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Wednesday
Feb262014

Why won't Lake Ontario freeze?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's deep. Deeper than all but Lake Superior, and lower in latitude than most of the others. Still, in 50 years of watching Lake Ontario in winter, and wishing it would freeze, it simply will not.

This could have been the year. Unusually cold. If the lake froze, the "lake-effect" snow storms would end and we'd be able to take the white "we surrender" flag out of the window.

Encouragingly, while facing obscene heating bills, we have rarely seen our shores so heavily ice bound.

Will the ice kill the snow? Close, but at 43%, no cigar.

How do you spell C O L D? In the counties at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, it's S N O W. And that's because the lake refuses to freeze - giving rise to the infamous "lake-effect" snow storm which can drop a foot of snow on you in about 30 minutes, go away for an hour and then come back to drop a foot of two more.

In a recent (image and report courtesy NOAA Feb 13) summary of Great Lakes ice cover, Lake Ontario stood at 43% while two others, Superior and Erie, were 100% frozen, and Michigan and Huron not far behind.

In total, the lakes were 88% ice-bound on February 13, 2014, topping the previous record of 82% set in 1996, according to this report from NOAA http://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/great-lakes-ice-cover-most-extensive-mid-90s 

Thursday
Oct032013

What the Kiwis Know that Larry Ellison hasn't figured out yet

The America's Cup began as a contest between nations. The boats had to be built at home, the sails and equipment had to originate at home, and the crews had to be citizens of the challenging and defending nations.   Dean Barker, a Kiwi through and through, and those who support and finance him know what's wrong with the Cup: it begs to return to being a contest between nations.

That's what the Kiwi's tried to do, (given the circumstances) with an all "down under" team last month, and it's why we cheered him on out there on SF Bay.

The problem: Oracle Team USA's boat was ALSO a product of New Zealand. In a sense, the Kiwis were sailing against themselves and in the end, sadly, money, not skill, not passion or national pride made the difference.

The hard truth is money will almost always triumph. The shame is, in sport, especially at its pinnacles like in the AC, it shouldn't be allowed to. AC boats should be one design, period.

Mr. Ellison, why don't you try to win with an American boat and team?

Maybe winning, for you, doesn't have any boundaries. I promise you that for us, the sailors and citiznes, it does.

So, the 34th Cup was a fantastic spectacle with no real depth and will soon be forgotten. We are passionate sailors, but for us it's "ho hum," and we don't really care because the whole thing has become an amorphous blob.

What could have been pride is now apathy. Yes, owner Larry Ellison's checkbook trumped NZ's, but for sheer spirit and joie de vivre effort, we gotta give it to the Kiwis cause they know how to root for the home team.

What do we want? Americans calling the shots on board.

Here's a link to a great post-cup interview with Dean Barker.

 http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Americas-Cup:-Dean-Barker-reflects-on-the-34th-Americas-Cup/115327

Thursday
Nov082012

DON'T ASK HOW MUCH PLASTIC IS IN THE WATER. ASK HOW MUCH WATER IS LEFT IN THE PLASTIC

The simple answer is, it’s worse than that.

Fact is, since the day the stuff was first invented, not a single molecule of the plastic we use and discard so thoughtlessly has gone away by itself.

Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn't still around. It is!  It’s found its way to our lakes and oceans and it’s threatening to plug things up in a major way.

Last week, the State University of New York released a chilling study. Their conclusion? Concentrations of plastic are higher in the great lakes than anywhere else in the world.

Read more and more here.

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