Archive for June 24, 2012
A new, huge wildfire ignited over the weekend just west of Colorado Springs:
A wildfire near Colorado Springs erupted and grew out of control to more than 3 square miles early Sunday, prompting the evacuation of more than 11,000 residents and an unknown number of tourists. On Saturday, a blaze destroyed 21 structures near the mountain community of Estes Park, where many visitors stay while visiting the park.
21 structures destroyed on Saturday in Estes Park and as I write, I’m watching live local coverage of the raging fire west of Colorado Springs (the Waldo Canyon fire) where “more than 11,000 residents” have been evacuated. Imagine that. 11,000 residents!
I live in Boulder, between Colorado Springs (to the south) and Estes Park (to the north). North of Estes Park is the High Park fire. It is still out of control and it’s thus far (knock on wood) the largest fire in Colorado history at 82,114 acres.
The local news reporters say slurry bombers should be at the Colorado Springs fire TOMORROW MORNING. We’re so broke as a country we can’t have slurry bombers strategically placed around the country precisely for this kind of thing? Really? The weather guy says the humidity is “between 3 and ten percent” (the temperature here in Boulder is 100º) and the Colorado Springs fire threatens to burn eastward into Colorado Springs itself.
So I’m calling on Mitt Romney to come on down. Come on down to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado and talk about your plans to cut firefighters you bastard.
My Tweet of the Day:
I think he means “turn off” Hispanics instead of “burn off” Hispanics (Freudian slip?) but anyway, good question Rupie.
R.I.P Lonesome George:
Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year.
“This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless,” the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, told Reuters. “His life cycle came to an end.”
George was believed to be around 100 years old and the last member of a species of giant tortoise from La Pinta, one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park said.
Another species, gone forever.
No matter how you look at it, the Iraq war was a tragedy. This is the latest from there:
An Iraqi press freedom group has condemned authorities for ordering the closure of 44 news organisations, including a US-funded radio station.
No media outlet is reported to have been forced to close so far but critics say the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is sending a warning to the media.
The dispute calls into question the future of Iraq’s fledgling democracy, nine years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and six months after the last of the US troops who overthrew him withdrew.
Ziyad al-Aajely, the head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, called the move to shut down media offices “a setback to the freedom of journalism in Iraq.”
“It is a government message to the media outlets that if you are not with us, then you are against us,” he said by telephone.
This is the most distant image of Earth ever taken:
“Pale Blue Dot” is the name of THIS famous Voyager 1 photograph of Earth, and the title of a book by Carl Sagan inspired by the photo. On February 14, 1990, NASA commanded the Voyager 1 spacecraft, having completed its primary mission, to turn around to photograph the planets it had visited. NASA ultimately compiled 60 images from this unique event into a mosaic of the Solar System. One image Voyager returned was of Earth, 4 billion miles distant, showing up as a “pale blue dot” in the grainy photo. Britt describes the distance as “more than 4 billion miles”. The picture was taken using a narrow-angle camera at 32º above the ecliptic, and created using blue, green, and violet filters. Narrow-angle cameras, as opposed to wide-angle cameras, are equipped to photograph specific details in an area of interest. In addition, only 0.12 pixels represents Earth in the photo.
Kind of puts into perspective how petty our squabbles are.
Members of congress have created a nice little world for themselves:
One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.
The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.
Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.
This is “permitted under current ethics rules?” Yeah, right, because the members create their own “ethics rules.”
This is so, so wrong.