Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hunting Pirates in High Style

A very interesting, funny story from the AP today on how the Swedes are hunting pirates. This one warship has a sauna, offers massages to crew, and serves fresh baked bread. If you're going to hunt bad guys, why not do it in style?

Read the article here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beneath the Oil Slick

Since the oil spill began three weeks ago, most eyes and cameras have been focused on the widening, orange slick. But now, as experts argue that the flow rate could far exceed the government's estimate of 210,000 gallons a day, a team of independent scientists studying the water in and around the disaster zone have found another problem: stores of leaked oil lingering beneath the surface in long, stringy filaments and snowflake-like collections.

"It doesn't float right up on top as you would think," Raymond Highsmith of NIUST tells AOL News. "Some of it floats right under the surface, and some of it now looks like it's quite a ways down."

This is the start of a piece I just wrote for AOL News. What these scientists are doing is amazing, and important. Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Immortal-Free Book

There are no vampires, werewolves, gods or demi-gods in the novel. I realize this might seem strange, given that immortals have become a requirement in any story for young readers, but I simply couldn't see a way to fit them in. If I were to add a werewolf to the crew, he would inevitably transform during the crossing, since it typically took a sailing ship a month or more to go from one side of the Atlantic to the other in the age of piracy. This werewolf would probably kill all the other pirates, and then, when he woke up, all exhausted and guilty-feeling, but certainly not hungry any longer, he wouldn't have anyone to help him sail the boat.

OK, so what about vampires? There is one character who could absolutely fit the role - any guesses? - but the pirates and vampires mash-up has already been done.

Gods? Certainly Poseidon could have a role in any ocean-soaked book, but I didn't see any place for him here.

Instead, Fish is populated solely by mortals. Real people who won't survive the shot from a pistol or the thrust of a cutlass.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bluefin Tuna and the Oil Spill

A story I just wrote about a fish that won't fare as well as the title character in my book:

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could not have happened at a worse time, or in a worse spot, for the Atlantic bluefin tuna. More than 600 species are considered to be at risk due to the sunken rig, which is gushing oil into the water at a rate of 210,000 gallons per day. But this is an especially sensitive period for the bluefin.

"The giant bluefin only show up for about a month, and this is the time they show up," Stanford University marine biologist Barbara Block told AOL News. "Bluefin tuna are moving to the Gulf of Mexico exactly right now to spawn." Plus, she said, the spill is centered around one of the preferred breeding areas. "Many of the tuna go exactly to that region."

Read the rest at AOL News.