BTW, don’t ignore the weather


Click to enlarge

Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are running more than three degrees above average, increasing the prospects for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this spring and potentially stronger hurricane activity in the summer and fall.

The last time Gulf of Mexico waters were similarly warm in 2017, it coincided with an above-average tornado season through the spring, and then Category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of summer…

The annual barrage of tempestuous fury stems from the volatile clash of shifting seasons. As springtime warmth begins to build in the Gulf of Mexico, surges of mild air meander north — only to collide with stubbornly persistent cold shots of winter exiting the Rockies. It’s that collision that brews severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

No matter how you slice it, this is going to be a tough year. Between nature and numbnuts politicians running our federal government, every disaster is likely to be exaggerated by incompetence and unprepared ideologues who believe that not spending money on the needs of citizens is heavenly ordained. Just like kissing corporate butt.

If the coronavirus doesn’t get you…

Los Alamos National Laboratory will release radioactive vapors into the atmosphere to ventilate several barrels of tritium-tainted waste generated during the Cold War.

The lab informed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month that it would ventilate four waste containers, beginning April 17, to relieve the built-up, radioactive hydrogen in the barrels’ headspace to prevent them from rupturing while they’re being handled. The EPA approved the application for the radioactive release last year…

Wind velocity and direction would be factors during the release…

If the federal [radiation] limit is reached before all the drums are ventilated, the remaining drums would be put back into storage at the lab until next year…

L.A.N.L. is more cautious about these containers since their last radioactive leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad six years ago. They packed a waste drum with a mixture of cat litter and nitrate salts, causing it to explode and spray radiation.

They had to shut down W.I.P.P. for three years and the cleanup cost American taxpayers $2 billion.

Trump’s policy on rallies is likely to end up killing off some of his support(ers)

President Donald Trump says he intends to continue holding large campaign rallies regardless of the threat posed by the growing coronavirus outbreak.

We will have tremendous rallies and we’re doing very well and we’ve done a fantastic job with respect to that subject on the virus,” Trump said before dinner Saturday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump’s rallies, which draw thousands of rapturous supporters, were a signature of his 2016 campaign and remain the beating heart of his re-election bid. He held his most recent rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 2, drawing a capacity crowd to the 9,600-seat Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Al long as the dumbass-in-chief keeps on holding rallies his obedient followers will keep on showing up. Driving beaucoup miles to bear witness to their favorite superstar. Intelligence, education, even common sense has nothing to do with it.

The back-asswards election games Americans play are often undemocratic and don’t come any closer to choosing a capable, representative “winner” than the typical TV game show. Sometimes, you get what you deserve.

NatGeo Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeAaron Huey, @Argonaut Photo

Wolves lead their offspring to new hunting grounds deep in Denali National Park, in Alaska. The Iron Creek pack’s breeding pair breaks trail through fresh snow, with the female leading, writes photographer Aaron Huey. “I watched the pack over the course of three days as they devoured a moose, and then I was lucky enough to catch them as they left that site, crossing this large, unbroken field of snow.”

So beautiful.

Economic concerns recede — Environmental concerns grow

For the first time in Pew Research Center surveys dating back nearly two decades, nearly as many Americans say protecting the environment should be a top policy priority (64%) as say this about strengthening the economy (67%).

In addition, while a smaller share (52%) rates dealing with global climate change as a top priority, this is 14 percentage points higher than just three years ago. Today, similar shares rate climate change and improving the job situation (49%) as top policy priorities for President Donald Trump and Congress. Three years ago, 68% said jobs were a top priority, compared with just 38% who named climate change…

The issue of climate change highlights the deep partisan divides in views of many public priorities. Dealing with global climate change ranks at the bottom of the list of 18 policy priorities for Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (just 21% call it a top priority). By contrast, climate change is near the top of the list of issues among Democrats and Democratic leaners (78% call it a top priority).

Large majorities of Democrats also place top priority on protecting the environment (85%), reducing health care costs (80%) and improving the educational system (80%). For Republicans, no more than about half rate these issues top priorities. And there is a sizable divide on the importance of addressing gun policy: Democrats are roughly 40 percentage points more likely than Republicans to view this as a top priority for the president and Congress (66% vs. 25%).

No surprises IMHO. All my questions rest on the shoulders of Democrat staff who will run the nitty-gritty of the 2020 Presidential Election campaign. Frankly, I would vote for either of Mayor Pete’s shelter dogs before I’d vote for the Fake President.

A great variety of animals once populated our prairies — they can, again!


Click to enlargeMelanie Wynne

North America’s prairies stretch north from Mexico into Canada, and from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains. Grasslands also exist in areas farther west, between the Rockies and Pacific coastal ranges.

When Thomas Jefferson approved the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803, this territory was home to Native Americans and abundant wildlife. Vast, unbroken horizons of contiguous grasslands supported millions of prairie dogs, pronghorn, bison and elk, and thousands of bighorn sheep. Birds were also numerous, including greater prairie-chickens, multiple types of grouse and more than 3 billion passenger pigeons…

That changed as European immigrants moved west over the next hundred years. Market hunting was one cause, but settlers also tilled and poisoned, fertilized and fenced the land, drained aquifers and damaged soils…

Some parts of the North American prairies could support this kind of biodiversity again. The Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma, Nebraska’s Sandhills and Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front all retain areas that have never been plowed, ranging from 1 million to 4 million acres. Public agencies and nonprofit conservation groups are already working in these areas to promote conservation and support grassland ecosystems

The U.S. has a history of protecting its majestic mountains and deserts. But in our view, it has undervalued its biologically rich grasslands. With more support for conservation on the prairies, wildlife of all sizes – big and small – could again thrive on America’s fruited plains.

RTFA – not only for details of how we got here; but, how we might move forward to restoration and a new life for our grasslands.

There is this black cloud wandering over our planet…


Currently, drifting over the Pacific Ocean

The scientific name is cumulonimbus flammagenitus, but the more common nickname is ‘fire cloud.’ NASA calls them the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds,” according to their website.

One of the largest fire clouds ever recorded has been drifting around the Southern Hemisphere for over a month. Heat and freak thunderstorms generated by Australia’s massive wildfires sent ash and toxic materials high into the atmosphere, where they formed a massive dark cloud of debris. It’s been measured at 15 miles high at some points, and at one point it covered more than 1 million square miles — about half the size of Canada.

NASA has been tracking the massive cloud from space as it slowly drifted over to South America and then looped back toward Oceania where it hovered over New Zealand, turning glaciers brown, and perhaps hastening their melting.

As Australian firefighters get their blazes under control, the cloud has been dissipating. Health experts say toxic chemicals and debris eventually drop back to Earth, through the air or within raindrops, where they can be inhaled or ingested by humans and animals…

And that ain’t all. Click the link above and RTFA.