Tuesday March 18, 2014 Watering Hole – Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

Paris implements a partial ban on driving carsBus riding is free during pollution event. Seems there are too many cars on the road. Can you imagine a ban on cars here in the good old freedom fighting US of A?

Winners and losers. Seems that are too many buckets at the Texas well and farmers are getting turned away. Rain, rain, don’t go away, pretty please.

Cryogenics worksIf you start as moss, you’ll come back as moss.

Divers find 65 foot long crack in Columbia River dam. There’s only one thing to say about this – oh shit!

Baseball season is approaching. Dining during the national pastime: The top ten vegetarian friendly ballparks. Philadelphia may not win the pennant this year, but we’re number 1 in something!


85 thoughts on “Tuesday March 18, 2014 Watering Hole – Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

  1. Can you imagine a ban on cars here in the good old freedom fighting US of A?

    It is in the Constitution that guns and cars are sacred//

  2. I fail to see how a petrochemical plant should have first dibs over any farm along a river. Farms came along way before petrochemical plants. There’s this principle of being grandfathered in when something predates another.

    • It’s because of what defines Amurkkka (and no, not the Constitution). M*O*N*E*Y is everything. One of the rare cases in human culture where nothing becomes perceived as everything.

    • Since corporations are now people, the golden rule applies.
      Corporations have the gold, therefore they make the rules, get the water and wonder WTF happened when they had their personal shopper find no fruit, vegetables or food at the grocery.

  3. My best guess.
    The employee that discovered the bend in the conduit will be tagged a whistle blower and be fired.

  4. Well, now what? The Czar of All the Russias wants them all back? The West has some serious thinking to do and some serious actions to take – banning 21 people from travelling in the US and EU…. seriously, Putin gives a shit? Shameful reaction.


    Got this off my friends FB today – the Crimeans are still hopeful that Ukrainians still like them and will come to Crimea for holidays this summer? Seriously? While the Russian soldiers stop and search your beach bag on the streets every day?

    “We hope the Ukranians still love us”

    So now that Putin talking about a ‘New Russia’ – while referring to the next province of Ukraine north of Crimea and the coast down to Odessa….. what next? I suspect that a long summer of ‘Putins Tourists’ is coming, riots and Russian-backed violence in eastern/southern Ukraine. And the West? Back to laundering Putin’s rubles and sucking on his gas pipe. Come on Merkel – it is time the Germans led again.

  5. I watched Cosmos part deux last night. Neil tackled the E word. I would guess most of that show was censored in Red State Amurkkka. Simple and effective explanations of why polar bears are white, why there are so many kinds of dogs…. he hit most of the usual BS you get from the god-botherers….. even took down those who say ‘What about the eye? You can’t explain that’ (/O’Reilly off). Well he did using animals you see all over – even explained why the eye isn’t itself a perfect design (because it was part of us before we left the oceans).

    • I have to admit I am a little bit disappointed that Prof DeGrasse Tyson didn’t clearly state that the eye evolved long before humans. Yes. It was implicit but I’ve seen a couple comments claiming that he still didn’t explain how the human eye evolved. The creationists still seem to think that every bit of every organism must be created from scratch. It’s just a minor quibble and the group of people who would actually be convinced if he had made that clear is vanishingly small but he did leave a loophole open.

      OTOH. I was pleased that he, once again, stated that there’s a whole lot that he and other scientists don’t know and that the first step in any scientific endeavor is to admit we don’t know something.

  6. And the forgotten men and women of the Ukrainian army and navy, still in their bases surrounded by the “маленькие зеленые человечки” (little green men) of the “Not Russian, no not us tovarich” Army…

    ‘They have been given until Friday to leave… though the Beeb is reporting the Russian Army is storming a barracks in Simferopol right now.


    • A Ukrainian soldier has now died. Between now and Friday, the world community should be doing everything possible to focus on letting those men and women leave with their families, safely, with their weapons and with the dignity their courage and restraint for the last 3 weeks has earned them. If not and many of them die or are hurt by Russian troops, then something very serious needs to happen. He will not stop here.

  7. They are in Red Square in Moscow yelling ‘Duce! Duce! Duce!’ sorry ‘Putin! Putin!’…… fook, here we go again.

  8. The Russians seem to have orders that as soon as Putin signs the annexation papers… they can simply kill the Ukrainians in the bases.

  9. A large dam in Washington state has a 65-foot-long crack below its waterline, say officials who are planning repairs at the Wanapum Dam, which is owned by a county utility. Divers found the 2-inch-wide crack that runs sideways after an engineer noticed an odd curve in a conduit near the dam’s roadway.

    Officials have said the public is not at risk.

    They always say “the public is not at risk,” just before all hell breaks loose.

    Anyhoo, it’s not like that part of Washington state isn’t used to being scoured off by massive floods.

    • I had poster with something like that, a bunch of people gathered around looking at a huge civil-engineering marvel with a serious, catastrophic flaw plainly in view. And the caption “Oh shit!”

  10. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who seeks out the wily carp with a fly rod, nonewhere. On my beloved Lake Pepin the mayfly hatches are truly awe inspiring (It’s not uncommon for snowplows to be dispatched to clear lighted bridges!) and one can sight fish, for that perfect carp that one can just barely handle without risking an entire fly line, as they cruise along with their heads out of the water as they vacuum up the mayflies. Dad used to say it was like casting to a line of cars cruising past. Of course; there’s always a chance that something else will rise in front of them. I think the only fish endemic to the upper Mississippi that I haven’t caught during the mayfly hatch are eels and burbot. These range from minnows and shiners that don’t exceed 3 inches, through the mooneyes that fight every bit as fiercely as a true shad, up to a northern pike that was 39 inches and the aforementioned carp up to the 30 pound class. I limit my leaders to 12 pound test and use 25 pound backing but I still get nervous when fighting such large fish on the backing after losing a fly line to a carp that had to have been pushing 50 pounds!

    I have invited several fishing show hosts and authors but there have been no takers so far. Part of that is because it’s impossible to predict the start of the hatch but I think they simply don’t believe that it’s one of the best freshwater fishing opportunities anywhere in the world.

    • Where does a 30 pound carp go when you hook him on a flyrod? Anywhere he wants to. Like hooking a tractor trailer. Yeah, back in PA i fished for just about anything with a fly rod. Caught catfish, stripers, panfish, carp, fallfish, come to think of it, just about everything except eels (burbot are in western PA so I never had a shot at them). With carp, we never worried about a hatch. We used to sight fish for them, like bonefish. Infact, in my watershed we used to refer to them as Perkiomen Bonefish. Just throw a green weenie about 18 inches in front of a cruising feeder, and boom! Lots of fun.

  11. I don’t mean to make light of the events labeled “Ukraine, Crimea, Russia” and assorted peripherals, but I have to wonder — if national borders and assorted details implicit therein are concluded to no longer mean anything, does that mean that we in the US might be free to, say, give Texas back to Mexico? And might, maybe, France (via her outposts in Guadalupe and Martinique) care to reclaim the American Deep South plus the bulk of the Louisiana Purchase? What if Russia marches into Alaska — e.g. Wasilla (taking Sarah Palin hostage) — should we react? And what if we win? Are we stuck with allathat wingnut crapola for the foreseeable future?

    I dunno. Human societies basically smell bad. I think I’d rather mimic Romulus and Remus and live with wolves. I’m thinking there might be numerous advantages in a different arrangement than the one currently considered universal.

    • It is one more indication of the impending Dark Age fru….. Putin just wiped his arse on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Next up the Iranians build a bomb (why wouldn’t they now?), then the Saudis …. sooner or later someone’s going to light one off. Wow all that nostalgia for 1914 is really getting to everyone eh – they’ll call this “The Bombs of August” this time.

      • John McCain will do all he can to help, of course; war is cool after all. My instinct is basically the opposite. Were it up to me, I’d turn the world over to Elizabeth Warren — one of the very few who seems to be far more strongly welded to the betterment of civilization . . . rather than to the betterment of the few (mostly males with apparently tee-tiny whatchacallems). Putin topless on a horse? I thought the horse looked good. Putin looked like an aging and balding dude more worried about his small whatchacallit than anything of meaning. Putin: E. Pluribus Unum. Etc.

  12. Email to the Beeb:

    “I am dismayed by the comments here and by the lack of reaction by the US and by EU to this annexation by another authoritarian state on the invented basis of protecting ethnic kinsmen. here’s why (from PM Yatsenyuk): ““A country which willingly gave up its nuclear arsenal… and received guarantees from the world’s leading countries [my addition: in 1994 US, UK and *Russia*!], finds itself unprotected, one-on-one with a country which is armed to its teeth. If you do not uphold these guarantees… then explain how you will convince Iran and North Korea to give up their nuclear status.”

    Putin has just destroyed any hopes of any nuclear-non-proliferation guarantees holding anywhere in the world in future. This new ‘Sudetenland’ will change the world, just like the last one did.”

    • Before God ‘smites’ Bill Maher, he needs to go after some really evil people in the world. Until some of those people start getting smote, Maher’s got nothing to worry about. (Back to Epicurus again…)

  13. Mental health break (or maybe not)…

    Amazing audio/video editing. If you know movies you’ll be surprised how many you actually recognize, either by sight or sound. You’ll want to watch to the end. (And watch in full screen only.)

    • That’s amazing, and even more amazing is the estimate that 750,000 Italian soldiers died in that battle! I could see them losing that many in the entire war, but in just the battle for those hills? Unbelievable.

    • Mark Helprin’s “A Soldier of the Great War” is one of the best novels of WW1 I have read and is the story of an Italian alpine soldier in the Alps. It is really moving.

  14. I have no idea what we should do about Putin’s actions in Ukraine. I usually have an opinion, or read someones and agree with it, but not this time. I’ve heard lots of righty noises about this being all Obama’s fault for being weak (and black), but they don’t offer any suggestions other than perhaps digging up St. Ronnie and sending him to Berlin. What do you folks think the US should be doing, besides keeping some of Putin’s cronies from visiting Disney?

    • Well, we could nuke Russia and then get nuked back and destroy the world in the process, or we could proceed cautiously, understanding that something’s always about to go down/wrong, something not necessarily in our interest or in the interest of those who . . . sigh.

      OK. So. Nuke the world then. Gets more inviting all the time. Surpassed only by increasing common sense in the human species; understanding, compassion, blindness toward others who differ, compassion . . . oops. I said that.

      Yeah, well, ok, I get it. Let’s ask John McCain. Surely he . . . ummmmmm . . .

      Ban abortions. Ban gay marriage. Yep. That should work.

      I give up.

        • I have to wonder just what it is that Putin worries about. Is he a Christer? Or . . . is he worried that someone might finally figure him out? Make public his own predilections? If that’s what’s up, no WONDER he went after Ukraine. Any “port” in a storm.

      • I woke up with a tooth ache today so I’m thinking burning off the planet and giving the scorpions and cockroaches a shot at running things isn’t all that bad an idea.

        • Oh, hey, I think the same thing every morning, all day, and most of the night! Only time I quit thinking that’d be ok is when I’m out on a bike ride, climbing a hill and overcoming the pain! (and that’s only because I know how delightful is the downhill ride to get back home again)! Weird world, this one.

    • US should pressure the EU to:
      1. Stop the French building aircraft carriers for Putin
      2. The French have agreed to do that as long as the UK commits to sequester Russian assets in London and excludes Russia from the City of London where British banks have been laundering Russian mob money for decades
      3. Germany to divest from Russia and invest instead in Ukraine
      4. Have Turkey join the EU provided the Turks close the Bosporus to Russian shipping (or a huge transit tax with a ban on military movement)
      5. Kick Russia out of G8 and start down the path to Iran like sanctions not the BS slaps on the wrist Putler doesn’t give a shit about.
      6. Have the UK nationalize Chelsea Football Club and kick Abramovich out of the country.
      7. Hand over a bunch of those M2s sitting in the Arizona desert to the Ukrainians and train them how to use them.

      Just free-associating. There are others.

      • Just imagine IF . . . each and every nation around the globe would simply melt down and disappear, that each and every dot in each and every respective war machine would suddenly go POOF. Imagine the consequences if the ONLY solution to problems, to arguments, to conflict, would be to TALK the way through to agreement, to handshake?

        Why has that oh-so-simple solution NEVER been seriously used over the ENTIRE course of human history?


        I have no idea. Maybe ask McCain. Putin. LBJ. Hitler. Mussolini. Caesar. Genghis Khan . . . IDIOTS all. Among a myriad of others.


        They won’t know either. Or they won’t say, for fear of having to walk the road to inferno via their own — collective — STUPIDITY!

        Why is it, one might dare ask, that it’s invariably the STUPID that defines the human condition?

  15. From Google News:

    ‘London — Britain warned Tuesday that the West and Russia faced a changed relationship in the coming years, as London suspended all bilateral military cooperation and halted arms exports to Russia.’

    Wait, Britain has been arming Russia?

  16. Professor Andrei Lindi receives news that his decades-long life’s work has proven fruitful: observations confirm gravity waves consistent with a rapid inflationary period in the first moments of the universe. It’s being hailed as one of the most important physics results in decades, on par with experimental observation of the Higgs Boson by the LHC. Lindi about passes out. It’s pretty touching.

    Here’s a video from Nature explaining the basics. “The echo of the big bang.”

      • These are the kind of stories that make me say; “it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have children”. My response to the school officials probably would have landed me in a jail cell.

        I also hope that I make it clear, while ranting about the latest right-wing religious outrage, that I see a big difference between the faithful and the dogmatic.

    • These people have no concept that is they force religion into schools, they cannot control what brand of religion will be taught — not forever anyway.

      I left Louisiana when my eldest was 5, because I didn’t want him to attend Louisiana schools, and I can see things have only gotten worse over the years.

      • Waaaaay back when i was in school the “Jesus freaks” were the oddballs. They would hold their little Bible studies after school and then go out and party like normal kids. It seems like they were the ones who always had the best “grass” and the keys to their parents’ liquor cabinets so we tolerated them most of the time. If anyone had even suggested that fundamentalism would be so pervasive in the 21st century i would have died laughing. Now? I find it hard to laugh at all when i see what kind of harm they are doing to society.

  17. Ed Schultz isn’t doing KXL opponents any favors misrepresenting what Senator Mary Landrieu said. This was the quote he’s referencing:

    “Contrary to the scare tactics of the small minority who oppose building it, the Keystone Pipeline is a critical piece of infrastructure that will safely transport the cleanest barrels of oil produced in North America,” said Sen. Landrieu.

    Maybe the KXL will be safe for ‘the cleanest barrels of oil’, but will it be safe for Bakken crude? Will it be safe for Canadian tar sands oil? She didn’t say those oils would be safe in the KXL, nor did she say tar sands oil was ‘the cleanest barrels of oil’. She only said the pipeline would be safe for ‘the cleanest barrels of oil’. Weasel words, but not what Ed is claiming she said. He should be calling her out on how she said it, not claiming she said something she didn’t.

    • Mr Hollande, can you send us a few more guillotines… I think we are going to blunt the ones we have with demand.

    • Is that Mary Landrieu Koch? Or maybe a Mary Landrieu Koch wannabe?

      There is only one sole reason underlying the demand to build the KXL: MONEY. Someone(s) will make lots of $$$$$, and many will, ultimately, die. But near as anyone can tell as of today, ONLY THE MONEY counts. Hey. People are always gonna die anyway, ok?

      Trying to sound like a billionaire. It’s actually pretty ‘simple.’ Really.

  18. Doesn’t have the cachet of E = mc2, but ….

    an excess of B -mode power over the base lensed- CDM expectation in the range 30 < ` 5 δ

    is apparently a much bigger deal.

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