Saturday, April 17, 2010


Eyjafjallajokull is the name of the glacier over the volcano currently disrupting air travel across Europe. I must tune into a world news program video to see if anyone dares try to pronounce it. Few reporters seem to attempt to spell it. I went to Wiki to see what they had to say:

Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥], translated as "island-mountains glacier") (About this sound listen ) is one of the smaller glaciers of Iceland. It is situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of the larger glacier Mýrdalsjökull.  Easy for them I suppose. I listened four times and am no wiser. But I feel that a volcano under a lessor glacier on an island that can totally shut down air traffic in Europe and disrupt everyone's travel plans deserves some respect. But that is not what this blog is about.

This blog is about what happens after the ash stops spewing -- though volcanologists say they see no end. What will happen if history is any indicator is all the airlines effected by this will claim they are on the verge of bankruptcy. All the countries where they are based will panic about the collapse of an essential transportation/communication (mail) link and bail them out. It is what happened after 9/11 because airplanes were grounded for two weeks.

What should happen is the same amount of money and effort should be expended to lessen the dependency on air traffic. Geologists tell us we have just been through a 200 year period of relative quiet on earthquakes and volcanoes. We have already seen an uptick in quakes and there are here in the United States no fewer than five volcanoes being closely watched especially since recent activity on faults could increase the chances of eruption.

The world needs to stop putting all its eggs in one basket. Coordination of alternate forms of transportation and use of alternate routes needs to be a top priority of the G8.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not Nice to Abuse Mother Nature

This is a picture of the Rhyolite-Cook Bank a major feature of a ghost town a nice day trip from Las Vegas, Nevada. The town of Rhyolite was a gold boom town that as quickly busted for lack of gold. It existed as a town from 1905 to 1920.

Now it seems that its neighbor, Las Vegas, may well bust for lack of water. One of those little fluff pieces that USA Today and Yahoo News are so fond of doing says that Lake Mead, built to supply water to Las Vegas will be totally dry by 2021. Yahoo Green bemoans this tragic event as the death of a vacation spot. I thought it needed a more extensive treatment especially since wasted water in the west is one of my soap boxes. I just happened to have this map of the Colorado River Basin on hand.

The watershed of the Colorado River covers 242,900 square miles, parts of seven US States and two Mexican States. Not only does it fill Lake Mead but any water that Las Vegas does not take out from that reservoir is then channeled out by Phoenix to turn the desert green. Those two Mexican states are lucky if they get anything which has been a major sticking point in water treaties between Mexico and the United States.

The Colorado River is dammed above Lake Mead by the Glen Canyon Dam which forms Lake Powell. California gets a large amount of its electrical power from the generators in the Glen Canyon Dam. Droughts in the Four Corners area and increased electrical usage in Los Angeles has significantly lowered the level of Lake Powell where water is released on demand to turn on the lights.

Speaking of lights back to Las Vegas where the lights are on because of the Hoover Dam and water released from Lake Mead to create electricity for the city of lights. Oh, and fountains. Fountains upon fountains lit up like day by spot lights in all colors in the city that never sleeps. But what Las Vegas doesn't waste Phoenix will.

Las Vegas, fearing the worst, has started trying to buy up water rights north of it. Nothing new there. Denver, Colorado, which has exhausted the South Platte and is on the wrong side of the mountain for Colorado River water and too far north of the Rio Grande watershed, has been trying to buy up water rights from New Mexico for decades. We even passed a law forbidding transfer of rights between basins.

This is not a matter of global warming or not. It is about the fact that we are a very wasteful species and our populations have been allowed to grow unchecked. And we are not geckos that can collect the early morning dew of the desert on our skins.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Florida Flip Flops

The headline said: The RNC Attacks Florida Flip Flops. That is as clear as a sandy beach any morning during spring break.

I read the headline and figured at first blush we were talking about a conference of podiatrists. The have long held that flip flops are absolutely the worst thing you can do for your feet. Or orthopedic surgeons who maintain that the flip flop and specifically the wedge style are responsible for a bloom of ankle breaks every summer, which no doubt keeps them and physical therapists busy all fall.

Then after a couple more sips of coffee I got that this is the Republican National Committee that was running adds exposing Florida flip floppers. I flash back to the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. It certainly can be said that Florida's vote count flip flopped daily. And in 2004 it seemed Republicans could use no other words in reference to Presidential candidate Kerry. But no it seems the reference is is regard to members of the Republican party that abandoned the party line and voted on the health care bill. Clearly they should have! All those youthful uninsured wearing those dangerous flip flops are going to need medical insurance to cover the expensive orthopedic procedures this fall. You have to consider your voters.

Meanwhile the snow is melting and I am collecting items to go in the Moab, Utah bags. The wedge flip flops are staying home. The hiking sandals and boots are going. The Bass flip flops that hurt my toes are going in the sack of no longer wanted items I am taking to the thrift store. Too bad I cannot put the RNC in the same trash bag.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bondage Gate

I was taking a few days off from the reading of news for Lent. It was so boring. Everyone spewing hate over the passage of the health care reform bills. Except for Sarah Palin being hired to host a Discovery Channel program about wildlife. That was rather interesting: she kills wildlife and she is unable to put a complete sentence together. But it took only three minutes to be fulling informed on that.

I wanted something uplifting and more in the spirit of Easter. So I missed the breaking of Bondage-Gate. Hey, what could be more in celebration of the torture and Crucifixion of their savior than the Republican National Committee visiting a west Hollywood bondage club and putting it on the expense account? How very far they have fallen. Weren't the they moral majority in the days of Nixon? But then we know his history and fall from grace.

 The best part of this whole scandal is it clearly defines how Republicans feel about women's rights. As Palin defines how they feel about preservation of wildlife when she shoots wolves from an airplane. Know a member of the RNC? Send them some rope as an Easter gift. Maybe they will hang themselves with it.