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October 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the October, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Paving Paradise in Grand Cayman. The Caymanian government has confirmed plans to build a massive cruise ship dock in Grand Cayman's Georgetown harbor, which environmentalists claim will have a devastating impact on the island's reefs. The reason for the dock, besides getting more ships, is so passengers don't have to deal with the five-minute tender transfer across the harbor. But per a environmental impact report released in June, the dredging process will destroy 15 acres of coral reef and likely harm another 20 acres, home to two critically endangered coral species and four threatened ones. "It is a sad day for the country," Keith Sahm, a leader of the Save Cayman anti-port campaign told Yahoo News. "Once they do this, there is no turning back." To see how you can help their efforts, go to www.facebook.com/SaveCayman?fref=ts

The "Shocking" Way to Cure Seasickness. Scientists at Imperial College in London believe that being given a mild electric shock to the scalp before you get on a boat will prevent nausea. They're developing a gadget that will plug into a smartphone and deliver a short shock to the head via electrodes. The mild electrical current dampens activity in the part of the brain that processes motion signals, reducing the impact of confusing inputs received, and preventing symptoms of motion sickness. Study leader Qadeer Arshad told the Daily Mail, "We are confident that within five to 10 years, people will be able to walk into a drugstore and buy an anti-seasickness device."

The Crown of Thorns-Killing Robot. The crown-ofthorns starfish (COTS) is the scourge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, so Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot, dubbed the COTSbot, to search out and destroy these coral-eating pests. It's fitted with stereoscopic cameras for depth perception, stability thrusters, GPS navigation, pitch-and-roll sensors, and a pneumatic injection arm that gives a COTS a fatal dose of bile salts. The COTSbot will scour the reef for up to eight hours at a time, with the capability of killing more than 200 COTS along the way, and it's slated to be autonomously working on the Great Barrier Reef by December.

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