Friday, May 12, 2006

Sea lion runs amok at the Berkeley Marina

The Berkeley Marina, one of the more idyllic spots in the East Bay and where I once embarked on an ill-advised fishing trip, has recently been terrorized by a 1500 pound male sea lion, who seems convinced it's his turf. 1500 pounds is a lot of sea lion -- for comparison, a classic VW Bug tips the scales at about 1786 pounds, though a newer one weighs quite a bit more, especially with a jet engine installed. So an angry male sea lion driving an old Beetle could easily have a combined weight of over 3000 pounds, not something I'd care to see hurtling down the street anytime soon.

Anyway, enough with the weights and measures, there's marauding wildlife on the loose. According to the SF Chronicle, the sea lion's most notorious assault was an attempt to drag the crew member of a fishing boat into the water by biting her leg, after which a tug of war ensued with another crew member who had the presence of mind to grab her arm. Being bitten by a surly sea mammal and then pulled in two directions, especially with 1500 pounds on one side of the equation, really can't have been a lot of fun. I hope she got a tetanus shot afterwards, too; lacking opposable thumbs, sea lions are not known for their oral hygiene.

Since California state law prohibits harassing sea lions, even those prone to harassment themselves, marina folk had to petition the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for permission to fend off the raging pinniped with the admirably humane strategy of spraying him in the face with hoses. Which doesn't sound that bad to me, particularly on a hot day down at the docks, but then I'm not a sea lion. Maybe it's like kryptonite for them.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

See if your home will escape rising sea levels!

A friend has just alerted me to one of the best uses of online mapping software yet devised -- helping you plan your future relocation once rising sea levels have inundated your home! You can use the handy pulldown menu in the upper left corner to choose the potential increase in sea level. In case you're wondering, which you ought to be, some predictions call for a 7 meter rise over the next 50 years. (For those unfamiliar with the exotic, Eurotic ways of the metric system, a "meter" is just over three feet, what we right-thinking folk call a "yard". Fascinating, eh? It's like taking a trip to Europe, it is!)

As luck would have it, my Oakland, CA domicile will escape a 7 meter rise by at least a half-mile. News this good makes me want to go burn some tires in the yard, barbecue an endangered salmon, and finally, as the sun sets behind a pretty petro-haze, drive a vintage 8-cylinder automobile to the beach and leave it idling while I frolic in the ever-rising tide.

For the rest of you closer to sea level, fret not, many a happy home has been built atop stilts. In other good news, local lagoon Lake Merritt will fulfill its destiny and finally be reunited with the sea.

Yes, now you can see Waterworld the way it should've been made -- on a global scale, and without Kevin Costner.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

New MSN AdCenter doesn't support Firefox browser. How very surprising.

OK, this is more a tech rant than a real strange/true post, but true to form, Microsoft refuses to let you navigate their new search advertising site with arch-competitor and damn fine browser Firefox. Shocking, I know. Given that my curiosity about this new product outweighs my Firefox loyalty (albeit barely), I guess it's time to fire up the creaky IE browser I have lying around here somewhere. Now if I can only remember where I left it. Somewhere in the Program Files, maybe? No way I'd leave it someplace so obvious as the desktop. Maybe behind this pile of dirty socks?

For those of you who don't give a rat's ass about such petty foolery, apologies for the digression. We'll be back to bigfoots and lake monsters and jet cars shortly.