Sub heads for Cayman Trough

I think this is very cool. The Cayman Trough is the second deepest spot in the worlds seas and oceans. The deepest is Marianas Trench.

This article is from the Caymanian Compass

By: Norma Connolly

A team of British scientists has set out for the Cayman Trough to explore the world’s deepest volcanic rift.

In November last year, a team from the United States discovered scientifically important deep sea vents in the three-mile deep Cayman Trough and now a British team is going to investigate that discovery further.

The expedition left Trinidad on board the Royal Research Ship James Cook at 3am on Friday morning to start its 1,300 mile journey to the Cayman Trough. They hoped to get to their destination some time on Tuesday. The expedition will end in Jamaica on 24 April.

They will be looking for the deepest “black smoker” vents detected so far on the ocean floor and the marine life that exists around them.

“Studying the species that thrive in such unlikely havens gives us insights into patterns of marine life around the world, and even the possibility of life on other planets,” said Jon Copley, a marine biologist at the University of Southampton and leader of the research programme.

People can track the team’s explorations and adventures on a website that the researchers will update daily.

In an email to the Caymanian Compass on Monday, Mr. Copley said: “We left Trinidad on Thursday last week, and we should arrive at the Cayman Trough early tomorrow morning [Tuesday].

“The first few days will involve surveying the seafloor from the ship, to hunt for deep-sea volcanic vents. When we’ve pinpointed those, we’ll dive with our undersea vehicle to hopefully get a first look at them, and the marine life around them – possibly by this weekend or early next week,” he said.

Other researchers in the expedition are Doug Connelly, Bramley Murton, Kate Stansfield and Paul Tyler, all from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

Also on board the RSS James Cook is a robot submarine called Autosub6000 that can dive 3.73 miles and a remotely-controlled deep-sea vehicle called HyBIS, which the team will use to find features and inhabitants of the world’s undersea volcanoes for the first time.

Deep-sea vents are undersea volcanic springs that erupt mineral-rich water hot enough to melt lead. They were discovered in the Pacific three decades ago, but most are found one to two miles deep, dotted along chains of undersea volcanoes around the world.

Scientists have been fascinated by these vents because they support lush colonies of deep-sea creatures that thrive in the otherwise sparsely-populated abyss.

Deep sea vent creatures feed on microbes that are nourished by minerals in the superheated water, creating an ecosystem that is not reliant on sunlight as its energy source.

The robot submarine on board the ship was developed by engineers at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK. It can map the ocean floor in detail, survey the currents and chemistry of deep waters, and take photographs.

The HyBIS, built by engineering company Hydro-Lek Ltd in Berkshire, UK, can be remotely-controlled from the ship to film the ocean floor and collect samples of rocks and deep-sea creatures.

The researchers hope to compare the marine life at the bottom of the Cayman Trough with that known from other deep-sea vents.

The team will also investigate the geology of the area and the hot water that gushes from deep-sea vents.

“Because deep-sea vents get hotter at greater depths, we expect these vents to be the hottest yet,” said geochemist Mr. Connelly, who will be the principal scientist aboard the ship. The world-record temperature for a deep-sea vent is 403ºC, at a vent 2.67 miles deep in the middle of the Atlantic.

The expedition will also leave instruments on the ocean floor to monitor the little-known deep-sea currents of the Cayman Trough, and deploy experiments to investigate how deep-sea creatures colonise new habitats.

During the voyage, the scientists will be posting updates about their progress live from the ship at www.thesearethevoyages.net

“We look forward to sharing the excitement of our expedition with people around the world”, said Mr. Copley.

mad at my dog

I was asleep and dreaming last night when my dawg, Sheba (the root of all evil) woke me up by barking. With each bark, i could feel myself rise up towards awakeness. and I resisted, alas to no avail.

Multiple visitors

In the past two days, we have had multiple visitors. My wife has an old school friend here, and I have a cousin here, with the same name as me, except he spells his with “C” instead of my “K”.

So today we’re splitting ourselves in half, and half of me and my wife will visit everyone.
Not really, it’s diving with her friend this morning and meeting my cousin this afternoon.

Yesterday, from my roof, I saw a huge, I mean HUGE, object going by to the north, headed east. I think it was an oil rig. They sometimes assemble them in one place and float them to another, but this one was going the wrong way, usually they’re headed up to the gulf of Mexico.

Click both pics to enlarge

These are both the samee picture, one is just zoomed in and cropped.

A pelican

I was at the beach on a cloudy day after work, and I saw this pelican, hunting for fish. I took a couple of pictures.

I could actually hear the pelican say “Whoa!” as I took this last picture

Also I saw this cruise ship pulling a para sailor. Oh wait, there’s a boat in front pulling the para sailor

Legalize Pot! (even though I don’t smoke it)

Pot Should have been legalized years ago, in fact, it should have never been illegal. Now, the growers of illegal pot are complaining that it might be legalized in California. Whining Bastards!
Read on:

Measure to legalize marijuana will be on California’s November ballot
Supporters of the initiative collected well more than the 433,971 signatures needed for it to go before voters in the fall, again putting the state at the forefront of the nation’s drug debate.
By John Hoeffel

March 25, 2010

An initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed will appear on the November ballot, state election officials announced Wednesday, triggering what will probably be a much-watched campaign that once again puts California on the forefront of the nation’s debate over whether to soften drug laws.

The number of valid signatures reported by Los Angeles County, submitted minutes before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, put the measure well beyond the 433,971 it needed to be certified. Supporters turned in 694,248 signatures, collecting them in every county except Alpine. County election officials estimated that 523,531 were valid.

The measure’s main advocate, Richard Lee, an Oakland marijuana entrepreneur, savored the chance to press his case with voters that the state’s decades-old ban on marijuana is a failed policy.

“We’re one step closer to ending cannabis prohibition and the unjust laws that lock people up for cannabis while alcohol is not only sold openly but advertised on television to kids every day,” he said.

Lee, tapping $1.3 million from his businesses, has put together a highly organized campaign that he emphasized Wednesday would be led by a team of experienced political consultants, including Chris Lehane, a veteran operative who has worked in the White House and on presidential campaigns.

“There’s all kinds of big professional politicos who are coming on board now to take it to the next level,” Lee said.

Opponents have also started to put together their campaign. “There’s going to be a very broad coalition opposing this that will include law enforcement,” said John Lovell, a Sacramento lobbyist who represents the California Police Chiefs Assn. and other law enforcement groups. “We’ll educate people as to what this measure really entails.”

The measure, like the medical marijuana initiative, could put California on a collision course with the federal government. The possession and sale of marijuana remain a federal crime.

This month, President Obama’s drug czar, R. Gil Kerlikowske, decried legalization in a speech to police chiefs in San Jose.

The initiative would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce for personal use.

Possession of an ounce or less has been a misdemeanor with a $100 fine since 1975, when Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, who was then governor, signed a law that reduced tough marijuana penalties that had allowed judges to impose 10-year sentences.

Legalization supporters note that misdemeanor arrests have risen dramatically in California in the last two decades. The initiative would also allow adults to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana per residence or parcel.

But the measure, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, goes further, allowing cities and counties to adopt ordinances that would authorize the cultivation, transportation and sale of marijuana, which could be taxed to raise revenue.

Supporters hope this feature will win over voters watching local governments jettison employees and programs in the midst of a severe budget crisis.

Three other marijuana legalization initiatives have been floated this year but are not expected to qualify for the ballot. One failed, one was withdrawn and one remains active.

Lovell said that the initiative would lead to increased marijuana use, cause the same kind of social ills as alcohol and tobacco and put more demands on law enforcement. He said voters are distressed by the medical marijuana law. “Neighborhoods feel very uncomfortable with these locations that have a lot of dope and a lot of cash,” he said.

Lee countered that the state’s experience with medical marijuana shows “the sky didn’t fall.” He said the measure would allow police to focus on serious crime, undercut Mexican drug cartels and make it harder for teenagers to buy marijuana.

Underscoring the importance the backing of law enforcement will play, Lee’s campaign on Wednesday highlighted the support of retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James P. Gray, a former L.A. County deputy sheriff and Torrance police officer.

With polls showing that a slim majority of voters support legalization, the legalization campaign will be trying to appeal to a slice of undecided voters who are mostly mothers. “It’s always easier for people to say no than to say yes for an initiative,” said Mark Baldassare, the pollster for the Public Policy Institute of California.

Lee hopes to raise as much as $20 million. He will probably be able to tap a handful of wealthy advocates who have supported efforts to relax drug laws, including multibillionaire investor George Soros and George Zimmer, founder of the Men’s Wearhouse. Zimmer has donated at least $20,000.

Lovell said he expected to raise less than his opponents but would have enough to get his message out.

john.hoeffel@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Watever

its Wednesday! Hurray! Today I am working a little later than usual, so I am going in a little late. We watched a move last night called The Tooth Fairy. I do not recommend it. Poor and stupid. But watchable. An airplane movie.

Not much to say today again.

Writers Block

I’ve been having a hard time coming up with topics for posts lately.
I just can’t seem to think of anything to write about. I haven’t been diving in a while, I haven’t been to the beach. I just work, and come home, work and come home.
Last weekend we had dinner at a place called Vivendi. It was pretty good food and pretty good entertainment. Dancing girls and stuff.
Here the weather is weird. It’s the first time since I’ve lived here that it has been so all=over-the-place.
I don’t know, I guess I kind of have the blues, I don’t have much excitement for life today.

New computer?

I reformatted my computer last night and re-installed windows. I am in the process of re-installing all my programs.
It is a pain in the butt!
My computer came with Vista, but I like XP better, so it’s hard to get it right. Also things are a little different when you every time you install. I don’t know why.