Archive for April, 2011
Tony Barboza, LA Times
Marine officials were trying to determine Tuesday what caused thousands of sardines to turn up dead in Ventura Harbor, the second mass fish die-off in local marinas in as many months.
Roughly 6 tons of the small silvery fish were found floating in the harbor early Monday. Officials said their initial theory is that the sardines died after using up all the oxygen in a corner of the harbor.
The scene in Ventura Harbor — crews churning up the water with aerators and volunteers scooping nets full of fish up from the surface — was reminiscent of the cleanup effort in Redondo Beach six weeks ago when officials discovered a thick blanket of dead sardines coating King Harbor.
Scientists are looking into whether the two die-offs share a common cause.
A spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game said a warden visited the harbor and concluded the die-off was the result of oxygen deprivation, not water pollution, toxins or algae blooms — the usual causes of fish kills.
Last month’s massive die-off occurred after millions of sardines swam into King Harbor and suffocated. It took days for crews to scoop and vacuum up about 175 tons of fish carcasses from the harbor.
Those sardines tested positive for domoic acid, a neurotoxin generated by algae blooms, but scientists believe the fish — perhaps disoriented because of the toxic algae — swam into the enclosed harbor in such huge numbers that they died as a result of critically low oxygen levels, not poisoning. Still, what caused them to swim into the marina remains a mystery.
The die-off in Ventura appears to be much smaller.
Large schools of fish started to swim into Ventura Harbor about a week ago, Harbormaster Scott Miller said; it was unclear what drove them there. Dolphins, sea lions and seabirds followed, feasting on the heavy concentration of easy prey.
“We just think they moved in there, and it was just like crowding too many people into a room,” he said.
An algae bloom along the coastline in recent weeks has poisoned dozens of sea lions, dolphins and seabirds and left them stranded on beaches across Southern California, but scientists have not linked either of the fish kills to the bloom.
USC biology professor David Caron said his lab was requesting fish specimens from Ventura Harbor to test for specific toxins related to algae blooms.
“It would be very nice to know if these fish that are undergoing mortality events are in anyway impacted or have toxins in their bodies,” he said.
Fish kills are usually preceded by an algae bloom that entices large numbers of plankton-eating fish to the area, said Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, who studies low-oxygen “dead zones” of decaying algae near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Because low-oxygen zones are fed by sewage, fertilizer and other nutrient-rich runoff, water pollution is usually considered an ultimate cause of such die-offs.
More severe fish kills have besieged Ventura Harbor before, but have typically followed algae blooms known as red tides. A 10-day red tide killed more than 80 tons of fish in 2003.
Miller said the die-off seemed to be subsiding after the cleanup and aeration.
“We think we got about 90% of the fish,” he said. “And the birds this morning probably got the rest of them.”
Here’s a short article with amazing and disturbing photos:
Some people are claiming this may be a portent of a mega quake coming our way… ?
As with many things, Southern California was ahead of the pack when a rash of UFO sightings occurred just inland of Los Angeles in the days before the crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
Joe Blackstock, reporting for the Daily Bulletin, wrote yesterday:
Think the Inland Valley is the last place a flying saucer would visit?
Then consider the July 6, 1947, experience of the R.V. Allen family of Riverside Drive in Ontario:
“The rancher said that while he and Mrs. Allen and their daughter Dolores were seated in their motor car about 9:30 p.m., they saw a whole `school’ of the strange discs overhead from south to north and insisted that they `played about in the air just as perch do in the water,”‘ wrote the Ontario Daily Report the next day.
How about B.A. Runner who saw – and heard – some strange things that same night on West California Street? ”Runner reported that several of the discs sailed over his house about 8 p.m., circled about and returned, one of them flying so low that the sound of an attached motor could be distinctly heard,” wrote the newspaper.
And this was the day before the startling announcement in Roswell, N.M., of the recovery of a “flying disc” by the Army. That disclosure (which was quickly refuted by military officials) has helped spawn decades of UFO sightings, invaders- from-Mars movies and conspiracy theorists.
Whether you believe in UFOs or not, it was obvious people locally – fueled by fear or wonder or too many stimulants – saw something up there.
On July 8, a “spinning platter” was said to have crashed into an almond grove near Lancaster. Redlands truck driver H.J. Stell reported “silvery eggs in a straight line” flew over March Field near Riverside. Jerry McAdams saw a disc as “big as a house” in Beverly Hills: “It seemed to give off a low whistle as it disappeared.”
On the morning of July 10, Pomona residents on West 10th Street told the Pomona Progress-Bulletin they saw three tumbling objects in the air, each sparkling as the sun reflected off them.
Now, not everyone was impressed by all this flying saucer talk – the Progress-Bulletin reported on July 8 that an irreverent skywriter drew two giant circles in the sky and spelled out the word, “Saucers,” to mock the frenzy.
All this uproar wasn’t easy for newspapers to keep straight.
According to a front page wire service story in the July 7 Daily Report, a plane shot down a flying saucer over Montana and the story quoted both the pilot and his cameraman. But on the next page of the same edition was a last-minute bulletin saying it was a hoax – the story grew from the pilot and his friends sitting around telling tales.
On July 8, a reward of $1,000 was offered for anyone who could capture one of these flying things – an offer that only made things more crazy: San Francisco designer Frank Borel produced a new women’s hat drawn, he said, from a flying saucer he claimed he saw in a nightmare.
Newspapers and radio stations were swamped by callers, though Kansas officials bragged that none of its residents saw UFOs because as a “dry” state it barred alcohol consumption.
A North Hollywood man planned to ask for the $1,000 prize after a 30-inch disc conveniently landed in his garden. It contained a radio tube and two exhaust pipes and spewed out a lot of smoke.
In the interest of serious science, though, I must report that a flying saucer was indeed captured in the Inland Valley that week. Pomona police about 10 p.m. on July 8 caught two young men atop a building under construction at Second Avenue and Gibbs Street. Two others were nabbed in the street below.
They had made a 20-pound saucer fabricated from two plow blades on which they had attached some batteries and wires to add to its look. They had planned to set the saucer afire and hurl it into the intersection below, hoping to panic the good folks of Pomona.
The four – in their early 20s from Pomona, San Dimas and Covina – even stenciled “SBAAB” and “XP85″ on the saucer to imply it was some kind of strange experimental craft gotten loose from the San Bernardino Army Air Base (Nevada’s Area 51 was still something far in the future for that sort of thing).
They were questioned and later released, perhaps because that kind of out-of- this-world crime was something for which no law had yet been created.
- “Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters’ brains to melt down?” Asks Tom Leonard of the UK’s
- Daily Mail. Why does weird phenomena occurring in the United States go unnoticed, but get thoughtful coverage abroad? Sigh.
L.O.W.F.I.’s Washington State Bureau Chief, Andy Colvin, recently invited conspiracy femme fatale Chica Bruce and myself on Vxygoth’s “Think or Be Eaten” programme. I come in around 23:00 (how nice), and I sound sane, even! Listen to all or part of it here:
If you haven’t seen it… well, I suspect you don’t watch network news in Los Angeles. Reporting from the Grammies, CBS reporter Serene Branson had some kinda neurological freak out, which was played over and over ad nauseum, followed by interviews with neurologists, autotune remixes, etc. Here’s the briefest possible clip:I wish I had all day to sit around and look for weird media stories, but in this case, I will leave it to Mediabistro writer, Richard Horgan, who asks, WAS CBS REPORTER SERENE BRANSON SECRETLY MICROWAVED?
Good Morning America reporter John Berman had a lot of fun today with crazy speculation being floated around the Internet by conspiracy theorists. Namely, that local CBS 2 reporter Serene Branson‘s infamous live Grammy report flub was the result of a top secret U.S. government microwave brain ray experiment. These conspiracy theorists think the same subterfuge may have encompassed the “migraine” and “chronic fatigue” problems of others as well. Or, as Berman put it: “It does beg the question, why would the government want to attack a Grammy reporter, a Canadian [Mark McAllister], and Judge Judy? But hey, no one said government conspiracies have to make sense; plus, it might help explain my live flub last week.” If all this microwave ray-weapon business is true, maybe it finally explains the 1986 New York City assault on Dan Rather, during which one of assailants kept asking, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”