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Gristmill: Fresh, whole-brain news.


Expect less seafood in Sandy’s wake

Post-superstorm, it may be a while until Atlantic fish are once again shipped to restaurants and groceries across the country.


From Columbus Business First:

Atlantic fishing operations and shipments by air and highway from the East Coast are on hold, battering the supply of popular catches, including lobster, crab, salmon, cod, haddock and Prince Edward Island mussels ... The shortage has left restaurateurs with a choice when it comes to certain seafood -- frozen or nothing ...

Seafood not from the East Coast, such as farm-raised salmon, isn't in short supply.

With 20-plus years in wholesaling, [Frank] Gonzalez has seen his share of storm-inflicted food shortages, but he expects Hurricane Sandy to be among the most damaging to his business.

Read more: Food


Want the truth on clean coal? Ask a random dude on the phone

The Hill reports on a new poll:

A new poll released Monday shows Americans rank the presidential candidates’ views on energy policy as more important to their 2012 vote than environmental policy.

In the survey from Harris Interactive, 67 percent said a candidate’s environmental policy was either very important or important. Seventy-seven percent surveyed said the same of energy policy.

Not a big surprise, however disappointing. Then there's this.


Meghan McCain takes a stand for climate change, whips up a storm

Sen. John and Meghan McCain.

In 2008, the Republican Party rallied around its candidate for president, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- a decorated war hero and advocate for strong action against climate change.

It's not a surprise that his daughter has picked up the torch. Last night, as the winds from megastorm Sandy were just starting to calm, Meghan McCain tweeted:

The answer, apparently, was "yes."


Sandy makes New York’s East River even less appealing

There have been a number of reports of oil slicks or spills in the East River and in the streets of Brooklyn after yesterday's flooding. Some examples from Twitter:

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


Density helps New Yorkers keep the lights on

ConEdison, the electricity provider for New York City, says that überstorm Sandy caused the "worst damage" in its history. Which seems about right; some three-quarters of a million New Yorkers are without power.

ConEd (as it's better known) has a map of outages. Here's a section of it, as of early this afternoon.

Click to embiggen.

A quick geography lesson. At left is the island of Manhattan, the densest part of the city. In the center and to the right is mostly Queens; there's a bit of Brooklyn at lower left. At the top is a smidge of the Bronx.

You'll notice that most of the map has outages (those little triangles with numbers) pretty consistently distributed. But the long, finger-like island of Manhattan is different. There is a cluster of 50-plus outages at the lower end, but very few outages up north.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


Chinese protesters kill plans for chemical plant expansion

Following days of raucous protests, residents of the city Ningbo in southern China have effectively shut down the government's plans for an $8.9 billion petrochemical plant expansion.

People shout slogans as they march during a protest against plans to expand a petrochemical plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province October 28, 2012.
Protesters take to the streets of Ningbo.

The Wall Street Journal points to the activist victory as a sign of societal change:

The Ningbo protests are the latest example of increasingly well-educated urban residents aggressively resisting the heavy industrial expansion that many local governments are encouraging to keep China's economy humming. In addition, it highlights how local government bids to lure lucrative investments to their cities are meeting increasing scrutiny from concerned residents.


Romney doesn’t want to talk about preparing for or responding to Sandy

Pat Williams

What do you say if you're Mitt Romney? What do you say today, one week until the most important Election Day of your life, with the East Coast -- including swing states -- still trying to figure out what the hell hit it last night?

Mitt Romney is on record mocking rising ocean levels.

Mitt Romney is on record suggesting that emergency management services shouldn't be the province of the president. In fact, he thinks they should fall to private companies, which can then make a little money off the deal.


New York City’s latest massive disaster

The smartest thing we did when we got our apartment in Manhattan was the thing we thought about the least: We found a place on a hill. We watched Sandy hit New York in relative luxury. Working cable, internet, power, water. We were moderately, haphazardly prepared for the worst, but spared it. Many others were better prepared and fared far, far worse.
The wind, at about 11 Eastern last night.

New York City feels like the epicenter of the storm not only because I live here, but because it's a microcosm. It's the largest city in the country, with skyscrapers and beach houses, tenements and suburbs. It's a massive, centuries-old build-up of infrastructure and architecture, a city that's not shy about its embrace of government. Sandy hitting New York was like Sandy hitting the diversity of America at its best prepared. And New York City got slammed.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


Your Sandy symbolism of the morning: An oil tanker stranded on Staten Island

There's much more to come on Sandy, from us and others, but this image seems to summarize the moment.

Michelle Charlesworth

That's the John B Caddell, a 712-ton oil tanker built in 1941, resting comfortably on a road in Staten Island.

Read more: Climate & Energy


Superstorm Sandy’s climate change connection

It's been a banner year for extreme weather conditions, from the drought that held the country hostage this summer to superstorm Sandy. But then, last year was a banner year for extreme weather too. And the years before that ...

Scientists are mostly agreed that climate change has had a hand in crafting the Frankenstorm. But how, exactly? From Boing Boing:

When the clouds have passed and everybody is done sleeping in airports, people are going to want answers. Was this an unavoidable act of nature? Or was this something caused directly by changes to Earth's climate that have happened because we burn fossil fuels which increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

Well, both. There are multiple factors that came together to whip up Sandy, and no one causal judgment, however attractive, is fair. But given the evidence, it's likely that no matter how Sandy came in to this world, climate change has helped this storm grow bigger, go faster, and head farther than it might have in earlier times and cooler seas.