Earlier today, Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf, a floating ice platform located at the southern end of the continent's peninsula that is seven times larger than Manhattan, or roughly the same size as Northern Ireland - about 5,450 square miles - broke off, leaving just a thin strip of ice all that holds it in place.
You can see this for yourself thanks to video posted on YouTube by scientists with British Antarctic Survey, the organization that has been monitoring this situation for the last 15 years.
Republican conservative talk show hosts, like Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Miller (yes, that Dennis Miller has gone to The Dark Side), don't believe global warming exists. Watch, or rather listen, tomorrow. I bet they'll be saying that penguins have been secretly toiling away since 1993 with ice picks, hacking away at the ice shelf, and finally managed to cut all the way through. Or, perhaps they will intonate arctic penguins jumped up and down all at once causing a tremor large enough to dislodge the Wilkins Shelf.
Really, now, if you doubted global warming before doesn't this sort of thing make the hair on the back of your neck stand up?
Anyway, BAS official David Vaughn, who recorded the YouTube video himself, predicted in 1993, and hinted at again in 1999, that the Wilkins Shelf would disappear in 30 years at the then-current rate of global warming. Today, he said the remaining ice strip holding the Wilkins Shelf in place could disintegrate at any minute, leaving the ice shelf to float away into the Arctic Sea.
BAS officials said worldwide sea levels will not be affected when this happens because the "new" iceberg is already in the water, but added that the Wilkins Shelf buffers existing land ice from warmer sea temperatures that don't normally reach into Antarctica's mainland. If Antarctica's landmass comes into direct contact with ocean waters it could result in the gradual melting of the continent, Vaughn stated in published reports.
Let me go ahead and make the understatement of the year ... This is not cool.
Seriously, though, I have a question to pose regarding public awareness of the Wilkins Shelf: It's early Tuesday evening, March 25. Why is this story not splashed all over the mainstream media?
The only place I've seen this story covered - and it's arguably one the most important stories, if not the most important, of the year outside of The Road to the White House - is in The London Times, other European publications, and aggregate domestic news services. Nothing by the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today or even the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the United States media spent the day focusing on Sen. Hillary Clinton lying about coming under sniper attack during a trip to Bosnia in the 1990s. Hillary and her camp - we might as well call it her Administration - backtracked, saying the senator from New York "misspoke" about the event. Comedian Sinbad, who along with singer Cheryl Crow traveled with Hillary on that trip as part of a USO tour, crawled out from under a rock to add his two cents to Clinton's acid flashback, saying the only danger they were in was trying to figure out where they were going to eat next.
Nice job Hillary.
I think it's safe to say you officially blew out of the water any chance you had left of securing the Democratic nomination this fall.
Please, do us all a favor - and by "all" I mean American citizens, not just Democrats - and bow out of the race now before you spend any more time disparaging Sen. Barack Obama and pushing independent voters' favor toward Republican Presidential Nominee Sen. John McCain.
You're becoming the Ralph Nader of 2008 Hillary. What the hell are you thinking? Your recent actions show you are in this for yourself, to satisfy your own ego and sense of self-worth, rather than running for president to help Americans become better off than they were four, or really eight, years ago.
PLEASE STOP. NOW.
Bow out before you cause us to go through a third straight Republican term in the White House ... before it's too late.