WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says…Sea Shells From Around the World (when it should say Soup, Nuts & Shells)

From a roadside store off of California Hwy 1 on the central coast,  the sign says…

Sea shells from around the world rdBut actually, the shells came mostly from ONE part of the world…the Philippines

pangasinan shell chimes and dried spiny fish
The sign says “wind chime Pangasinan w/ pink” but the wind chimes are bundled up in a plastic bag, while the eerie puff/spiny dried fish with big eyes are the prominent items on the shelf (Pangasinan is a province in the Philippines).  Look at the eye on the fish to the right, in the plastic bag.

Sea Shells detail

The sign also said ORGANICS but instead I found soup, baby food (??t?) nuts and, uh, no organics that day…

The shells for sale are on the lower shelf.

Soup to  Shells rd

Star Fish and Pineapple rings rd

So how about a star fish, and by the way, maybe some dried fruit, too?

sea shells, pasta and  lentils rd

A basket pack of mix shells from the Philippines, and oh yes, do we need pasta and lentils this week?

This is indeed a strange “Sea Shell” store!

Sea Shells detail 1

Beautiful patterns on these shells, I should have thought about these shell photos for the previous patterns challenge!

And here are photos of signs I found for sale at the Moss Landing Antique Faire last year.

Wine Classy

Gas Arm Leg Both sign at Moss Landing Antique Fair

I used the above gas sign photo for a recent post on which countries pay the highest and cheapest gas per gallon.  One never knows when a photo will come in handy for a blog post (these photos were from my phone camera).

Click here to see interpretations from the WordPress and blogging community for this week’s photo challenge theme from Sara Rosso  “The Sign Says”.

If not sit down rd

Lastly, do you know why this sign was above the toilet inside a stall at a Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant (spotted in San Jose, California)?

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Background

The WordPress Weekly Photo challenge is a tough one this week with Pick’s challenge to …

 share a picture that says In the Background.

This is the photo I got —-

Philippine Flower in the Background rd

though my intent was to take the photo below…

Philippine  Flopwer rd

Close up of flower from the Philippines

I’m not sure what happened, if it was a breeze that blew a leaf on top while I was photographing, or a double exposure.  Any thoughts from photographers — professionals or newbies (or perpetual beginners like me) —  out there in the WordPress community?

Click here to see interpretations of the theme and creative submissions from other bloggers…

Adorable sea otter

If you need to change your mood today — or for fun and lightheartedness — take a look at this adorable sea otter video found on Monterey Bay wildlife photographer Efren B. Adalem’s website (Ooh! Look! Photography)…

Efren’s otter pictures are used in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s newly remodeled sea otter exhibit.

To view Efren’s stunning wildlife photograph gallery, visit Ooh! Look! Photography, here:

From Efren… “I am enjoying documenting the birds and wildlife in the Monterey Bay area of California. We live in one of only three fresh water wetlands left in California.

This special place needs to be protected for all the migratory birds that need wetlands to survive. Ooh! Look! Photography donates a portion of its profits after taxes to The Watsonville Wetlands Watch.

And yes, I adore sea otters!

Related Links:

Lolako.com’s post, The Sea Otter’s One-Eyed Peak…

More on sea otters here (link to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Web Cam)

America’s Oil Boom – US projected to overtake Saudi Arabia as #1 oil producer by 2020

Related to my post yesterday (countries paying the highest and lowest gasoline per gallon), today’s topic on Tom Ashbrook’s On Point programThe North American Energy Revolution — looks at the blessing and the curse as North America becomes the new fossil fuel powerhouse.

Does this mean we need not worry about supply and increasing our consumption and dependence on oil? And the curse part, will this halt the incentive to move towards a cleaner, greener alternative energy source if there is this new abundance of oil here in the US? And what of our climate and environment?

To listen to the radio program episode, click here

For Monterey, California related blog post on this topic, please visit the Local Nomad’s “South Monterey County Land to be Auctioned off for Oil Development”.  Excerpt:

….The Monterey Shale, the largest oil-shale reservoir in the country, is estimated to hold some 14 billion barrels of oil. The federal government is preparing to lease out a large chunk of it for oil development, spanning Monterey, Fresno and San Benito counties.

Bloomberg.com’s article Oil Shockwaves From U.S. Shale Boom Seen by IEA Ousting OPEC

…North America will provide 40 percent of new supplies to 2018 through the development of light, tight oil and oil sands, while the contribution from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will slip to 30 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.

Gasoline Prices — countries paying the highest and lowest per gallon

I thought that gas prices were trending down….yeah, right.  Is it ever going to go down?

Gas Arm Leg Both sign at Moss Landing Antique Fair

Gas Arm Leg Both sign spotted at Moss Landing Antique Faire last year

Below is an example of gasoline price this week in the Monterey Bay area, California…

Monterey County California Gas Prices rd

I was curious to know how American gas prices compared to the rest of the world and found an interesting Bloomberg.com article on Highest and Cheapest Gas Prices by Country.

Note: The article is based on gas prices from Jan. 3 to 18, 2013 of select countries with a minimum income of $3.50 a day per person.

It  turns out, the top 5 highest price per gallon countries are more than DOUBLE what we pay here in the United States.  The top five:

  1. Turkey – $9.89 per gallon
  2. Norway $9.63 per gallon (and the only large oil-producing country with high gas cost, as they use oil profits for services to the population, e.g., free college for citizens)
  3. Netherlands – $9.09 per gallon (it is interesting that the Dutch has the most bicycles per capita in the world)
  4. Italy – $8.87 per gallon (it cost the same for Italians to fill up their tanks each week as it does to buy a weeks worth of food)
  5. Portugal – $8.82 per gallon (64% of this price goes towards taxes, which went up over 10 years ago to help protect the environment)

And the 5 countries that pay the least per gallon of gasoline?

  1. Venezuela – $0.06 per gallon, where according to the article, “the cost of filling up the 39-gallon tank of a Chevrolet Suburban in Venezuela is $2.34, compared with $128.31 in the U.S. and $385.71 in Turkey”.
  2. Saudi Arabia – $0.45 per gallon
  3. Kuwait – $0.81 per gallon
  4. Egypt – $1.14 per gallon
  5. United Arab Emirates – $1.77 per gallon

So…compared to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia…heck yeah we are paying a lot, but compared to Turkey and Italy, hello(!) it turns out that gas is quite cheap here in the U.S.

Then again, from a conservation and climate change standpoint, do you think gasoline should cost even more here — and everywhere else — to force us to conserve our resources and further reduce emissions (cars emit greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming).

I do wonder if a transition to alternative energy sources is happening way too slow, or worse, too late for our planet’s global warming problems?

If you are interested in seeing gasoline cost in countries like the Philippines, Canada, the United States and how 57 others rank, click here…

What is the gas pricing like where you live?  Too high, or too cheap in your opinion….

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme Escape…escaping into a human sized nest?

The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ESCAPE.

Many of us have an abundance of scenic photographs and of escaping out….

I also thought about escaping in, and remembered these photographs I took of a human sized nest made from tree branches at the Big Sur Spirit Garden, after a visit to the Big Sur Bakery.

Big Nest Escape rd

What do you think?  Would you want to have one in YOUR garden or backyard…lots of pillows, cozy blankets (they custom make these for one…or for two or more people).

Or is this type of structure just for birds?

Big Nest Escape outside rdI photographed this “fence” this morning during a walk.   A fence that is not very helpful in preventing an escape, or a break in…

Broken Fence rdk Sometimes the only escape you need is actually an escape into the present…it sounds counter intuitive, but maybe the best kind of escape from the mundane is to truly engage with someone, a family member, or an activity.

Aquarium Escape

My grandson Jun when he was about 4, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Related links (click on the photo to link to the website)

FlycatcherHatchlings_Local-nomad.net_

Real birds in nest — see the Local Nomad’s new post Spring has Sprung, hereTwo Pacific Slope Flycatchers (I think of them as Fiona and Fritz)….”

Big Sur Spirit Garden NestBig Sur Spirit Garden’s Spirit Nest, here

treebones-nest big sur

You can rent a human nest for the evening (and yurts too!) at Treebones Resort in Big Sur

What grows in the rich soils of Monterey County

Note:  This is a follow-up to my earlier post, Monterey, Melons and more (that Monterey County is the only county in the United States with more than $1 BILLION annually in vegetable sales).

Sunset Seaside Monterey County California rd

Seaside Sunset in Monterey County, Central Coast of California – photo LolaKo.com

The coast, the beautiful landscape, the Monterey Jazz Festival, John Steinbeck country, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and Fisherman’s wharf, Pebble Beach (among the top Golf destinations in the world) and the spectacular Big Sur Coast are among what makes the Monterey County area well-known worldwide as a tourism spot.

Big_Sur Wiki Photo by Calilover

Big Sur Coast, Monterey County, California photo via wiki commons by Calilover

Steinbeck Mural Salinas California

John Steinbeck mural, downtown old Salinas — Steinbeck was a native of Monterey County Photo: Lolako.com

From an economic standpoint though — tourism dollars aside — the Monterey County agricultural industry is what amazes me.

basket of heriloom tomatoesI wanted to know more.  What exactly do we grow here that produce such high dollar values?

The  website for the Monterey County Office of the Agricultural Commissioner and their Annual Crop Report provided exactly the information I was interested to know.

Here are the most recent numbers…

  • Leaf lettuce is in the number one spot with a value of $777.4 million
  • Strawberries accounted for  $713.9 million
  • Head lettuce was at $454.2 million
  • Broccoli at $297.3 million
  • Nursery production at $260.7 million

So there it is…lettuce is the top crop.

Makes sense…the weather is so mild here, and lettuce can be grown and harvested in such a short time!

Plus, companies in this region of California are pioneers in lettuce production and sales, having originated the ready to go salad — washed, bagged and ready to eat lettuce we now are accustomed to buying at the grocery store.

Nursery Field of Begonia Monterey County rd

Begonias growing in sandy, well draining fields of Marina, Monterey County, California – Photo LolaKo.com

What was also interesting, is that the 4th largest agriculture commodity in Monterey County is nursery production.

I knew about the orchid growing facilities here, but there are also many more types of flowers grown here!  From the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner website on nursery production…

…The local climate creates ideal conditions for raising a large variety of nursery stock including bedding and potted plants, cut flowers, poinsettias, vegetable transplants, woody ornamentals, propagative materials, turf and orchids.

Monterey County field of Yarrow flowers

Yarrow field — flowers growing in Monterey County, California – Photo LolaKo.com

It turns out, along with lots of spring greens, lettuce greens and heads of lettuce, Monterey County grows a lot of flowers like gerbera daisies, Asiatic lily, carnation, tulips and roses.

And so…Monterey County’s total crop values in the year 2011? A whopping  $3,853,004,200.  Again, Wow!

Here are related links:

body_2006_Oliver_hand-laborWebsite for the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and Latest Monterey County Crop Report — living and working in Steinbeck Country (the 2012 report should be out soon)

nursery begonia field marina californiaBlog Begonias in the Mist – “We’re planting begonia seeds again.   We’ll drop over 2 million little begonia seeds and hope for the best….”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Monterey County field of Lavenders

 

Creekside Farms in south Monterey County – grows flowers and makes gorgeous fresh and dried wreaths (see LolaKo post here, for more on Creekside Farms.

 

Lavender-Fields-creekside farms

Lavender Fields at Creekside Farms. Photo LolaKo.com

From USA Today, 25 years of “eureka” moments – #10 is Lettuce in a bag…

…Americans discovered there’s more to salad than iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled dressing after the rollout of mixed lettuce greens in a bag.  Fresh Express in Salinas, Calif., made that possible by inventing a high-tech plastic bag introduced nationwide in 1989. That helped ignite a whole consumer category of portion-controlled foods, such as bagged baby carrots.

Fresh Express productFeatureSalinas, Monterey County, California based Fresh Express Company Fresh Express created the very first ready-to-eat packaged Garden Salad available in grocery stores nationwide in 1989.

Monterey, melons and more…

Did you know that Monterey County is the only county in the United States with more than $1 billion — yes, that is BILLION — in annual vegetable sales?  Wow!

Monterey County Fields

Monterey County, California farm field, near the Hwy 1 freeway. Photo www.Lolako.com

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent Census of Agriculture for the category of vegetables, potatoes and melons, the top five counties were:

  • Monterey County, California
  • Fresno County, California
  • Yuma County, Arizona
  • Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Kern County, California

Summer and Globe Squash Monterey County

Monterey County grew almost twice the sales value of the next largest county, Fresno… and produced almost 9% of total U.S. value of vegetable production.  Another, wow….and it is true that the Salinas Valley is the salad bowl capital of the U.S. (and the world?).
Monterey county artichokes
Most of what I see driving around Monterey County and neighboring counties are a whole lot salad green fields, and a lot of strawberry farms.  Not so much melons or potato fields.  This billion dollar number must mean mostly salad greens and artichokes, since strawberries are under another category for berries and tree nuts — an even bigger agriculture industry in California.
Textured MelonsIt is nearing summer time, and I am thinking of cherries and melons and luscious fruits to enjoy this summer, and places to take our grandchildren like “U-Pick” types of farms.    The melons pictured on this post are the Casaba melons, which originated from Kasaba, Turkey, and are in the “winter melon” group that includes honey dew melons.  “Winter” meaning they are hardy melons, since these melons are actually available in summer and fall.
Casaba Melons
I looked at the California Agricultural Tourism Directory website, clicked on the “U-Pick” category, and was surprised to find out there was only one listed for Monterey (The Farm – in the Salinas Valley). Surely there are more U-Pick farms in Monterey County? If you know of others, please comment.  Thank you!

WordPress Photo Challenge – Patterns of colors in costumes

After a hiatus from participating in my favorite WordPress blogging challenge (actually …a hiatus from blogging in general) I am submitting the following photos for this week’s theme from Sara Rosso, Patterns.

I immediately thought of the photos I took at the Marina (Monterey County, California) farmers market this past Sunday, the 5th of May.

I enjoyed the lovely costumes with repeating patterns and colors from a group performing folk dances for Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns

Family Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 1

Huddling together in preparation for their performance — and for photo opportunities — were the cutest little girl and boy, who seem to enjoy the attention and cameras pointed at them…

Family Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 2

Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 1Cinco De Mayo dancer at market low res

More about Baile Folklorico – traditional Latin American dances here

Cinco de Mayo events in the United States celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, and are very popular.

And of course, as with anything that can be commercialized, the popularity of Cinco de Mayo celebrations can also be attributed to beer companies promoting the event.  From the website, Hispanic Culture On-Line, Cinco de Mayo history:

The commercialization of Cinco de Mayo started because Coors Brewing Company wanted to improve its image among Hispanics who used to boycott the brewing company for alleged discriminatory practices….click here to read the article

Related article…Cinco de Mayo now a mainstream holiday, from SF Gate / San Francisco Chronicle.

Are there Cinco de Mayo events and celebrations where YOU are?

Philippine Eagle on the IUCN Redlist (critically endangered) and Species of the Day Feature

The Philippine Eagle is critically endangered, and has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red list since 1994.

Considered to the be largest bird in the world, the Philippine Eagle is endemic to the Philippines and is known to exist only in the islands of Mindanao, Leyte, Samar and eastern Luzon —  of the thousands of islands in the Philippine archipelago.

Endangered Philippine-Eagle-Close-up

Photograph by Klaus Nigge – www.nigge.com

The rapid decline of these magnificent birds — and official  national symbol of the Phillipines —  is mainly due to extensive deforestation and illegal logging in the Philippines.

Here is a link to quick facts on this magnificent bird, featured on the IUCN Red List Species of the Day feature: http://www.iucnredlist.org/sotdfiles/pithecophaga-jefferyi.pdf

For more on animals listed on the IUCN’s Red list of Threatened Species, visit the website at http://www.iucnredlist.org/

Related Lolako articles on the Philippine Eagle- Haring Ibon (King of Birds):

Haring Ibon: The magnificent and critically endangered Philippine eagle

Post on the Philippine eagle video at ARKive.  ARKive’s mission is promoting the conservation of the world’s threatened species, through the power of wildlife imagery.

Moss Landing Marine Marine Laboratories (MLML) Open House Photos

This year, I finally made it to the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) Open House, held April 20 – 21st, 2013.

Take Time MLML Moss Landing

Entrance to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, California

From the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories About Us page:  (link to website here):

History – Since establishment in 1966, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) has grown an international reputation for excellence in marine science research and education, and is the second oldest marine lab on Monterey Bay.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) administers the Master of Science in marine science program for California State Universities in northern and central California, and is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in both education and research.  An outfitted marine operations department, active research diving program and state of the art equipment allow for cutting edge research in a wide variety of disciplines including: marine ecology; the biology of marine plants, invertebrates, fishes, turtles, birds and mammals; oceanography and marine geology; chemistry and biogeochemistry…

…The lab is situated in an excellent location for the study of the marine world. The Monterey Submarine Canyon, the largest such feature on the west coast of North America, begins within a few hundred meters of the Moss Landing harbor and the MLML research fleet. To the east of MLML is the Elkhorn Slough, the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside of San Francisco Bay, and an important site for shorebirds and fishes. To the north and south are sand dunes, sandy beaches, and extensive kelp forest habitats along the rocky shoreline. Some of the most productive kelp forests and intertidal areas can be found in this region. MLML also is located between two large upwelling centers, which provide nutrients that stimulate an incredible amount of productivity but also provide a wealth of opportunities to study coastal oceanic processes.

My intention was to walk the new MLML coastal boardwalk, take a quick walk around the facilities and return with my grandchildren. Schedules did not allow for the return, so I am eager to visit again next year with my grandsons.

Below are the photos using the new WordPress gallery format.  More details next year!

Blobfish fish index blogAnd oh, despite everything else to learn about the world of marine science, if you are curious and want to learn more about the “internet famous” blob fish, visit the fish index blog, here or click on the photo.

A deep-sea fish, the blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania.  Though rarely seen by humans, it is internet famous perhaps due to its rather unique (or familiar?) face.  Just Google “blob fish” and check out the images for yourself…

Related article – Santa Cruz Sentinel: More than 2,000 visit Moss Landing labs

And for more on MLML, visit the Moss Landing Marine Labs’ blog – The Drop In  and Drop-in to the “real-life tales” of graduate students at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California, and find out what being a marine biologist (or chemist or geologist or physicist…) is all about!

Farewell to Melanie Mayer-Gideon

I was saddened to learn of Melanie Mayer-Gideon’s passing. She was only 52 years old.

Melanie, along with her husband Yohn owned the Captain’s Inn Bed and Breakfast in Moss Landing.  We met after her comment on my blog post What Low Tide Reveals — when my friends Jean, Joselyn and I visited the Captain’s Inn.

Through Melanie’s blog comment, she further connected and extended her knowledge and her love of this area to a transplant like me….

I did not realize until now, how instrumental she was in getting the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) rebuilt after the Loma Prieta earthquake (the major Bay Area 1989 – World Series Earthquake).

Melanie-of-Captains-Inn b

An excerpt from the MLML/Cal State website:

We have lost a champion, an advocate, colleague, a student, an alum, a friend, and a devoted mother, all way too soon and in unexpected tragedy. 

The recent news has deeply penetrated the labs, our network and the resonated sympathies keep pouring in…we are reeling, and the drums are beating. 

We wish that there was more comfort in this passing, but for now, there seems to be little beyond shock and our memories.  Yet, we want you all to know, that these memories, and our personal interactions with Melanie, have touched us in many personal and formidable ways. 

Melanie was a true native of north Monterey County, graduated Salinas High School in 1978 and eventually found her way into graduate school at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in her own backyard. 

Her thesis involved the “Flowering Plant Recruitment into a Newly Restored Salt Marsh in Elkhorn Slough, California,” advised by Mike Foster, Greg Cailliet and John Oliver.

Her thesis research reflected her ‘community’ approach to life,  acknowledging Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ken Moore, Sheila Baldridge, Larry Jones, Preston Watwood, Ken Delopst, Lynn McMasters, Gail Johnston, Dorothy Lydick, George Knauer, Meritt Tuel, Brian Fadely, Peter and Tony Young, Ruby Peterson, Marge Reidpath, Benthic Bubs, Mark Sliger, Keiko Sekiguchi, Mark Silberstein, Frances Cresswell, Steve Horn, her parents and her brother Eric.

Two years following the completion of her thesis, the laboratories were completely destroyed by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, and Melanie’s trajectory experienced a course correction towards a new kind of restoration: that of the laboratories’ reconstruction. This also launched her career as a permit consultant.  She, together with a small cadre of attorneys and other MLML graduates, was the point person for reconstruction strategy….

….Her love of life and people was always obvious in her smile and loving personality. Her values, love, life, integrity and accomplishments should serve as an example for us all, and will never be forgotten.  To Yohn and his family, we offer our deepest sympathies and our utmost support.

Kenneth Coale, Mike Foster, Greg Cailliet, John Oliver

Read the complete post “A Tearful Farewell to Melanie Mayer-Gideon: True MLML Champion, Friend, and Alumna” here.

Farewell Melanie, and condolences to your family and your many friends in the community.

May the Fourth Be With You – the staying power of Star Wars

So this month, there is the Cinco de Mayo celebration, Mother’s Day on Sunday, the 12th, and oh yes…Star Wars Day, celebrated by Star Wars fans on May 4th.

What…..Star Wars Day? There’s a Star Wars Day…as in Happy Star Wars Day?

star-wars-may-the-4th-be-with-you-HallmarkApparently, as Hallmark has official cards (conventional and e-cards) available for sale, with your favorite Star Wars character and just the right sentiment .

Star Wars Episode IV was released in the U.S. on May 25, 1977.  I saw the movie when I was a teenager living in the Philippines, and up to that point, it was different from any movie I’d seen.

The second installment, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, was released in U.S. theaters on May 21, 1980, and it was among the first movies  I saw in an American theater.

Ever wonder where George Lucas got the inspiration for Star Wars?  Here is an excerpt from Star Wars Wookieepedia…

Lucas had already written two drafts of Star Wars when he rediscovered Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1975 (having read it years before in college). This blueprint for “The Hero’s Journey” gave Lucas the focus he needed to draw his sprawling imaginary universe into a single story. Campbell demonstrates in his book that all stories are expressions of the same story-pattern, which he named the Hero’s Journey or the monomyth.

Lucas has often cited The Lord of the Rings series as a major influence on Star Wars. Lucas learned from Tolkien how to handle the delicate stuff of myth. Tolkien wrote that myth and fairytale seem to be the best way to communicate morality – hints for choosing between right and wrong – and in fact that may be their primary purpose. Lucas has also acknowleged in interviews that the Gandalf and the Witch-king characters in the Lord of the Rings influenced the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader characters respectively.

Over 30 years later, the Star Wars franchise lives on and is today relevant to my  grandsons, age 8 and 6.  They love all things Star Wars (now brilliantly marketed in partnership with Lego products) and of course, there is the animated Star Wars – Clone Wars series.

Yoda May the Fourth be with you s

This Yoda — equipped with lightsaber came to us via a box of a Nintendo DS Lego game.

And so here’s to Star Wars Day…and from our household Yoda (he came in a box with a Nintendo DS Lego game), May the Force — or the Fourth — Be With You!

Did you know…Star Wars is the third highest-grossing film series of all time, after James Bond and Harry Potter?

If you are a grandparent — or grandparent age —  how many movies do you remember from our teen years that are now part of modern popular culture?  Certainly not many that we can enjoy with our grandchildren…not a remake, but in its original format.

Related Links:

Geek news to shark tracking? There’s an app for that!

It seems that there really is an app for everything.

Over the weekend, I found out — from a nice young techno wiz of course — about Appy Geek, an app that lets techno geeks track all the latest news from all the top providers.

appy geekThat is of course, if you MUST keep up with all things Android, Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Samsung, HTC, smartphones, tablets, gadgets, Windows, start-ups, science, video games, internet and etc.

The unsettling part is when I googled Appy Geek and landed on a webpage, there was a notice that the app is compatible with my specific phone (and my specific wireless carrier).  Kinda creepy, though at this point, I don’t know if I really want to know how THEY know…

And for an app that relates locally to the Monterey Bay and conservation efforts, there is also the Shark App — a project by Marine biologist Barbara Block, winner of the 2012 Rolex Award for Enterprise, to monitor the activity of sharks off the coast of California and increase public awareness of the marine environment.

Excerpt from an article on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species…

Barbara Block has been studying the ocean for more than 30 years. Between 2000 and 2010 she was co-chief scientist for the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) programme and part of the Census of Marine Life. The information from these projects identified “hotspots” in the ocean off the coast of California where upwelling currents in the California Current during spring provide nutrients that cause plankton blooms which in turn attract fish and large marine predators such as sharks.

buoy_rolex_awards_bart_michiels

Photo by Bart Michiels via IUCN Red List website

Barbara will use her Rolex Award to fund the construction, testing and deployment of three listening buoys that will be located in marine sanctuaries at three California hotspots. Each time a tagged shark swims within half a kilometer of a buoy its presence will be detected and the information will be sent not only to Barbara’s laboratory but also to ordinary citizens across the world that have downloaded the new Shark Net app.

wave glider

The bright yellow, seven-foot long Wave Glider and fixed buoys will transmit data from tagged animals between Monterey Bay and Tomales Point. (Kip Evans) – photo via www.theepochtimes.com

To Barbara, engagement with these marine animals is key if people are to understand why they need to be protected.

To download the free Shark Net – Predators of the Blue Serengeti app, click here (compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.)

Related Links:

Lola Jane article The man-eater label: Shark attack or a shark encounter?

Article from The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/18/barbara-block-sharks-app

Article from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ –  http://www.iucnredlist.org/news/tracking-sharks-with-the-rolex-awards-for-enterprise