Building a Better Coral Reef – By DAMIEN CAVE and JUSTIN GILLIS – NYT

ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, off Australia — After a plunge beneath the crystal-clear water to inspect a coral reef, Neal Cantin pulled off his mask and shook his head.

“All dead,” he said.Yet even as he and his dive team of international scientists lamented the devastation that human recklessness has inflicted on the world’s greatest system of reefs, they also found cause for hope.

As they spent days working through a stretch of ocean off the Australian state of Queensland, Dr. Cantin and his colleagues surfaced with sample after sample of living coral that had somehow dodged a recent die-off: hardy survivors, clinging to life in a graveyard.

“We’re trying to find the super corals, the ones that survived the worst heat stress of their lives,” said Dr. Cantin, a researcher with the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville.”

David Lindsay:

Scientist are fighting back against the die off of the Great Barrier Reef, and coral reefs throughout the world, without knowing their chances of success.
Citizens are fighting back.
I am motivated to reduce my carbon footprint. This February, I had Earthlight Technologies put 17 more solar panels on the roof of my house, in addition to the 24 that C-Tec Solar installed three years ago. I can now plug in my new used 2014 Prius Hybrid Plug In, and drive around Hamden in a short-range electric car, that is fueled by the solar panels instead of gasoline. It only has a range of 10 miles, but it is a start. Earthlight also installed a EVSE outside my house, which is sometimes called a car charger. It is actually a Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. It supplies electricity to the car charger built into my vehicle. With a new surplus of solar electricity, I can now start converting the natural gas systems of the house over to electrical systems.

Damage to Great Barrier Reef From Global Warming Is Irreversible-Scientists Say – The New York Times

SYDNEY, Australia — An underwater heat wave that damaged huge sections of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef two years ago spurred a die-off of coral so severe that scientists say the natural wonder will never look the same again.

Scientists said nearly one-third of the reef’s coral were killed when ocean temperatures spiked in 2016, a result of global warming, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.The damage to the reef, one of the world’s largest living structures, has also radically altered the mix of its coral species, scientists said.

“The reef is changing faster than anyone thought it would,” said Terry P. Hughes, the lead author of the study and the director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University in Queensland.

The Internet turns 20 in Vietnam: P2 – Australian professor’s contribution – Tuoi Tre News (Vietnam)

The Internet turns 20 in Vietnam: P2 – Australian professor’s contribution

“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, students at ANU would use a mainframe computer for statistical work and related tasks. The personal computer, which was not powerful enough to perform such tasks then, was mostly used to type documents and send emails. Prof. Hurle shared his disturbance at learning that overseas Vietnamese students had limited use of personal computers, preventing them from putting what they had learnt in Australia into practice upon their return to their home country.

The nagging question prompted him to travel to Vietnam in 1991.

“I brought with me a hefty modem and gifted it to Pham Bich San, one of the Vietnamese students in Australia, so that he and others could connect to the mainframe computers in Vietnam more easily,” the professor recalled.

“Totally uninformed about Vietnam, I had not been aware that the bulky modem would be a burden, as computer engineers in Vietnam, who earned a mere US$20 per month, could hardly afford phone calls from Vietnam to Australia at $5 per minute,” he added.

This reality encouraged the scientist to devise ways to connect to Vietnam through an international phone toll of $2 per minute, which engineers in Australia, whose monthly salaries were approximately $3,500, could afford.

A few months later, Prof. Hurle returned to Vietnam and contacted an overseas Vietnamese in the U.S., who suggested that he approach Tran Ba Thai from the Institute of Information Technology in Hanoi.

“By then we had made strides in substituting the mainframe system with smaller yet higher-configuration computers adopting the UNIX system [a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems] at ANU,” he added.

Prof. Hurle, Thai and a few other colleagues then embarked on experiments in connecting computers in Vietnam and Australia through landline phone lines.

The Aussie designed new pieces of software for the UNIX system, so that modems could be utilized to link computers in Vietnam by allowing users access to the UNIX system before they could connect to the Internet.

The experiments were a success.”

Source: The Internet turns 20 in Vietnam: P2 – Australian professor’s contribution – Tuoi Tre News

As Rising Seas Erode Shorelines Tasmania Shows What Can Be Lost – The New York Times

InconvenientNews.Net

“Over the long term, the rise of the sea appears to be accelerating because of runaway growth in greenhouse emissions, and scientists fear much bigger effects this century, perhaps so large they could ultimately force the abandonment of entire coastlines.

Though awareness of the risk to historic sites and natural wonders is growing, the effort to tackle the problem is in its infancy. In most places, discussion and report-writing have yet to give way to concrete action. “We’re a long way from managing this issue well,” said Adam Markham, who is deputy director for climate and energy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an American group, and who was the lead author of the most recent report on world heritage sites.”

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Shed a Tear for the Reefs – The New York Times

“Reports that the Great Barrier Reef is dying come ever more frequently, ever more urgently. There is no mystery about the reason — it’s global warming, caused by the fossil fuels we burn. If we stopped heating the oceans, parts of the great reef off Australia’s north coast and other spectacular coral reefs around the world could still recover. The alternative is to weep at the loss of one of the most spectacular sights on earth, as the author of the latest report and his students did on examining charts of the damage.

The death of coral reefs is a tragedy on many levels. There is the sheer beauty of the forests of brightly colored corals and the equally kaleidoscopic fish they harbor, a panorama that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. There’s their extraordinary variety and value: Coral reefs are found in shallow waters in only 0.2 percent of the oceans, yet they support a quarter of all marine life and provide protein for millions of people. Finally, there is the role of the coral reefs as the alarm system of the oceans: Highly sensitive to the temperature of water, the reefs can die from an increase of only two or three degrees Fahrenheit. The vast stretches of bleached coral speak to oceans in deep trouble.”

“Researchers led by Prof. Terry Hughes of James Cook University in Australia, the lead author of a report on the reef in the current issue of the journal Nature, were surprised at the extent of the damage. “We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years,” he told The Times. In the north, he said, two-thirds of the reefs are dead. And Australian government efforts to curtail dredging and pollution were not helping. “The reefs in dirty water were just as fried as those in pristine water,” he said.”

Australia Turns Its Back on Climate Science – The New York Times

InconvenientNews.Net

“For decades, Australia has run the most advanced and comprehensive atmosphere and ocean monitoring programs in the Southern Hemisphere, providing critical information not only for a nation that is already the driest on earth and fast getting drier, but also for a world in urgent need of such data to search for ways to cope with climate change.Last month, to the dismay of climate scientists around the world, Australia’s federally financed science agency — the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or Csiro — announced plans to shift its focus to commercially viable projects and cut or reassign 350 researchers. The decision, as more than 3,000 climate scientists have declared in an open letter to the Australian government, demonstrates a deplorable misunderstanding of the importance of basic research into what is arguably the greatest challenge facing the planet.”

Source: Australia Turns Its Back on Climate Science – The New York…

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Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants – The New York Times

“Some European officials may be tempted to adopt the hard-line approach Australia has used to stem a similar tide of migrants. That would be unconscionable.Prime Minister Tony Abbott has overseen a ruthlessly effective effort to stop boats packed with migrants, many of them refugees, from reaching Australia’s shores. His policies have been inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war.Since 2013, Australia has deployed its navy to turn back boats with migrants, including asylum seekers, before they could get close to its shores. Military personnel force vessels carrying people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and other conflict-roiled nations toward Indonesia, where most of the journeys begin. A boat captain recently reported that Australian authorities paid him $30,000 to turn back. If true, that account, which the Australian government has not disputed, would represent a violation of international laws designed to prevent human smuggling and protect asylum seekers.”

Source: Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants – The New York Times