Posts filed under ‘The Environment, Weather, Etc.’
I think of viruses, individually anyway, as fairly delicate things. Not this guy (and there may be more where he came from):
Scientists in France have awoken a gigantic, ancient virus from its 30,000-year-long slumber in Siberian permafrost — and found that it’s ready to infect again.
“The revival of such an ancestral amoeba-infecting virus … suggests that the thawing of permafrost either from global warming or industrial exploitation of circumpolar regions might not be exempt from future threats to human or animal health,” scientists wrote in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Evolutionary biologists Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel discovered Pithovirus sibericum under 100 feet of coastal tundra in the far northeast of Russia.
Pithovirus is the oldest virus to ever awaken from dormancy and remain infectious. It measures 1.5 micrometers long, about the size of a bacterium, making it the largest in a class of giant viruses that was discovered 10 years ago.
If a 30,000-year-old virus can maintain its infectious abilities, Clevarie wonders if other microbes are capable of revisiting humanity in devastating fashion.
Ten, 20, 30 years from now, when today’s little kids are entering the prime of their lives and climate change is out of control, life’s going to be a thrill a minute.
China’s air pollution problem is ah, an out of control problem. Here’s the view from the 72nd floor of a hotel in Beijing today via Joseph Weisenthal, Executive Editor of the Business Insider:
Don’t blow this off because it’s in China. There are no political or geographical boundaries when it comes to the atmosphere.
We’re expecting snow tonight here in the Boulder/Denver area so I’ve been checking the National Weather Service’s Boulder site for updates as to how much.
I saw this a few minutes ago:
And then I saw this stunning shot of of the storm moving over downtown Denver that the NWSBoulder retweeted at 4:23 p.m. MDT this afternoon.
Ah, yes, We the Little People who live near fracking wells and drink water contaminated by them should be so lucky as to have pockets lined with $1000 bills so we can afford to fight against having our environment trashed by, wait for it, Exxon!
For an example of hyper-elitism, NIMBYism, and the arrogance of the corporatocracy and the 1%ers, you’ve gotta read this:
This is one impressive storm front and one gorgeous satellite image:
From the Space, Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Image page. Larger version here.
I was born in 1952. I would love to see a video documenting Arctic ice loss starting then. I bet it would be even more shocking than this:
It isn’t about energy, it’s about money:
If you thought shale gas was a nightmare, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A subterranean world of previously ignored reserves is about to be opened up. These are the vast coal deposits that have proved unreachable by conventional mining, along with gas deposits around them. To the horror of anyone concerned about climate change, modern miners want to set fire to these deep coal seams and capture the gases this creates for industry and power generation. Some say this will provide energy security for generations to come. Others warn that it is a whole new way to fry the planet.
Some 300 metres beneath the plains east of Tashkent, Stalin’s engineers and their successors have been burning a seam of brown coal that can’t be mined conventionally. There are two well heads on the surface: one pumps air down to fan the flames while the other retrieves a million cubic metres of combustion gases a day. Scrubbed of coal dust, cooled and compressed on site, the gases are then sent down a pipeline that snakes across the countryside to a sprawling power station on the outskirts of the industrial town of Angren, where they are burned to generate electricity.
Without a way to capture all the carbon and store it out of harm’s way, it could raise the world’s temperature by 10 degrees or more. Is this burning desire for fossil fuel pushing us towards disaster?
The Folha de S Paulo newspaper reports water is being rationed for close to six million people living in 142 cities in 11 states.
The newspaper quoted water supply companies saying reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they’ve been in 20 years.
Some districts in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state only receive water for 13 hours, once every three days.
Water consumption normally grows by up to 20% during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. But this year, consumption has risen to 30% due to a prolonged heat wave affecting several states.
These are daffodils pushing up out of the ground in my yard — in February. Yes, in February. In Colorado.
While I was on my walk this morning a snow plow came by and pushed the snow into the street. Counter-intuitive I know but it works because the sun (we’re at 5,430 feet) will melt it in a matter of hours. Oh, and it’s supposed to be something like 61º today. (Sorry eastcoasters.)
I just got this tweet from “AtmosNews” on Twitter. “AtmosNews” is the combined Twitter feed of the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), both located here in Boulder, Colorado.
If they’re tweeting out warnings — with warnings — from the National Weather Service/Atlanta that are this dire, the storm hitting the southeast as we speak is going to be very bad:
Be careful everyone!
The NCAR building was designed by I.M. Pei, an internationally renowned architect. It is very, very cool. As a matter of fact, I can see it from my desk where I’m typing. It’s the reddish building nestled at the base of the mountains just to the left of the peak of the white roof (my neighbors across the street) below:
Sheesh. You can hardly see it.
Here are some much better shots:
NCAR and UCAR were established by the National Science Foundation. They are the U.S. hub for the study of the atmosphere. If you’re ever in Boulder, I suggest a visit if you have any interest in, yes, science.
I’m loving this forecast for Boulder. It’s been cloudy, snowy and cold for weeks.
Great. Hang in there planet:
Firefighters battled a giant blaze fueled by 5,600 tons of rubber Saturday at the Port of Savannah, where a towering column of black smoke could be seen from miles away and prompted police to urge nearby hotels and college buildings to evacuate or keep people inside.
Firefighters were trying to contain and extinguish a fire raging inside a warehouse covering 226,000 square feet at the port’s Ocean Terminal just west of downtown Savannah. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known, but all port workers were accounted for and unharmed.
This is from NASA via NOAA. NASA! It goes back 650,000 years. Are they full of BS too?
This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution.
I guarantee you won’t see this on the corporate media tonight:
Happening today at 6:33 p.m. ET:
And there’s this tidbit about We the People having the right to assemble:
This is from the University of Maine, Climate Change Institute. Look how screwy the temperatures are. It’s deeply cold over much of the U.S. and it’s “hot” in northern Canada and the Arctic.
I’ll say it again: I’m going to die at the right time. I knew the planet when it was relatively clean. Good luck to today’s kids. They’re going to need it. Oil/gas and coal companies (oh, and Monsanto) are destroying the only home we know, thanks to politicians who are owned by the corporatocracy.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park — a supposedly protected natural area containing thousands of reefs, which together are visible from space and attract nearly $6 billion a year in tourism — is a pretty terrible place to dump loads of silt. But it’s happening: The federal agency that governs the reef approved plans to dump up to 3 million cubic meters of silt that will be dredged from the marine park to help carve a superhighway for tankers ferrying coal to Asia.
It’s the final piece in Australian Prime Minister (and known climate denier) Tony Abbott’s already-approved master plan to dredge the shipping lane, expand an existing coal terminal, and extensively mine the northeastern state of Queensland for coal.
Reuters reports that backers of the coal export project, including two Indian firms and the heiress to an Australian mining empire, hope to deliver an estimated $28 billion of coal to Asian markets once it’s complete.
Oh, and to everyone who has a kid under 40: Get out there and make noise if you care what their life will be like when they’re your age, not to mention your grandkids. Geezus.
Somehow or another this tweet landed in my Twitter feed. Poor guy. 54 to 56 minutes to go five miles? Yikes.
Hang in there Atlanta.
Here in Boulder, Colorado it’s going to be something like 9º overnight tonight. Meanwhile, in Alaska, it’s so warm an avalanche broke loose south of Valdez, cutting off the only access road to the town and creating a new lake. (Pro tip: In Alaska, everything having to do with water should be frozen this time of year.)
My Tweet of the Day:
When the effects of climate change really take hold, when masses of people are crossing borders trying to escape heat and drought and floods in order to find food and eek out a meager existence and when countries are fighting each other over scarce resources, you and I don’t be able to pack our millions into a suitcase and go live in an artificial shangri la away from the seething 99%, but the super-wealthy will, and those places are already being built.
New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid: Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic augurs how the super-rich will exploit the crisis of climate change to increase inequality and seal themselves off from its impact.
t’s a sight to behold. Just off Lagos, Nigeria’s coast, an artificial island is emerging from the sea. A foundation, built of sand dredged from the ocean floor, stretches over ten kilometres. Promotional videos depict what is to come: a city of soaring buildings, housing for 250,000 people, and a central boulevard to match Paris’ Champs-Élysées and New York’s Fifth Avenue. Privately constructed, it will also be privately administered and supplied with electricity, water, mass transit, sewage and security. It is the “future Hong Kong of Africa,” anticipates Nigeria’s World Bank director.
Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – a vision of privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms. Protected by guards, guns, and an insurmountable gully – real estate prices – the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising. A world in which the rich and powerful exploit the global ecological crisis to widen and entrench already extreme inequalities and seal themselves off from its impacts – this is climate apartheid.
Prepare for the elite, like never before, to use climate change to transform neighbourhoods, cities, even entire nations into heavily fortified islands. Already, around the world, from Afghanistan to Arizona, China to Cairo, and in mushrooming mega-cities much like Lagos, those able are moving to areas where they can live better and often more greenly – with better transport and renewable technologies, green buildings and ecological services. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the super-rich – ferried above the congested city by a fleet of hundreds of helicopters – have disembedded themselves from urban life, attempting to escape from a common fate.
Here’s a video of “Eko Atlantic:”
<iframe width=”430″ height=”242″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/glYH_9lO0-0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
This planet is going to be an awful place to live in about 50 years, maybe less. I think of the children I know, who are two and three years old, and I dread the future for them.
(1) The corporatocracy is out of control and, (2) what price are we willing to pay to maintain our dependence on oil (never mind what fracking’s doing to us).
More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.
Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom.
This morning I came across this:
ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state. More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.
From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.
And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:
[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy. Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.
If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed. Seriously. It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.
Ever heard of the Thames Barrier? The Thames Barrier is a moveable flood control device on the Thames River just outside central London.
Operational since 1982, its purpose is to prevent the floodplain of all but the easternmost boroughs of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. When needed, it is closed (raised) during high tide; at low tide it can be opened to enhance the river’s flow towards the sea.
This is what it looks like when it’s open:
It’s going to close again today.
Turns out, this will be the 15th closure thus far this year (yes, in 2014).
Here’s a YouTube video posted on January 4, 2014 by Michael Snasdell (here and here) showing the Thames sloshing into a park, indicating that while the barrier is closed and working, the water behind it isn’t being contained anymore. (Fast forward to about 2:30.)
All that said, the point of this post, and what started this saga, was this tweet from Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute and a member of the National Academy of Science, which struck me as pretty darn chilling:
“The day is coming when it will be unusual to ‘open’ the Thames barrier.” Ugh. I fear for what lies ahead for our children.
This is really something. It’s a photo of people in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square watching the sun rise on an LED screen the morning of Thursday, January 16, 2014. They can’t see the real thing because the smog’s too thick.
Wow. Just. Wow.
Look at this video of a massive tire fire, which is producing massive amounts of what looks like putrid smoke, in the United Kingdom:
SHERBURN-IN-ELMET, England, January 16, 2014 (ENS) — An estimated 15,000 tonnes of waste tires are on fire at a recycling plant in Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire in a blaze that can be seen from space.
Local media quoted North Yorkshire’s fire chief as saying the fire will “go on for days.”
North Yorkshire County Council has contacted area schools to warn that pupils and staff should be kept indoors, and the fire department is advising all local residents to keep their doors and windows closed against the toxic smoke.
This is it from afar:
It’s horrible seeing all that gunk go into the atmosphere.
Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?
And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?
Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:
– Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”
– The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism: On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs. Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”
However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading. An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.
Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.
Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.
“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.
No government regulation! Woo hoo. A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).
Regarding that chemical spill in West Virginia:
Here’s the president of “Freedom Industries,” Gary Southern, speaking to the press on Friday, January 10, 2014 after his company caused 300,000 West Virginians to be without potable water.
He isn’t the star here. Kallie Cart is. Listen to her insisting Mr. Big Bad Boy Southern Corporate Asshole With a Let-Them-Eat-Cake attitude, tries to walk away because he had a really, really bad day. Poor baby. Never mind the thousands who will have to drag water to their homes to do basic things like make coffee in the morning, brush their teeth or rinse their baby’s bottle for who knows how long:
Follow Kallie Cart on Twitter here for updates on what will undoubtedly be long, long saga. I’m thinking Superfund site.
I presume you’ve heard about the horrible chemical spill in West Virginia (who knows what with Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” sucking all the air out of the atmosphere).
As it turns out, 300,000 people are affected. Here are the gory details:
1. No one knows when water will be safe to drink again.
2. No one knows when the leak started or how much has leaked into the Elk River.
3. The water company has had no contact with Freedom Industries, the company that manufactures the spilled chemical.
4. There is no standard process for testing the toxicity of the spilled chemical in water.
5. It’s unclear just how dangerous the diluted chemical is to drink or breathe.
6. The chemical may have leached into the soil.
And then there’s this depressing headline. People have been told not to use water for anything other than flushing their toilets:
I hadn’t heard of ice boulders until five minutes ago. These are “ice boulders” on Lake Michigan. Pretty.
Via DuygusalDoktor on YouTube.