Saturday, January 14, 2012

Biggest Teahupoo ever

Super slow-mo video (1000 FPS) of this miraculous day

This day at Teahupoo- Aug 27th 2011 during the Billabong Pro waiting period is what many are calling the biggest and gnarliest Teahupoo ever ridden.

Chris Bryan was fortunate enough to be there working for Billabong on a day that will go down in the history of big wave surfing.
The French Navy labeled this day a double code red prohibiting and threatening to arrest anyone that entered the water.

Kelly Slater described the day by saying "witnessing this was a draining feeling being terrified for other people's lives all day long, it's life or death.
Letting go of that rope one time can change your life and not many people will ever experience that in their life."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bringing mobile connectivity to the oceans

Bringing mobile connectivity to the oceans from Maersk Line

From Reuters

The oceans are the last "blind spot" for the mobile communication industry to connect.
In order to change that, Maersk (the world leading liner shipping company) appointed Ericsson to introduce end-to-end integration and deployment of mobile and satellite communication to our entire fleet of more than 600 vessels.

Leader in shipping industry to pioneer mobile communication across vessel fleet
Improved interaction with vessels, proactive issue resolution and prompt information sharing with customers
Install and systems integrate mobility on up to 400 vessels over the next 2 years
The oceans are the last "white spot" for mobile communication industry to connect.
The world's largest shipping company, Maersk Line, has appointed Ericsson to address this by introducing end-to-end systems integration and deployment of mobile and satellite communication to its entire vessel fleet.

The Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 500 container vessels.
Over the next two years, Maersk Line will outfit 400 of these vessels with Ericsson antennas and GSM base stations, with upgrades to be made to the remaining vessels soon after.
As part of the agreement, Ericsson will provide seven years of global managed services support, including 24/7 network monitoring and onboard maintenance services in a large number of ports across all major regions.

"We're proud to be able to connect Maersk Line's fleet with our technology. We believe in a Networked Society, where connectivity will only be the starting point for new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. The result will be automated and simplified processes, higher productivity, real-time information allowing quicker, more informed decision making and problem solving," said Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.

For the shipping industry, mobile communication provides the opportunity to employ new and efficient ways of addressing fleet management, managing delivery times, improving interaction with vessels, enabling proactive issue resolution and prompt information sharing with customers and even improving energy efficiency.

Until now, Maersk Line's high-tech modern container ships have been equipped with satellite connectivity primarily intended to support communication for vital shipboard functions. Ericsson's integrated maritime mobile and very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite solution will bring extended connectivity to the entire fleet, allowing for new ways of communicating and contributing to efficiency, reliability and cost reduction.
It also paves the way for immediate access to remote expertise, resulting in extended access to information and, in turn, improved efficiency in the vessels' daily operations.

"We're quite pleased to be the first fleet to be connected with mobile communication technology. We believe it would provide us good opportunities to run our fleet more efficiently." said Søren Toft, Vice President Maersk Line Operations.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cruise ship grounding in Grand Bahama

Part II, The View from Below : some footage showing the damage it left behind. It is hard to fit the magnitude of destruction into an underwater video. The video is concentrated on the reef damage and did not show the piles of ship's garbage that can be found on the bottom.
Part III,
The Paint Left Behind : the MSC Poesia left a path of destruction in the reef that included a significant amount of toxic bottom paint

The company says that the incident happened on Jan. 7th 2012 at 6:50 in the morning while the vessel was navigating the Port Lucaya harbour in the Grand Bahamas. MSC Poesia ran aground in 14ft of water during low tide and was floated (pulled) off the reef undamaged during the evening high tide.

>>> geolocalization with the Marine GeoGarage <<<

A 2,550-passenger cruise ship ran aground in shallow water in Freeport, the Bahamas Saturday morning.
The 93,300-ton MSC Poesia was hosting the first annual three-night Holy Ship! music cruise from Fort Lauderdale when it ran aground two miles off Grand Bahama early Saturday, the Freeport News reports.

The cruise was being held for electronica music fans and featured 20 DJs, including Steve Aoki and DJ Aero (with whom Tommy Lee was scheduled to appear, USA Today reports.)
The ship docked in some 14 feet of water in low tide, the Freeport News reports, and it took four tug boats to pull the heavy ship off the reef.
Ships of that size are not meant to dock in less than 30 feet of water.

A photographer on board told Broward-Palm Beach New Times that the commotion started around 7 a.m. when the boat was scheduled to dock at Port Lucaya. "I was fast asleep. When it happened, it was like 'boom!' A huge bang. Grinding and rattling and everything started shaking. I had a half plate of food on my side table that flew off onto the floor. I heard the people in the room next to me freaking out and screaming, 'Oh my god, we're going down, where's the life vests? We're gonna die!'"
The ordeal lasted the entire day, through 10 p.m.
The photographer added: "The entire time the tugboats were pulling and the ship's engine was running in reverse, it was a constant rattling and shaking of the boat. Trying to eat dinner while your water glass is swaying side-to-side and the chandelier shaking is uncomfortable."

The visit to Grand Bahama was touted late last year by the area's tourism minister, who was looking forward to the ship's arrival in 2012.
"The call of the MSC Poesia is one of many projects we are working on to strengthen Grand Bahama’s tourism sector," Ian Rolle, president of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), told The Bahamas Weekly last year.
"We are excited about this visit. It is a trial call, but our hope is that it will evolve into much more, and thereby creating opportunities for many individuals and businesses alike." Hadley Forbes, whose company was meant to transport guests around prior to the ship's arrival, told the Freeport News that it was an unfortunate mishap. "

For this to happen is a big setback for the cruise industry right here in Freeport.
All the ports I've ever been to in the world, whenever the ship enters into the waters of the country, a pilot of the country normally is on-board the ship to bring it into port. I don't know what happened with this one. Something drastically went wrong."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Loch Ness is giant 'spirit level'

Lunar tides in Loch Ness, Scotland :
. first tide measurements in a European lake due to ocean tide loading
. resolution of reported interpretations of reasons for certain lake tides
. demonstration of the accuracy of lake tide measurements compared to GPS

From BBC

Scientists have measured the way Loch Ness tilts back and forth as the whole of Scotland bends with the passing of the tides.

It is a tiny signal seen in the way the waters at the ends of the 35km-long lake rise and fall.
When combined with the direct tug from the gravity of the Moon and Sun, the loch surface goes up and down by just 1.5mm.

The study is reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

"If you were on a boat in the middle of the loch, you certainly wouldn't notice it," said Philip Woodworth from the UK National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Liverpool, "but a tide like this has never been observed in a western European lake before."

Prof Woodworth, David Pugh and Machiel Bos say their precision measurement technique could be used in other lakes around the world to understand better how the Earth's crust deforms as a result of ocean movements - rather like a carpenter will use a spirit level to gauge how a length of wood deviates from the horizontal.
"I have described Loch Ness as the largest spirit level in the world," David Pugh, who is a visiting professor at NOC, told BBC News.

Urquhart Castle

None of us can feel it, but Britain rises and falls by centimetres every 12 hours and 25 minutes as a great bulge of ocean water washes around the country.
The pencil-shaped Loch Ness is the largest UK lake by volume, and although inland, is close enough to the North Sea to be influenced by this loading effect.

3D bathymetric view of the Loch Ness with Olex seafloor mapping software (other picture)
with tidal correction activated ...
>>> position with the Marine GeoGarage <<<

The team placed their sensors a few metres under the lake surface at six locations, from Fort Augustus in the far southwest to Aldourie in the far northeast.
They then monitored the change in the height of the overlying water during the course of 201 days.
What the scientists saw was a clear spike in the data twice a day - the result of the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun.
But they could also tease out a second signal stemming from the way water rises and falls as a result of the tilting of the land.
And, in fact, the latter effect sits on top of the first and is responsible for most of the amplitude change.
The team says the measurement was made to an accuracy of just 0.1 mm over the loch's 35 km length.
"We had to extract the tidal signal and get rid of all the noise. This involved very high precision," explained David Pugh.
"For example, the loch itself goes up and down every day by four centimetres just due to the pump storage scheme for hydroelectric generation, and we have to pull out a very small signal within that.
"The holy grail would be to learn from the effects of the tides something about the Earth's crust. So the more precise we can get, the more we may learn about the crust."

Links :

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sea slug offers clues to improving long-term memory

In this short video, UCLA's David Glanzman shows
what a spineless sea snail can teach us about our brains.

From LiveSciences

Slug brains are far simpler than humans, so they reveal more about how brains work

Using sea slugs as models, scientists someday may be able to design learning protocols that improve long-term memory formation in humans, a new study suggests.

The researchers used information about biochemical pathways in the brain of the sea slug Aplysia to design a computer model that identified the times when the mollusk’s brain is primed for learning.
They tested the model by submitting the animals to a series of training sessions, involving electric shocks, and found that Aplysia experienced a significant increase in memory formation when the sessions were conducted during the peak periods predicted by the model.

The proof-of-principle study may someday help scientists discover ways to improve human memory, the researchers said.

"This is very impressive," David Glanzman, a neurobiologist at the University of California Los Angeles, said of the study, in which he was not involved.
"If someone had asked me ahead of time, 'Are you going to be able to improve learning if you model these two pathways?' I would have predicted no."

A simple brain

Scientists have been studying the brain of Aplysia since the 1960s, and the animals have revealed many secrets of learning and memory in humans.
The sea slug's central nervous system is relatively simple, with only 10,000 neurons, compared with the approximately 100 billion found in humans, explained the study lead author John Bryne, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas.
Moreover, Aplysia's neurons are large and easily accessible.

"You can work out its neural circuitry and behavior, and then you can train the animal and look for changes that are associated with learning," Bryne told LiveScience.

Learning in Aplysia takes the form of what scientists call sensitization.
When researchers poke the animal or give it an electric shock, the sea slug will pull in its siphons, which are funnel-like appendages.
An untrained slug will retract its siphons for only a few seconds, but as the animal learns that its environment is dangerous, it will hold in its appendages for longer times.

Periodically poking the slug causes apparent changes in its neurons, allowing the animal to form a memory that lasts for more than a week (a considerable time for animals that live only a year).

The common sea slug, also known as the sea hare, can grow up to 16 pounds.
It releases its ink to confuse predators so it can make a hasty getaway.
Credit: Genny Anderson

In the 1980s, researchers discovered that training Aplysia with five pulses, one administered every 20 minutes, effectively helped the animals produce long-term sensitization memories.
Since then, scientists have learned that the activation of two proteins is critical for the sea slug to develop these memories.

Creating a model

Bryne and his colleagues wondered if they could come up with a better learning protocol to stimulate memory formation, by entering into a computer simulation their information on the biochemical pathways that activate these two proteins.

"We told the computer, 'Run simulations with these five training trials, but try every different permutation of the intervals between the trials to find ones that maximize the reactions,'" Bryne said.

The computer determined that trials (or electrical pulses) given at intervals of 10, 10, 5 and 30 minutes would optimize the biochemical reactions.

When the researchers tested this enhanced protocol with live sea slugs, they found that the animals still remembered the shock after five days; the slugs didn't remember the shock when it was administered at standard 20-minute intervals.

They also tested their protocol in cultured cells.
They removed the sensory neurons and motor neurons — which control reflexes — from slugs' brains and allowed the cells to re-establish connections in a cell culture.
They replaced shock with serotonin, a neurotransmitter that facilitates connections between the two types of neurons during reflexes.

The researchers found that serotonin pulses given with both protocols produced long-term changes in the strength of the connections between neurons, but the enhanced protocol resulted in connections that were stronger and lasted longer.

Proof of principle

"I think it's a very exciting study," said Samuel Schacher, a neurobiologist at Columbia University, who was not involved in the new research.
"But whether or not this can be taken advantage of in people, at least from a neurobiological point of view, is an open question."
The Aplysia brain has been heavily studied, he said, but scientists have a much less complete understanding of how particular neural systems in human, and other mammalian, brains work.

Schacher said the study "will be something that will encourage lots of research and approaches down the road," and perhaps its principles can be applied to humans in 10 years.

Bryne stresses that the study is a proof of the principle that scientists can come up with a better learning protocol if they have sufficient information about the biochemical reactions in the brain.

"We currently use drugs to improve memory, but drugs have undesirable side effects," he said.
"This shows that there may be an alternative way to enhance memory that can potentially be taken to the classroom situation."

The study was published online Dec. 25 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Belgium fears for its fragile coastline

High tides at Ostend (march 1st 2008).
Regional authorities say about a third of Ostend's heavily populated coastline
is inadequately protected against flooding.

From BBC (this article first appeared in Le Monde)

Storms and rising sea levels could wreak havoc as defences that protect beaches and dykes are overwhelmed

Ostend residents no longer see the poetic side of the town's broad sandy beach, immortalised by the French singer Léo Ferré.
These days the North Sea is increasingly a source of anxiety and Ostend a multicoloured building site, throbbing with bulldozers, diggers and dredgers.

The Vlaams Gewest (West Flanders) region has launched a coastal safety master plan, and at several points along the 67km coast work has already started to reshape beaches and dunes, reinforce breakwaters and raise protective walls.

Erosion, heavy rainfall, storms and rising sea levels due to climate change are fuelling fears for the medium-term survival of this part of prosperous Flanders.
The shape of the Belgian coastline, a segment of the concave eastern shore of the North Sea running up from France towards the Frisian Islands, makes it even more fragile.

Not only is Vlaams Gewest a popular location for holidays and leisure activities, it is also densely populated.
An industrial area, it has two ports, Ostend and Zeebrugge, open to shipping and pleasure boats, and two others, Nieuport and Blankenberge, just for leisure activities.

It has four nature reserves as well, the most famous being Zwin, close to Knokke, now the most upmarket resort on what has been officially renamed the Vlaams Kust (Flemish coast), in place of the Côte Belge.
According to the regional authorities, about a third of the coastline is inadequately protected against flooding or a storm equivalent to the 1953 disaster, the most destructive to have occurred in the 20th century.

So what would happen if nothing is done?
"Potentially the loss of 250 lives and damage in the region of €2.1bn [$2.7bn]," says Nathalie Balcaen, a coastal development engineer.
The water would quickly flood a strip of polder (wetlands) about 20km wide, lying just inland, and could spread as far as Bruges.
The motorway down to Ostend and Dunkirk would also be engulfed.

At the present rate of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is forecast to cause a 30cm rise in the level of the North Sea by 2050, adding another 30cm by the end of the century.
This is a direct threat for about 16 million residents of the various countries along its coast.
In Flanders, experts are studying the risks entailed by a severe storm and the likelihood of 5m waves punching holes in the dykes.

Philippe Konings, a specialist in geomorphology at Ghent University, says: "a storm on this scale will happen some day".
As things stand it would destroy part of the coastline.
The resorts at Blankenberge and Wenduine are under immediate threat, and port facilities would be particularly badly affected.

The top priority is to protect the weakest links by 2020, by raising various beaches, protecting the entrances to ports and building stone walls designed to break the force of the waves.
It has become "a sort of routine", jokes Denis Seurynck, of the Deme dredging firm, a world leader in this business, with a workforce of 4,000.
Its fleet is at work all over the world, often in waters far more hostile than the Belgian coast, where the only real difficulty is steering ships round the countless sandbanks.
The dredgers suck up sand from the seabed and deposit it on adjoining beaches.

The cost of the work currently under way is estimated at a modest €300m ($390m), and a group of Flemish industrialists are proposing far more radical solutions.
Their plan would cost an estimated €3bn, and would include a sustainable initiative to reduce the pressure on this heavily exploited area.
The scheme includes wind farms, artificial islands and even an airport for freight.
Policymakers have so far not responded.

Links :
  • NOS : Flood in Netherlands

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fishing under ice

Fishing under ice from Juuso Mettälä

Some under ice views from beautiful lake Saarijärvi in Vaala, Finland.
Just fooling around under ice upside down.