Owl watches you from Owlbuquerque

October 30, 2019

I mean, Albuquerque.

(Fans of the Owl Cafe and the Owlburger will understand.)

Owl captured by Nimble Pundit, just in time for Halloween.

Is that a great photo, or what?

More:


Global heating made this possible and made it worse

October 28, 2019

Wildfire burns a home in California. NowThis image.

NowThis runs compelling video on FaceBook, but just try to find that video on their YouTube channel or website to share.

This one will have to do. It makes the point.

California’s wildfires, growing steadily worse, rapidly, demonstrate problems of global heating/climate change that we need to solve, but which offer lots of bad arguments for Do Nothings and Climate Dismissives.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell, explained in this video: Rain patterns changed. California now gets massive rains in the spring, which drive overgrowth of grasses, quick-growing shrubs and other fire-prone plants.

Then the rains stop. Hotter summers and autumns dry out the new growth, creating explosive fuel for a fire.

So when a fire starts, it’s difficult-to-impossible to control.

Do Nothings argue that rain totals haven’t dropped, or maybe have increased, so drought fears are not warranted — though the summer without rain drives soil water levels into drought.

Then, they argue that the problem is environmentalists won’t let foresters clean understory dry wood and other fuels to prevent fires. That’s a whole cloth fabrication — reality is that federal budget cuts over the past 20 years leave the U.S. Forest Service unable to do significant brush clearing.

Then, Do Nothings argue that the problem is Caliornians build too many homes, and too many homes in near-wild areas.

In short, it’s always the fault of a “librul Californian,” with no causation left over for global warming.

I found the video I want on Facebook, and you may be able to view it there (even if you are not a member).

Look at the video and please understand, much of that destruction is preventable. Fires will probably continue to get worse, with the fire season now running 12 months of the year in California.

We can fix it. We need to act soon.

NowThis explain at their site:

Plagued by historically harsh winds, California has been hit with an onslaught of wildfires—the newest of which has broken out near the famed Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It joins several other fires burning across the state, including the Oak Fire in Calabasas, the Tick Fire in Southern California and the massive Kincade Fire in Northern California. 
 
Last night, the Kincade Fire was still burning out of control in its fifth day, dropping from 10% containment to 5% due to hurricane-force winds and dry conditions that have allowed it to spread and made it difficult to control. There have been 200,000 evacuations in Sonoma County because of the fire, and it is expected to burn for another week and a half with no rain in the forecast.

Los Angeles near the Getty Center looks like Mordor right now. pic.twitter.com/ET6f1gkmre— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 6, 2017

The Getty Fire began early Monday, prompting police to ask thousands of people to evacuate, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s parents. About 25,000 live in the LA evacuation zone, which covers a swath of high-priced real estate. A fire in December 2017 lit up the same area and forced drivers into a horrifying, apocalyptic-looking morning commute.
 
Governor Gavin Newsom secured Fire Management Assistance Grants to help fight the flames and announced a $75 million program to alleviate the fires’ impact on citizens. In an emergency declaration made Sunday, he urgent people not to ignore warnings, saying, , “It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires.” 
At least 3,400 first responders and personnel are fighting the wildfires.
 
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) the state’s biggest utility provider, shut off power to more than a million residents to try to curb further fire risks, but has received criticism for the lack of notice given. In a statement released Sunday, PG&E said more shut offs may come later in the week. In May, Cal Fire found PG&E was responsible for the Camp Fire, which left 85 dead and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes in 2018. It was the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. PG&E had admitted it’s equipment was “likely” culpable.
 
The people hit hardest by California’s fires are those who are already vulnerable: homeless populations, the elderly, low-income populations without access to emergency preparations. The LA Times reported that a housekeeper and gardener showed up in the midst of ash and fire to their clients’ homes for work without realizing the homeowners had already evacuated.


Western skies, rain clouds and a lone tree

October 15, 2019

Lonely tree in a western thunderstorm. Screen capture of Wesley Aston’s film.

Wesley Aston is a Utah-based photographer whose work I’ve admired for some time. He photographs the rocks and skies of Utah, so much of which I trekked as a youth (less, later). One of my great pleasures was to sit on a mountainside, probably long after we should have gone down the trail to safety, to watch thunderstorms push over a mountain range, plunge into a valley and rush toward us, or maybe away from us.

At the time I wished I had photographic equipment that had not really been invented yet in non-governmental circles, to capture those scenes.

Aston does that. He’s got the equipment. He knows how to use it.

This is the kind of work that should be standard fare in geography classes in public schools, but is not.

We can enjoy it here, though.

Mr. Aston posts his work at Instagram, some on YouTube. You should study it.


Lesser-known flag-flying date: October 6, to honor fallen firefighters

October 5, 2019

Flag Raising 2019
Honor guard of firefighters raising flags at the National Memorial to Fallen Firefighters in Emmitsburg, Maryland, on October 4, 2019.

Note from the American Flagpole and Flag Company: Congress added another date to fly U.S. flags. From the e-mail:

Fly the United States Flag at Half-Staff on Sunday, October 6, 2019 in Honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service

The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The 38th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will be held Sunday, October 6, 2019, to honor 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters who died in the line of duty in previous years.    

In accordance to Public Law 107-51, the American flag should be lowered to half-staff on Sunday, October 6, 2019 from sunrise to sunset in observance of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. 

The date was added in October 2001, just over a month after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. President George Bush signed the law. Maybe oddly, the resolution does not specify a fixed or floating date, but instead refers to a National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.

That service has been held annually since 2001 in Emmitsburg, Maryland, by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.


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