Reuters – If you plan on hitting the beach this summer, a new report recommends first checking your local water quality online before packing your bags – or risk bringing home more trouble than wet bathing suits and sand-filled shoes.
Last year was one of the worst on record in terms of bacterial pollution from human and animal waste, according to the nonprofit Natural Resource Defense Council’s NRDC 22nd annual survey of water quality at over 3,000 U.S. beaches.
State and local beach officials reported the third-highest number of closings and advisory days in over 20 years. The impact of sewage and stormwater runoff on swimmers include diarrhea, pink eye, ear, nose and throat problems, respiratory ailments and several neurological disorders.
To make the information easier to access, NRDC debuted a new online tool at http://www.nrdc.org/beaches that allows the public to search beaches by postal zip code. An application for mobile devices is also in the works.
“Having that information when you’re planning the trip is far more important than when you’ve taken the trip,” said Steve Fleischli, Director of NRDC’s Water Program.
The report shows how water quality levels vary significantly across the country. Delaware, not usually the first state that jumps to mind for many when thinking of fun in the sun, nonetheless had beaches reporting the lowest water contamination levels in the country, while Louisiana pollution has for consecutive years violated federal beach water standards.
In California, the picture was mixed. Five beaches, including Newport and Huntington State Beaches in Orange County, for example, were awarded NRDC’s 5-star rating out of the dozen others, nationally, that received the top honor.
However, eight of the state’s beaches appeared on a list of the nation’s 15 worst “Repeat Offenders” for violating public health standards.
Strange Random Beach Quote:
“If pinpointing God’s presence were really that simple, then he supposed the beaches would be more crowded in the mornings. They would be filled with people on their own quests, instead of people jogging or walking their dogs or fishing in the surf.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song
- Dirty water an issue at US beaches, report shows – msnbc.com (overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com)
- Florida beaches rank high in water quality, escape nation’s dirtiest list – MiamiHerald.com (miamiherald.com)
- The USA’s cleanest — and dirtiest — beaches (travel.usatoday.com)
- NRDC: Georgia’s beaches among the cleanest (bizjournals.com)
- 15 Repeat Offenders: America’s Polluted Beaches (snspost.com)
- Annual Beach Report: Is Your Beach Safe for Swimming? (ecowatch.org)
- Northeast Florida beaches rank among cleanest in state, Georgia’s Glynn County notably polluted (jacksonville.com)
- At Jersey Shore, Stormwater Runoff Blamed for Spike in Beach Closings (njspotlight.com)
CHIBA — Years after female Japanese train spotters were given the nickname “tetsuko,” which loosely translates as “rail girl,” officials of Narita International Airport and the nearby city of Narita, Chiba Prefecture, recently coined the word “sorami” — “air girl” — to describe members of the growing band of female plane spotters.
Just as a tetsuko would crisscross the nation to photograph different trains, so a sorami such as Ayumi Fukuda, a 34-year-old public servant from Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture, travels from Hokkaido to Okinawa to capture images of airplanes.
In May, she was one of 27 participants in an event organized for sorami in Narita.
“I don’t understand why airplanes can fly, and that’s why I’m attracted to them,” said Fukuda, a plane spotter of five years.
The event was organized by Narita Kuentai, a group consisting of employees of the Narita Municipal Government and the airport that works for the development of the local community.
After gathering at a hotel in the city, the participants, mostly in their 20s and 30s, were given a tour of a park close to the airport and taken to a Japan Airlines hangar to photograph planes.
“It’s huge!” “Beautiful!” the assembled sorami exclaimed as they entered the hangar and set eyes on a JAL Boeing 787, the state-of-the-art Dreamliner. Some lay on the ground to photograph the plane from a certain angle, while others posed in front of the jet for photos with mechanics, who were acting as tour guides.
According to photographer Charlie Furusho, there is a difference between photos taken by male and female airplane fans.
“Men just tend to photograph the aircraft, so as to make a collection of them, while many women include flowers and other seasonal items in the picture,” said the 39-year-old photographer.
He said women seem to enjoy the color scheme and other aspects of how a plane looks.
Strange Random Plane Quote:
- Plane spotters’ Dreamliner comes true (smh.com.au)
- 41 Hours in Tokyo: Plane Spotting and a Review of the NRT Admirals Club and JAL Lounges (pizzainmotion.com)
- Arriving and departing aircraft photographed from above (lostateminor.com)
This follows a series of reports that have been trickling out for months about a 7-inch Nexus tablet being developed with Asus. The tablet is slated to debut at the Google I/O conference that starts Wednesday.
Previous reports have claimed the Nexus device will sport the Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” operating system, a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of memory, and IPS in-plane-switching screen — which boasts wide viewing angles.
The $399 iPad 2, by comparison, comes with a dual-core A5 and 512MB of RAM.
The Google tablet is expected, however, to have a 7-inch screen, considerably smaller than the iPad’s 9.7-incher which is also IPS, by the way.
Of course, apps are what matter to many, if not most, people. Though Google claims hundreds of thousands of apps, the iPad has more apps overall and more apps designed specifically for the tablet format, as reviewers are wont to point out.
Other expected Google tablet features include NFC (near field communication), Google Wallet, and Android Beam.
An 8GB model will cost $199, while the 16GB version will still be pretty cheap at $249, according to Gizmodo Australia.
It’s worth noting this isn’t the first highly anticipated $199 Android tablet. The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire was announced last year to great fanfare and a new Kindle Fire could arrive as early as July.
Strange Random Technology Quote:
“Technology has the shelf life of a banana.” – Scott McNealy
- Bloomberg confirms Google announcing $199 Nexus-branded Asus tablet at I/O (theverge.com)
- Google takes on iPad with new £150 tablet (thesun.co.uk)
- Google said to unveil tablet this week, taking aim at Apple’s iPad (macdailynews.com)
- LEAK: This Is Google’s Tablet (GOOG, AMZN, AAPL) (businessinsider.com)
- Details Leak Out on $199 Google Tablet (newser.com)
- Nexus 7: This Is Google’s New Nexus Tablet – Gizmodo Australia (gizmodo.com.au)
- Kindle Fire 2 coming in July, new report says (androidauthority.com)
- Why Google’s New Tablet Could Be The iPad’s First Real Competition (robhof.com)
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to turn your brain off. And just because it’s a science book doesn’t mean it has to be boring. If you’re trying to beat the heat, here are seven recently published or soon-to-be-published books that will keep your brain purring along even when you’re at the beach — or inside your air-conditioned heat-wave hideaway.
“2312″: This is the only fictional work on the list, but it’s a doozy. This 576-page novel from Kim Stanley Robinson who’s best-known for his Mars Trilogy is a crime-and-politics thriller set in an era when humans have colonized most of the solar system. There’s even an asteroid-mining angle, which fits well with the recent revelations about Planetary Resources’ plan to build a trillion-dollar industry. Some reviewers say the book meanders too much, but isn’t that part of the appeal of a summer read? “2312″ is one of the books on NPR’s list of summer sci-fi recommendations.
“Before the Lights Go Out”: BoingBoing‘s Maggie Koerth-Baker focuses on two big questions in her book about the looming energy crisis. “Why should I care about energy?” and “Now that I care, what do I do?” She teases apart what’s happening to the electricity grid and other elements of the world’s infrastructure, then delves into the strategies that are being developed to change energy policy as well as personal lifestyles. The subject matter is serious fare, but Koerth-Baker takes you on a readable ride — and there’s no better time than a heat wave to get smarter about global warming.
Strange Random Book Quote:
- Book Review – “MBA Admission for Smarties” (rolipolli.wordpress.com)
- A ‘Smartie’ Teacher’s Gift (momvstheboys.com)
- Download The Composer Is Dead (Book & CD) e-book (rbnadpub.typepad.com)
- Downloads A Series of Unfortunate Events – the Reptile Room – Book Two book (iatkeno.typepad.com)
- Kim Stanley Robinson Sees Humans Colonizing the Solar System in 2312 (wired.com)
- Iain M. Banks and Kim Stanley Robinson in Conversation at the British Library in June (geeksyndicate.wordpress.com)
- Kim Stanley Robinson talks about his latest novel, 2312 (boingboing.net)