Red Bull Storm Chase 2018 extreme windsurf
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
87 nautical raster charts updated & 4 new charts added
see GeoGarage news
From NY Times by Hiroko Tabuchi & Tim Wallace
The Trump administration’s move to open nearly all of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drillingwould give energy companies access to more than a billion acres off the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts.
Mr. Trump’s plan upends a decades-long effort to balance the nation’s energy needs with protecting ocean ecosystems, and it is meeting stiff resistance from governors up and down the coasts.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced on Jan. 9 that Florida was off the table after meeting the state’s governor, Rick Scott.
But 10 days later, a senior Interior official appeared to contradict Mr. Zinke, telling a congressional hearing that the secretary’s decision was not final.
Other states are also seeking exemptions.
The California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, has asked why the Trump administration felt Florida’s coastline was valuable enough to preserve, but not California’s.
The Republican governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, has also asked the Trump administration for a drilling exemption, citing the risks that oil and gas would pose to the “unspoiled beauty” of his state’s beaches.
All told, at least 15 governors of coastal states, one-third of them Republican, have publicly opposed Mr. Trump’s offshore drilling plan.
How did we get here, and what’s at stake?
Here’s the breakdown.
Different Presidents, Different Ideas on Drilling
Most coastal states control leasing off their shorelines out to three nautical miles.
At least 200 miles beyond that, the federal government owns the seabed and its mineral resources — some 1.7 billion acres’ worth.
The Department of the Interior parcels out offshore leases in those areas under five-year plans.
Both Congress and the president also have the authority to impose protections and moratoriums that render areas off limits to leasing.
The oil-rich western and central parts of the Gulf of Mexico have been open to drilling for decades, while other areas have been withheld from leasing or protected under moratoriums and other protections.
These three maps break down the changing status of the offshore zones: Areas open to drilling leases, areas not yet open to leases, and areas under protection, where leases are prohibited.
President George W. Bush opened up new areas to offshore drilling for the first time in decades when he lifted a longstanding moratorium on new drilling off much of the nation’s coasts.
At the same time, a bill passed by Congress in 2006 allowed new drilling in some parts of the Gulf of Mexico but banned drilling in most of the eastern Gulf until 2022.
Much to the chagrin of environmental groups, the Obama administration initially said it would also expand offshore drilling and allow new leases off the Atlantic coastline, parts of the Gulf and the north coast of Alaska.
However, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, which killed 11 people and caused the worst-ever oil spill in American waters, triggered a reversal of Mr. Obama’s plans.
In the final weeks of his administration, Mr. Obama called for what he described as a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along wide areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic Seaboard, a move meant to bolster his environmental legacy.
President Trump’s proposal seeks to reverse that legacy.
Under its new plan, the Interior Department would open 25 of 26 regions of the outer continental shelf to drilling.
That would leave only the North Aleutian Basin, the traditional territory of many Native Alaskans and home to one of the world’s biggest salmon runs, off limits to drilling.
The eastern Gulf would also remain out of bounds until 2022 because of the 2006 moratorium. But after that it, too, could be opened to drilling under the Trump plan.
Just how much oil lies off America’s coasts, and how much drilling could actually happen?
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which manages offshore leasing, estimates that the areas opened up to drilling under Mr. Trump’s plan hold nearly 45 billion barrels of oil, of which 21 billion barrels would be economically recoverable assuming oil prices remain around $60 a barrel.
(To put that in perspective, since 1970, the western and central zones of the Gulf have yielded about 14.5 billion barrels of oil.)
While those are large amounts, there are significant oil reserves still to be found in the western and central Gulf, which are already open to drilling.
There, some 45 billion barrels of oil reserves are up for grabs, of which 37 billion barrels could be produced economically at current oil prices.
Stated another way: Almost two-thirds of the nation’s oil reserves that companies can hope to drill for while still turning a profit lie in seas already open to drilling.
Meanwhile, there’s little recoverable oil and gas in the South Atlantic or the Straits of Florida, or off the Washington and Oregon coast, or off Alaska outside the north shore.
The abundance of cheap oil and gas from onshore fracking in the United States has already diminished the incentive for companies to go drill in new offshore zones.
Given the risks and costs of building wells in seas that have seen little development to date, not to mention the possibility that a new administration could again change offshore policy down the road, analysts don’t expect a rush into newly opened waters soon.
- NYTimes : Mr. Zinke's Risky Venture into Deep Water
- OilPrice : Shell Snaps Up Nine Blocks In Mexico Oil Tender / Mexico's Oil Dilemma Continues In 2018
- Energy voice : Mexico hopes for boost to energy sector as it begins oil and gas auction
- Business Wire : Total Announces Major Deepwater Discovery In The Gulf Of Mexico
- Newsweek : Will Trump's Oil Drilling Mistake Cause Another Deepwater Disaster?
- Surfrider : Learn how you can protect your coast from offshore oil drilling
Thursday, February 1, 2018
From QuantaMag by Praddep Mutalik
A method for estimating distances in sailing and astrophysics helps explain why riding on buses and boats can make us nauseous.
This month’s Insights puzzle was inspired by a new way to determine the value of the Hubble constant, which quantifies how rapidly the universe is expanding by measuring the distance to a pair of colliding neutron stars.
This method opens up the possibility of significantly improving the accuracy of distance measurements to faraway astronomical objects.
We recalled that, for centuries, surveyors have used a method called triangulation to calculate the distance to an object without physically traveling to it.
This triangulation method, which can still be used for nearby astronomical objects, uses basic trigonometry to produce accurate distance estimates based on angles measured to the object from two different points a known distance apart.
This was the basis for our first problem.
You are sailing on the ocean and spot a bright light from a lighthouse due south.
You sail on an easterly course for 30 nautical miles.
You get bearings on the lighthouse again and find that it is now 53.13 degrees south of west.
How far was the lighthouse from you when you first spotted it? How far is it from you now?
As Ty Rex pointed out, we have to assume plane geometry here because the answers vary with latitude on a spherical surface, especially close to the poles (as readers who know about the famous “color of the bear” puzzle will recognize).
This should not be a problem in the middle latitudes of most planet-size objects given the small distances specified.
Here’s the answer in Ty Rex’s words:
The right-angled triangle formed by the initial and final positions and the lighthouse is similar to the famous (3,4,5) triangle (note that tan 53.13 ~ 4/3), with the path of the boat being on the “3” leg.
Hence the initial distance from the lighthouse is 40 nautical miles, and the final distance is 50 nautical miles.
The above problem assumes that our measurements of the boat’s traveled distance and our angular bearings on the lighthouse are accurate, which they would be if we used the accurate clocks, speed indicators and theodolites that we have on Earth.
However, astronomical distance measurements are affected by several sources of uncertainty, so in our second problem we assumed some uncertainty in the distance and angle measurements, and then tried to figure out how much triangulation helped.
Senior Editor Lenny Rudow as he walks through the basic steps on how to triangulate your position on the water when your technology and electronics decide to fail.
Using a compass, a pair of parallel rulers, a pencil, a map, and your eyes, these tips will help you to determine your exact position.
Let’s revisit the scenario of Problem 1.
Assume that you live on a planet on which there is a phenomenon of “optical wind” that causes lensing effects so that you can be sure that your estimates of the direction of an object are accurate only within ±2 degrees.
So all you can say is that the lighthouse is somewhere between 2 degrees west of south and 2 degrees east of south.
Also, you know (or think you know) how intrinsically bright the source of the light is — it is a “standard candle” — and from this you can infer its distance from you to an accuracy of ±5 percent.
Based on this, you can narrow down the area in which this lighthouse is situated.
How large is this area?
Now suppose you triangulate as before.
With the aid of the optical wind, you sail 30 nautical miles (which you can measure accurately, of course) and then again find the lighthouse to be 53.13 degrees south of west, this time with an error of ±2 degrees.
You can also infer the distance to the lighthouse with ±5 percent accuracy.
By triangulating this new measurement with your previous one, you can narrow down the area in which the lighthouse is situated.
How much reduction can you achieve?
The original area of uncertainty lies between the two 4-degree sectors of two concentric circles with radii of 38 and 42 nautical miles (a sector of a circle is the portion of a circle bounded by two radii and an arc).
It is easy to calculate the difference in area between these two sectors using the formula for the area of a sector, which is simply 1/2r²q, where r is the radius and q the angle in radians.
The answer comes out to be 11.17 square nautical miles.
As Ty Rex noted, we can approximate this figure by a rectangle centered 40 nm south of the initial boat position.
This rectangle has a length of 4 nm and a width of 2.79 nm (2 × 40 × tan 4°), which gives an area of 11.17 square nm and differs from the actual area only in the third decimal place, showing that this simplification is justified.
If we do the same thing with the area of uncertainty from the second measurement, we have two overlapping rectangles with common centers tilted from each other at an angle of 53.13 degrees (see figure below).
The original rectangle (A) has diagonals 4.88 nm long, whereas the second rectangle (B) has sides of 5 nm and 3.49 nm with the long side falling in almost exactly the same direction as the diagonal of rectangle A in the northeast to southwest direction.
This means that the long side of rectangle B completely overlaps this diagonal, but the short side leaves two small triangles uncovered at the northwest and southeast ends of the other diagonal.
These two uncovered triangles have a combined area of 1.14 square nm in which the location of the lighthouse is excluded, giving an improvement in uncertainty of about 10.2 percent.
This is a slight improvement in our knowledge of the location, but certainly not a very dramatic reduction in the area of uncertainty, thanks to the large measurement errors involved.
In astronomy, the largest distance we can use is the major diameter of Earth’s orbit, which, though huge on terrestrial scales, is much too puny for objects that are light-years away.
A far more dramatic reduction in uncertainty is seen in a process analogical to triangulation that is an inbuilt part of how we learn about the world, which I called “cognitive triangulation.” In cognitive triangulation, we pay special attention when the same answer emerges from two independent methods, strengthening the conclusions of both and reinforcing our faith in the reliability of our conclusions.
This is a process that has helped us build the entire edifice of scientific knowledge.
One way all of us use cognitive triangulation to learn about the world is by comparing and integrating the information coming from two different sense modalities.
This leads to our third question.
courtesy of Captain Lang sailing tutorials
What does cognitive triangulation between sense modalities have to do with motion sickness?
Many commenters accurately described the proximate cause for this as the cognitive dissonance between the information coming from the sense organs in the inner ear (the semicircular canals) and the eyes, and some even described how you can lessen or avoid motion sickness.
Here is a nice description by Alex MacDonald:
When experiencing motion sickness on, say a ship, you are feeling the intense failure of your body and brain to triangulate your physical position and its movement using the sensors in your inner ear which are effectively an accelerometer and your vision — two separate mechanisms which should produce the same measurement.
If you are observing primarily your surroundings on the ship itself — say in a stateroom — they will disagree.
Your eyes show you to be still and your inner ear tells you you are moving because the ship is.
This dissonance produces motion sickness.
If you follow the well known advice to look to the horizon your vision will now confirm the entire ship to be moving as your balance mechanism knows, and the two systems more nearly agree, reducing the discomfort.
Drivers in cars trend to be less sick than passengers because the driver has additional feedback from his control of the wheel and throttle and is more likely to be visually focused at a greater distance, also reducing the body’s feedback dissonance.
This is accurate, but why does cognitive dissonance induce nausea and vomiting?
What, in the language of philosophers and evolutionary biologists, is the ultimate cause?
As Anurag Reddy first mentioned, this reaction is hypothesized to take place because the brain “assumes” that the body has been poisoned.
In fact, the vomiting in motion sickness is induced by the same area of the brain — the chemoreceptor trigger zone in the medulla — that causes vomiting in response to poisons.
This response has probably been programmed by evolution: If two normally reliable sensory systems of the brain give information that is drastically different, in the absence of trauma or illness, it is probable that one of them, or both, are malfunctioning.
In the past, when there were no warning labels on foods, and no toxicology databases to consult, one of the most common reasons for this was likely the unwitting ingestion of unknown poisons.
If the symptoms were severe, the only chance of being saved would have been to expel as much of the as yet unabsorbed poison as possible.
Hence, when the brain believes the body has been poisoned, it is programmed to try to eject all the contents of the gastrointestinal tract as soon as it can.
It may make you even more miserable, but if you were poisoned, it could very well save your life.
If not, it’s just a temporary discomfort.
Recall how many times you’ve been sick in response to food poisoning even with today’s food-safety regulations.
This response has probably saved millions of lives throughout evolutionary history.
But can’t the brain distinguish between motion sickness and poisoning?
Such an ability could evolve, but motion sickness has only become common with the relatively recent advent of high-speed travel.
A rewiring change in the brain to distinguish motion sickness from poisoning would only be fixed in evolution if there was an appreciable advantage in survival or fertility for people who could distinguish between the two.
Considering that motion sickness is rarely, if ever, fatal, this could take many hundreds of thousands of generations.
Meanwhile, it’s always a great evolutionary strategy for our brains to imagine the worst and protect us from it, so we seem to be stuck with motion sickness for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for all your interesting comments.
Please keep them coming.
Besides the comments referenced above, I enjoyed reading about the personal experiences and the cognitive triangulation “aha!” moments of readers such as Ty Rex, Randy Tompson and Jonathan J.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
1807 nautical raster charts viewable
see GeoGarage news
See 1st super blue blood moon in 35 years with NASA Live
From Wired by Matt Simon
On Wesnesday, Humanity will be treated to a celestial trifecta: A supermoon (meaning it’s relatively close to Earth), but also simultaneously a blood moon (it’ll be orange or red), but also simultaneously a blue moon (the second full moon in one calendar month) will pass in the shadow of Earth, for a total lunar eclipse.
It’s going to be righteous.
But supermoon? Blue moon? Blood moon?
Yeah, let’s go ahead and pump the brakes on those terms, because the first was created by an astrologer, the second is highly subjective, and the third was only recently popularized by this-must-be-prophecy types.
First, some basics on the grand astronomical event.
A total lunar eclipse is, of course, when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth.
But the Earth doesn’t actually cast one super-delineated shadow.
There are two components: the penumbra and umbra.
“The reason there are these two portions of the Earth's shadow, umbra and penumbra, is because the sun is not a single small point, it's got this big disk,” says Noah Petro, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
So the penumbra is more a partial shadow, caused by a portion of the sun being blocked by the Earth.
image : NASA
You can see that light sneaking through in the penumbra.
If you glimpse the moon when it’s there, it still won’t have the reddish or orangish or brownish hue it takes on during the so-called blood moon.
“Only once it passes completely into the Earth's umbra does it turn that red color, and the reason for that is because it's very, very dim,” says Petro.
“So just having any part of the moon illuminated by sunlight during an eclipse, washes out that red color that you would eventually see when it's in totality.”
That bizarre color comes from Earth itself.
As sunlight passes through our atmosphere, it interacts with particles like dust, scattering certain colors.
Specifically, blue, which has a shorter wavelength.
Red and orange with their longer wavelengths will pass right through.
It's nearly impossible to compare the apparent size of the supermoon with a micromoon from memory, but when seen side-by-side as in this graphic, it becomes clear.
Think about the different kinds of light you see here on Earth.
We get blue skies during the day because when sunlight hits us head on, the blue light scatters toward us.
“When we have a sunset, the sunlight is going through a thicker portion of the Earth's atmosphere, and so more of the blue light is scattered away,” says Petro.
Thus the reds and oranges of a particularly magnificent sunset.
Nicknamed "blood moon," some ancient cultures regarded a total lunar eclipse as an ominous event. Today, this celestial phenomenon generates excitement and wonder.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which may require travel to see, total lunar eclipses can often be observed from the entire nighttime-half of the Earth.
Learn what causes a lunar eclipse and how it gains its crimson coloring.
So we’re going to have ourselves a “blood” moon.
But … hold on.
“I think the term more recently, really in the last decade or so, has become popular by these religious zealots that keep proposing that it's the end of time and this lunar eclipse is going to be the last one,” says Fred Espenak, scientist emeritus, also of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Indeed, take a look at the Google Trends of “blood moon” below.
“The term has been around for centuries, but in obscure texts,” Espenak adds.
“Even the Bible says something about a blood moon.
But that's open for interpretation exactly what that means.” It could have been a lunar eclipse, sure, or some kind of phenomenon that turned the moon red.
Forest fires, for instance, or a volcanic eruption that burped particulates into the atmosphere.
A lunar eclipse, super moon and blue moon are about to happen at once.
Here's what you need to know.
Reads the book’s blurb: “Just as in biblical times, God is controlling the sun, the moon, and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen.”
2x full moon during this month and also in March
Well, no, not really.
The big thing that’s about to happen is a magnificent total lunar eclipse.
“I think using these terms like ‘blood moon’ just obfuscates exactly what is going on, and it just perpetuates some of the superstitions surrounding this sort of stuff,” says Espenak.
What is a supermoon?
Find out what makes the moon appear extra big and bright, how it effects the tides,
and how the phenomenon got its name.
Speaking of superstitions, the next part of the celestial trifecta, the supermoon, is kinda problematic as well.
“The history of the ‘supermoon’ is not of astronomy,” says Petro.
“The first person to define a supermoon was an astrologer, and of course that gives us heartburn.” Specifically, an astrologer named Richard Nollelle, who claimed that the supermoon could impact the weather.
- Space : Super blue blood moon guide
- NASA : Super blood moon coming Jan 31 / What scientists can learn about the moon during the jan 31 eclipse
- CNET : Super blue moon: Date and time, streaming options and more / Why some scientists hate the super blue blood moon hype
- Virtual Telescope : 31 Jan. 2018 Super Blue Moon Total Eclipse and “SuperBlueMoon 2018” – live events, online!
- Lunar Eclipse 2018
- GeoGarage blog :Full moon today is a Blue Moon: Here's why / Total lunar eclipse will bring a moon triple treat ... / Moon image : scenic phenomenon / Image of the week : the dark side and the bright side of the moon / We're about to see a record-breaking supermoon ... / Total solar eclipse 21 August
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The ocean is at a tipping point.
Can new technology come to the rescue?
Image : Reuters / Pascal Rossignol
Can new technology come to the rescue?
Image : Reuters / Pascal Rossignol
From WEforum by Jim Leape
The ocean represents 99% of the living space on Earth.
It provides livelihoods and nourishment for more than 3 billion people, and brings $3 trillion into the global economy each year.
Yet, for all of human history, the ocean has been largely out of sight and, as a consequence, largely out of mind.
We have been able to see very little of what’s happening in the water, or even on the surface.
We have been blithely confident that the ocean is inexhaustible; able to provide all the fish we can catch, and absorb all the waste we produce.
But today the ocean is coming into view with startling rapidity.
New technologies powered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) are creating an information revolution that will transform our relationship with the ocean.
A rapidly proliferating array of advanced sensors - carried by fleets of satellites, ocean-going drones, fishing nets and even surfboards - is producing a flood of new data.
New analytical techniques, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, translate this flow of data into streams of understanding, providing powerful new tools for governments and communities to manage ocean resources - all in a process transparent enough to create new accountability for resource users and businesses.
These capabilities arrive not a moment too soon.
The ocean is in crisis.
Most of the world’s fisheries have been fished to the limit or beyond.
The ocean has mitigated our impacts on the climate – absorbing 30% of our CO2 emissions and 90% of the excess heat we have produced.
But the result is that we are making the ocean warmer and more acidic.
In 2015 and 2016, record global temperatures drove global bleaching across 70% of the world’s coral reefs.
Fertiliser running off our farm fields has created more than 400 dead zones in estuaries and coastal waters.
And each year we dump 8 million tons of plastic into the ocean; it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans
image : Ocean Conservancy
In the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments have agreed on an ambitious global agenda to address this crisis.
SDG 14 sets out a wide-ranging set of targets for better stewardship of ocean resources – including better management of fisheries, large and small; protection of key marine resources; and sustainable development for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Success will require bold action by governments, communities, companies and civil society.
Harnessing the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be essential.
New technologies can help governments better manage their fisheries.
Ocean-going drones can cruise the ocean for a year at a time, offering a cost-effective solution for assessing fish stocks and patrolling remote areas.
Real-time reporting allows dynamic management of fishing to reduce bycatch of protected species.
Facial recognition technology can even be used to automate the tracking of catch – identifying every fish as it lands on the boat.
New technology creates new possibilities for small-scale fisheries as well.
Smartphone apps can deliver information on weather, fish stocks, and market prices, and provide a platform for fishers to collect data on where they’re fishing and what they’re catching, helping them to achieve and demonstrate sustainability and access new markets.
Image: World Economic Forum/Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Oceans
As governments redouble their efforts to protect critical marine areas, 4IR technology strengthens their ability to make those protections stick.Satellites now track the Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders that must be carried by all big boats.
Three initiatives are now combining AIS data with other datasets and machine learning to monitor fishing and other activities, enabling countries to monitor all the waters within their 200-mile limit.
In 2015, for example, the Pacific island nation of Kiribati used Global Fishing Watch to snare a fishing vessel operating illegally in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, and collect a $2 million fine.
These capabilities provide new opportunities for sustainable development in SIDS, whose economies depend on a healthy ocean.
They allow these countries to monitor and regulate their own fishing fleets, as well as the foreign fleets who license the right to fish their waters or who fish as pirates.
More broadly, they allow them to monitor ocean conditions to help sustain the health of their ocean ecosystems.
The history of technology in the ocean gives cause for caution.
Too often, technological advances – more powerful fishing gear, ever-deeper oil drilling, industrial agriculture – have accelerated depletion and pollution.
As innovation enables even more intensive exploitation, the weaknesses of current governance are thrown into sharp relief.
The 4IR thus demands strong action both from the governments who own the resources and from the governments whose companies would exploit them.
Success will require a commitment to flexibility – to open up entrenched management regimes to take advantage of the tools now becoming available – for dynamic management of resources, more effective law enforcement, and better understanding and control of risks.
It will require a willingness to allow managers and communities to experiment with new capabilities in order to find better ways of managing their resources.
Most importantly, harnessing the power of the 4IR will require an openness to collaboration between a wide range of actors – allowing fishers and other resource users, NGOs, companies, communities and consumers to find creative ways to use new technology to create new solutions.
With flexibility, and all hands on deck, the 4IR can be a powerful resource in achieving SDG 14, and sustaining the ocean resources that are vital for our future.
- Webforum : Can technology help us tackle illegal fishing? / Why underwater gardening could save our oceans / Dead zones in our oceans have increased dramatically since 1950, and we’re to blame
- NewsDeeply : Eight Awe-Inspiring Ocean Discoveries in 2017 / A Deep Dive Into the Year in Oceans 2017
- GeoGarage blog : The future of technology is hiding on the ocean floor / Our seas have become a plastic graveyard - but can technology turn the tide ? / There's enough wind energy over the oceans to ... / Fighting illegal fishing with Big Data / How satellite technology is helping to fight illegal ... / Can technology end pirate fishing? / Catapult and Pew Charitable Trusts launch pioneering technology to ... / Hundreds of floating robots could soon surveil the oceans / The ships that could change the seas forever
Monday, January 29, 2018
AP Photo/Xinhua/Yuan Man
From Quartz by Echo Huang
In 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious infrastructure-building project covering much of Eurasia, various seas, and parts of Africa.
At the time, few considered how the Arctic might fit into Beijing’s plans. Now, that issue has come more into focus.
Today a Chinese government agency released “China’s Arctic Policy,” a white paper (link in Chinese) outlining how the BRI applies to the Arctic.
According to the paper, China will encourage its developers to build infrastructure along Arctic routes, and urge its shipping companies to conduct trial voyages through the sea.
Shipping routes will expand in number, and along them China will facilitate economic and social progress.
The paper emphasizes that China has “shared interests” with Arctic nations.
The friendly language echoes the kind used in China’s other BRI efforts.
In reality, Chinese companies benefit the most from the projects: Of all the contractors participating in Chinese-funded BRI projects, 89% are Chinese companies, 7.6% are local, and 3.4% are foreign, according to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, DC.
Just as with BRI projects elsewhere, ones in the Arctic will primarily be about benefiting Chinese companies and expanding Beijing’s economic and political influence.
One section of the paper focuses on how China can use the Arctic’s resources, including fuel and fisheries, on a “legal and reasonable basis,” bringing to mind Beijing’s tussles with international law in the contested South China Sea.
courtesy of Mia Bennett, Cryopolitics
Of course, China cannot avoid working with Russia, which borders much of Arctic.
Last July, Xi urged cooperation with the northern neighbor to create a “Silk Road on ice” along Russia’s Arctic coast.
In 2016, China’s state-owned Silk Road Fund (part of the BRI) finalized a deal to buy a 9.9% stake in a liquefied natural gas plant in the Russian Arctic for $1.2 billion.
The plant, located on the Yamal Peninsula, is majority-owned by Russia’s LNG producer Novatek.
China will be the main customer for the gas produced, and state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation owns a 20% stake in the plant as well.
The white paper is careful to emphasize feel-good factors.
It says that China will boost polar tourism, which will help local economies and encourage the preservation of traditional cultures.
Finland’s Lapland region saw the number of Chinese tourists jump over 90% in 2016 (paywall).
It is the Arctic’s indigenous people, the paper suggests, who will truly benefit from China’s interest in the region.
- FT : China reveals Arctic ambitions with plan for 'Polar Silk Road'
- RT : China unveils huge plans for the Arctic, with 'Polar Silk Road'
- Cryopolitics : It's official: China releases its first Arctic Policy
- AsiaPacific : China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Strides into the Arctic, Few Notice
- Bloomberg : China Infrastructure Push Reaches Arctic, Further Isolating U.S. ... / How a melting Arctic changes everything
Sunday, January 28, 2018
A video illustrating how one idea completely transformed the modern-day shipping industry.
From WSJ by Costas Paris, Thomas Di Fonzo, and Liliana Llamas
The container shipping industry is booming and companies are moving cargo around the world faster than ever.
But how did we get here?
This video explains the simple idea that transformed the industry and where it’s headed next.
Container shipping underpins the global economy, moving $4 trillion of goods every year, from clothes and electronics to food and heavy machinery.
But how did we get here?
It took one idea in the mid 20th-century to revolutionize the industry and ignite a spark in globalization that changed the world.
At times, it’s been a rough sailing.
The industry has faced criticism for too many ships in the water and from those who say it’s responsible for around a quarter off the world’s nitrogen oxide pollution.
This video details the history of container shipping through the centuries, how it revolutionized global trade, and where it’s headed next.