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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(4)
Plague/Virus:(4)
Climate Chaos:(5)
Resource Depletion: (1)
Biology Breach:(1)
Recovery:()
This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
carbon emissions  ~ tipping point  ~ faster than expected  ~ arctic meltdown  ~ ocean acidification  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ bird collapse  ~ water issues  ~ overpopulation  ~ predator depletion  ~ weather extremes  



ApocaDocuments (15) gathered this week:
Sun, Dec 16, 2007
from NPR:
Scientists Seek Cause of Mysterious 'Rogue' Waves
"'Rogue waves' are monsters of the open ocean -- the powerful 'walls of water' can destroy even large ships. Satellite measurements have found them to be up to 100 feet tall. So far, scientists have disagreed about what causes the waves, but researchers at UCLA think that they may have found a clue" ...


Talk about anthropomorphizing: a "rogue" of a wave...

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Sun, Dec 16, 2007
from The Observer:
Inside Ebola's Zone of Death
"Inside Ebola's zone of death Uganda is gripped by fear of an epidemic explosion' as the killer virus develops a slower and potentially more lethal version." ...


Ebola, nowhere near the killer of Malaria, is nevertheless embodies our worst fears of a plague to end all plagues.

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Fri, Dec 14, 2007
from American Geophysical Union, by way of Reuters:
Carbon cuts a must to halt warming -- US scientists
"We're a lot closer to climate tipping points than we thought we were," said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "If we are to have any chance in avoiding the points of no return, we're going to have to make some changes." .... "In the summer of 1980, the North Pole was covered by an ice sheet about the size of the continental United States, but this year the ice would not have covered the states west of the Mississippi River." ...


Makes Bali and Kyoto sound like
spitting at a fire to put it out.

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Fri, Dec 14, 2007
from Science Daily (US):
Carbon Crisis lethal for coral reefs
"If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth's coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.... "This crisis is on our doorstep, not decades away. We have little time in which to respond, but respond, we must!" says Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, lead author of the Science paper, The Carbon Crisis: Coral Reefs under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification." ...


When any highly respected scientist uses an (!) exclamation mark, perk up your ears. They were trained in Respected Scientist School never to do that.

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Fri, Dec 14, 2007
from Jakarta Post (Indonesia):
Bird flu resurfaces in Asia, human deaths and poultry outbreaks reported
"Bird flu has resurfaced in parts of Asia, with human deaths reported in Indonesia and China and fresh poultry outbreaks plaguing other countries during the winter months when the virus typically flares. Indonesia, the nation hardest hit by the H5N1 virus, announced its 93rd death on Friday after a 47-year-old man died a day earlier in a Jakarta hospital, said Health Ministry spokesman Joko Suyono. He fell ill on Dec. 2 and was admitted with flu-like symptoms, becoming Indonesia's 115th person infected with the disease." ...


Thankfully, in some scenarios, there'll be too few birds to transmit H5N1. Um... wait...

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Fri, Dec 14, 2007
from The Hindu (India), Nov 21, 2007:
Urbanisation causing wetland depletion
"Experts found that the pollution of wetland ecosystems in the State was considerably high in Vembanad-Kol backwater system following various types of pollution in the upstream areas of the Pampa, Achenkovil and Periyar rivers. Also, salinity intrusion into rivers due to low water level in the summer months makes it unfit for drinking and other uses like irrigation. Heavy metal concentration was observed during the pre-monsoon months. The high metal concentration, observed in Kochi harbour area during the pre-monsoon season, was also attributed to the intrusion of high saline waters and precipitation of particulate matter." ...


"... on the verge of total degradation." That term ['total degradation'] was not defined, so we must disregard it.

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from AP News:
Ominous Arctic melt worries experts
"An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years. Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press." ...


One of the scientists quoted in the story says: "The Arctic is screaming." We can hear that scream all the way 'round the world.

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from The Washington Post (2005, US):
Wave of Marine Species Extinctions Feared
"Sitting in a small motorboat a few hundred yards offshore on a mid-July afternoon, Samuel H. Gruber -- a University of Miami professor who has devoted more than two decades to studying the lemon sharks that breed here -- plunged into despondency. The mangroves being ripped up to build a new resort provide food and protection that the sharks can't get in the open ocean, and Gruber fears the worst." ... "It's been a slow-motion disaster," said Boris Worm, a professor at Canada's Dalhousie University, whose 2003 study that found that 90 percent of the top predator fish have vanished from the oceans. "It's silent and invisible. People don't imagine this. It hasn't captured our imagination, like the rain forest." ...


"At the end of my career, I get to document the destruction of the species I've been documenting for 20 years," [Gruber] lamented as he watched the bulldozers. "Wonderful."


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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from Washington Post (US):
Virus Starts Like a Cold But Can Turn Into a Killer
"Infectious-disease expert David N. Gilbert was making rounds at the Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon in April when he realized that an unusual number of patients, including young, vigorous adults, were being hit by a frightening pneumonia. "What was so striking was to see patients who were otherwise healthy be just devastated," Gilbert said. Within a day or two of developing a cough and high fever, some were so sick they would arrive at the emergency room gasping for air. "They couldn't breathe," Gilbert said. "They were going to die if we didn't get more oxygen into them." Gilbert alerted state health officials, a decision that led investigators to realize that a new, apparently more virulent form of a virus that usually causes nothing worse than a nasty cold was circulating around the United States. At least 1,035 Americans in four states have been infected so far this year by the virus, known as an adenovirus. Dozens have been hospitalized, many requiring intensive care, and at least 10 have died. ...


"This appears to be another one of those emerging infections that has taken on genetic material or mutated so that it is now more virulent than it used to be."
Ah, we see. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet to, say, H5N1B, or Staph, or HIV. Yet.

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from AAAS (US):
Sir David King Urges Global Pact by 2009 to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Speaking to an overflow audience, King said that the Earth is already feeling destructive effects of human-caused climate change. But if a rigorous new agreement could be approved in 2 years and implemented by 2012, he said, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases could be stabilized between 450 and 550 parts per million. "The impacts at 450 ppm will be 'dangerous,'" King said. But if levels were to approach 550 ppm and beyond, possible on current trends by mid-century, impacts which would become progressively more severe at higher levels include: reduced crop yields in many areas; reduced supplies of fresh water; storms, droughts, and forest fires of increasing intensity; species extinction; lethal heat waves; and coastal flooding that could create tens of millions of refugees. "We must get global agreement," he said, "and I'm standing here in Washington [D.C.] saying: 'We need it in a very short period of time.' " ...


"Atmospheric CO2 levels alone are now at over 380 ppm and expected to reach 400 ppm within a decade."

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from Journal of Carbon Balance and Management:
Projected climate change impact on oceanic acidification
"Future projections of ocean acidification will therefore mainly be dependent on the future level of atmospheric CO2. The consequences of a small but sustained decrease in oceanic pH on marine phytoplankton are virtually unknown. It will be important for marine ecologists in the future to better understand the sensitivities of phytoplankton growth to pH in particular, so as to better quantify the likely future biological changes at the regional and global scale." ...


Our favorite part from the abstract (as only scientists could say it): "This suggests the only way to slowdown or mitigate the potential biological consequences of future ocean acidification is to significantly reduce fossil-fuel emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere."

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from ApocaDocs:
The Best 350 Environmental Jokes by 10/10/10
Environmentalists, according to most conservative pundits, are a humorless lot. That's the rap, that's the rep, that's the registration. We're too serious, getting all "the ecosystem is collapsing" and all "if we don't eat wheat bran we'll be consuming up the world." The ApocaDocs beg to disagree. We've been laughing about environmental collapse since 2008. We've logged more than 5,000 quips about news stories on Species Collapse, Climate Chaos, Resource Depletion, Biology Breach, Infectious Outbreak, and yes, even Recovery, during that time. In support of 350.org's 10/10/10 initiative, we are gathering the 350 best jokes, quips, one-liners, puns, sarcasms, ironies, three-deniers-in-a-bars that you can provide. Got a chuckle? Got a joke for the end of the world? Go over to http://apocadocs.com/cgi-bin/350jokes.cgi and share it. Or, just come and see it, and laugh at what members of your tribe are laughing at. The ApocaDocs will add their best context-independent quips ("it's the ecology, stupid" or "The free market of corporate politics is our friend. They told me so." or "I'm not worried. I invested in ecology default swaps"), but we will happily discard anything we do, if something better comes along. We reserve the right to edit, of course, and discard stupid crap. But you wouldn't create stupid crap -- you'd be funny! It's also possible we'll get 16,314 great jokes, and we'll have to whittle it down to the best 350. And that's our job (though we may devise a voting scheme, if there's great interest, and hope that others will help!). In the end, we'll have a great resource for humor (full database available in XML, fully CC-wide-open licensed), perhaps including the 16,314 on offer. We intend to have a random-joke-displayer on the apocadocs.com site, as well as category-of-joke generator for topical relevance. Regardless, if you make us all laugh, you'll be proving the pundits wrong! Whattaya call that.... PRICELESS! We can have a sane ecosystem restoration movement AND a bit of a laugh as we do it. Come join in the silliness -- add a joke for 10/10/10! Entries actually close on 10/08/10, to give us time to edit. Come over now -- I bet you make yourself and others laugh! ...


This will become a weapon in the war against denial! Our humor will be unstoppable!

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Mon, Dec 10, 2007
from Reuters (Africa):
A new virus called Chikungunya spreads to several new countries via mosquito
"This mutation increases the potential for Chikungunya virus to permanently extend its range into Europe and the Americas," Stephen Higgs and colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch wrote in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens. ...


Now the Asian Tiger mosquito can carry more than merely H5N1.

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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Mon, Dec 10, 2007
from The Daily Star (Bangladesh):
Natural calamities and Bangladesh growth potential
Apart from natural calamities we are facing two other disasters in Bangladesh: (a) our agricultural land is reducing, almost 1 percent per annum. As a result, we would not be able to increase the production of food grains beyond the limits supported currently available by high yield varieties, (b) the high growth of population is hindering all our development plans. If we could control the population growth from the time of our independence, there would not be any people below poverty level at this point in time. ...


Our estimate is that it would take 651,214 George Harrisons to address the problem.

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Mon, Dec 10, 2007
from The Telegraph (UK):
One in three bird species faces extinction
An increase of 1C from present temperatures is likely to trigger roughly 100 bird extinctions. But if the global average temperature were to rise 5C, from that point on an additional degree of warming, to 6C, would probably cause 300 to 500 more bird extinctions. ...


Imagine the extinctions of critters that can't fly to where it might be cooler.

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Other
Weeks' Archived
ApocaDocuments:

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