Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)


Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dramatic Papua New Guinea volcano quietens

Yahoo – AFP, 30 Aug 2014

Mount Tavurvur erupting in eastern Papua New Guinea, Aug 29 2014.
(AFP Photo: Oliver Bluett)

A volcano which has erupted in Papua New Guinea was Saturday spewing fragments from its crater and rumbling loudly, but its activity appeared to be subsiding, a seismologist said.

Mount Tavurvur, which destroyed the town of Rabaul when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan in 1994, came to life again early Friday, with rocks and ash erupting from its centre.

Security officials man a check-point to alert 
residents following the eruption of Mount 
Tavurvur in eastern Papua New Guinea on 
August 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ness Kerton)
The eruptions on the remote island of New Britain in eastern PNG thrust plumes of ash into the air, prompting local evacuations and international flights to modify their routes.

"At the moment we are getting only discrete explosions," Jonathan Kuduon, a senior seismologist at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, told AFP.

"The activity has subsided," he said, adding that the fragments were reaching less than 200 metres (600 feet) above the crater.

"These small explosions are usually accompanied by noise."

So far there have been no reports of injuries or damage, but the volcano continued to boom and spew lava overnight and parts of Rabaul are blanketed in ash and pumice stone.

Kuduon said Mount Tavurvur remained a concern, saying officials were worried about the amount of ash in parts of Rabaul, but the kind of eruption -- Strombolian (low-level) -- meant it could subside quickly.

"I think from Tavurvur you can expect small eruptions to go on yet. You can still expect eruptions from that volcano but not from Vulcan," he said.

"Looking at past eruptions, I think the eruptions are getting less and less. Which simply means that the volcano is dying out."

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in the northern Australian city of Darwin said it was keeping a close eye on the situation after Friday's eruption which saw ash reach 60,000 feet (18,000 metres) which is flight level.

"The last two big eruptions at Rabaul, you've had the Tavurvur eruptions first and then one in a fairly close time period you've had Vulcan erupt," official Cyndee Seals told AFP.

But Kuduon said he was not overly concerned about Mount Vulcan erupting.

Youths wearing masks plays among ash
 spewed after the eruption of Mount 
Tavurvur in eastern Papua New Guinea on
August 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ness Kerton)
This crater rumbled to life with Tavurvur in 1994, with the eruptions destroying much of Rabaul, with falling ash causing buildings to collapse. While loss of life was minimal, looters ransacked the evacuated town.

"In 1994 you had eruptions from Vulcan that went (on) for nearly two weeks and then the volcano just shut of," Kuduon said.

The seismologist said the people of Rabaul were now waiting for the eruptions from the 688-metre (2,270-foot) Tavurvur crater to stop completely.

"We need to go back to our normal life. So long as we have eruptions going it will affect our normal life. We only wish that the volcano can go back to sleep now," he said.

PNG sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where high volcanic and seismic activity is the norm.

The Post-Courier reported that Rabaul port was temporarily closed Friday as a precautionary measure.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Indonesia calls off search for Spaniards in boat sinking

Asia One – AFP, Aug 23, 2014

In this file photograph taken on December 3, 2010, boats depart from Rinca island
part of the Komodo National Park, home of the Komodo dragon. Eight foreigners
 and five Indonesians were rescued on August 18, 2014 two days after their tourist
 boat sank during a storm in the archipelago, having survived by huddling in a
lifeboat or floating in their life jackets.

JAKARTA - Indonesian authorities called off their search for two Spanish men Saturday, finding no sign of them one week after their tour boat sank in central Indonesia.

The boat carrying 25 people departed from the island of Lombok near Bali and was headed east toward Komodo Island, a popular tourist destination, when it hit a reef and later sank in stormy weather on August 16.

The 18 other foreign tourists on board, as well as four Indonesian crew and one guide, survived the horrific ordeal.

A team with three rescue boats and three fishing vessels combed the seas around several islands in the area for the final day of the search, to no avail.

"We found no sign of the men at all. There are many fishermen in the area looking out for them, and they will continue to do so, even though we've ended our official search," local search and rescue chief Budiawan, who goes by one name, told AFP.

"Of course we'll come back out if there is any sign of them." Indonesian authorities were unable to confirm the men's full names, while Spain's foreign ministry identified one as 43-year-old lawyer Victor Garcia Montes from Seville, according to Spanish media reports.

The two men had been with a group of 10 others who swam some five kilometres (three miles) to the volcanic island of Sangeang. The 10 reached the island, where some drank their own urine and ate leaves until they were rescued the following day.

Another group of 13 people who went out with the vessel's small lifeboat survived. They had to switch between swimming and sitting from more than 40 hours as the boat could hold only seven at a time.

All survivors were treated on the central Indonesian island of Sumbawa.

The foreigners rescued were from New Zealand, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy.

Komodo is one of several islands that make up the Komodo National Park, a protected area. Its eponymous lizards are a major tourist attraction that grow up to three metres (10 feet) long and have a venomous bite.

Indonesia relies heavily on boats to connect its more than 17,000 islands but has a poor maritime safety record. Boat sinkings involving foreign tourists, however, are rare.

Related Article:


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Famed Galapagos tortoise 'Pepe the Missionary' dies

Yahoo – AFP, 23 Aug 2014

Galapagos turtle "Pepe the missionary" on February 7, 2014 at San Cristobal
Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador (AFP Photo)

Quito (AFP) - "Pepe the Missionary," a giant tortoise who rose to fame as one of the most photographed animals on Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, has died at age 60, officials said Friday.

Pepe, who lived in a corral at the Galapagos National Park's Interpretation Center, died of natural causes, said the park's ecosystems director, Victor Carrion.

"Several of his organs had been slowly failing," Carrion told AFP, saying the tortoise was also overweight.

Park director Arturo Izurieta paid tribute to the tortoise on Twitter.

"After 60 years of life, Pepe the Missionary will remain in our memories forever," Izurieta said.

He brightened the post with a bit of good news for conservationists: "The disappearance of Pepe the tortoise does not put his species in danger."

Pepe was a member of the Chelonoidis becki species native to Wolf Volcano on the island of Isabela.

About 2,000 tortoises from the same species still live in their native habitat.

Pepe was adopted from the wild by a family from San Cristobal island in the 1940s.

Local fishermen named him "Pepe," which was then expanded to "Pepe the Missionary" when he was given to Franciscan missionaries on the island in 1967.

He became the missionaries' mascot and a beloved community pet, often photographed and fed by visitors to the mission.

The missionaries handed him over to the national park in 2012 -- the same year the reserve lost another famous tortoise, Lonesome George, the last known member of the subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni.

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique flora and fauna studied by Charles Darwin as he developed his theory of evolution.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Jamaican coral reefs get a helping hand

Jamaica may be known for its sun and sea, but under the waves the country is batting to rebuild its coral reefs. Manmade reefs have begun to see success after the island's corals were decimated by disease and pollution.

Deutsche Welle, 21 Aug 2014


The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea were once rich in biodiversity - they teemed with marine life, and many holidaymakers who go there still expect to see the soft corals, mollusks and fish they've seen on other reef dives.

But beneath the waves off the coast of Jamaica, there's not much see. Only eight per cent of Jamaica's coral reef is still alive, and many of the fish that once thrived there have disappeared.

For an island trying to reduce its dependence on food imports, that's not an ideal situation. Fish is an important part of the local diet, and its disappearance from the ecosystem has changed nature's balance - which has not only implications for fishing, but also tourism.

Storm, overfishing, disease

Like rainforests, coral can transform a nutrient-poor environment into a
biodiverse wonderland

Some three decades ago, two types of coral were prominent across the Caribbean: But in 1980, Hurricane Allen - the worst storm to hit Jamaica in the past 100 years - smashed the reefs to smithereens. Everyone expected the corals to recover, but the storm ended up decimating the ecosystem.

Coral are the building blocks for marine life; it’s a habitat for herbivorous species like adult Parrot Fish who use it as somewhere to sleep, to provide protection and as a nursery.

But overfishing of algae-eating fish, and a mystery disease which wiped out the sea urchins that also grazed on the algae.

Coral and algae are in constant competition, and without these two grazers, there was nothing left to slow algae growth, which smothered most of the coral.

Regenerating reefs

But there is some hope. Marine biologist Andrew Ross runs Seascape, a firm helping to re-grow the island's reefs bit by bit. He's created an artificial reef made of metal, which has proven to be successful. Over the past nine months, it's slowly become covered with coral.

He and his team do the work that algae-grazing species used to take care of. "Until the coral gets established, you have to pick it off by hand - there's not enough fish on the structure to keep it going," Ross told DW.

Seascape locates areas where the reef is recovering naturally. "We take very small samples from each of those corals, and we put them into a nursery and we grow them," Ross said.

It takes from six to 12 months for the coral fragments to grow 10 times in size. At this size they're then used to repopulate existing nurseries and start new nurseries. Any leftover coral is replanted onto the reef.

As the artificial reef grows, so does the fish population that feeds on the worms, snails and algae on the coral. But until then, if Ross and his team didn't remove the algae by hand, the coral would die.

Snorkeling, free-diving and scuba diving
 are all thriving tourism activities where
 oceans offer coral
Benefit for businesses

Since Jamaica is one of the most indebted nations on the planet, funding for Seascape comes from the private sector.

The local hotels understand how coral gardens help attract holidaymakers - by donating money to the coral projects, they are securing a future for their own businesses.

Caribsave, an environmental organization, is trying to work with the country's 32,000 fishermen and women to help the islands' reefs. Caribsave coordinator Michelle McNaught said the private sector has a vital role to play in educating the wider community.

Government funding, she said, "has to be prioritized with other things like education or justice - which is understandable. So private partnership is the way to go now," McNaught told DW.

Signs of improvement

Globally, 75 percent of coral reefs are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and acidification of the seas due to climate change. Peter Gayle from the University of the West Indies explained how a changing ocean PH level dissolves calcium carbonate, which makes up coral structures.


"It becomes less dense and is more susceptible to things like wave energies, and has a smaller chance to protect coastal areas from sea level change," Gayle described. This can even become a vicious cycle, as more reefs die and become ever more susceptible to destruction.

Dane Bhudoo, a lecturer at the UWI Marine Lab in Jamaica, said that despite the threats to coral reefs, things are thankfully improving.

"It's not all doom and gloom, there are areas in Jamaica where I still enjoy diving, there's a lot of coral and the fish are coming back - but it takes time," Bhudoo said.

Often referred to as the rainforest of the seas, coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems in the world. One that Jamaica depends on so much for food, income and leisure - and with help, one that will recover and benefit the country in the process.

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"....Let us just talk about the ocean for a moment. We won't even get to what's happening in the air and what mammals might experience. Let's just speak of the ocean. Have you heard about the salmon? What has your science warned you against? You're overfishing! The sea is dying. The coral is dying. The reefs are going away. You're not seeing the food chain that used to be there. You've overfished everything. Fishing quotas have been set up to help this. Oh, all those little people in the red room - they don't know about the purple. Red people only know about the red paradigm.

Did you hear about the salmon recently? There's too many of them! In the very place where quotas are in place so you won't overfish, they're jumping in the boats! Against all odds and any projections from environmentalists or biologists, they're overrunning the oceans in Alaska - way too many fish.

What does that tell you? Is it possible that Gaia takes care of itself? That's what it tells you! Perhaps this alignment is going to keep humanity fed. Did anybody think of this? What if Gaia is in alliance with you? What if the increase in consciousness that raised your DNA vibration has alerted Gaia to change the weather cycle and get ready to feed humanity? Are you looking at the ocean where the oil spill occurred? It's recovering in a way that was not predicted. What's happening?

The life cycle itself is being altered by the temperature change of the ocean and much of what you have believed is the paradigm of life in the sea is slowly changing. A new system of life is appearing, as it has before, and is upon you in your lifetime. It will compliment what you know and expose you to a new concept: Gaia regularly refreshes the life cycle on Earth. ...."

Greenland ice melting at record speed

Satellite data shows ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are declining at record speed. The annual loss of ice has doubled in the case of Greenland and tripled in the West Antarctic compared to figures from 2009.

Deutsche Welle, 21 Aug 2014


Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven mapping elevation changes of Greenlandic and Antarctic glaciers have found ice sheets are melting at record pace. Per year, the ice sheets dump some 500 cubic kilometers (132,000 gallons) of ice into the oceans. The researchers say that compares to an ice sheet that's 600 meters (1970 feet) thick and covers an area as big as the German city of Hamburg - or the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore.
The research team headed by Veit Helm used around two years' worth of data from the ESA CryoSat-2 satellite to create digital elevation models of Greenland and Antarctica. The results were published in the online magazine of the European Geoscience Union (EGU) "The Cryosphere".


"The new elevation maps are snapshots of the current state of the ice sheets," Helm said. "The elevations are very accurate, to just a few meters in height, and cover close to 16 million square kilometers of the area of the ice sheets." Helm says this includes an additional 500,000 square kilometers that weren't covered in previous elevation models from altimetry.

Space technology shows declining ice mass

Helm and his team analyzed all data from the CryoSat-2 radar altimeter SIRAL in order to come up with these detailed maps. The satellite with this new radar equipment was launched in 2010. Satellite altimeters measure the height of an ice sheet by sending radar or laser pulses which are then reflected by the surface of the glaciers or surrounding areas of water and recorded by the satellite.

The researchers used other satellite data as well to document how elevation has changed between 2011 and 2014. Ice sheets gain mass through snowfall and lose it through melting and accelerating glaciers, which carry ice from the interior of the ice sheet to the ocean.

"We need to understand where and to which extent the ice thickness across the glaciers has changed. Only then can we analyze the drivers of these changes and find out how much ice sheets contribute to global sea level rise," lead author Helm said.

Rapid ice loss over a short period of time

The team used more than 200 million SIRAL data points for Antarctica and some 14 million data points for Greenland to create the elevation maps. The results show that Greenland alone is losing around 375 cubic kilometers of ice per year.

Compared to data which was collected in 2009, the loss of mass from the Greenland ice sheet has doubled. The rate of ice discharge from the West Antarctic ice sheet tripled during the same period.

85 percent of Greenland is covered with ice - melting ice sheets
contribute to rising sea levels

"If you combine the two, they are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometers per year. That is the highest rate observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago," said glaciologist Angelika Humbert, who co-authored the AWI study.

The researchers detected the biggest elevation changes at the Jakobshavn Glacier in West Greenland and Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. This corresponds with other scientific research on both areas.

Whereas the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula, on the far west of the continent, are rapidly losing volume, East Antarctica is gaining volume. However, the scientists stress that this is happening at such a low rate that it does not compensate for the losses on the other side of the continent.

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“… So now we've refreshed that which we have said before, a review. You are in the middle of a cycle that will bring cooling to the planet. It is not a heat cycle, but rather a cooling cycle. But it always starts with a short heat cycle. It has been here before. It will come again. It is a long cycle - one generation plus five years. That's how long it's going to last. It starts with the melting of the ice caps, which is far more than any of you have seen in your lifetime or those of your ancestors. It is a cycle whose repetition is thousands of years long, but one that has not yet been recorded to the books of Human record. But it's definitely been recorded in the cores of the ice and in the rings of the trees.

Thousands of years old, it is, and it happens in a cyclical way. It's about water. It starts with that which is the melting of the ice caps to a particular degree, which has a profound effect on the planet in all ways. You can't have that happen without seeing life change as well as Gaia change and you've seeing it already. What happens when you take that which is heavy on the poles [ice] and you melt it? It then becomes cold water added to that which is a very, very gentle and finite balance of temperature in the seas of the planet (1). The first thing that happens is a redistribution of the weight of water on the thin crust of the earth from ice at the poles to new water in the seas. The results become earthquakes and volcanoes, and you're seeing them, aren't you? You are having earthquakes in places that are not supposed to have earthquakes. Volcanoes are coming to life in a way that you've not seen before on a regular basis. There will be more. Expect them.

Is it too much to ask of a Human Being that if you live by a volcano that you know might erupt, maybe you ought to move? Yet there will be those who say, "It hasn't erupted in my lifetime or my parents' lifetime or my grandparents' lifetime; therefore, it won't." You may have a surprise, for all things are changing. That is what is happening to Gaia. ….“

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life's a beach for Italy's dogs

Yahoo – AFP, Marc Henri Maisonhaute, 21 Aug 2014

Dogs play at Baubeach in Maccarese, near Rome, on August 12, 2014 (Photo: 
Gabriel Bouys/AFP)

The sun brollies are up, the beach loungers full and the water is full of daytrippers splashing about.

It is a classic Italian scene but with one crucial difference: the beach bums frolicking in the waves at Maccarese are nearly all dogs, revelling in a rare chance to romp by the seaside.

Welcome to BauBeach, a canine-friendly stretch of sand on the outskirts of Rome that has pioneered a nationwide trend towards providing space for dogs and owners to enjoy the delights of summer together.

A man arrives with his dogs at Baubeach
in Maccarese, near Rome, on August 12,
2014 (Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP)
"This is a beach for dogs, we humans are only here as their guests," says Jose Luis, a regular visitor with his Labrador, Morena.

He is only half joking. Every dog that turns up is provided with a parasol and a water bowl: the humans have to stump up for their brollies and loungers.

BauBeach, which takes its name from the Italian word for 'woof', is the only beach in the area that allows dogs off the leash -- as long as they and their owners obey the key house rules (no aggressive behaviour for the dogs and don't forget to scoop the poop for the owners).

With the exception of the odd leg being cocked over a Gucci handbag, it works well.

As the dogs run themselves to exhaustion amid the excitement of making lots of new friends, owners can kick back.

"It is great, my dog has fun and I get to relax, so it kills two birds with one stone," says Roberta, a day tripper from Rome, as her dog Melissa rests between her legs.

No go area

All of which raises the question as to why there are not many more beaches like this one in what is a dog-loving country.

A population of 60 million has some six million officially registered canines, who are largely welcome in the nation's bars and restaurants.


Yet the vast majority of the country's beaches have long been a no-go area for man's best friend.

"Which is an aberration really, when you think that they are not closed to goats and horses," says Patrizia Daffina, who set up BauBeach in 1998.

"At the end of World War II, the development policies in the tourist resorts led to our dogs being chased off the beaches, to give them an image of cleanliness," says Daffina, who has swapped a career in Italian cinema for life as a champion of the nation's pooches.

A 30-minute drive from central Rome, BauBeach Maccarese covers 7,000 square metres (75,000 square feet) of ocean front, a big enough space to welcome more than 100 dogs, and their owners, at a time.

Owners pay an annual membership of 13 euros ($17) and four euros entrance on each visit. For that, the beach provides lifeguards, a vet and doggy showers for a hose-down before getting back in the car.

Happy dog, happy owner

"Apart from those on heat, all dogs can enjoy this beach, from Rottweilers to poodles, there is no discrimination here," says Daffina. More than 7,000 dogs visited last summer and that record is certain to be smashed this year.

Dogs play at Baubeach in Maccarese,
 near Rome, on August 12, 2014 (Photo: 
Gabriel Bouys/AFP)
The happy atmosphere is maintained by screening at the entrance, where new members are given a quick once-over by a member of the BauBeach team before being allowed off the leash, a process a bit like being eyed up by a bouncer at a nightclub.

Once in, dogs must be let off their leads and allowed to socialise.

Smaller and older pooches paddle in a shallow lagoon at the back of the beach, while the water-loving breeds head straight for the waves.

Others, like a Jack Russell terrier, opted just to sit and gaze watchfully out to sea while "handbag" dogs were carried across the hot sand by doting owners.

"Seeing your dog swimming, and having fun with other dogs, that makes you happy. Whenever your animal is happy, you are too," says Jose Luis, as Morena amuses herself digging another hole.


Life in space? Sea plankton discovered attached to ISS outer hull

RT, August 20, 2014

AFP Photo / NASA / HandoutAFP Photo / NASA / Handout

Russian scientists say they made a “unique” discovery while analyzing samples from the exterior of the International Space Station – traces of tiny sea creatures on the station’s windows and walls. It remains unclear how marine plankton ended up in space.

The results of the recent experiments prove that that some organisms are capable of living on the outer surface of the International Space Station (ISS), Vladimir Solovyev, head of the Russian segment of the ISS, has revealed.

Some studies suggest that these organisms may even develop in the hostile conditions of spaceflight, which include vacuum, low temperatures, radiation and others, he added.

“The results of the so-called ‘Test’ experiment are unique. On the surface of the [ISS] windows we found traces of marine plankton – the microparticles – that will become the subject of further studies,” Solovyev was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.

While the experiments on the matter were finalized last year, it is still unclear how the microparticles could get all the way to the ISS, Solovyev said.

“[Plankton in] such phases of development is found on the surface of the ocean. It isn’t characteristic to Baikonur,” he explained, referring to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan from where crew and cargo deliveries to ISS are launched.

“It turns out that there are some rising air currents, which settle on the surface of the station,” Solovyev added.

The former cosmonaut, who spent nearly a year in orbit back in the 1980s, said that outer surface of ISS is “heavily contaminated” by the waste products from engines of the arriving spacecraft, atmospheric discharges from the station during spacewalks by the crew and other factors.

“We are currently conducting special operations to be able to somehow to polish and clean up the windows [at the ISS]. This is especially important during long space flights,” Solovyev concluded.

The assembly of the International Space Station began in 1998. Since then it has spent nearly 6,000 days in Earth orbit.

Russia says it has no plans to continue its partnership in the station after 2020, while the US segment of the station is financed until 2024.

Russian space agency Roscosmos has proposed using the ISS to commission modules for a new space station, called OPSEK (Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Shark fin sales, prices plunge in China

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-08-20

A chef prepares shark fins for cooking, Aug. 6. (File photo/CNS)

Shark fin, a staple at official banquets and normally a hot commodity during the traditional peak season surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival, is disappearing from plates after a government ban and rising awareness about shark conservation in the country, according to Beijing's Mirror Evening News.

Shark fin is not available in many of Beijing's dried seafood markets as restaurants no longer serve dishes using the ingredient.

After visiting 18 high-end restaurants, the reporter found that due to the Chinese government's ban on serving shark fin at official government banquets and receptions, more than 60% of these restaurants have removed dishes containing shark fin from their menus.

In addition, five among 16 fried seafood stores have suspended shark fin product offerings.

"Our store began suspending shark fin supplies last year and now mainly sells abalone and sea cucumber," the owner of a dried seafood shop stated, adding that however, sales for all three products have dropped by around 90%.

Shark fin was being sold for about 2,400 yuan (US$390) per 500 grams last year, compared with 3,000 yuan (US$490) in 2012. The prices have dropped to a mere 1,500 to 1,600 yuan (US$244-$260) this year, the owner added.

According to the owner of another store that continues to sell shark fin, shark fin sales have been slice in half this year.

Since late 2012, China has banned shark fin soup and bird's nest soup from official banquets, a move that was meant to cut back on extravagance in government spending and which would also result in significant environmental benefits. However, the ban also hit dried seafood stores, with six out of 16 such stores the reporter visited saying they have lost orders for shark fin from high-end restaurants.

In related news, figures provided by conservation group WildAid showed that sales of shark fin in Guangzhou, the trading hub for shark fin in China, have plunged by 82% over the past two years, while retail and wholesale prices have dropped by 47% and 57%, respectively.

A survey conducted by the group also showed that 85% of Chinese consumers said they have not consumed dishes containing the ingredient over the past three years, while 28.2% of them attributed the government ban to the ingredient's disappearance from restaurant dishes. 



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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listener'

Yahoo  – AFP, Shannon Teoh, 19 Aug 2014

Fish listener Harun Muhammad clings onto his fishing boat at sea near
 Setiu lagoons on June 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

One hand clinging to his boat's gunwale, Harun Muhammad submerges himself, eyes and ears wide open underwater as he "listens" for fish sounds emanating from the blue depths.

Harun is one of Malaysia's last "fish listeners," and he and his apprentice son Zuraini are believed to be the only active practitioners of this mysterious and dying local art.

"When you listen, it is like through a looking glass -- you can see mackerel, sardine," said Harun, 68, who has fished the Setiu lagoons on Malaysia's rural east coast his whole life.

Fish listener Harun Muhammad clings onto
 his fishing boat at sea near Setiu lagoons
on June 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Manan
Vatsyayana)
"For us, we only look for gelama (a type of croaker). But in the schools of gelama, there will be other fish. The gelama is the king of fish."

Other fish listeners have passed away, retired or turned to modern fish-detection technology as the traditional practice has retreated in the face of dwindling catches and proliferating undersea noise.

Studies show Malaysian waters lost 92 percent of fishery resources between 1971 to 2007 due to overfishing.

"You can't copy our technique. You must gain the skill and learn the lay of the waters," said Harun.

"The wholesalers tell me, 'if you're gone, there will be no more gelama'," which fetches up to 10 times the price of similarly sized fish.

Sounds fishy

"Pak Harun", as he is known locally -- "Pak" is a Malay honorific similar to "Uncle" -- finds it hard to describe exactly how fish sound, but likens it to pebbles being dropped into water.

"They have a voice. This sound is this fish, that sound is another. When someone is new, they can't tell one fish song from another."

Harun and his crew of a dozen can go nearly a week without hearing gelama -- which invites scepticism about the claimed fish-listening ability.

But experts in sonifery (fish sounds) say sailors have long heard sounds of whales and fish through boat hulls.

"Scuba divers often do not hear anything because their breathing and bubble exhaust makes so much noise. However free divers, or divers using quiet re-breathers, can hear much better," said US-based marine ecologist Rodney Rountree.

Former fish listeners describe a range of techniques. Some claim they can feel changes in water temperature.

Fish listener Harun Muhammad (L) mans his fishing boat at sea near Setiu
lagoons with his son Zuraini on June 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

For Harun, it is a multi-sensory experience requiring eyes wide open.

"After a while, it is as if you can see. Even though the fish is very far, you can sense it in that direction and you go there. Only when you get close, you can hear the fish clearly," he said.

Though he sports a slight paunch on his sun-darkened frame under a spiky white head of hair, Harun remains sprightly despite his years, deftly clambering in and out of his boat in search of fish sounds.

Once he pinpoints a school of gelama, his crew -- who have hung back with engines off -- motor forward, drop their nets and strike the sides of their boats to spook the fish into the mesh trap.

"You think it's just stupid fish but they can see you coming. When they hear the sound of the boat, they run. The fish cry or shout and then their friends swim away," he said.

Listening in vain

Landing a rich catch was easy when stocks were abundant, Harun said.

But after decades of overfishing, he now "listens" up to several dozen times under the scorching equatorial sun before catching a snippet of gelama song.

Modernisation, including sand dredging, aquaculture, factories and fishing trawlers have transformed the Setiu wetlands, a rich but threatened coastal ecosystem centering on a 14-kilometre (9 mile) long lagoon along the South China Sea.

The state of Terengganu is seeking to make it a protected park.

But Harun's catch is increasingly unpredictable, averaging about $2,000 per week gross, leaving little left over after all crew are paid, and fuel, maintenance, and other costs are deducted.

Fish listener Harun Muhammad (L) mans
 his fishing boat at sea near Setiu lagoons
 with his son Zuraini on June 8, 2014 (AFP
Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)
"Each year, the catch has reduced. But I'm not good at anything else, so I still have to do this," said his son and apprentice Zuraini.

Malaysia ranks among the top consumers of seafood in the world.

Intergovernmental industry researchers Infofish say Malaysians eat an average of 56.5 kilogrammes of seafood per person annually, more even than Japanese.

The global average is 20 kilos.

WWF-Malaysia chief Dionysius Sharma said overfishing threatens to leave Malaysian waters "vast and barren".

The organisation warns Malaysia's waters could run out of seafood by 2048.

Despite the long odds, Zuraini, 44, said someday he will train one of his own sons.

"I don't want to see this practice die off," he said.