Secure all nuclear weapons development at one site. “... the threat of espionage dictated that the complex be spread out in the 1940s and ‘50s, but now the threat is terrorism.”
He grows mold, he grows mold, he will wear his trousers cold ...
apologies to t.s. eliot ...
Shall we talk ‘price gouging’? Where is the outrage? Firewood prices surge after storms. With the beetle-death of thousands (millions?) of pinon trees, the 30% increase causes one to pause and reflect, even in the face of higher gas prices.
Two New York Times Editorials:
Motorcycle safety schools see boomer boomlet. The problem with some safety courses, is that they put you on small-displacement cycles. These are light, easy to maneuvre. Taking the NJ standard motorcycle test, I completed it on a 125cc motocross-style bike. Another individual was there on a Harley, and there was no way that bike could negotiate the 90-degree turn required; no skill could overcome the geometry of the bike. My advice: buy a smaller used bike and build your skills until your reactions are automatic, before advancing to the uber-cool but comparatively unmaneuverable cruiser.
Michael Crichton, Novelist, Becomes Senate Witness. First, affluent rock stars for human rights, now popular novelists against climate science. Why not ask the scientists themselves? Better yet, why not walk outside and look around?
Interior Secretary Says U.S. Will Push Search for Energy. Among other whoppers, “Construction of cellphone towers, Ms. Norton said, is not necessarily deleterious to park landscapes.” Here’s a photo of the cell tower upon Signal Mountain, in Grand Teton National Park. Green paint seems the only mitigation to the eyesore. And, one can ask, “Why cellphones in the National Parks in the first place?” Don’t give me the ‘safety’ lecture. Enjoyment of the park is challenged enough by the dulcet tones of diesel RV’s ... add to that crass individuals shouting on their cellphones at all the lookouts, and you’re approaching overload for any enjoyment you might be looking for. ATVs, snowmobiles ... don’t even start.
Entrance fees rising next year at some national parks. If this will help maintenance, they should raise ‘em further.
As Population of Yellowstone Grizzlies Grows, Further Protection Is Up for Debate. According to all I’ve heard from being up in Wyoming and Montana, grizzlies are no longer uncommon. Some related stories of them camping out on their porches in the springtime, after they’ve woken up from hibernation and find themselves ravenous for food.
Rewrite of Endangered Species Law Approved. It may be approved, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it.
After Katrina’s Lesson, Bush Is Heading to Texas. Only for a few minutes though. Colorado Springs, unsurprisingly, is the final destination to ride out the storm. Surrounded by military might and deep faith, he has a place where he can craft his message and ride out the worst.
SF New Mexican:
An old one,
from New Scientist: Global warming will bring fiercer hurricanes.
Before the oil runs out: How US can cope when gas prices surge. Since Reagan stripped the solar water heaters off the White House, fuel efficiency has gone nowhere.
SF New Mexican:
30-odd years ago,
as a 13-year-old, I had the opportunity to experience Yellowstone. Last week, I was saddened to see the effects of not just huge forest fires, but years of overuse and neglect. I can rationalize the regrowth of burned forest, but a visit to the Old Faithful area shows how tatty the most popular National Parks are getting. “Loved to death”, might be the best explanation. West Thumb Geyser Basin needs new boardwalks, very much. Because of weather, I didn’t have the opportunity to penetrate the park further, but what I saw broke my heart (compared to my years-ago experience).
The National Parks need to put out a ‘tip jar.’ They need *serious* help. The Rangers are having to point out to the public at large that these special places will no longer be so ‘special’ if opened for energy extraction; your average RV-driving tourist isn’t making a connection between a stinking, eyesore Yellowstone and their gas tank.
The bright spot was Grand Teton. The Teton valley remains largely as I remember it, though they now allow 737’s and other small jets to land at the Jackson airport (the front of the mountains serve as a huge soundwall to reflect the thunder of jet blast). There are *more trees* in GTNP than I remember. All but the Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls/Inspiration Point trails have weathered the 30 years very well; the trails around Jenny show excess wear. The animals are more numerous than in the past ... I saw at least half a dozen moose, many bison, huge elk, mule deer ... you name it. Go ‘car-trolling’ in the evening, you’ll see quite a menagerie. I desired that long Canon L lens I can’t afford ...
I spent most of my vacation at GTNP.
Later: The National Park Foundation is just such a ‘tip jar.’
Grizzly and other bears.
Everyone asked gave a different piece of advice. “Bear bells? They announce ‘meal’s ready!’ when you wear them.” “Clap, don’t use bells.” “Metal banging is not a natural sound, so bears will come out of curiousity.” “Sing. Loudly.” “Mountain biking in bear country? Meals on wheels.”
Every Ranger had a different take. “You’ll probably never see one, but wear bells anyway.” “We’ve had a few, just not recently.” “There’ve been two deaths, not here.”
Every park had different placards. “If approached by a bear while eating, discourage it from eating your food.” How, exactly, I wondered? Curling up in the recommended fetal position won’t help much. “Don’t dump food garbage in bathrooms.” Posted on one restroom in the campsite, not in the other ... and both bathroom trash bins full of coffee grounds, banana peels ... and push-to-open doors. One opens bathroom doors carefully at night.
Rangers had stories of idiotic tourists chasing grizzlies with video cameras, trying for that ‘Nature channel’ shot, getting bluff-charged. Wet wipes for the resulting human fear incontinence afterwards.
The ‘risk’, once one reads the stories of bear attacks, becomes clear. A bear that gets human food, gets bolder. It is getting a positive reward for each depredation. If no negative reinforcements occur, the bear must be relocated, and often ultimately destroyed. The bear is always thinking of how to get more food ... they’re smart, they strategize.
The bottom line, as I understand it from those who work with ‘rescue bears’: carry bear spray (pepper spray at ‘bear’ strength) in a ready-to-use location. Those whom I talked to, who work with bears, wear two (one on the chest, one on the hip). Back away, if you can, facing the bear and talking in a normal tone. Get out of the area without triggering the bear’s ‘chase’ instinct. Ignore the ‘fetal position’ and ‘look big’ stuff, and start spraying the bear if it begins to aggressively approach within 50’. Once the grizz is sprayed, and suffers the smarting of pepper, it will be a long time before it will ever approach a human again (if ever). You’re doing a *good* thing, for yourself, for the bear. You have between ten and twenty minutes to get out of the area, once the grizz is sprayed.
I didn’t see a single bear while camping in bear country. I saw evidence in one huckleberry patch that might have been two paw prints. Probably a black bear, because grizzlies are smart enough to cover their tracks in territorial circumstances. Bears prefer the apple over the steak; they’re at least 80% vegetarian.
On the trip,
I was introduced to the devastation that is known as shrimp harvesting via a poster at Grand Teton National Park (of all places), and found out about Permian Sea Shrimp Co. Their site is under construction, but info is here.
The concessionaire at Grand Teton is using post-consumer waste products, and trying to emphasize locally-grown and sustainable goods.
SF New Mexican:
PNM expected to set all-time-high gas prices. I will note, Chevron here in Santa Fe is the first to boost their gas prices over $3, just today.
Related: Washington Fiddles While Oil Burns.