Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ave, Justin!

Justin finds all the cool links. I don't know how he does it.

This link to a post titled "Dick Vader" leads to a YouTube video that had me rolling.

This link leads to an article about the consequences of human carelessness: specifically, the ways in which overfishing and polluting have damaged the seas, which are now reverting to something like their primordial state-- a state dominated by microorganisms and jellyfish.

Among the most disturbing of the proto-creatures is something colloquially known as fireweed:

MORETON BAY, AUSTRALIA — The fireweed began each spring as tufts of hairy growth and spread across the seafloor fast enough to cover a football field in an hour.

When fishermen touched it, their skin broke out in searing welts. Their lips blistered and peeled. Their eyes burned and swelled shut. Water that splashed from their nets spread the inflammation to their legs and torsos.

"It comes up like little boils," said Randolph Van Dyk, a fisherman whose powerful legs are pocked with scars. "At nighttime, you can feel them burning. I tried everything to get rid of them. Nothing worked."

As the weed blanketed miles of the bay over the last decade, it stained fishing nets a dark purple and left them coated with a powdery residue. When fishermen tried to shake it off the webbing, their throats constricted and they gasped for air.

After one man bit a fishing line in two, his mouth and tongue swelled so badly that he couldn't eat solid food for a week. Others made an even more painful mistake, neglecting to wash the residue from their hands before relieving themselves over the sides of their boats.


At its peak in summer, the weed now covers as much as 30 square miles of Moreton Bay, an estuary roughly the size of San Francisco Bay. In one seven-week period, its expansion was measured at about 100 square meters a minute — a football field in an hour.

Most unsettling.


No comments: