Saturday, February 29, 2020

A cool visualization of why we have leap days

Every four years we add a leap day to our calendar.
This visualization explains why that is necessary.
Earth physically rotates in 23hours 56min relative to distant stars – a Sidereal Day, BUT it takes 24hours to rotate relative to the Sun – a Solar Day.
The difference?
Earth orbits the Sun, so the Sun appears to move (down, in the vid), which means Earth needs +4mins to "catch up"!

Friday, February 28, 2020

How SailGP is using IoT and data to improve performance

John Abel, Oracle Vice President, Cloud and Technology, Emily Nagel, SailGP Performance Data Analyst, and Richard Mason, Grinder TeamGB, discuss the Oracle data points and how they influence sailing and can influence business.

From ZDnet by Campbell Kwan

The boats each use over 400 sensors to provide more than 12,000 data points.

SailGP is an annual sailing competition where seven sailing teams use F50 catamarans -- boats with 24-metre wingsails that can fly above the water on hydrofoils -- across five three-day racing events.
The races are all over the world, spanning from Sydney, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark.

SailGP, founded by Russell Coutts and backed by Oracle founder Larry Ellison, debuted in 2019 and seeks to revolutionize the sport of sailing by bringing it to the masses. 

In SailGP, five-member crews representing six countries race identical F50 foiling catamarans in the world’s most famous harbours.
Complex control systems and high-end carbon-fibre materials, combined with supreme teamwork and athleticism, enable the boats to skim the water at exhilarating speeds.
Australia won the inaugural SailGP title in 2019.

During SailGP's inaugural season that ran last year, these boats were able to reach up to 50 knots -- 92.6 kilometres per hour.
For the upcoming season, five-time America's Cup champion and SailGP CEO Russell Coutts expects the top speed for these boats to rise to around 53-54 knots.

With reaction speed and tactical maneuvering being core to the sport, Coutts said it's really important to be able to track this information in order for viewers to understand the sport.

The Australian SailGP team.
Image: Campbell Kwan/ ZDNet

SailGP's director of technology Warren Jones told ZDNet that while the races are a great display of sailing skills, viewers need to understand what is going on, and be in a position to appreciate the athletes' skills.

To achieve this, SailGP's boats are equipped with three cameras and three sets of audio to record the real-time actions of the athletes.
For the Sydney racing event, the initial collection point for the video and sound is a shipping container based in Lyne Park, Sydney, which then gets sent to a local staging area before it is moved into Oracle's cloud -- going through various replication points to mitigate against data loss.
After this, the data is sent out to consumption points such as the SailGP app, umpires, the sail teams, as well as video broadcasters.

"We knew what we wanted onshore, but it was about getting from onshore to a database that gets out to the public or wherever," Jones said.

The data also runs through an artificial intelligence mechanism that can track the amount of time a logo appears on the screen, Jones said.
This is critical, he explained, as the mechanism allows SailGP to get that information to the relevant stakeholders as fast as possible due to the race being shown on its own television production.

"Previously, we had to wait actually, in some cases, months to actually get that information accurately as crazy as that sounds.
Now with this, getting that information instantaneously it's a huge benefit because we can then actually feed that back into the production team," Jones said.

In terms of the athletes themselves, each boat has over 400 IoT sensors that provide more than 12,000 data points -- including heart rates and blood pressure -- which gives a clearer picture on what areas of fitness they need to improve on.

With data that is personal in nature, such as medical data like heart rates and blood pressure, this is treated as a "separate entity" to other data, and is protected by passwords, Jones said.

The F50's steering wheel and IoT sensors
Image: Campbell Kwan/ ZDNet

The technical information of the boats, meanwhile, is shared between teams to prevent a secret "arms race" of sorts to ensure that the outcomes of races are determined by skill and ability, as well as to lower the learning curve for new entrants into the competition.

"With the wingsail setup, for example, on one boat compared to another, you can control all the elements of the wind to twist it how you want and give it all different shapes and sizes -- one team will be using a different technique to what we'll be using so we can analyse what they're doing, and if we prefer that system or our system," said Kinley Fowler, flight controller and grinder of the Australian team.

"The learning process is so much faster; teams can analyse not only their performances, but also the performances of other teams, allowing them to see where the differences are in order to very quickly to improve," Jones said.

Oracle Hackathon at SailGP in Cowes.
Using numerous data sources, the graduate teams are tasked with manipulating and interpreting the data sets to deliver live requests from the sailing teams.

While our teams were racing on the water in Marseille, Oracle’s team was racing to analyze and find applications for the incredible amount of data coming in from the boats and spectators alike.

Data analysis in the SailGP 2019 circuit

According to Fowler, during a practice race earlier this week, Spain was the best performer despite being a new entrant in the SailGP competition.
Fowler attributed Spain's early success to the team having access to these data points.

The next generation SailGP APP allows fans to view live data and video, track performance, compare athletes, change viewing angles, zoom in on the action and watch replays - bringing them closer to the sport than ever before.

These data points include boat speed, the various different dimensions regarding what the boat's body is doing, the direction the boat is going, the direction and speed of the wheel from various different points, the height of the boat out of the water, as well as how much time the boat is spending out of the water, among others, Scott Newman, senior director of Oracle Solutions Engineering, told ZDNet.

"The point is to give more data points to make the sport grow quicker," Fowler said.

The second season of SailGP kicks off on Friday in Sydney.

Links :

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Uncharted waters: how maps can help prevent conflict over marine resources

Putting marine resources on the map
EU coastal member states have just over a year to come up with plans to boost the marine economy while preserving coastal ecosystems for generations to come.
We look at how they're doing it. 


From Euronews by Denis Loctier

An ambitious project to improve the management of marine resources across regional and international borders is underway in Europe and all over the world.

So-called Maritime Spatial Planning is designed to help governments and stakeholders alike decide what is best for their coastlines, boosting the marine economy while preserving the coastal ecosystems for generations to come.

Geographical and political scenarios in maritime spatial planning for the Azores and North Artlantic

The Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands are all benefiting from the EU-funded "MarSP" project, which is helping the islands with their planning.

Luz Paramio, Member of Azores regional government's FRCT executive board and MarSP project coordinator, explains:

"There are new uses that are appearing from the combination of various activities that can interact and share the same space in a sustainable way. And the maritime spatial planning allows us to make these marine activities compatible."

At the University of the Azores, planners combine survey responses from those who use the sea with existing data on marine resources and habitats in a geographic information system, or GIS.

Helena Calado, Professor of Maritime Spatial Planning, said all maritime industries have been involved.
“We’ve asked them please draw the polygon where you practise your activity, what are the other activities that you are in conflict with and why. Then we take this information and we input it into a GIS system to support decision-making."

The plans take all factors into account — from depth levels and coastal land use to cultural artefacts and, most importantly, the ecosystems.
Sea resources can only be used in ways that preserve biodiversity, keeping marine plants and animals healthy.
Cooperation not conflict

The Azores are famous for whale watching, attracting tens of thousands of tourists a year.
The influx of so many whale-watching boats has the potential to create problems for the local fishing industry.

But Laura González García, head biologist of Portuguese tour company Futurismo, says there has been more cooperation than conflict.

She told Ocean: “Dolphins are feeding around the fishing boats, and the fishermen right now are telling us, ‘hey, you have the dolphins here!’ It’s a kind of collaboration even.”

Madeira finalised its plans ahead of the other Macaronesian archipelagos by resolving a conflict between its growing aquaculture business and its crucial tourism sector.

Surfers had complained about fish farms spoiling their waves, so the planners moved them to a better spot, where they unexpectedly became a magnet for scuba divers.

As for pollution concerns, the authorities are planning regular inspections.

Carlos Andrade, Head of the Marine Aquaculture Division at Madeira’s Fisheries Directorate, told Ocean: “The areas would be kept pristine, and for that we had to obviously implement the monitoring programs for it.”
Most of the coastal waters to the north of Madeira's main island are protected areas for marine mammals — off-limits to economic activities.

Fish farms have been assigned to relatively small areas on the other side of the island — but with enough space to grow.

For the aquaculture companies, this certainty is important — they’ve doubled their production over the past year, and are on track to double it again.

Pedro Diniz, who manages a fish farm off Madeira, said: "For us it's confidence that we have a space for certain time. We won’t be forced to leave this place, as this is a very good spot."

The maritime spatial plans span from the shoreline to the outer limits of the regional and national maritime zones.

They will be updated every few years to include new business opportunities, such as offshore wind farms.
* It includes 14 demonstrators (single turbine or announced as demonstrator by developer).
Source: Wind Europe 2019

Manuel Ara Oliveira, Madeira’s environmental and climate change director, said: "The fact that our plan is ready means that we can start working on reviewing it with more knowledge, more capacity, more sharing and more cooperation with the neighbouring archipelagos — the Canaries and the Azores."

Finding compromise solutions with neighbours is not always easy so the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO have set up MSPGlobal — an initiative to promote maritime spatial planning worldwide, sharing the experience between Europe and other regions.

At a training workshop in Toulon, French and Algerian specialists conduct an "MSP Challenge" exercise simulating a busy maritime border between three fictitious countries with conflicting interests.

It’s the kind of problem Maritime Spatial Planners need to solve — especially in areas such as northern Europe, where there is intensive use of limited marine space.
Alejandro Iglesias Campos, a program specialist with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, told Ocean: "All activities that are across borders — maritime transportation, tourism, but also biodiversity, all marine protected areas — the challenge here will be how to manage these different activities, across borders, in a sustainable way."

The MSP Challenge board game ( is a table-top strategy game where different maritime activities, represented by colourful tiles, share the same fictitious sea basin.
Three teams, playing for three competing regions, must work together to find a way to develop their economies while preserving the fragile ecosystems.

Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is both a marine reserve and a tourist hotspot for snorkelers and divers - an example of how such planning has combined sustainable economic growth with preservation of nature.

Fernando Tuya, assistant professor in marine biology at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, said people want to enjoy a healthy environment.

“In the middle of big cities we can get perfect places for conservation, perfect places for leisure time, and we can combine both things at the same time,” he said.

Meanwhile an EU-funded project, PLASMAR, is developing a decision-support system to better protect nature and optimise the use of marine space.

It shows how suitable a certain area is for a given sector, based on its oceanography, maritime activities, coastal land use, conservation needs and other factors.

Maritime Spatial Planners also have to integrate newcomers in marine areas, like offshore wind farms.

Trials are already underway at the PLOCAN test site in Gran Canaria. Researchers are convinced that turbines at sea don't have to get in the way of other sectors.
José Joaquín Hernández-Brito, chief executive of Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands, said: "We’re working in projects in such a way that the fisheries can do their work inside, between the space within turbines, or even putting aquaculture in the middle — so the question is to develop the technologies."

The EU coastal member states have until the end of March 2021 to finalise their maritime spatial plans.

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in a nutshell from GRID-Arendal
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is spreading across the globe as a new way of achieving sustainable development of the world’s seas and oceans.
But what does MSP actually mean?
How does it work?
“Marine Spatial Planning – in a nutshell” is a five-minute film that explains MSP simply and dynamically. It is suitable for everyone: from local communities to planners and policy-makers.
This film has been financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety through its International Climate Initiative.
It has been jointly produced by the global Blue Solutions Initiative and the MARISMA project in the Benguela Current region.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Titans: Google Maps versus ECDIS

From Pulse by Melvin Mathews

Google Maps turned 15 years old this month, & it may be an appropriate time to compare it with similar systems in other industries, like the ECDIS

Humans have been using maps for thousands of years.
It is therefore not surprising that ‘Cartography’ as a subject exists, which is the art and science of making maps.
The oldest known maps are preserved on Babylonian tablets from 2300 BC.
They were later depicted on scrolls and paper.
But it’s not until the electronic age that maps have come alive.

Google Maps and ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) can be considered to essentially serve the same purpose.
While Google Maps is used for finding our way on land, the ECDIS facilitates navigation at sea.
At a basic level both show us maps in an electronic form, indicate where we are and can provide a route if we can specify a destination.

Google Maps turned 15 years old this month and it may be an appropriate time to compare it with similar systems in other industries, hence the comparison with ECDIS.


While the ECDIS was in voluntary use for many years, it was never free to use.
It became mandatory for HSC (High Speed Craft) on the 1st of July 2008.
Subsequently, the mandatory carriage of ECDIS for other ships depending on the ship type, size and construction date, (as required by SOLAS regulation V/19.2.10) commenced in a phased manner from 1 July 2012 onwards.
ECDIS is regulated because it is considered a complex, safety-relevant, software-based system with multiple options for display and integration.
The ongoing safe and effective use of ECDIS involves many stakeholders including seafarers, equipment manufacturers, chart producers, hardware and software maintenance providers, shipowners and operators, and training providers.
Over the years, IMO (International Maritime Organisation) Member States, hydrographic offices, equipment manufacturers and other organizations have contributed to the development of guidance on a variety of ECDIS-related matters and was accepted as meeting the chart carriage requirements of SOLAS regulation V/19 in 2002.


Google Maps was launched as a super easy and useful way for people to get around.
However, it is the pace at which features, and capabilities have evolved that makes it an unbelievable experience.
It is not only a website or application that gets us from A to B, using the fastest or shortest route, it allows web developers easy access APIs to put google maps on their own sites.
With over 1 billion users per month the adoption and use rate is very high because one can virtually never get lost.
For 200 million businesses worldwide, it provides, opening hours, ratings, prices etc, which provides relevance to data and makes life easier.
Google maps has made it easier for business to manage their presence, update their business info, put up pictures, respond to reviews, etc.
The local guides program which is 120 million strong, share reviews, photos and knowledge about places around the world.
For those with mobility needs Google maps offers wheel-chair accessible routes for over 50 million places.
Augmented reality helps you to understand which way to walk, with arrows and directions overlaid.

Google Maps gets new updates for 15th birthday

Things to ponder over

Google Maps achieved all this innovation by providing it for free, but for how long?
Does regulation in ECDIS stifle its innovation?
If it were not mandatory would the ECDIS survive in the market?
How much reliance & trust do we have on things we receive for free?
Besides showing us the shortest and fastest route, would the greenest route be of interest?

Birth of the GeoGarage platform 10 years ago with the creation of
a kml network link displaying 1018 NOAA raster maps seamless in Google Earth

New Antarctic island spotted as mammoth glacier retreats

Researchers first spotted this rocky outcrop in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica, in early February.
A mate on the bridge spotted some rocky coastline. This island is on no charts : we call it Sif.
Credit: Gui Bortolotto

From Nature

An uncharted island off Antarctica’s western coast could reveal how climate change is altering the continent.

A scientific expedition off the coast of Antarctica earlier this month spotted an island that appears on no maps — a finding that demonstrates how quickly the continent is changing as a result of climate change.

“I think I see rocks,” shouted an officer aboard the RV Nathaniel B. Palmer as the ship passed through Pine Island Bay, Antarctica.
After consulting their charts, the crew realized they were looking at a brand-new island.
There was a commotion as everyone onboard rushed to see the rocky, ice-covered outcrop and suggest potential names.
But the hubbub quickly gave way to excitement about the scientific implications of the find, says Julia Wellner, a marine geologist at the University of Houston in Texas.

The island was sighted from Nathaniel B. Palmer, currently in the Antarctic for
@GlacierThwaites THOR, project leads Julia Wellner (UH) and Rob Larter (BAS).
Photo_CD Hillenbrand (BAS)

Wellner is one of the principal investigators of the Thwaites Glacier Offshore Research project, part of an international collaboration to study the stability of a massive glacier in West Antarctica.
An expedition to collect samples from the exposed shoreline has thus far been hampered by bad weather, but Wellner says that surveying the island is one of the science team’s top priorities.

Although the island is big enough to be visible by satellite, its icy cap helped it escape previous detection.
And because very few ships travel that far south, Wellner’s team is probably the first to set eyes on it.
Researchers don’t yet know how long it has been above sea level, but it is likely that the land was exposed thanks to climate change.

 Pine Island Bay with the GeoGarage platform (NGA nautical raster chart)

On the rebound

As glaciers have retreated in West Antarctica, they have released pressure on Earth’s crust, allowing it to rebound and rise, explains Lindsay Prothro, a glacial geologist at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.
Collecting samples from the new island could help researchers determine how fast the continent is lifting, which should improve how they model the behaviour of nearby glaciers.

Rapid rebound could increase stress on the remaining ice sheet, causing it to break apart more quickly, says Lauren Simkins, a glacial geologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
But a rising continental shelf could also anchor glaciers, increasing their stability and slowing their march to the sea.
The island, Simkins says, could provide a nice real-world case study.

New islands emerging as ice sheets retreat is not particularly surprising, says Paul Cutler, a programme director in glaciology at the US National Science Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia.
New islands have appeared over the past few years in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland.
But it is, he says, an exciting opportunity to piece together the geological history of a vastly under-studied region of Earth.

It will be more than a month before even preliminary results emerge: the Palmer is not due back in port until 25 March.
But glacier scientists are excited about the possibilities that the discovery raises for their field.
“This one island could hold a lot of clues,” Simkins says

Links :

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

California city shows how to retreat from rising seas level

Looking south along the Marina Dunes, one of the last stretches of natural sand beach in California. TNS

From GT by Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times

Not much of the California coast feels like this anymore, with no pavement or harbors or parking lots right up to high tide.
Home to sharks and coyotes, shorebirds and butterflies, this little town not far from Silicon Valley is a reminder that the beach itself used to be wild.

Ten miles north of Monterey and a world away from Santa Cruz, Bruce Delgado gazed up a towering sand dune.
Careful not to step on the beach buckwheat that protects rare butterflies or the sea lettuce that survives only in stable habitats, he wound his way toward the ocean.

At the top, slightly out of breath, he marveled at the sandy beach that stretched for miles along the bay.
Big surf broke into rhythmic cusps by the shore.
A red-tailed hawk soared over his town of Marina, where despite its name, no dock or pier exists to interrupt this view.

Not much of the California coast feels like this anymore, with no pavement or harbors or parking lots right up to high tide.
Home to sharks and coyotes, shorebirds and butterflies, this little town not far from Silicon Valley is a reminder that the beach itself used to be wild.

"It's the best-kept secret. Living in Marina is a choice," said Delgado, a botanist turned mayor who has managed to pull off what many towns have not.
"Sometimes when you go jogging on the beach, you see vultures eating dead sea lions… There's a lot of nature happening in these dunes."

At a time when Del Mar, Pacifica and other coastal cities are fighting to defend their homes and roads from the rising sea, Marina has embarked on a path less traveled.
Here in this Army turned university town, residents are learning how to adjust with the ocean as the water moves inland.

How is sea level rise impacting California's public beaches?
How will California respond to this threat and adapt in the future?

Sea walls are forbidden, and sand replenishment projects seem unnatural in a city so proud of its native environment.
Officials instead are embracing ideas that have been political suicide elsewhere: Require real estate disclosures for sea level rise, move infrastructure away from the water, work with the private resort in town to relocate its oceanfront .
Scienroperty — a policy known as managed retreat.

This small but lively town of 23,000 says it's fought enough coastal issues over the decades to know that bad ideas must be stopped sooner than later.
A controversial sand mine on the beach is finally shutting down after a century of dredging away the coast.
Residents are still fighting a large water company trying to build a desalination plant.

With sea level rise, the mere suggestion of making room for the ocean and turning prime real estate into open space has upended other cities up and down the coast — at least one mayor has been ousted.
But Marina is different, a city report declared, and instead will show the state and country how to adapt to a changing planet.

"Marina is such a good test case," said David Revell, a coastal geomorphologist who has advised numerous cities, including Marina, on sea level rise.
"Here we have the precedent of a community who understands that … there has to be enough lead time to get things out of the way — before it's in the way.
"That is a really powerful message to the rest of California."

Accepting the strength of the ocean has long been part of Marina's history.
For decades, the region was defined by Ft.
Ord, a sprawling Army base that once was home to as many as 50,000 troops.
Soldiers coveted assignments here, but large waves, rip currents and unstable cliffs made the beach too dangerous to enjoy.

By 1994, the Army had packed up and left — the largest military base closure in the United States at the time.
A sign today, where a building once stood, describes "a coastal attack the Army couldn't stop."

"Soldiers once guarded this shoreline against sea-borne attack, but one force proved too powerful to stop.
Coastal erosion, the wearing away of these bluffs and beaches by ocean waves, has been steadily moving the coastline inland," according to the sign, which said that the bluffs at Ft.
Ord erode landward 5 to 8 feet a year.

Part of the land was turned into a new university, Cal State Monterey Bay; another swath was transformed into Ft. Ord National Monument.
California State Parks cleaned up the coastal stretch — about four miles of beach — and plans to construct new campgrounds for the public.

The city of Seaside owns a portion, and Marina is still figuring out how to develop more than 1,000 acres on the inland side of Highway 1 (the site contamination and labor costs have not been the easiest sell to developers).

Delgado, a botanist for the Bureau of Land Management, moved here in 1996 to work on the restoration.
He got swept into local politics in 1999, when he heard that city leaders wanted to turn open space into 3,500 large homes, positioning Marina as a bedroom community for a new corporate business park over the hill.

He went door to door with neighbors and got Marina to create an "urban growth boundary" north of town for at least 20 years.

Much of the shoreline remains undeveloped — making decisions today a lot less complicated when it comes to planning for sea level rise.
The city points developers instead to parcels downtown and farther inland.
A new planned community, Sea Haven, is now advertising the benefits of "homes near the sea."

Delgado grew up in Southern California going to Laguna Beach and Dana Point and has watched those sleepy beach towns greenlight multimillion-dollar homes and transform their shorelines into tourist destinations.

Marina could certainly use some of that tax revenue (it just got enough money for a new firetruck), but Delgado doesn't envy other mayors who now have to grapple with the politics of telling their wealthiest residents what to do with their oceanfront properties.

"With sea level rise, as with development, cities like Marina are taking it seriously and logically," he said.
"We're not going to lament that our predecessors didn't take this seriously.
We're not going to wait until emergencies happen to take action."

Marina's coast has one of the highest rates of erosion in California — exacerbated by a Mexico-based company, Cemex, that for decades had been trucking away sand unchecked.
Scientists estimate the mine alone has eroded an average of 4 feet of coast each year.

High silica content in this region makes the sand valuable for sandblasting, filtration and surface finishing.
Other operations along Monterey Bay have shut down over the years, but Marina continues to watch in horror the massive hole in its beach, where machines roar all day as they suck away sand.

Stopping this mine would dramatically slow down the impacts of sea level rise — giving everyone more time to adapt, said Layne Long, the city manager.
Marina's dunes, even at 100 feet tall, are noticeably shrinking from a net loss of sand each year.

After years of controversy, Cemex will phase out operations by the end of this year.
The company has three years to move out and sell the land to a nonprofit or government agency that would preserve the property in perpetuity and provide public access.

Residents are now fighting California American Water's proposal to use part of this site for a desalination project.
The water wouldn't even serve Marina, they said, and building new infrastructure on an eroding coast just doesn't sound like smart planning.

Long, on a recent walk to the mine, shook his head at the smell of machinery on the beach and the smokestacks in the distance.
He envisions a restored coastline with nature trails and overlooks, perhaps even signs teaching visitors about sea level rise.

Marina has long understood the consequences of coastal erosion, unlike other towns that are just starting to debate the trade-offs.
As more than 35 coastal cities and counties in California agonize over the difficult costs and choices, Marina stands out as a community enthusiastic about choosing managed retreat.

Years of fighting corporate interests, Long said, has unified the town on how to plan for sea level rise.

"We have a shot to do it right.… Because of the way we developed, and didn't develop, we have the ability to have a very good managed retreat process," he said.
"Adopting this plan will ensure for our future generations that our coast is going to remain this way."

The city's sea level rise plan, now in its final stages, has received little resistance.
In a town where one-third of the community is low income and more than 60% are not white, maintaining a coastline that can be enjoyed by all is top priority.
In meetings and surveys, residents urged city leaders to protect their beaches if pressure from private property owners or business interests takes hold.

At a recent public workshop, officials reaffirmed their commitment to banning sea walls and were wary of any suggestions that sounded unnatural.
They talked about their vision to protect the city from "the negative impacts of urban sprawl" while still growing economically as "a desirable residential and business community in a natural setting."

The plan lays out a framework over the next few decades for when office buildings, a sewer pump and an aging water treatment facility should consider moving away from the sea.
Beach amenities, such as a parking lot and public restrooms, might also need to relocate.

Triggers will be identified on when these decisions should be made, based on how much time it takes to permit new construction.
When the sea rises to a certain threshold or erosion gets within a certain distance, for example, park officials should begin plans to move the parking lot — rather than just cornering off sections when they collapse.

As for private property, city planners broached the Sanctuary Beach Resort about checking in every renovation cycle, about five to seven years, to consider when might be a good time to move nine oceanfront buildings without sacrificing the total number of rooms — perhaps by turning some of the resort's single-story cottages into two-story accommodations farther inland.

Jeroen Gerrese, the resort's general manager and chair of the Monterey County Hospitality Assn., said he is open to further discussions on how to accommodate the environment and preserve what makes the resort special.

Unlike other resorts along the peninsula, which are closer to attractions such as the Pebble Beach golf course and the Monterey wharf, his is the only one that can offer beach walks and sunset bonfires and direct access to the sand.
"Everyone else can look at the ocean," Gerrese said, "but they can't get there from their resort."

Walking along an unpaved path, he pointed to the bocce ball court made from recycled oyster shells, the pastel-colored bikes offered to guests, the limited use of plastic.
Born in the Netherlands below sea level, Gerrese says he respects the water a great deal.
Now a resident of Marina, he jumps at opportunities to recruit from the local university and plants trees around town.

Taking care of the environment is part of the business plan and a shared duty, he said, stooping down to pick up a rogue candy wrapper.
"If you don't think about working with nature, you're not true to yourself as a business owner and not true to your community that you reside in."

He looks up and admires the surf crashing onto shore.
There's no point fighting, he said, a force as powerful as the ocean.

Links :

Monday, February 24, 2020

Collision: Master “fixated” on Electronic Chart

Isle of Wight Red Funnel ferry ran over a yacht when the master got stressed during fog, investigation concludes

From Maritime Executive

The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its accident investigation report into the ro-ro passenger ferry Red Falcon colliding with a moored yacht on October 21, 2018.

At 0811, when navigating in severely reduced visibility in Cowes Harbour, the master of the Red Falcon lost orientation when his vessel swung out of control, departed the navigable channel and was spun around through 220°.
In his confusion the master drove the ferry in the wrong direction resulting in a collision with the moored yacht Greylag which was sunk on its mooring as a result.

Cowes ferry yacht-crash captain 'lost control in fog'

Visibility varied between 0.2 and 0.5 nautical miles, but dropped to about 50 meters at the time of the collision.

 view toward Cowes end of ferry

view toward Southampton end of the ferry
MAIB ferry collision report highlights overreliance on displays

The MAIB report states that the master became fixated upon the information displayed on his electronic chart and operating engine controls, ignored information displayed on other electronic equipment and became cognitively overloaded due to high stress.
The bridge team became disengaged from the operation due to a lack of clear communications and emergency scenario training.

 RedFalcon passage track from Southampton to Cowes

 Red Falcon passage track into Cowes Harbour

 Red Flacon starting to swing out of the Channel

 Red Falcon perpendicular to the inner fairway
Red Falcon turned around before proceeding through moorings
(taken from Red Falcon's Transas ECS -see inset-)

The MAIB Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Andrew Moll said: “Our investigation highlighted how quickly restricted visibility can negatively affect individuals’ awareness and orientation, which increases their stress and impacts on decision making.
Crews on vessels of any size can be affected, but the consequences can be mitigated by prior preparation and training, effective teamwork and a full understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the available instrumentation.”

 Current flow in Cowes harbour

Nobody was on board yacht Greylag when it was struck and overrun by Red Falcon.
In this respect, the family on a yacht on a nearby swinging mooring had a lucky escape, said Moll.
“When Red Falcon swung around it narrowly missed Cowes Yacht Haven marina wall, and had yachts been rafted there the consequences of this accident could also have been much more severe.”

onboard ECS

Red Funnel’s operating procedures for navigation stated that: “All Masters and Officers must practice blind pilotage in clear weather as a Bridge team in order to establish confidence and familiarity with the Radar pictures of the district and the techniques required to maneuver the vessels without visual references.
Such blind pilotage exercises must be carried out and recorded at intervals not exceeding one month.”

Any blind pilotage training carried out was recorded within the company’s computer-based training record system.
The records showed that the crew of Red Falcon had last undertaken blind pilotage training departing Cowes on the day before the accident.
The training records did not show who undertook the role of helmsman, and therefore who had practiced steering by compass or steering within Cowes Harbour.
Further investigation of the records revealed that the helmsman on the day of the accident had not steered a Raptor class ferry into Cowes for over 10 months.

The report is available here.  (

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

NASA slowly drains the oceans in an incredible animation, revealing hidden underwater mountain ranges and ancient land bridges

Draining Earth's oceans, revealing the two-thirds of Earth's surface we don't get to see
A NASA animation drains the oceans to reveal the majority of Earth's surface that lies beneath.
A planetary scientist remade the video to highlight its most fascinating features: the world's longest mountain range and the ice-age land bridges that ancient humans crossed. 

From BusinessInsider by Morgan McFall-Johnsen 

Oceans cover most of the Earth, including its longest mountain range and the ancient bridges that humans crossed to reach other continents.

In a recent remake of a 2008 NASA video, planetary scientist James O'Donoghue shows what it would look like if all that water drained away, revealing the hidden three-fifths of Earth's surface.

O'Donoghue works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and was formerly at NASA. For the video, he took an animation that NASA physicist and animator Horace Mitchell created in 2008 and gave it a few additions.
He edited the timing and added a tracker to show how much water drains throughout the animation.

As the oceans slowly lose water, the first bits of hidden land that emerge are the continental shelves – the undersea edges of each continent.
"I slowed down the start since, rather surprisingly, there's a lot of undersea landscape instantly revealed in the first tens of meters," O'Donoghue told Business Insider in an email.

The continental shelves include some of the land bridges that early humans crossed as they migrated from continent to continent.
Tens of thousands of years ago, our ancestors could walk from continental Europe to the UK, from Siberia to Alaska, and from Australia to the islands surrounding it.

"When the last ice age occurred, a lot of ocean water was locked up as ice at the poles of the planet. That's why land bridges used to exist," O'Donoghue said. "Each of these links enabled humans to migrate, and when the ice age ended, the water sort of sealed them in."

By removing that water, the animation offers a glimpse at the world of our ancient ancestors.

It also shows Earth's longest chain of mountains, which appears once the sea levels have dropped 2,000 to 3,000 meters (6,500 to 9,800 feet).
That's the mid-ocean ridge, which stretches over 37,000 miles (60,000 kilometers) across the globe.
Over 90 percent of it is underwater.

The volcanic mountains spring up at the seams where Earth's tectonic plates inch away from each other, creating new ocean floor as molten rock rises from beneath the plant's crust.

Once the animated oceans drain by 6,000 meters (20,000 feet), most of the water is gone. But it takes nearly another 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) to empty the deepest reaches of the Marianas Trench.
"I like how this animation reveals that the ocean floor is just as variable and interesting in its geology as the continents," O'Donoghue said.
He added that emptying the seas unearths not only "not only the ocean bottom, but also the ancient story of humanity."

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