On 31 August, two people spotted an angular crab on the eastern part of the island of Ameland. The discoveries were independent from each other, but it was probably the same crab. One of them put the crab back into the sea.
The same type of angular crab had been spotted in 2003 in the North Sea elsewhere, but never on a beach. The crab has finally decided to check out dry land.
Angular crabs live in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea in places with a clay sea floor. Apparently, due to global warming affecting the North Sea, the crab can be found in the Netherlands.
Tags: Ameland, beach, crab, North Sea
A joint Dutch-Belgian study of the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has shown that there are bacteria in the North Sea that send signals to each other, much like using a telephone, over long distances. The bacteria are able to do so by using electrical signals with alternating current. Earlier researchers discovered that micro-oganisms could talk to each other, but their calls were usually local.
“We already knew that long-winding cable bacteria were living in the seafloor of the North Sea, which are capable of establishing an electrical current across centimeter distances,” explains team leader Professor Filip Meysman. “The really exciting discovery is that these bacteria are capable of adapting their electrical current generation, which enables signal transmission in the seafloor. This way the electricity-generating cable bacteria are essentially functioning as telephone cables.”
The discovery could mean all kinds of useful future applications. “Maybe within some years, solar panels or smartphones will harbor minuscule conducting wires of bacterial origin,” adds Meysman.
(Links: nieuws.nl, www.nioz.nl, Photo by Macinate, some rights reserved)
Tags: bacteria, North Sea
The producers of the above video write:
Flotsam & Jetsam is a documentary based around the beachcombers of Texel, one of the largest Frisian islands north of Holland.
Due to Texel’s geographical position, tidal system and strong winds, an estimated two tons of Flotsam & Jetsam washes up on its beach each day.
The film follows the lives of the beachcombers (or Jutters as they are known), exploring their relationships and history as extraordinary people in extraordinary situations.
Beachcombers are people who ‘harvest’ flotsam and jetsam from beaches. I am not quite sure what the legal status is. Wikipedia claims beach combing is illegal in the Netherlands, but the only law text I could find (Book 8 of the Burgerlijk Wetboek, articles 550 and onward) seems to suggest that beach combing is a form of marine salvage, meaning that the owner of the goods can come and collect them up to two years after they were found, but must pay a decent wage in return.
The documentary is only 13 minutes long, and well worth your time.
‘Jutter’ Jan Uitgeest (73): “There are only eight of us left. Beachcombing is getting less popular because there aren’t that many finds any more. We are dependent on storms. Last year Terschelling had a large find of wood, and a container filled with snacks. On Ameland and Schiermonnikoog they found a container with mountain bike wheels and a couple of thousand coats, so that now the inhabitants of Schiermonnikoog are walking around in coats with nice fur collars.”
Link: Trendbeheer. Video: Vimeo / Flotsam and Jetsam.
Tags: Ameland, beach combers, beach combing, beaches, documentaries, North Sea, Schiermonnikoog, Terschelling, Texel, Wadden Islands
The way the Dutch viewed their national airport Schiphol has changed over the years. From the starting point of an adventure, it became the nuisance in the backyard. The Bijlmer disaster of 1992, when victims living (and dying) in Amsterdam’s biggest ghetto were pushed into a secondary role to El Al’s secret cargo, really helped define this latter view.
However, Schiphol’s own ambitions are radically different. Instead of becoming a smaller, gentler airport, it wants to become the major air traffic hub of this part of Europe. People therefore started to look at alternative locations for the airport, not as close to the most densely populated area of this densely populated country. An idea that keeps floating to the top is that of an airport in either the IJsselmeer or the North Sea, even though the Ministry of Transport and Water Management concluded in 2003 that a second national airport was superfluous, for now. Such a water-bound airport could be an artificial island, or a mega-floater.
In 2007 Haskoning and Van Oord, who helped build artificial islands before, proposed rotating, floating landing strips (see illustration). And last week, Jan van Kessel got his PhD for a study into the stability of mega-floaters made of hollow, upside down, concrete ‘shoe boxes’, apparently, 50% more stable than traditional barges.
And even though the government has declared the debate redundant, the Dutch keep dreaming of their airport at sea.
Tags: airports, IJsselmeer, islands, North Sea, Schiphol Airport, water