United States Drought Monitor.
We’re doing much better. More precip for the weekend, though that’ll dampen Indian Market.
SciAm: Western Scrub Jays Are Capable of Metacognition.
They are damned smart birds. They know my routines better than I do myself. I’ll put in a plug for ravens, too ... though they’re more independent and wilful.
NPR: Lessons From The Last Time Civilization Collapsed.
Longtime readers know I’m getting very tired of history being rewritten from a climate-change perspective alone. Climate change is all too often interchanged with global warming, and both terms tend to be misunderstood as ‘manmade’ when used.
Here, ‘climate change’ caused the complex systems to collapse. Climate is but one factor. No doubt drought is a serious event to deal with. But it was not caused by humans at that time. Nature mitigated against complex systems, and the most complex and fragile collapsed causing a domino effect. Using the words ‘climate change’ here would make some believe Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. were causing manmade global warming. I picture King Tut ‘rolling coal’ through Amarna, heading for Memphis and Thebes.
One of the theories about the Chacoans [Chaco, up in NW NM] is that the complexity of their buildings and religious system was challenged by long periods of drought and brought that civilization crashing down. When the people left, they hauled the contents of the buildings out to the middens piles. They burned and broke everything. All that is left is mostly in chunks and shards. Signs of anger at the religion? So angry one goes back to hunting/gathering? We know they believed that their religious ceremonies had to be exactly timed to celestial events, and if these ceremonies were not performed perfectly, the crops and bounty for the next year might suffer. A drought, especially an extended one, would certainly shoot a hole in that religion’s faithful. Anything that disrupted the production of food would make that civilization unstable.
BUT - take away the climate change interpretation, mixed with new discoveries - another theory has surfaced. Another people, or another religion may have infiltrated. Violent, cannibalistic. The burning and destruction may have been the result of violent overthrow. The cannibalism, ritualistic. Taller-than-average remains have been found, with leg bones split longways, for eating of marrow. Tosses the climate change narrative out on its ear (mostly).
(Later, related to the paragraph above, by total coincidence: Violence in the Ancient Southwest Offers Insights into Peace, Western Digs.)
My point, finally. We are never operating outside of Nature, nor is Nature operating outside of human influence. This current fad of history through the single lens of ‘climate change’ is missing many details that ought not be missed.
365/2: 228. Stealth moth.
365/2: 227. Busy bees today.
Just a grab shot.
Later: Outtake, rain over the Jemez shows the topography.
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.
ArtDaily: Winterthur’s Director of Horticulture wins trade association award.
Most tourists go to Longwood Gardens, which is the largest of DuPont estate gardens. But Winterthur has a particularly interesting take on a formal garden - created in sections on a circle, each section is designed to bloom at a different time of year. So you can not only never miss flowering plants, but you also get to see a progression from dormant-to-vivacious any time of year. Well, except winter, of course. Do check out the other DuPont estates though. And Winterthur is an antique-lovers wet dream. The entire main building is chock full of amazing pieces.
Blogging delay: fresh gopher incursion.
Blasted bugger dug 20’ into our courtyard. Three traps, much chewing gum, poison. On to linkage.
Mashable: When to Watch the Most Super Supermoon of 2014.
No, no, NO!! [bangs head on wall] Another ^$^@#%@ trumped-up Moon event. What is it with this Moon obsession, internets?
Guardian.UK: Facts can convince conservatives about global warming – sometimes.
SciAm: Odds of El Niño Weather Pattern Drop, but Still Expected to Form.
“The updated probabilities mean that instead of a 4-in-5 chance that an El Niño would materialize, there is now a 2-in-3 chance it would.” We’ve had enough generous monsoonal activity that I felt the repairs to the back portal were necessary (if we get heavy snow, it could be damaged). See my 365 from two days ago. We now have lovely concrete supporting the pillars, as it should be.
Mashable: A Yellowstone Tourist Crashed a Drone Into One of the World’s Largest Springs.
#^@#%$@$$ The hot springs in Yellowstone rely on very fragile geologic phenomena. It could just calcify over and become part of the spring, or, if heavy enough, could sink and destroy or plug ‘plumbing.’ Trying to fish it out of superheated water, surrounded by fragile calcification, is a major operation. The Yellowstone park service should put up signs with an IM/phone number to report drone sightings immediately.
The Salt Lake Tribune: Cobra rock formation near Moab topples.
Guardian.UK: Europe’s forests ‘particularly vulnerable’ to rapid climate change.
“The report, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that damage from wind, bark beetles, and wildfires has increased significantly in Europe’s forests in recent years. Windthrow − the wind’s effect in damaging or uprooting trees − is an increasing problem.” Welcome to our current reality, Europe.
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).
ArtDaily: The shrinking evolution that turned T. Rex to Tweety.
SciAm: No Fukushima Radiation in Tests off U.S. West Coast.
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.
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.