June 16, 2010
Where's the Navy?
You know the tune. . . .
(and they're made in New Orleans!)
Where's the Navy.
Obama get off of your ass.
AND Call the Navy!!!
December 11, 2008
Global Warming My Ass. . .
See that?? That's a New Orleans streetcar with snow "sticking". When will this farsical BS of global warming be called for what it is. . . a total charade.
Here's a bunch of scientists blasting the global warming cult. It's a good start.
But. . . did you see that? That was snow in New Orleans. . . that's like only one step removed from hell freezing over.
November 29, 2008
I told you so. . .
It's no secret on this blog that I'm a firm skeptic when it comes to global warming. I don't care really what the correct term is, whether it be climate change or catastrophic global man-made superheating of the atmosphere that will kill us all. It's all BS.
The fact is that the Earth is going to continue, as it has for millions upon millions of years, to have wildly varying climates over time. Sometimes it's going to be hot, sometimes it's going to be cold. Sometimes, it might get REALLY REALLY cold, and sometimes it might get REALLY REALLY hot. You see. . .the Earth itself wobbles on it's axis, that's right people, the Earth doesn't spin perfectly. . . it tilts this way and that way. These wobbles can have dramatic year to year, or decade to decade climate change.
Then there's the sun. That big seemingly uncontrolled nuclear explosion that is so gargantuanly huge, that the force of it's own gravity has turned that explosiong into a furnace that created most of the atoms bigger than hydrogen present in our solarsystem, and which also. . . by the way. . . creates nearly all of the energy and HEAT in the solar system. While I'm at it, let me just point out that the very recent activity of the sun is unprecedented in recorded history and we are most likely in for one hell of a cold snap here on Earth.
Yeah, that's right. I'm so anti- the concept of anthropogenic global warming that I'm actually a member of the global cooling crowd. I'm far, far more concerned by the sun's behavior and it's near immediate effect on us than I am any insignificant changes we puny humans might be able to bring about on this planet.
Ok, enough of a rant. If you read this far, let me reward you with an excellent article on the incoming president of the European Union and uber-anthropogenic-climate-change-skeptic™ Vaclav Klaus, the religous nature of the climate change zealots/cultists and a touch on some real science that should make you think twice about stocking up on essentials and preparing for a heckuva hard time.
August 4, 2008
Why Bacchus should return to Washington. . .
As an original cosponsor of "The American Energy Act", Bacchus should be front and center in Washington DC this week as other GOP Congressmen continue their protest and demand for debate and and up and down vote on opening domestic reserves oil drilling.
The full test of The American Energy Act is here.
Where this current protest one the House floor (during adjournment) all started is captured in the video below:
I can definately say that I support The American Energy Act, very wholeheartedly, but I would support almost any legislation that would open America's proven oil reserves to be opened for drilling, NOW, YESTERDAY.
I support the "all of the above approach" that begins with drilling, and more drilling, and more drilling. Drill until the United States becomes not only independent of foreign oil, but ensures that we have sufficient supply to take care of the U.S. and her allies should the need arise.
Next, let's get started post-haste with nuclear power development. It's a proven and SAFE technology and it's economically viable now. Let's fast track "clean coal" and "coal liquification" technology and permitting. Let's get natural gas flowing south from Alaska and north from the Gulf of Mexico. Let's enact a national net metering law so that any individual can produce their own solar and wind energy and sell it back to local utilities. Let's create tax credits for companies developing alternative fuels and energy technology.
Democrats have been ubstructionist long enough, it's time that we return to an era of cheap energy (and yes, we can do it all much "cleaner" now and we shall and should), and stop waiting for the miraculous spontaneous development of a fuzzy bunny superfuel fairy sunshine breeze in the bright sun.
With abundant energy, things, not just some things, but almost all things, get cleaner quicker. That includes your home, your car, the streets, the lawns and gardens, the offices, the shops, the manufacturing plants and the service centers, the public areas and private areas, in fact, the whole damn planet will become cleaner due to cheap energy. If you don't understand why and how that is, you're simply a moron.
It's time to end the era of shortages and commodity price hikes, it's time to enter the era of surplus, diversification and prosperity for all. Cheap and abundant energy is the only way to get there.
Update: As I wrote this earlier, Obama was giving a speech about his energy plan, as expected, it's a recipe for shortages, with the hope of fuzzy bunnies to the rescue.
Update: To keep up with the protest on the House floor, the Republican Leadership has a "sort-of" blog.
Congressman Spencer Bachus, please return to Washington. . .
Just got off the phone with Jason (no relation) at Congressman Bachus' Birmingham office and was told that Congressman Bachus was "in the district". How unfortunate.
Jason also informed me that I was the first inquiry to the local office about Congressman Bachus' and the current GOP protest over oil drilling taking place on the House floor at this very moment.
He suggested I call the Washington office. So I shall.
--Jason (again, no relation to the Jason above)
UPDATE: DC (Davis) doesn't know. Although I must admit that he offers an excellent excuse for being away from Washington. One that, at this moment, I do not agree with. I would hope that he plans to be back in Washington as soon as possible and suggest that he put out a statement of support at least.
June 12, 2008
Simple wisdom from Newt. . .
Hmmmm . . . "the fourth of July could become 'Energy Independence Day', if the American People decide to take this seriously" . . . sound interesting.
February 29, 2008
How 'bout that Global Warming. . .
Hmmm. So. . . .So far in the 2007-2008 winter season it's snowed at least four times. No link, no need to elaborate. It's important to note however, I'm talking about Birmingham, Alabama. Go ahead, look at a map.
Posted by JasonColeman at 10:10 AM
September 5, 2007
The end of farming. . .
Ok, so that lead-in is a bit, um. . . misleading, but it does seem that we've hit a very important milestone in the history of the human species. It's a milestone that will undoubtedly go overlooked by 99.9 percent of the world's population, but it shouldn't; so I'll shine some light upon it in the hopes that others run with it, so here we go:
In the beginning, mankind searched high and low for the grubs, shrubs, nuts, berries, insects, small animals and the occasional windfall of larger game that sustained him. This gatherer existence gave way to the more familiar, hunter-gather existence; whereby early man took his primitive tools to the task of taking down larger and larger game, in greater and greater numbers. As man followed migratory species, he noticed that certain plants fared better or worse in differing climates. Eventually he began to collect and distribute seeds in close proximity to one another for later harvest. This in turn led us to an more agrarian existence, allowed for permanent settlement, the development of civilization and all that came after that.
I don't by any means intend for the above to be a complete or exhaustive examination of our past, but merely a cursory examination of where we were and what we transitioned to. Sources differ, but for simplicity's sake, let us say we began our agrarian existence approximately 10,000 years ago, and depending upon your interpretation, sometime around 8,000 years ago, farming or agriculture in all it's various forms became the dominate occupation for humankind.
October 2, 2006
Some people wont agree with me. . .
Some people won't agree with me, but I'm pretty sure that I'm right on this one. One day, most probably in my lifetime, there will be a terrorist attack involving a nuclear device, or a rogue state will use a nuclear device as a first strike weapon hoping to bring about a one hit coup de grace.
Some people will completely deny this as an impossibility, they will state that groups capable of producing a nuclear device will understand it's implications and only use such a device as a "deterrent". Others will claim that I am being alarmist and armageddonist, and totally dimiss this idea on that basis alone; without addressing the probability of such an attack, they merely will stick their heads in the sand. Still others will claim that such an event will only occur by the hands of the evil Zionists or equally evil Americans, which is simply ridiculous because neither nation needs a nuke to lay waste to their enemies, both groups can defeat almost any comer with conventional means quite easily from a military standpoint.
There is a sect within Islam that sees the use of a nuclear device as a means to bring about the reappearance of the 12th Imam, who will organize the world along Islamic lines and bring about the Koran's version of Biblical Revelations. There are groups, lets call them Islamists for simplicity, but recognize that they are known also as Islamic Fascists, Islamofascists, or elements of Radical Islam, and some of these groups have openly stated their desire to acquire a nuclear device, or a hybridized device (dirty bomb) for the intent of using it upon the United States, Israel or the nations of Western Europe with the stated purpose of destroying these institutions and jumpstarting the Second Caliphate. Other entities may "pop a nuke" as a last gasp of power concentrated in a select group of insane rulers (North Korea). Then there is the unknown, the threat of tomorrow, the threat we don't see at the moment, but nevertheless grows in dark corners of the world, biding it's time, waiting for the geopolictical climate to be right.
If you sit back and think about it, it's basically inevitable that sometime in the future these weapons will be used. The effect will be great and depending on the target, the results will range from destruction and horror quickly passing and settling into rage and revenge, at the other end of the scale, nations could fall within hours or simply cease to effectively exist (Israel could be an example, so could Great Britain or any other country with a small geographic footprint).
The device will most likely be small, in the kiloton range, not a city killer megaton nuke, but a man-portable "tactical" weapon used deep within a society to produce a profound strategic effect. There may be just one, which will be bad enough to deal with, but there most likely will be more than one, near simultaneously, or in a quick succession of a few days.
Some people will have already stopped reading because they can't handle thinking about such a possibility. I suggest that these people are more likely than not, the same people who would suggest that WE need to change in order to stop THEM from attacking us. That WE cannot fight THEM, because WE cannot change THEM, so WE must change and be kindler, gentler, and more accomodating to those who would wish US dead. To me, this seems like total insanity run amuck. It just doesn't make sense. If WE change, THEY will be emboldened. If WE change, THEY win, and their victory does not ensure our safety, in fact it only assures that another group will arise with another agenda to demand that WE change for THEM.
I don't have any answers, I don't have any program to make this all go away. I can only observe that it will happen, someday. Someone WILL use a nuclear device on a unsuspecting population sometime in the relatively near future. The only suggestion I have is for people to realize that there is a war on, it's a World War, and it's not the Global War on Terror I'm referring to, the GWOT is part of it, but it's more a battle or a theatre than it is the whole war. The war I'm referring to has not yet been named, it's not even realized by most that it's taking place, but it is taking place and it's important that people begin to recognize it.
We are at a unique place in the history of mankind. No longer are we disjointed and separate groups of people separated by trade routes and occasional contact. The entire world has become a community against it's own will. Disparate groups with different worldviews have been thrust together via the Information Age and the bridges between nations and people have been physcally bridged by the culmination of the Industrial Age providing mobility and travel options never before seen in human history.
Some call this a culture war, others call it a clash of civilizations, others call it all manner of things. I prefer to use the term, The Long War, because I don't see any resolution to this war coming any time soon, and by my reckoning, this war has been going on since the late 1940's. That means we're already 60 years in and the war isn't even recognized, to expect that The Long War could last for another 100 years is not unrealistic.
So what is this war all about? In short, this war is about the future of the human race, ALL of the human race. That word ALL is very important, it should be thought about at least a little. ALL of the human race. We are at a convergence of human society where every human on the planet, if he or she so chooses, can interact with almost every other human on the planet through travel and electronic communication. A global consciousness is emerging. Humanity as a whole has entered a NEW infancy, this new infant is taking it's first tenative steps and only beginning to explore it's world, and realize it's potential.
While this war rages on, it will take various forms. Just as World War 2 had smaller, seemingly separate "theatres", this war has component parts that can't properly be called theatres, so lets just call them for the purposes of this discussion "a battle" as opposed to "the war". I recognize that I'm using battle incorrectly, but we just don't have the terminology to describe what is happening yet, we are living it right now, and defining it as we go, which makes the realization of what is happening all the more difficult.
The battle that is the GWOT is a battle of religion, religious wars are common throughout history, and this is another in a long line of religious wars. I believe that this will be the last. Islam is the last "unreformed" universalizing religion. It's highly unlikely that another true religion will arise. Cults will rise and become somewhat legitimate, like those cultist who worship "the envrironment", but these are minor players and not capable or desirous of global war like the Catholics did once and the Islamists do now. This religious war, the GWOT, is one we can fight, and we can win, the endpoint will be the reform of Islam and the rise of Islamic moderates to the positions of power within Islam. Once the moderates gain control of their religion, it's unlikely that it will retain it's extremist appeal for very long, the radicals will be marginalized, and eventually they will fade away. While this might seem a condemnation of the GWOT in favor of an internal Islamic solution, it isn't; the GWOT is a necessary battle, because Islam cannot reform without pressure from the outside, just as the Catholic Church would have never reformed were it not for the Princes of Europe demanding and fighting for it in the Wars of the Reformation.
So we will go forward with the GWOT, we must. I say we in a much larger sense than it is now. The WE in the equasion will grow as more people begin to realize what is at stake and what the other side, the Islamists, are aiming for. The second Caliphate will not rise and any attempt to create it, no matter how severe the attack or action, will be resisted, and as the attacks from THEM increase, the WE component will grow. Eventually the WE's will conquer the THEM's and Islam will reform, it won't end the problem of Islamists, but the threat will be effectively mitigated, and when it gains strength, it will be slapped down hard again, just as Nazism is slapped down when it makes it's periodic resurgences. There is no real threat of a Fourth Reich or a disciple of Hitler arising to take over the world, such a threat would immediately be pounced upon and destroyed if it began to seek conquest of others. Such will be the case when Islamism arises again the future after this battle is won.
Yet The Long War won't be over when Islamism is defeated. Other ideologies will arise or existing ones will decide that the time to strike is at hand. It must be remembered, that it is STILL the goal of Communist China to control the world and bring all of humanity under the banner of Communism. That battle lies ahead. It may be another violent clash, with guns and bombs and death, or it may be a relatively peacefull battle fought in boardrooms and with policy speeches and the will of the masses determining the victor. This battle is coming, we just don't know what shape it will take and whether it will be a HOT part of The Long War, or a COLD part.
Down the road we'll have battles we cannot conceive of now, against enemies we do not know, cannot see and do not suspect malice from, but THEY will challenge the WE and the battle will be fought.
Will The Long War ever end. Yes, it will, but the nature of what the world will be like at the end cannot be forseen, it's simply too far off and to many variables are in the way. What we do know is that it will end one day, and there will be a victor. This planet is simply too small for multiple ideologies and worldviews to exist indefinately. Multi-cuturalism will not be the future of the planet, a single global culture will eventually emerge as transportation and information transfer improves.
We are still in a phase of our development where different groups of people are given different sets of information to base their opinions and actions upon. One day this will not be the place. We are only a few short years away from information access being a uniform global process. Just as fiber replaced copper, WiFi will eventually be replaced by SatFi and any human with a simple device will have access to the same information as every other human with a simple, portable and self-contained device, accessing a global network that cannot be interfered with by local or national governments. If you want to look at the US internetsat, you will be able to, if you want to look at the China internetsat, you will be able to, access points in orbit are coming, and keeping a population in the dark will become impossible. When this occurs, it will be the strength of the ideas and goals of groups that will make them powerful and not merely their access to weapons and their local power over a population.
As transportation evolves, it too will give greater access and greater range to the individual. Highways will be replaced by skyways, and mankind's mobility will both act as a dampening effect and inflamatory effect on the violence and scope of The Long War. Combatants will have greater and greater access to their targets, but those targets will be contaminated more and more by unwanted bystanders. How this will play out cannot be forseen, but transportation will both increase the violence of The Long War and decrease it over time as populations continue to merge and high value single targets become more scarce.
The Long War will determine the future of mankind. Will we take to the the stars seeking out new homes, new science and a greater understanding of the universe? Will we stay earthbound, working like ants to serve the desires of a select few in a Communist utopia? Or will we see a new "religion" preventing us from developing our technology in some warped sense of respect for the planet where we see mass starvations and depopulations before a complete technological collapse that sets us back hundreds or thousands of years because we must not damage our environment for the sake of improving the lives of humans?
The Long War will have an end. There will be an eventual one world culture, there will be one world language, it's inevitable. There will be one world system of government, that too is inevitable. There will be a common set of information and it will be universally accessible, that too is inevitable.
That language does not have to be English, I'd sure like it to be, because I feel that it's got the greatest headstart and would be the most efficient direction to take and retain the most knowledge along the way. That system of government does not have to be Democracy, I'd sure like it to be, because Democracy empowers the individual, and does not reduce man to slave. That set of information does not have to be science and truth, it could be a political information set a la Orwell's 1984, or a religous set that teaches only one fantasy worldview, I'd sure like it to be the science and truth set, and I think the reasons are obvious.
So what is the whole point of this. The point is to realize that things are going to get worse before they get better when it comes to the GWOT, the point is to realize that the GWOT is just a battle, or a theatre, in the larger war for humanity, The Long War, which will determine where we, as a species (think about that: WE, as a SPECIES) decide to go with our opposable thumbs and big brains. The point is for people to realize that we are in a War that we have not yet named, a war that we do not yet see it's full scope, a war that will make past wars seem unimportant and a war that will change the very nature and scope of what is considered humanity.
The point is to hopefully spark other discussions about the future, and how it will be shape by the new interconnected small world we now live in as opposed to the old disconnected large world we inhabited just a few short decades ago. Where once we could have oceans and deserts as barriers, we now have everyone thrown together in one big bowl, and we must hash out our differences and come to a realization of what humanity is and what our purpose will be. Are we to be ants? Are we to be worshippers? Are we to be individuals? What will it mean to be human at the end of The Long War? What will we have to endure to get to that end?
This is survival of the fittest, who will it be? Athens or Sparta? (See the PS below for an explanation of that.)
Comments are welcome and will be responded to.
PS, This screed, rant, commentary, post, whatever you want to call it, was sparked by a reading of this fictional piece by Dan Simmons. If anything in this post sparked interest, and even if it did not, I highly suggest you take the time to read the April 2006 Message from Dan. It's interesting, it's thought provoking, it's scary, and it's enlightening, take the time to read it, make the time to read it.
September 2, 2006
I can't help but laugh. . .
So here I trod on over to Drudge and find this peach of an article.
So it seems the Global Warming Crowd is adjusting their estimate downward, predicting a 2 degree Celcius rise in global temperature by the close of the century. Down from the previous estimate of 4.5 degrees.
Nevermind the unreality of the global warming crowd, I just wanted to point out this gem of a quote the article's authors got out of Australian Conservation Foundation energy program manager Erwin Jackson:
"Every day we delay taking action, the problem gets worse," Mr Jackson said.
Gee, Mr. Erwin, just sitting back and not being alarmist and armageddonist seems to be working just fine, in fact it's cut the theoretical projections of the effects of the myth of global warming in half.
May 30, 2006
Of course it does, you f'in idiots. . .
Who it the hell let these fools get an advanced degree, much more to the point, who in the hell is funding this ridiculous study.
Forests could become thick with more toxic forms of poisonous ivy and other noxious vines, thanks to rising levels of carbon dioxide.
That's the conclusion from researchers in the United States who have shown that the higher CO2 levels expected in the next 50 years breed ivies that grow twice as fast, and, unexpectedly, manufacture a nastier form of poison. "It'll be more dangerous to go in the forest," says team leader Jacqueline Mohan of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Ok, you idiot "researchers" at Woods Hole, let me clue you in on something. Plants absorb CO2 and emit O2, a plant is pretty much exactly the opposite of a human when it comes to respiration, humans absorb O2 (oxygen) and emit CO2 while plants do. . . yep, the opposite. So it stands to reason, and has been well known for quite some time (well over one hundred years actually) that if you increase the amount of CO2 in a plant's presence, it's going to grow faster, stronger, healthier and it's "potency" will increase (Don't believe me, just go ask your local grower of premium hydro-bud, I'm sure you know one, and he'll clue you in, then inquire if you can spare some of the CO2 cylinders you wasted by pumping them straight into the open air). Furthermore, if you give a human increased levels of oxygen, they too will perform better, have more energy and be more active.
This "study" is simply ridiculous on its face, and far from showing the "evils" of increased CO2 levels, the enviro-whackos are merely showing that they have no real purpose other than to cry out in insane hyperbole and claims that the sky is falling. Or in this case, that the poison ivy is coming to get us all!!!!!! OOOOHHHH, SCARY!!!!!!!
So lemme just point this out. If you increase CO2 levels, plants get jiggy with it and start growing faster and stronger and in turn they actually scrub more of the "evil" CO2 from the air. This is a major reason that North America is actually a NET ABSORBER of CO2; we are quite fond of plants here in the U.S., we go so far as to surround our homes with lush lawns, we have flower beds and garden planters for no reason other than that we enjoy looking after our flora friends.
While these "researchers" decided to present the evil poison ivy as a "scourge of gardeners and hikers" they conveniently don't focus on the obvious other outcomes of increased CO2 levels. Not only will poison ivy grow bigger stronger and better, but so will grains, trees, pulses, bulbs, flowers, mosses and every other form of plant life. The Earth is a large ecosystem, and it's been balancing out atmospheric levels of constituent gasses for alot longer than we feeble humans have been adding our CO2 to the mix. The response to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere by our planet is bigger and stronger plants. This should of course make our enviro-whackos happy, but of course, their goal isn't to make the "environment" better, it's merely to obstruct any and all development by humans.
Remember, kiddies, Humans are a part of the natural environment, our ability to use tools, create industry and manufacture is a NATURAL OCCURANCE. Unless of course you want to give up on Darwin and begin to proclaim that humankind is some sort of artificially introduced construct. There you go enviro-whackos, are you ready to give up on Darwin and accept a single (non-Gaia, non-Mother Earth) God that put humans here???? I thought not!
Thanks alot for this totally useless "study" by some equally worthless "researchers", if you wanted to know if increased CO2 presence would increase plant growth, you could have asked any hobby gardner or better yet, your local DEA agent. They'd both be happy to tell you that increased CO2 levels increases flora growth.
P.S. Of course, increased plant growth leads to more habitat for Manbearpig. Throw me some of that Woods Hole "research" money and I'll put out a study showing how poison ivy is actually Manbearpig's preferred foodstuff (after cartoon kids of course) and that the only way to ensure our safety from Manbearpig would be to eliminate all CO2 production worldwide so that we can kill off all the plant life, including that "scourge", poison ivy.
Posted by JasonColeman at 3:54 PM
May 23, 2006
Can we please. . .
Just go ahead and drill in ANWR already!!!!!!
California Republican (oxymoronic I know, but it gets better) Richard Pombo has dropped HR 5429 on the House Floor to open ANWR to oil production (yes, you read that right, a California Representative dropped this bill, and he's from the 11th District just south of that bastion of liberal hysteria, San Francisco).
While I'm dropping links and runnnig, here's a VERY INTERESTING link on the real National Guard Response to Hurricane Katrina, grab a cup of coffee, read the whole thing, and then pass the link around to your friends and officemates.
May 9, 2006
Interesting, very interesting. . .
Yet another blow to the rabid global warming whack-o's and their junk science. Global Warming, as it turns out, leads to better health, longer lives and the whopper is in the first paragraph.
History demonstrates that warmer is healthier. Since the end of the last Ice Age, the earth has enjoyed two periods that were warmer than the twentieth century. Archaeological evidence shows that people lived longer, enjoyed better nutrition, and multiplied more rapidly than during epochs of cold.
Read the whole thing, from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.
April 19, 2006
Oh damn, it's just gonna fall off?????????
Ok, so back in March, Larry O'Hanlon for the Discovery News service reported that there was "tectonic subsidence" in Louisiana which essentially amounted to:
"New Orleans is at the top end of what looks like a gigantic, slow-moving landslide"
O'Hanlon quotes LSU Geologist Roy Dokka as saying:
"Not only is southern Louisiana sinking, it's sliding"
O'Hanlon also describes the phenomenon as such:
"Like a smaller landslide on the side of a hill, the huge Southern Louisiana landslide has a "headwall" where the slide is breaking away and a "toe" out in the Gulf where the debris from the slide is piling up, Dokka explained. The only difference from a traditional landslide is that this one is far, far larger and it's buried under lots of wet sediments, so it requires very accurate survey measurements to detect it. "
Dokka's work in investigating the "Michoud Fault" which runs essentially through New Orleans' Ninth Ward is slipping, as a result of sediment piling up in the Gulf and pushing the tectonic plate down. While many have been keen to blame the "sinking" of SE Louisiana on the oil and gas industry, Dokka points out that:
"Subsidence associated with petroleum extraction was not a factor due to the lack of local production."
So that brings me full circle back to a topic I've explored here in the past. We simply are too quick and use too much energy decrying the evils of human impact on the planet without knowing enough about what we're talking about.
For years people have beat the U.S. up over CO2 emissions (one of those greenhouse gasses), stating that U.S. industry and American citizens (current target: the SUV) are killing the planet through global warming. For years this was a mantra repeated far and wide. Attempts to get the U.S. to voluntarily give up our industrious ways and return to eating grubs and berries, wearing loincloths (made from ecologically sound flax farming practices, not evil leather), and to continually in perpetuity pray to Gaia for her to forgive us our sins, have been made by the radical pseudo-scientists lamenting over global warming.
Then along comes a pretty exhaustive study from Columbia that the U.S. is not in fact adding to the global rate of CO2 production in the atmosphere, but we're actually sucking more CO2 out of the atmosphere than we're putting in, making us a NET ABSORBER OF CARBON DIOXIDE from the atmosphere. That's right, all those evil machines that pump out CO2 also had the coincident effect of allowing us to farm more efficiently, manage our forest better and keep millions of lovingly kept lawns and houseplants that sucked more CO2 out of the atmosphere than we were putting in. Big loss for the global warming crowd. They could no longer legitimately beat up on us for increasing CO2 levels (although they still try) and now they had to go look for another evil wrong-doer to blame the CO2 problem on (In truth, they still blame us, and simply ignore the evidence to the contrary, after all, the U.S. is an easy target, we're comfy and content, and the angry "change the world my way" crowd continues on.)
We've also been told that it's mankind that is responsible for Global Warming because of everything from the shoes we wear (more cows for more leather means more Methane) to the cars we drive (the CO2 issue again) to our air conditioners and hairsprays (nevermind we stopped using ozone depleting propellants and freon long ago and replaced them with safe alternatives unlike . . . cough . . . cough. . . Europe). Then we have NASA come back and let us know that the Sun is particularly angry right now (apparently at the U.S.) and burning hotter than any period since we've been aware that the Sun is a big ball of flaming nuclear hellfire at the center of our Solar System rather than Apollo's Chariot streaking across the sky. That would seem to be another loss for the "humans are evil" crowd, but again, it's not. They conveniently ignore the evidence and scream "It's the cars, it's all the cars, I tell you!!!!" This as they jump into their 70's era Volkswagen bus spewing black smoke behind.
[Ok Ok, that's not entirely fair, most of those "humans are evil" hippies are now driving hybrids filled with ecologically unfriendly heavy metal batteries which will be useless after 10 years and be hulks of rusting metal in junkyards with acid leaking from them. I'm not against hybrids, but their just a band-aid, we'll see the cool stuff soon enough if the hippies would just get out of the way of those people that are actually developing the technology. . . cough. . . Exxon. . . .cough. . . GM (ever wondered about why if GM's SUV sales are hurting so much why their stock and sales and profits keep going up. . . cough . . . cough . . . a nice shiny new SATURN anyone?)]
So anyway back to the Michoud Fault (pronounced Me-shoo with a silent d if you're a coon ass), and New Orelans and points south, sinking and sliding into the Gulf.
Here's my point, shut up with the blaming of every little environmental study and hiccup on humans and our activity on the planet. I've got a news flash for the hippies, Earth Firsters, Greenpeacers and my favorite environmental assholes the Earth Liberation Front (thanks alot for fucking up my second season in Vail), humans are a part of the natural environment too, we're animals just like the two toed slow moving Birdfood Salamander and we are filling our role in the evolutionary life cycle of the planet just like every other creature on the planet. The only real difference is that we've got opposable thumbs that allow us to all the things that a beaver can (build dams), the birds can (build nests -- but ours have roofs, score one for us --) and a cheetah can (move really fast, sure we use cars, but that's just another score for us). We're doing what we are simply because "we can". I've yet to see an environmentalist complain about a Beaver turning wetlands into a full fledged body of water, but having a human build it is an affront to Gaia or some such nonsense. We're here with opposable thumbs for a reason, because evolution or God or whatever construct you choose to follow gave them to us. Gave them to us so we could pick up one rock, spin it around a few times, and whack it on another rock to make a tool. Follow that out buy using that tool to break off some more rocks with ore in then, back to the opposable thumb allowing us to master the creation of fire and wham-o we've got metal George. Um, maybe we should put it back.
NO! We shouldn't put it back, we should get more and make more and use those big brains between our ears to accomplish more tasks, more complex tasks. Hey, lets try farming, and lets make some houses so we don't have to force bears out of their caves (or more correctly let's try to avoid having the bears force us out of caves by leaving the caves) and lets build the wheel so we can get around better and lets make a plow to increase our agricultural output to feed more humans, after all humans are animals too and they should be cared for and looked after and allowed to prosper because humans are a part of the natural order too.
Look, I know that it's a tragedy every time a species goes extinct, and it's just as tragic when a fishing village is swallowed by the sea, but lets get real for a moment, things have been going extinct since long before man started to stand up and look across the African steppes at the world beyond. There are also thousands of villages on seacoasts and waterways that have been washed away by rising tides, flooding, storms and tectonic subsidence. Let's get real for a minute and realize that we're just an ant colony (albeit a big one) to Mother Earth, we've got two power hands, like the ant's two powerful mandibles, with which to shape and develop our world to suit us.
When Mother Nature, Mother Earth, the planet, what have you, gets screwed up, she'll let us know, and she'll do it in a big way. Katrina wasn't that big of a storm, there have been bigger in the past, many more much bigger, what was big was that Katrina "just happened" to finally hit a city that for hundreds of years was unprepared for an event which they simply wished or willed to not come along. Well it finally did and to try and connect Katrina with global warming is downright silly. Unless you want to throw the one that hit Galveston, and Betsy and all the other into the "it's the U.S.'s fault bucket as well.
But let's connect up those opposable thumbs and get back to the Michoud fault. New Orleans is a doomed city. It's simply silly to think any other way. New Orleans was doomed from the start, when Iberville and Bienville had a spat and one brother took off to report back to his French overlords about progress in the New World, the other brother laid out New Orleans in a spot where the Dutch could come in and shell it, all for 30 pieces of silver. Yes kiddies, if you haven't heard it before, you heard it here first, the geographic placement of New Orleans is the result of traitorous actions and espionage committed against France so that the mouth of the Mississippi could be opened up to another nation and the port there (New Orleans) could be taken and destroyed, only to relocate the port to a more suitable location.
Events turned on their ear and New Orleans wasn't shelled or taken over and by the time the treachery and espionage was revealed, it was too late and too expensive to move the city to it's original surveyed location. New Orleans is doomed not only because of the treachery of an international plot, but it's doomed because one day the Mighty Mississippi is going to simply tell the Corps of Engineers to bugger off and it's going to reroute itself down the Atchafalaya Basin. No matter what the Corps does, it's merely buying time, the Mississippi is a bit tired of it's present location and wants a change of scenery, we've known this for decades upon decades, but we're fighting it, and putting up a good fight, an honorable battle, but a battle that is destined to be lost eventually. No matter how many control structures, levees, relief reservoirs and the like we build, eventually the Mississippi will change course, and leave New Orleans high and dry. Which to some will be a nice change, although economically it will be a disaster that dwarfs Katrina, Rita, Betsy and every other Gulf Coast hurricane combined.
Don't get me wrong now, I'm not about to suggest that we give up on New Orleans, I'm not saying that we shouldn't rebuild it at all. I'm saying we need to step back for a minute and realize that things are not necessarily what they seem. The present course, like the course of the Mississippi, is not necessarily a good one.
There is a strong urge to rebuild New Orleans exactly like it was (the new addendum to that plan is to raise everything in the city 1 to 3 feet off the ground. . . useless, but we'll get to that in a minute), and I understand that urge. New Orleans is my hometown and my trips down there since Katrina have been simply heartbreaking, but over time and with some reflection, I've come to realize that New Orleans was simply waiting for this to happen and in all honesty, Katrina wasn't quite bad enough for New Orleans. The storm actually missed the city, travelling up the Pearl River instead of the Mississippi. Katrina was a near miss for New Orleans. I know it doesn't seem that way from the destruction and chaos played out on our TV screens, but it actually did miss the city and that part of the storm that did hit the city were the weakest quadrants of the storm. An analysis of the data suggests that the actual category rating of the storm was somewhere between a 1 and a 2. That Cat 1 or 2 storm was enough however to bring about a cascade of disparate events sufficient to effectively destroy a city.
But I still say Katrina didn't destroy New Orleans enough. I'm sure many of my family members who read this, especially those still in the city will be positively horrified by me writing that, but in my mind it's true. I'm not wishing for any more loss of life (I wish Blanco and Nagin would have done their jobs and mitigated the loss of life when they had the chance), so don't try to paint this that way.
I'm talking about DESTRUCTION. I'm talking about shattering buildings instead of flooding them, I'm talking about scouring entire areas of the city clean, wiping the slate and REALLY allowing some rebuilding, the RIGHT kind of rebuilding to be done. Today across New Orleans people are ripping out sheetrock, carpets, and paneling, they are scraping out the inside of their homes with shovels and tossing the soggy remnants of former lives into the street where it cooks for days in the sun then carted away to landfills. Many of these people are "rebuilding" their lives, but it's my firm belief that most, not all but most are setting themselves up for even greater misfortune.
Katrina didn't do enough. The storm left hundreds of thousands of building shells, filled with the soaked remnants of their lives. Cruelly however, the storm left a false hope in place for many of those returning that they'd be able to rebuild, a false hope that levees would be rebuilt to protect against a future storm and a false hope that Katrina was "the Big One" and that New Orleans was safe from another storm for some time to come.
Talking to people in New Oreleans, many times I heard, "Well, it's over now, and we're safe for another hundred years." Similarly I heard, "Well, at least now we know what to expect, so we can build bigger levees to protect us." These are dangerous, albeit understandable, positions to take.
Like CO2 emissions and Global Warming and even "drilling is causing Louisana to sink" we simply don't have a good enough understanding of what happened during the storm on the BIG level. Sure we watched alot on TV, and we saw alot of destruction in real time, but we'll never know what forces were actually brought to bear at the height of the Cat 1 or 2 storm that hit the city. We'll never know if the local nutria had undermined the portion of the levees that failed, there's no possible way for us to know about that, because we hadn't looked at those sections, with an eye for observing what's about to cause this levee to break. Likewise we'll never know if the barge broke the London Ave. Canal levee or the barge was sucked into the Lower Ninth along with the water rushing in from the failed levee.
We do know however that it's far easier to blame human failure than it is to blame Mother Nature. After all, it's Mother Nature, we can't extract a pound of flesh from her, we can never toss her in jail or make sure she never has a job running the weather or even convince her never to strike the city (or another city) again. So we blame people. We look for individuals and say "It's your fault the levees failed" "It's your fault for driving that SUV that global warming increased and made storms increase and that caused Katrina, and it hit New Orleans to prove that Bush hates Black people." "It's you, the phantom government agent who mined the levee with dynamite to flood out the black homes." "It's you, the American people who caused all this by your insistence that you work hard and develop this nation and live comfortably in big houses while you use up oil that causes the SE Louisiana wetlands to sink."
It doesn't matter that all this is all bullshit, because it's easy. It delivers the pound of flesh.
So now that the pound of flesh has been taken. Come on people, it's been taken, lets move on. Let's use our opposable thumbs and big brains. We have to rebuild. But again, we find that the devastation is simply not as great as we needed it to be to make rebuilding easier, so we have to use our big brains to make some hard choices and difficult decisions.
Most of New Oreleans should be bulldozed. Most of the homes that people are currently ripping out sheetrock and carpet from should be bulldozed. Every flooded structure in New Orleans, no matter how severe, should be bulldozed. I'll never sell this argument to many people, but I believe it's what needs to be done.
Building a levee to protect the city against a CAT 4 or 5 storm is possible, but then again it's not. Many people who read this will have never experienced a hurricane. Many never will. Tornados however are a much simpler concept to understand and more of us have a common experience with or have seen a tornado in it's full scope on the television. We can easily grasp what a tornado is because we can see it in it's entirety in pictures with points of reference when we watch video of one.
A hurricane, in very simple terms is a tornado, a hundreds of miles across tornado.
Building a structure to withstand a direct hit from a tornado can be done. You wouldn't want to live in it however. It'd be an ugly structure, largely underground (ding ding. . . warning. . . put on your thinking caps), small and cramped and not what one would consider a home.
Have you figured it out yet? Structures that could withstand a tornado (the forces most similar to a CAT 4 or 5 storm) simply won't work in New Orleans, so it's back to the drawing board. Well, not really, we're back to levees. The levee system to survive a CAT 4 or 5 storm would have to be MASSIVE. Not just big, I mean MASSIVE, Great Wall kinds of massive, pyramids massive, panama canal massive. Massive with a tectonic fault running right through the middle. Do you see the problem yet??
So what's the solution. Honestly, there seems to me to be a solution, but you're not going to like it.
Bulldoze New Orleans. That's the solution. Buldoze every structure that experienced flooding, every structure that's been abandoned since the storm, hell, if someone leaves their home for the weekend and you can get away with it, bulldoze that one too. Wipe the slate clean, THEN you can rebuild the way rebuilding needs to be done.
The Ninth Ward should never be a residential area again. I'm sorry, but it's true. We have a major tectonic fault running right through the middle of it. It's indefensible, and to try is only to prolong the inevitable. I know that there will be an immediate kneejerk reaction to this. What about the homes, the lives, what will these people return to. The answer to that is simple, they won't. That's not a racist statement, although I'm sure I'll get email saying it is, but it's not, and I'd say bulldoze Lakeview if there was a fault running through that area of the city (wait a minute, I'm saying to bulldoze Lakeview too. . . maybe that will get the cries of racism off my back).
The Ninth Ward has a purpose in what I believe the New New Orleans should become. The ninth ward should be a shipping offload/onload and storage yard for the most advanced port facility the world has ever known. It's location is ideal for such a use, the land can be acquired at a reasonable fair market value and allow displaced families a real opportunity to rebuild someplace that A) Doesn't have a tectonic fault running through it and B) Isn't likely to be flooded again.
Rebuild the Ninth Ward levees to the levels they were pre-Katrina, level the shattered homes, pave it solid and turn it into a port facility that's the envy of the world, a port facility that can handle imports and exports for the new milennia, and most importantly, it's an area that would not have to be protected by new, larger levees that will be constantly on the move through tectonic subsidance.
Next, take a hard look at the size and shape of the New New Orleans. No matter what, it will be decades before New New Orleans has the population base that New Orleans did. The footprint of New New Orleans that is protected by levees can be adjusted, New Orleans East could be largely abandoned to create a series of chevron shaped open-ended levees to absorb the brunt of a storm coming from the Gulf and energy and resources can be devoted to rebuilding the core of the city and population centers on the north and west sides of the city.
Next, bring in the pumps. Begin pumping sediment from the Mississippi into the interior of the city. Millions of cubic yards will be needed, but it's there, in the river, and it can be relatively easily extracted, pumped and distributed throughout the city. The project would be a massive undertaking and certainly not easy, but filling the city would be far easier in the long run than raising every structure 1 to 3 feet above grade (the current plan) which will effectively do absolutely nothing in the event of a similar catastrophe (remember, this was a CAT 1 or 2 storm, 3 at most, but there are bigger storms out there, and ONE DAY, one will hit the city. Rebuilding to protect from the storm that just hit isn't enough, IF we're going to rebuild, and stay, we must plan and build for the storm that didn't hit, but almost did.
The filling of the bowl that is New Orleans may take years, but done sensibly, a section of the city at a time, with developers standing by at the ready to come in and build on the New New Orleans mound would do so mostly at their own expense, willingly. I also imagine that they'd be more efficient and effective than a government operation to do the same.
The material is there for us to do it. We have the technology. We just lack the will to do what's right because it's painful. It would be painful to tell families that their homes must be bulldozed and the entire level of the city must be raised 8 to 12 feet. It would be painful to watch billions of dollars go into a project that people wouldn't see create immediate gains.
The New New Orleans mound could be a planned city and again the envy of the world. A pace setting port for the rest of the world to look at and envy, a planned city laid out to maximize resources and space. Between the New Oreleans East Chevrons wetlands could form and nature would reclaim the land, further mitigating destructive forces from storms. Population centers on the West Bank and across the lake would supply safe housing for those wishing to work in the city and commute like workers from New Jersey and the East Bay do in Manhattan and San Francisco. A new example for city architecture and design could be built utilizing all the lessons we've learned over the millenia.
New New Orleans residents would finally see a day where rainwater falling into the city would naturally leave, the millions of dollars invested in pumps which can fail would be replaced by the natural force of gravity, which will never fail us no matter how severe the storm. New New Orleans residents would be able to look down upon the Mississippi river rather than up at it. New New Orleans residents would be facing the same set of problems and utilize the same solutions that other Gulf Coast cities on high ground do. The risk from storms would still be there, but the added danger of living in a bowl on top of a swamp with a tectonic fault running through it would be removed.
The character of New New Orleans must change too. New Orleans can no longer afford to be a hovel filled with poverty, it simply can't afford it. New New Orleans should be smaller, leaner, and meaner. It should be expensive to live in the city proper, and living there, just because it's where you live should be a thing of the past.
New New Orleans should be the Manhattan or San Francisco of the South. It should have a small footprint and space should be maximized due to the inherent dangers of living between a river that doesn't want to be there and a Lake that functions as a Hurricane Magnet (luckily we've dodged the bullet repeatedly of a Hurricane blasting all of it's energy into the city and then parking itself in Lake Ponchatrain to gain strength and batter the city to bits). New New Orelans could have the appeal for tourists that it's always had, with added attractions and facilities designed to handle the throngs effectively and maximize the returns to the businesses present and thereby the tax revenue to maintain the structures necessary to protect the city without fighting the constantly losing battle that it has been fighting for centuries.
What's happening in New Orleans now, as I watch it happen, only seems to be another step toward prolonging the inevitable. Lifting houses 1 to 3 feet is not going to help if New Orleans is hit again in the near future, and it certainly won't help if a bigger, stronger storm rolls through. Rebuilding the fragile wooden shells that have been wracked by Katrina will not serve the citizens well when the next storm hits. New, stronger building codes are necessary, and if the city is not going to "fill the bowl", then it MUST raise the houses, and not 1 to 3 feet, but 8 to 12 feet or more if damage by flooding is to be eliminated.
Stilts Ok, fine, build on stilts. They work, but there are other options, mandate that every residence be built on top of a first story (8 to 12 feet high) of cinder block or poured concrete, use the space for parking or storage, just don't be sad if the next storm comes along and junior is using it as his room, the goal is to save as much of the "authorized" living space as possible from the destructive forces of flooding.
DO SOMETHING EFFECTIVE NEW ORLEANS. Everyone in the city knows that 1 to 3 feet solves nothing. Most homes experienced far more water than 3 feet. Most homes were faced with 5 feet or more, some even more than that. 1 to 3 feet may put insurance risk tables into an acceptable range for flood insurance, but another Katrina event or worse and those 1 to 3 feet will be useless.
I'll wrap it up now, it's quite the rant already, and I went all over the chart with it. Alot of this is something I've wanted to say for a long time but I just couldn't bring myself to post something that my friends and family would read that said "Bulldoze New Orleans", but I really can't get behind the current plan by the city of having people build up 1 to 3 feet when every picture I took while I was there showed higher flood levels. I can't support 1 to 3 feet when I see that every home I ever lived in in New Orleans had 5 to 10 feet of flooding. I can't support the notion of rebuilding the Cat 3 levees that failed under a Cat 2 storm. I just can't.
A levee is like a chain, it's only as strong as the weakest link. The old New Orleans levee system incorporated hundreds of miles of levees, the breaches measured in 10's of feet, not miles, of levee. To assume the old system can be rebuilt and maintained to defend against the storm to come is simple unreasonable. Something bigger MUST BE DONE, a grander undertaking must occur if we're to rebuild New Orleans to any shade of her former self. If we decide not to have as big a city, that's GREAT, I'm all for it. Not because it's easier to evacuate, but because it makes the possibility of a LARGE USEFUL undertaking to commence. Not because I want to see a smaller New Orleans, but because logic dictates we NEED to see a smaller, stronger, leaner, meaner, more efficient, more robust NEW NEW ORLEANS.
Thanks for reading this rant if you got through it all, I appreciate your indulgence and welcome any comments, positive or negative, call me a loon, call me a prophet, I don't care, but if any portion of this struck a chord or sparked an idea, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks to Confederate Yankee (on the blogroll) for pointing me to the Discovery News Article, you can find Dokkas article here in abstract form and here in it's entirety, and once again, thanks for lending your ear (actually, your eyes) to me for a few minutes.
I also have a hurricane Katrina category with pictures and other posts if you're interested.
**Comments are closes for this entry, if you'd like to add something, contact me via email.**
Posted by JasonColeman at 8:18 PM
January 23, 2006
It's as if. . . .
Mother Nature creeped up on the libbies and leaned in close to their ear and then screamed:
Seriously tho', I don't subscribe to the Global Warming nonsense. Sure there's evidence that the earth is getting warmer, but there's also evidence that it's getting colder. There's plenty of evidence that our Sun is cranking out more energy than ever before and that our planet and it's various ecosystems are responding in kind.
[NOTE:It's important to realize that our Sun is going to keep getting hotter and hotter over geologic/astronomic time until it cooks us right off the planet and absorbs the Earth into it's ever expanding disk just a few million years before it collapses back upon itself. So if you want to bitch about "global warming" and use the SUN as your boogeyman, that's fine, but pretending that WE HUMANS are the culprit is just ludicrous at this point in our scientific/industrial evolution.]
In essence for me, it just seems as if we simply don't have enough of a grasp of global climate change or even the global climate in general to understand what the last 100 or so years of data means. That's really all we have ya know, about 100 years of "somewhat" reliable data on temperatures. Not to mention that MOST of that 100 years of data was collected within big concrete heatsinks that make up our cities. Those sinks keep getting bigger as cities grow so it's not really surprising that collecting data in our universities and our city-based weather bureaus over the past 10 or so decades has skewed the temperature data upwards. We're doing much better now with satellites since people began pointing out the heatsink effect of cities.
There are plenty in the Global Warming crowd that will harp that we have THOUSANDS of years of data, but that's mostly theoretical data at best and wholely fabricated at worst. Although I do just LOVE this graphic from the IPCC via the Wall Street Journal some time back.
In all intellectual honesty we simply don't have enough information to say that WE are doing THIS or doing THAT with regard to the climate, even with ice cores and tree ring fossils.
Sure pollution is bad, but industrialized societies compensate for pollution with wealth. Yep, I said it, wealth. Think about it for a second. I'm not rich, rich, rich, but I'm Bill Gates when it comes to most of the third world, and I do something with that wealth that many people take for granted. I landscape my yard. That's right. I have a lawn, I have flowerbeds, I have trees and schrubbery that not only enhance the value and appearance of my property, but also absorb far more CO2 and produce more O2 than the same piece of property would if left to the natural state. I'm not alone either, there are MILLIONS of us doing this. Think about it.
Now I'm not about to say that nice lawns and landscaping are the cure for global warming, but I do know this, they certainly help quite a bit. In case you hadn't noticed, North America is a NET ABSORBER of CO2 (That's one of dem der "greenhouse gasses" ya know). Yep, that's right, even with all our cars, our power plants, fireplaces and heavy industry, we still absorb more CO2 than we crank out. I suggest that's mainly because of our land use practices, especially our more modern ones (post WW2). We rarely let land go to "waste" in the United States. We do hold some aside and we do have some that doesn't appear to be doing anything, but the vast majority of land in the U.S. is managed in one way or another.
That management can take many different forms, it could be local and individual, as in the case of my house, which is surrounded by a green lawn in summer, regularly watered and cut so it's always growing and cranking out O2 and absorbing CO2 at a fair clip. I also spread rye grass in the winter to keep a lawn growing, then I have fruit trees, decorative cypress, some schrubbery and plenty of other decorative plants which I try to keep healty and do my best to avoid them becoming deer food (which I'll come back to later), as well as another area set aside in it's natural state to provide a bit of habitat for critters, birds and the like.
There's also the big agri-business land use and management on the other end of the scale. The United States produces ALOT of vegetation for foodstuffs, and that vegetation has a significant impact on the CO2 level. This vegetation has also been selected, domesticated and hybridized to produce a fast growing crop, maximizing both the amount of food produced and also the amount of CO2 and O2 processed and produced (not necessarily intended, but definately a benefit). We grow far more than we need as a "people" and then we sell the extra to others who don't grow quite so much because either they can't, they won't or they try and fail to produce enough to feed their own people. We also grow alot of food for fun (private gardens which hardly every outproduce commerical farms economically) and then we do strange things like grow corn in Indiana, ship it to Alabama and then spread it out in our backyards to encourage a deer population that's already over-abundant to visit our yards and eat our ryegrass, but hopefully not to eat the pansies in the front yard or kill our fruit trees (go figure).
Then we have trees. Lot's and lots of trees. The libbies are going to react to that statement and bitch and whine about logging, but that's ridiculous. Responsible logging, like that practiced in North America and most other industrialized areas of the world, is GOOD for the environment. Sure, it might be better, if we let wildfires rage out of control every few years to take out our older forests, but managing the forest seems to be a little better for all concerned. So we cut down a tree and we plant 7 in it's place, and those 7 young trees are going to process more CO2 and produce more Oxygen over a given reasonable period of time than that one older tree did. Then that tree is going to be processed into lumber for a house that's going to have a lawn and landscaping around it. So yeah, I'll say it. Logging is GOOD for the environment.
I know this is all VERY VERY simplistic, but I didn't really intend to write this at all. I just wanted to point out that just when you think the clamor about Global Warming can't get any louder or be any more insane, Mother Nature herself tosses us a curveball to just point out how little we actually do know and throw all the proconceived notions about climate change and how evil us humans are right out the window.
I also love the recent "Global Warming CAUSED by plants" info that's recently surfaced. Showing that we plainly and simply have no freaking idea what we've been talking about, are talking about or think we might be talking about.
So in short, Europe, break out the winter gear, it's probably going to continue to be a chilly one for you. As for me, I'll keep working on my lawn and hope that one day I can match my Dad's skills in cultivating the perfect patch of grass. For the rest of you out there, stop worrying so much about global warming and start concentrating on just being good to yourself and those around you, get yourself a hybrid if you're worried about it, grow some plants, blacktop that driveway instead of concrete, or vice versa (think about reflection vs. absorbsion) and stop worrying about Global Warming (which we don't really know exists anyway).
I suggest you start worrying about REAL ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS, like the nutcase in Iran who can't wait to start splitting the atom in the open atmosphere in order to bring about the 12th coming or something like that. Freaking nutcase.
How's that for a RANT!!!
Oh yeah, there's always THIS IDEA too.
PS - The above was provoked by someone who e-mailed that I hadn't been ranting enough on my blog lately. Is that good enough for ya!?!?!?!?!
December 20, 2005
What the hell???????
There's been an EARTHQUAKE in Louisana? Talk about insult to injury. I guess it wasn't that big a deal though, the affected area is made of soft alluvial deposits so there's plenty of soft wet ground to "buffer" the quake.
It is damn strange though.
The quake's epicenter was approximately halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and about eighteen miles down.
December 18, 2005
A way you can help. . .
There are quite literally thousands upon thousands of ways you can help with recovery and rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and the Great Gulf Coast that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. You could simply donate cold-hard-cash to relief organizations, you could send care packages to victims still in hotels and shelters, you could even pack up the family SUV and head down to the region and lend a hand, BUT. . . I've got an easy one for you, and one you've probably not thought of. So here it is. . .
Yes, that's right, buy shrimp. You see, just like the movie "Forrest Gump", the Hurricanes destroyed much of the Gulf Coast fishin', shrimpin' and crabbin' fleets and just like the movie, those commercial fishing boats that are left are pulling in shrimp hand over fist.
There's a problem though, people aren't buying.
Now I understand that in the immediate aftermath of the Hurricanes, prices skyrocketed as wholesalers rode out the supply shortages, many restaurants changed their shrimp sourcing from Gulf Coast suppliers to overseas suppliers to keep tasty prawns on menus and many consumers simply stopped buying.
Many facilities for processing and cold storage of seafood were destroyed during the Hurricanes, Mississippi's production and storage facilites were reduced by 50%, virtually all of New Orleans production and processing was lost (although it's coming back fast) and even Alabama had it's fleet reduced and facilities closed. Each affected state suffered losses in their fishing fleets as boats at their moorings were tossed (in some cases miles) inland.
All that's changed now as fleets and facilities come online, and now, there's a glut in the Gulf Coast shrimp and fish markets. The few processing plants that remained open are now silent, because cold storage has been maxed out and there's no place to send processed seafood (read: people aren't buying gulf seafood). Boats with full holds are forced to dump or hold up to half their catch because there's no where to safely offload and process seafood. So even with reduced capacity, demand and supply are still out of whack while Americans consume foreign seafood over Gulf Coast products.
Now far be it from me to discourage importation, exportation and global food markets, but if you want to lend support to the Gulf Region, an easy way to do it is simply to BUY MORE SHRIMP. Ask at your local grocery seafood counter "Where are you getting your shrimp from?" If they say Southeast Asia or someplace other than the Gulf Coast, ask if they have any from the Gulf, look for Gulf Coast processors in the frozen seafood section, or suggest that your local grocer source out some Gulf Coast providers for their fresh seafood. Prices are dropping rapidly as these producers try to recapture market-share and rebuild the Gulf Coast seafood industry.
With the Holiday Season upon us, we're all cooking for family and laying out the big spreads, so why not throw some Gulf Coast Shrimp in the mix and help out our Gulf Coast fisheries and shrimpers.
PS I know that some of you may say that helping out the Louisiana shrimpers, crabbers and fishermen is not really "helping after Katrina", but rest assured, it does help. Putting this industry back to work helps the economic engine in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast roar back to life. While many land based industries are clogged with traffic snarls due to damaged roads, debris and the destruction of facilities, the bounty of the gulf remains right there. Fishmen literally harvest cash from the sea and that that cash gets pumped right into the Gulf Coast economies, provided someone buys it (that's us).
Supporting the fishermen (and women) also supports a large support industry and provides tax revenues that leverage out to buy goods and provide services throughout the region. Too often people think that the best way to help with recovery is to donate cash, and that's simply untrue, re-developing the industry is much more effective a way to help the region, and the only way to re-develop the industry is to buy their products. So when you're doing your holiday grocery shopping, pick up some Gulf Coast seafood (think shrimp) and while you're at it, thow a couple of bottles of Tabasco and some Community coffee (if you can find it) in your shopping cart and remember that you're doing your part to help the Gulf Coast recover.
October 20, 2005
Boy. . . South Park wsa great last night. . . Quick Hits
MVRWC, well, they think's they're rich now. I just feel like a baby blogger growing up a bit. Thanks for the contest Beth.(fixed)
Dan is reporting that someone has posted Taylor Behl's livejournal photos and comments, I haven't really been following this at all but; I'm not feeling good about this.
Charmaine Yoest says it very politely about Tom and Katie. I generally agree.
Sister Toldja fell off the fence with regard to the Miers Nomination. I didn't pay attention to today's events in the nomination process, so I'm still on the fence until the 1st Day of the first hearing, then I may fall off, don't know.
HyScience tells us about Herceptin, and that's great news, but there's always a catch so read the whole thing. Hyscience also helped with my post today, in fact, he started the whole ball rolling.
I'd like to personally thank those linked above (and don't worrry, there are more to come, it's just alot of posts to read through) for linking or contributing to my post earlier today. Which I'll be commenting later tonight.
**Comments are closes for this entry, if you'd like to add something, contact me via email.**
Posted by JasonColeman at 7:09 PM
October 19, 2005
Blanco, clueless. . .
Though experts had warned it would take 48 hours to evacuate New Orleans, Blanco did not order a mandatory evacuation that Saturday.
“We’re going to pray that the impact will soften,” she said.
Blanco and the mayor waited until Sunday, Aug. 28 — only 20 hours before Katrina came ashore — to order a mandatory evacuation, the first of what disaster experts and Louisiana insiders say were serious mistakes by the governor.
Now as an atheist, I don't fault people for praying, it's what they do. For for Blanco to take the position that we're just "going to pray that the impact will soften" while on the other hand she's stonewalling the Feds, mis-managing the La. National Guard, sending people to shelters with no food and water and waiting until it was TOO LATE to order or even support the evacuation, is just well. . . . "Clueless".
So take a look at the video here (hopefully it'll stay up for a while), and read the whole article, then if you're so inclined I've put in a new category here on the blog, -Katrina, and put all my Katrina posts in there. Including the popular "Blanco's Insurrection" post.
Enjoy, get mad, but most of all, remember, and for goodness sakes, you people in Wilma's path, please keep a close eye on it and get out of the way.
Fact: "The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
Yep, the "slowness" of the Federal response was a MYTH.
October 11, 2005
B15A - Another Update
One of the other "things" on this blog is the "Saga of B15A". B15A is an iceberg, once the largest iceberg on Earth, and B15A had an attitude problem, specifically an attitude problem with Penguins. You see, when B15A broke off the Antarctic Ice Shelf, the currents took it to the Ross Sea, where it blocked in the "fast ice" (ice that formed each Antarctic winter and broke up and floated out to sea each Antarctic summer). The "fast ice" remained trapped in the Ross Sea and caused problems for the Penquin rookery nearby, the Penguins had to walk an extra 20km to reach open water and a source of food, and they had to do this on two inch legs.
Additional difficulties were caused by the berg with regard to the resupply of McMurdo Research Station, the berg and trapped "fast ice" prevented the traditional resupply vessels from reaching the isolated base and the small community there. A broken down icebreaker added to the problem, but where there's a will there's a way, and the U.S. and Russia sent additional icebreakers to clear a path to the base.
B15A has been biding it's time in darkness over the Antarctic winter, but now the sun is shining again and MODIS has a great image showing the berg and it's position relative to the Ross Sea.
Click for larger image
If you look in the top center of the image, you'll see a flat rectangular piece of ice within a larger field, that's B15A. You can see that the berg has moved away from the Ross Sea and shouldn't be causing a problem for the Penguins or McMurdo this year. The "fast ice" should break up and move out to sea as normal, and with a little luck, B15A will also move out to sea where it will eventually melt and raise the levels of the worlds oceans by a miniscule fraction of an inch.
So there's an update on B15A for you iceberg fans, and in case you're wondering why I keep coming back to B15A here and here and here and here and here and here, it's simply because the search phrase "B15A" has brought more visitors to this blog than any other single google search term. Which ain't saying a whole lot, but you gotta play to your audience, ya know.
September 6, 2005
Mixed Feelings. . .
I have mixed feelings about it.
On one hand, emotionally, I want to see Nagin go, his performance in dealing with Katrina has been deplorable. I hold Mayor Nagin personally responsible for the deaths of countless citizens of New Orleans. His refusal to follow the established evacuation plan for the city meant that thousands of New Orleans citizens were left behind in the city when Nagin had the ability to get them out prior to the storm hitting. I can't help but wonder what part of "Mandatory" did Mayor Nagin not understand.
On the other hand, a vacuum will exist in New Orleans if Nagin resigns. There is NO EFFECTIVE MECHANISM in the New Orleans City Charter to replace him. The charter calls for a special election within 60 days, this will prove to be completely impossible as the citizenry of New Orleans is displaced and the infrastructure necessary to conduct a special election is destroyed.
A power vacuum in New Orleans would be catastrophic for a city already reeling from a disaster. While I'd love to see Nagin go for his inability to follow the evacuation plan, for him to cut and run at this juncture would only serve to throw the city into more chaos.
There is a provision for the Mayor to appoint an "acting Mayor" in his absense, but I'm not sure that resignation meets the legal definition of "absense". New Orleans doesn't need some hotshot lawyer trying to make a name for himself taking this provision to court and further hamstringing what's left of the New Orleans civil authority.
My advice to Mayor Nagin, although it's quite certain he'll never read this, is to stick it out, suck it up, ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES, and stop blaming others for your failure. Prostrate yourself before the city and accept it's absolution.
Regardless of his failings, Nagin can still redeem himself by getting the rest of the citizenry out of the toxic soup that the city has become. Nagin needs to be pleading with the people personally and over the airwaves to leave the city for their own safety. Nagin still has the opportunity to save lives at risk, and become a leader New Orleans can find some pride in.
I want to see Nagin called to the carpet for his failings, either by admitting them himself, or having them exposed by the media or subsequent investigation. It's important that we all learn from each other's mistakes, so that when the next mayor of a major city is faced with impending disaster, he or she may think twice about going "off book" and disregarding their role in Emergency Preparedness Plans.
However, I want to make sure that New Orleans doesn't further fall into chaos, I don't think New Orleans would be well served by a second abandonment by Nagin.
Stay the course Mayor Nagin, finish the evacuation you started, and work with the rest of the nation to rebuild a slimmer, cleaner, stronger and more vibrant New New Orleans. Learn from your mistakes and take care of those who trusted you with the keys to their city, don't add insult to injury by abandoning your post a second time in the face of hardship, and allow New New Orleans to rise from the ashes of the old.
I do not forgive you for your failings, but I will, IF you accept your mistakes and learn from them.
It's doubtful that you'll be re-elected, but you said in your campaign that you wanted to build a stronger city during your tenure, here's your chance to redeem yourself and do just that, from the soggy ground up.
September 5, 2005
Thoughts on Katrina, a beginning. . . .
It's been very hard to put together something about the disaster in New Orleans. N.O. is my hometown, the place of my birth and where I came to realize who I was and what the world around me was like.
This hurricane was devastating to N.O. The city has been killed, it's quite possible that it can be resurrected, but not into the same form. I physically hurt for my friends and family that are suffering so much right now in the wake of this, this blow to my family is hard to wrap my mind around, but with time, we'll recover, like the city, and we'll all be stronger for it.
ANGER wells in me however, and it's hard to deconstruct it into something positive. I dwell on it constantly and resist the urge to lash out, instead I've been focusing on understanding the failure and breakdown of the systems and communities in the wake of the Hurricane and the second disaster of the breached levees after the storm passed.
There are many out there ready to blame President Bush. There are some that blame him for global warming, asserting that Bushco and the oil companies in the past five years have somehow cranked the pseudo-science of global warming into high gear, that his policies have somehow created more frequent and dangerous hurricanes. They don't want to acknowledge that the United States is actually a NET ABSORBER of greenhouse gasses, or that hurricane ferocity and frequency is actually on a downswing right now.
Others try to blame Bush by saying he's racist, wants black people to die and somehow delayed efforts to get the poor out of New Orleans. It doesn't matter to these people that it was actually President Bush that prompted the evacuation after local officials refused to do so, and of course they've never been comfortable with admitting that the Bush Administration is more racially diverse than any administration previous.
Still others try to blame Bush by saying that he failed to act quick enough getting federal troops into the city. I'm sorry, and you know what, I wish that Bush had dropped regular Army troops in day one, but there are certain things that have to be recognized in this situation.
First and foremost was the law forbiding posse comitatus:
Section 1385 of title 18 (commonly known as the Posse Comitatus Act) prohibits the use of the Armed Forces as a Posse comitatus to execute the laws except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.
Bush did not have the legal authority to drop federal troops or National Guard from other states into Louisiana without the request or approval of the Governor of the State of Louisiana. Governor Blanco didn't give approval until well into the third day after the levee broke. Does the left think that Bush should have played fast and loose with the law, or even downright violated it by sending in other states National Guard or Federal troops.
YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS THEY DO, because that would have been just the excuse they need to actually catch Bush doing something wrong. You can bet dollars to doughnuts that shortly after federal troops hit the ground in N.O. over the objections of the Governor, that Senator John Kerry or most probably Ted Kennedy would be calling for impeachment (the Dems aren't going to rest until they can get a Republican President impeached, regardless of the facts, so they can feel avenged for having their guy impeached).
Blaming Bush for anything related to the disaster that Katrina has become is ludicrous at this point. The President is NOT a micro-manager, and no one with any intelligence wants him to be. FEMA director Brown may have made some mistakes, and he'll probably pay for them and others that aren't his, DHS Chertof will take some heat too, and when all is played out, there may be some other administration officials that take heat rightly so and unjustly, but "blame" does not belong on the head of Bush.
But I will tell you where it belongs:
Clarence Nagin Jr., Mayor of New Orleans, if anyone deserves blame it's this worthless excuse for an elected official in a time of crisis. Mayor Nagin had to be essentially TOLD by the President of the United States that his city was in immediate danger and needed to be evacuated. Mayor Nagin, finally, called for the evacuation with less than 24 hours before the storm's landfall south of New Orleans.
Delaying the evacuation isn't all of it though. Mayor Nagin also miserably failed to implement the Hurricane Evacuation Plan for the city of New Orleans. He failed to evacuate those people that collected at city shelters via the buses he had at his disposal (ironically, within 24 hours of the levee breach, Nagin was in front of TV cameras blaming Bush for not sending buses, when he ordered the evacuation when he had over 1000 buses, that he never even tried to budge).
Click image for more info on these buses.
More buses Nagin had the authority and responsibility to use here:
When Nagin failed to follow the evacuation plan for New Orleans, he threw a HUGE monkey-wrench into the activities and responsibility of the Lousiana National Guard, who now had to shift gears to manage the masses converging on the Superdome. His failure disrupted the State of Louisiana Disaster Management officials and plans, which in turn set the State of Louisiana against the city and federal government. Nagin's failure left a gap between the First Responders on the ground in New Orleans and the Federal efforts. When Nagin abandoned all the plans in place, he sent the city into chaos, the National Guard had to play catch-up, the Fire and EMS officials had no plan left to follow, the Police became incoherent and simply disintegrated.
Nagins failure travelled throughout the city, state and all the all the way to Washington D.C. His failure caused a communications breakdown and total absence of civil authority, leaving the city in the dark to the outside world and the outside world clueless about the real situation inside the city.
Nagins failure is as inexcusable as it is tragic, but no doubt, he'll be defended by the left, as will Blanco. The fact that Nagin had the means and opportunity to save thousands of lives will be ignored, the facts that Blanco broke down and became totally incompetent, and at times counter-productive will be glossed over. The Robert Kennedy Jr.'s of the world will blame the republicans and global warning regardless, and the Michael Moore's will claim that we don't have enough troops to deal with this because they are all over in Iraq, despite the fact that less that 13% of the US military might is deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
The Left in general will blame Bush, they will develop conspiracy theory after conspiracy, about how this was all a plot to kill off the poor, or that it was some secret weather manipulation plot, or that it's all just another way to get Haliburton more contracts, or that somehow this is all a plot against the black man. It's ridiculous really, but easy to see when you have Oprah wanting overflights along with the NAACP, or when Sean Penn shows up with a boat that almost sinks (through his own incompetance for not putting the drain plug in) and a motor that won't start, that Katrina in the eyes of the left is not a tragedy, they view it as an opportunity.
Go ahead Lefties, blame Bush, harp over and over how it's all Bushitler's fault that he created the hurricane, then broke the levees, then plotted to get rid of a few thousand poor people. Keep ranting your pink heads off, keep being chicken little and looking for your equivalent of the blue dress, we don't buy your "false but accurate" thinking anymore.
Over here to the right of center, we'll keep on winning elections and managing the nation.
Back on topic, Clarence Nagin Jr. killed New Orleans, just as sure as he were the hurricane itself, he should never be forgiven for leaving the citizenry of New Orleans literally out in the rain when he had the ability and the assets in place to save them, and subsequently, save the city itself.
Posted by JasonColeman at 10:34 PM
It's long past time to choose. . .
Read the whole thing, come back later if you have to, but read the whole thing.
Then please take note of this:
In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor.
As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.
While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods - humanity.
"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
July 20, 2005
Raving Penquins and icebergs. . . .
One of the bigger traffic drivers here, is the iceberg B-15A. I've written about it here, here, here, here, and here. I'm not sure though, if people are interested in the iceberg, or the chance that I may post more penquin pictures.
So? In order to satisfy both camps, here's an updated picture of B-15A (enhanced thermal image, dark equals really damn freaking cold, light equals just plain cold):
You can see B-15A, which looks like an aircraft carrier deck, has moved up and away from the Ross Sea. Currents may bring the iceberg back down to block the sea again this Antarctic summer, but it looks like the danger to the penguins (which was overblown in the first place) has passed.
You can tell the penquin in THIS VIDEO is excited about B-15A's departure. I never knew Penquins were ravers????
June 20, 2005
Aw man, this just sucks. . .
Viruses are downright scary. I could go on and on about how scary they really are, how we're making their job eaiser (which for many viruses, their job is soley to kill us humans) and destroying our own natural defenses against them, but I won't.
I will however leave you with two items from Nature Magazine.
First is this segment on Avian Flu, they're dedicating the whole next issue to this.
Second is a fake blog that they set up to describe a an theoretical epidemic.
I guarantee that I'm gonna go to bed now and have nightmares about this.
March 30, 2005
Icebergs and sunsets
Strangely enough, the one solitary thing that has driven more people to this blog from the "outside" (meaning google searches or stumblers from people I don't know either in the real world or online) is the iceberg B15A.
I'm not exactly sure what prompted me to first mention it back on December 16th, but I'd read some articles about it when it originally broke off an became the "world's biggest iceberg". I can remember conversations and ponderings about the potential for icebergs to provide water to irrigate the world's deserts, change local climates and other harnessing schemes to make use of thes bo-hee-muths of frozen fresh water floating in the briny sea.
Over the weeks and months, I've periodically checked back on B15A and it's antics as it played havoc with penguin colonies and even threatened (not really, but it made for good news) the resupply of McMurdo Station on the icy southern continent. I've even made an online acquaintence with Brien Barnett, who was the editor of The Arctic Sun, the newspaper for McMurdo, and we've exchanged emails about B15A and life on that big block of ice known as Antarctica (he was kind enough to explain what "Fast Ice" actually is and the real story of the penguin's long walks on 2 inch legs). More about him later.
So here's a picture from two days ago showing the position of B15A, you may want to go back and look at some of the earlier posts about this big berg to get some perspective if you're new to the blog or just have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. If you're too lazy to look at the earlier posts, B15A is the large block near the center of the photo that looks similar to an aircraft carrier.
As you look at the picture, notice that the Ross Sea "Fast Ice" (the ice that forms each winter then breaks up each summer) is solidifying once again as winter takes hold down there. Most of this "Fast Ice" breaks up and floats out to sea in the summer, this year however, this ice was bound up by the presence of B15A and remained in the Ross Sea. Now that it's freezing up again, it seems to be pushing the big berg up and away from the continent. However, if you look closer to the right side of B15A, you can see that more ice is forming up and will be hampering the exit of the berg. What the berg will do is anyone's guess, but thanks to modern technology we can keep tabs on it and follow it's progress. I'll continue to post about it until it melts away to nothing or gets out of the available satellite views.
But what about sunsets??? Well, I did say I'd get back to Brien Barnett later didn't I. You see, Brien was the editor of The Arctic Sun. The paper doesn't publish during the winter because the station is basically abandoned of personnel when the Arctic winter sets in. This year however, our faithful correspondent has secured employment at the South Polar Station, where he's now an assistant cook or something like that. I'm sure he has a few hospitality electives in his C.V. that are serving him well now. Brien will be spending the winter at the South Pole (how cool is that) and just the other day, those intrepid souls down south got to watch the sun set for the winter. He captured a nice photo of the event and put it on his blog. Which I must add is an excellent read (much better than mine, both in style and content). Be sure to take a look at his photos and videos and some first hand accounts of life WAY down under.
Posted by JasonColeman at 3:04 PM
February 9, 2005
It's been a little while, so I thought it might be time to look back at what's happening with B15A, that rogue iceberg that's been killing off the Antarctic penguin population. (Ok, that's a little alarmist. The iceberg is causing problems, but it's not anything unusual. This process repeats itself at least once a decade.)
The big news is that U.S. and Russian icebreaker ships have cleared a seaway to McMurdo station and a U.S. fuel tanker ship and a cargo vessel have made it to dock down at that southernmost continent. Their arrival ensures that the scientific community will have the supplies needed to make it through the Antarctic winter, namely the food, equipment and fuel they need prior to the "travel blackout" that the harsh winter conditions mandate. (Air travel to Antarctica in the Winter is basically for medical emergencies only.)
The annual pre-winter clearing was made more difficult by the B15A iceberg that ran aground a few weeks ago and which has been playing havoc with the "fast ice" that builds up in the Ross Sea. This ice builds up every winter and then breaks up every summer to float out to sea. With B15A parked in the sea-ocean boundary, fast ice that broke up was unable to make it's way out to sea. This ice jamms up the Ross Sea and adds to next years collection of "fast ice" making transit to McMurdo even more difficult than it already is.
Ice clearing operations were made more difficult by the loss of one of the U.S. Coast Guards icebreakers to regular routine maintenance. The Polar Sea is currently in drydock, leaving all the work down south to the Polar Star. Furthermore, the Polar Star had recent problems that required her to be docked for repairs for approximately two weeks. Luckily, the Russian icebreaker Krasin was able to be contracted to conduct icebreaking operations with the repaired Polar Star.
So the Antarctic bases are resupplied, but the Penguins still have to walk 80km (on two inch legs) to reach the ocean. Looks like the well dressed bird population is going to take a hit. It will recover though, no worries there.
Here's what you've been waiting for (or maybe not), a new picture of B15A:
There's some light cloud cover, but you can see the build up of fast ice in the Ross Sea being blocked by the aircraft carrier shaped berg.
Older photos are also in this post.
Posted by JasonColeman at 4:36 PM
January 30, 2005
That damn berg again
Well it's time that I give people an update about that big ole iceberg B15A that's been terrorizing penguins and people both down Antarctic way. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this post and this post that give a brief rundown on what's been happening.
Then you should probably read this article from The New Scientist, that brings us up to speed. I forwarded the article down to someone actually there on the scene (the editor of the McMurdo Research Station newspaper) for his comments:
Hey Jason .... read the article, it's pretty right on ... I noticed one thing in it regarding the penguins plight that actually is true ... the bergs changed the currents, which seems to have led to a large amount of "fast ice" (sea ice that is connected to land). That has meant that the penguins have to leave the water earlier, stop feeding earlier and then return across that same patch of ice once their chicks hatch or the winter starts and they have to leave. That means that they probably won't get a chance to eat for several months. Penguins that summer at colonies close to the ice edge probably will be fine. Those with nests near Scott Base are some 80km from the edge and walked the entire way, on two-inch legs. They probably won't make it back and will starve to death on the return trip. On the far side of Ross Island from McMurdo is a place called Cape Crozier. The penguins there have had a hard time because the bergs and bergy bits have continually spiralled around in that area and have both swept up plankton and other nutrients or caused them not to grow. That kills the food chain at the beginning and eventually there's less fish for the penguins to eat. That means they have to spend more time hunting, probably eat less and can't care for their chicks as long. If one of the mates dies, the other will stay with the nest until right before they starve to death, then they will abandon the chicks. These feeding-starving cycles have been playing out for the last 3-5 years and probably repeats many times over a century.
So that seems to be the current situation down there with the big berg, that bully block of ice is killing off the cuddly little penguins. Damn that sucks!
I'd be failing if I didn't give you a current satellite photo of the scene, so here it is (taken on the 29th and courtesy of NASA):
Posted by JasonColeman at 4:31 PM
January 18, 2005
The Ice Dance - Collision of B15A
I've blogged twice now about that wayward havoc-wreaking iceberg, B-15A, first when it was menacing penquins and researchers in the McMurdo Sound, and again when it was threatening to put on a show by colliding with an "ice tongue" extending from a larger glacier. Well the "show" has commenced, and I've pulled some satellite images down an put them into a format where this extraordinary event is easier to witness, please follow on into the extended entry to see the "Ice Dance".
Oh yeah, don't miss the animation at the end, I contacted a photojournalist down at McMurdo and he was gracious enough to put it up for us.
The "Collision" as viewed from space.
All Images courtesy of NASA's MODIS Rapid Response System.
The first image we have was taken on January 3rd, B15A is clearly visible and looks remarkably like a very large American-style Aircraft Carrier.
UPDATE: It should be noted that in reality, no "collision" has taken place. Rather the presense of B15A is altering currents, which is, in turn, causing this activity. Thanks Brien Barnett.
Images from Jan. 4-8 are obscured by cloud cover and don't really give much indication of what's going on, but I won't leave you hanging, if you want to see the raw images from NASA, here they are, Jan. 4, Jan. 5, Jan. 6, Jan. 7, Jan. 8.
Then on the 9th there's a break in the cloud cover and we can see that the show has begun, through the clouds at the top left edge of the berg, you can see where it's altered the currents in the area and is busting up the "fast ice" or "sea ice" that forms in the winter. I've been told that this is not the ice shelf, which is thousands of feet thick but rather this "fast ice" that's ten's of feet thick. This ice forms every winter and breaks up in the Antarctic summer (now) it's possible that B15A has altered the currents in the region keeping this ice close to shore in the sound.
More cloud cover on the 10th, but you can still see more of the "fast ice" is breaking up.
Clouds on the 11th, but here is the raw image.
On the 12th we get a break in the clouds, and the picture is quite stunning.
On the 13th, we see the "tongue" more clearly and the fractures beneath the tongue as B15A approaches.
Clouds move in on the 14th, but luckily, the snapshot from space is just before the clouds obscure the site. Keep in mind that B15A is 80 MILES LONG.
Images from the next three days shows further break up of the "fast ice". It also shows part of the ice tongue beginning to break off.
Finally, today's image looks as if the currents are changing and B15A is starting to move away a bit. The majority of the tongue seems to have dodged a rather big bullet for now. It should be noted that the smaller round berg that is breaking away from the tongue has been named B16J.
The danger to this ice structure isn't over yet, and I'll keep watching it. NASA says that the currents in the area will cause this process to repeat itself as B15A moves away only to circle back. I guess B15A is just eager to give this tongue a lashing (horrible pun, I know).
I'll update this entry over the next few days or until the action is over. Ain't it cool tho'!
UPDATE: Brien Barnett, a photojournalist down in Antarctica and I have exchanged a few brief emails and he's providing a Quicktime Video of the MODIS images and the journey of B15A. Click here for the movie.
Posted by JasonColeman at 1:26 PM
January 14, 2005
She's Gonna Blow!!!!!
If you don't have one eye on the major news channels today, you may want to. The Prado dam in California is threatening to burst. Should it decide to let go, there are 500 homes immediately affected and the pictures will be quite incredible (and of course, tragic).
So flip on the news and hold a good thought for our brothers and sisters in Corona, Ca.
On the bright side? At least the California drought is over.
Posted by JasonColeman at 9:24 AM
January 10, 2005
B15A Causing problems again
Well, B15A is at it again, this time it's threatening a glacier (actually the ice tongue of a glacier) with catastrophic destruction.
Ok, Ok, I'm putting too much dramatic emphasis on this event. However, it's kinda cool to watch this huge iceberg running amok around down there wreaking havoc, terrorizing penquins and giving everyone what could prove to be a spectacular show, again and again. It seems that if the model holds true and the collision does occur it'll probably happen again and again, until B15A is obliterated.
Click the links above, watch the animated GIF's and marvel at the intricate Antarctic dance. The big .tif files at the bottom of the article are cool too.
Posted by JasonColeman at 6:52 PM
January 4, 2005
Yay for the Dutch
Posted by JasonColeman at 4:48 PM
December 31, 2004
Tsunami Questions for Burma
First off, let me just bitch-slap all the America haters and point out that US Aid to Tsunami disaster areas is now up to $350 million. I said that we'd be putting more in the aid package and we have. I'll even say that we're not done yet and more will be added by the US government.
Now, what's up with Burma? Oh sorry, Myanmar. No, I'm gonna call it Burma from here on out. It seems that the official death toll in Burma released by the military junta is only 90 people. I think that's just fantastic - IF IT'S TRUE. I'm not the only one that has a hard time believing that with many villages completely wiped out that only 90 people have perished. I'm afraid that the junta in power in Burma is too unstable to conduct an honest examination of the crisis and can't admit that they are going to need help rebuilding.
Posted by JasonColeman at 1:06 PM
November 22, 2004
The Kyoto Push
I know it's not popular to say this, but I have to. The KYOTO ACCORDS are a bad idea, propagated on bad science and will serve to be a destructive force for the world.
What? Wait a minute Jason, what are you saying? How can you be against the environment, how can you rant against the Kyoto Accords?
The examination of Kyoto has to start at the question "Why Kyoto?"
The Accords were suggested, obstensibily, in the hopes that the industrialized nations could establish an "industrial status quo" with regard to the emmission of so called "greenhouse gasses." The next step is the reduction of gas emmissions worldwide. While this is a noble effort and certainly one worth considering, the true motives and reasons are more complex.
If the true goal were the reduction of greenhouse gasses, the accords would have addressed the unfettered slash and burn practices of the rainforests. Only lip service is given to this issue in the accords. tens of thousands of acres of rainforest in equatorial regions are decimated daily in the third world. The forest is removed to create pastureland that remains fertile for a brief time then the thin topsoil washes away creating landscapes that resemble the surface of the moon. NOTE: The rainforests are the #1 converter of the most evil of the greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide, into oxygen, which is considered to be a "safe" gas. Rather than keep the ecological scrubbers natural to the planet, the Kyoto accords simply blame the industrialized nations for the problem, and create ticking time bombs of pollution in the third world.
While the industrialized nations are ordered to reduce emissions, third world nations are allowed, even encouraged to up their emission levels. A step further allows developing nations to "sell" their surplus emission allotments to other nations so they can remain inside the agreed upon levels. This is a bad idea on it's face, and even more insidious when you look behind the curtain.
The Kyoto Accords are condemning developing nations to pre-idustrialized status. Emission brokering will become the next "oil-for-food" fiasco, as third world potentates and dictators will sell off the economic future of their countries to larger nations who will in turn promise hard currency, manufactured goods and perhaps even kickbacks and military/economic development scenarios.
To top it all off? The science is bad. There's no concusive evidence that the planet is warming. In fact, for every scientific and anecdotal study that says the planet is warming, there's a counter study that says it's cooling.
The fact is that we don't know enough about what's going on with the world. Most of the data used to support global warming is coming from data collected in relative proximity to population centers. Put 10 people in a small room for an hour without any outside source of air conditioning, wait an hour and see what the temperature does. Or you could lay an acre of bright white cement and then put a thermometer in the center and locate another 50 ft from the slab and compare the temperature readings. In both cases you'll see that population and development increases local temperature.
Now get on a boat and travel to the center of any ocean. Drop a bouy with a thermometer on it and study those results. Yep, you've guessed it, the temperatures away from population centers are actually going down decade after decade.
The simple common sense truth is that we have no idea what's really going on with the warming and cooling of the earth. The Earth has been around longer than most people can conceive of. We have lots of theory and conjecture and even some sound scientific hypothesis about the mechanics of our environment, but we don't have anything that we can look at as fact. We're playing a whole new game with mother nature and given the size and scope of the playground, it's doubtful at this juncture that we're able to even field a team that can play with the old mother, let alone beat her at her own game.
I'm proud of the Clinton administration's initial obstructionist tactics when Kyoto started to turn into pop science. I'm even more proud of the Bush administrations' refusal to continue with the process in Kyoto. The popular opinion influences were turning against the demonstrated science. Any suggestion from NASA or any other scientific body that the Earth was actually cooling in some studies was met with jeers and attacks on the presenters, howling protests from eco-warriors and vicious personal attacks on the presenters.
Faced with the opposition science, the Kyoto group attacked the US, saying that "of course the world's largest polluter would present such 'manipulation' of commonly held opinion." Yes, the Kyoto signatories agreed that the Accords were based on "OPINION" not fact. The group looked at a political situation without regard to the science.
Of course cars are bad, but so is burning the rainforest, of course polluting coal fired electric plants are bad, but so are volcanos (which actually cool the planet btw). The simple truth is that all the money being poured into Kyoto based programs aren't being supported by scientific discoveries, they are based on pop science and politics. The Kyoto Accords are more about the redistribution of wealth on a global scale than they are about "fixing" the planet. A planet I add, that may not need fixing.
Rather than pouring money into an unknown "green hole", I suggest that we continue to fund and even increase funding for "true" scientific study of the history of the global climate. Lets get the ball rolling on Arctic and Antarctic ice core projects, lets get some more satellites into space to conduct a detailed planetary temperature study, lets approach the problem with common sense solutions that address the real issues rather than slapping band-aids on non-existant cuts and saying that we cured cancer.
Pollution is bad, we need to continue the development of hybrid vechicles of all types (here's a hybrid SUV), we need to help the developing nations meet their ecologic and energy needs without having to pass through the dark-ages of our own industrial revolution. We need to actively work with the third world to exploit, solar, wind, wave, water and geotherm energy production so they don't have to cut down rainforests for firewood, or burn noxious coal. We need to let industrialized nation's agribusiness interests enter into emerging markets to bring effective soil management practices worldwide. And we need to bring a new "Global Corps of Engineers" into being to work to correct and manage many of the worlds largest ecosystems for their effective long term stability.
For milenia, mankind has worked in harmony with nature, and nature has worked with mankind to provide for the development of the most successful species ever to move across the planet. We've integrated ourselves into every corner of the planets ecosphere, we've harnessed the resources and found the logical extentions of what the planet has to offer us; we moved from buring dung to burning wood, from wood to coal, coal to oil, oil to nuclear, then with this surplus, we've explored solar, wind, water, wave and geotherm technology. All of these sources of energy are a continuum of process. We'll continue to harness new and less polluting sources of energy as we progress.
Throw money at this process! Don't throw money toward hamstringing the economic drivers of the world economy; don't throw money to encourage development of "dirty" technology in the third world so they can "live up to" their quotas. Finally, throw money at those efforts that will give us a deeper understanding of what's actually going on, so we can have scientific fact on our side as we move forward rather than protests and propaganda that only assert that the sky is falling.
The Earth is not a political play-toy, it's our home. It's been around longer than we have, and will be around long after we're gone. We've certainly had our effect on it, but the ecosystem has the ability to shrug us off any any time if it so sees fit. We're going to have ice ages and periods of global warming again, and again, and again, it's better that we try to understand what these processes are rather than try to think we somehow have the ability to control it. Lets concentrate on getting off the rock before it shrugs us off before we try to start figuring out how to reverse ice ages or air condition the planet.
It's just common sense.
Posted by JasonColeman at 1:11 PM