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February 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Outgoing President. The February National Geographic magazine covered President Barack Obama's visit to Midway Island last September to show off the 583,000-square-mile no-take zone. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was originally established by President George W. Bush, but has been quadrupled in size, to an area greater than all the land-based national parks combined. He was accompanied by photographer Brian Skerry, who photographed the President when he went snorkeling. The last reef check from the White House occurred in the early '90s, when Vice President Dan Quayle explored the Florida Keys with a tank on his back. https://goo.gl/VNvOpE

Spanish Statue Park Completed. Originally reported in Undercurrent last November, the final phase of underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor's monumental artificial-reef project Museo Atlantico in the Canary Islands is officially inaugurated on January 10th by Lanzarote's President Pedro San Gines. Comprising more than 300 works in 12 installations at Playa Blanco, completion of the project marks the first time Taylor has installed large-scale architectural as well as sculptural works. The final addition is 'The Human Gyre,' consisting of more than 200 life-sized figures of all ages and from all walks of life creating a vast circular formation. www.underwatersculpture.com

A Plastic Ocean. This is a new feature-length adventure documentary that brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. Everyone thought we could use plastic once and throw it away, with negligible impact to humans and animals. That turns out to be untrue. During its four-year production period, A Plastic Ocean was filmed in 20 locations around the world in beautiful and chilling detail, to document the global effects of plastic pollution and introduce workable technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better. Directed by Craig Leeson and featuring free-diver Tanya Streeter, it can be downloaded from iTunes for $7.99. http://www.justoneocean.com/download-a-plastic-ocean-for-7-99

Loloata Closed. The Loloata Island Resort in Bootless Bay, PNG, which always proved a popular lay-over for divers passing through less welcoming Port Moresby, is closed for rebuilding until the end of this year. The reefs close-by are some of the most beautiful in PNG, and famous for their populations of rhinopias asphanes (lacy scorpionfish), first discovered by Bob and Dinah Halstead and identified by the Smithsonian back in 1980. Since then, Bootless Bay has been the epicenter of rhinopias sightings.

Does He Wear Fins in Wet Weather? New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady says "I used to have a scuba top that I would wear and I think I first started doing that in 2004 in the freezing cold Tennessee playoff game," reports the Boston Herald. These days, there are more advanced undershirts to bear the cold, but the scuba gear trick seems to have stuck around. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota reportedly wore a wetsuit top during a frigid game against the Chiefs earlier this season. One must presume they're 1mm tops; if Brady's top was 7mm, he might have had to deflate the football to throw it.

Michigan Takes A Step Backward. Just when enlightened authorities world-wide are putting restrictions on plastic bags -- they despoil the environment and kill fish -- a new law in Michigan will prohibit local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. You read that correctly: It's not a ban on plastic bags -- it's a ban on the banning of plastic bags.

Fake News. Surely, it undermines our political system. We get emails forwarded from divers with no notation, and when we write back saying "before you believe such hooey, you ought to check your facts," they often respond, "I was just passing it on. Don't blame me if it's fake." Yeah, and that's malarkey, and we know if they hadn't believed it, they wouldn't have passed it along. Anyhow, we're just passing this along: https://goo.gl/EH1mY4. Don't you believe it.

Remember Kodak Film? There seems to be a renaissance among some photographers for film over digital image gathering. A favorite with veterans, we don't know if this will appeal to modern day underwater photographers because it needs much more skill to get good results. Either way, Kodak is threatening to bring back Ektachrome film, and there is even talk of reintroducing non-substantive Kodachrome too (where the color-couplers are added during complex processing). Since most older divers have parted ways with their old Nikonos cameras, or their film cameras and housings, one wonders what divers will be willing to make the big investment to return to Kodak and be limited to 36 shots on a dive, then have to wait until they can get their film developed to view their shots on a dive then have to wait until the can get their film developed to view their shots.

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