Archive for June 29, 2012

Yo, Rand Paul


Reality check.

June 29, 2012 at 8:34 PM 1 comment

How Firefighters Detect “Hot Spots”

I just watched a report about the Waldo Canyon Fire on my local

about how firefighters detect “hot spots.”

Want to know how they do it?  I did. Given the Flagstaff fire, I was listening.

Is it via infrared cameras?  No.  Eyeglasses or sensors that detect embers embedded in the ash?  No. A wand they move over the ground like a Geiger counter?  No.

They put their freakin’ hand on the ground to see if it’s hot.

And 9News was so impressed.


Really?  REALLY?


June 29, 2012 at 7:21 PM 1 comment

The Radical Right’s Version of Health Care

This would be my Tweet of the Day:

June 29, 2012 at 6:16 PM Leave a comment

Flagstaff Fire Could Burn All Summer

Needless to say, when I read this in the paper this morning it kind of got me off to a bad start:

Photo taken [on June 26] by @jj_noonan SF -> NYC. ‪#HighParkFire‬ ‪#FlagstaffFire‬

The [Flagstaff fire], about 300 acres in size, is 40 percent contained, officials said Thursday night.

A California-based federal team of “hot shot” firefighters took over the efforts early Thursday and established a goal of 100 percent containment by Saturday.

“All we’ve done really is come in and helped (local fire crews) back off this one fire and continue to support the emergency needs of the city and the county,” said Sean Collins, liaison for the federal team, at a briefing Thursday night. “It’s looking very good at this time, but we’ll stay here until we’re deployed elsewhere.”

So, if another fire crops up they’ll drop everything and leave?

Collins said 330 firefighters are part of the team assigned the fire, and 50 of those were on call overnight in case the fire flared.

After shoring up containment lines on the fire’s western edge Thursday — which allowed officials to lift all evacuation orders — the crews will focus Friday on containing the fire on its challenging eastern edge, which is in steep, rugged terrain, Collins said. They’ll be assisted by helicopter drops of food, water and fuel.

But even if full containment is reached by Saturday, area residents may see smoke rising from the burn zone until the fall.

“It’s quite possible that we are going to be seeing smoke in the area for pretty much the rest of the summer,” Collins said. “Residents need to be mindful that we are not going to be able to put it out completely. The goal is to secure the perimeter, and it will continue burning deep inside the middle.”

Collins said the federal team will ensure the perimeter of the fire is secure and will dig trenches to keep material from rolling downhill and sparking another blaze…


I trust the local firefighters a lot more than I do the fed team just because I think they inherently do a more thorough job because they’re protecting their own community.  For the feds, it’s just “a job.”  So ugh.  We get so much wind around here. I.  Do.  Not.  Like. This.  At. All.

And since when do we let fires burn for months on end?  Seems to me that’s a new “theory,” a new norm in fighting fires that we’re supposed to accept because the truth is, we don’t have the resources to actually put them out.

June 29, 2012 at 5:46 PM 1 comment

Ugandan Amusement Park Made of Thousands of Recycled Plastic Bottles

It’s break time as well as time for a dash of hope and inspiration:

(Image via

Ugandan artist and teacher Ruganzu “Bruno” Tusingwire has created an amazing recycled amusement park for Ugandan children that is made from thousands of repurposed plastic bottles. The amusement park was designed for kids growing up in the slums who have limited access to safe areas for play and education. Tusingwire’s design gives the children a physiological and emotional lift through recreation, and the curious use of materials and inventive structures have sparked new ways for the children to learn from and engage with their environment. The project was just awarded the first 2012 TED Prize at the TEDxSummitin Doha, Qatar.

More info and images here.

June 29, 2012 at 4:13 PM Leave a comment

Our Definition of Bad Weather Keeps Getting Badder

This is what climate change looks like:

Feeling hot? It’s not a mirage. Across the United States, hundreds of heat records have fallen in the past week.

From the wildfire-consumed Rocky Mountains to the bacon-fried sidewalks of Oklahoma, the temperatures are creating consequences ranging from catastrophic to comical.

In the past week, 1,011 records have been broken around the country, including 251 new daily high temperature records on Tuesday.


“Any time you’re breaking all-time records in mid- to late-June, that’s a healthy heat wave,” Arndt said.

If forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country, places accustomed to sweating out the summer.

The current U.S. heat wave “is bad now by our current definition of bad,” said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, but “our definition of bad changes. What we see now will be far more common in the years ahead.”


In other words, we may look back longingly at this scorcher of a summer as our definition of “bad” gets badder and badder.

Pity the children.


June 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM 1 comment

The World Hates U.S. Drone Strikes

Way to win hearts and minds Obama:

Today [June 13, 2012], the Pew Research Center released its latest Pew Global Attitudes Project public opinion survey, conducted in twenty-one countries in March and April of this year through phone or in-person interviews.


“Do you approve or disapprove of the United States conducting missile strikes from pilotless aircraft called drones to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia?”

The only country in which a majority of respondents (62 percent) approved of U.S. drone strikes was the United States. Interestingly, this marks a significant decline from a February Washington Post poll that found 83 percent of Americans supported the use of drones “against terrorist suspects overseas.”

Love how the Washington Post loaded its question:  “…against terrorist suspects overseas.”

Outside of the United States, however, the overwhelming majority of respondents oppose drone strikes in seventeen of the twenty countries, including among U.S. allies or partners: Greece (90 percent), Egypt (89 percent), Jordan (85 percent), Turkey (81 percent), Spain (76 percent), Brazil (76 percent), Japan (75 percent), and Mexico (73 percent). The only two outliers were Great Britain, where only 47 percent oppose drone strikes, and India, where 47 percent did not answer the question at all.


I am sure we’re making more enemies through our use of drones than we are killing “terrorists.”

June 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM Leave a comment

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