A Quest For Film wrote:http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookou ... s-in-paris
A Brooklyn man's quest to locate the owner of a roll of film he found in the snow in Prospect Park after a blizzard has ended with a reunion in Paris.
Todd Bieber stumbled upon the film canister while cross-country skiing after a 2010 Christmas blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow over the city. Bieber developed the film and was captivated by the photos, which show what he surmised to be out-of-towners taking a snowy and beautiful journey from Central Park across the Brooklyn Bridge to an empty Coney Island amusement park, and then to Prospect Park, where they must have accidentally dropped the film canister.
Bieber's video about his quest quickly went viral, garnering over a million views. Thousands of people wrote offering tips and advice. Finally, he got the response he was looking for.
It turns out the photos were taken by a French student temporarily studying in America named Camille, whose brother was visiting her in New York when the storm hit. Camille's ex-roommate wrote to Bieber to say that she thought the photos were taken by Camille because she recognized the block outside her apartment. Bieber then decided to embark on a five-country road trip through Europe to track down Camille and return the photos.
He asked people in Europe who had emailed him about the video if he and his girlfriend could stay with them during their journey.
When he finally got to Paris, the meeting with Camille was a little awkward.
"We sat and drank tea and awkwardly talked," Bieber says in the video. "I threw her in this situation and posted photos of her family that ended up all over the Internet." She joked with Bieber that her family had started calling him the "boy Amelie," after the quirky character in the eponymous French movie who decides to change the lives of strangers around her.
Bieber tells the Lookout that Camille was happy to have her film back. "But could you imagine waking up one morning and finding out the whole internet is passing around pictures you took of your family on vacation? Her initial reaction was appropriate given the circumstances," he says.
Bieber also met Camille's brother, who is pictured in her photos and is an artist. "Thank you for losing the film," he told them.
Bieber left his own roll of black-and-white film of the trip in Paris for a stranger to find, in hope that someone will track him down and have their own adventure.
The link above contains links to the videos.
The Emperors Have Left wrote:A small colony of emperor penguins on an island off the West Antarctic Peninsula is gone, and the most likely culprit is loss of sea ice caused by warming. Although it has been predicted that penguins could suffer greatly because of global warming, this is the first time the disappearance of a colony has been documented.
The researchers, however, caution that their study is hampered by a lack of long-term information on emperor penguins, both at this site and in general, and their environment.
Emperor penguins are regal, if bulky, birds that stand as high as 4 feet (1.2 meters) and can weigh as much as 84 pounds (38 kilograms). This colony, first spotted in 1948 on an island dubbed Emperor Island, was a small one that had approximately 150 breeding pairs.
Observations are spotty, but the populations appear to have been relatively stable until the 1970s. A report in 1978 showed a sharp drop in population, a trend that continued until an airplane survey found the island empty in 2009. [Album: Life at the South Pole]
This raises the question: Did the penguins die off or just relocate? "That's one of the big unknowns," said Philip Trathan, the lead researcher and head of conservation biology at the British Antarctic Survey.
Emperor penguins appear to return home each year to the site where they hatched. But the colonies must sometimes relocate because of changes in the ice, however, the details of how this happens aren't understood. Trathan and his colleagues speculate that the Emperor Island penguins born in the late 1970s – they live to be about 20 years old – may have continued to return in smaller numbers each year until the colony disappeared.
Ice is crucial to these birds. Most emperor penguins breed on sea ice — called fast ice — which attaches to the ice shelves and coastlines, and does not move in wind or currents. As the ice develops in autumn, the birds gather at their colonies. They remain there, mating, laying eggs and raising chicks until mid-summer, when the chicks fledge and the fast ice breaks up. They also forage within the pack ice, which floats at the surface of the water.
The colony on Emperor Island frequently nested on land, although reports also show these birds setting up house on the ice. So, the disappearance of this colony indicates that breeding on land may not be a good alternative, Trathan said.
Caused by climate change?
The cause of the disappearance is not clear-cut, but the evidence indicates a connection to climate change.
"The one site in Antarctica where we have seen really big changes is the West Antarctic Peninsula," Trathan said. For much of the 20th century, this region has warmed at an unprecedented rate, particularly in recent decades, the researchers write in a study published Feb. 28 in the journal PLoS ONE.
Data collected from a station about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away shows a marked increase in air temperature; meanwhile, the local sea ice in the area has been forming later and melting earlier. One study published in 2007 in the Journal of Geophysical Research found that between 1979 and 2004 in this region, sea ice began advancing about 54 days later and retreating 31 days earlier. (This trend does not hold for all of Antarctic waters, but, ultimately, Antarctic sea ice is expected to shrink significantly.)
In addition to destroying colony habitat, warming and the loss of sea ice could indirectly affect the penguins by reducing the availability of the fish, krill and squid they eat, or by increasing the presence of predators, such as giant petrels, the authors write.
Climate change is not a new culprit. A previous modeling study projected that global warming would be very bad for emperor penguins. Published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009, the study found a 36 percent chance that shrinking Antarctic sea ice could cause emperor penguin populations to drop by 95 percent or more by 2100.
It's possible that factors including disease or extreme weather may have caused this particular colony to disappear, but there is no data available to test these hypotheses, Trathan said.
"We need to look at more colonies so we can reduce the uncertainty," he said. "With the first report, there is a high degree of uncertainty."
Whale Shark Feeding Frenzy! wrote:If this year is like the last few, one of the most mysterious creatures in the world will soon descend upon the waters off of the Yucatan Peninsula. The blue, plankton-rich waters will become an all-you-can-eat haven for hundreds of giant whale sharks, an annual event known as "afuera."
As writer Jim Tharpe wrote Monday in the Washington Post, the sharks feed on plankton at the ocean surface in a "swirling mass." Nowhere else do whale sharks gather in such numbers in full view of human eyes – and researchers are using the opportunity to learn more about these elusive giants.
"Amazingly, the largest fish in the world, which is the whale shark, is one of the least known," Rafael de la Parra, a biologist and coordinator for Mexico's whale shark conservation Domino Project, told LiveScience. [Images of whale sharks]
The sharks live their lives largely out of the sight. Little is known about where they go and what they do when they aren't in shallow-water feeding groups like the ones in Mexican waters. Satellite tags, which beam back information about animals' whereabouts, have given some hints, said Robert Hueter, the director of the shark research center at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida.
Hueter, de la Parra and their colleagues have tracked 42 whale sharks from the Yucatan area with satellite tags since 2003. They've found that the animals swim massive distances. One female turned up in the Southern Hemisphere halfway between Brazil and Africa. She'd traveled a minimum of 4,500 miles (7,242 kilometers) in 150 days, not including vertical distance diving or any curves on her route.
"We're working on the hypothesis that they are going down there to give birth to their pups, at least that's one place that they're going," Hueter told LiveScience. The theory is consistent with observations of small whale sharks in the area, he said, but so far the team hasn't seen another female take the same journey.
The whale sharks also take deep dives. The deepest observed dive, Hueter said, was 6,325 feet (1,928 meters) below the ocean surface – more than a mile and a quarter. The sharks make these dives in a long, slow glide, Hueter said, leading researchers to speculate that it's a way for the animals to cover long distances without expending much energy.
The reason for the deep-sea excursions isn't the only whale shark mystery. No one knows anything about how the animals breed, said Jennifer Schmidt, a biologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the genetics of the animals. One of her studies suggests that female whale sharks may save up sperm from a single mating to fertilize multiple pregnancies, but whale shark courtship has never been observed.
"The genetics tell us that there seems to be a large degree of migration and interbreeding between animals around the world," Schmidt told LiveScience. "There must be a place where adult males and females meet to breed, but we don't know where that place is."
Most feeding aggregations seen around the world are made up of adolescent males, Hueter said. The sharks that feed in Mexico are a slightly more inclusive slice of whale shark life, with more adults and females present. Still, the sex ratio is 2.6 males to every female, and no one knows why.
Diving for clues
Nonetheless, studies of the Yucatan feeding frenzies have answered some questions about whale sharks. For one: What do they eat? The sharks are drawn to the site by an upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water that leads to plankton blooms. Plankton is the main source of sustenance for these filter-feeding sharks. In particular, the afuera area – so named because it is "outside" the Mexican government's official protected zone for the sharks – is a spawning spot for a type of tuna called the little tunny. The fish probably spawn at night, Schmidt said, and their eggs rise to the surface in the morning.
Next, she said, "the sharks come in and literally swim at surface level with their mouths wide open just vacuuming in the eggs."
Because the sharks feed at the surface, researchers have been able to figure out how they eat, as well as how much. It turns out that whale sharks have a unique filtration system: Their mouths are equipped with pads that "look like scouring pads from your kitchen," said Philip Motta, a biologist at the University of South Florida who has studied the afuera whale sharks' feeding behavior.
As the sharks swim along, water probably hits these pads at an angle, Motta told LiveScience. The water continues through, but the plankton get deflected toward the back of the throat. The set-up probably prevents the filtering pads from getting clogged, Motta said.
"There's no other fish that has anything like this," he said.
For all their size (they can grow to more than 40 feet, or 12 meters, in length) whale sharks don't eat as many calories as might be expected. According to research by Motta and colleagues published last year in the journal Zoology, a 20-foot (6.2 meter) whale shark is estimated to consume 6,721 calories (28,121 kilojoules) per day. In comparison, a moderately active human man should consume around 2,500 calories per day.
It's impossible to know in advance whether the sharks will stay "afuera" or aggregate inside the protected zone this year, de la Parra said, but the research team plans to continue research on the sharks' genetics, growth and movements. They're also monitoring whether ecotourism affects the sharks' behavior. Numerous boats carry tourists out to feeding aggregations to get close to the sharks, Hueter said, which is good for conservation awareness. However, he said, many sharks already show signs of run-ins with propellers and boats, so ecotourism can be a threat.
Hueter and his Mote Marine Lab team aren't sure if they'll have funding to continue studies in Mexico this summer. They're watching a few remaining satellite tags from previous seasons, Hueter said. They are also monitoring shark populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico, looking for contamination from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It's likely to be tough, Hueter said, but the team hopes to draw blood from swimming whale sharks to check their health. As filter feeders, he said, whale sharks are particularly vulnerable to ocean pollution.
"They can't just keep their mouths closed and swim away and feed somewhere else," Hueter said. "Even if oil is present in microdroplets that have been dispersed, they are processing a lot of volume of water, and even the smallest trace of pollutants can become concentrated on their gills."
(The above two are from LiveScience.com which I love)