Memphis Public Library assembling history of 2011 floods

June 28, 2011

Here’s a good idea:  The Memphis Public Library is putting together an archive on the 2011 floods in the area, we learn from the Memphis Daily News:

St. Mary’s Senior Helps Library Build Flood Archive

St. Mary’s Episcopal School student Ellery Ammons is devoting her summer break to helping the Memphis Public Library & Information Center build an archive documenting the Mid-South floods of 2011.

Ammons, an employee of the Shelby Forest General Store owned by her parents, is also a Girl Scout, working toward her Gold Award.

Recognizing the need to document this year’s historic deluge, the high school senior decided to take on the tasks of soliciting, cataloging and archiving community photos to create the 2011 Flood Collection.

She plans to create a digital archive of flood photographs to provide future generations with an accurate record of the floods that ensued when the Mississippi and its tributaries overflowed in Memphis and the surrounding areas this past spring.

Library digital projects manager Sarah Frierson said she’s delighted to have the extra hands in the history department, saying the collection “will be a wonderful complement to the library’s existing Mid-South Flood Collection, which documents the floods of 1927 and 1937.”

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., is seeking photo donations to add to the 2011 Flood Collection. Donations, which will become part of the library’s permanent collection, can be brought to the history department on the main library’s fourth floor or e-mailed to Flood2011.Photography@gmail.com.

– Aisling Maki


UFOs? Obama-ordered news blackouts? No: Brain failures

June 28, 2011

Come on, you can figure out how this applies to those stories about Obama’s secret orders — or more accurately, the lack of those orders.  From Neil deGrasse Tyson and the argument from ignorance, presented at St. Petersburg College, Florida, 2007:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Neil deGrasse Tyson, and his Tweet.


Dragon fly on a Saturday walk in the park

June 28, 2011

Lions Park in Duncanville, Texas, to be more precise.  The dragon fly appears to me to be Neurothemis tullia, a Pied Paddy Skimmer, though I believe that is considered an Asian species.  [But see note at the end of the post.]

Closely related?   An exotic introduced to Texas?  Here we had cotton fields, not rice paddies.  The wings look like those of a Pied Paddy Skimmer, but most of the photos I’ve found show a black body, and this one is definitely gray.  Hmmmm.

Dragon fly, Pied Paddy Skimmer, Neurothemis tullia - photo by Ed Darrell copyright 2011, use permitted with attribution

Dragon fly, Pied Paddy Skimmer, Neurothemis tullia - photo by Ed Darrell; copyright 2011, use permitted with attribution

Dragon flies look mean.  As a very young child I was terrified of them, growing up on the banks of the Snake River in Idaho.  My mother, a farm-raised girl, took me out for a walk among the diving, softly-humming aerobats, and explained they had no stingers, they ate other insects, and they seemed to like humans, if we’d watch them.  As we watched, she held out her hand and a dragon fly landed, as if to say, “Hello!  Listen to your mother.  She knows us.”

Dragon fly in Duncanville Lions Park, photo by Ed Darrell - use permitted with attribution

Dragon fly takes a higher vantage point. Is this species exotic in Texas?

Up Payson Canyon, in Utah, at Scout Lake I passed many early morning hours, and many noon siestas, in the reeds watching the dragon flies.  When we were in our canoes or rowboats they’d fly at us like rockets, appearing to think they were torpedo planes, then fly up, or right or left, at the last possible second, to avoid colliding with our craft.  Through July they’d fly tandem, mating.  This intrigued Scouts, and delighted them beyond measure when the nature merit badge counselor explained they were having sex.  Red ones, blue ones, yellow, brown and black ones.  Big ones, little ones.

Shortly after we moved to Texas, we discovered that a swarm of dragon flies probably meant a local colony of fire ants was casting off females, to mate and start a new mound of exotic, stinging terror.  The dragon flies would catch and eat the queens-to-be.  I had to use a broom to shoo off a neighbor with a can of insecticide, trying to kill the dragon flies in their work to keep us safe and happy.  “But they look so mean,” she explained.

Judge no book by its cover (except Jaws); judge no insect by its eye apparel, or human eye appeal.

Dragon fly, Neurothemis Tullia (perhaps), Duncanville Lions Park, 6-25-2011 - Photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution

Pied Paddy Skimmer rests from hunting

_____________

Update:  In comments below, Roused Bear wonders if this isn’t the Widow Skimmer, which is native to Texas.  That would make a lot more sense, wouldn’t it?  What do you think, Dear Reader:  Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctuosa?


Solar power at your house? “How to do it” graphic

June 28, 2011

While a few (crabs?) argue that solar power will never make a significant contribution to our daily energy budgets in the U.S., others quietly slip the bonds of the grid and go solar.  If solar works, it will work one house at a time.

If you wish to go solar, where do you start?  The Orange County (California) Register provided a great graphic to illustrate some of the considerations a homeowner needs to make, and how much it might cost.

OC Register graphic, how to do solar panels

From the Orange County Register, accessed June 2011 - click for larger image

Orange County, California, is the hotbed of conservative politics, and warming denialism such as it exists in California.  In Orange County, solar power is a question of practicality, and one’s desire to save money on electricity.  It’s in the Home and Garden section of the newspaper, not politics, not business.

Another gift from mainstream media that bloggers don’t equal, yet.

Is a Smart-Meter required for solar, today?


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