sun 23 jun 02
enough! i didn't get to border's yesterday, but by golly i'm getting there today ...
edgeboard flat file bulletin board.
national science foundation: new research on long-term ocean cycles reveals rapid global warming in near future.
telegraph.co.uk: undress to express.
pittsburgh post-gazette: the monopoly of clear channel.
ny times editorial: striking first. even the fact they had to write such an editorial, scares the bejesus out of me.
ny times: ok, who didn't know that martha stewart's a shark? that little tidbit was swimming around manhattan in the early 90's ... how can anyone be surprised? do you seriously think any of her similarly-successful male counterparts are any less shark-like?
ny times: of course you knew the 'taos hum' had moved east, to kokomo, indiana.
one more thing, thanks to billsaysthis: u.s.s. clueless has a great shot of how idiotic people are. after our community wars with las campanas over water use for their golf courses, this is just *perfect.* "affluence insulates." pah. i'm saving this one ...
and with that, i think i've used up my self-alloted limit on blog time today.
ny times: era of big fire. i just covered most of this in an email to a fellow weblogger. read this, if you want to understand a bit more about our situation. main points to consider, when contemplating our fire situation:
1. past policies of preventing fires has created forests choked with dense undergrowth and dead wood. this is not the natural state for these forests, as researchers have determined from early settler's records. fires left to themselves cleared undergrowth and deadfall on a regular cycle, leaving the forest floors mostly clear. in our dry southwest, there's precious little biodegrading going on. i've been dodging the same dog turds for over a year while mountain biking; i can only imagine how long a tree trunk takes.
2. forests are drier than in previous decades. global warming, lowering of the water table by human consumption, dessication of the flora by air pollution, are just a few reasons why this has occurred. we're sucking the water out from underneath, and chemically blow-drying forests from above.
3. well-meaning environmentalists are stonewalling the process of clearing deadwood and thinning, for fear of allowing loggers and their lobby to entrench themselves.
4. 'controlled burns' are a myth, because of the above three items. cerro grande, and these current fires, are great examples of how volatile our forests are. think of it this way ... some of these fires are moving so fast, a man at 7500' in altitude on a 15 degree forested slope has no way of outrunning it, much less fighting it. these fires started in our spring season, where we get gusts of 65 mph for days on end. the fires are so hot, they create their own major weather patterns, with thunderstorms and tornados in the fire area. i've posted pictures of them here; you've seen them. there may be mild 'redirection,' but there's precious little 'control', from this vantage point.
5. pristine 'empty' forests are a myth, too. every forest is sprinkled with vacation homes, cabins, camps for troubled kids, historical sites, unique ecosystems and species, etcetera. to start 'controlled burns', and let them burn in proximity to habitation, is not an option with forest fuels in this state of extreme volatility.
6. our forests are often the watersheds for counties and towns. to let these 'superhot' fires burn through the forests, destabilizes the geography (mountainsides collapsing in mudslides, filling in reservoirs, rivers and creekbeds). facing predictions of global warming and more drought, this is not a minor consideration. also, as we found out from los alamos, you never know what's in those canyons and arroyos [depleted uranium?]. there is a long history of mining here; which means arsenic. lovely stuff to drink, for people *and* wildlife. but even just the burned runoff can be a sickening mix of chemicals.
brief conclusion: i think the ny times article was misleadingly dismissive in one spot, saying that even after a forest is thinned, it can still have a devastating fire. of course it can. with the drier climate and lower water table, fire is going to be an increased risk for years to come. but that doesn't mean that thinning and clearing undergrowth and majority of deadfall doesn't make the forest *healthier*, or safer. we should not put away any techniques based on mere rhetoric. thinning and clearing is much safer than an uncontrollable burn. is it cheaper? i'd like to think it is, when you consider *all* the costs. and maybe, after clearing the accumulated dead wood of decades, the actual application of 'controlled burn' might be possible. in reality, we should be looking at what the forests should *be*, composition of live vs. dead, undergrowth percentage, young vs. old ... and what complex of techniques we can use to achieve that balance.
ny times: bin laden is alive, and ann landers is dead.
santa fe new mexican: lightning sparks 20 fires in the jemez. "the recent rain, he said, did nothing much to decrease fire danger. the pine needles soaked up the moisture, 'but the big sticks and logs are as dry as ever.'" i guess that answers my question from earlier.
santa fe new mexican: girls, cameras, and the art of filmmaking.
cnn: comets go "poof"?
cnn: sunken steamboats in the missouri.
... and more rain last night. but the sun's out full today, it'll burn off the humidity by tomorrow. i wonder if they'll relax some restrictions? probably not. the humidity in the forest fuels is the deciding factor.