to Mr Elniski at and express your views regarding his comments and you contact the Premier to express your thoughts about this situation also. You can do so by going to

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Carbon Dioxide May Be the Least of Our Warming Worries

"When people think of climate change, they think of carbon dioxide. But while CO2 represents 77 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, its relative contribution may be declining. According to two studies published late last year, atmospheric levels of other, more potent gases that also affect climate are on the rise."

"One such gas is nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is used to make retail items like microchips and flat-screen TVs. Nitrogen trifluoride is a colorless gas with a moldy odor.

NF3 is a greenhouse gas, with a GWP 17,200 times greater than that of CO2 when compared over a 100 year period. (Global warming potential a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the gas in question to that of the same mass of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is by definition 1). A GWP is calculated over a specific time interval and the value of this must be stated whenever a GWP is quoted or else the value is meaningless.To see the mathematical formula which is used to calculate the GWP go to:

In a study published in Geophysical Research Letters see ,

"researchers analyzed air samples and found that atmospheric NF3 seems to be growing by 11 percent each year across the globe. NF3 lingers in the air for 550 years, on average, and is 17,000 times better at trapping heat than CO2 on a molecule-per-molecule basis. Today the effect of NF3 on climate is just 0.04 percent that of carbon dioxide, but its role could grow dramatically if more manufacturers start using it, says study author Ray Weiss, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. NF3 emissions are not currently regulated by any government."

"A more immediate problem for climate change is methane, which is released by landfills and melting perma­frost and through farming practices. Levels of this gas are increasing today after eight years of stasis, according to another study in Geophysical Research Letters. Methane remains in the atmosphere one-tenth as long as CO2—about a decade—but traps 20 times as much heat."

According to an article entitled, "Exclusive: The methane time bomb", written by Steve Conner at

"The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Underground stores of methane are important because scientists believe their sudden release has in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and even the mass extinction of species. Scientists aboard a research ship that has sailed the entire length of Russia's northern coast have discovered intense concentrations of methane – sometimes at up to 100 times background levels – over several areas covering thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf.

Methane is about 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and many scientists fear that its release could accelerate global warming in a giant positive feedback where more atmospheric methane causes higher temperatures, leading to further permafrost melting and the release of yet more methane.

The amount of methane stored beneath the Arctic is calculated to be greater than the total amount of carbon locked up in global coal reserves so there is intense interest in the stability of these deposits as the region warms at a faster rate than other places on earth."

"The conventional thought has been that the permafrost 'lid' on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place. The growing evidence for release of methane in this inaccessible region may suggest that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leak methane... The permafrost now has small holes. We have found elevated levels of methane above the water surface and even more in the water just below. It is obvious that the source is the seabed."

Igor Semiletov of the Far-Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences believes
several possible reasons why methane is now being released from the Arctic, include the rising volume of relatively warmer water being discharged from Siberia's rivers due to the melting of the permafrost on the land.

The Arctic region as a whole has seen a 4C rise in average temperatures over recent decades and a dramatic decline in the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by summer sea ice. Many scientists fear that the loss of sea ice could accelerate the warming trend because open ocean soaks up more heat from the sun than the reflective surface of an ice-covered sea." (source:

No one yet knows the extent to which methane and NF3 will impact global temperatures, but NASA climate scientist Ralph Kahn says one thing is certain: “We know it’s more than just CO2 that matters.” His colleague James Crawford adds, “There’s going to be a lot more looking at this, trying to understand what is going on.”

source of article:"Dioxide May be the Least of Our Warming Worries, written by Melinda Wenner is:

Monday, June 22, 2009

I am appalled by the thinking of some Scientists!!!

I was really disappointed by an article at the Discover Magazine website. Presently at this website, a group of scientists have asserted in an article that "Great White Sharks are the serial killers of the sea"!! A direct link to this article is

You have to be kidding right? How can scientists compare sharks, which have an innate and learned behavior which allows them to survive (as in their ability to hunt prey species within the waters in which they swim), to Human serial killers who usually don’t have a connection with the victim and they very rarely if ever have a rational motive for their killing of another human or humans? Serial murderers also have different motives for their murders. One of the most obvious is that they turn to murdering for a sense of power. For this sense of power they usually attack societies weakest members and those weaker than themselves (Forwood). This includes the homeless, impaired, and usually the young of both sexes. When they kill the homeless and impaired they are usually acting on the Missionary Motive. This is when they feel that it is their responsibility to rid society of its unwanted inhabitants. There are also Visionary killers which are usually instructed to kill by the voices that are in their head (schizophrenia). The last type of these motives is the Hedonist. They kill because it brings them the pleasure to do so. Forwood, Bill. “Repeatedly Killing... Why?!”n.pag. Online. Internet. 22 April. 1999.

How can these scientists have the gall to say that these sharks murder their prey in cold blood,when in reality,they are doing what do to survive as individual life-forms on this planet.

In contrast to humans, shark's were placed on this earth within the food chain as predators. And as such they possess some amazing senses, which allow them to be the great predators that they are. The success of sharks is due largely to these physiological advancements -- they are superbly built to find food.

University of Florida shark attack researcher George Burgess, who had no role in the study done by these scientists who call sharks "serial killers of the seas" , said the researchers simply used a new tool to show what scientists pretty much knew all ready: “Sharks are like many other predators that have developed patterns to their attacking that are obviously beneficial as a species.”

Wolverine arrives in Colorado, first in 90 years

According to an article written by Katherine Harmon at the the website:,

"a lone male wolverine arrived in northern Colorado earlier this month, making him the first confirmed wolverine in the state since 1919.

In December, conservation biologists had outfitted the young wolverine, which is part of a reintroduction program farther north, with a tracking collar and watched him make the 500-mile (805-kilometer) journey from the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, crossing rugged landscapes and even busy Interstate-80, reports the Denver Post."

"Proponents of reintroduction efforts, however, maintain that these large members of the weasel family are mostly scavengers and don't pose much of a threat to livestock—despite their Latin name, Gulo gulo, which means "glutton."

" A popular target of early fur trappers in the American West, wolverines had pretty much vanished from the lower 48 states 80 years ago. Today, according to Inman's estimates, there are about 250 roaming the country. In more recent times, there have been several unconfirmed sightings in Colorado, according to a 2004 article from The Rocky Mountain News."

It is nice to see that the wolverine has returned to Colorado. I have always had a fascination with this amazing animal, especially since I watched an hour show about Wolverines on the Marty Stouffer show "Wild America". In that television show Marty was able to show viewers amazing video of Wolverines never seen before (including a conflict between a mother wolverine and her cub and a badger.The badger was able to survive this conflict because it was able to back into a tree stump, and the two wolverines could not do anything against it because the Badger's skin is so loose that the wolverines could not grab onto it. Apparently Wolverines and Badgers are mortal enemies.) Sadly, I see that Marty Stouffer's methods were subject to severe criticism and censure, and in fact he was forced to pay a large amount of money to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, back in 1996 because he illegally gouged a trail through protected land belonging to the Center. *sigh* see: I guess we all can come to our own conclusions about Marty Stouffer based upon this news article.

Returning to the news article about the reintroduction of Wolverines into Colorado, made me want to see what the present population of Wolverines was in Canada. According to my research online:

"Within its range, the wolverine occupies many different kinds of habitats. Wolverines generally prefer remote areas, far away from humans and their developments. However, the specific characteristics of the wilderness that the wolverine depends upon are not yet known. Labrador and Quebec, for example, have not been recolonized by wolverines, despite the abundance of caribou and undisturbed habitat. This lack of knowledge about wolverine habitat makes it difficult for wildlife managers to manage the species and protect its habitat."

" One specific type of habitat wolverines need is the den used by the female to give birth and raise her kits. Finding such a den is difficult. Most dens that have been found are in tundra regions and consist of a complex of snow tunnels associated with boulders or rocks. The configuration of the rocks results in natural cavities under the snow, which form dens for the wolverines."

" The home range of an adult wolverine extends from less than 100 km2 for females to over 1 000 km2 for males. These home ranges are the largest reported for a carnivore of this size, and in many areas they rival the home ranges of bears, wolves, and cougars. The size of the home range varies depending on the availability of food and how it is distributed across the landscape — the more food there is, the smaller the home range needs to be."

"The density of wolverines ranges from one individual per 40 km2 to one per 800 km2. Those regions that have the most different kinds of habitat and prey, particularly those that include large ungulates, or animals with hooves, contain the most wolverines. The mountainous and forested areas of British Columbia and Yukon have the highest densities, although these numbers are still low compared with the densities of other carnivores. Densities of wolverines in Manitoba and Ontario are lower. The rarity of wolverines becomes readily apparent when their density is compared with the density of other solitary carnivores: one coyote per 0.5 to 10 km2 and one grizzly bear per 1.5 to 260 km2."

"The wolverine is found throughout all northern regions of the globe. Wolverines are not abundant anywhere, even where they do well. The species is known for a large home range and low density, which is a measure of its numbers. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada considers wolverines found west of Hudson Bay to be of “special concern” and the eastern population, found in Quebec and Labrador, to be “endangered.”

"Historically, before the appearance of Europeans in North America, wolverines occurred throughout Canada and Alaska, with some small extensions of this range into the western United States and into the Great Lakes area. They occupied a wide variety of habitat types, excepting very dry, hot areas."

"A portion of the wolverine’s historical range has been lost. Wolverines have also disappeared from areas with relatively intact habitats. Eastern Canada and the western United States have been particularly hard hit. Wolverines disappeared most rapidly at the edges of their distribution and in Eastern Canada. We do not know if any wolverines still occur in Eastern Canada, although Labrador and Quebec are still considered part of the current distribution. Similarly, whether wolverines still occur on Vancouver Island is unknown."

"There are two main reasons why wolverine populations disappeared from parts of North America. The first is that wolverines are scavengers—which means they feed on carrion, or dead animals—and are attracted to bait. Because the wolverines damaged traplines, early trappers used any means to kill them, including poison. The extensive wolf poisoning programs that occurred throughout Canada beginning in the late 1700s also killed many wolverines."

"The second, and more important, reason for the decline of wolverine populations is that wolverines have a low resiliency because of their low densities and low reproduction, or the number of young that are successfully produced and raised. This means that wolverine populations have a difficult time rebounding once their numbers have been lowered by either nature or human-influenced factors."


According to the website:

"On mainland BC, wolverines are estimated to number 3,520. They comprise part of the western Canada population that spans boreal and arctic regions. Western Canadian wolverines in 2003 probably totalled 15,000 to 19,000 animals. Their populations, however, have lately fallen in Alberta, Ontario and southern BC."

"The same factors that have removed wolverines from much of their range - overharvesting and human encroachment into their habitat - continue to plague them. Wolverines suffer from unsustainable hunting and trapping in 21% of BC's population units. A 2005 study in western Montana found that licensed trapping largely contributed to wolverine population declines of 30% a year in four mountain ranges."

"Research in BC's Columbia Mountains concludes that outdoor recreation and logging activities cause wolverines to avoid habitat. In this popular winter recreation region, wolverines stay away from areas used by heli-skiers or backcountry skiers. In summer, females also shun roads and recent logging."

According to the website:

" Wolverines have a lifespan of 17 years. Their size varies between the male and the female: Adult males weigh approximately 14 kg; females, 9 kg. The Adult male is
approximately 1 m long, the female is shorter in length.

"Wolverines are known for traveling long distances. Their range extends from less than 100-sq. km for females to more than 1000-square-kilometres for males. These are the largest reported home ranges for a carnivore."

"When food is scarce, a high percentage of the population will not have young. Females have a delayed implantation mechanism that allows them to have young when food is most abundant and to adjust the size of the litter to the availability of food."

"Wolverines are non-migratory and do not hibernate during the winter. They’re active day and night and alternate three to four hour periods between activity and sleep."

Based upon my reading online it is wonderful that several provinces in Canada have decided to engage in studies of the wolverine (for example in Ontario see this website: ),

in Alberta:

and in British Columbia:

see :

I hope that concerning scientists can find out more about wolverines so they can be conserved in the wild. Hopefully,these scientists will remember their ethics and values in conducting their research, and be most interested in the Wolverine and its survival on our planet! Thanks to NPS Photo for allowing me to use their photo of the Wolverine for this blog entry. If you need a photo for your blog or for other reasons go and visit
source of photo:

Jellyfish Jamboree--Are They Set to Seize the Seas?

Currently, at the Scientific America website is an interesting article about jellyfish. The article written by Katherine Harmon is called "Jellyfish Jamboree--Are They Set to Seize the Seas?" and includes a slide show of jellyfish. Katherine Harmon begins this article by stating:

"Bloomin' jellyfish! Overfishing, climate change and ocean dead zones may be downers for humans and other critters, but they turn out to be a boon for jellyfish schools, reports the recent "Jellyfish Joyride" paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

A surge in jellyfish populations may eventually lead to what study authors call "a less desirable gelatinous state," which could have "lasting ecological, economic and social consequences."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

According to an article at:,,2-13-1443_2441803,00.html

"Huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and similar slimy animals are ruining beaches in Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere, US researchers reported on Friday.

The report says 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish globally every year, with 500 000 people stung in the Chesapeake Bay, off the US Atlantic Coast, alone.

Another 200 000 are stung every year in Florida, and 10 000 are stung in Australia by the deadly Portuguese man-of-war, according to the report, a broad review of jellyfish research.

The report, available on the internet at, says the Black Sea's fishing and tourism industries have lost $350m because of a proliferation of comb jelly fish.

The jellyfish eat the eggs of fish and compete with them for food, wiping out the livelihoods of fishermen, according to the report.

And it says a third of the total weight of all life in California's Monterey Bay is made up of jellyfish.

Human activities that could be making things nice for jellyfish include pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and building artificial structures such as oil and gas rigs.

Creatures called salps cover up to 100,000 sq km of the North Atlantic in a regular phenomenon called the New York Bight, but researchers quoted in the report said this one may be a natural cycle.

"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.

These include pollution-induced "dead zones", higher water temperatures and the spread of alien jellyfish species by shipping."

According to J. E. Purcell, W. W. Graham, and H. J. Dumont, editors, in the book, "Jellyfish Blooms: Ecological and Societal Importance",

"Jellyfish are to the oceans what pigeons are to cities. Both animals seem to be able to flourish in environments that have been radically altered by human activities.

In many places around the world, jellyfish populations are dramatically increasing. Although the increase may be part of a natural cycle in some areas, the overall upward trend far exceeds anything that would be naturally expected. The suspected cause of the increase is human disruption of coastal ecosystems and other human-induced environmental stress, such as nutrification of the water from sewage or fertilizer runoff, overfishing of competitor fish species, depletion of sea turtle populations, and rising water temperatures from global warming.

The proliferation of jellyfish has caused record numbers of stings—some resulting in fatalities—of beachgoers and aquatic sports enthusiasts in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia, among other places. Likewise, the booming jellyfish populations have wreaked severe economic damage in the Gulf of Mexico and some other places where fishing nets are now filled with slimy gelatin instead of succulent shrimp.

So again we have human actions causing a dramatic change in the natural balance of life in the World. Let us hope for the sake of those who like to visit and swim in the oceans of the world, that steps are taken to educate people about their role in the proliferation of jellyfish in the World's acquatic regions,so that behavioral changes will allow these jellyfish populations to be returned to what they used to be, in balance with the other life forms in the oceans and other water areas where
marine life exists on our planet.

So see a United States National Foundation video about jellyfish go to:

Source of image:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pollution drives Mekong River Dolphins to edge of extinction

According to an article written by Patrick Falby of the Agence France-Presse,which appeared in the Friday June 19,2009 edition of the Edmonton Journal newspaper,

"Pollution in Southeast Asia's Mekong River has pushed
freshwater dolphins in Cambodia and Laos to the brink
of extinction." The World Wide Fund For Nature
(WWF) said only 64 to 76 Irawaddy dolphins remain in
the Mekong after toxic levels of pesticides,mercury and
other pollutants were found in more than 50 calves who
have died since 2003.

The Mekong River, (see map below,the river is represented in the color blue) approximately 4180km in length, originates from Tibet and runs through Yunnan province of China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam.

"These pollutants are widely distributed in the environment and so the source of this pollution may involve several countries through which the Mekong River flows," said WWF veterinary surgeon Verne Dove in a press statement.

"The organization said it was investigating how environmental contaminents got into the Mekong, which flows through Cambodia,Laos,Myanmar,Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan."

"The WWF said it suspects that high levels of mercury found in some dead dolphins came from gold mining activities."

"It added that Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia and Laos urgently needed a health program to counter the effects of pollution on their immune system."

"The Mekong River Irawaddy dolphin, which inhabits a 190-kilometer stretch of Cambodia and Laos, has been listed as critically endangered since 2004," said the WWF....there numbers were cut by illegal fishing nets and Cambodia's drawn out civil conflict, in which dolphin blubber was used to lubricate machine parts and fuel lamps."

"The Cambodian Government, however has been promoting dolphin-watching to attract ecotourism and has cracked down on the use of illegal nets which entangle them."

"The river is the World's largest inland fishery, producing some 2.5 million tonnes of fish per year valued at more than $2 billion."

source of map:

Arctic Sovereignty act earns high praise

According to a news article written by Randy Boswell of the Canwest News service,which was published in the Friday June 10th,2009 edition of the Edmonton Journal newspaper,

"A leading Canadian expert on circumpolar politics is praising the ruling federal Conservative government in Canada for strengthening the country's control over its Arctic waters through environmental legislation that came into force last week."

This legislation extends Canadian authority over Arctic shipping by an additional 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers), beyond the current 100-mile control zone in the waters off Canada's northern coastline. Stated Canadian Government Transport Minister John Baird

"With these amendments, Canada increases its ability to protect its Arctic waters from pollution by expanding the geographic area covered under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, which is aimed at preventing ship-source pollution, said Baird. "These measures will help to ensure environmentally responsible shipping in our Arctic waters."

My reaction to this is that it is great that the Canadian Government is going to take more responsibility for ensuring our Arctic waters are protected from pollution. I wish however, the Government had indicated how they were going to monitor this area so that other nations of the world feel obligated to ensure that the ships owned by their people are sea-worthy and in a good state of condition,to ensure that any chance of pollution to these waters is minimized. Does the Conservative Government intend to purchase ships and long-range aircraft to monitor the shipping in the Arctic, to ensure that these waters of ours are not polluted and also ensure that Canada's claim to these waters as our own is enforced?

III Ruy Lopez International Chess Festival

The III Ruy Lopez International Chess Festival was held from June13th-19th in Merida, Spain. Six Grandmasters and two International Masters competed in the tournament,which included GM Humpy Koneru of India. In the end, GM Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria (,who is GM Veselin Topalov's second) won the event with an undefeated score score of 5 points (3 wins and 4 draws). His performance rating for this event was 2740, which exceeds his 2678 elo entering the event. Congratulations to GM Cheparinov!. In second place was GM Michael Adams of England with a score of 4 1/2 points (3 wins,3 draws and 1 loss, his loss came against IM Larino Nieto of Spain). In third place was Larino Nieto on a tie-break over GM's Granda Zuniga and Caruana, all had finished the tournament with scores of 3 1/2 points.

GM Michael Adams will be participating in the upcoming Canadian Open Chess Tournament in my home city of Edmonton,Alberta, a tournament which runs from July 11th-19th, 2009. The official tournament website for the Championship is:

GM Domiguez Perez wins the 44th Capablanca Chess Tournament

GM Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba won the 44th annual Capablanca Chess Tournament. The Cuban GM scored 6.5 points (3 wins and 7 draws) to win the tournament. His elo rating entering the event was 2721, and he will gain a few elo points on the basis of his performance rating in this tournament (which was 2745).

GM Boris Savchenko finished in second place with a score of 5 1/2 points and GM Georg Meier ended the tournament with 5 points which resulted in a third place finish for the German chess player.

Congratulations GM Dominguez Perez!

Most ignore air-quality advisories,report says

According to the a new report, named the "Envionics Research Report", most Canadians do not pay any attention to air-quality advisories issued by Environment Canada for the benefit of Canada's population. The problem seems to be that most people are not aware that an air-quality advisory has been issued. In addition the population of Canada does not seem to be educated in understanding what signs exist to indicate that the air quality outside is poor. Most Canadians understand that poor air quality is a health risk, however according to the report, most have "psychologically acclimated themselves to this hazard. Public understanding of what to do during an air-quality advisory is also cited as a reason for the lack of attention among Canadians to these advisories. The population seem to believe that if an air-quality advisory has been issued. this meaens they should stay indoors, however the population does not understand the need to also alter personal and family routines as a response to the advisory.

To me this indicates that Environment Canada must find ways to inform our population that an air-quality advisory has occurred. This includes using the media, and the internet to give Canadians (especially those who may suffer severe, and even life-threatening symptoms due to exposure to poor quality air) more warnings. Companies could be asked to mention the quality of air that is occurring in a city during the day, to their employees, and some sort of electronic message system could be used to inform the population that an air quality advisory exists.

I have noticed that certain organizations online have been created which will send email to people who subscribe to a list, indicating to the subscriber that a air-quality advisory has been issued in a certain area. For instance this website: does that. This website has been established by the United States Environmental Protection agency.
In Canada, the Government of Ontario has established the website:, where residents of Ontario can check to see what the air quality is on a daily basis in their living area. It is a matter of education the population regarding the sources of this information so people can go to these sources and then take the necessary precautions if an air quality advisory has been issued in their place of residence.

Mercury levels raise concerns

"A University of Alberta study shows the amount of mercury flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Mackenzie River estuary may be more than originally thought."

"Mercury is important, especially in Canada's Arctic, because it's a neurotoxin in foods,"said Jennifer Graydon,who published her findings in the journal of /Science of the Total Environment/ earlier this year.

"Large amounts of mercury in the body can damage the nervous system." "Previous published studies have shown Western Arctic belugas (whales), have higher concentrations of methyl mercury than those found in the Eastern Artic, "Graydon said. "So we thought let's look at the river,not as a direct source to the whales, but as least as a source of mercury to that region."

"Graydon and three colleagues tested mercury concentrations in samples taken in 2004 from the Mackenzie River upstream from the Mackenzie River Delta, and in six floodplain lakes."

"They discovered the total amount of mercury from the river during that three-month period was EQUAL TO TO AN ENTIRE YEAR'S WORTH OF MERCURY CALCULATED IN PREVIOUS STUDIES."!!!!

"Since then, samples taken over another three years have contained mostly the same concentrations."

"A University of Manitoba researcher and colleague discovered that most of the mercury flowing into the Mackenzie River Basin is picked up by water as it flows down from the Mackenzie Mountains."

"The mineral soils of the mountains contain naturally high levels of mercury,said Jesse Carrie, a graduate student."The other major mercury contributor was a coal bed, he added.

"Carrie suspects the mountains have been adding mercury to the system since the last Ice Age.
But he notes that levels of mercury in animals in the area have increased "Dramatically" since the 1980's. For example mercury concentrations between 1986 and 2008 have doubled in a fish species called burbot near Fort Good Hope. Carrie and his colleagues are now trying to figure out why."

"It is possible climate change has lengthened the growing season for bacteria and plankton which create the form of mercury that is accumulated by animals," he said.

Source:The Edmonton Journal, Wednesday, June 17,2009 Writer:Hanneke Brooymans :Journal Environmental Writer

Let us hope these researchers can determine why the mercury levels have increased so that whatever steps are possible can be taken to reduce these levels if at all possible. Of course if these levels are rising due to natural processes, it is going to make it difficult for scientists to come up with a plan to reduce levels of mercury in the Mackenzie River and the Mackenzie Delta

Source of map of Mackenzie Delta (click on it to enlarge it):
If you so desire you can click on the map provided above to enlarge it.

A transit-friendly-place to live

"Planning is underway for Edmonton,Alberta,Canada's first major suburban transit-oriented development aimed at mixing homes,offices and shops.

The Heritage Valley Town Center is expected to include two high-schools,a recreation center,an LRT Station and a main street to serve 100,000 people who will eventually live southwest of Anthony Henday Drive and Gateway Boulevard.

To reduce the need for private vehicles,the center will feature and LRT (Light-rail Transit) station.States senior city planner Tim Brockelsby, That's not to suggest everyone will work there and live there...but the option is there," he said. "A lot of our suburban development is auto-orientated...There's a shift to making communities more self-sustaining. Part of it relates to having more localized activity,the whole walkable notion."

Source:Edmonton Journal newpaper, June 17,2009. Writer:Gordon Kent Civic Affairs Writer

This sounds like a wonderful idea to me. I would much rather live in a part of the city where I can visit all the places I need to visit to live in short proximity to where I live,rather than having to use transportation which sometimes takes me where I have to go, but with me being the only person in the vehicle. If many or most of the services and businesses I had to visit and use during the week were in close proximity to me, it would take less fuel and cause less damage to the environment.

10 Edmonton organizations win awards for Environmental Excellence

10 Edmonton organizations won awards this week for environmental excellence.The ten were chosen in different categories of environmental concerns. The groups were:

(a)Youth award:Eco-Air (Edmonton,Alberta)-Eco-Air is devoted to youth who volunteer their time towards the promotion of vehicle anti-idling initiatives. For more on Eco-Air go to: or visit their Facebook page at:

(b)Not for profit association award:Alberta Birds of Prey (Coaldale,Alberta)-Wildlife rescue center. For more information about the Alberta Birds of Prey foundation go to:

(c)Community Group award:River Valley Alliance (Edmonton,Alberta)-Protection of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. To gain an understanding of this group visit their website at:

(d)Individual committment award:David Manz. P.Eng.P.Ag (Calgary,Alberta)-Inventor of the biosand water filter. For more information about David Manz and his biosand water filter visit
these websites:,, and

(e)Individual committment award:Jill and Basil Seaton (Jasper-Alberta)-Lifetime of environmental volunteering. To learn more about the work of the Seatons visit this website:

(f)Education award (School or Classroom):Calgary,Alberta Zoo-Helping schools maintain natural areas For more information regarding what the Calgary Zoo did to help schools maintain natural areas go to:

To visit the Calgary Zoo website click on:

(g)Education award (Non-Formal):City of Calgary,Alberta-Mayor's Environmental Expo To find out information about the Calgary Mayor's Environmental Expo go to this website: link

(h)Business award-Lafarge (Fish Creek,Alberta)-Reclamation of gravel pit into meadows For information concerning what Larfarge Cement Plant did go to: link
(i)Business award-Logical Creations Ltd. (Airdrie,Alberta)-Innovative recycling practises in furniture manufacturing. For infornation about the recycling practices of Logical Creations Ltd. go to:

(j)Government institutions award-Ecoteam (Calgary,Alberta)-Improving ecological literacy at the Calgary Board of Education. For more information about Ecoteam visit:
Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you for taking such an interest in the environment!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Endangered whale's feeding grounds gain protected status

"The (Canadian) Federal Government is enhancing protections for endangered North Atlantic right whales by adding two important feeding grounds to the Species at Risk Act.

The Roseway Basin off Nova Scotia and the Grand Manan Basin in the Bay of Fundy have been listed as critical habitats in the Act.

The measure means Ottawa is obligated to legally protect the areas from activities that might harm them.

The feeding grounds are important for the massive mammals as they migrate from breeding grounds in the southern United States to Canadian waters, where they feed in the summer.

There are only about 400 of the animals left in the world, with ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear posing the biggest threats.

David Millar of the federal Fisheries Department says Ottawa has 180 days to put the legal protections in place."


To see where these locations are go to this link:

Source of free image of the Northern right whale:

44th Capablanca Chess Tournament:results rounds 5-9,standings

Here are the results from rounds 5 through 9 of this tournament:

Round 5 (June 12, 2009) The player on the left had the white pieces:
Meier, Georg - Dominguez Perez, Leinier result: draw ( ½-½) number of moves: 30 Opening: English Opening: Symmetrical variation ECO:A34

Savchenko, Boris- Khenkin, Igor result: draw (½-½) number of moves: 20 Opening:Sicilian Defense: Maroczy Bind ECO:B39

Timofeev, Artyom- Bruzon Batista, Lazaro result: draw ( ½-½) number of moves: 61
Opening: Sicilian Defense:Najdorf variation ECO:B92

These results meant the following standings existed after 5 rounds of play:

1st:Dominguez Perez 3 1/2 points, 2nd: Meier 3 points, 3rd/4th: Khenkin and Savchenko 2 1/2 points, 5th: Bruzon Batista 2 points, 6th: Timofeev 1 1/2 points.

Round 6 of the tournament was played on June 13th and only the result of the following game was posted at the official tournament website:

Bruzon Batista, Lazaro - Dominguez Perez, Leinier result: ½-½ number of moves: 14 Opening: Sicilian Defense: Najdorf variation ECO code:B92

Round 7
Round 7 was played on June 14th with these results occurring:

Savchenko, Boris - Bruzon Batista, Lazaro result: draw (½-½) draw number of moves: 33 Opening: Queens Gambit Declined:Tartakover defense ECO:D59

Khenkin, Igor - Dominguez Perez, Leinier result: draw ( ½-½) number of moves: 17 Opening:Grunfeld Defense: Gruenfeld Defence ECO:D85

Timofeev, Artyom - Meier, Georg result: draw (½-½) number of moves: 36
Opening: French Defense: Rubinstein variation eco:C10

Round 8

Round 8 of the tournament was played on Monday June 15th with these results occurring:

Dominguez Perez, Leinier - Timofeev, Artyom result:draw (½-½) number of moves: 43
Opening: Sicilian Defense:Sveshnikov variation ECO:B33

Meier, Georg - Savchenko, Boris result: draw ( ½-½) 10 moves, Opening: Ruy Lopez Exchange variation ECO:C68

Bruzon Batista, Lazaro - Khenkin, Igor result: draw (½-½) 12 moves
Opening: Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense ECO:C67

Round 9 of the tournament was held on Monday June 16th and these results occurred:

Meier, Georg - Bruzon Batista, Lazaro result: draw (½-½) number of moves: 42
Opening: Catalan ECO:E05

Savchenko, Boris - Dominguez Perez, Leinier result: draw (½-½) number of moves: 48
Opening: English Opening: Botvinnik variation ECO:A36

Timofeev, Artyom - Khenkin, Igor result: 1-0 number of moves: 38 Opening: Caro Kann
Defense ECO:B15

Here are the standings after 9 rounds of play:
(2 more rounds are to be played in the tournament):

1st. Dominguez Perez 5 1/2 points, 2nd.Meier 4 1/2 points, 3rd-4th.Savchenko and Bruzon Batista, 4 points, 5th-6th: Khenkin, and Timofeev 3 1/2 points

Friday, June 12, 2009

44th Capablanca Chess Tournament

The 44th annual Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament is presently taking place in La Habana, Cuba. The event consists of three tournaments, The elite event has these players participating:

GM Leinier Dominguez Perez Cuba, elo 2717, (seen on the left), GM Artyom Timofeev, Russia,elo 2677,
GM Boris Savchenko, Russia, elo 2655, GM Georg Meier Germany 2641, GM Igor Khenkin, Germany, elo 2630, and GM Lazaro BruzonBatista Cuba, elo 2617.

Here are the standings after
four rounds of play:

1st:Dominguez Perez 3 points, 2nd: Meier 2 1/2 points, 3rd/4th: Khenkin and Savchenko 2 points, 5th: Bruzon Batista 1 1/2 points, 6th: Timofeev 1 point.


GM Motylev wins the 2009 Poikovsky-Karpov Chess Tournament

GM Alexander Motylev of Russia won the 2009 Poikovsky Chess tournament today by drawing his last game of the tournament with GM Viktor Bologan. This draw meant that Motylev finished the tournament with a score of 7 points (5 wins 3 draws) for a performance rating of 2916! Congratulations GM Motylev on your great performance in the tournament!!

Here are the last round (round 8) results:

Gashimov- Efimenko result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 44 Opening:Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense ECO code:C67

Rublevsky- Naiditsch result: 1-0 number of moves: 55 Opening:Scotch Game ECO:C45

Bologan- Motylev result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 59 Opening: Petroff's Defence ECO code: C42

Onischuk- Inarkiev result: ½-½ (draw), number of moves: 41 Opening: King's Indian Defense: Classical variation ECO:E92

Shirov- Sutovsky result:½-½ (draw), number of moves: 28 Opening: French Defense: Tarrasch variation ECO:C07

Here are the final standings:

1st :Motylev 7 points, 2nd:Gashimov 6 points, 3rd:Sutovsky 5 points, (on tiebreak):
4th:Inarkiev 5 points, 5th:Rublevsky (on tie-break) 4 1/2 points, 6th:Bologan 4 1/2 points,
7th:Onischuk 4 1/2 points, 8th:Naiditsch 3 1/2 points, 9th Efimenko 3 points, 10th:Shirov 2 points

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 Poikovsky-Karpov Chess Tournament: 8th round update,results,standings, round 9 pairings

Here are the results from round 8 of the Poikovsky-Karpov chess tournament,which was played today (the player having the white pieces is on the left):

Motylev--- Gashimov result:1-0 number of moves: 75 Opening: Petroff's Defence ECO code:C42

Sutovsky---- Onischuk result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 21 Opening: Ruy Lopez:
Chigorin defense ECO code:C92

Inarkiev--- Rublevsky result: 0-1 number of moves: 118! Opening: Sicilian Defense:Paulsen
variation, ECO code:B46

Naiditsch---- Bologan result: 0-1 number of moves: 109! Opening:Petroff's Defense
ECO code: C43

Efimenko, Zahar--- Shirov, Alexei result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 23 Opening: Ruy Lopez: Anderssen variation ECO code:C77.

Based upon these results here are the standings after 8 rounds of play:

10th Karpov Poikovsky RUS 2009

1st Motylev 6.5 points
2nd Gashimov 5.5 points
3rd-4th Sutovsky and Inarkiev 4.5 points
5th-6th Onischuk and Bologan 4 points
7th Rublevsky and Naiditsch 3.5 points
8th Efimenko 2.5 points
9th Shirov 1.5 points

Average elo: 2694 <=> Category: 18

Here are the pairings for the last round of play:the player having the white pieces is on the left:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2009 Poikovsky-Karpov Chess Tournament: 7th round update

The seventh round of the 2009 Poikovsky-Karpov chess tournament was played today, and Alexei Shirov lost again! This means the Latvian-born GM who now lives in Spain has 5 losses in 7 games!

Here are the results from all of the games today:

Rublevsky, -Sutovsky, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves:56
Opening: Scotch Game ECO code:C45,

Onischuk, -Shirov, result:1-0 number of moves: 37
Opening:Semi-Slav Defense:ECO code:D46

Motylev, -Efimenko, result:½-½ (draw) number of moves:15
Opening: Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defense:ECO code:C67

Gashimov, -Naiditsch, result:1-0 number of moves: 40
Opening:Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defense:ECO code:C67

Bologan, - Inarkiev, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 30
Opening:Petroff's Defence ECO code:C43

Here are the standings after 7 rounds of play:

10th Karpov Poikovsky RUS 2009
1 Gashimov, 2730 and Motylev 2677 both have 5 1/2 points
3 Inarkiev , 2676 4 1/2 points
4 Sutovsky, 2660 4.0 points
5/6 Naiditsch,A 2700 and Onischuk,Al 2684 3.5 points
7 Bologan,V 2690 3 points
8 Rublevsky,S 2702 2.5 points
9 Efimenko,Z 2682 2.0 points
10 Shirov,A 2745 1.0 point

Average elo: 2694 <=> Category: 18

Here are the pairings for round 8:The player with the white pieces is on the left:

There is one more round of play in the tournament after this one.

Reefs collapse across Caribbean, study says

"There has been a massive collapse of coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, according to a joint project by researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.
The study has found that not only are reefs dying faster and on a wider scale than previously thought, but they are quickly crumbling after they die, in a process scientists call “reef flattening.”
The scale of the collapse is massive.
“Probably the most stark finding of our result is that this isn't just a flattening in one patch, one area the size of Vancouver, or even an area the size of British Columbia… the whole Caribbean has been flattened in the past decade, mainly as a result of climate change,” said Nicholas Dulvy of SFU's department of biological sciences. “There are no detectable complex reefs [left].”
The team of international researchers looked at nearly 40 years of data compiled in 500 surveys of 200 reefs, for the first time piecing together the big picture of what has been happening throughout the Caribbean, which is famous for its thousands of beautiful reefs, including one second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Dr. Dulvy said wherever they looked they saw signs of rapid and devastating decline. Reefs are dying and then collapsing on themselves, filling in the nooks and crannies that provide shelter for a myriad of species.
“We've lost 80 per cent of the living coral cover in the Caribbean over the last four decades. So that's a rate of loss that's far greater than the loss of deforestation of the Amazon rain forest. In fact, we're losing coral twice as fast as we're chopping down the Amazon rain forest,” Dr. Dulvy said."

To read the remainder of this article please go to this link:globe and mail

What are the implications of this finding? In 2006 the National Georgraphic society reported that in the U.S. Virgin Islands more than 90 percent of the coral suffered bleaching.Bleaching occurs when heat stress causes corals to expel their symbiotic, food-producing algae known as zooxanthellae, turning the reef's skeleton ghostly white.
While coral can recover from bleaching events, many weakened Caribbean reefs are now succumbing to a fatal coral disease known as white plague. Last fall (2005) marine biologists in Puerto Rico reported that 42 coral species on some reefs had bleached. source: National Geographic
In addition, "the loss of living coral reefs, which act as nurseries for countless fish and marine species, will adversely impact fisheries and biodiversity, stated Jeff Miller, a United States Government National Park Service fisheries biologist.
Sigh,if the reefs in the Caribbean are in this awful state, what about other coral reefs in other parts of the oceans? If the fish and marine species disappear this will affect the balance of nature in all of our oceans,and all of these precious forms of life may be lost forever!
It is ironic that while I was researching coral reef health I found a 1992 article by Rodney M. Fujita and Mark S. Epstein,of the Environmental Defense Fund, Thomas J. Goreau, of the Global Coral Reef Alliance and Kristina Gjerde, of Environmental Solutions International .
Dr. Rodney M.Fujita has a Ph.D and is by profession a Marine Ecologist, Epstein is a lawyer by profession and is the former Deputy Director and COO, for Physicans for Social Responsibilty. Dr. Thomas J. Goreau is both a biogeochemist and a marine biologist by profession, and is an expert in the field of biogeochemistry (which involves scientific study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment (including the biosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere, the atmosphere, and the lithosphere), and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components in time and space. The field focuses on chemical cycles which are either driven by or have an impact on biological activity. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles. Biogeochemistry is a systems science closely related to Systems ecology. (sources:, and Gjerde is High Seas Policy Advisor to the IUCN Global Marine Program. A lawyer with an extensive background in marine policy and law. Her focus is focusing "on high seas fisheries conservation and governance. The extended introduction, written by Gjerde and series editor David Freestone, concludes: "As demonstrated by the authors' contributions to this Special Issue, deep-water fisheries on the high sea expose a major gap in the global governance regime. Few regional fisheries management organizations have the legal competence to manage deep sea fish stocks, and those that do are not necessarily doing it well. Just as troubling, this situation exposes the weaknesses of the flag state regime in leaving the global community with few mechanisms to ensure respect for conservation and management standards by vessels fishing in the global commons.....Significant political pressure from global bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly and the Convention on Biological Diversity remains essential." (source:link)
In their article: "A Guide To Protecting Coral Reefs" Fujita, Epstein, Goreau, and Gjerde,
"coral reefs play an important role in sustaining biological diversity, global biogeochemical cycles, and the economies of many countries. Despite these values, many coral reefs around the world are being rapidly degraded.
The degradation and destruction of coral reefs have such varied sources and widespread environmental and economic impacts, and funding for conservation is so limited, that coral reef protection must be addressed not only at the local, but at the regional and global levels as well.
Local threats to coral reefs, such as sewage pollution, overfishing, and deforestation, must be addressed primarily by countries containing coral reefs, supplemented when appropriate by international financial and technical assistance. Regional problems, such as the transport of water and air pollution across national boundaries, must be addressed through regional legal instruments, again with international assistance to implement regional policies. Finally, the threats posed to coral reefs by global warming, ozone depletion, and international trade in coral reef organisms and natural products can only be reduced through international accords.
Indeed, truly comprehensive environmental protection must include long term environmental monitoring, integrated coastal management, effective marine sanctuaries, appropriate technologies for pollution prevention, and environmentally sensitive ways to utilize reef resources. These can only be implemented with substantial international economic and technical assistance. Thus, measures to ensure international assistance and cooperation in ameliorating the many threats to coral reefs must be included in all pertinent international agreements. The Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Agenda 21, which were negotiated during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and signed in Rio de Janeiro, address this to some degree. However, firm commitments to alleviate environmental threats and implement environmentally sensitive development with new enforceable policies and funding are lacking.Because of their high rates of calcification, coral reefs play a major role in the global calcium cycle despite their limited areal extent, fixing about half of all the calcium entering the sea into calcium carbonate. The health of coral reefs is affected by the quality of surface waters, groundwater, and air for miles around. Pollutants migrate in coastal currents, air flow patterns, rivers, and underground aquifers. Activities throughout the airshed and watershed, including those which destroy or degrade mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, further threaten the integrity of reefs.
Why was this information which these experts outlined in 1992 not listened to by politicans, leaders of industry, and those responsible for seeing that the coral reefs and the life within the reefs in this World were protected from destruction?? If these experts had been listened to then the collapse of the Coral reefs in the Caribbean, might not have happened! Can we expect other coral reefs around the Globe to be near destruction as well due to inaction on the part of the Politicans and the Government and Industrial bureaucrats of this world?

U.N. report: Nature best controls climate gases

AMSTERDAM (AP) — "Nature's way is best for controlling the gases responsible for climate change, the U.N. Environment Program said in a report Friday.
The report said better management of forests, more careful agricultural practices and the restoration of peatlands could soak up significant amounts of carbon dioxide, the most common of the gases blamed for global warming.
"We need to move toward a comprehensive policy framework for addressing ecosystems," said co-author Barney Dickson, releasing the report at the U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. The event was webcast worldwide.
Millions of dollars are being invested in research on capturing and burying carbon emissions from power stations, but investing in ecosystems could achieve cheaper results, the report said.
It also would have the added effects of preserving biodiversity, improving water supplies and boosting livelihoods.
Halving deforestation by mid-century and maintaining that lower rate for another 50 years would save the equivalent of five years of carbon emissions at the current level, said Dickson, the agency's head of climate change and biodiversity.
The loss of peatlands, mainly drained for palm oil and pulp wood plantations in Southeast Asia, contributes 8% of global carbon emissions. China could capture about 5% of its carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels by returning straw to croplands, it said.
Agriculture has the largest potential for storing carbon if farmers use better techniques, such as avoiding turning over the soil and using natural compost and manure rather than chemical fertilizers, it said."


Report: Warming could cause greatest human migration ever

By Arthur Max, Associated Press Writer
BONN, Germany — Global warming is uprooting people from their homes and, left unchecked, could lead to the greatest human migration in history, said a report released Wednesday.
Estimates vary on how many people are on the move because of climate change, but the report cites predictions from the International Organization for Migration that 200 million people will be displaced by environmental pressures by 2050. Some estimates go as high as 700 million, said the report, released at U.N negotiations for a new climate treaty.
Researchers questioned more than 2,000 migrants in 23 countries about why they moved, said Koko Warner of the U.N. University, which conducted the study with CARE International.
The results were "a clear signal" that environmental stress already is causing population shifts, she said, and it could be "a mega-trend of the future."
The potential for masses of humanity fleeing disaster zones or gradually being driven out by increasingly harsh conditions is likely to be part of a global warming agreement under negotiation among 192 countries.

A draft text calls on nations to prepare plans to adapt to climate change by accounting for possible migrations.
At U.S. insistence, however, the term "climate refugees" will be stricken from the draft text because refugees have rights under international law, and climate migrants do not fill the description of "persecuted" people, said Warner.
The report, "In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement," studies people in some of the world's great river deltas who could be subject to glacial melt, desert dwellers who are vulnerable to increasing drought, and islanders whose entire nations could be submerged by rising sea levels.
It did not try to assess conflicts caused by climate change. The war in Sudan's desert Darfur region has partly been blamed on contested water supplies and grazing lands, and concern over future water wars has mounted in other areas of the world.
The report said 40 island states could disappear, in whole or in part, if seas rise by six feet. The Maldives, a chain of 1,200 atolls in the Indian Ocean has a plan to abandon some islands and build defenses on others, and has raised the possibility of moving the entire population of 300,000 to another country.
Melting glaciers in the Himalayas threaten repeated flooding in the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow river basins, which support 1.4 billion people, or nearly one-fourth of humanity, in India, southeast Asia and China. After the floods will come drought when seasonal glacier runoff no longer feeds the rivers, it said.
In Mexico and Central America drought and hurricanes have led to migrations since the 1980s and they will get worse, it said.
Homes are not always abandoned forever, the researchers said. "Disasters contribute to short-term migration," especially in countries that failed to take precautions or lack adequate responses, said Charles Ehrhart of CARE.
Most migration will be internal, from the country to the city, it said.


Scareware's pitches for fake security show up in odd places

Scareware's pitches for fake security show up in odd places
Written by Byron Acohida, USA TODAY

"Scareware has become the scourge of the Internet.
Those deceptive promotions crafted to panic you into spending $30 to $80 for worthless antivirus protection can hit you just about anywhere you turn on the Web. They arrive as booby-trapped Web links in e-mail and social network messages. They lurk hidden, and set to activate, when you click to popular, legitimate websites.

And now scareware purveyors are embedding triggers in places you wouldn't expect: on advertisements displayed at mainstream media websites; amid search results from Google, Yahoo Search and Windows Live search; alongside comments posted on YouTube videos; and, most recently, in "tweets" circulating on Twitter.
"Scareware is becoming a dominating force," says Joe Stewart, director of SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit. "There are hundreds of criminals using every tactic they can think of to push these programs."

Click on a trigger and you'll get caught in an unnerving loop impossible to abort. A scanner window will appear with red-letter warnings listing viruses purportedly infesting your hard drive. A series of dialogue boxes will follow giving you choices that all lead to the same screen: a sales pitch.
Make the purchase, and you get a bogus inoculation. Try to cancel it, and you'll get repeated offers. "It's like stepping into quicksand," says Paul Royal senior researcher at security firm Purewire. "The more you try to get out of it, the deeper you sink."
Scareware has been a prominent part of the Internet since 2004, when a cybergang based in St. Petersburg, Russia, launched the website and began offering commissions to anyone who helped them spread the SpySheriff fake antivirus program. Hackers began to taint legitimate websites so that pop-up ads for SpySheriff would launch on the PC of anyone who visited a corrupted Web page.
That simple arrangement has evolved into a steadily growing industry that marked a banner year in 2008. By late last year, more than 9,200 different types of scareware programs were circulating on the Internet, up from 2,800 at midyear, according to The Anti-Phishing Working Group. Microsoft recently reported that scareware infections rose 48% in the second half of 2008 vs. the first half. Microsoft analyzed data collected by use of its Malicious Software Removal Tool and found one specific fake security program on 4.4 million PCs.
"These guys are very innovative," says Roel Schouwenberg, senior virus researcher at Kaspersky Lab. "They're constantly looking for newer and easier ways to make money."
Cutting-edge scareware marketing campaigns are being delivered via:
•YouTube and Twitter. The bad guys sign up for a handful of new YouTube or Twitter accounts. In the case of YouTube, crooks recently used about a dozen new accounts to begin posting comments on 30,000 videos, says Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. The comments enticed users to click on a link that triggered a scareware promotion.
In a variation of this ploy, crooks in late May created new Twitter accounts and began broadcasting tweets declaring "Best video" with a Web link of, says Schouwenberg. Clicking on the link launched a sequence that replicated the message to everyone on the victim's friends list, then launched a scareware promo.
•Search results. The bad guys create malicious Web pages and fill them with words and phrases that are likely to be popular search queries, such as "American Idol winner" or "NCAA tournament bracket," says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of security firm Finjan. Next they insert tiny copies of their bad links on popular, legit websites that don't do a thorough job of preventing such hacks.
"Search engine optimization" then takes over. SEO is the technology that determines the relevance of Web links to search queries. By embedding a malicious link on a popular website, the hackers imbue their Web page with high relevance. So when the legit site turns up as the No. 1 or No. 2 result for a popular search query, their bad link turns up as the No. 4 or No. 6 result. Anyone who clicks on the bad link gets a scareware pitch.
•Online ads. The bad guys purchase blocks of ad space on popular websites through a legit ad agency, says Roger Thompson, senior researcher at AVG. Next they instruct the ad agency to begin posting innocuous ads. To avoid detection, they only sporadically feed a corrupted ad into the mix. The bad ad looks safe, but carries instructions to route anyone who clicks to a scareware pitch. "It's the most common attack we see every day," Thompson says."

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interview with GM Antoaneta Stefanova

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk has posted an interview of GM Antoaneta Stefanova (pictured at the left) at her chess blog. To go and read the interview click on this link:

Kosteniuk and Stefanova are two of the women who have the Male Grandmaster title in chess.The others are:Judit Polgar, Susan Polgar, Nona Gaprindashvili,Maia Chiburdanidze, Xie Jun, Pia Cramling, Zhu Chen, Humpy Koneru, Peng Zhaoqin, Hoang Thanh Trang, Kateryna Lahno, Xu Yuhua, Marie Sebag, Zhao Xue, Hou Yifan, Nana Dzagnidze, Monika Soćko, and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant
According to Chessbase Megabase 2009, in her career, Stefanova has defeated these players with the male GM title:
GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Tigran L. Petrosian, GM Mikhail Gurevich, GM Michele Godena, GM Oleg Romanishin, GM Bojan Kurajica, GM Parimarjan Negi among others. She favors an interesting opening when she plays white, known as the Trompowsky Attack which begins:
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5.

Vegetation may not slow wave erosion

"One assumption behind attempts to restore coastal wetlands as natural buffers against storms and floods may be wrong, a study suggests.
Experts believe that wetland vegetation could have helped to resist the coastal erosion caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other recent disasters, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and Cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma last year.
Rusty Feagin of Texas A&M University in College Station and his team devised some experiments that he expected would demonstrate one way in which wetland plants could do this — by resisting the erosion caused by waves beating at the land's edge. He was surprised to find no such effect. It turned out that soil type is much more important, and that the presence or absence of vegetation doesn't make much difference."

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Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:

Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:
Chess needs more women and girl participants and administrators!

Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.