An amusing video that shows a young family experiencing close-up
encounters with killer whales, a polar bear and several penguins
has been making the rounds on social media. The technology has been
described as a hologram by many people posting and reposting the
video, the first on this page.
Frankly, I was amazed at first, believing that people were
really up close and personal with a 3D image in a shopping mall.
The animals, which I assumed were projected for all to see,
appeared so real that it was no wonder that people in the video
were reaching out to touch them. Unfortunately, that’s not what we
are seeing, according to observers.
I am not the only one to be fooled by what is actually a
recorded video overlaid onto the live actions of people caught on a
TV monitor. Although it is fun to watch, this is just one video
combined with another, basically a double exposure. For a different
perspective, take a look at the still
photo that someone found on a Russian website.
I haven’t been paying attention to holigraphic technology
lately. I thought maybe I was 20 years behind, although I have
begun to learn about virtual reality and augmented reality, which
generally require some kind of viewer.
Another video making the rounds is labeled “Virtual whale 7d”
(second on this page), but Snopes, the hoax-busting website, says
this is no hologram either.
“As the children in the video are not wearing any sort of
special headgear, we can assume that they did not actually witness
a hologram whale splashing through their gym floor,” Snopes says on
With words like “we can assume,” I’m not sure that the usually
reliable Snopes has this one correct. Mainly, I would like to know
what this video actually shows — not what it does not show. If
anyone can explain these videos better, I would like to know.
Snopes seems to think that the second video is a product of
Magic Leap, a mysterious company that is working on a system that
merges virtual reality with the real world. Wired Magazine
goes deep to explain what might be coming, and this video from
Wired gives a quick overview of Magic Leap’s technology.
In a search of the Internet, I found lots of amusing 3D
applications, including various forms of entertainment. Some
purport to be holograms. Check out the video of the Dragon’s
Treasure show at the City of Dreams casino in Macau.
As for true holograms, researchers in South Korea say they have
developed the first 360-degree full-color hologram. It is a moving
image of a Rubik’s Cube, just 3 inches tall but viewable from any
angle. See the last video on this page.
“The floating image relies on diffraction generated by the
interference between the many lasers in the complex system, states
an article in
Digital Trends. “A previous holographic invention out of MIT
had a visible radian of 20 degrees, which isn’t exactly a proper
hologram but was as close as most technologists could get.”
A European green crab invasion may be taking place in Puget
Sound, and Washington Sea Grant intends to enhance its Crab Team
this summer with more volunteers looking in more places than ever
Training is about to get underway, and anyone with an interest
in furthering science while being exposed to the wonders of nature
may participate. It’s not always good weather, but I’ve been
inspired by the camaraderie I’ve witnessed among dedicated
The work involves going out to one or more selected sites each
month from April into September with a team of two to four other
volunteers. It is helpful to have folks who can carry the crab
traps, plastic bins and other equipment. For details, check out the
Washington Sea Grant website.
As I reported last fall, the first dreaded green crab showed up
in a trap deployed on San Juan Island. See
Water Ways, Sept. 3. About three weeks later, a second green
crab was found was found in Padilla Bay, about 30 miles southeast
of the first one. See
Water Ways, Sept. 24. Intensive trapping in Padilla Bay located
three more. See
Water Ways, Oct. 1.
Whether green crabs find suitable conditions to allow their
population to multiply is yet to be seen, but an extensive trapping
effort can help identify reproductive success, locate new areas of
invasion and remove individuals from the breeding population.
It’s an interesting scientific endeavor for Crab Team members.
Nobody wants to find green crabs, because of the threat that they
pose. Yet these volunteers know that their work may help prevent
the destruction of an ecosystem that has stood the test of time. To
gather background data, members count other species caught in the
traps and measure their average size during the trapping
For information about the volunteer effort and the threat of
green crabs, please read my stories in the Encyclopedia of Puget
Citing pollution problems in Puget Sound, an environmental group
is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke Washington
state’s authority to enforce the federal Clean Water Act.
Environmental Advocates, based in Portland, says a review of
103 discharge permits issued by the Washington Department of
Ecology shows a failure to control nitrogen pollution. Excess
nitrogen reduces oxygen levels in the water and triggers algae
blooms, resulting in serious problems in Puget Sound, according to
petition submitted to the EPA.
“Ecology determined that over 80 percent of the human sources of
nitrogen in Puget Sound comes from cities and towns, but it
continues to issue discharge permits as if it were completely
ignorant of these facts,” Nina Bell, the group’s executive
director, said in a
“It’s just flat out illegal to issue permits that contribute to
harmful pollution levels,” she added. “These permits are the
walking dead, existing merely to create the impression that the
state is doing its job to control water pollution when it is
The 113-page petition filed by NWEA describes the problems that
nitrogen can cause and the need to implement nitrogen-removal
systems, especially in sewage-treatment plants that discharge into
Puget Sound. EPA should either require Ecology to take action on
nitrogen or remove Ecology’s authority to issue permits under the
Clean Water Act, the petition says.
Asked to respond, Heather Bartlett, manager of Ecology’s Water
Quality Program, offered this statement:
“Washington’s water quality permitting program is a role model
in the nation. EPA and other states follow our lead when building
their programs. We are surprised that Northwest Environmental
Advocates has chosen to file this petition rather to appeal the
permits they cite.”
In December, the environmental group filed a
lawsuit against the EPA and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration for continuing to fully fund the
Department of Ecology at $5 million a year to control polluted
runoff under the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Act
“In 1998, the federal agencies told Washington that it was
failing to control pollution from farming and logging, dairy
operations, urban runoff, on-site septic systems, pesticides . . .
you name it,” said Bell in a
December news release.
“There is no evidence that at any point in the last 18 years
Washington has improved its control of polluted runoff,” she said.
“Certainly Puget Sound is as polluted as ever. The passage of time
demonstrates that the agencies’ decision to continue unlawful
federal funding has not produced results.”
The lawsuit asserts that federal law requires that the EPA and
NOAA withhold at least one-third of the federal funds from states
that fail to obtain approval for their plans to control nonpoint
source runoff, such as stormwater. Since 1998, the state has been
on notice that its plan was not acceptable.
NWEA filed a similar lawsuit in Oregon in 2009 and settled out
of court a year later, according to Bell. But the state’s proposed
pollution plan was disapproved in 2015, and Oregon’s annual funding
was subsequently cut by $1.2 million. For documents in the Oregon
NWEA’s document library.
The lawsuit challenging Ecology’s actions was filed in U.S.
District Court in Seattle, where legal proceedings are moving
Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers, one of the most amusing
bands in the Pacific Northwest, is touring Western Washington this
month, with stops in Port Townsend, Gig Harbor and Seattle.
Two years ago, when writing about how fishermen can save
rockfish from barotrauma, I featured a video by Ray and the band in
Water Ways (June 22, 2015). This video includes a rockfish
puppet and an original rap song by Ray Troll and Russell Wodehouse
telling all about the problem.
Besides music, Ray is well known for his “fin art,” which is
mostly about fish of all kinds, especially salmon. Ray prides
himself on the realistic images of fish, produced with scientific
precision, which he combines with humor to create some edgy
Ray is based in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he owns and operates
the Soho Coho Art
Gallery, filled with all kinds of amusing artwork, as shown in
the second video on this page. If you can’t make it to the gallery,
you could spend several amusing hours looking at his online
gallery of art and events, including all kinds of visual puns.
The entire website is a kick. Check out a sampling of his style in
the third video on this page.
The tour, called the “Great Northwest Whorl,” begins Saturday at
Townsend Shipwrights Coop, followed by a Tuesday performance at
Gig Harbor BoatShop in Gig Harbor. The band will perform at
Seattle Aquarium on Thursday before moving down to Astoria,
Ore., for a Saturday show at the Columbia Theater as part of the
Gathering. For details and ticket information, click on the
link to the venue. Tickets are limited in some locations.
“We’ll be playing in front of the big Window on Washington
Waters exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium, one of my favorite places
on the planet. This promises to be a truly magical evening, not
only because we’ll have salmon and rockfish looking over our
shoulders but also because my son’s band ‘The Amish Robots’ will be
opening for us! And it’s right in the middle of Octopus Week!”
Ray Troll met Russell Wodehouse in 1985 in Alaska, where Ray
moved after playing in a band during graduate school at Washington
State University followed by a few gigs with a different band in
Seattle. In Ketchikan, Russ was performing with The Squawking Fish,
a band with Shauna Lee and Brandon Loomis when they invited Ray to
join. After adding Craig Koch and Carolyn Minor, the group
performed for a few years before disbanding. Ray continued to write
with Russ and did a few gigs as The Ratfish Brothers until Ray was
inspired to bring together some of his old musical partners to form
The Ratfish Wranglers.
Through the years, Ray has blended science and art to produce a
series of traveling exhibits, including “Dancing to the Fossil
Record,” which opened at the California Academy of Sciences in San
Francisco in 1995. In addition to Ray’s drawings, the project
included giant fossils, fish tanks, an original soundtrack, a dance
floor and an interactive computer display. In 2009, he teamed up
with Russell Wodehouse again to produce music for a traveling
exhibit for the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. The
paleo-themed exhibit and later CD were called “Cruisin’ the Fossil
In 2007, Ray was awarded a gold medal from the Academy of
Natural Sciences for distinction in the natural history arts. In
2011, Ray and Kirk Johnson were jointly awarded a John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to develop a book
project, “The Eternal Coastline: the Best of the Fossil West from
Baja to Barrow.”
Ray has appeared on the Discovery Channel and has lectured at
Cornell, Harvard, and Yale universities. His work has been on
display in the Smithsonian, and a species of ratfish,
Hydrolagus trolli, was named after him. To read more about
Ray’s eclectic life, along with those of his fellow band members,
check out the bios on the
Ratfish Wranglers and Trollart
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward to protect
people’s health from toxic chemicals, despite an executive order
from President Trump that requires two existing regulations to be
repealed for every new regulation approved.
On Tuesday, the EPA will hold a public hearing to help develop
rules for controlling the use of 10 chemicals evaluated under the
revised Toxic Substances Control Act. (See
EPA Public Workshop.) As I described in
Water Ways, Dec. 1, these high-hazard chemicals could be banned
or significantly restricted in their use. Seven of the first 10
under review have been found in drinking water at various sites
across the country.
Preliminary information about the chemical risks and the
evaluation process can be found on
EPA’s TSCA website.
The revised Toxic Substances Control Act received overwhelming
bipartisan approval in Congress. Even the chemical industry
supported the law, in part because it would limit what states can
do to ban chemicals on their own. Check out my story in the
of Puget Sound.
We have yet to see how Trump’s executive order on controlling
regulations will affect upcoming rules for toxic chemicals, but the
order is already causing some confusion. It has been ridiculed as
“nonsensical” by environmental groups, which filed a lawsuit this
week seeking to overturn the order. More than a few Republicans say
they don’t know how it will work.
One of the primary objections to the order is that it totally
ignores the potential financial benefits — not to mention the
health and environmental improvements — brought about by many
regulations. What is considered an extra expenditure by industry,
for example, could ultimately save more money in health costs for
people who benefit from the rules.
Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who headed the EPA under
former President George W. Bush, said major changes can be expected
anytime a new administration comes into office, but Trump may be
“It’s the two-for-one that bothers me that most,” Whitman said
in an interview with
NPR’s “Here & Now.”
“I mean, it’s one thing to say, ‘Look, we need to scrub our
regulations. We need to make sure that those that we have in place
are doing the jobs they’re supposed to do, that they haven’t
outlived their usefulness, that they are not holding back our
ability to grow as a country, economically,” she said. “But
two-for-one just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because there’s
just not a bucket somewhere sitting with useless regulations.”
Trump’s executive order creates a conflict with court rulings
and scientific evidence requiring updated regulations under the
law, she said. “And, what you don’t want to do is to say, ‘Well,
we’re just not gonna move forward with any new regulations, because
we can’t find a regulation that we think is irrelevant.'”
As stated in the complaint, “The executive order will block or
force the repeal of regulations needed to protect health, safety
and the environment across a broad range of topics — from
automobile safety, to occupational health, to air pollution, to
“Indeed, the executive order directs agencies to disregard the
benefits of new and existing rules — including benefits to
consumers, to workers, to people exposed to pollution, and to the
economy — even when the benefits exceed costs.
“The executive order’s direction to federal agencies to zero out
costs to regulated industries … will force agencies to take
regulatory actions that harm the people of this nation,” the
Methods for approving and repealing regulations are spelled out
in the longstanding Administrative Procedures Act as well as
various statutes approved by Congress — and they cannot be
overridden by an executive order, the lawsuit claims.
With regard to the Toxic Substances Control Act, the law
requires EPA to evaluate chemicals for safety “without
consideration of costs or other nonrisk factors.” One chemical
under review is trichloroethylene, which has been found to harm
developing fetuses and cause various forms of cancer in humans.
“The agency estimates that the [proposed] vapor-degreasing rule
will impose costs from $30 million to $45 million annually but have
net benefits (including health protection benefits) of $35 million
to $402 million annually,” the lawsuit says, “and that the
aerosol-degreasing and spot-cleaning rule will impose costs of
$170,000 annually but have net benefits of $9 million to $24.6
The executive order requires that new protective regulations be
offset by repealing existing regulations without considering the
cost benefits of either the new regulations or the old ones.
“To repeal two toxic substance safety standards for the purpose
of adopting one would be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of
discretion and contrary to the TSCA,” the lawsuit says.
While reading over the legal complaint, I was wondering if these
groups might have filed the lawsuit too soon. Normally, the courts
will not rule on a case like this before the government takes an
action that causes actual harm. Perhaps, I thought, they really
need to wait until an agency either refuses to approve a new
regulation or repeals an existing one in violation of federal
Then I realized that various environmental laws allow for any
citizen to bring a lawsuit against the federal government for
failure to protect human health, the environment or endangered
species. In challenging the executive order, the NRDC points out
that the president’s directive, if it stands, could force
environmental groups to make some life-or-death decisions.
The Endangered Species Act, for example, does not allow federal
agencies to consider costs when listing species as threatened or
endangered, but costs must be balanced when protecting “critical
habitat” to help avoid extinction. Trump’s executive order itself
goes well beyond the balancing of costs spelled out in the ESA,
according to the lawsuit.
Furthermore, the NRDC and other groups will sometimes sue the
government to compel an agency to designate critical habitat. The
executive order places groups like the NRDC in an “untenable
position,” according to the lawsuit. They can either file a
lawsuit, knowing that the responsible agency will then proceed to
eliminate critical habitat designations for two other species, or
they can allow the agency to continue to violate the Endangered
The NRDC argues that the latter would be detrimental not only to
the species at risk but also to people who have scientific,
recreational, aesthetic and other interests in protecting that
species. One way or another, the NRDC argues, the executive order
will have a detrimental effect on threatened and endangered species
as a whole, contrary to the law approved by Congress.
So far, I have heard of no agencies delaying, avoiding or
repealing regulations on account of the new executive order. But,
considering that federal agencies come under the president’s
authority, we can expect that legal battles have just begun, and
this matter may require congressional intervention.
The Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise was decommissioned last
week after 55 years of meritorious service under 10 U.S.
presidents. Deployments ranged from the Cuban Missile Crises in
1962 to first-strike operations after 9-11.
The “Big E” was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier and upon commissioning became the world’s longest ship at
1,100 feet. The video shows highlights of the Enterprise and last
I was not aware until last week’s ceremonies that eight ships
named Enterprise have served the United States since before the
country was founded. I’m providing a summary, below, of the
missions and adventures of all eight ships. For much of the
information, thanks goes to Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Eric Lockwood of the Navy’s
History and Heritage Command.
It’s nice to know that the Enterprise tradition will live on
with a new Enterprise, already being planned. It will be the third
aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford class and the first
supercarrier not named after a person since the carrier America was
commissioned in 1966. The new Enterprise, CVN-80, should be under
construction in Newport News, Va., by the end of next year. It is
scheduled for service beginning in 2027, maintaining no more than
11 active carriers (Congressional
Research Service, PDF 20.7 mb).
The new USS Enterprise is scheduled to replace the USS Nimitz,
currently home-ported in Bremerton.
The first Enterprise, 1775-1777, was a sailing
ship captured from the British by Capt. Benedict Arnold on May 18,
1775. Until then, the supply ship was known as George. Outfitted
with guns, the Enterprise defended American supply routes in New
The ship was involved in disrupting the British invasion of New
York later that year. One of five ships to survive the two-day
battle, the Enterprise was run aground and burned to prevent
recapture during the evacuation of Ticonderoga on July 7, 1777.
The second Enterprise, 1776-1777, was a
schooner purchased for the Continental Navy in December of 1776.
The ship operated mainly as a transport vessel in Chesapeake Bay.
Limited records suggest the ship was turned over to the Maryland
Council of Safety in February 1777.
The third Enterprise, 1799-1823, was a schooner
used to capture pirate ships during the Barbary Wars. The daring
raid to burn the frigate Philadelphia in Tripoli in 1804 was led by
Lt. Stephen Dacatur Jr., commanding officer of the Enterprise.
Refitted as a brig, the ship served during the War of 1812,
including a skirmish with the British brig Boxer on Sept. 5, 1813,
when both British and American commanding officers were killed.
After chasing smugglers, pirates and slavers from 1815 to 1823, the
Enterprise became stranded and broke up in the West Indies without
loss of any crew members.
The fourth Enterprise, 1831-1844, was a
schooner built by the New York Navy Yard and protected U.S.
shipping routes throughout the world, including Brazil and the Far
East. In 1839, the ship rounded the Horn, stopped over in Argentina
and returned to the U.S. Following a short deactivation, the
Enterprise sailed back to South America in 1840 before a final
deactivation in 1844, when the ship was sold.
The fifth Enterprise, 1877-1909, was a
bark-rigged sloop-of-war constructed at the Portsmouth Naval Yard
in Maine. Launched in 1874 and commissioned in 1877, the ship
conducted hydrographic surveys along shorelines and rivers
throughout the world, including the Amazon and Madeira rivers in
South America. In 1891 and ’92, the Enterprise served as a training
platform for cadets at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
For the next 17 years, the ship was placed on loan to the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts and used as a maritime school. The
Enterprise was returned to the Navy in 1909 and sold five months
The sixth Enterprise, 1916-1919, was a 66-foot
motor patrol craft purchased by the Navy in 1916. The
noncommissioned motorboat conducted patrol duties in Newport, R.I.,
and New Bedford, Mass. In 1919, the boat was transferred to the
Bureau of Fisheries.
The seventh Enterprise, 1938-1947, offered a
vast difference from its previous namesake. The Yorktown-class
aircraft carrier earned 20 battle stars during World War II, more
than any other warship in operation during the war years. Battles
included Midway, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz Islands, Guadalcanal,
Leyte Gulf and the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.
During the Battle of Guadalcanal, the carrier took three direct
hits, killing 74 and wounding 95 crew members. In October 1942,
when the aircraft carrier Hornet was abandoned during the Battle of
Santa Cruz, the Enterprise was able to take those orphaned
During much of 1943, the Enterprise was relieved of duty while
undergoing an overhaul at Bremerton’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
In June of 1944, the ship was one of four carriers engaged in the
largest carrier aircraft battles in history, the Battle of the
Damaged by a bomb in March 1944 and by a kamikaze attack the
following April, both events required repairs. In May, another
kamikaze attack destroyed the forward elevator, killed 14 and
wounded 34 in the ship’s last battle of the war.
After repairs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the carrier sailed
to Hawaii, then on to New York via the Panama Canal, where 1,141
sailors were discharged from duty in October 1945.A series of three
voyages to Europe brought home more than 10,000 veterans.
Decommissioning was in February 1947. Private groups were unable to
raise enough money for preservation and the ship was sold for scrap
in July 1958.
The eighth Enterprise, 1961-2012, was powered
by eight nuclear reactors, two for each of its four propeller
shafts. It was a major engineering accomplishment, and the
designers were not sure that it would work until testing began on
the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Highlights of
the ship’s legendary history are outlined in a timeline published
Virginia Pilot in Norfolk, Va. Enterprise trivia questions are
Maritime Executive magazine.
There is one other proud Enterprise, a fictional spacecraft
called the Starship Enterprise. Of course, I’m talking about the
primary setting for the Star Trek television series and movies. The
Enterprise carried the registry numbler NCC-1701, designating it as
a civilian aircraft, the first to be built in the 17th federation
Three versions of the Starship Enterprise were developed for the
original Star Trek series along with the first through seventh
films. Three ships were featured in the “Next Generation” series,
and several others were shown in alternate timelines.
It’s becoming an annual tradition for me to feature some of the
amusing Super Bowl commercials on the day after the big game,
especially focusing on those with water-related themes. I also try
to share a little of the backstory about the commercials on my
Kia ad with Melissa McCarthy
A day after actress Melissa McCarthy appeared on “Saturday Night
Live” as President Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, Melissa
was back on television in a Super Bowl commercial, doing her best
to save whales, trees and rhinos.
McCarthy, who has won at least 20 awards for comedic roles in
films and television, plays a tragic eco-hero in the Super Bowl
commercial. In real life, she has accepted a position as Kia
spokeswoman to promote the brand-new Niro, a car that captured a
Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption by a hybrid
vehicle, tested during a coast-to-cost trip. For details, check out
Carscoops online magazine.
Lifewtr “Inspiration Drops”
In the second video on this page, we hear John Legend’s rich
voice singing in a vibrant commercial called “Inspiration Drops”
for Lifewtr, a purified water product created by PepsiCo.
To promote a stylistic image, Lifewtr has teamed up with several
artists to bring unique artistic talents to the product labels. As
stated on Lifewtr’s
Facebook page, “We believe inspiration is as essential to life
as water, and exist to satisfy your thirst for both. That’s why
every drop of LIFEWTR is pure and crisp, and every bottle is a
showcase of vibrant art from artists around the world.”
The strategy to capture a specific segment of the premium
bottled-water market is described in Fortune
Proctor & Gamble is testing the waters to see if the act of
cleaning can be packaged as a sexual turn-on. This is the first
time Mr. Clean has appeared in any Super Bowl ad, despite his
presence on the product label for about 60 years, according to
Advertising Age magazine.
“There’s no better way to reach a co-ed audience than the Super
Bowl,” said Martin Hettich of P&G, quoted in the magazine. “And
the subject we’re broaching with Mr. Clean really is for a co-ed
audience, because it’s talking about cleaning and how men and women
divide up the chores. And there’s still a way to go.”
Honda’s “Chasing Dreams”
I could never have guessed that this was a commercial for an
automobile — the Honda CR-V to be exact. In the commercial, we see
school yearbook pictures of celebrities coming to life and speaking
out from their yearbook pages. Participants include Jimmy Kimmel,
shown playing the clarinet.
“Honda celebrates the people who chase their dreams with
reckless abandon, and the amazing things that happen when their
dreams come true,” states the description on YouTube. “For us, they
lead to vehicles like the all-new Honda CR-V, a 20-year dream come
Wendy’s non-frozen beef
The idea for this commercial, which shows a guy thawing out
hamburger with a hair dryer, grew out of a Twitter battle between
someone at Wendy’s and a person dubbed an “Internet troll” by folks
recounting the story, including Aimee Picchi of
CBS Moneywatch. Aimee provides the full Twitter exchange.
The so-called troll, whose handle is “Thuggy D,” could not
believe that Wendy’s hamburger meat was never frozen along the way
from cow to table. Describing meat wasting away in a warm truck,
the writer must have forgotten about a technology called
refrigeration — which the Wendy’s rep soon pointed out.
Another Twitter user complimented Wendy’s for taking up the
Twitter battle and tweeted: “Whoever your social media expert was,
they need a raise. They burned that guy so hard.”
How many of the baby look-a-likes were you able to identify? Of
course, I’m talking about the NFL commercial in which babies are
playing the roles of identifiable football greats — but at
one-tenth the size. Take a look at the video on this page if you’d
like another chance at guessing who the tiny tots will become when
they grow up.
If you’re still not sure, the babies are meant to show a
resemblance to Mike Ditka (sweater vest), Michael Irvin (diamond
stud earrings), Joe Namath (long fur coat), Bill Belichick
(scowling), Marshawn Lynch (dreadlocks) and Von Miller (cowboy
hat), according to
Next, we see a tiny Vince Lombardi strolling away (fedora and
overcoat), following by the question, “Who’s next?” as babies
Belichick and Davonta Freeman appear with the Super Bowl
“If you are an avid fan, you crack up right away and get each
one,” Dawn Hudson, the NFL’s chief marketing officer, tells USA
Today. “If you are a casual fan, you’ll know a couple, and we think
it will intrigue you enough to go online and see who the others
Invasive species from San Francisco Bay — known as the most
infested waterway in the country — would have an open door for
entry into Puget Sound under a bill moving through Congress.
You may have heard this line before. I posted the same warning
last summer, when the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, or VIDA, was
attached to the “must-pass” National Defense Authorization Act.
Ways, July 16). Opponents fought back and were able to strip
VIDA from the bill before final passage.
Now, with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and
an anti-regulatory atmosphere in place, the bill’s passage seems
more likely this time — to the detriment of Puget Sound, the Great
Lakes and other waterways.
If VIDA passes, ships coming up the coast from California will
be able to take on infested ballast water in San Francisco Bay and
discharge it without treatment into Puget Sound. Invasive species
that hitched a ride in the ballast water would have a chance to
populate Puget Sound.
A similar scenario could play out in the Great Lakes, where lack
of treatment years ago may have resulted in the invasion of zebra
and quagga mussels, causing billions of dollars in damages. Check
out the opinion column by the
Green Bay Press-Gazette Editorial Board.
The legislation also would exempt small commercial vessels and
fishing boats from federal discharge rules. That would allow these
vessel owners to clean their hulls in open water wherever they want
— even if the hulls were covered with invasive species, said Allen
Pleus, who heads Washington state’s Aquatic Invasive Species
VIDA opponents — including the governors of nine coastal and
Great Lakes states — are trying to attach amendments to the bill to
shore up protections for their states’ waters, Allen told me. But
representatives of the shipping industry, who have been pushing
hard to get the bill passed, appear to be in no mood for
The legislation, S.
168, was passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science and Transportation without amendment two weeks ago.
Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, a member of the committee, was
unable to stop it.
“Puget Sound restoration is a priority for me, and that’s why I
voted ‘no’ on the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act in the Commerce
Committee,” she said in a short email. “Strong protections to
prevent pollution and halt the introduction of invasive species are
two key priorities needed to keep Puget Sound healthy and
productive. I will continue to work to protect clean water, healthy
ecosystems and support our sustainable fishing and maritime
For years, the shipping industry has been frustrated by a
multi-level regulatory system in which they must comply with “clean
water” rules coming at them from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and any number of states that have
developed their own regulations. Who can blame the industry for
being frustrated? Industry officials would like one national
standard to follow.
In the furor over regulations, however, many people have
forgotten that state and EPA rules were imposed only after the
Coast Guard failed to protect the environment. VIDA would address
the problem, but not by considering the serious concerns being
faced in different parts of the country. The bill would place the
Coast Guard in charge of a single national standard, stripping
authority from the states and EPA.
While the Coast Guard requires ballast water to be treated or
exchanged on ships crossing the ocean from other countries, there
is no such requirement for ships moving along the coast if they
don’t have treatment systems on board.
Coast Guard officials have many duties when it comes to ensuring
the safety of ships, and invasive species are not among their
priorities, noted Allen Pleus, whose program resides within the
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Industry officials have told me that state concerns can be
addressed by petitioning the Coast Guard for stricter rules in
those geographic areas where they are needed. But that could take
months or years with no assurance of approval. More importantly,
there are no stop-gap measures to prevent ships from dumping
infested ballast water into Puget Sound. Everyone knows that once
an invasive species gets established, there is no going back.
Changes are coming with new ballast-water-treatment systems
being certified by the Coast Guard. The new treatment systems are
technologically complicated, and trained operators are needed to
make sure they kill a fair number of invasive organisms, as
designed, Allen said. Without adequate funding, the Coast Guard
will be in no position to make sure that invasive species aren’t
transported from place to place, he said, adding, “States should be
allowed to pick up the slack.”
There is another important difference between Washington state’s
approach and that of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard conducts
inspections and checks paperwork only after a vessel has arrived in
port. State rules require ship operators to send documentation
prior to arrival, allowing time to address potential problems
before it is too late.
“The economic and regulatory issues faced by the shipping
industry are of great interest to our states,” the letter says.
“However, VIDA does not provide a reasonable balance between the
economic benefits of the shipping industry and the significant
environmental, economic, and human health costs states face from
infested and polluted waters.”
Seals and sea lions can no longer be ignored in the effort to
recover our threatened Puget Sound chinook salmon or our endangered
new study shows that seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4
million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times
more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report. Please
read the story I wrote for the Encyclopedia
of Puget Sound, also published in an abridged version in the
Seals and sea lions in Puget Sound get the first chance to catch
the chinook as they leave the streams and head out to the ocean.
Since they are eaten at a very young age, these small chinook,
called “smolts,” never grow into adults; they never become
available for killer whales or humans.
Based on rough estimates, as many as one in five of these young
fish are getting eaten on their way out of Puget Sound. If they
were to survive the seals and sea lions and one factors in the
remaining mortality rate, these fish could translate into an
average of 162,000 adult chinook each year. That’s twice the number
eaten by killer whales and roughly six times as many as caught in
Puget Sound by tribal, commercial and recreational fishers
combined, according to the study.
Since the beginning of the manned space program, astronauts have
been playing with water in microgravity conditions. The result has
been a large assortment of videos demonstrating the unique and
amusing properties of water.
In the first video on this page, Chris Hadfield, an astronaut
with the Canadian Space Agency demonstrates what happens aboard the
International Space Station when you ring out a soaked wash cloth
in the weightlessness of space.
The experiment was suggested by students Kendra Lemke and
Meredith Faulkner of Lockview High School in Fall River, Nova
Scotia. It was posted on YouTube in 2013.
The video shows that the surface tension of water is great
enough that the water keeps clinging when Hadfield rings out the
cloth. If you watch closely, however, you can see a few droplets
fly off when he starts to ring out the cloth.