The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 19, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

From the NY Times –Donald Trump on the Environment:

Environment

He does not just deny that climate change is occurring; he calls it a hoax, and says those who warn of global warming only want to raise taxes. He is less outspoken on other environmental issues, though he sued unsuccessfully in 2013 to block plans for wind turbines in Scotland that would power 65,000 homes, arguing, in part, that they would mar the view from a golf course he was proposing to build.

Read here.

Per Mother Jones – Mike Pence on the Environment:

“Global warming is a myth.”

Two peas in a pod.

Image result for Trump and Pence

So Happy Together… la la la…    la…

Open thread.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday April 14, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Today environmental news  and food politics cross paths, in the UK anyway.

Warmer Waters Threaten Future of Traditional Fish and Chips

I can just see the proposals now for a pipeline connecting the Great Lakes with California after seeing this bit: Record low snowpacks in Southwest is bad news for water supplies

And the last bit of good news…

Mercury levels in Arctic birds found increasing over the past 130 years

Open thread, discuss.

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!

DISCUSS…

The Watering Hole, Tuesday February 18, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Putting his money where his mouth is... retired hedge fund executive willing to spend up to $100 million this year to challenge climate deniers running for office, according to this article from the New York Times.

“A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.”

Read more here.

West Virginia take me home… but don’t drink the water. Another coal slurry spill. As much as people hate fracking and oil drilling, coal is the most environmentally disastrous energy source in the world. There isn’t even a close second. John Denver, are you sure you want to go there?

Biosolids contain more harm? Duke University researchers are looking in the the effects of anti-microbial chemicals are having on soil decomposition. Biosolids are what your sewage treatment plant spreads on parks, farm land fields or bag as fertilizers for sale. They are supposed to be tested by federal regulation for pathogens and heavy metals but chemicals are a different story. It is expensive and complicated to test the right now, but some may contain chemicals harmful to he environment. Read on.

First Clinton and now Al Gore... going vegan. May be old news to some of you but I just uncovered it. Al Gore likes lentils and carrots. Fiftysomething Diet: Is It Time to Go Vegan? Here is the science behind it.

Watering Hole: Tuesday February 4, 2014 – Tidbits (bite-size morsels on food and environmental politics)

Is Monsanto giving up on GMO Foods? Well maybe not cash cows like corn and soy, but veggies don’t seem to want to respond in ways that make them better through genetic manipulation. Mother Jones has the whole story… No GMO Monsanto!

House votes to de-fund food stamps in Blue States. After de-funding the left, the Right’s next goal is to make the poorest among us grovel for food on the street. I guess getting free food when so many Americans are working for theirs is just too much for them to bear.They would much rather have the poor begging in the streets (again)

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear. The famed annual migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico is at an all time low and may be history. Who to thank? Start with the big M. Urban sprawl is a boogeyman here as well. Read on…
Flight canceled.

And now for some good news…
Slow Cities: The Growing Movement Putting Sustainability and Community Back in the Forefront. It all starts in Europe, of course. First it was the Slow Food movement, and now out of Italy again Cittaslow, an expansive vision of how smaller places can remain viable. Here are the variables in play:

Contain fewer than 50,000 people
Commit deeply to preserve and sustain the environment.
Encourage thoughtful development and use of new technologies for sustainability.
Foster local culture and preserve heritage traditions.
Promote healthy eating and lifestyle.
Support local artisans and businesses.
Welcome visitors.
Encourage active participation in community life.
Read on…
Create a slow city (or neighborhood) near you.

Across the Pond: January 20th, 2013 – Sunday Round Up

Right. Well, I’m up anyway, so let’s check the webs.

The Hostage Crisis in Algeria seems to be over. But it ended in a bloodbath. The situation is still not quite resolved while I am typing this, but one thing is clear: All attackers and the hostages remaining in the hands of their captors are dead.

The Algerian government seems to not have thought twice about getting this done, never mind the cost. It reminds me of the Beslan massacre where a hostage taking by Chechen rebels in a school was ended by the Russian forces without any consideration of the hostages’ fate.

“The terrorists were prepared to commit a collective suicide; the army’s intervention led to their neutralisation. Unfortunately, the hostages were executed,”

said El Watan a local newspaper. Well, the public will hear the truth about this at some point.

There is, of course, the war in Mali headlining over here in Europe. You can find a very useful summary of the players involved on the BBC News website. The French are involved in a situation, which, in my humble opinion, may land them in their own version of Afghanistan. Germans are discussing what kind of contribution they can make but there’s the fact that this is a super election year which will be kicked off today in Lower Saxonia. Chancellor Merkel will, obviously, not be getting into any military adventures this year if she can help it at all. President Obama does not show any inclination to get the US involved either. 

Neu ist, dass die USA nicht instinktiv zu einer Führungsrolle innerhalb einer solchen «Koalition der Willigen» drängen. Bereits im Libyen-Krieg hatten sie nach aussen hin den Franzosen den Vorrang gelassen. Die Amerikaner übernahmen damals aber, ohne dies an die grosse Glocke zu hängen, einen beträchtlichen Teil der Lufteinsätze und halfen den Europäern aus, als diesen die Munition ausging. Obama nannte dies «Führung von hinten», was ihm einigen Spott eintrug – aber um einen Führungsanspruch handelte es sich gleichwohl. Davon kann in Mali keine Rede mehr sein.

(It is new, that the US does not instinctively claim a leading role in such a “coalition of the willing”. In the Libya war they had already let the French have the leading role, at least outwardly. The Americans, however, have at that time without making any fuss about it taken over a considerable number of airstrikes and helped out when the Europeans were running out of ammunition. Obama called this “leading from behind” which caused some ridicule, but – nevertheless – included the will to lead. In Mali there is no mention of it. Translation by yours truly

When it comes to foreign politics, looking at it from our side of the pond, New Obama, is naturally a topic of interest. The sudden change in his handling of the Republican opposition does not go unnoticed:

After being widely criticised in his first four years for a lack of savvy during negotiations with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Obama has suddenly taken a much harder line. In debates over the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of last year, Obama’s team secured a deal widely seen as a victory. That tougher stance has also been matched by Obama staking out a strong position on forthcoming talks with the Republicans in Congress over raising the debt ceiling. Indeed, only days after Obama gave a speech on the issue marked by stern language the Republicans last week appeared to cave in and moved to extend the ceiling for another three months. (read the whole post here)

About time, I’d say.

Have you finished your coffee? Not yet? Well, there’s more for reading found in the old world:

Oil and the interests of Canada’s First Nations

Catholic Hospitals refuse Aid to Rape Victim (Germany has its own bible belt, methinks)

Boeing’s Dreamliner is grounded

and

The Swiss are fretting over what will happen to their banks.

I hope you’ll enjoy your Sunday Morning reading.

This is an Open Thread! Join in. What is important to you today?

Climate Change and Global Bankruptcy

I am reading a book right now by a nuclear engineer from Australia (Ron Nielsen) titled The Little Green Handbook published in 2005 before Katrina. I had of course a jaundiced eye but in one of the chapters he eschews nuclear as having considerable little value in future energy solutions and dislikes the massive nuclear waste by-product (people can reform, you know). In any event, he posits that if the world continues on the most likely track of ‘business as usual’ we are poised to experience by 2039 global bankruptcy. The assumption is that business and governments cannot continue to absorb the costly superstorms that will be spawned by the climate change phenomenon. Sandy damage predictions (on the heels of Irene in the Mid Atlantic and New England last year) seem to bear out these predictions. If you recall, there were devastating floods in Europe 2 years ago and 10 foot snows in Romania last winter and you have the case by case evidence that keeps building towards irreversible global collapse of the infrastructure of civilization. Not a pretty picture if we don’t do something soon. Not finished the book yet, but he appears high on wind power as the most reliable alternative to reduce carbon emissions.

Link to Sandy damage estimates:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-economic-damages-new-york-northeast-billions_n_2039004.html?1351527173

Watering Hole: Monday, January 30, 2012 – Micro Plastics

Many of our clothes and other household items that need washing such as dish cloths and towels, contain plastic fibers woven in with natural fibers.  These micro plastic fibers break free in the washing machine and enter our water systems.  This is the main source of micro plastic pollution.

There are also nano plastics.  These can be found in cosmetics and toothpaste.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

More below…

Continue reading

Watering Hole: Monday, January 23, 2012 – Algae

When a friend of mine, Dave, was serving in the Pennsylvania State House, he explored the possibility of using algae to create fuel.  Since the state has many power companies fueled by coal, he submitted proposals to set up the algae fuel generation next to the power plants.  Whenever we would get together with a group of friends and if Dave mentioned algae, someone would shout, “take a drink”   🙂  Dave was proud of the work that he did in promoting algae for fuel so he often spoke about it.

This is an interesting talk about algae as a fuel source.

This is our Open Thread.  What’s your opinion?  Speak Up or Drink Up or do both!

The Watering Hole: December 27th – Headlines

Some headlines for today:

Hope: The tanks are being withdrawn, relief for the people of Homs.

No Surprise: Vladimir Putin rejects scrutiny into last elections 

Kill the Poor: Britain’s poorest hit by Stealth Tax

Critters and such: Confusing Weather Patterns for Britain’s Wildlife

Nature Victimized and her victims: Rising Seal Levels and Erosion leave landmark crumbling.

Romney: Inevitable? Well…

Not Romney: The Molotov Party

Cute Overdose: Red Panda

This is our daily Open Thread, what’s your news?

There are holes…

There are big holes…

There are really, really, big holes…

And then there’s this…

… a really, really, really big hole…

That’s the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, southwest of Salt Lake City in Utah. The world’s largest open pit mine, the Bingham is two and a half miles wide, three-quarters of a mile deep, and covers approximately 1,700 acres, or a little over two and half square miles.

You gotta admit… that really is… quite… the… hole. I came across that picture by accident the other day, just surfing the Intertubes, and it kinda blew me away… that is one big farker, and man-made to boot.

It got me to thinking about the really nasty things that we humans do to our planet, and usually in the name of making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, and the long term consequences be damned.

Another truly notable, really, really, really big hole that humans made is the grotesquely spectacular Mir Diamond Mine Crater, in Russia. The picture is real, btw… it has not been photoshopped for effect.

Located at Mirna in Eastern Siberia, the Mir is over 1,722 ft deep (1/3 of a mile) and has a diameter of 3,900 ft (3/4th of a mile). Helicopters are forbidden from flying over the Mir; several have been sucked in by the down drafts. Here’s more about the Mir if you’re interested, and here’s a nice collection of some of the biggest man-made holes on the face of the Earth, if you can stomach it…

Of course, not all holes are made just for money… some result when we disagree with each other…

This beauty…

… believe it or not, isn’t a picture taken on the face of the Moon, it’s the Sedan Blast Crater in Nevada, the result of a nuclear test back in 1962. If you look carefully at the picture, around five o’clock (lower right side) you can see a viewing platform for visitors, with the road leading up to it. Yes… the Sedan Crater really is that big. According to the good people of Wiki, “Because the craters at the NTS had features similar to the topography of Moon craters, Astronauts for Apollo 14 visited Sedan in November 1970”.

Though nowhere near the size of some of our other holes, it is still nonetheless impressive, considering it was created in mere seconds, the aftermath of this explosion

Here are some stats for you to grok over… the Sedan was a mere ten kiloton blast and still managed to move 6.6 MILLION cubic yards of dirt, or 12 MILLION tons of weight, and left a hole over 300 feet deep and more a quarter of a mile across…

That is one incredible hole… all the more so for being produced by flipping a switch, whereas the Bingham is the byproduct of a century’s steady mining. Here’s an overhead shot of the Nevada Test Area that’s home to the Sedan Crater… it’s like the Earth has broken out in some sort of nasty rash, huh?

Weighing in at niggling 10 kilotons, the Sedan would be considered tiny when compared to today’s bombs with their 10 megaton yields (that’s 10,000 kilotons…). You read that right… we now have nuclear bombs a thousand times more powerful than the Sedan, or Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

I can only imagine the size of the hole one of those would leave in the Earth. And not only are some of those nukes a thousand times more powerful, we have, en toto, an estimated 8,500 of them and the Russians 11,000. Overwhelming, innit?

Here’s a truly frightening collection of atomic test photos… click on one of them and you’ll get a slide show… the pictures are even more impressive that way…

And yet all it took to produce this mess was eighteen guys with box cutters… go figure…

Then… there are other kinds of really, really big holes that human beings are capable of producing, intentionally or otherwise…

Like the kind our beloved banking class blew in the country’s economy back at the heights, er… the depths… of the subprime mortgage fiasco…

The above chart shows the value of the S&P 500 over the last ten years. Note the enormous slide in the index starting in late 2007 just as the economy was beginning to bear the first brunt of massive numbers of bad mortgage defaults, soon to be followed by even bigger losses due to bad bonds based on those bad mortgages.

The S&P 500 index is such a broad based index that it is commonly used to gauge the overall health of the stock market and even the US economy. Please note just how much it finally dropped at the low point in early 2009, losing nearly half its value.

Now THAT is one spectacular hole and represents several TRILLION dollars of value vanishing in a greasy puff of smoke. Thank you ever so much, Wall Street! No wonder Warren Buffet once described derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

It’s now way half past 2011 and with an estimated million homes in foreclosure, several million more in the pipeline, and 870,000 already in the hands of banks, we’re STILL climbing out of that last crater and will be for quite some time to come…

And of course, the usual suspects (the bankers) saw nothing… heard nothing… and know nothing… ‘cept that CEO Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, the bank that has become the poster child for Wall Street shenanigans, has lawyered up…

And that other hole, earlier in the decade… around 2002 to 2003? That’s the hole blown in our economy by the dot-com collapse… again gratis our beloved banksters. And the smaller, yet significant drop in late 2001? That’s the aftermath of 9/11.

It makes one think… it do. It seems that as our machines grow more and more powerful and our ability to manipulate our environment increases, the potential for destruction, deliberate or otherwise, grows proportionally too.

Dr. Frankentstein, meet your monster.

I think it’d be fun to start a list of really, really big holes here… we could call it the “A List of Really, Really Big Holes”… but that’s too many words, so maybe we should just call it “The ‘A’ Hole List” for short…

Soooooooooooo… which really, really big holes do you think should be on our little A List?

***TRoS snaps fingers***

One more just came to mind… and this humongous ‘A’ hole definitely belongs on the list…

There… if that hole doesn’t belong, then none of them do… talk about yer weapons of ass destruction…

The Watering Hole: Tuesday November 1, 2011 – The Sandoz Spill

Twenty-five years after a fire caused a major chemical spill near Basel, questions are still being raised about how much pollution remains at the blaze site.

Basel Country environment officials say there is no need for action, a claim contested by a chemicals site expert.

In the early hours of November 1, 1986, fire broke out at a warehouse belonging to chemicals company Sandoz at the Schweizerhalle industrial area just outside Basel. Around 1,351 tonnes of pesticides and agrochemicals went up in flames.

The accident turned the River Rhine red, killed thousands of fish and sent acrid smoke over the city. It was one of Europe’s worst environmental disasters and made world news. (read full story)

Recently authorities have decided that no further clean-up was necessary. There are only a few hundred kilos of Oxadixyl left in the ground. It is said to  be a non-hazardous substance. The fish beg to differ.

This is our Open Thread. Open Up!

Watering Hole: September 19, 2011 – Energy Fest

This past weekend, I spent 2/3’s of my free time volunteering as a member of the “Parking Authority”, reporting to the “Parking Czar”, and parking cars at the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival.

The cars were parked a distance from the entrance to the festival so a shuttle was provided.

These horses are Clydesdales and provided the horse power during the afternoon.   The morning shuttle was powered by bay colored Shires.

Bicycle Man was at the festival and he had his “Conference Bike” available.  It’s a six seater which allows for exercise during serious discussions.

It was a beautiful late summer weekend in southeastern Pennsylvania.  As you can see, the leaves have not yet started to turn.

This is our Open Thread.  Feel free to Speak Up on any topic.  Happy Monday      🙂

The Watering Hole. September 6th, Arctic Oil Sandwich

The melting of Polar Ice makes the Arctic much more accessible than it used to be and with accessibility comes the greed for oil. Some 30% of undiscovered gas reserves and 13% of undiscovered oil are thought to be under the arctic ice. Now the race has begun. The risk, however, is huge:

Any serious oil spill in the ice of the Arctic, the “new frontier” for oil exploration, is likely to be an uncontrollable environmental disaster despoiling vast areas of the world’s most untouched ecosystem, one of the world’s leading polar scientists has told The Independent.

Oil from an undersea leak will not only be very hard to deal with in Arctic conditions, it will interact with the surface sea ice and become absorbed in it, and will be transported by it for as much as 1,000 miles across the ocean, according to Peter Wadhams, Professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge. (read more)

The exploitation of oil reserves has become more and more frantic. Voices calling for getting renewable energy off the ground were ridiculed when oil was relatively easy to be had, now because those voices went unheard we do not have an alternative at the ready.

This is our Open Thread. Spill! Your thoughts on this and anything else are most welcome.

Sunday Roast, August 21st, 2011: Just Say “NO” to Oil

Amidst all of the beer, car, cell phone, erectile dysfunction and other pharmaceutical commercials, lately I’ve been seeing a lot more commercials for various oil and natural gas companies, touting all of the research they do or how ‘clean’ their product is. The latest push from Exxon/Mobil is for “oil sands” technology.

“Oil sands” or “tar sands” according to Wikipedia, are defined as “a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The sands contain naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen (or colloquially “tar” due to its similar appearance, odour, and colour).” One of the largest deposits is located in Alberta, Canada, and a proposed pipeline, the Keystone XL, to run from Alberta to Texas, is currently the center of a whirlwind of controversy, involving the State Department, Congress, the EPA, ranchers and landowners, environmental activists, protests and arrests, and opposing labor unions.

Whooping Cranes

The Keystone XL, owned by the TransCanada company, starts in Alberta, Canada, home of the magnificently beautiful but endangered Whooping Crane, of which there are only about 400 left. The process by which the oil sands are accessed starts with bulldozing forests, then stripmining, then steam-heating the bitumen product. The proposed 36″ diameter pipeline would run through several states, and more importantly, would run through the Ogalalla Aquifer, the “largest underground reservoir on the planet”, part of which is located under the Sandhills of Nebraska. Existing pipelines from the Alberta oil sands facility to parts of the U.S. have already had a history of leaks, including last year’s spill into the Kalamazoo River. Why would anyone even entertain the notion that the 2000-mile-long proposed pipeline would be less likely to be plagued by the same problems? I seriously urge everyone to read the entire Incite article (also linked to above), as well as related articles in this month’s edition of the Audubon magazine, as this post cannot encompass all of the pertinent information, including the sleazy and despicable actions of TransCanada in their efforts to force affected landowners off their lands.

While billions upon billions of dollars are being poured into this proposed pipeline, estimates of U.S. jobs the project could purportedly create are only around 20,000 – a mere drop in the bucket considering the millions of unemployed right now. Are 20,000 jobs really worth the possibility of a slow leak or spill in such a varied and important range of ecosystems through which the pipeline would pass, and especially the possibility of a catastrophic leak into an underground reservoir which serves as a water supply to eight states? The Final Environmental Impact Statement is due out around now, and, once it is published, the Obama Administration has 90 days to review it and make a decision. I sincerely hope that they come to the conclusion that a mere 20,000 jobs is not worth the potentially disastrous risks, and give this proposed pipeline the thumbs down that it deserves.

This is our Sunday open thread — What do you think?

The Watering Hole: June 3, 2011 — Clearcut forests to fight global warming!

Natural Resources Today

Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) thinks it would be a great idea for the U.S. to help countries all over the world clearcut all of their trees, in order to fight global climate change.

Srsly.

Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” Rohrabacher asked Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s special envoy for climate change. “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?

Cutting down all the trees, which absorb tons of CO2 every day, would actually make the problem of global climate change WORSE.  But don’t bother telling Dumbass Rohrabacher, cuz he knows the real cause — nature.

This is our daily open thread — what’s warming your heart & soul today?

The Watering Hole: March 15, 2011 – Prometheus

Prometheus

Prometheus stole fire and power from the gods. The hubris of humans made us think we could control the forces of nature. We can not. My generation and our way of life have finally managed to bring unheard of destruction to our own planet and steal our own childrens’ future. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is out of our daily news for a while now, but the destruction is still ongoing. Now Japan and the meltdown of up to four nuclear reactors. A catastrophic event, which will be ongoing for generations to come. We have to change our way of life today, if only to show nature her due respect. The damage done cannot be undone by us anymore. We are chained to this planet as much as Prometheus was to the rock in the mountains of Caucasus and will suffer for ages to come.  I doubt, however, that we will change.

Folks, I totally broke down crying this morning, when I read on a newsbanner on tv that 400 times the acceptable amount of radiation per year  is spilling from the reactors per hour now. I really have no more to say.

This is our daily open thread.

Here’s Yer Freakin’ Water, New York

The water supply for New York City, “The Greatest City in the World”, is provided by three systems of reservoirs stretching through several counties north of the city. According to the NYC website, the “watersheds of the three systems cover an area of almost 2,000 square miles, approximately the size of the state of Delaware.” Wayne and I are lucky to live near several of the reservoirs in the Croton Watershed system. Both of us grew up in a development overlooking the Middle Branch reservoir, and the view on a fall day was glorious. Our wedding was held in late October, 1988, at the Middle Branch Restaurant adjacent to the reservoir.

This photograph is of one of the many reservoirs surrounding Brewster, New York, along Route 6 heading toward Danbury, Connecticut.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: August 12 – Chernobyl reloaded

It never stops. For thousands of years still nature will have to cope with the effects of mankind’s hubris. The Chernobyl accident left thousands of humans dead and maimed and nature virtually uninhabitable in the vicinity of the accident site. Now the (man made?) Russian heat wave has caused massive forest- and even worse – peat fires that ravage the country and the crops and have stretched into the most badly contaminated area of Chernobyl and not Chernobyl only. Now what happens? The fires cause material from the scorched earth to be displaced, the extent and range depends on temperature and wind.

As a result of failure on the Chernobyl nuclear power plant a total of six million hectares (ha) of forest lands were polluted by radionuclides. The most polluted forest area covers over 2 million ha in Gomel and Mogilev regions of Byelorussia (Belarus), in Kiev region of the Ukraine and in Bryansk region of the Russian Federation. The main contaminator is caesium-137 (137Cs); in the core zones of contamination strontium-90 (90Sr) and plutonium-239 (239Pu) are found in high concentrations. Radioactive emissions from wildfires occurring in contaminated vegetation represent a high risk for firefighters. In addition populations are affected by radioactive smoke particles transported over long distances.(read more)

The new catastrophe is a stark reminder that a technology which will have detrimental lingering effects for thousands of years, is hardly a good idea to solve immediate military or energy needs.

This is our open thread. Go ahead and tell it like it is.

Sunday Roast: HOME

Go here to watch the video.

Max — our newest Zooster, and long time bloggy friend from Think Progress — posted this video several days ago, and I was (and am) completely mesmerized by it.  The photography is astonishing, the narration holds your attention, and the musical score is quite beautiful.

This planet is a wondrous and miraculous place, our only HOME.  Because of that, we should treat this planet as the most precious thing in the universe, but we are on the brink of destroying our ability to live on this beautiful planet.

So goes Rapanui, so goes the world?

What are we willing to do to change our course of destruction?  What can we individuals do to make a difference?  Any and all ideas are welcome in the comments section.  No idea is silly or too obvious, so SHARE!!

Thanks, Max.  🙂

The Watering Hole: July 20 – Carping

picture source: prairierivers.org

Now President Obama doesn’t care, we all know this. And here’s another crisis, that he doesn’t address appropriately: The Asian Carp Crisis.

“President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have failed to fight Asian carp aggressively,” said Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican running for governor.

He added: “Asian carp will kill jobs and ruin our way of life.”

WTF? Obama’s fault? Give me a break!

I am fully aware of the havoc a species can cause when introduced into a new habitat. The new species is perfectly able to extinguish or significantly reduce the number of indigenous species. There are many examples, from rabbits in Australia to toads to giant crab in the Baltic Sea. And, as with most devastating incidents affecting nature,the carp invasion has the same source: Man.

This is our open thread feel free to comment!

Why is it the skeptics always have to be right?

source: NASA

I so wished this was over. The containment cap on the Deepwater Horizon well had stopped the leak finally and I was thinking about researching on what could be done to speed along the clean up process and help nature come into some kind of balance again. “Not so quick”, said some, they only say they plugged it. “Wait and see”. And now, instead of posting about the clean up efforts necessary, I am posting about the oil spill and yet another failure.

The Oildrum (who else?) were the first to report it.

Admiral Allen’s letter via The Oildrum:

Dear Mr. Dudley,

My letter to you on July 16, 2010 extended the Well Integrity Test period contingent upon the completion of seismic surveys, robust monitoring for indications of leakage, and acoustic testing by the NOAA vessel PISCES in the immediate vicinity of the well head. Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period. As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems. When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed. (read more)

AP reports:

NEW ORLEANS — A federal official says scientists are concerned about a seep and possible methane near BP’s busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico

Both could be signs there are leaks in the well that’s been capped off for three days.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

The official is familiar with the spill oversight but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official says BP is not complying with the government’s demand for more monitoring.

So it is not over yet and BP is obstructing again on the issue. Washington’s Blog has a post up on this. And read this discussion about the obstruction by BP , too:

There are 4 alternative explanations for the unexpectedly low oil pressure in the BP well: (1) A leak in the pipe in the well bore; (2) flow under the well between sand layers; (3) a blockage in the well; or (4) depletion of the oil reservoir.

This essay focuses on the fourth possibility: depletion of the oil reservoir. Specifically, BP claims that the oil well pressure is perhaps 1,200 pounds per square inch less than expected because the oil reservoir has been depleted.

The size of the reservoir is crucial in testing BP’s theory. While there are other factors which determine oil pressure, the size of the reservoir is probably the most important. (read more)

What makes me really nervous is the obvious unwillingness of BP to answer Congress’ questions about the geology at the drilling site. As one of our Zoosters (please forgive me, I can’t quite remember who it was) has pointed out a while ago, no drilling will even be considered without a doing geological survey first. So why is BP keeping mum about the findings of this survey? The geology is key to any efforts to shut down the well permanently and compromising the geological structures at the well site would finally make the spill permanent, if it isn’t permanent already.

For those of you, who don’t have the time to read all of the above, I’m reposting the video of Anderson Cooper’s interview with Ed Markey found at Washington’s blog:

Bring out the handcuffs for the BP management and jail them until they comply and then some!