Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What?! Bush followed through?

In a fey, rare and picaresque moment of lucid coincidence with reality, George W. Bush, a man we no longer refer to as "Mr. President," is apparently going to create three new "marine national monuments" after all, to add to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in northwestern Hawaii set aside in 2008 as part of the Bush legacy.

Marine ecologists wish he'd used the 200 mile territorial waters standard, instead of the 50 mile continental limit, and there's some question whether enough of the Marianas Trench is protected, but the stroke of Bush's pen sends most of us scurrying to our marine atlases trying to find the newly protected regions.

The Marianas Trench is of course the deepest part of the Pacific. That's where the benthic diver Trieste reached the Challenger Deep ocean floor in 1960.

But where in American Samoa is Rose Atoll? And the "seven islands strung along the equator in the Central Pacific" sounds like a Cash Cab Red Light Challenge From Hell: "Name four of the seven islands comprising the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument... and ... Go!" Uhhh... Rose... Jarvis... uhhh...

"Oh, so sorry! The seven islands are Wake, Baker, Howland, Jarvis, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll."

This stuff is so obscure it sounds like real science, provided it's not just another C.I.A. fantasy like the Glomar Explorer. We're so jaded.

By the way, got Go?

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