Hugging wild lions, snuggling rhinos ...
I get fed up with the ‘loving/nurturing Mother Nature’ meme. Never more than this morning. A raven swooped on the robin’s nest in the piñon tree out in front of our house, ripped their babies to pieces, and ate them as the parents screamed bloody murder. Sandra is disconsolate. Puts a pall on the day. And that’s nothing compared to Kathmandu ...
Getting to be that ‘hail’ time of year.
Not yet, but soon. Week or three.
BBC: Caravan, A Great British Love Story.
“There is a unique union of canopy, awning and torrential rain that one can only experience in caravan and camping parks.” If you lived in a row house somewhere in the UK, this would seem more indulgent than we in America would believe.
Busy as a ...
Guardian.UK: Bear knuckle fight - California man sends bruin fleeing with punch on the snout.
Priceonomics: Hiking the 2,650-Mile Pacific Crest Trail.
“The film adaptation of Wild, released in December 2014, has inspired the largest influx of hikers to ever apply for PCT permits. Last week, some 3,500 hikers were reported to have launched from the trail’s southern terminus. Gauged with previous figures — 1,870 in 2013, and 2,655 in 2014 — that’s nearly a 200% increase over two years.” One of the many reasons, when you come across a special place ... you shut the h-e-double-toothpick up. Yet to save some places, one must reveal them. The great modern outdoors-lover’s quandary.
SciAm: Oil Drilling May Slow Drought Recovery.
“Oil and gas drilling in the Rockies and Great Plains may cause long-term harm to ecosystems.” YA THINK?!! How long have I been saying it? To use a water-intensive drilling technique in this area is patently insane and should be banned by law.
DiscoverMag: Missing Magma Found Beneath Yellowstone Park.
“And now scientists say that volume has been underestimated. New studies of the volcano reveal a deeper magma reservoir that holds more than four times the magma volume previously known.” Here’s a dumb question. Dumb only because if it’s so, it’s dumb. Really dumb. Is anyone putting fracking chemicals into deep wells nearby ... ?
Later: Proposed. Good lord. 80 miles ain’t far enough, in my book.
NJ.com: Landslide along Delaware River forces evacuation of 2 Florence homes.
Some are inaccurately labelling this a ‘sinkhole’ for sensationalist purposes. This article gives you better info.
SciAm: Oil May Have Killed Gulf Dolphins.
“It’s impossible to say if it’s back to normal because we don’t know what normal was.” Oh. My. Freaking. God. This is like fracking - noone establishes a baseline before introducing disruptive technologies. This is how corporations avoid liability.
Guardian.UK: Stegosaurus back plates differed between genders, new study reveals.
Important for The Spotters Guide to Stegosaurs. Seriously, that’s pretty neat.
SciAm: Greener Fracking Tech Reduces Injection Of Lots Of Wasteful Fluid.
Okay, but will it serve as an even better lubricant for geologic strata? Note that simple pectin is roughly equivalent to this compound.
Youtube: Spring at Kew Gardens - see the gardens come alive.
I’m dying laughing at the sound effects.
SciAm: The Enduring Mystery of the Missing Oil Spilt in the Gulf of Mexico.
Italian Ways: Limonaia Pra’ de la Fam.
It is, indeed, charming.
SF New Mexican: New Mexico duck tests positive for bird flu.
Guardian.UK: Robot reveals inside Fukushima nuclear reactor – video.
Doesn’t look particularly auspicious; I have no way to judge.
BBC: Woman wounded in US armadillo shooting.
Armadillos, taking potshots at people? No, just stupidity. “Police say the bullet ricocheted off the animal’s hard armour, entered the woman’s mobile home, and hit her in the back as she sat in a reclining chair.”
BoredPanda: Photographer Shoots Angry Lion Photo Moments Before It Jumped At Him To Attack.
After you read it, you’ll think ‘Darwin Award Winner’.
MessyNessy: The ten year Apocalypse that nearly destroyed the Midwest.
Two bits of trivia.
First: Back then, any major event was likely to be correlated with the Second Coming. My grandmother remembers the roar of the first airplane overhead in her green little valley nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee - everyone went running to the Baptist church, thinking it was a harbinger angel: “... the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” [And yes, longtime readers, I’m sure I’ve told this story before. But it’s a good story.]
Second: Dryland farming had already, in the late 1800s, proved rather unwise. As practiced at that time. There were warnings - smaller ‘dustbowls’. Farmers needed to toss the disc harrows and stop grinding soil to powder. The prairie grasses were important. Many histories exist - Google it.
Guardian.UK: Deepwater oil spill - BP steps up PR effort to insist all is well in the Gulf.
“This year, the NWF found that higher-than-normal rates of death for many species continued, and are likely linked to the disaster: dolphins along Louisiana’s coastline were found dead at four times historic rates last year, and research has shown the deaths of 12% of brown pelicans and 32% of a species of gull can be linked to the spill. The NWF report also says the eggs of many animals – from trout in the Gulf to pelicans nesting as far away as Minnesota – have been found to contain oil and the dispersant used by BP in the wake of the spill.”
WaPo: A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say.
“North America’s last megadroughts happened in medieval times, during the 12th and 13th centuries. They were caused by natural changes in weather that give megadroughts a 10 percent chance of forming at any time.” We should be planning ahead, in the Southwest. Will we? Likely not. I think of Burt in Soap (snaps fingers, pretends he’s not corporeal).
Josh Mitteldorf: Fertility is Kaput, but Life Goes On.
“An infertile, older population acts as a kind of buffer during times when the population might otherwise be expanding too fast. When there is plenty of food, the post-reproductive segment eats some of it, but they do not add to population growth in the next generation. Then, when times become more difficult and food is scarce, the older, weaker segment of the population is the first to die off, and this is no real loss to the population’s reproductive potential.” Quite interesting; do add it to this week’s reading list.
Pacific Standard: The Trembling Aspen Is in Trouble.
Quaking aspen, please. We have quite a few in these parts. I can tell you from drives up the Ski Basin Road, photographing the aspen ‘altitudes’, the ones closest to the road are the most unhealthy. You would imagine the asphalt would capture and store water underneath, but in practice, it seems the exposure to sun (edge of forest along road, no shorter trees to shade trunks) and pollution from vehicles stresses them more than overall drought does. My theory, anyway. YMMV. We had some particularly severe tent caterpillar incursions a couple of years ago, but they don’t seem to do lasting damage. The trees affected are now as full as they ever were.