Archive for March, 2010

Expressing Concerns: The Development of Wave Energy on the North Coast

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

    The purpose of the proposed PG&E Humboldt WaveConnect™ Pilot Project is to test different wave energy technologies and to further study the development of wave energy.  Although this project could result in a new source of energy for our coastal community, I do have certain concerns with the overall project.  The major concern I have is that my dad is a local commercial fisherman and has been for the past thirty-five years, and because of my family’s background in the fishing industry, there may be impacts that this wave energy project could potentially create for my dad’s career.

Some of the issues that I worry about effecting my family’s business is the interference of these devices.  My concern is that these structures may be placed in the areas where my dad fishes for crab and salmon. Other huge concerns that I have for the fishing community includes safety issues, which may arise from placing these large devices within the fishing grounds, an overall loss of fishing grounds, and gear entanglement, that may frequently occur because of storm events when strong winds and currents move the gear around.  Gear entanglement is a big issue because if the gear was to get entangled in the devices’ anchor or cable systems, then the local fishermen may not be able to retrieve their gear.  To solve this problem, PG&E should take these concerns into consideration and make plans to place the wave energy project as far north and away from the bay entrance as possible; thus, allowing fishermen to continue on with their jobs without having to obey to even more regulations than they already do.

In addition, besides the concerns I have for my own family’s business, I also have concerns for locals, beach goers, and ocean life, especially crab.  As for the residents of this area, I would want to see that this project uses as much local labor force as possible.  In doing so, this will help to increase the local employment and economy.  Moreover, I would like to see that the concerns of other locals are met and the impacts to those who live near shorelines are addressed.  Furthermore, there should be studies done on ocean life to analyze any harm that this project may cause, such as electrical escapement, to crab, fish, and other organisms.

Kristen Pinto

Ye Olde Thumb

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

CR student “Bobby” elects low-cost transportation to the Eureka campus.

Getting Things Done

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Journalism instructor Dave Silverbrand meets with student Leslie Nietos about her project.

Music of the Night

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

It was a nice Saturday evening, on March 20th at six o’clock, as I walked down Eureka’s Old Town streets with my destination being Chapala Café on 2nd & C Street. Once arriving, I noticed how the restaurant was busy and full of hungry families who were out to eat a well-cooked Mexican meal. Besides being able to eat a yummy dinner, I was also able to watch a live concert. Playing at Chapala Café every Friday and Saturday nights 6-8 you can find The Tumbleweeds: a group of three musicians playing and singing songs from the old west. I took a table that was front and center where I could really hear and take in the sounds of their music. I found through asking that these three older men who made up The Tumbleweeds were “Side Dish” Bob who played a customized F style mandolin tuned to the pitch of a violin, Dace who played an instrument which laid across his lap known as a Dobro, and Robert who played a J99 Moonstone Guitar. These guys were dressed the part with all three of them wearing cowboy hats and boots and each of them also sported an overgrown mustache. Just looking at them made me feel as if I had traveled back into the old west, and with this time period that flashed into my mind, I then pictured a saloon and thought that they would of fit perfectly in that kind of atmosphere.

Besides just looking the part, this group also sounded as if they came from the good ol’ cowboy days. The genre of music they were playing reminded me of a mixture of sounds such as folk, bluegrass, and traditional country. When asked what genre The Tumbleweeds considered themselves they replied with labeling their genre as “Old Western/Romantic Cowboy.” The one thing I had doubts about was how this type of music was going fit into a Mexican restaurant like Chapalas, but once hearing them play, the music seemed to some how work with the Mexican vibe. I feel that this music complemented the venue because Chapalas has a mix of Western and Spanish feeling to its décor which makes the two, both interior and music, relate to one another.

As for the songs that The Tumbleweeds played, I found out that they were mainly cowboy covers that have been around for decades, but occasionally the band would incorporate their own written songs into the performance. I noticed, through listening, that I wasn’t able to hear exactly what the lyrics were because they did not use microphones; however, I still enjoyed the music being played even without knowing the lyrics. I think that the band didn’t focus as much on what they were singing because they instead liked to demonstrate their talents which is why they focused more on the sound created from playing their instruments. I found the sounds of each instrument appealing especially the mandolin. In addition, when each of these instruments were played all at once they seemed to work very well with one another producing a coherent sound. After playing each song the crowd would applause, and also some individuals got up from their tables to donate money into The Tumbleweed’s tip jar. Although the music was a little bit washed out by the background noise, I found it to be still comforting, and some how the back ground noise of people chattering and the tunes of the music mixed together created a soothing sound to me.

Overall, I took a liking to not only The Tumbleweed’s music, but also the way that they performed their songs. From watching them, I could tell that these three men had passion for what they do, and I could also tell that they really enjoyed playing for a crowd because in return the people who listened would also share this joy. I was a bit surprised that I ended up liking this genre of music just because I had never really listened to a type that was similar to this different style before. Sitting in on this concert has opened my ears to a new category of music. Although this concert wasn’t performed on a traditional stage or in a normal concert setting, it was still a neat experience for me, and I had a great time while being able to learn some new background information on these men who make up The Tumbleweeds.

Kristen Pinto

Antigone at College of the Redwoods

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

 Left to right back: The chorus- Ed Munn, Jacqui Cain, David Newell  Left to right front: Antigone – Johani Guerrero, Ismene - Jennifer Trustem.     Photo by Daniel Lawrence.

 Left to right back:  The chorus- Ed Munn, Jacqui Cain, David Newell

Left to right front: Antigone – Johani Guerrero, Ismene – Jennifer Trustem.

Photo by Daniel Lawrence.

Woodley Island Visit

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

     Taking R street that merges to exit 255 our goal for the day was to see Woodley Island located on Humboldt Bay. No sooner than when we get on the  Samoa Bridge you get this sense of power as you look out on Humboldt Bay: it really is a striking yet beautiful view as the water seems to go on forever in the distance. Entering Samoa, we soon find ourselves at Samoa Cookhouse and the Maritime Museum. Unfortunately the Museum ended up closed,  and we were super bummed out. We were just excitedly hoping we would get to see artifacts that would show us about shipwrecks to the lighthouses that lit the way for all the boats in the harbor. However with the Maritime Museum being closed we decide to explore the docks on Woodley Island before coming back to get a bite to eat.                 As soon as we hit the Dock we walk along the Don Clauson Embarcadero, with great views alongside us. To our right we can see Old Town Eureka not far away, with the Carson Mansion looming in the distance. Going down on the ramps to get closer  to the boats and water it’s an amazing view being so close to each boat. Some up along the docks begin to  make screeching noises that keep company alongside us. Getting back up the embarcadero we spy café Marina for its elegance in sea food and fine dining. Circling back we head toward the front of the Marina we pass the Table Bluff Lighthouse built in 1892. It was absolutely stunning while getting to see it close up. The Bridge was moved to Woodley Island exactly one century later after being built. Another distinctive point of interest on Humboldt bay is “ The Fisherman” which is a stunning and captivating sculpture made out of copper, to remember loved ones lost at sea.                 Getting hungry, we then tackle Samoa Cookhouse across the bay. Samoa Cookhouse is a strong replica that the logging town Eureka is known as, yet it continues its tradition in serving lots of great food lumber camp style. The main dish served for lunch was Chicken parmesan. You also get other entrée items alongside your main dish including saled with your own choice of dressing, fresh baked beans, and bread with soup. And to top it all off you got to save room for dessert which we were treated with delicious apple pie! The one thing you can safely say about Samoa Cookhouse is it won’t leave you leaving hungry.

                To finish the day off we check out a little bit of what shops have to offer in Old Town Eureka. Walking through Old Town Square we pass pidgeons as they get disturbed when a young kid rides his bike joyfully around Old Town Square. The first shop we stop in is Giara’s Irish Shop Known for its different types of clothing imported from Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and even Canada. The clothing runs from classic to dressy to sweaters and hats. The next shop we stop in is Bootleggers. I was amazed to see so many books at one time! On various subjects from world history to psychology. Next we stop in going places. In that store we saw a travel sized hairdryer and straightener, with many other items from travel sized bags to atlas’s on where to go around the world. With no other stores in mind we then head outside to see the city of eureka’s boardwalk. It was nice to view Woodley Island from across the bay from a different view, and say that weve been there all from the magazine 101 things to do in Humboldt County!

An Intriguing Look at Chronobiology

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The Solar Secrets and Lunar Legacies of Life on Earth: A Fleeting Look at Chronobiology by Noah CannonThe star which our planet orbits, the Sun, is a massive beacon of energy. Energy being information which is radiated upon our planet and has delicately intertwined itself into our biology, defining many aspects of the living world. The sun’s mythical counterpart is our one and only satellite, known to us as “the Moon,” Luna has snuck its way into our biology as well. Both of these bodies operate in predictable cycles. These cycles have been shown to have a tremendous effect on life on Earth. The study of these endogenous biological rhythms which are regulated by the energies put forth from the Sun and Moon, our most revered galactic bodies, is called chronobiology. This branch of science is really only forty years old, very exciting and Microsoft Word is trying to tell me “chronobiology” is not a word! Within this paper I would like to outline the effects each of these bodies has on our biology as well as the biology of life around us. The information will be presented in the following categories of biological rhythms: Circadian Rhythms (daily), Ultradian Rhythms (less than daily), Infradian (longer than a day), Tidal Rhythms (around 12 hours) and finally Gene Oscillations (rhythmic gene expression).

Circadian rhythms are the most commonly studied example of chronobiology and are concerned with a period around 24 hours, our rotational cycle or “day.” Although most people rarely discuss the cosmos nor biology, one can be assured discussions of chronobiology are even more scarce which, for me, is almost worrying as “All eukaryotes and some microbes (e.g., cyanobacteria) display changes in gene activity, biochemistry, physiology, and behavior that wax and wane through the cycle of days and nights” (Kimball). These Circadian rhythms are paramount to all animals. They influence sleeping and eating patterns, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, blood pressure, production of hormones, digestive secretions and other biological activities (Quraishi). In addition, “photoperiodism, the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day or night, is vital to both plants and animals, and the circadian system plays a role in the measurement and interpretation of day length” (Zivkovic).Thus, these rhythms seem to almost assess the season and inform the body so it can act accordingly. When animals, you included, are tired; it is a direct result of our circadian rhythms assessment of what time of day it is, as well as what season! 

       Circadian rhythms are controlled by a circadian pacemaker, or a biological clock. This “clock” is the section of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN is a pair of structures that contain about 20, 000 neurons and is located in the hypothalamus above where the optic nerves cross. This proximity to the optic nerve explains its reaction to light. Signals from light are received by the SCN taken in by the retina. Circadian rhythms include three different parts, a central oscillator, afferent pathways that carry environmental information to the oscillator, and efferent pathways that communicate the rhythm of the oscillator to the physiology and behavior of the organism (Quraishi).

Measuring the amount of light, the brain provides instructions to our bodies. This is true with both solar and lunar light. The most blaring example is the melatonin released by the pineal gland, a light sensitive circadian controlled gland. This melatonin not only controls your wake-sleep cycle and regulation of melatonin production but because melatonin can be found in some foods it is not surprising that an animal’s Circadian biological “clock, set by light/dark cycles, is the master clock as long as food is available all the time” (Kimball). Hunger is also highly regulated by circadian rhythms and can even interrupt its regularity. For most of us in the United States food is available all the time and thus our biological clock is most distracted by artificial lighting or spending long periods without light. Come on, we all know that feeling when you come out of a movie theater and feel at a loss with your sense of time and don’t feel quite right until your body regulates. For those persons without eye sight, who are living in “total blindness experience life-long sleeping problems because their retinas are unable to detect light” (Arm Med Media) but of course not all of them – we are highly adaptable seemingly complex creatures who today thrive, for the most part, in baths upon baths of artificial light at odd times and in huge concentrations. It seems these daily rhythms provide us with a daily guide book it seems as handed down by the Sun and Moon and likely all other celestial bodies – but daily rhythms are just the beginning.

Ultradian rhythms are those rhythms which occur more often than Circadian rhythms often multiple times per day. It is often used to describe the 90 minute period of rapid eye movement during dreaming and “other ultradian cycl[es] of the body [include] hormonal release, heart rate, thermoregulation, urination, bowel activity, nostril dilation and appetite” (Kramlinger). These rhythyms are those which affect our mood at any given time throughout the day. Hormonal release from the onset of season and the light changes involved affects an organism’s daily decision making. Different times of day are broken down by nature as the most beneficial and energetically economic to perform certain tasks of survival. On the most basic level a worm’s scheduled daily multiple defecations is a beautiful example of ultradian rhythm – just like our own ultradian defecation system but a bit shorter in length. Often operating within other Circadian rhythms; these functions of an organism are so interesting in their widespread presence throughout the body and bodies of the animal world. Understanding these rhythms could play a huge role in therapy and scheduling a good day for one self.  Also, the mystery of sleep and dreaming has yet to be solved – the realization that this may have something to do with your connection to the effects of the energy broadcast by the Sun and Moon is a real and scientific one which necessitates further exploration.

 Our own exploration continues to those rhythms which operate outside the Circadian 24(ish) hour cycle and on to those known as infraradian cycles; those cycles longer than a day. These cycles can be monthly to annually. The most recognizable annual cycles are migration amongst many types of animal species. In humans, the menstrual cycle is infraradian in cahoots with the lunar cycle (29.53059 days) which affects much more then you could imagine!  “The lunar cycle has an impact on human reproduction, in particular fertility, menstruation and birth rate. Other events associated with human behavior, such as traffic accidents, crimes, and suicides, appeared to be influenced by the lunar cycle,” said Dr Michael Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He commented further 

It is suggested that melatonin and endogenous steroids [which are naturally occurring in humans] may mediate the described cyclic alterations of physiological processes. Electromagnetic radiation and/or the gravitational pull of the Moon may trigger the release of hormones (How the Moon rules your life). 

This apparently omnipresent lunar power doesn’t stop there. The moon’s gravitational pull we of course know creates the tides!

The tides are the formative energies of the ocean the yin and yang, ebb and flow, pull and push of nearly three quarters of the earth. Tides create the waves that punish our coastlines without relent at any given time somewhere on earth. These coastlines though are teeming with life which takes solar and lunar cues; these intertidal organisms which then tend to operate their many biological cycles right alongside the lunar cycle. Could mathematical similarities in cycles link evolutionary cousins?

The final and most bizarre chronobiological perk is that of gene oscillation. The simplest way I can describe this is turning on and off expression of certain genes at certain times in your life, during the day, or just for lunch. It’s not fully understood but some research is being done into its effect on Alzheimers where a gene just turns off and doesn’t turn back on creating a hereditary disease(Ying-Hui Wu*). This happens on many levels and thus may play a function in the passing on of traits. Imagine if this was something which came under our control?

The constant barrage of cosmic energy received from the Sun and Moon and their cyclical nature have taken a major part in life’s evolution on Earth. These energies continue to hugely impact our seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and lives – all these cycles, in their entirety. I have included a highly informative diagram which displays human chronobiology, almost eerily for someone unfamiliar, and makes me ponder of the possibilities offered to those who incorporate this knowledge into their daily lives. There are many aspects of chronobiology which need to be explored, fields to which it can be applied and secrets to be uncovered, let’s just hope we have the time. 

Works Cited

ArmMed Media.  Circadian rhythms: Physiological Basis of Sleep and Wakefulness. Aug 22, 2007.

[http://sleep.health.am/index.php/sleep/more/circadian-rhythms/

Independent. How the Moon rules your life. Sunday, 21 January 2007.

[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-the-moon-rules-your-life-433071.html]

Kimball, W. John. Online Biology Textbook [http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/C/Circadian.html]

Kramlinger KG, Post RM. Br J Psychiatry. Ultra-rapid and ultradian cycling in bipolar affective illness. 1996 Mar;168(3):314-23. Associated Articles and Links [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=pubmed_DocSum&cmd=Retrieve&db=p ubmed&list_uids=8833685&dopt=Books]

Quraishi , Sabah. Circadian Rhythms and Sleep

[http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1926]

Ying-Hui Wu. Pineal clock gene oscillation is disturbed in Alzheimer’s disease, due to functional disconnection from the “master clock.”  The FASEB Journal. 2006;20:1874-1876.

[http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/full/20/11/1874]

Zivkovic, Bora. Clock Tutorial #16: Photoperiodism – Models and Experimental Approaches.

July 25, 2007. [http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2007/07/clock_tutorial_16_photoperiodi_1.php]

Redwoods Feel the Climate Squeeze

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    Most recently, a group of University of California, Berkeley, scientists performed a study of Northern Californian Redwood trees and determined that in the past one hundred years the amount of summer coastal fog, which tends to keep it cool and humid that time of year, has significantly dropped to potentially dangerous levels. It is unclear if this decrease is part of a natural cylce, or if it is a result of direct human activity. Either way, scientists discovered that this decrease not only endangers our beloved redwoods, but the entire redwood ecosystem. Study leader James A. Johnstone stated that since 1901, the average number of hours of fog along the coast in summer has dropped from 56 percent to nearly 42 percent, which is a loss of about three hours per day. The loss of fog combined witht recent increases in temperature could mean that coastal redwood and other ecosystems along the West Coast could be immensely drought-stressed, with a summer climate of reduced fog frequency and greater evaporative demand.

Fun in Trinidad

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

With spending a day in Trinidad on our minds we head out for yet another adventure. It takes us a half hour, as we reach Trinidad 19 miles north of Arcata with a population of 500. First on our list of things to do was to see the Trinidad Memorial lighthouse. By the lighthouse we also see many names
on plaques fixed on the retaining walls. There was also a bell toll in memory of the lost sailors. The great thing about Trinidad Park, is its unique and beautiful view. With the sun glistening down on the water, and the occasional breeze with the boats swaying on the water, we just had to get a closer view.

Not far from the lighthouse were wooden stairs leading down to a cliff, ivy on the stairs and bare branches of trees alongside the stairs kept us company on the way down. Soon we were right up on the waves.  What a spectacular scene! Looking down right below our feet at the waves was incredible; it’s the closest I’ve ever become to standing on water! Soon, with nothing else in sight, we start our
journey walking back up the stairs, which was a workout for us all. There were benches at the end of each flight of stairs so we took the opportunity to rest for a few minutes each, at two of the benches.

Sharing the views as we moved up gradually we took turns taking pictures and great stories looking out at sea. We weren’t alone with the bumble-bees pollinating to start spring and occasional chirping of nearby birds. Out on the sea, we notice a kayaker or two as well. Before leaving, we stay for a few more minutes with the sun pouring its rays upon us, and head back.

If ever you get the chance to check out the Trinidad Lighthouse, don’t  think twice about  enjoying the stay. Its incredible!!

Next on our list was Trinidad State Beach. While walking down a Stagecoach Road to get to the beach, we pass the Trinidad Police Department.  Such a shocking site –it was a house! I couldn’t believe it! As we near our destination we start to peer out on the opaque green ocean. Looking in between some trees I saw a unique rock with trees growing on it. We decide to head down on the beach.
Having a ways to go we begin to hike a windy trail, at the very end of the trail before we could hit sand we had to climb some rocks first. Feeling my legs starting to get weak we then find ourselves down on the beach. With the tide coming in we had to be careful not to get too wet. For a good resting point we find ourselves lucky enough to find a redwood tree stump. As the occasional water crashed below us, there was nothing like getting to see the soapy white foam that covered the rocks from the occasional visits of the under-toe. If your ever looking for a good place to boogie-board or catch some waves if you’re a surfer, this would be the place to do it!
 

From here we decide to cheack out yet another beach  which was Patrick’s Point State Park. A great place to hunt for agates! Driving in it costs 8 dollars for admission but don’t let that fool you. Along the way, you will want to be snapping pictures like never before. A capturing sight for me was a golden sandstone rock in the distance. As soon as we got down on the beach, we found out that it was
made up of what felt like wet compacted sand. The cool part was that there were millions of names printed on there! We found out that people must use it for rock climbing.  Thatwould make sense with how high the names were located on the rock. The Agates out there are also beautiful!  We kept stopping and admiring the precious shiny and glazed stones wet from the receding water. Within
minutes, all  of us had our hands full with our precious gems dear to our hearts.

Other things that capture people to this beach is chasing waves and skipping rocks.
Toward the end of an exciting afternoon we decide to make one last visit to Sumog Village before heading back. Just 6 miles north of Trinidad and west of Highway 101 we soon find ourselves in awe while visiting the centuries old Yurok village. Several houses surprisingly had crawl holes for doors. We also passed by a brush dance pit, where ceremonial dances and plays were to take place. What I found awe-inspiring from this campsite was the canoe made out of redwood. You can tour the village for free daily. Stop at the parks visitor center for a schedule of special Yurok events.
To call it a day we get a bite to eat at Oriental Buffet. But if your ever looking for something to do don’t be afriad to cheak out Trinidad! you’ll be amazed!

 Allison Baumeister

Is Living Alone Versus Living with Parents?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

For most of us, we spend the first 18 years of our lives or so living with our parents. We become so comfortable with them that we argue, fight and let them know our true feelings, because they will always love us no matter what. Well this gets really old after a while, so most of us move out. Well, minimum wage is not living wage, so finding roommates seems to be the answer. This isn’t always a good idea, especially when Americans like to find random people from Craigslist, friends of friends, or otherwise complete strangers, to live with. I’ve had my fair share of “bad” roommates, and I’m still young. When I first moved out at 18, I moved into a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with a good friend of mine, but we needed to find a third roommate, so we turned to good old Craigslist. She looked really good on paper: 22 year old female, HSU student, parents paying rent/bills, had a really well-behaved dog, trying to quit smoking, etc. So when we met her she seemed nice, like she’d be a good roommate. After a few weeks of living with her, we were all sitting in the living room with our laptops, watching TV. It was my friend, her boyfriend, the Craigslist roommate, and me. All of the sudden, the Craigslist roommates asks us if our internet was working, and all of us told her it was working fine. She got really upset and threw her laptop on the floor, breaking her internet card (it was a pretty old laptop.) We all just sat in shock and silence until she got up to go to bed. She’d acted pretty normal before that…the next day we’re all sitting in the living room again, and she picks up her laptop and says, “that’s weird…my internet card is broken.” We all looked at each other like she was crazy, and my friend explained to her that she “dropped” it last night from lack of anything else to say, and the Craigslist roommate said that she didn’t remember. During the following weeks, we noticed patterns of her not remembering certain events that my friend and I remembered clearly. One day, my friend and I came home and noticed that the Craigslist roommate had already gone to bed, which was odd for her since she was a night owl. We saw a note on the kitchen counter that read, “If something is to happen to me, call 911 and give them this journal.” Under the note was the journal. My friend and I opened it, and it was FILLED with dates and times of when she took her medication, how much of it, and when she took it with alcohol, and how much alcohol. The medications she took were for insomnia, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety. That night, she had taken TWICE her regular dosage of medication, and chased it down with 4 shots of vodka. This definitely explained her random black outs and irregular behavior. We checked up on her, and she turned out to be fine, she wasn’t suicidal or anything, she just liked to kick up the effects of her meds a little…you never know what you’ll get from Craigslist.