DeSmogBlog: Mexico’s Looming Fracking and Offshore Oil and Gas Bonanza.
ReadWrite: Our Climate Is Changing, And NASA Has The Proof.
NM’s down at the #3 spot.
KRQE.com: Fire erupts in Gila National Forest.
And in case you haven’t heard, fire season is in full shred all of a sudden. Like, yesterday. The ‘Signal’ fire has already burned 3,000 acres. Looking at the map, it may burn towards already-torched areas (hope).
When these things start now, they end up being immediate monsters. The fact this one started two weeks earlier than usual, indicates how desperately dessicated we are.
Guardian.UK: US failed to inspect thousands of at-risk oil and gas wells, report finds.
“The report said the BLM had failed to conduct inspections on more than 2,100 of the 3,702 wells that it had specified as ‘high priority’ and drilled from 2009 through 2012. The agency considers a well ‘high priority’ based on a greater need to protect against possible water contamination and other environmental safety issues.” The lack of oversight is well-known, and has been known for decades now … even before the present-day addiction to fracking. Texas alone has tens of thousands of capped wells that need to be monitored, yet this important function is rarely fully funded or staffed.
CO Springs Gazette: Parts of some Plains states drier than Dust Bowl.
“While experts say the possibility of another Dust Bowl is unlikely because of modern irrigation and farming techniques enacted afterward that are aimed at holding soil in place, greater erosion in recent years has resulted in an increasing number of dust storms, including one last month that lasted three days in Lubbock, Texas.” As I’ve mentioned before, the recent winds have done a mighty fine job of picking up our dirt roads and dropping them over in Oklahoma and Texas. It’s terrifyingly dry.
SciAm: Fracking Fluid Rules Considered by Feds.
“Although drillers fear greater disclosure may jeopardize commercially secret formula for the fluids they use to coax the maximum oil or gas out of a given well, the industry has become more transparent in recent years, responding to concerns about potential public health implications of fracking.” Okay, who wrote this?
Guardian.UK: Honeybees abandoning hives and dying due to insecticide use, research finds.
“The scientists showed that exposure to two neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used class of insecticide, lead to half the colonies studied dying, while none of the untreated colonies saw their bees disappear.” Convincing enough to me. If any of the stuff in your garage contains imidacloprid or cothianidin, dispose of it safely and find something else to use. You’ll ‘bee’ thanked.
Vox: El Niño could be the biggest weather story of 2014.
The Archaeology News Network: Long-standing climate paradox resolved.
“Based on this relationship of the variations in the earth’s orbit and Nevada’s climate, Lachniet and his team suggest that the region won’t see the re-appearance of these pluvial lakes for at least another 55,000 years. They also see evidence that the Great Basin climate has been warming for the past 1,600 years, which may indicate a human-control of regional climate because it departs from the orbital climate control …” Read the whole thing.
Guardian.UK: More than 400 dams planned for the Amazon and headwaters.
Yikes. Dams, then extraction companies. Death of the Amazon. And a much hotter planet.
365/2: 125. Hate seeing this. More smoke, more fire.
Hoping it’s a prescribed burn, but given that the weather service is warning about high winds over the next day or so, I’m not hopeful.
Later: It is apparently a prescribed burn. Here’s hoping they stop over the next two days.
Pacific Standard: The Man Who Wants to Fix the Climate. Can Anyone Stop Him?
Giz: LED Tubes Will Make Fluorescent Seem Old Fashioned.
“The new Cree T8 bulb looks very much like the traditional T-8 fluorescent tube we’ve been using since the 1970s. Except, however, that the new Cree uses LED rather than inert gas which allows it to turn on instantly (regardless of how cold the weather is) without flickering as well as operate at a 30 percent energy savings over the traditional method.” Cree in particular seems to have cracked the low price/good quality threshold for LEDs. Their 60w equivalents are wonderful incandescent replacements.
Archaeology News Network: Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in western USA.
“The year 1703 kicked off 16 years in a row with below average stream flow.” Hurts to even think about.
In These Times: Fracking’s Harm Extends Beyond Polling Places.
“Indeed, no matter where you are reading this column, there are examples of real-life catastrophes with real-life ramifications being treated by political elites as just more ‘grenades’ in their self-serving political wars.”
Guardian.UK: Human litter found in Europe’s deepest ocean depths.
Okay, that’s depressing.
Coudal Partners/Field Notes: The ‘anti-time-lapse’ stars and their courses.
6+ hours of dark sky, for those who may not have the luxury. Wonderful.
ThinkProgress: U.S. Wildfire Season Comes On Hot As Two Blazes Rage In New Jersey.
As if fire is a surprise in the Barrens. I grew up in NJ - the Pine Barrens were burning regularly and spectacularly for hundreds of years. Fire in the Pine Barrens, more than any other forested area I know, is vital to the lifecycle of the area. When the trees get beyond tall scrub size (a bit over your head), you’re ripe for a burn.
The fires got more and more attention after developers dropped retirement homes deep in the wooded areas by the dozen in the ‘80’s - that’s when more significant prevention started allowing trees to overgrow their natural life cycle. And the Barrens have been encroached further as Philly and NYC commuters look for cheap, affordable housing. Long as you pick a spot that’s not bog, it’s hot, humid, immersed in biting black flies, but livable if you use lots of electric modern conveniences (A/C, bug zappers, etc.). You’d better have fire insurance - and I’m sure it’s pricey. Everyone’s running ATVs, motorcycles, chainsaws … all firestarters of the best (worst) kind.
I don’t mean to minimize the actual danger to property and people … but to a born Jerseyan, it’s just how the Barrens roll. The closest common cultural opinion I can offer is that mythical piece of Florida real estate. Basically, “If you built a house in the Barrens, you’re an idiot.” If anyone’s surprised, their ears must rub together behind their heads.
Guardian.UK: Big riders mean bigger horses on US’s western trails.
“Ranches are turning to draft horses – the ‘diesels’ of the horse world – to accommodate flood of overweight tourists.” Much as I love draft horses, they have feet the size of buckets. They cut quite a swath … and everyone wants to trot or gallop a draft horse. It does indeed feel like you’re making the Earth move in its orbit.
StarTrib: Report cites poor management, eroding safety for nuke dump radiation release.
Color me unsurprised.
Dallas Morning News: Wise County couple gets $3 million in fracking suit.
“I don’t think this is going to be damaging to the industry. But it is a warning to operators they need to exercise caution when running operations near homesteads.” Or the finger’s been pulled out of the dike.
SciAm: Blue-Footed Boobies Have Stopped Breeding—But Why?
A world without boobies? Say it ain’t so! Not yet, anyway. Sardine populations have crashed, for ‘unknown reasons’.
MeFi: The Moral Question Of Our Time - Can We Share The Planet?
A kick-ass FPP.
SciAm: Pine Beetle Outbreaks Increase Groundwater Supply in Rockies.
Rocky Mountain marshes?