Youtube: Robin Williams Tribute. Another, yes, but very poignant.
ProPublica, Report: Drillers Illegally Using Diesel Fuel to Frack.
“For many years fracking industry groups insisted their member companies never used diesel fuels in their operations. Then, in 2011, a congressional investigation found that in fact between 2005 and 2009, 12 companies had injected 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or fracking fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states.” This has been known, and ignored and/or buried, for at least a half-dozen years. Companies rely on semantics to dodge legal bullets.
Guardian.UK: Facts can convince conservatives about global warming – sometimes.
Guardian.UK: Get used to toilet-to-tap water, Californians told.
“The state’s main sources of water, snow melt from the Sierra Nevada, imported water from the Colorado river, and groundwater, are all in decline.” We know that feeling here in NM. Of course, folks don’t think about the fact that all sorts of animals are defecating in river and reservoir water. And ... fish spit! Nematode armpit excretions! Such great stuff to imbibe. If mere human excreta were going to poison you, you’d be dead already.
SciAm: Odds of El Niño Weather Pattern Drop, but Still Expected to Form.
“The updated probabilities mean that instead of a 4-in-5 chance that an El Niño would materialize, there is now a 2-in-3 chance it would.” We’ve had enough generous monsoonal activity that I felt the repairs to the back portal were necessary (if we get heavy snow, it could be damaged). See my 365 from two days ago. We now have lovely concrete supporting the pillars, as it should be.
The Salt Lake Tribune: Cobra rock formation near Moab topples.
SciAm: Global Warming Has Become “Normal” Climate for Most People.
“Global warming has been going on for so long that most people were not even born the last time the Earth was cooler than average in 1985 in a shift that is altering perceptions of a “normal” climate, scientists said. Decades of climate change bring risks that people will accept higher temperatures, with more heatwaves, downpours and droughts, as normal and complicate government plans to do more to cut emissions of greenhouse gas emissions.” Which makes mitigation efforts all the more complex. I was wondering when this would become a political factor.
naked cap: New Oil and Gas Drilling Financed Largely With Debt.
“Through the various peculiarities of the tax code, oil and gas companies already pay a much lower effective tax rate than the statutory 35 percent. ExxonMobil for example, paid a 19.3 percent effective tax rate between 2009 and 2013. But by deferring taxes, oil and gas companies can wind up paying even less than that. But the heady days of drilling might be drawing to a close.”
SciAm: Will Mines, Tunnels and Drilling Scar Earth Permanently?
It is, at times, genuinely hard to find untouched landscapes in New Mexico. One can stop to take in a lovely view, and then you’ll feel the nudge in the back of your brain. “Oh” you think. “There’s a straight line in the landscape.” An old RR grade, long abandoned, stripped and grown over. Or a particular symmetry to small foothills. Overgrown tailing piles. And more. Noone knows how to uglify a landscape like homo sapiens.
SciAm: Wildfire Smoke Proves Worse for Global Warming.
“New research published by Robinson and others yesterday in the journal Nature Geoscience tries to give climate modelers a better idea of what smoke does when it enters the atmosphere. It suggests that although it’s not on the same level as fossil fuel emissions, smoke could be worsening climate change more than previously thought.” Not to be confused with volcano effect (first thing that came to mind reading the above); volcanic cooling is caused by sulfide compounds shooting into the stratosphere for cooling effects (or so I recall).
Guardian.UK: US puts forward plan to reintroduce wild bison outside Yellowstone.
Sure would be nice; however, I doubt ranchers and cattlemen will let this get very far.
nakedcap: How Fracking Is Blowing Up Balance Sheets of Oil and Gas Companies.
“It’s a horrendous treadmill. Just to maintain production, companies have to drill more and more and incur more and more debt, even as revenues are disappointing.” Fracking is the methamphetamine of the oil and gas industry.
SciAm: Cause of Mysterious Siberian Holes Possibly Found.
“The photo of the crater rim shows some vegetation that does not appear freshly grown, which suggests the hole may be several years old, Yoshikawa said. Romanovsky said it might be more recent, but investigators will need to look at archived high-resolution satellite images to pin down exactly when the crater appeared.” Fine point - these may not be ‘fresh’ holes. Some media are sowing a bit of panic in their titling and descriptions of these phenomena.
ProPublica: Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells.
“ProPublica’s investigation found that the EPA did not know exactly how many wells existed in the United States or what volume of waste was being injected into them, and that it did not possess complete records required to be collected under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” My unastonished italics.
Phys.org: Researchers achieve ‘holy grail’ of battery design - A stable lithium anode.
Popular Archaeology: Did Deforestation Really Lead to Societal Collapse in Chaco Canyon?
“Our point [snip] is that we do not know where most of the wood in Chaco great houses originated, and we cannot eliminate local (canyon drainage) sources. Consequently there is no basis for concluding that the abandonment of Chaco Canyon was brought on by deforestation, improvident use of natural resources, or unstable exchange relationships, and therefore there is no reason to use Chaco’s history as a warning from the past about societal failure.” Indeed. They have so much research on the area, that I understand scientists have only made it up to the early 1900’s documentation.
Later: Sorry for the ugly title. Fixed.
Fire Engineering: Drone Causes Problems at California Wildfire.
Center for Public Integrity: How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota.
“All I wanted to do was farm and ranch, from the time I could stand up. And it’s stolen the future for a lot of people who wanted to retire here, who wanted to live out their days here. It’s stolen mine.” Scroll about a third of the way down, perhaps a little farther, to the Google map of drilling sites. Then use the Google widget to zoom out a bit. See if you have the same reaction I did (“Holy sh-t!”).
WaPo: Study - Colorado River Basin drying up faster than previously thought.
“The authors conclude federal officials allocated 30 percent more water from the Colorado River than was actually available. The gaps were made up by groundwater.” Water wars are just startin’, kid. Git yer hogleg ... it’s gonna get nasty.
Pacific Standard: California’s Lax Policing of the Fracking Industry.
“The problem is that at least 100 of the state’s aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them.” !^$%$^@#^%!%$ [Holding my hand to my throat, practically strangling myself, so I don’t start shouting again.] There is no such thing as a useless resource.
SF Reporter: What happened with nuclear waste leak at New Mexico’s at WIPP?
“About 700 barrels that contain the nitrates and kitty litter are now stored with extra precaution at the lab and at a Texas holding facility where they were already awaiting transportation to Carlsbad at the time of the detected problem ...” Time bombs? Hope they’re being stored in A/C; doubt it.
CR4: Dangerous Rail Tankers - Coming to a City Near You.
Worse than I’d imagined. Read the whole thing.
Slate: Almond milk bad for environment? Tom Philpott and Mother Jones are wrong.
Hmmph. Try looking at growing watermelons ... or chickens, for that matter. My complaint is the cheap fast-food burger. I don’t believe that $1 meat exists! Even when I see it. But that’s fodder for another post.
Guardian.UK: World breaks temperature record for June after hottest May.
“Global temperature records go back to 1880 and June was the 352nd hotter-than-average month in a row.”
BBC: The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up.
“The incident is a perfect example of how even when inside a steel container, sunken items don’t stay sunken. They can be carried around the world, seemingly randomly, but subject to the planet’s currents and tides.” No mention of how many fish are choking on small Lego parts.