Monday, July 19, 2010

It isn't nice to waste water

Las Vegas, Nevada is rapidly becoming known as the city of fountains here in the United States. I am not quite sure why a resort in the middle of the desert is going so hog wild for these water features. Especially since they are so short of water in Las Vegas that they pay residents to take up grass on their lawns and plant rocks instead.

The town of Las Vegas is negotiating with other areas in northern Nevada and even other states for water rights. Like Phoenix did they want to build canals to bring water to their fountains, and swimming pools, and golf courses and sidewalk misters. Heaven forbid that people visiting the desert should get hot and dry.

The Bellagio and Caesars Forum, two of the big fountain owners, say that the fountains use recycled water and ergo don't waste this precious resource in a town without it. Evaporation they say is negligible. Which brings me to my little fountain inside my studio in the mountains of New Mexico.

It is under two feet high and does not dance like the water at Bellagio. The water cascades over the edge of the upper pot and into the base where it is pumped back up. I have had it running for less than a week and have resupplied the water twice. About a half gallon each time.

Evaporation is not negligible.  I rather think that the mega resorts in Las Vegas hire the same public relations people as BP uses to underplay their oil "spill."

I am sure that Caesars and Bellagio do not pay undocumented workers to carry buckets of water to replenish their fountains. So the question is whether the water pipe is metered for usage. New Mexico is a desert state and all public water usage is metered even on your own well. So come on let's hear the real figures of how much water is wasted in the desert to make it dance for the tourists?

The inquiring public wants to know. Especially those areas that are being harangued by legal officials to sell their water to a city that desperately needs it supposedly. Oh, and while we are on the subject of evaporation let's ask Phoenix how much it loses in its canal from the Colorado River to its 150 golf courses.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Will the gulf floor erupt?

May 24th, 2010 from space

Everyone is celebrating that the Horizon Deep Water well has at last been capped. My friend on the Louisiana coast hoped that everyone cheering did not think the problem was solved. Too much oil was spilled for that. Wiki posted an update with figures just a couple hours ago. The rate of the "leak" equaled the Exxon Valdez every one to two weeks. BP has not dealt with the enormity of that oil eruption from the gulf floor.

But of greater import is to keep in mind this is just a temporary fix. They sort of underplay that in the new don't they? Gulf geyser stops gushing, but will it hold from the Associated Press. But the stuff of nightmares is what they are not saying. BP is good at hushing up what it does not want the world to hear.

The Horizon Deepwater rig which exploded and sunk drilled through 1300 feet of sea floor 5000 feet down. It drilled into what the old oil men used to call a gusher of a pool of oil which may or may not have also included a pocket of explosive gas. Nobody knows what damage was done to the pipe below the sea floor or the exact extent of the pressure being created by the oil that now wants to desperately get out. Is that pressure so great that it ill actually crack the sea floor and release oil in a manner that cannot be contained with a cap?

And since nobody knows the answers to these questions do we have any right endangering life on earth by drilling below the surface of our seas?

This huge ecological disaster is not over. And there are thousands of wells still running the same risks with our fragile ecosystem.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life in a Southern Border State

This morning's news, if you read through all the BP oil eruption stuff, mentioned the growing turf war among the drug lords in the Nogales area.

Nogales is a border town with part of it in Arizona and part in Mexico. It has been a relatively quiet area of the northern border of Mexico. It is one of those gateways to the south that US snowbirds take to their winter homes on Mexico's Gulf of Baja coast. It is also one of the routes used by drug lords for exporting drugs to the United States. Oh, and the coyotes use the same routes for bringing illegal immigrants to the US.

Running of drugs and illegals is money. And in the currently impoverished northern Mexico states money is something to fight over. And they see the border between our two countries as a small obstacle that has to be breached so they can make money to send home.

Because of the US economy with the construction industry slowed to almost a standstill we are using less migrant workers legal or otherwise. They have no money to send home across the border. Some are going home and some are finding other work in illegal drug trafficking. Mexico drug gangs have set up distribution centers in Albuquerque. They add a whole new twist to gang wars because they come after the innocents - and violently.

A lot of people have said a lot of negative things about the new Arizona law against illegal immigration. They are people that do not live in a border state. They know illegals that have tried to appear as citizens, people that have opened businesses and integrated into the community. These people without documents are different than may of us who live in border states know. They are not the hardworking landscapers and construction workers you can hire in southern months to do the work you could not afford to have done by licensed US contractors.

I think there are many problems with the Arizona law but they had the guts to run it up the flagpole and see who shot at it. It is a cry for help. Something has to be done about our southern border. The states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California bear all the cost and consequence of not doing something. And the situation is creating some strange bedfellows. I found myself agreeing on this issue with my friend that listens to Rush Limbaugh.

Oh, and making them all US Citizens is not the answer any more than Arizona's approach.