2018-09-23 (Spring is in the Air)

Today, I learned that:

Today is the day of the Equinox, which to the inhabitants of the Southern hemisphere means the official start of spring. So my post today is dedicated almost to that and correlated facts.

First, today’s photo shows three maritaca birds sitting on a wire. This species, with the Latin name of Pionus, is rather commonly seen in the wild. They are considered friendly, but have a bad reputation of eating the wires. I took the photo on 2018-09-20 in the city of Osvaldo Cruz, SP, Brazil. See also reference #1 below.

Maritacas

Three maritaca birds sitting on a wire. Photo taken in Osvaldo Cruz, SP, Brazil on 2018-09-20.

But spring is not fun all the time, seeing these birds reminds me of a ground breaking book published in September 1962 by the American biologist Rachel Carson about how human kind is destroying the Earth by using pesticides indiscriminately. At the time, it had a big impact, and among other things led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). See also reference #2 below.

And similarly to the situation then, we are now facing the indiscriminate use of plastics. In the following are some recent facts about how it pollutes our oceans, but mind you there are many more examples out there:

Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags

On 2018-06-03 was reported that a small pilot whale which died after having consumed 80 plastic bags, weighing a total of 8 kg, thus making it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food. A veterinary team tried to keep the whale alive, but in vain. See also reference #3 below.

Plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea threatens the health of the ocean

On 2018-06-08, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published a report on the high content of plastics in the Mediterranean Sea:

  • Record levels of pollution from microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea are now higher than those in the oceanic ‘garbage patches’ and are threatening marine species, fisheries activities and human health in the region.
  • Plastic represents 95% of the waste in Mediterranean waters and on its beaches today, with over 130 different marine species known to have ingested plastic.
  • Further to the severe consequences of marine litter for wildlife,  there are significant economic consequences. The EU fishing fleet currently suffers an estimated annual economic loss of € 61.7 million due to reduced catch and damage to vessels.
  • See also references #4 and #5 below.

Research project to discover the distribution of micro plastics in the oceans

On 2018-04-18 was announced that the Swedish international tanker shipping company Concordia Maritime is financing a study with three academic bodies in Sweden, the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, The University of Gothenburg and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), to collect and process information about micro plastics present in the oceans.

By installing a collection device on a tanker, water samples can be collected while it is under way for subsequent analysis by researchers. The aim is to draw conclusions as to the extent, distribution of microplastics and potential consequences for living organisms. See also reference #6 below.

A 600 m long floating boom to collect plastic in the Pacific Ocean

On 2018-09-08 we could read about the deploying of 600 m long floating boom between the US mainland and Hawaii in an attempt to clean up the world’s largest garbage patch.

The buoyant is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic estimated to exist there. It is fitted with solar power lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the cleanup system will communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled. See also reference #7 below.

In loving memory

Finally, exactly 15 years ago to the day, on 2003-09-23, I was reached by the sad news that my uncle, Sten Olof, had deceased. He guided me as to what and where to study when I was a teenager, e.g. advising me to go ahead to study technology, but not forget about languages. That advice is something that I still follow!

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Pionus

2: Silent Spring

3: Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags

4: Plastic pollution in Mediterranean Sea threatens the health of our ocean

5: Out of the plastic trap, saving the Mediterranean from plastic pollution

6: Concordia Maritime collaborates with the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment to measure microplastics in the oceans

7: Massive boom helps to wrangle Pacific Ocean’s plastic trash

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-09-23 (Primavera)

Today, I learned that:

Since yesterday was the day of the equinox, when day and night have the same duration all over the world, today on the Southern hemisphere is the first day of Primavera, a word used in e.g. the Portuguese language to denote the season of Spring. It originated in ancient Rome, where it meant the beginning of Summer. Nowadays, it is Spring, but nevertheless I think the word is so graceful!

The photo below shows Rio Tietê, a very important waterway in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. It starts in the east, only 22 km from the South Atlantic ocean, but instead of taking the easiest route, it crosses all of the state to finally merge with Rio Paraná 1 150 km to the West. Se reference #1 below for more interesting information.

Tiete

A photo taken on 2017-07-23 of Rio Tietê, a very important river in the North of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. It starts in the East, only 22 km from the South Atlantic ocean, but does not flow there. Instead it continues 1 100 km to the West, where it finally ends up merging with Rio Paraná. This bridge of highway SP-333 over the river is more than 2 km long.

In my latest post I invited you to a technical seminar in São Paulo on 2017-09-12. I was fortunate enough to start the seminar with my presentation of “A walk down the memory lane of electronics”. The seminar was a huge success, thanks everyone who showed up! In case you could not make it, do not worry, here are three photos from my presentation:

Tech Seminar foto 1

A photo, taken by Jonas Lindström, at the very beginning of the speech, where I detail the contents.

Swedcham 20170912

A photo from my speech. My daughter Karina shows the actual phone while I present it on the screen.

Tech Seminar foto 2

Photo taken by Jonas Lindström. During the Questions & Answers section, I express my views on the future of gadgets, on my shirt is written ” I’m not always right – but I’m never wrong!”. Behind me are also two of the other speakers at the event, Guilherme Maciel and Johan Åhlund.

In reference # 2 below is the complete presentation and reference #3 is how Nordic Light reported the event. Enjoy!

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Rio Tietê

2: A walk down the memory lane of electronics

3: Swedcham news, from the past into the future

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-20 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Astronomy continues to be such a fascinating science! Today’s podcast from 365 days of Astronomy deals with the latest feat by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Recently, it was able to reach out to photograph a galaxy that lies at a distance bigger than we have ever traveled before, 13,4 billion light-years. More about this amazing fact can be found in references # 1 and # 2 below.

hubble

This photo is a look 13,4 billion years back in time, when our Universe was only 400 million years old. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has broken the record for how far back we have been able to look. The galaxy that is the star (!) of this photo is named GN-z11.

And speaking about celestial objects, today we also learned that the fear of getting sick by the Sun which has led to that many people are trying to hide from it can have negative consequences on our body. An article in the April issue of Journal of Internal Medicine presents a study made in the South of Sweden:

“There were 2545 deaths amongst the 29 518 women who responded to the initial questionnaire. The authors found that all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure habits. The mortality rate amongst avoiders of sun exposure was approximately twofold higher compared with the highest sun exposure group, resulting in excess mortality with a population attributable risk of 3 %. The results of this study provide observational evidence that avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality. Following sun exposure advice that is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful to women’s health.”

See references #3 and #4 below for more information.

And speaking once more about the Sun, as you probably already know today occured the March Equinox, when the day and night are practically of equal length all over the world. But if you live on the Northern Hemisphere, then you can look forward to an increased amount of day light during the coming three months, culminating with the Solstice around mid-summer. (The situation for us in the Southern Hemisphere is of course inverse, the days are slowly getting shorter now …) Reference #5 below has more information about the Equinox.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Hubble Breaks The Cosmic Distance Record, 365 days of Astronomy

2: Hubble Breaks The Cosmic Distance Record, Space Telescope

3: Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort

4: För lite sol kan vara skadligt

5: Equinox

+: What did you learn in school today ?