ApocaDocs
Today is April 18, 2021.
On this day (04/18), we posted 12 stories, over the years 2009-2016.


Converging Emergencies: From 2009 to 2016, 'Doc Jim and 'Doc Michael spent 30 to 90 minutes nearly every day, researching, reading, and joking about more than 8,000 news stories about Climate Chaos, Biology Breach, Resource Depletion, and Recovery. (We also captured stories about Species Collapse and Infectious Disease, but in this "greatest hits of the day" instantiation, we're skipping the last two.)
      We shared those stories and japes daily, at apocadocs.com (see our final homepage, upon the election of Trump).
      The site was our way to learn about what humans were doing to our ecosystem, as well our way to try to help wake up the world.
      You could call this new format the "we knew it all back then, but nobody wanted to know we knew it" version. Enjoy these stories and quips from a more hopeful time, when the two ApocaDocs imagined that humanity would come to its senses in time -- so it was just fine to make fun of the upcoming collapse.

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Biology
Breach


April 18, 2012, from Al Jazeera

Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists

Mutagenics just speed up natural evolution.
"The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."... Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.... The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP's disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.


April 18, 2012, from USAToday

Farmers must spend more on herbicides as effectiveness fades

Right on time, since Roundup Ready soybean patents expire in 2014!
A much-used herbicide, which for years has helped farmers throughout the United States increase profits, is losing its effectiveness and forcing producers to spend more and use more chemicals to control the weeds that threaten yields. The problem is Roundup, a herbicide introduced in the 1970s, and its partner, Roundup Ready crop seeds, genetically modified to withstand Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate. In 1996, Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready soybean, soon touted as a game changer. "It was an extremely valuable and useful tool for the past 15 years," said Bob Scott, extension weed scientist with the University of Arkansas. But now, weeds that Roundup once controlled are becoming resistant to glyphosate, Scott said. "It's a very, very serious issue here in the Delta," licensed crop consultant Joe Townsend said. "We're knee-deep in it."


April 18, 2011, from St. Petersburg Times

USF study concludes that common fungicide is deadly to frogs

On Silent Pond.
Two years ago some University of South Florida researchers began studying the effects of the most widely used fungicide in the country to see if it might kill more than just fungus. Turns out it's also a pretty effective frog-icide. "We were completely surprised to see it basically killed everything," said Taegan McMahon, the lead researcher on the study, which was published this week in a scientific journal called Environmental Health Perspectives. Frogs on farms with treated fields, frogs in ponds on golf courses, frogs in the back yard -- the fungicide could be lethal to any of them, the study suggests. "We don't know what the effect on humans could be," she added. "And we use it heavily in Florida." The fungicide, chlorothalonil, sold under such names as Bravo, Echo and Daconil, is used to treat farmers' fields, lawns and golf courses and is an ingredient in mold-suppressing paint. It's part of the same chemical family, organochlorines, as the banned pesticide DDT. It is known to cause severe eye and skin irritation in humans if handled improperly. Chlorothalonil kills mold and fungi by disrupting the respiratory functions of the cells, explained Jason Rohr, an assistant professor who co-authored the study and heads up USF's Rohr Ecology Lab. At this point the researchers don't know if that's how it kills frogs, too, he said. They just know it's lethal.


April 18, 2011, from BBC

BP oil spill: Fishermen woes persist, one year on

But the oysters that do survive will be that much stronger!
He has brought me out on his boat, a couple kilometres from the Gulf of Mexico, to show me why. He winches up a basket full of oysters and sifts through each one, shaking his head. "This one's dead. This one's dead. All of them empty shells. All of them, beautiful oysters, and they're dead. And all because of BP's oil spill one year ago," he says. Everything he has caught, he has to throw back. "It's heartbreaking," he says. "This is the biggest oyster kill in Louisiana history, probably in the Gulf coast's history. "I wish I wasn't part of it. I wish I wasn't here. It's heartbreaking."... Back at the headquarters of Collins Oyster Company, Nick's father Wilbert stands in the driveway, taking a long drag on a cigarette. At 73 years old, he is the head of the family business. "We used to have some of the best oysters in the country," he says. "They used to line up here for three hours at a time to get a bag full."... Now there are no cars lining up. Without any oysters, Wilbert has put up a sign on his front lawn. It reads: "Collins Oyster Company - Out of Business After 90 Years Due to BP Oil Spill."


April 18, 2011, from Sacramento Bee

Potent new rat poisons killing California wildlife

"Killing nature's own rodent control" is just good business. Think of all those future rat poison sales!
Outside Palm Desert, a young bobcat dies mysteriously at a nature preserve. South of Nevada City, a farmer finds an owl dead near his decoy shed. In San Rafael, a red-shouldered hawk bleeds heavily from its mouth and nose before succumbing at an animal care center. Each of those incidents shares a link to a widely used toxin that is turning up at dangerous levels in wildlife across California: rat poison. Over the years, rat poison has spared state residents untold filth and disease. But a new generation of highly toxic, long-lasting poisons is killing not only rats, mice and ground squirrels, but whatever feeds on them, too.... "Rodenticides are the new DDT," said Maggie Sergio, director of advocacy at WildCare, a Bay Area wildlife rehabilitation center that has responded to dozens of poisoning cases. "It is an emergency, an environmental disaster. We are killing nature's own rodent control."... Around Bakersfield, 79 percent of endangered San Joaquin kit foxes tested have turned up positive for rodenticide. Near Los Angeles, 90 percent of bobcats sampled had rat poison in their blood. "Basically, when we look for it, we find it," McMillin said.... Two tongue-twisting toxins turn up most often in wildlife: brodifacoum and bromadio-lone. On store shelves, they go by such names as D-Con, Havoc, Talon, Tomcat Ultra and Just One Bite.


April 18, 2009, from Associated Press

Vapor cloud from Ohio chemical leak dissipating

Apparently, people don't need to breathe at night.
A large hydrochloric acid spill early Saturday at an east-central Ohio plant that makes chemical additives spawned a massive vapor cloud that took hours to dissipate, officials said. No injuries were reported. More than 27,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a storage tank into a retention basin at Dover Chemical Corporation around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Dover Fire Chief Brooks Ross said. The leak was contained onsite, but a vapor cloud developed and lingered for more than five hours after the leak was discovered, Ross said.... it was fortunate the leak occurred overnight because the company is located near heavily traveled Interstate 77, and the area is heavily populated.


April 18, 2009, from San Francisco Chronicle

Swimmers feel sting as jellyfish thrive

...and the jellyfish shall inherit the earth...
Schools of creepy brownish jellyfish known for their painful stings are lurking in San Francisco Bay waving their long, poisonous tentacles like they own the place. Dozens, if not hundreds, of sea creatures known as Pacific sea nettles have been spotted in the bay feeding on small fish and plankton when they aren't stinging swimmers. One touch from a nettle's long, brown tentacles will result in a powerful, numbing jolt that can hurt for hours and sometimes days.... Biologists around the world are concerned about an apparent increase in the number and size of jellyfish blooms of all species. Studies are being conducted to determine whether the prevalence of jellyfish, which reproduce both sexually and asexually, has anything to do with global warming.


April 18, 2009, from Living on Earth

Pesticides and Birth Defects

Sounds like it's time to adopt a Spring celibacy program!
...When crops go in the ground and start to grow, it's the time for conventional farmers to apply chemical weed killers. For example, millions of pounds of Atrazine are applied on US farms each year, even though the herbicide is banned in Europe. And it should not be surprising that between April and July, there tend to be higher levels of pesticides in water than during the rest of the year, as the U.S. Geological Survey has found... What is surprising is new research that shows an association between the time of conception, pesticide levels, and the likelihood of crippling or fatal birth defects.... birth defects like spina bifida, cleft pallet and lip, down syndrome, urogenital abnormalities, club foot among others are some of the birth defects that are more likely to occur for women who conceive between April and July.

Climate
Chaos


April 18, 2011, from The Independent

Arctic coastlines recede by 'several metres' a year

Are you saying the wildlife doesn't like fresh coastline every year?
Arctic coastlines are crumbling away and retreating at the rate of two metres or more a year due to the effects of climate change. In some locations, up to 30 metres of the shore has been vanishing every year. The rapid rate of coastal erosion poses a major threat to local communities and ecosystems, according to a new report by more than 30 scientists from 10 countries. Rising temperatures are melting protective sea ice fringing the coastlines, leaving them more exposed to the elements, the experts say. The report, State of the Arctic Coast 2010, says 10-year average rates of coastal retreat are "typically in the one to two metres per year range, but vary up to 10 to 30 metres per year in some locations". Worst-hit areas include the Beaufort Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea.... The scientists stressed that the coastal habitats were the prime lifeline for Arctic communities, supporting a large population of fish, birds and mammals including an estimated 500 million seabirds.


April 18, 2011, from Discovery News

Climate Change and Corn a Bad Combo in Africa

A little more heat, and it'll be pre-popped!
Corn was thought to be more resistant to rising temperatures than other crops. But results from crop trials in Africa suggest that climate change could hurt corn (Zea mays) production. Warmer temperatures and drought could be the one-two punch that knocks out corn harvests, warn David Lobell of Stanford University and researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. "Projections of climate change impacts on food production have been hampered by not knowing exactly how crops fair when it gets hot," Lobell said in a Stanford press release. "This study helps to clear that issue up, at least for one important crop." A modest one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature could result in a loss of harvest for 65 percent of Africa's corn growing regions. If drought hits as well, all of the African corn belt will suffer some loss with 75 percent of the region losing as much as 20 percent of their harvest. The warning comes after observations of 20,000 corn trials in Sub-Saharan Africa were compared to weather data collected from the same areas.


April 18, 2009, from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council via ScienceDaily

Changing Climate May Lead To Devastating Loss Of Phosphorus From Soil

I can't LIVE without my recreational water sports!
Crop growth, drinking water and recreational water sports could all be adversely affected if predicted changes in rainfall patterns over the coming years prove true, according to research published in April in Biology and Fertility of Soils. Scientists from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded North Wyke Research have found for the first time that the rate at which a dried soil is rewetted impacts on the amount of phosphorus lost from the soil into surface water and subsequently into the surrounding environment. Dr Martin Blackwell who is one of the project leaders said:..."This is really worrying because high phosphorus concentrations in surface waters can lead to harmful algal blooms which can be toxic, cause lack of oxygen during their decay and disrupt food webs. This can also affect the quality of water for drinking and result in the closure of recreational water sport facilities."

Resource
Depletion

Recovery


April 18, 2009, from Washington Post

EPA Says Emissions Are Threat To Public

Whoa! So the EPA decided to live on the same planet as the rest of us!
The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday officially adopted the position that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to the public's health and welfare, a move that could trigger a series of federal regulations affecting polluters from vehicles to coal-fired power plants. The EPA's action marks a major shift in the federal government's approach to global warming. The Bush administration opposed putting mandatory limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, on the grounds that they would hurt business, and the EPA had resisted identifying such emissions as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.