Geothermal Mud Pot Began Moving Across California About 3 Years Ago

When it comes to matters of geology and rumbling earth in California, the San Andreas Fault is usually the star of the show. But this time around, the area near the infamous fault has caught people’s attention due to a mysterious pot of bubbling mud.

Refusing to stay in place, a roiling mass of carbon dioxide and slurry-like soil is migrating across the state at a pace of 20 feet a year. So far, it’s carved a 24,000-square-foot basin out of the earth, and it’s set to continue its crusade until whatever’s driving it dies out. Scientists currently have no real idea why it’s moving or if it can be stopped.

Interesting stuff. RTFA and see what little scientists have so far figured out. Mostly, just keeping track of the “feature” on the map of Southern California.

Waste not, want not – in Oakland

❝ The red plum’s presence confounds the third grader. She didn’t want the fruit in the first place, yet there it is. She doesn’t want to eat it, but she knows that tossing it into the garbage at Oakland’s Hoover Elementary School is wrong. Standing before containers for trash, recyclables, compostables, and unopened entrees, milk cartons, and whole fruit, the girl’s decision-making matches her Disney-movie hijab — Frozen.

Fortunately, Nancy Deming, the school district’s sustainability manager for custodial and nutritional services, is supervising the sorting line today. “If you’ve started eating your fruit, it goes in the compost,” she reminds the girl with a smile. “If you haven’t taken a bite, it goes to Food Share.” The girl glances at the plum, then carefully places it in the clear bin, from which students can take whatever unopened or unbitten foods they please. Anything left will either be offered the next day or donated to a local hunger-relief organization.

❝ For decades, students here and there have made use of designated tables in school lunch rooms to leave or pick up unwanted whole fruit, packaged foods, or other meal items. Although rare in most school districts, Deming has standardized the practice and made it mandatory for schools serving some 37,000 students in Oakland. As the only school employee in the country whose sole responsibility is fighting food waste, Deming has transformed the Oakland Unified School District — and somewhat reluctantly herself — into a national leader. With her help, the district has arguably done more than any other in the country to minimize excess food, redistribute edible leftovers to people in need, and compost the inevitable inedibles.

Always nice to see someone in a craft often practiced casually – managed by cheapass bureaucrats – build sensible frugality into successful management.

Choose California, you moron!

❝ If you had to choose one state out of the 50 to use as a blueprint for America’s future growth plan, which state would you select?

Let’s add a wrinkle. There are two choices, Kansas or California

Would you select the coastal tech and entertainment giant or the heartland agriculture and industrial producer?

❝ It’s a no-brainer. Kansas has been a disaster, with giant budget shortfalls, service cuts, slashed education budgets and a brain drain with young people leaving the state. The economy has failed to keep up with growth in the rest of the country and is much weaker in terms of job gains, wage increases and gross domestic product growth than neighboring states with similar economies. In 2015, for example, Kansas had one of the worst job growth rates in the country, at 0.8 percent, adding just 10,900 nonfarm jobs.

In the five years before Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, no state economy performed worse than Kansas. Things became so bad that Kansas decided to simply stop updating the public about state economic news…

The idiots’ delight

SCOTUS rejects corporate appeal — Lead Paint Decision Stands!

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from Conagra Brands and Sherwin-Williams Co., leaving intact a ruling that requires them to pay more than $400 million for lead-paint remediation in California.

The rebuff, issued without comment Monday, is a blow to business groups, which had called for high court review in the hope of derailing other suits over climate change, opioid addiction and gun violence…

The cities and counties said the companies and their trade associations promoted lead paint as safe well after they learned that it caused irreversible neurological harm, particularly to children. Lead paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978 but remains on the walls of many homes.

Overdue – not just the ruling; but, corporate profiteers taking responsibility for the poison they maintained for years after they new of the risk presented by lead paint. Time to pay up for the clean up.

California utility PG&E faces billion$ in fines, lawsuits for wildfire death and damages


Click to enlargeDavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg

❝ Late Friday, California confirmed what many across the state’s devastated wine country had suspected for months: Equipment owned by utility giant PG&E Corp. ignited some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires that tore through their homes in October.

The most unexpected and crucial part of the findings, though, was at the very bottom of California’s end-of-day statement: The state had found evidence of alleged violations of law by PG&E in connection with eight of the blazes…

❝ That evidence — which California’s fire agency has now sent to county prosecutors — could make or break PG&E in the dozens of lawsuits over the Northern California fires that altogether killed 44 people, consumed thousands of homes and racked up an estimated $10 billion in damages. The alleged violations could also expose PG&E to criminal charges only two years after the San Francisco company was convicted of breaking safety rules that led to a deadly gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California.

I have no idea what portion of American corporations are dumb enough to think that skipping safety requirements to save a buck or two ever pays off over time. PG&E has to be as short-sighted as derivative investors in 2007 – or Trump voters.

Fire season coming to Southern California and no clouds in sight!


Not getting any better in New Mexico either

❝ June Gloom season is upon Southern California. For as long as anyone can remember, that’s meant clouds wrapping the landscape in a milky white cocoon as cool, moist ocean air known as the marine layer moves inland. But as with everything in our world, this is now changing.

June — and summer as a whole, it turns out — is becoming less cloudy in parts of Southern California. Great for your garden perhaps, but new research shows the trend is also increasing the risk of wildfires, which are on everyone’s mind after last year’s record-setting Thomas Fire. The findings could add a key variable for firefighters and meteorologists to look at to gauge how bad fire conditions will get in a given year.

❝ The research…uses a novel approach of looking at sky observations taken continuously at airports and military airfields from San Diego to Santa Barbara since the 1970s, and linking them up with weather observations. Specifically, the researchers were looking for the occurrence of stratus clouds, which tend to hang out lower as part of the marine layer and keep things cool.

The data shows that stratus cloud cover from May-September has declined 25-50 percent across a number of sites in Southern California owing to the growing urban heat island and climate change. All this extra heat causes the clouds to dissipate or form in areas with less of a cooling impact…

❝ All that extra sunlight coming in is causing more evaporation. Figuring out how much the ground and vegetation are drying out is the key to understanding the relationship between cloud loss and fire conditions.

Interesting article whether you live in wildfire country or not. One more change to the negative side of climate equations. Ignored by flat-earthers and their ilk.

New California Building Code = more insulation, energy-efficient windows and, yes, rooftop solar panels


Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation

❝ How would you like living in a home with a dramatically reduced electric bill? That will be a reality for most new homes in California starting in 2020, thanks to a new building energy code adopted today by the California Energy Commission. The updated code — the first of its kind in the nation — will combine rooftop solar panels with enough energy efficiency measures like insulation and better windows that all new single-family homes and low-rise apartments will use net-zero electricity. This means that their solar array should offset all electricity use for cooling, plug-in equipment, and lighting on an annual basis.

❝ The groundbreaking decision to make these new homes net-zero electricity, coupled with major savings from more efficient lighting required by the updated code for commercial buildings, will save Californians more than $1.7 billion in net energy savings over the next 30 years and reduce carbon pollution statewide by 1.4 million metric tons. This is equivalent to the emissions from the annual electricity use of all households in the city of San Francisco.

The fifth-largest economy in the world runs right past the rest of the United States – once again.

Wet/Dry Whiplash is Hitting California and it’s Going to Get Worse


K Street in Sacramento during the Great Flood of 1862

❝ Abrupt transitions in California from a parched winter to a soggy one, as observed in the mid-2010s, will become more common if greenhouse gases continue to increase, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. This “precipitation whiplash” has implications for both wildfire and flood risk. The research also suggests that California’s wet season is likely to contract, and the shorter wet seasons will become more variable, with an increase in both extra-dry and extra-wet winters.

❝ Led by Daniel Swain, UCLA, the study employed 40 climate simulations from the NCAR Community Earth System Model. This large ensemble…has been used to simulate climate in preindustrial times as well as the 21st century. Swain and colleagues examined output for the high-emissions or “business as usual” scenario…It assumes that fossil fuel burning will continue to add ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gas to the air until the late 21st century.

One of the most worrisome findings is an enhanced risk of extremely wet winters. The modeling indicates that 40-day-long rainfall stretches on par with those observed during the “Great Flood” winter of 1861-62 will be more than three times more likely by the 2070s-2090s than they were prior to human-produced greenhouse gases. A large swath of California’s Central Valley was inundated in early 1862 by torrential rains that produced more than 10 feet of flooding, putting downtown Sacramento under water…a repeat of this event could produce hundreds of billions of dollars in damage…

Although wet seasons are expected to get shorter on average—pinched between drier autumns and drier springs statewide—the study also projects that the midwinter jet stream will tend to carry more moisture, a well-understood byproduct of a warming climate. At certain times, this juiced-up jet stream could pack a very big wallop. More than two-thirds of the 40 ensemble members indicate that two or more 1862-magnitude rain events could occur in this century across the state.

Which is why “climate change” is a more accurate term than global warming, etc., which infers only one style of dynamic change. Nope. We all can look forward to lots of mostly unhappy stuff happening.

Saving the life of a creature in danger of being burned alive

❝ More than 100,000 acres in Southern California have been burned by wildfires in the last week, with some 27,000 residents being forced to flee areas like Bel Air and the Getty museum. More than 1,000 firefighters are now battling the biggest blaze, named Thomas, which is far from under control…

But as more and more people are forced to flee their homes, there are some uplifting stories coming out of the destruction. In Ventura County, as residents fled Thomas Fire on Highway 1, a passing news crew was able to capture footage of a man doing something pretty amazing at the side of the road…

AFAIK, the young men wouldn’t give his name, didn’t care to be interested by the TV crew.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

The Militarization of America’s Cities by Maj. Danny Sjursen

❝ I can remember both so well.

2006. My first raid in South Baghdad. 2014. Watching on YouTube as a New York police officer asphyxiated — murdered — Eric Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner not five miles from my old apartment. Both events shocked the conscience.

It was 11 years ago next month. My first patrol of the war and we were still learning the ropes from the Army unit we were replacing. Unit swaps are tricky, dangerous times…

❝ Officers from incoming units like mine were forced to learn the terrain, identify the key powerbrokers in our assigned area, and sort out the most effective tactics in the two weeks before the experienced officers departed. It was a stressful time…

Major Sjursen quickly learned to rearrange his response and definitions to war, honesty, actual military and political goals to the realities of the American War on Iraq. Short, worthy read on its own.

❝ Years passed. I came home, stayed in the Army, had a kid, divorced, moved a few more times, remarried, had more kids — my Giants even won two Super Bowls. Suddenly everyone had an iPhone, was on Facebook or tweeting or texting rather than calling.

Somehow in those blurred years, Iraq-style police brutality and violence — especially against poor blacks — gradually became front-page news. One case, one shaky YouTube video followed another. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and Freddie Gray, just to start a long list.

So many of the clips reminded me of enemy propaganda videos from Baghdad or helmet-cam shots recorded by our troopers in combat, except that they came from New York or Chicago or San Francisco…

The tactics, intent, goals began to more than resemble his life in an occupying army thousands of miles from home. And that’s what the rest of his article is about.