What are all those frothy bubbles rising from the sea floor and coating the submersible craft in this video? Why, it's liquid carbon dioxide, venting off an underwater hot spring connected to Eifuku volcano in Japan's Volcano Islands.
... pay attention at 38 seconds into the show. With utter disregard for the extraordinary environment a shrimp-like creature swims purposefully under the robot and exits stage lower right. It may not live in liquid CO2, but it doesn’t seem bothered by it in the slightest. We must also assume that it’s finding plenty of food within this bubbling environment.
Lightning dances in Shinmoedake's volcanic plume, the eruption having already led Japanese authorities to call on those living nearby to evacuate. Seen from Kirishima city, the light shows last only for a few moments, but the ash and rocks fall relentlessly between the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima. One of Kirishima's many calderas, Shinmoedake is 4,662 feet tall. Photo: Minami-Nippon Shimbun
Sean Stiegemeier, who created the video embedded above, writes,
So I saw all of these mediocre pictures of that volcano in Iceland nobody can pronounce the name of, so I figured I should go and do better. But the flights to get over took forever as expected (somewhat). Four days after leaving I finally made it, but the weather was terrible for another four. Just before leaving it got pretty good for about a day and a half and this is what I managed to get
I was in Oxford when the volcano in Iceland erupted last month; since I couldn't get home, I took a little detour to Dubai via Paris and came back to San Francisco ten days later than originally planned. Thousands of others were in the same boat, and a bunch of us — mostly those who had attended the Skoll World Forum and TEDx Volcano that weekend — met up at a bar in central London. Thinking this was only going to be a three-day trip, I only had my G10 and a 2-gig memory card, but I managed to get some footage of people who were stuck in London. I gave my .mov files to viral video veteran Joe Sabia, who put together this two-minute mini-documentary about us, the Volcano Refugees. Starring: Larry Brilliant, Joi Ito, Marc Davis, Matt Flannery, Yvette Alberdingkthijm, Jenny 8. Lee, and many other interesting folks.
After last week's volcanic eruption, British Airways passengers are stranded all over the world (I'm one of them). BA is rebooking people who hold paid for, cancelled ticket for return flights as late as May 10, but are selling tickets on flights leaving tomorrow for thousands of pounds to the wealthy who want to get home as quickly as possible. BA has had a year of terrible behavior and service, screwing its union by trying to unilaterally impose a contract on its workers without negotiation, but this takes the cake.
"We are trapped in Delhi with our children Iona (14 - missing GCSE exams), Sophia (13 - missing her part in the school play) and Dylan (seven - missing home).
BA have offered us a flight home on 10 May (we have been stranded since 16 April), but are still selling tickets on Delhi-London flights for thousands of pounds (which we cannot afford). The rich are allowed straight on to flights while the poor remain stranded. This is the real scandal of the volcano crisis.
We are among the lucky ones who BA have put up in a hotel but, with spirits low and tempers high, trouble is brewing - some people even had a "sit-down protest" in the hotel lobby on Wednesday. The Ramada in New Delhi is a very nice hotel, but our money has run out and we can't even afford the bottled water."
Also at TEDx London, Jeff Skoll — eBay's first president, founder of Participant Media, and the namesake for the conference that had brought us to the UK in the first place — read us a poem he wrote about the volcano:
This is an ode to the volcano
That sent our travel plans into the draino
I'm not really one to complaino
But this all hurts my little braino
Madrid, Casablanca, Amsterdam, Rejkavik on cruiseships
The trains will fail
All the escape routes that we planned
Are blocked by nature or by man
We heard the French trains may soon be striking
At this rate we'll all be biking
With our luck we'll all be struck by lightning!
This is all rather frightening
So better we all meet at TED
That is what I should have said
So thank you June and thank you all
Damn the volcano, let's have a ball
One of the great things about being in London when the volcano halted our flights home this past weekend was that I was stranded with some of the greatest philanthropists alive today: Larry Brilliant, Paul Farmer, and Peter Gleick, just to name a few. Since we all had nothing else to do but wait until there was some indication that we could get home, the folks at TED (who were also in town) put together an impromptu TEDx Volcano meet-up on Saturday night. Here, Larry Brilliant — the former head of Google.org who famously helped end the smallpox epidemic in 1980 — gives me a post-TEDx recap of what he thinks of the volcano and climate change. "Climate change is the great exacerbator," he says. "What we need to learn from this volcano is that the world gets pretty messy very quickly when our science is uncertain. We need to invest to get the best science in the world, to support the best scientists, to create careers in science in the 21st century."
Meet Bennett Grassano. His wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in San Francisco last Thursday, but he hasn't been able to get home to see his daughter because of the ash cloud.
I took this short video clip of Bennett at a tapas bar in London while we — along with many other folks from last week's Skoll social entrepreneurship conference — were stranded together in the UK. Some of us had started to enjoy the idea of being "volcano refugees," but Bennett (who, by the way, is the development director at Kiva) was understandably anxious to get home to his wife and daughter. As I listened to him talk about his baby girl and admire a photo of her on his iPhone, I realized that this guy deserved to get home more than any of the rest of us.
Bennett is currently in Madrid after a ferry ride from Portsmouth to St. Malo and a drive through Bordeaux and Biarritz, hoping to catch a flight back to San Francisco via Mexico City tomorrow. Things are looking upwards, so let's all wish him luck and hope that he will be holding little Opal in his arms soon.
I'm at the airport in Paris waiting for my flight to Dubai, which will presumably get me out from under the volcano ashes. What an amazing journey this has been. Once I get to safety, I will process it all and tell you guys about my escape. For now, please enjoy this photo showing the flights going out and not going out of Charles de Gaulle. Here's to hoping that mine does not turn into a red Canceled sign.
Like hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people around the world, I've been stranded by the Iceland volcano, caught on the North American landmass and unable to return home to London. We're fine, but incredibly busy trying to keep up with our commitments at 9,000 miles' remove.
Andrew Losowsky is also one of the stranded, and he's starting a (short-lived, I hope!) magazine made by and for stranded people around the world:
If you're out there and interested, email me and tell me what you do. I'll then give you an assignment to complete today/tomorrow. Depending on how long this thing lasts, we'll work the rest of it out from there. The copyright will remain yours on anything you produce, I just ask for permission to include it in the currently-untitled ashcloud magazine (working titles include Grounded, SkyFail and Someday We'll Fly Away.)
If you'd like to be a part of the core creative team who will put together this impromptu publication, let me know as well. The only criterion for any contributor is that, like me, you have to be stuck somewhere unintentionally.
If all goes well, the results will be published, probably via MagCloud and/or the Newspaper Club, and any proceeds sent to a charity that helps mitigate the effects of climate change on human populations. After all, we have to repent somehow.