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For obvious reasons, scientists long have thought that salt water couldn’t be burned. So when an Erie man announced he’d ignited salt water with the radio-frequency generator he’d invented, some thought it a was a hoax.
John Kanzius, a Washington County native, tried to desalinate seawater with a generator he developed to treat cancer, and it caused a flash in the test tube. Within days, he had the salt water in the test tube burning like a candle, as long as it was exposed to radio frequencies.
His discovery has spawned scientific interest in using the world’s most abundant substance as clean fuel, among other uses.
Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, held a demonstration last week at the university’s Materials Research Laboratory in State College, to confirm what he’d witnessed weeks before in an Erie lab.
Dr. Roy said the salt water isn’t burning per se, despite appearances. The radio frequency actually weakens bonds holding together the constituents of salt water — sodium chloride, hydrogen and oxygen — and releases the hydrogen, which, once ignited, burns continuously when exposed to the RF energy field. Mr. Kanzius said an independent source measured the flame’s temperature, which exceeds 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, reflecting an enormous energy output.
But researching its potential will take time and money, he said. One immediate question is energy efficiency: The energy the RF generator uses vs. the energy output from burning hydrogen.
Mr. Kanzius’ discovery was an accident. He developed the RF generator as a novel cancer treatment. His research in targeting cancer cells with metallic nanoparticles then destroying them with radio-frequency is proceeding at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
While Mr. Kanzius was demonstrating how his generator heated nanoparticles, someone noted condensation inside the test tube and suggested he try using his equipment to desalinate water.
So, Mr. Kanzius said, he put sea water in a test tube, then trained his machine on it, producing an unexpected spark. In time he and laboratory owners struck a match and ignited the water, which continued burning as long as it remained in the radio-frequency field.
During several trials, heat from burning hydrogen grew hot enough to melt the test tube, he said. Dr. Roy’s tests on the machine last week provided further evidence that the process is releasing and burning hydrogen from the water. Tests on different water solutions and concentrations produced various temperatures and flame colors.
A Canadian study suggests Orca whales, may continue to suffer the effects of polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, contamination for decades.
The study by Brendan Hickie, Peter Ross and colleagues at Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences determined orcas, also known as killer whales, are the most PCB-contaminated creatures on Earth.
Scientists are now trying to discover how current declines in environmental PCBs might affect orcas throughout an exceptionally long life expectancy, which ranges up to 90 years for females and 50 years for males.
The researchers used mathematical models and measurements of PCBs in salmon — orcas’ favorite food — and ocean floor cores to recreate a PCB exposure history to estimate PCB concentrations in killer whales. It concluded the threatened northern population of 230 animals will likely face health risks until at least 2030, while the endangered southern population of 85 orcas might face such risks until at least 2063.
PCBs make whales more vulnerable to infectious disease, impair reproduction, and impede normal growth and development, the researchers said.
For the first time in history, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes ocean corals in its annual report of wildlife going extinct.
A comprehensive study of marine life sponsored by Conservation International (CI) and implemented jointly with the IUCN (World Conservation Union) used data from the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Research Station and other regional institutions to conclude that three species of corals unique to the Galapagos Islands could soon disappear forever.
The 2007 IUCN Red List designates two of the corals — Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana) and Wellington’s solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni) — as Critically Endangered, while a third — Polycyathus isabela — is listed as Vulnerable. The Red List also includes 74 Galapagos seaweeds, or macro-algae, with 10 of them receiving the most threatened status of Critically Endangered. Prior to 2007, only one algae species had been included on the Red List.
The Galapagos marine research was conducted by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), a joint initiative of IUCN and CI launched in 2005 with the support of dozens of experts and research institutions. The GMSA is studying a large portion of Earth’s marine species to determine the threat of extinction.
“These Galapagos corals and algae are the first of many marine species that will be added to the Red List due to our findings,” said GMSA Director Kent Carpenter of Old Dominion University in Virginia. “What is significant is that climate change and over-fishing — two of the biggest threats to marine life — are the likely causes in these cases.”
Other coral and algae species lacked sufficient information to determine their IUCN Red List status, so they received the designation of Data Deficient. Researchers believe many of these species are likely to be listed as threatened with extinction when more detailed information becomes available.
I had a good laugh when I saw the headline on a story over the weekend that a Malaysian Ministry banned sharks fin soup from being served at official functions. That’s kind of like saying “We promise not to run over cows while driving in the city.”
Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has struck off shark’s fin soup from the menus at official functions, to help conserve the species
Minister Azmi Khalid told the official Bernama news agency that the ministry had made the commitment to the Malaysian Nature Society.
“By refraining from the consumption of shark’s fin soup, it is hoped that the ministry would contribute in one way or another towards the current conservation efforts for sharks species,” he said.
What most people outside of Malaysia don’t know is that Malaysian government is dominated by ethnic Malays. And as such serve only Malay fare at official functions. Whereas sharks fin is an ethnic Chinese dish which Malays would never think of ever consuming because they associate any Chinese food with pork — a dish forbidden by their religion.
At this point, even the local Chinese population would be hard pressed to find real sharks fin being served at Chinese restaurants. Part of the thanks goes to the local conservationists who have done a good job of educating the locals about shark finning. Secondly, sharks fin is a terribly expensive delicacy so restaurants have found a dwindling market for it… too small to keep it on the menu. What they serve as “Sharks fin” at restaurants in Malaysia (even during Chinese New Year) is really a mixture of crab meat and birds nest. It’s only called “Sharks fin” to maintain tradition.
Instead of making false promises, the Malaysian government ought to go after the dealers of sharks fins in Malaysia.
He told the British Association for the Advancement of Science conference in York that fishing quotas needed to be scrapped and extensive no-fishing zones put in place. He also said that fishing should be halted or strictly limited in a third of Britain’s seas to give stocks time to recover. Fishing ministers, who are said to have disregarded scientific advice on sustainable fishing levels over the past two decades, should be stripped of their powers to rule on how many tonnes can be safely caught, he continued. They would be replaced by a science-led body that is independent of electoral pressures.
The decline in fish stocks around the world, with all species predicted by some experts to collapse by 2048, comes at a time when their nutritional value is recognised more than ever. World Health Organisation officials recommend a weekly intake of 200 to 300 grams of fish each week but today’s catches can only just meet this target.
He told the conference: “On average, over the last 18 years fisheries ministers have set quotas 20 to 30 per cent higher than recommended as safe. If we continue to do that a majority of fish stocks will collapse.”
Since the 1950s an estimated 60 per cent of stocks in British waters have collapsed and he said that more than half of those remaining are already being dangerously overfished.
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) only 25 to 30 per cent of fish stocks around Britain have been fished sustainably since 2001. “This means that around 70 per cent of UK fish stocks have suffered reduced reproductive capacity and have been harvested unsustainably since 2001,” a Defra report stated, accepting that the scientific advice “is that the fishing rate should be reduced substantially in order to permit the stocks to recover”.
Plans by supermodel Naomi Campbell to build a high-end casino near turtle sanctuaries in Kenya’s Indian Ocean resort of Malindi have sparked a firestorm from conservationists and residents.
Apart from hosting a bevy of beauties and moneyed men, the six-star casino complex — to be called Billionaires Resort — could disrupt the hatching process of several rare species of turtles, they say. Conservationists are worried that noise and lights from the casino envisioned by the British catwalk legend and her former boyfriend, Formula One boss Flavio Briatore — who already owns one hotel in Malindi, will scare the turtles away.
Female turtles hatch ashore and the baby turtles usually find their way back to the sea by looking for the brightest natural horizon. A glittering construction in the heart of Malindi’s marine park could lure the hatchlings in the wrong direction and away from the beach, leading them to die of dehydration, the conservationists say.”We are not against development, but all we are calling for is sustainable, low-environmental-impact and high quality tourism development,” said Stephen Trott, who heads Local Ocean Trust, a Malindi-based turtle conservation group.
A Kenya Wildlife Service official who did not want to be named said the agency was keeping a close eye on the project.
According to Malindi residents, Briatore has another hotel in the resort called While Elephant. “Let them go improve the quality of White Elephant,” said one resident.”We are totally against the casino. This is a small town, we have one casino and we don’t want another one,” said Terry Hill of the Malindi South Residents Association. “Furthermore, we are told that they want to build near a marine park. Be sure we won’t allow that because we are conservationists. Let them go and build it elsewhere,” Hill said.
Thrill-seekers in search of the ocean’s legendary apex predator typically flock to three noted great white hunting areas, say shark experts.
Forbes Traveller compiled their list from people like Jean-Michel Cousteau, Caterina Gennaro of Discovery Channel, David Doubilet of National Geographic, Dr. Samuel H. Gruber of Bahmas’ Sharklab, Dr. Robert Heuter of Mote Shark Research Center, Mark Addison of South Africa’s Blue Wilderness tours, Erich Ritter of the Shark Research Institute’s Global Shark Attack File and underwater photographer Matthew Potenski.
First and most notoriously named is a place called Dangerous Reef in the Neptune Islands off the southern coast of Australia, where famed shark-attack survivor Rodney Fox has been leading cage-diving expeditions for more than three decades.
Second is so-called Shark Alley near the Dyer Islands off the southern coast of South Africa, where boatloads of shark seekers from neighboring Gansbaai come to get chummy with the native great whites.
Third and by far tops in the Western Hemisphere is Guadelupe Island off the coast of Mexico.
Smelly fish skin once tossed away or sold to street vendors for cheap food has become a highly desirable product used to make designer handbags, shoes and even bikinis. Thai entrepreneurs have developed a way of processing skins of the tropical tilapia fish to make durable leather. “We tried to make something that was worth nothing into something valuable,” said Anchali Chatrakul Na Ayudyha, a businesswoman who sells tilapia skin goods on her Web site, www.angieandpenny.com.
The fish-skin bikini was unveiled at a Bangkok fashion show last month and its makers are hoping for orders from Europe and the United States for the unique product.
“It’s comfortable. The bikini can really breathe,” said Sudarat Sae-lim, modelling the scaly, cobalt-blue two-piece. “I like that it’s waterproof, it means it can dry more easily.”
Fish sellers in Petchaburi, 120 km southwest of Bangkok, used to sell the tilapia skins for just a few cents per kilo to street vendors who would fry them up as a cheap snack.
Now each skin fetches around $1.25, and is dried, treated and dyed to make products from key-rings to couches. One bikini needs 15 fish skins to make, and will go on sale for $75.
A Chinese poaching vessel has been apprehended by units of the Philippine Navy, Marines and Coast Guard in the Sulu Archipelago. A routine inspection by the boarding crew revealed rows of sea turtles – dead, gutted and left to dry on deck. The official count was 50 dried, 58 freshly-gutted and 18 still-living turtles, mostly green sea turtles – classified internationally as endangered by the IUCN and one of the flagship species that WWF-Philippines. 19 Chinese fishermen were arrested onboard the craft.
The Chinese crew have now been charged with violating the Philippine Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act – penalties for which can incur a fine of up to one million pesos, coupled with a six-year jail term. Amidst fears that justice might be elusive, WWF, the global conservation organization, is acting as a watchdog to ensure that these charges push through – to bring the accused to justice.