DiscoverMag: Missing Magma Found Beneath Yellowstone Park.
“And now scientists say that volume has been underestimated. New studies of the volcano reveal a deeper magma reservoir that holds more than four times the magma volume previously known.” Here’s a dumb question. Dumb only because if it’s so, it’s dumb. Really dumb. Is anyone putting fracking chemicals into deep wells nearby ... ?
Later: Proposed. Good lord. 80 miles ain’t far enough, in my book.
The Register.UK: Fukushima nuke plant owner told to upgrade from Windows XP.
SciAm: Oil May Have Killed Gulf Dolphins.
“It’s impossible to say if it’s back to normal because we don’t know what normal was.” Oh. My. Freaking. God. This is like fracking - noone establishes a baseline before introducing disruptive technologies. This is how corporations avoid liability.
c|net: Eye-popping ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is almost too spectacular (spoiler-free review).
“But the Vision is a pink android who can fly and wears a cape, marking the point the film makes the leap into out-and-out comic book nuttiness. It might just be a leap too far for the casual viewer.” I’m afraid in the first Avengers, when the [lacking a better description] giant armored fish-grubs come out of the sky-hole and fly/wriggle around downtown Manhattan with no visible means of support other than a couple of fins, I shared Iron Man’s lament: “I’m seeing. Still working on believing.” These films are starting to bow to complete silliness, and that’s a shame. Some things should stay on the pages of the comic books.
Guardian.UK: Landscapes we don’t want to lose - New Mexico’s Jemez mountains.
SciAm: Greener Fracking Tech Reduces Injection Of Lots Of Wasteful Fluid.
Okay, but will it serve as an even better lubricant for geologic strata? Note that simple pectin is roughly equivalent to this compound.
SciAm: The Enduring Mystery of the Missing Oil Spilt in the Gulf of Mexico.
SF New Mexican: New Mexico duck tests positive for bird flu.
Guardian.UK: Robot reveals inside Fukushima nuclear reactor – video.
Doesn’t look particularly auspicious; I have no way to judge.
Bloomberg Business: Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Extend the Age of Oil.
A good overview, worth the time. “How much time Saudi Arabia has to prepare for the eventual decline of the oil era may depend, in part, on how alternatives fare during this period of cheap oil. Will sales of wind turbines and solar panels stay strong? Or will they enter a tailspin like they did during the Great Recession, when project financing dried up? And will sales of electric vehicles continue to climb even as gasoline prices slump?”
MessyNessy: The ten year Apocalypse that nearly destroyed the Midwest.
Two bits of trivia.
First: Back then, any major event was likely to be correlated with the Second Coming. My grandmother remembers the roar of the first airplane overhead in her green little valley nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee - everyone went running to the Baptist church, thinking it was a harbinger angel: “... the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” [And yes, longtime readers, I’m sure I’ve told this story before. But it’s a good story.]
Second: Dryland farming had already, in the late 1800s, proved rather unwise. As practiced at that time. There were warnings - smaller ‘dustbowls’. Farmers needed to toss the disc harrows and stop grinding soil to powder. The prairie grasses were important. Many histories exist - Google it.
KRQE: *Seven* fires sparked in the Albuquerque Bosque in two days.
ars technica: Energy companies around the world infected by newly discovered malware.
Mashable: This organic, wheat-based kitty litter caused a nuclear waste leak.
LANL must go gluten-free ...
Guardian.UK: Deepwater oil spill - BP steps up PR effort to insist all is well in the Gulf.
“This year, the NWF found that higher-than-normal rates of death for many species continued, and are likely linked to the disaster: dolphins along Louisiana’s coastline were found dead at four times historic rates last year, and research has shown the deaths of 12% of brown pelicans and 32% of a species of gull can be linked to the spill. The NWF report also says the eggs of many animals – from trout in the Gulf to pelicans nesting as far away as Minnesota – have been found to contain oil and the dispersant used by BP in the wake of the spill.”
NakedCap: Fracking’s New Nemesis - Earthquake Lawsuits.
“Indeed, some of the bigger players appear to have decided it’s best to keep these cases out of the press if possible. BHP Billiton and Chesapeake Energy settled a 2013 case lodged by five homeowners for a confidential amount.” Industries prefer to minimize case law on the books. Swift gag settlements are the first line of defense.
WaPo: A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say.
“North America’s last megadroughts happened in medieval times, during the 12th and 13th centuries. They were caused by natural changes in weather that give megadroughts a 10 percent chance of forming at any time.” We should be planning ahead, in the Southwest. Will we? Likely not. I think of Burt in Soap (snaps fingers, pretends he’s not corporeal).
Fuel Fix: Oil workers in West Texas and New Mexico were underpaid millions, Labor Department says.
“Among the problems found, employers were failing to include bonus payments when calculating overtime rates, weren’t paying for time spent working off-the-clock and paying flat rates despite the hours worked by employees. There were also instances of workers being misclassified as independent contractors.” Check out image #5, in the bottom gallery. Also, no word in this article about the workers getting their owed $$.
Pacific Standard: The Trembling Aspen Is in Trouble.
Quaking aspen, please. We have quite a few in these parts. I can tell you from drives up the Ski Basin Road, photographing the aspen ‘altitudes’, the ones closest to the road are the most unhealthy. You would imagine the asphalt would capture and store water underneath, but in practice, it seems the exposure to sun (edge of forest along road, no shorter trees to shade trunks) and pollution from vehicles stresses them more than overall drought does. My theory, anyway. YMMV. We had some particularly severe tent caterpillar incursions a couple of years ago, but they don’t seem to do lasting damage. The trees affected are now as full as they ever were.
PS Mag: ‘You Wouldn’t Drill for Oil in the Sistine Chapel’.
I’m afraid that argument doesn’t work. You’ve got to load your oppositional scattergun with every bit of counterargument you’ve got and shoot like you mean it to stop these bandits.
ABC: US Drillers Scrambling to Thwart OPEC Threat.
“Drillers are finding they can back into wells drilled only a few years ago to re-frack them or inject specially tailored fluids to get oil flowing again. That can return a well in some cases to peak output, without the expense of drilling a new well.” Perhaps, but to cut costs, where are all those ‘specially tailored fluids’ being dumped/injected? Quadruple the watch on your drinking water sources, people.
ProPublica: How Much Water Do You Use? Help ProPublica Investigate Water Use in the U.S.
Survey form. Let’s give ‘em a gout of info, shall we?
Slate: Georgetown, Texas, goes renewable.
“... contrary to renewable energy’s reputation as a luxury good, the new deals come at a discount to what Georgetown was paying for fossil fuel electricity.” My italic emphasis. I’ve been relating over the years the fact that Texas, in addition to drilling like crazy, is also raising windmills like crazy too.
Archaeology News Network: Study raises questions about cause of global Ice Ages.
NY Times: Obama Administration Unveils Federal Fracking Regulations.
I’ll certainly want to read these, after skimming by this ... “The Interior Department has spent more than three years developing the rules, in close consultation with oil and gas companies, states and environmental groups. The agency also said it has reviewed more than 1.5 million public comments.”