NY Times: Strong Quake Hits Off Japan Near Fukushima.
Hope all of you over in Japan are well and remain safe.
SF New Mexican: Drought may force shift in water supply management.
Better details about our drought and available water supplies than that previous article.
SF New Mexican: Rio Grande water users allotment may be curtailed.
“John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, said the utility has enough of its own water stockpiled to make it through 2013 with minimal effect. But irrigators in the Rio Grande Valley between Cochiti and Elephant Butte Reservoir could see a shorter 2013 irrigation season if a good snowpack does not bail out water users.” The drought’s noose will come tight and hard in the end. This is just a shot over the bow, a warning. Given the current trends, I’d be much more conservative with releases.
New Scientist: Dying aspen trees sound alarm for world’s forests.
“As trees lose water through their leaves, they suck up more through their roots. The drier the tree, the harder it must suck, but if it sucks too hard, air bubbles can creep into the xylem, interrupting water flow.” There are stretches along the Ski Basin road that don’t look healthy at all. In fall, the leaves simply turn brown and fall off … no stunning yellows or oranges. I imagine this article indicates what’s going on.
Reuters: Cruel new fact of crustacean life - lobster cannibalism.
The black and white images render it nightmarish.
CNN: Protecting Pitcairn’s marine bounty.
“Given its ‘unique and pristine’ environment, the expedition report recommends turning the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)—an area extending 200 nautical miles from a territory’s coast—around Pitcairn into a ‘no-take’ marine reserve.” Fantastic. Preserve it.
Guardian.UK: How the North Dakota fracking boom shook a family.
If you read nothing else today, read this. Especially if fracking companies are starting to nose about in your geographical area. You need to know what you’re in for. This is why we fought so hard here in Santa Fe County to put proper rules and regs into place, so drilling would be performed responsibly - and health, infrastructure and safety would be properly funded. They decided the cost wasn’t worth it, so they packed up and moved elsewhere. The fight never ends, however. Their cronies in the Legislature are still trying to lever their way into our area. Via @davewiner.
SciAm: The Death of “Near Death” - Even If Heaven Is Real, You Aren’t Seeing It.
Then again, NDE may be our brain’s technique of ‘softening the blow’ …? The brain remains active for a few minutes after the cessation of breath. We’d be foolish to not think there might be a biological process of shutdown (thanks to natural selection) designed to cushion our demise. Instead of black, a fade to white?
SciAm: Polar Melting is Accelerating, So Is Sea Level Rise.
“Greenland has experienced the most dramatic shrinkage. It is losing ice five times faster than it was in the mid-1990s. Overall, it shed 2.94 trillion metric tons of ice during the 19-year study period.” I wouldn’t go rebuilding on any barrier islands, Jerseyans.
SF New Mexican: Mystery bird spotted at New Mexico national refuge.
ArtDaily: The iceberg that sunk Titanic to be featured at RR Auction live event in December.
*Ahem* … not the iceberg, but a photograph of the alleged iceberg before it was severely damaged by the ill-piloted Titanic.
[Didn’t expect that, did you?]
Scientific American: Dryland Farmers Work Wonders without Water in U.S. West.
“Nichols and others like him continue to wring profits from their yields through the practice of extremely efficient farming, using no-tillage methods to preserve moisture and soil, while leaving at least half the ground fallow at any given time. Such dryland farming practices represent an ever-evolving science; albeit, one that the rest of the country may increasingly heed.” Throw away that harrow.
SF New Mexican: NM drought sinks level of Elephant Buttes Lake.
“The lake hit an eight-year low on Sept. 4 when it was 5 percent full, with an elevation of 4,297 feet and a water volume of 109,445 acre-feet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. An acre-foot contains about 326,000 gallons. The last time the lake was that low was in 2004, another period of drought, when the elevation was 4,294 feet, officials said.” Next summer’s going to be a bear if things don’t improve. And we’re on track for a mild winter, not a rip-roaring snowfilled one.
Evening Grosbeaks have stopped by on their migration south ...
Excuse my temporary birdbath. I need to purchase one that doesn’t break when frozen.
The bobs are back.
A pair this time. Very relaxed. I hope they eat the damned groundsquirrel that’s hanging around, and not our rare little hummingbird ...
Discover Mag: By Acting as a Plug, This Giant Water Balloon May Keep Subways Dry.
Could work, but this is not a comprehensive test they’re showing. Very little water is being filled - the empty compartment seems to have about 10’ length behind the balloon. It has to attach/bind to the walls, and withstand a great deal more pressure than this is demonstrating.
SF New Mexican: Forecasters - NM chances slim for winter moisture.
“Weather forecasters and state and federal water managers are painting a grim picture of the chances of drought-stricken New Mexico making up any ground this winter. It’s early, but officials say the state is already starting off with half of the average snowpack for this time of year and weather models aren’t offering any hope for more snow.” Grim news for local skiers.
Sorry for the delay.
This little hummer in our yard is causing quite the wave of excitement in the local birding circles. Having to answer phone calls and emails now. I’ll have more to say about it another time. Off to find linkage in between work stints ...
Our rare Broad-billed Hummingbird.
Well, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet … Facebook friends will likely be sick of it by now. This is “Horatio”, a Broad-billed Hummingbird who showed up at our feeders the first week of November. He’s far, far out of his range … he’s supposed to travel no further than extreme southern NM in the summer. We knew he was unusual, so we’ve been contacting the Audubon Society and various hummingbird research organizations. A local representative of one of the research outfits came over today (with his two helpers) and banded our little guy.
Turns out, he’s well muscled and fat (great health), at least a year old, and if the winter’s going to be as mild as forecast, he should be able to survive the winter up here.
As long as we keep changing out frozen feeders - which we’ve already been doing, like crazy.
(You knew there was a shoe to drop on this one. Why is everything cool so high-maintenance?)
Collectors Weekly: Read My Rings - The Oldest Living Tree Tells All.
Great article. I love this: “They’re slow-growing and conservative, not the grow-fast, die-young types.”
Geology.com: San Francisco and Bay Area - Global Warming Sea Level Rise Map.
With an eye to the future, choose your real estate location wisely.
NY Times: New York Subways Find Magic in Speedy Hurricane Recovery.
Enough with the top-down praise. Where’s the bottom-up? Where’s the photojournalism of the workers, the interviews, the challenges, the fixes? Who were the ones to overcome the significant on-the-spot problems?
NY Mag: How Did the MTA Restore Subway Service?
“They found that different tunnels were affected in different ways, depending on the mix of salt water from the ocean and fresh water from the Hudson. ‘If it’s more fresh water, all you have to do is dry out the equipment — you don’t necessarily have to clean it. But if you have salt water, it dries and leaves a salt residue. Salt is conductive. So you want to clean that salt off. Otherwise you can have a short circuit and you could burn the equipment.’”
NY Times: Damage Unclear, Future in Limbo for Some Buildings in Lower Manhattan.
Interesting line of thought … if you were to move our entire financial section inland, where would you put it? Where would be largely out of the path of nature’s wrath, increasing climate change?
NY Times: In 2009, Engineers Detailed Storm Surge Threat to New York City.
“Even if the government had embraced such a proposal in 2009, it would not have been in place to prevent destruction from Tropical Storm Irene last year or Hurricane Sandy last week.” At this point, placing blame is counterproductive. Prepare for next time. And there will be a next time.