NYT: A World Without Coral Reefs:
It's past time to tell the truth about the state of the world's coral reefs, the nurseries of tropical coastal fish stocks. They have become zombie ecosystems, neither dead nor truly alive in any functional sense, and on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation. There will be remnants here and there, but the global coral reef ecosystem — with its storehouse of biodiversity and fisheries supporting millions of the world's poor — will cease to be. […]
But by persisting in the false belief that coral reefs have a future, we grossly misallocate the funds needed to cope with the fallout from their collapse. Money isn't spent to study what to do after the reefs are gone — on what sort of ecosystems will replace coral reefs and what opportunities there will be to nudge these into providing people with food and other useful ecosystem products and services. Nor is money spent to preserve some of the genetic resources of coral reefs by transferring them into systems that are not coral reefs. And money isn't spent to make the economic structural adjustment that communities and industries that depend on coral reefs urgently need. We have focused too much on the state of the reefs rather than the rate of the processes killing them. […]
What we will be left with is an algal-dominated hard ocean bottom, as the remains of the limestone reefs slowly break up, with lots of microbial life soaking up the sun's energy by photosynthesis, few fish but lots of jellyfish grazing on the microbes. It will be slimy and look a lot like the ecosystems of the Precambrian era, which ended more than 500 million years ago and well before fish evolved.
Jellyfish Invade Four Nuclear Reactors in Japan, Israel, Scotland:
Four nuclear reactors in Japan, Israel and Scotland were forced to shutdown due to infiltration of enormous swarms of jellyfish, which clogged the plant’s cooling system.
Earlier this week, the Orot Rabin nuclear power plant in Hadera, Israel was forced to shutdown when a swarm of jellyfish blocked the plant’s water supply which is used as a coolant.
The string of jellyfish surges began a week before with a reactor in Shimane, Japan. And in a week’s time two reactors at Torness power station, operated by EDF, in Scotland had to be shutdown as the seawater used as coolant was inundated with jellyfish.
Walking into a building draped with a giant inflatable orange octopus to discover that it’s a venue converted from a swimming pool carries a vestige of the same satisfaction as reading the line, “Deep Mix is a nice IDM/minimal internet radio station out of Moscow.” There’s just something inherently beautiful about the context, the message, no matter what the medium is discovered to be. “Scientists announced they’ve created mice with amounts of human brain cells.” Same thing.
The white tile basin was scattered with inflatable red cloth couches and various forms of francophone hipsters in black clothing and striped retro boots. A table was in one corner of what used to be the deep end, flanked by lava lamps full of silver glitter and loaded down with copies of the trendy magazine the event was supposedly celebrating. Michel found his friend there, a dyke with pretty hair and a nice taste in shirts. She’s an SFX designer, makes amputated limbs for film and T.V. I didn’t catch her name, Veronique, until she gave me her card. It was hard to hear over the the two musician types on stage. Higher than us, even with the walkway where signs might have said PLEASE DON’T RUN, they stood wrapped in christmas lights. One was a good beat boxer with respectably solid work, the other insisted on crooning into a snorkel for the microphone over and over, occasionally dipping the end into a glass of water for atmosphere. The entirety felt like a film, like the two were too improbable to ever be expected to play music anywhere real, and especially not together. I tried saying as much to Yanick Paquette, but I think I was drowned out by the blurry sound.
Once I was alone, I stood in the dead middle of the drained pool and practically sang “No known human has ever received an injection of embryonic stem cells because so little is known about how those cells will mature once inside the body.” I was loud enough that people standing at the edges looked at me as if I was insane, but I didn’t care. It was just the proper thing to do. These are the sounds that make my world continue spinning.
Downstairs, found through a hole in side of the pool, was a tiny art gallery lined with pieces that I would have expected to be new in a very cutting edge 1986 or an evenly matched 1993. One wall was photoshopped photographs clumsily layered with pictures of women and digital scribbles, reminiscent of the pages of a wannabe Mondo 2000 magazine. Another was lined with mannequins with baby blue and brown corderouy dress suits appliqued with white flowers. To be fair, the smallest wall had interesting illustration examples in blue gesso, but they were badly mounted. The shine off them was blinding and made the art impossible to see unless you stood at an acute angle to the piece you were trying to examine. I gave up quickly on the basement, though it was quieter there, and went back upstairs to examine the space more. The possibilities of such a venue seem almost endless. If you could properly EQ a swimming pool…
Damn me for finally leaving my camera at home.