Thursday, July 31, 2008

Missing Hiker
This time in the Sierra's.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office said retired Air National Guard Lt. Col. James Arthur, 67, suffered health problems that made the search more urgent.

The search, now covering five square miles, initially was delayed because Arthur told family members Monday he was going to Stars Lakes, but his truck was found miles away at the trailhead to Iron Lakes in the rugged high Sierra Nevada of eastern Madera County, officials said.

Summer Job Does Not Pay Off
While police and rescue workers were searching for Lance Leage, they found 3,900 marijuana plants. The Mr Leage was not associated with the growing operation. Police estimate the plants to be worth $ 3,500 each. Authorities found a campsite but not the individuals responsible.
Putting It Together
Paul Krugman

As we all know, the Bush administration essentially brushed aside all notion of due process. It locked up and tortured people it said were “enemy combatants”; it engaged in warrantless wiretapping; and so on.

We weren’t supposed to worry our pretty little heads about this, because we were supposed to take it as a given that these were people we could trust not to abuse their power.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department was interviewing job candidates, and asking,

What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?

In other words, there was a combination of power without oversight and a deeply creepy cult of personality (which was obvious long before we got the latest specifics.)

I think we were lucky to get out of this with democracy more or less intact.

A better article about Karl Meltzer who is going to attempt a speed record of the Appalachian Trail.
Running the Appalachian Trail won't be a walk in the park by any means. Meltzer says about 2,000 of the 2,200 miles are rough and rocky, more difficult to navigate than the smooth trails he knows in Utah and the West.
That's partly why he chose the trail.
"It's not necessarily running hard, it's a lot of hiking. The [trail] is technical, it's hard, it's hilly, and it's not going to work that way. It's time spent on your feet just moving forward," Meltzer said.

Best of luck to you Karl!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Melting
An ice sheet broke off the ice shelf in the arctic.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Giant sheets of ice totaling almost eight square miles broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said on Tuesday.

Temperatures in large parts of the Arctic have risen far faster than the global average in recent decades, a development that experts say is linked to global warming.

The ice broke away from the shelf on Ward Hunt Island, an small island just off giant Ellesmere Island in one of the northernmost parts of Canada.[...]

Ellesmere Island was once home to a single enormous ice shelf totaling around 3,500 square miles. All that is left of that shelf today are five much smaller shelves that together cover just under 400 square miles.

Its going fast.

Oh Yes!
From Steve Benen
Fournier was also one of the journalists who, at a gathering of the nation’s newspaper editors, extended John McCain a box of his favorite donuts (”Oh, yes, with sprinkles!” McCain said).

John Sprinkles McCain.
Speed Attempt Of Appalachian Trail
Another fast kid is going to see how fast he can run the Appalachian Trail.
PARK CITY, Utah, Jul 30, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- At 5 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2008, at Mt. Katahdin, Maine, athlete Karl Meltzer will begin his attempt to break the Appalachian Trail through-run speed record. To be successful, he must run 2,174 miles in 47 days - an average of more than 46 miles per day - over some of the roughest terrain and during the most sweltering, buggiest season on the Eastern Seaboard.
Not my thing. Hike your own hike, but remember, everyone will be judging you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

They Love Him!

Sign the Media Matters pledge here. Go on you know you want to.
Earl Shaffer Shelter To Be Moved

The Appalachian Trail Society Museum is going to move this shelter in order to preserve it for the future.

Hikers from all over Pennsylvania will gather this Saturday for a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Earl Shaffer's pioneering Appalachian Trail thru-hike and to help preserve the Earl Shaffer Shelter.

Shaffer was a York County native, a 1935 graduate of William Penn Senior High School and World War II U.S. Army veteran. He achieved international notoriety in 1948, when he made the first solo thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which then stretched 2,050 miles from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Shaffer died on May 5, 2002, at age 83.

The Earl Shaffer Shelter is a three-sided primitive shelter that is the last remaining one built by Shaffer that is intact and still being used by overnight hikers.

It is being preserved by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society and will be the featured artifact in its collection. The ceremony is being held in conjunction with the club maintaining the shelter, the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club. Also sponsoring the event is the Earl Shaffer Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving his writings, poems and songs.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the shelter site along the Appalachian Trail, three miles north of the crossing of Route 225.

There is a nice shelter next to the one being removed. The water is a long way down off the ridge though.

Some People Should Not Be Cops

At the non violent critical mass bicycle rally, a cyclist is taken out by a cop and charged with resisting arrest.
The Old Joke
I do not have to out run the bear, I just have to out run you. If you run Track at he University of Alaska maybe you can out run the bear.
Home prices dropping.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.9 percent in May from April, bringing the measure down 15.8 percent from May 2007.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the monthly and annual drops would be 1 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

And still dropping.

Monday, July 28, 2008

John McCain is Really Old
Energy Efficiency
Joseph Romm at Slate
While a few states have energy-efficiency strategies, none matches what California has done. In the past three decades, electricity consumption per capita grew 60 percent in the rest of the nation, while it stayed flat in high-tech, fast-growing California. If all Americans had the same per capita electricity demand as Californians currently do, we would cut electricity consumption 40 percent. If the entire nation had California's much cleaner electric grid, we would cut total U.S. global-warming pollution by more than a quarter without raising American electric bills. And if all of America adopted the same energy-efficiency policies that California is now putting in place, the country would never have to build another polluting power plant.

California gives utilities incentives if its utilities help consumers conserve. States would have to regulate building, municipalities, and industry to be energy efficient. Republicans will fight every regulation to make energy efficient products mandatory. It will take fights in every stat legislature. The utilities have been paying off politicians for years.

I recently testified at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on nuclear power and spoke about how alternative technologies, particularly energy efficiency, were a much better bet for the country. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said this was "poppycock," and then asked all the pro-nuclear witnesses to address the question, "If nuclear power is so uncompetitive, why are so many utilities building reactors?"

Voinovich apparently has forgotten about the massive subsidies he himself voted to give the nuclear industry in 2005. He seems to be unaware that states like Florida allow utilities to sharply raise electric rates years in advance of a nuclear plant delivering even a single electron to customers. If you could do that same forward-pricing with energy efficiency, we would never need to build another polluting plant.

Although he is a senior member of the Senate and a powerful voice on energy and climate issues, Voinovich doesn't seem to know the first thing about the electricity business; namely, that a great many utilities have a huge profit incentive to build even the most expensive power plants, since they can pass all costs on to consumers while retaining a guaranteed profit. But they have a strong disincentive from investing in much less costly efforts to reduce electricity demand, since that would eat into their profits.

The next president must challenge the public service commission in every state to allow utilities to receive the same return on energy efficiency as they are allowed to receive on generation. That single step could lead the country the furthest in solving our ever-worsening climate and energy problems.

Via Susie.
Yosemite Fires

Yosemite Fires, originally uploaded by mikematthews.

The fires are getting close to Yosemite and have shut off power to the park.

(07-28) 04:00 PDT Mariposa -- A 26,000-acre wildfire raged out of control Sunday night in steep and rugged canyons 12 miles west of Yosemite, destroying 12 homes and threatening the tiny town of Midpines as firefighters braced for volatile weather conditions during the coming days.

The fire, burning just northwest of Midpines and 2 miles northeast of the town of Mariposa, forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes, threatened thousands more homes, caused a power outage in the Yosemite Valley, and was threatening the water supply for the Mariposa Utility District, authorities said.

There is no danger in the park.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Conservative Media
Frank Rich in the LA Times.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

If they added the cable networks the numbers would be far more biased towards the republican.
Electric Prices going Up
Electricity has always been a cheap form of energy. But...
New York - Rising energy prices are now squeezing consumers from a different direction: their utility bills

Consumers from California to New York are facing rate increases of as much as 30 percent. Average homeowners' electric bills are now heading towards $70 to $80 a month in some states. And low- and middle-income residents are having trouble paying their bills as evidenced by a large increase in disconnect notices.

"Electricity's been cheap for a long time, it's just catching up," says Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association in Washington.

On a national basis, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that electric bills will rise 5.2 percent this year. But next year, they're expected to rise 9.8 percent.

With gas and coal getting more and more expensive, solar and wind are looking better and better. When are we going to start harnessing the geothermal energy in the Pacific Northwest?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Missing Hiker
Near Atascadero in San Luis Obispo. It does not sound good.

The 42-year-old man who may be from Morro Bay was last seen around 1:30 p.m. by a friend he was hiking with near the Cerro Alto Campground.

The man was wearing flip flops, board shorts and sunglasses when the two became separated on a trail, sheriff’s officials said.

The friend found the man’s shirt with blood on it. Sheriff’s officials found at least one of the man’s flip-flops near a ravine.

Lets hope he is alright.

Update: Still searching but has been identified.

Sheriff’s Department officials have identified the hiker reported missing this afternoon near the Cerro Alto Campground outside Atascadero as Lance Erik Leage of Morro Bay.

Update: A body was found Sunday at 2:00 Pacific time. Has not been officially identified.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Sad News
The body of a missing hiker was found in Georgia.
The body of Judy Payne, the Rock Spring woman who has been missing since Monday, was found late Thursday afternoon in Cloudland Canyon State Park in Dade County.

Officials believe she fell accidently to her death down a 200- to 250-foot cliff into a gorge.

According to Dade Sheriff Patrick Cannon, the body was sent to a GBI lab in Atlanta for cause of death and official identification.

Dozens of rescuers had been searching since Tuesday for Payne, who was last seen Monday morning when she left for work.

Via Hiker Hell.
My condolences to her friends and family.
Tengrain Presents
The Mad Dog Follies. It is a hoot go on over and take a gander.
Media Matters
Jamison Foster

Even while carrying McCain's water, media worry they aren't doing enough for him

John McCain complaining about media coverage is a little like an oil company complaining about profit margins: hard to believe, and even harder to feel much sympathy.

This is, after all, a politician who has referred to the press as his "base," and a politician about whom MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has said "every last one of them [reporters] would move to Massachusetts and marry John McCain if they could." As Eric Alterman and George Zornick recently explained in The Nation, "no candidate since John F. Kennedy, and perhaps none since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has enjoyed such cozy relations with the press."

But the coziness of that relationship has become increasingly one-sided in recent months, as McCain and his campaign lash out at the media, who then redouble their efforts to please the Arizona senator.

Read it all. It ain't pretty.

Oregon Coast Trail
A nice article about the trail and a man who is trying to preserve the coast of Oregon.
Near there, he was able to catch a boat ride across the Nestucca River - “one of the trials of the trail,” he said. He cited connecting across bays and rivers as among the most difficult obstacles on the hike, such as wading across Sand Lake and hitting the right tide so he could manage to make it waist-deep in sea water.

LePage said the 400-mile trek includes 200 miles of beach, 150 miles of trail and 50 miles of missing links. One of the first major missing links he has come across was at the 100-mile mark in Cascade Head at the Salmon River near Three Rocks Road, where there is no connection to Lincoln City.

“Anyone who has had to walk Highway 101 knows it's pretty narrow and not particularly safe, so we consider that a missing link,” he said of a key area that demands attention to truly complete the trail for the next generation of hikers. “We don't consider the Oregon Coast Trail walking Highway 101. That's not a trail, that's a road.”

Well its mostly done. Kind of like the California Coastal Trail. Add Washington's coast and you have the West Coast Trail.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!

A hiker was attacked by a bear on her way back to her lodge.

A brown bear attacked an employee of the Kenai Princess Lodge in Cooper Landing late Wednesday night.

The victim, Abby Sisk, 21, of Ogden, Utah, was returning home after a hike when the bear attacked, coming out of the woods just 25 yards from the lodge, Beth Ipsen spokeswoman for Alaska State Troopers, said. Soldotna dispatch received the 911 call at 10:58 p.m.

The bear, described as a male standing seven to eight feet tall and weighing between 500 and 800 pounds, dragged Sisk for a few feet until Wasilla resident Robert VinZant, a guest at the lodge, scared it away. According to Ipsen, VinZant heard screaming and when he ran to the window, saw the bear on top of Sisk with her head in its jaws.

The picture above is in the town of Coopers Landing, not of the resort.

Codpiece Delusion
What Digby said. Her finish is perfect.
McCain is just like George W. Bush, only old.

Northern Lights

Northen Lights, originally uploaded by jonrr.

Scientists have found what causes the Northern Lights.

Writing in the journal Science, the scientists said on Thursday that explosions of magnetic energy occurring a third of the way between Earth and the moon drive the sudden brightening of the Northern Lights and Southern Lights.[...]

Auroral displays are associated with the solar wind -- electrically charged particles continuously spewing outward from the sun. Earth's magnetic field lines reach far out into space as they store energy from the solar wind.

The researchers said that as two magnetic field lines come close together due to the storage of energy from the sun, a critical limit is reached and the lines reconnect, causing magnetic energy to be turned into kinetic energy and heat. The release of this energy sparks the auroral flare-ups.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sad To Hear
A hiker dies in Tennessee.

A hiking trip at the Old Stone Fort State Park turned into a tragedy Wednesday.

According to Investigator Danny Ferrell of the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, a 47-year old man was walking with his girlfriend around 5 p.m. They came upon the Big Falls area of the park, where the man apparently slowed down.

fter being reassured that he was OK, his girlfriend walked ahead of him, only to hear a splash a few minutes later. She discovered he fell into the water, tried to remove him, and called 911.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Missing Hiker
In Colorado.

According to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Patrick Higgins, 52, of Maryland, began to hike by himself at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

He was scheduled to return later that evening, but never showed up.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services and Larimer County Search and Rescue responded to the area known as Hell’s Canyon near Estes Park to begin the search. They were unable to locate Higgins.

Today, Larimer County Emergency Services, Civil Air Patrol, Larimer County Search and Rescue and Rocky Mountain Rescue of Boulder will be on scene to continue the search with up to 30 rescuers.

Hopefully he will make it out OK.

Update: Good news,

A Colorado Air National Guard helicopter was able to fly closer. They saw a man waving his arms and wearing clothes matching the ones worn by Higgins.

They couldn't land or drop a rescue hoist because of the steep terrain.

Two rescuers hiked into the canyon and confirmed Higgins' identity. He was hungry, dehydrated and exhausted.

Higgins was given food and water before hiking to a place where the helicopter could land.

They Want To Fail
Ford has a car coming out in Europe that gets 63 mph. They are not planing on selling the car in the US yet. Why?
The ECOnetic Fiesta would undoubtedly be a big hit in the USA (especially with the biodiesel crowd), but unfortunately, Ford will only sell them in Europe for now. They have plans to bring the Fiesta to the US market, but probably not before about a year and a half (come on!). There's also a chance that other Euro-models will come to the North-American market under the Mercury brand, probably manufactured in re-tooled truck and SUV factories.

It would sell like hot cakes.
More Infrastructure
More utilities are getting together with electric car makers to set standards.
That's why GM, along with the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and 30+ electric utilities from 37 US states and from Canada have formed a coalition to address these issues.[...]
If this collaboration is truly open and well-intentioned, lets hope that other carmakers and utilities will join so that the introduction of plug-in vehicles won't be delayed by standards wars (like Betamax vs. vhs, or Blu Ray vs. HD-DVD, with consumers waiting for a winner to emerge). Of course it wouldn't be quite as bad as with media formats, but it could still cause problems and delays.

Priest Off!
Glacier Peak
Missing hiker should be rescued today.
The hiker has been instructed to stay put and rescuers should be able to reach him today, Rochon said. He had food and shelter for the night and was not injured.

Search teams were hoping Wednesday afternoon that the man would quit moving, Rochon said.

"We can find you if you sit still. We can't find a moving target," he said.

The man, 28, apparently lost his map and was navigating using a compass and a global positioning system. He was believed to be at the 7,000-foot level of the volcanic peak, which stands about 10,500 feet in eastern Snohomish County.
Update: He has been found and will walk out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ouch !
Hiker attacked by bear in California.
Wardens set a trap for the bear at the spot where the woman, hiking with her two dogs, was attacked Tuesday, and they used hound dogs in their hunt for the animal, said Kevin Brennan , a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game.

When the bear is caught, it will be euthanized, he said.

One of the hound dogs used in the search had an altercation with a bear Tuesday night, but it was unknown if it was the same bear that attacked the woman. The dog was not seriously injured and the bear was not captured, Brennan said.

The woman has now undergone 10 hours of surgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and is expected to recover, her neighbor told television reporters.

The injured woman was identified by the neighbor as Allena Hansen, 57, who owns property either on or near where the attack took place Tuesday, about four miles north of the town of Piute.

Lets hope she recovers well. It is rare that a bear will attack with dogs present.
Glacier Peak

A hiker set off his emergency beacon on Glacier Peak.

A U.S. Navy helicopter is searching for a man hiking alone who may be in trouble on Glacier Peak.

The man apparently activated an emergency beacon just before 8:30 a.m. today, but the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office isn’t sure whether the activation was deliberate or accidental, Lt. Rodney Rochon said.

“We are responding to this as if it were an intentional activation,” Rochon said.

Hopefully they will find him in the morning.

We Are Number One!

Wind Turbines, originally uploaded by brentdanley.

We are number one in the amount of electricity produced by wind. Tree Hugger

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced today that the USA has overcome Germany as the biggest generator of wind energy electricity in the first half of 2008. This milestone, which was not expected until the end of 2009, comes as a result of the higher average wind speeds in the USA, since Germany is still the leader in installed capacity.

Go, Carpetbagger Go!
He is on fire today. He on McCain like stink on a thru-hiker! You really must read these three posts by the Carpetbagger, Steve Benen. The hardest working man in the blogosphere.

It’s simply breathtaking. When it comes to his signature issue, McCain is little more than a fool. He’s spouting obvious and demonstrable nonsense with the kind of confidence that only comes with abject stupidity.

McCain is certainly entitled to his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own reality. We’re well beyond “gaffes” here; we’ve reached the point at which it’s reasonable to wonder if McCain genuinely understands what’s going on around him. This is, by any reasonable measure, the kind of mistake that should ruin his chances of winning the White House.

On CBS changing the interview to make him look less like an idiot.

On balance, McCain’s striking ignorance is clearly more important than CBS News’ journalistic malpractice. But it’s nevertheless hard to know what the network was thinking.

I’d just add that around the same time that McCain was demonstrating scandalous ignorance about U.S. policy in Iraq, and CBS News was covering that ignorance up, McCain’s campaign was whining about the media going easy on Barack Obama. The irony is rich.

He has no decency left.

So, I’ll just say this: John McCain is not an honorable man. Political candidates of strong moral character do not do what John McCain is doing.

Maybe it won’t matter. Perhaps voters aren’t paying enough attention. Maybe just enough Americans will be scared by email smears, Obama’s middle name, and the color of Obama’s skin to tilt the election in the other direction.

But John McCain has no business leading the greatest nation on earth.

Read each of his posts. They are good. McCain is being propped up my his media enablers. If you liked Bush, you will love McCain. He's Bush without the warm fuzzy side.

Infrastructure Good
Nissan is teaming up with the Tennessee Valley Authority to build charging stations for electric cars.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co has formed a partnership with Tennessee to study the infrastructure needed to support the roll-out of electric cars starting in 2011, Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Tuesday.

"We are forming a partnership with the state of Tennessee to promote zero-emission mobility," Ghosn said at the opening of the Japanese automaker's new headquarters in Nashville.

The tie-up will include the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally controlled utility that ranks as the nation's largest, supplying electricity to residents in seven states.

We use oil mostly for transportation. We need to find a new way to power cars and trucks. Electric batteries and compressed air seem like the best bet. Its going to be an interesting couple of years as the old gas guzzlers are phased out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best Sentence Of The Day
Cernig at Newshoggers
Down on the coast, people are battening down the hatches and here in San Antonio Gov. Perry has actually learned from past mistakes, shocking many:

Denali Goes Hybrid
Denali National Park is testing a hybrid diesel electric bus this summer. If it works well they may replace all their buses with hybrids.

Park managers do not allow visitors to drive their personal cars the length of the park road. Visitors board the buses near the park entrance. The 92-mile road, much of it unpaved, is the only way in and out of the nearly 6 million-acre park, home to Mount McKinley, at 20,320 feet the tallest mountain in North America.[...]

The hybrid bus requires as much as 70% less fuel.

"The beauty is when you use less fuel, you emit fewer pollutants," Kladder said.

The hybrid application is perfect for park buses, because just like school buses, they make a lot of stops and starts, Kladder said.

For park managers, it's not all about money. The quieter hybrid motors will enhance the visitor experience.

One big problem with the diesel-engine buses — which drive an average of 1.2 million miles per year — is that they are noisy. They can be heard from afar in the park.

The hybrids are quiet.

"Can you imagine the thrill of moving slowly and silently past a bear nursing its cub or wolf hunting along the road?" said Elwood Lynn, assistant superintendent of operations for Denali.

I hope it works for the park service. With diesel fuel going up and up, there will be bigger demand for this type of bus driving the cost of the buses down. It will make them much more attractive to other transit systems.

Via Backpacker's Ted Alvarez

The Future
Electric cars are probably the we will go. Perhaps the air car. But the US is not planning for the future.
Michael Graham Richard at Tree hugger.
But if the future of transportation really is electric, there could be a problem down the road because there's almost no battery production in North-America as far as we know.

No Need
They say in G A. Georgians are responding to Alabama wanting to move the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

The nascent attempt by some Alabamians to have the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail moved to their state is more than a little questionable, particularly given what is, apparently, the overriding reason for the effort. According to a Saturday report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the movers and shakers behind the initiative are undertaking it with "hopes an expansion would lure more young professionals and, consequently, jobs" to the state.

Granted, there are some reasonable arguments for extending the famed 2,175-mile Georgia-to-Maine trail an additional few hundred miles into Alabama. As boosters of the proposal to extend the trail argue, the Appalachian Mountains don't end at the top of Georgia's Springer Mountain, the current end of the trial, but in Alabama.

It's also true that the trail has been a somewhat fluid entity. In 1921, the man behind the trail, Benton Mackaye, laid out a route from the highest point in Maine to the highest point in North Carolina. Four years later, the trail was extended to Georgia's Cohutta Mountain, due west of Springer Mountain, and in 1930, the trail's southern terminus was established at Mount Oglethorpe, 20 miles south of Springer, according to the Atlanta newspaper story. Twenty-eight years later, as a chicken farm encroached on Mount Oglethorpe, the Appalachian Trail's southern endpoint was established at Springer Mountain, where it has remained.

How much do the Georgians really care if they let a chicken farm move the terminus?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jay Hawking

Lion King encounters weather in Kansas.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Quote Of The Day
Al Gore on the difference between fossil fuels and renewables.
"Here's the difference, when the demand for wind and solar goes up, costs go down. When demand for oil and gas goes up, prices go up."

Via Ezra
Everyone Knows
That the water diversion is the reason the salmon fishery collapsed. Perhaps now we can talk about and address the problem. In most of the articles about the salmon fisheries collapse, the reporters would find several farmers, water department workers, or the wonderful scientists say, to quote saying "nobody knows." A few articles would slip at the end and some old time fisherman would tell how much water had been diverted from the rivers. Now maybe the issue can be addressed in a proper manner.

A federal judge in Fresno affirmed Friday that water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have jeopardized the existence of California's beleaguered salmon.

It was the latest in a string of rulings ordering state and federal regulators to fix a water system that supplies millions of Californians with water but is all but dysfunctional when it comes to protecting fisheries and the environment.

U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger told the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources to come up with ways to protect salmon and steelhead trout, but declined to order any immediate remedies.

Salmon live a three year life cycle. In 2005 the Bush administration said its OK to divert the water. Three years later total collapse of a billion dollar industry. The Bush administration is a failure in so many areas. Its shameful.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tennessee Appalachian Trail Conference Tags
This is cool.

A new Tennessee specialty plate that would help support maintenance of the Appalachian Trail is one step closer to reality.

The plate received approval from the Tennessee General Assembly, but supporters now have one year to sell 1,000 of the plates in order to support initial production.

“This will be a major resource generator for years to come and a great benefit to the trail,” said Ed Montgomery, a volunteer with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC).

It would be nice if all the states along the trail did this.

Applications and more information on obtaining an Appalachian Trail specialty plate are available at or by calling the ATC regional office in Asheville, N.C., at (828) 254-3708. The first 1,000 applicants will also receive a one-time annual membership to the ATC once the plates go into production.

Tag looks like this.

Missing Hiker
This time in Michigan.

PARADISE -- Authorities are continuing to search for a missing hiker in the Paradise area.

Police say the last time 73-year-old Joseph Robert Clewley was seen was this past Saturday. Clewely was believed to be taking a walk with his dog on the North Country Trial.

Police say the subject has had heart problems.

He's described as 5'10", 150 pounds, with brownish-gray hair.

Dried Up
The catfish industry.
LELAND, Miss. — Catfish farmers across the South, unable to cope with the soaring cost of corn and soybean feed, are draining their ponds.

“It’s a dead business,” said John Dillard, who pioneered the commercial farming of catfish in the late 1960s. Last year Dillard & Company raised 11 million fish. Next year it will raise none. People can eat imported fish, Mr. Dillard said, just as they use imported oil.

As for his 55 employees? “Those jobs are gone.”

Corn and soybeans have nearly tripled in price in the last two years, for many reasons: harvest shortfalls, increasing demand by the Asian middle class, government mandates for corn to produce ethanol and, most recently, the flooding in the Midwest.

Good News
A judge put gray wolves back on the endangered species list.

Gray wolves in the greater Yellowstone area of the northern Rocky Mountains, which would have been fair game for hunters in three states as a result of a federal government decision in March, were again put under the protections of the Endangered Species Act by a judge in Montana on Friday.

The action by the judge, Donald W. Molloy of Federal District Court, took the form of a preliminary injunction and could be reversed. But Judge Molloy’s language showed serious reservations about the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove endangered species protections for the wolves.

Environmental groups, including Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, which sued the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of the wolves, persuaded Judge Molloy that there was a possibility of irreparable harm to the species if hunts had been allowed.

Backpacking For Trout
A nice article by Don Moyer in the Sun Post.
There's something about being knee-deep in a high alpine meadow stream with towering peaks all around and wildflowers along the creek. The trout are almost always small, but brightly colored and so plentiful that even a klutz like me can catch and release dozens in an afternoon. That evening, I'll fry up a batch of 8 to 9 inch Rainbows, or Brookies mixed in with wild onions and bacon. I doubt if I'll ever eat better than that. Then, after dinner while sitting around the campfire drinking coffee that would be great paint stripper, I fall asleep to the serenade of a pack of coyotes. Yes sir, it's hard to beat a day backpacking for trout.

This graph reminded me of Rocky Top, one of the few long distance hikers that I have seen carrying a fishing rod. He only carried it in the high Sierra section of th Pacific Crest Trail. When people would ask about his fly rod, He would proclaim "Ain't no catch and release, just catch and hot grease!" And smile.

Friday, July 18, 2008

They Never Give Up
No matter how bad the idea, conservatives never give up. Lie, cheat, steal, there is money to be made drilling in the arctic. Heck, now they have added both coasts to the equation. Again and again they lie. No oil spills after Katrina it safe they say. The media give them a platform to lie on the networks, on cable, on radio, if the public is lucky, the media will allow some unknown person to contradict their lies. But not often. They are giving full court pressure to get drilling through before Bush leaves office. The next congress will not be as friendly.

Mark Morford discusses the renewed fight for drilling and spilling in our oceans.
I admit to bafflement. I admit to a bit of total confusion mixed with a certain level of stupefied awe and teeth-rattling frustration as to why anyone with the mental acuity of more than a housefly would think that stabbing more holes into Alaska and the eastern seaboard in the search for a few remaining precious drops of oil is a good idea, would solve anything at all, is anything more than the equivalent of hurling matches at the devil.

It Just pisses me off.
George Will Is An Ass
He wrote a decent piece about beer and civilization. How the two grew together but in the end he had to throw some insults that do not help the piece at all.
But that is a potential stew of racial or ethnic sensitivities that we need not stir in this correction of Investor's Business Daily. Suffice it to say that the good news is really good: Beer is a health food. And you do not need to buy it from those wan, unhealthy-looking people who, peering disapprovingly at you through rimless Trotsky-style spectacles, seem to run all the health food stores.

I doubt Will has been in health food stores.
Deep Thought
The tougher the trail the less trash you will see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Full Moon!

full_moon_small, originally uploaded by *snapshot*.

Full Moon.

Everyone Knows Its Windy
Texas has approved the countries biggest wind farm.
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas officials gave preliminary approval Thursday to the nation's largest wind-power project, a plan to build billions of dollars worth of new transmission lines to bring pollution-free energy from gusty West Texas to urban areas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, and wind supporters say Thursday's move by the Public Utility Commission will make the Lone Star State a leader in moving energy to the urban areas that need electricity.

"We will add more wind than the 14 states following Texas combined," said PUC Commissioner Paul Hudson. "I think that's a very extraordinary achievement. Some think we haven't gone far enough, some think we've pushed too far."

Just how many homes will be powered?

Texas already generates about 5,000 megawatts of wind power, more than any other state. The new plan would add transmission lines to boost capacity to about 18,000 megawatts.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says one megawatt of power provides enough electricity for 500 to 700 average homes under normal conditions in Texas, or about 200 homes during hot weather.

That is a lot of houses.

We're Number....
19 and last.
The United States fell from 15th to last among 19 industrialized nations on this measure from 2006 to 2008. The report estimated the U.S. health care system could save 100,000 lives if it matched Japan or France, the top performers.

OK maybe our health care is not that bad.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States fails on most measures of health care quality, with Americans waiting longer to see doctors and more likely to die of preventable or treatable illnesses than people in other industrialized countries, a report released on Thursday said

Americans squander money on wasteful administrative costs, illnesses caused by medical error and inefficient use of time, the report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund concluded.

"We lead the world in spending. We should be expecting much more in return," Commonwealth Fund senior vice president Cathy Schoen told reporters.

Just because the republicans on the TV say we have the best health care does not mean we do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A body believed to be Ric Devan's was found near Bishop Pass. The LA Times headline says it is Ric Devan's body but it has not been confirmed.

My condolences to his friends and family.

The LA times article has the most information.

Update: It is Ric DeVan.
McCain will be worse than Bush. Steve Benen The hardest working man in the blogosphere has put together a list of flip flops by Jukebox John. Just wait a minute and he will change his tune. I prefer Jellyfish John myself. He just floats spinelessly in the conservative currents. Which ever current has his spineless body, there goes Jellyfish John.

List of McCain's flip-flops here. 62 and rising fast.

He also seems confused a lot.

John McCain is confused.

Food Glorious Food
It always tastes better after 20 miles. A nice article in the Oregonian about food backpacking possibilities. You can have just about anything you want on the first day out.

Tucked between extra socks and moleskin, sunscreen and sleeping bag are the real essentials for Tracie McCall's backpacking trip.

Marcona almonds and a hunk of aged gouda cheese. Red wine for dinner, cream for her morning coffee. And a head of lettuce for her nightly salad.

That's right, you can hoof it above the tree line and still have leafy greens for dinner. At least if you follow McCall's plan for packing and eating on a back-country trip.

Via Slashfood

Out Of The Wilderness
The Economist has an article about why visitation to the National Parks is down.

Yosemite is long on staggering views but short on what most people would today regard as entertainment. It contains fewer diversions than it once did. Scott Gediman, the park’s spokesman, points out that it used to have a Cadillac dealership and a zoo. Although pretty, Yosemite’s hotels are basic compared to most cities (if they were in Las Vegas they would have been dynamited long ago). Camp Curry, a vaguely military cluster of fixed tents and cabins, has hardly changed in a century.

As in other national parks, Yosemite’s rooms tend to sell out in descending price order. Expensive hotels go before cheaper ones—indeed, they routinely book up as soon as reservations can be made, 366 days in advance. Cabins with bathrooms go before cabins without. This suggests there is pent-up demand for luxury hotel rooms. Not only is there little chance more will be built; it is proving almost impossible to put up a handful of campsites.

I think people have become used to certain creature comforts and are not willing to give them up. I have been to Yosemite and it is near impossible to shower there. You have to be in the hotel or cabins that offer showers. Camping areas offer no showers. I think all National Parks are this way. I am not sure of the reasoning.

To The North Pole
By Kayak.
LONDON (AFP) - A British explorer unveiled plans Tuesday to kayak all the way to the North Pole to expose just how quickly the ice cap is melting.

But renowned extreme swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh, dubbed the human polar bear, is hoping his bid will fail -- and not because of the lethal conditions or a walrus attack.

The climate change campaigner said the mission ought to be impossible -- but some scientists predict that due to global warming, this year might be the first when someone could do so.

Pugh is due to paddle out from Norway's Svalbard islands on August 29, heading 1,200 kilometres (some 750 miles) north across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, kayaking up cracks in the ice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Have I Mentioned I hate Bottled Water

Watch the video of recycling rates.
Via Biomes.
Volkswagen 1 Liter Car

Volkswagen 1-Liter Car, originally uploaded by jalopnik.

282 miles to the gallon! It is really small but if you try you can succeed. Here is Tree Hugger on the 1 liter car.

The 1-Liter car has been around in prototype form since 2002 and greens everywhere have been drooling at its 282 miles per gallon fuel economy (or 1 liter of gasoline per 100 kilometers, hence the name). VW has finally decided to make more and sell them, and a limited edition (estimated in the thousands) should start selling in 2010.

1-Liter Car Technical Specs
The One-Liter car (or 1-Litre, over in Europe) weights only 660 pounds. The body is made from carbon composites and it is shaped to be extremely slippery, giving it a coefficient of drag of only 0.16 ("the average car comes in around 0.30 and the Honda Insight had a Cd of 0.25"). The prototype was powered by a 1-cylinder diesel engine, but the production model should have a 2-cylinder diesel (which means it could be powered by algae-biodiesel!), and maybe even a stop-start anti-idling feature (to cut the engine when the car is stopped).

Its A Start
Chrysler is going to try to get electric cars to the market. We need them now but...

DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler LLC is planning to launch all-electric vehicles in the next three to five years, the latest automaker to join the race to produce cars with fuel-saving technologies.

Chrysler's new Envi unit, which was created last September, is developing vehicles that are intended to run on battery power alone for about 40 miles, Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said on Monday.

"The group is looking to have a product available in the marketplace in the next three to five years," Cappa said.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ha Ha
The Carpetbagger refuses to believe McCain is behind Obama in Arizona. But they know him best. If he does not win the Presidency in 2008, he may not win reelection to the Senate in 2010. Current Governor Janet Napolitano leads 47 to 36.

When(if) people find out who McCain is they will not like him.
Peyote vendors are having a hard time finding their crop.

Suggestions to allow greenhouse cultivation of the plant on Native American reservations don't pass muster either. Church members believe the plant gains its spiritual properties only when it grows naturally.

The solutions are tricky, but ultimately necessary, Terry said.

"How can you have a peyote-based religion without peyote?" he said. "It's kind of like substituting Kool-Aid for wine in a Christian Church."

Caution: Mountain Lions

CAUTION: Mountain Lions!, originally uploaded by slworking2.

A hiker was attacked by a mountain lion in the Palo Alto Foothills of California. Ouch!

PALO ALTO (KGO) -- Police and a trapper are on the lookout for a mountain lion that pounced on a lone hiker in Palo Alto's Foothills Park on Saturday.

Police Agent Dan Ryan said the man was attacked from behind but avoided serious injury because the lion knocked him down a hill, where he hit a tree as the lion tumbled down into a creek.

I have only once seen a mountain lion in the wild, near Breckenridge, Colorado. It was awesome! Far enough away that there was no need to feel threatened but close enough to see it well.The lion was hunting amongst the rocks, looking for rodents before bounding over the ridge and out of sight. Some hikers on the trail I was going to take got to within 20 or 30 feet of the lion. They never saw it.

Stealthy creatures. I remember talking to a ranger in Olympia National Park about mountain lions. He showed me a picture of a family eating at a picnic table with a mountain lion on a branch above them. The family did not notice the lion until the pictures were developed! I wonder from time to time how close I have been to a mountain lion without knowing it.

Update: Tom at Two Heeled Drive has a post on this incident and mentions a study that mountain lions will get very close to humans without their knowledge.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

97% Of Drug Deaths
Come from legal drugs. More die from bad reactions to prescription drugs 32,000, than all illegal drugs 17,000.
Via Avedon and read this on illegal immigration enforcement.
So we have virtually a whole town that's able to exist because one large employer hires barely-literate undocumented workers. Most of them have never heard Social Security, because all of their paperwork has been filled out for them by the employer.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kings Peak Summit

Kings Peak's summit (13,528'), originally uploaded by Aubrey Sun.

A hiker is lost near Kings Peak.

An Ohio man is lost in the Uintas after falling behind his hiking companions on the trail Friday.

The 61-year-old man was last seen on the trail at 1 p.m. Friday in the King's Peak area, said Josh Wall, a detective at the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

The man had been hiking with about five people, and fell behind. The group waited for a bit, and eventually turned back hoping to find him on the trail.

Hopefully he will be found in the mourning. And he was.

An Ohio man missing since Friday afternoon in the King's Peak area was found about 10:30 a.m Sunday and appears to be in good health.

Summit County Sheriff's officials said they found 61-year-old John "Giz" Youngerman hiking in the area, about 80 miles east of Salt Lake in the Uinta Mountains, Sunday morning and were conducting a medical evaluation and debriefing. Youngerman disappeared Friday while hiking back from the 13,528-foot King's Peak summit. He had joined a group of local hikers on the trek, but fell behind on the way down the mountain.

Market Collapse Does Not Mean The Executives Failed
Ian Welsh has a good post up with the above title. A great and obvious conclusion.

Regulators who don't believe in regulation can't regulate. Executives whose real job is to grow their bonuses will do that, no matter what the cost to anyone else.

And until we remember rule #1: "don't reward people for bad behaviour" this sort of thing will just keep happening.

Hiker Missing
In California's Humboldt County.

Brian Schapiro, 52, of Garberville was last seen wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt and a bandana. Sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Godsey said the search went from Thursday night and continued into Friday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies, the special services unit, and the search and rescue posse have joined in the search efforts. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a helicopter, but had to land because of poor visibility. The sheriff's air auxiliary posse also launched an aircraft, but did not find the hiker.


Friday, July 11, 2008

San Gorgonio Peak

Day 1: Mt. San Gorgonio, originally uploaded by Scott_Mitchell.

A hiker is missing near San Gogonio Peak.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department search and rescue team and helicopter are searching for a 21-year-old Corona woman who was reported missing late Thursday by her hiking companions.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said the group was hiking to the summit of San Gorgonio Peak Thursday afternoon. The woman stopped about halfway up and the rest of the group continued on without her, Beavers said.

Update: More info.
Grace Hilario, 21, of Corona, was reported missing at 11 p.m. Thursday.[...]

A helicopter was unable to go up until this morning, due to lightning storms in the area, Beavers said.

This morning, the searchers are combing the trails and have placed trail blocks in hopes of locating the hiker.

Hilario has some food and water, but no tent or shelter, Beavers said. Friends said she's only been out hiking a few times, Beavers said.

Good News: Found safe this morning.(Saturday)

A 21-year-old woman who was lost while hiking was airlifted today to safety.

A San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department helicopter hoisted Grace Hilario out of the San Gorgonio Mountains just after 8 a.m. and took her to an area hospital. The Corona woman was treated for dehydration, exposure and bruises to her legs.

We Are Number One!
Bush at the climate summit.

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

How do such tasteless spoiled children get elected? It must be with the help of their friends in the media.

No Dog
No Chef! If they take dog off the menu I'm not going. The young light colored ones taste best. Mmm!
BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing has asked hotels and restaurants in the city to take dog meat off the menu for the duration of next month's Olympics and September's Paralympics.

Dog is eaten not only by the large Korean community in China's capital but is also popular in Yunnan and Guizhou restaurants.

A directive from the Beijing Food Safety Office issued last month ordered Olympic contractor hotels not to provide any dishes made with dog meat and said any canine material used in traditional medicated diets must be clearly labeled.

New Solar
If we keep working on solar and wind, we will get our energy needs in tune with the planet.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Using sheets of glass covered with organic dyes, scientists have devised an efficient and practical solar power device that they believe can help make this clean, renewable energy source more affordable.

Experts eager for energy sources that do not involve the burning of fossil fuels often point to the promise of solar energy -- harnessing sunlight to make electricity. But solar power so far has proven costlier than standard energy sources.

Writing on Thursday in the journal Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers describe the development of a new type of "solar concentrator" that may provide a better way to extract energy from the sun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can They Find A Bigger Idiot?

Bush was clearly an idiot before he was elected. Yet republicans voted for him. McCain is an even bigger idiot. It is hard to believe just how stupid this man is. Bush would have at least, said something stupid. Not, I am stupid.

McCain is going to be a bigger embarrassment than Bush.

McCain more embarrassing than Bush!

via Shake's Sis.
Melting In Winter
OK, the glacier is not actually melting.

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Part of Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier collapsed on Wednesday, the first time large chunks of ice have broken off during the southern hemisphere winter.

Park wardens said global warming might be responsible.

The Patagonian glacier known as the "White Giant" is one of Argentina's biggest attractions. The river of ice 18 miles (30 km) long ends in a sheer wall blocking Lago Argentino where large pieces tumble into the water from time to time.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Missing Hiker
This time in Pisgah National Forest.
Emergency managers in Haywood County tell us the 23-year old man from Canton was dropped off at Black Balsam parking lot around noon Tuesday. He was planning to walk a trail and was to arrive at the boy scout camp Daniel Boone sometime today. Officials say he was wearing a personal locator beacon and he activated it around 7a.m. as a distress signal.

I would not be surprised if he has already been found.

Update: Micheal Brechner has been found, he is alive and well.
Mount Goode Summit

A hiker is missing in the Sierra's. Ric DeVan, 44, of San Diego was reported missing on Friday.
He signed the register at the top of 13,085 foot Mount Goode it is his last known location.

Update: Help is needed to find Ric DeVan.

An experienced mountaineer, DeVan was last seen wearing "a yellow shirt with black side panels, tan pants, light-colored backpack, gray jacket with black trim, a beige or green ball cap and an orange, gold and purple National Geographic bandanna."

Anyone with information on DeVan's whereabouts should contact the Inyo County Sheriff's Department at (760) 878-0383.

Further information is available here


If you were in the area and can help. Please do.

Most recent article I could find here. Noon pacific time on the 10th.

Update 2: The search has been suspended. 8:36 on the 11th pacific time.

“Search operations will be suspended,” Inyo County Sheriff William R. Lutze said in a statement. “Search teams gave everything they could to locate Mr. DeVan. The scope of this search endeavor has been one of the largest-known in Inyo County, and the commitment of the teams involved has been remarkable.

“This is very difficult to reconcile, for everyone involved in the operation,” Lutze said.

Lets hope he makes it out somehow.

Trail Mix
It used to be Gorp. Good old raisins and peanuts. Some where along the lines chocolate was added and Trail Mix was born. In 1968, the name Trail Mix was used by Harmony Foods and Hadley Fruit Orchards. Both are California companies.

I make several different versions, depending on money and availability. There really is no right or wrong. I like to keep it fairly simple. Three maybe four ingredients.

Poor Man's Trail Mix
  1. 1 pound roasted salted peanuts
  2. 1 pound raisins
  3. 12 oz package of semi sweet chocolate chips.
Candy Man's Trail Mix
  1. 1 pound bag Peanut M&M's
  2. 1 pound Raisinettes
  3. 1 pound Reece's Pieces
Gourmet Trail Mix
  1. 12 oz toasted pecans*
  2. 12 oz toasted almonds*
  3. 1 pound dried cherries
  4. 1 pound dark chocolate chips
These are the three I tend to eat when I am hiking. In really hot weather M&M's are better than chocolate chips they do not melt as fast.

*It is easy to roast your own nuts. Heat a clean well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat add nuts. Stir as needed. Do not burn. It brings out the wonderful sugars.