The Blob in the Pacific

There is a ribbon of algae blooming in the Pacific Ocean. It is about 65 kilometres wide and extends to a depth of 200 metres stretching from Alaska in the North to the shores of California. Algae is reasonably common in oceans but in this part of the Pacific it is unprecedented because normally the waters are too cold to encourage algae. However, this part of the Pacific seems unusually warm – some reports say it is 3 degrees Celsius warmer than usual, thus making a good environment for microscopic algae. Continue reading

America’s Growing Dead Sea

In the developed world we grow a lot of crops these days. Each crop is larger, stronger and more plentiful than before, each field and farm produces more. The reason for this is that we protect the crops with pesticides and enhance the crops with genetic modification and fertilisers, mainly nitrates and phosphates. In producing more food we are eating more of it and becoming fatter and in some cases obese. That is the effect of abundance upon some parts of humanity, while other parts of our species starve. Continue reading

Dirty Old River

When I was a boy I lived in London’s Docklands. Then there were real docks in the East End, working docks which handled imports and exports from London. Despite living in the midst of docks and having many friends whose fathers were dockers, lightermen or watermen, I could only see the river occasionally as most of it was obscured from view by high walls. One of my friends’ father was a policeman, serving on the River police, and he told me that if you fel in the Thames you would have your stomach pumped out, such was the state of the water, filled with poisons and pollution. Continue reading

Filling the seas with iron

Oil that we find deep in the ground was laid down millions of years ago (it is thought by most geologists) by organic material, particularly algae and zooplankton which died and fell to the bottom of the sea. There over long periods of time the organic material was compressed and heated causing it to form into a waxy mud, and then with more heat the waxy mud turned to gas and oil. Continue reading

Taking the long view, for banking and the environment

For the past few weeks the main problem that has been exercising governments has been dealing with the crisis of confidence and trust in the world wide banking system. It has been an immediate problem and one that had to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. It looks as though, now that the various governments around the world have put in place measures that will lead to a bettered ordered safer banking system. Continue reading