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.
Guardian.UK: US climber condemned for filming his children in Mont Blanc avalanche.
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!”).
Dazed: Life on Earth is dying again.
“Don’t say we weren’t warned – yesterday several studies published in the journal Science advised that we’re in currently in the middle of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. While the human population is flourishing (no doubt part of the problem), other species are in rapid decline.”
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.
Guardian.UK: The owl who liked sitting on Caesar by Martin Windrow.
“Throughout their 15 years together, Windrow filled notebooks with fascinating observations of Mumble’s behaviours, such as her improving flight and hunting skills, her eating and bathing habits, and even that she enjoyed drinking from a dripping kitchen tap. We also learn that the fledgling Mumble was a delight to Windrow’s friends, who later had to don protective helmets before Mumble’s growing possessiveness ruled out visitors altogether.” They are territorial birds. As my scalp can attest from various photographic misadventures.
SciAm: Error Discovered in Antarctic Sea-Ice Record.
“The finding raises two possibilities, Eisenman and his colleagues say. Either much of the recent mysterious growth trend is actually spurious, or the current figures are accurate but the trend could have been detected years earlier.” Oh, the naysayers are gonna eat this one up.
SciAm: Traps Set after Giant Snake Reported in New Jersey Lake.
Wired: Even the Gorillas and Bears in Our Zoos Are Hooked on Prozac.
“In fact when Gus first arrived from an Ohio zoo in 1988, his favorite game was stalking children from the underwater window in his pool. [snip] But the zoo staff didn’t want Gus to scare children or their parents, so they put up barriers to keep visitors farther away from the window. Gus soon started to swim in endless figure eights.” I happened to visit Gus during his ‘figure eight’ period. I’ve seen sadder sights in zoos, but this was particularly horrible because you could see - no, that’s not enough. You could really feel he was slowly going crazy.
HiConsumption: Solo Sleeping Bag & Tent.
Telegraph.UK: Mysterious giant hole appears in Siberia.
Think twice, if you see an inscription saying “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”
SciAm: Killing Big Animals Allows Rodents (and Their Fleas) to Flourish.
I believe the local version of this is … after a wet winter, rodents flourish. Carnivores (mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, hawks, owls) respond by gaining in numbers thanks to plentiful and easy-to-snag foodstuffs. When a ‘balance’ is achieved, both populations come down to more normal levels.
365/2: 194. Electrical storms all around, not a drop of water.
Mashable: This Weekend, Behold The Giant Buck Moon.
No! No! No! Another arbitrary Moon event! Please folks, find something else to blog about. Navel lint. Rearranging the sock drawer. ANYTHING BUT MORE MOON EVENTS.
Mashable: Nature Hits the ‘Pause’ Button On El Niño Development.
Still early in the monsoon season here yet; so far, it’s been minimal. We’ve had the most significant rain just last evening here. Other areas of NM have been swamped - Clovis got 6” in one day last week. But we’ve been strangely impervious to moisture here in north central NM. One can watch the storms build, burgeon, and then disappear on radar … building swiftly again when the storm has passed our area. Not sure why. Heat? Foothill configuration? Winds? Seems like we have a coating of Teflon over our particular geographic area. [If we ever receive 6”, I will rue these contentions at a later date …]
Later: Apparently the Sangres just to the north have received enough moisture that Stage 1 fire restrictions have been lifted in the SF National Forest. We in Eldorado remain on Stage 1 water restriction, however. A dozen miles make a huge difference.
Mashable: Climbers Find Frozen Body of Missing Mountaineer 32 Years After His Death.
His father: “I wish he could have remained there. For Patrice, the mountain was his home. This was an environment I introduced to him at the age of 7 to 8 years old. He climbed Mont Blanc with me at 13 years old. The mountain was his passion, he was going to become a guide. In that way, it was better for him to rest in the mountains than in a coffin.”
Slate: Box and burn - The future of U.S. wildfire policy.
“The reality is that fire suppression remains dominant nationally, though it has acquired a lighter hand in the backcountry and a heavier one near exurbs. The other reality is that every wildland fire put out is a fire put off. Fire agencies now face a phalanx of changes that are powering conflagrations — not only the legacy of stockpiled fuels but also climate change, invasive species, a fractal exurban sprawl, and political gridlock. With no single cause, there is no single solution.”
ArtDaily: Smithsonian scientist and collaborators revise timeline of human origins.
Guardian.UK: Fabien Cousteau and team of aquanauts complete 31-day undersea adventure.
“His group estimated that they had collected six months worth of data in 31 days. The scientists who worked on the second half of the mission estimated that they collected one to two years of data in that time.” I should point out, that with our 21st Century flying cars, we were also supposed to have underwater cities ...
NM Fire Info: Diego Fire Update – Wednesday.
Only grew by 400 acres yesterday. Great news.
InciWeb the Incident Information System: Diego Fire.
Now more than 2000 acres. It would be nice if local news and other fire info sites the public relies upon would get coordinated on up-to-the-minute acreage counts.
Latest, 4PM: 3400 acres.
365/2: 180 Outtake. Diego Fire smoke’s spreading towards us.
Opened all the windows a bit early, to get the envelope of the house as cool as I can before the smoke pours in and we have to shut everything down. #hateglobalwarming
NM Fire Info: Diego Fire Has Grown to 200 Acres.
Here we go again. Sizable smoke plume for ‘200 acres.’
Later: quick snap …
Day later: Morning news says ~750 acres.