October 14, 2005

So slanted that it falls over into a deep murky pit of its own stupidity

I feel like hell, which means that y'all get to listen to me rant. And boy, did I find a doozy.

Let's start with this headline:

Sea farmers struggle to save kelp from predatory urchins

Cool. I think I like sea farmers. All high-techy and stuff, feeding the hungry millions in our world. Check out this promising start to the story:

Not many farmers wear wet suits to work. But Tom Ford isn't running your average ranch. Instead of a tractor, he drives a motorboat. And rather than chase away insects and rodents, he fights off prickly sea urchins.

But something starts to smell fishy in the very next paragraph, when you find out that Tom's "farm" is all of one acre. Seems that Tom, along with other biologists in Southern California, are struggling to restore the great kelp forests to the coastal waters of Southern California.

Now, I don't have a problem with that, because kelp is an incredibly useful plant, as the story goes on to explain. It provides fish with an underwater habitat that allows them to thrive in great numbers and even when it washes up on shore it's a boon for beach critters like crabs and birds.

I bet those bastard humans have destroyed it, right?

But in the last 50 years, frequent episodes of warm-water El Nino have devastated kelp, which thrives at lower temperatures. California and Alaska are the only two places in the Northern Hemisphere where giant kelp grows.

Oops. Maybe not.

Scientists say humans also are to blame for kelp's demise because they pollute the ocean and overfish the urchins' natural predators--lobsters, sheep-head fish and sea otters.

Sorry about that. I forgot to provide a warning about the obligatory "it's all our fault" paragraph. I guess I should feel bad, because I do love to sit down to a nice sea otter steak. Sheep-head fish? Not on any menu I've ever seen.

But we're fighting back. According to the story, they've spent millions of dollars in their effort to restore the kelp beds. Results?

Only two acres of kelp were restored in Southern California from 2001 to 2004, say environmental groups that spent $2.5 million in state and federal grants.

But it's hard work. Here's how the intrepid "sea farmers" (translation: tree-huggers) fight back:

Armed with a rake and mesh satchels, he and volunteers purged the area of purple, red and white urchins--bagging 25,000 last year alone.

Got that? They artificially manipulate an ecosystem in a wholesale and arbitrary manner, because they're like, you know, protecting the environment. The paragraph after that even includes a gratuitous and totally unsubstantiated scary anecdote.

So far, we've learned that they've spent millions of dollars fighting the ecological effects caused by a cyclical change in the environment of an entire hemisphere. In three years, they've restored two acres of kelp forest, at a cost of over one million dollars per acre. They've also destroyed hundred of thousands of living creatures during that time, because they're not the "right" kind. Ok, I'm assuming that they destroyed them, because if they just collected them and then dumped them into another area, then that's two different places where they've drastically altered the ecosystem. Which way is better?

This quote just seals it:

"If you go into a kelp forest, the place is swarming with fish," said Paul Dayton, a marine ecology professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "Take out that kelp and the fish won't go extinct, but they'll be much rarer because they don't have the habitat. ... We should protect it just on the grounds that it's for our grandchildren.

These people are supposedly scientists. Why do they righteously insist on preserving a single snapshot of the living, evolving, ever-changing world we live in?

I swear, if environmentalists had been around at the beginning of the universe, they'd have protested against God himself for destroying all the nothingness when he created the world.

Posted by Ted at October 14, 2005 12:15 PM | TrackBack
Category: SciTech

Predatory sea urchins - are those like sea-going versions of some Dickensian pre-adolescent pickpocket?

Posted by: buckethead at October 14, 2005 01:13 PM

Just imagine the smog and environmental devastation caused by the Big Bang!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at October 14, 2005 01:22 PM

I smell sequel! Sebastian as Fagin:

"Under the sea.
Under the sea.
Everything's better,
When you bring leather
wallets to meeeee."

Posted by: Ted at October 14, 2005 01:24 PM

wait a second, you said they are "fighting the ecological effects caused by a cyclical change in the environment of an entire hemisphere".

But previously you post that "Scientists say humans also are to blame for kelp's demise because they pollute the ocean and overfish the urchins' natural predators--lobsters, sheep-head fish and sea otters.".

Which is it, cyclical change, or change caused by human pollution and overfarming?

Posted by: Oorgo at October 14, 2005 03:56 PM

Oh wait, you're saying El Nino caused the cyclical change right? What exactly caused el nino and the warming of ocean waters, dare I say... pollution and global warming? Oh I know you love those words, face it, you know you do.

Posted by: Oorgo at October 14, 2005 03:58 PM

LOL El Nino has been around longer than man, my friend. Those pesky laws of thermodynamics, don't'cha know.

Posted by: Ted at October 14, 2005 04:05 PM

I like making haphazard guesses based on non-fact, I learned that ability from your President.


Posted by: Oorgo at October 14, 2005 04:30 PM

But they're doing it for the children.

cogito penuriosus oorgo sum bardus

Posted by: chris hall at October 14, 2005 05:13 PM

:D I bet you're talking about WMD. Ignore the fact that they found them. Not heaping stockpiles of them, but some were discovered.

I won't mention that I don't cheat people out of money, and that maybe I could learn something from your current government. Glass houses, my friend.


Posted by: Ted at October 14, 2005 05:26 PM

well played sir! Touché

Posted by: Oorgo at October 14, 2005 05:43 PM

Oh and Chris, c'mon... if you call me an idiot in a language that takes me 20 minutes to translate, I call you pretentious.

Posted by: Oorgo at October 14, 2005 05:55 PM

Seems t'me that trying to change a place into someplace that doesn't change is kinda neurotic.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 14, 2005 10:24 PM

Save the Sea Urchins!!!!! Stop Ecologists Now!

Posted by: Susie at October 15, 2005 12:11 PM
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