Video I compiled of the footage I took on my recent trip whale watching up in the San Juan Islands, Washington. We were actually out on the Strait de Juan de Fuca with portage out of Friday Harbor, and encountered a “Super Pod” of Orca’s (Killer Whales). For hours we watched them play and roll in the waters. Truly a beautiful site. Encountered many other wildlife including Harbor Seals, mature and juvenile Bald Eagle, Sea Lions, Porpoises and a large variety of the local water fowl.
I just returned home from a business/vacation trip to Seattle WA. While there, I took a side trip to do some whale watching off of the San Juan Islands near Anacortes WA. I had to catch the ferry in Anacortes, and while en route, I passed the Shell Oil Refinery (owned by Tesoro Corp). It was a horrible eye-sore… belching pollutants in the air, and who knows what else into the surrounding waters. The steel tower monoliths all lit up pointing to the sky paying homage to mans dependency upon oil. The crude containers all in line like sentinels protecting the block gold they held.
While out on the waters, I was blessed to watch the Orca’s and the porpoises playing, leaping out of the waters, and simply just being the magnificent creatures that they are. Sea Lions laid on the rocks in herds (or is it called a “raft”?). Witnessed a Bald Eagle eating a delicious lunch of fish caught from the bay, to be joined by a juvenile Bald Eagle. The Harbor Seals curiously watching us “oh-ing and aw-ing”, snapping thousands of pictures. The water fowl soaring ever so gracefully just inches above the water in search of their next bite of food. To me, I was in natures Nirvana. (Please see my pictures below.)
I have always loved wildlife and supported many environmental groups. But it was not until I actually was able to experience the wildlife that was I truly able to absorb the reality of our dependence upon oil while driving by the Anacortes refinery.
We have put man on the moon. At each of our fingertips, we have access to the world via the internet. Anyone can carry a cell phone and call, or text, anyone else from most places at any time. We have a space station where we can (well, used to) fly men in and out of with a reusable space craft known as the space shuttle.
Yet why can we not use alternative clean energy? I have a hard time believing that our technology is incapable of creating an inexpensive engine for our cars which does not require petro to run. Are we that bound to those with the money and power that our wildlife is left to suffer and eventually die off? Yes, I drive a mini-van which gets about 20 mpg simply because I haul my dogs for agility. I feel as though I am a hypocrite driving this gas-guzzling vehicle – but yet I have no option. There are more fuel-efficient autos around, but they are priced out of my budget, yet they still function on unclean energy resources – just not as badly (like that really helps ease the pain). People like the Koch Brothers, the oil companies, and that genre need to stop running our country from “behind the curtain.” It is with their power and wealth they control what is designed and invented. We have the technology to create vehicles powered with alternative clean energy, but if we do so, these power and money rich companies will stand to lose all they have built.
And in the meantime, our environment and wildlife loses all they have built. Remember, these creatures below all share the same waters as the refinery in Anacortes WA.
A gallery of close-ups of the pests who inhabit our homes, clothes, and bodies. Electron Microscopic scans from the book, Micro Monsters, by Tom Jackson, published by Amber Books.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
More closely related to shrimp than insects or spiders, the woodlouse anatomy features an exoskeleton that protects it from attack. It has 14 clawed legs and can climb just about anywhere.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
Though they are known for eating wood, wood is not this insect’s food. Their stomachs turn the food into a mush, which, after excretion, is used to build gardens inside their nest. A fungus which grows on the droppings is their real food.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
These beetles not only eat grain, but lay their eggs in it as well. In human homes, they sometimes find their way into pasta, which is often made from wheat.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
Though it looks like a worm, the maggot is in fact, a baby fly. These insects eat several times their body weight each day. Some types like meat; others like fruit and vegetables.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
This insect gets its name from the females’ preference for laying its eggs on cow patties and horse manure. For food, the males like other flies. To eat, they suck the blood-like liquid from their prey through the mouth part (off-white in this photo).
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
Yellow Fever Mosquito
Though rare in most countries, yellow fever can still claim victims in the developing world. This female has just eaten. Her abdomen is swollen with blood.
SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA / FAME PICTURES
These wasps cut up their prey with powerful slicing mouth parts. Its favorite prey is honeybees.
Original source: Time
A massive dust cloud, known as a haboob, overtook Phoenix AZ yesterday reducing visibility to zero and kicking up dangerously high winds. These are caused by the high gusting winds from the monsoons in the desert southwest of the US.
The wall of dust boasted sustained winds of around 60 miles per hour, close to hurricane force. At one point, wind gusts hit 81mph in a Phoenix suburb.
Long-time residents said they have never seen anything like this hit the Arizona capital.
The powerful gusts knocked down power poles in parts of the East Valley, and led to outages affecting thousands of customers.
Reminds me of a scene out of the movie, “The Mummy.”
This article was written by a personal friend of mine, Chad Hall. For more of his postings and articles, please visit his website, MeanMesa.com
Stopping All Progress
If you are a Texas petrogarch who has inherited a bunch of oil wells, production contracts, and, oh yes, a mansion, from your daddy, large investments in the Congress to paralyze any possible advances in modernizing or rationalizing the energy industry are quite understandable. Interestingly, taking this approach places you — quietly perhaps — in the chair next to the Wahabist King of Muslim Saudi Arabia.
So much for your good old Texan spiritual piety.
However, just as long as you remain the Bible Study somewhere near Dallas, all the other righteous men sitting in the circle of bliss will, most likely, have a similar outlook. Add a few drawling Southerners in the Congress and a well fed clutch of futures commodities speculators and we have what we have now.
A hostage situation.
And, all this blather is not just a hostage situation, it’s a well heeled extortion scheme replete with every commercial media — including otherwise occasionally credible participants such as PBS — scrambling to repeat, as often as possible, every kind of carefully manufactured lie about the utter, stark raving mad possibilities of doing anything even slightly different than what we are doing now.
King Saud, seldom much of a news maker, consolidated the attitude with remarkable clarity in one of his most recent declarations. His agent was in the midst of OPEC representatives who were considering whether or not to increase oil production. The King’s position?
It’s nice to have oil prices high because we get even more revenue, however, we don’t want them too high because it will cause the development of petroleum alternatives and put us out of business.
OPEC wasn’t any more interested in the King’s wisdom than they were concerned about wrecking the developed world’s economies. The point here is that the Texas petrogarch and the Saudi King share this self-protective outlook. Further, both the little petrogarchs and the King, along with the grisly clutch of other players in the scheme, are quite willing to pay the US Congress whatever it takes to make sure they continue to control the oil spigot and the gas pump prices.
Obsfucations, Tangled Statistics and Outright Lies
It’s important to remember that all of this hanky panky is not occurring in the wide open fields of a free economy. In fact, the price of oil, generally, has almost no connection to its intrinsic value, its utility or any remaining ghostly presence of the traditional (and now, practically imaginary) supply and demand economic price carburator.
Instead, a media campaign has conveniently replaced all the historically valid mechanisms for price determination — along with public ideas about the prospect of developing alternatives — especially the impossible obstacles the brave industry is facing with each one.
The advent of cars such as the hybrid Prius literally drove a splintered wooden stake through the hearts of these oil producers, oil sellers and oil pricers. But, even this brave new technology amounted to little more than holding a flickering candle to the tip of the petroleum scheme’s iceberg.
“Fact one:” Gasoline prices would go down if more domestic drilling were to be allowed by the over regulating socialists in the Obama administration.
“Fact two:” Alternative energy sources — notably solar and wind energy — are clever trinkets which can never serve as a serious national energy source.
“Fact three:” The charlatans who have “tricked” huge research money out of the Green Energy coffers of the stimulus package will never develop anything close to a scale solution to the problem.
“Fact four:” Any sort of credible energy solution remains decades away, and it is actually too early to start experimenting with any of the stuff currently available.
“Fact five:” If the US is ever going to have any workable alternative to its current fossil fuel addiction, the existing energy companies will be the ones with the commercial expertise to finally create it.
“Fact six:” The Arabs and the crusty petrogarch’s are not the only ones getting sickeningly rich from the high prices. If you have a 401K or mutual fund stocks, petroleum profits help support the returns you are receiving on your investment. (Oooops.)
“Fact seven:” Any kind of a possible energy policy which even so much as implies the slightest accountability on the industry itself is just the next Obama attempt to nationalize another vital part of the economy.
“Fact Eight:“ All possible technological developments are so shaky and far off and current economic conditions are so grave that we cannot possibly even think about doing anything at all about CO2 saturation and climate change.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just stand there at the pump and keep paying whatever is asked.
It would be something of a feather in the hat of MeanMesa if, at this depressing point, a credible, comprehensive solution could be announced. Sorry. That kind of miracle is “above MeanMesa’s pay grade.”
Wait. “Beyond MeanMesa’s pay grade?”
In terms of technology, no question. In terms of management, maybe not. This little blog refuses to accept the premise that the petrogarch/media induced paralysis is so implacable that absolutely no possible constructive course of action can be reasonably undertaken at the moment. Nonsense.
Here’s the plan.
Someone important, probably the President himself, instructs the Nobel Prize winning Secretary of Energy, Mr. Chu, to put together a detailed plan, a step by step outline, of absolutely everything that we as a nation could possibly do to solve the energy and climate crisis. Further, the eight “facts”
These do not represent anything more than a crippling, gaseous public relations campaign, a very, very dirty data set to adopt as a beginning. Biden would be a good choice to “chat it up” with the petrograch owned Congress with the mission of “softening up” the inevitable counter attacks.
The plan is going to list — and, list in detail — what action can be taken to solve the problem.
MeanMesa sees the challenge, at least at the outset, to be two huge collections of obstacles. Electrical generation is one, and transport energy is the other. In the end, we will see that transport energy will gradually become electrical energy, consolidating the two.
Electrical and Transport Energy
The President has already announced that the country will have to have both renewable generation capacity and a modernized energy distribution capacity to actually use the generation capacity. So, let’s get busy.
How many windmills and solar panels will it take? How can we use the government to pay for them? Where will we have to put them? Who owns the land that we will need? How much will it cost to buy the equipment? How much will it cost to buy the land?
What is the “end game” – that is, what will the country look like after we have solved the energy crisis? How do we get the government to prioritize energy conservation in every house and building the country? How much does that cost? How do we begin? How will we know when we are finished?
What sources of energy have we decided to be using in 2015, 2020? (We should be finished by then. Yes, finished.)
How will we convert all the cars and trucks to hybrid or electrical drive systems? How much will it cost? How long will it take? How efficient can we get? What sources and distribution systems will we need to build? When will we have to have them complete?
What do we need to do to the railroads and road systems? When do we start? How much will it cost? How efficient will it be? What roads and tracks will we begin to modify immediately? What is the schedule to complete all of this work? How much will each project cost? How will the government get this done?
There are plenty more questions where these came from — each one will be framed as a fiscal impossibility as we go along. We will be able to hear the Southern drawl of the ”old America” bellowing all the way through this process. We will hear all the “facts” about why it didn’t work after we have finished.
Raise your hand if you want to stay where we are.
We can call this a “stimulus” if we absolutely have to, and, there will plenty of legislative “firepower” demanding that we do exactly that. Screw them. It’s been so long since the United States flexed its problem solving muscles that most Americans believe it is no longer possible for the nation to solve any problem, at all regardless of the size or complexity of it.
The bad guys have done their work well. It has always served to their advantage to make us feel hopeless.
This program can break that spell. It won’t be easy, but the President has demonstrated over and over that he doesn’t intend to shy away from what may have been presented as overwhelming, intractable difficulties. Further, Obama will not be walking into this as a blindfolded Pollyanna waiting for a ride to the prom.
That’s not his style.
Emboldened by his re-election and, most likely, equipped with a Congress interested in something besides four more anti-abortion bills, this plan can actually unfold into exactly the kind of national success that will break the suffocating malaise the GOPCons have spent so much cash promoting.
So, President Obama, although MeanMesa realizes that you’re rather busy fighting the Bush Wars, saving Medicare, balancing the budget and fighting off the bigots who call themselves conservatives, put the plan together. At least, give the order to make the plan.
Then you’ll be ready to announce the path forward in December of 2012.
For more articles by Chad Hall, please visit his website: Mean Mesa
Another grand solar display is about to take place for the viewing of many people around the world. On Wed., June 15th, the longest total lunar eclipse since July 2000 will take place and it will occur during June’s full moon, starting at 1:24 a.m. EST and lasting until 7 a.m. EST. Unfortunately, those in North America won’t be able to witness the eclipse but those in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia will. It will be visible completely over Africa, and Central Asia, visible rising over South America, western Africa, and Europe, and setting over eastern Asia. In western Asia, Australia and the Philippines, the lunar eclipse will be visible just before sunrise.
Total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, casting a deep shadow through which the moon then travels. The moon will appear to darken and turn a deep red before returning to normal. The Earth’s shadow will block the full moon for a full 100 minutes. This 100-minute duration of the total lunar eclipse on Wednesday will only be three minutes short of the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century that will occur on July 27, 2018. The total number of total lunar eclipses during this century will be 85.
Details from White Wolf Pack
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens, despite years of lobbying by the chemical industry. Formaldehyde is found in plastics and often used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. The government also said Friday that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have led the lobbying effort against labeling formaldehyde as a carcinogen, and Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is one of the country’s top producers of formaldehyde.
Source: Democracy Now
Radioactive strontium up to 240 times the legal concentration limit has been detected in seawater samples collected near an intake at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday.
The utility said the substance was also found in groundwater near the plant’s Nos. 1 and 2 reactors. The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it is the first time that the substance has been found in groundwater.
The agency said it is necessary to carefully monitor the possible effects of the strontium on fishery products near the plant.
Strontium tends to accumulate in bones and is believed to cause bone cancer and leukemia.
Meanwhile, Tepco on Sunday completed preparations to begin testing a newly installed radioactive water treatment system at the Fukushima plant soon, after it finished fixing an adsorption device designed to remove radioactive substances, company officials said.
The utility is expected to begin testing the system, intended to decontaminate highly radioactive water that is accumulating at the site and hampering work to restore the damaged plant, as early as Monday. The company is a couple of days behind the schedule to put the system into full operation, initially planned for June 15, it said.
The utility’s preparations to begin testing the system hit a snag Sunday as the amount of water run through the adsorption device was lower than planned, indicating the possibility that piping or other parts may be clogged. The planned level of water recovered later, it said.
The utility is investigating the cause of the snag, the officials said.
The utility said that even if the start of the system’s operation is delayed, it does not mean that leaks of contaminated water into the environment would occur “immediately.”
The operation of the system is seen as crucial to containing the three-month-old nuclear crisis, as the decontaminated water is expected to eventually be recycled as a coolant for the reactors, which lost their cooling functions as a result of the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
Water has been injected into some of the reactors to keep the nuclear fuel cool, but vast pools of water containing large amounts of radioactive substances have been found on the plant’s premises as a side effect of the water-injection measure.
The system, set up at a facility where the highly radioactive water from the Nos. 2 and 3 units has been transferred, is expected to be able to treat about 1,200 tons per day, reducing the concentration of radioactive substances to around one-thousandth to one-ten thousandth.
Source: Japan Time online
A river in southern Chile has overflowed is banks, after it was blocked by volcanic ash and mounting debris. The area around the Nilahu river has been evacuated as a result.
The raised water levels follow the eruption of a volcano in the city of Puyehue on Saturday, which sent a huge ash cloud across nearby towns and all the way to Buenos Aires, the capital of neighbouring Argentina.
The ash has also damaged swathes of crops and killed many fish.
Click on images below to view full size.
If you googled “fire tornados arizona” and came here, that’s what this post was original titled…
Below was my original post. Thought this was fascinating footage. Then a fellow blogger pointed out that the footage was actually taken from Hawaii and is available on National Geographic, and provided the link in the comment. Sure as hell, it is.
It’s one thing to download and reupload a video you wish to share and distribute – as long as you do not take claim of it and provide as much as you know on it’s origin. Sometimes it is hard with so many videos going viral and info not passed on through each uploader. But in the case of this video, this person completely falsified everything about it. They added in their own “redneck” yelling at each other – which is not in the original video. Then claim to have taken the footage in Arizona.
Fake people suck….
Click here to view showing this same video, filmed in Hawaii, with Nat Geo narration on National Geographic website
UPDATE: Thur. Sept 22, 2011
Close-up and incredible footage of tornado fire rising up through the smoke.
Warning: This was taken by a mother and son who are constantly yelling and bickering at each other. I muted the video about 10 seconds into it. You may wish to do the same. It is worth watching… muted.
For several days now, Albuquerque has been blanketed with a thick layer of smoke originating from the massive fires in Arizona. The city has been on health alert, and hospitals have seen a jump in respiratory-related visits. The smell of burning wood is much like the smell of a campfire and has permeated our both sinuses and homes. The ash is leaving a light layer both inside and out. Normally, the visibility is literally as far as ones eyes can see – which is to the horizon depending upon the view. For the past few days, the visibility has dropped to 3 miles and under. The magnificent Sandia Mountains which border the east end of our city, have completely disappeared under the layer of smoke.
Amidst all the health problems arising from the smoke, the light filtering has created some magnificent photo opportunities. Please remember that in all these pictures, there are no clouds in the sky – which is normal for Albuquerque. All that you see is smoke…
The first picture was taken by me from my backyard tonight at approximately 7:15 PM. The sun was not due to set until 8:20. I did not use any filters, no special settings, nor was this touched up in Photoshop. The red coloring is from the smoke layer filtering out certain color wavelengths. Which is also the reason for the various colors in the rest of the images. The video above was also taken at the same time, same place.
And here is a picture taken today, June 7th, 2011, in Arizona of the smoke from the Wallow Fire…
I have never seen such a red sun before when this high in the sky. No filter was used. This is the actual color tonight, Tues. June 7th 2011. You can see the smoke in front of the sun when zoomed in. These are not clouds – today was a cloudless day – just completely covered with smoke off and on all day.
Here is a still shot I took as well.
The Church Rock Uranium Mill Spill occurred in New Mexico, USA, in 1979 when United Nuclear Corporation‘s Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond breached its dam. Over 1,000 tons of radioactive mill waste and millions of gallons of mine effluent flowed into the Puerco River. Local residents used river water for irrigation and livestock and were not immediately aware of the toxic danger. In terms of the amount of radiation released the accident was comparable in magnitude to the Three Mile Island accident of the same year and has been reported as the largest radioactive accident in U.S. History.
On July 16, 1979, United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond breached its dam and 1100 tons of radioactive mill waste and approximately 93 million gallons of mine effluent flowed into the Puerco River. The contaminated water from the Church Rock spill traveled 80 miles downstream, traveling through Gallup, New Mexico and reaching as far as Navajo County, Arizona. The flood backed up sewers, affected nearby aquifers and left stagnating pools on the riverside.
The 50 ft. earthen dam was recognized as built on geologically unsound land by the corporation’s consultant and federal agencies. By 1977 cracks had appeared in the dam and went unreported to authorities. According to Paul Robinson, research director at the Southwest Research and Information Center, the spill resulted from “poor oversight, poor siting and poor construction” and is an example of the problems that can occur at uranium mines and mills.
In terms of the amount of radiation released the accident was comparable in magnitude to the Three Mile Island accident of the same year and has been reported as “the largest radioactive accident in U.S. History”. Shortly after the breach below the dam radiation levels of river water were 7000 times that of the allowable level of drinking water. In all, 46 curies of transuranic elements and heavy metals were released.
Although steps were taken at the time of the accident to notify the public in accordance with a state contingency plan, local residents were not immediately aware of the toxic danger and were accustomed to using the riverside for recreation and herb gathering. Residents wading in the water went to the hospital complaining of burning feet and were diagnosed with heat stroke. Livestock were also found dying. Prior to the accident local residents used river water for irrigation and livestock. The eventual assistance of trucked in water ended in 1981 and farmers were then left with little choice other than to resume use of the river.
For some types of cancers Navajo have a significantly higher rate than the national average. Yet, no ongoing epidemiological studies have been done at Church Rock. A peer reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health in 2007 proposed that the stark lack of peer-reviewed studies of health effects of the accident when compared to well studied events such as Three Mile Island may be related to both the “early stage in the nuclear cycle” (mining, milling and processing) dependent on a large numbered labor-force and “low-income rural American Indian communities”.
Clean up was performed by state and federal criteria. About 3,500 barrels of waste materials were retrieved (estimated at only 1%). However, according Robinson, only a “very little of the spilled liquid was pumped out of the water supply”. The uranium mill site closed in 1982 related to a declining uranium market. In 1983 the site entered the National Priorities List of the Environmental Protection Agency‘s Superfund investigations and clean up efforts because radionuclides and chemical constituents were recognized as entering local ground water. In 1994 the EPA extended its efforts with a study of all known uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.
Soon after the dam break, two West German radiation biologists, Bernd Franke and Barbara Steinhilber-Schwab, sharply criticized the issued CDC report that downplayed the potential dangers of the accident and for sampling too few of the local livestock. They urged chromosome checks on area residents and called for the establishment of cancer and birth registries as well as intense ongoing radiation monitoring in the area. They also warned that thorium and other isotopes from the spill could enter the human body not only through eating contaminated animals, but also when radioactive dust settled on vegetables. Dr. Carl Johnson, director of Colorado’s Jefferson County Health Department, further warned that detectable radiation levels in the tissues of children might only surface “over a period of many years.”
Potential pathways of contamination are: inhalation, ingestion, injection, and absorption. At present, there is an elevated health risk for people who frequent the site from inhaling radium contaminated dust particles and/or radon gas, contact with contaminated rainwater and runoff that has pooled in ponds, and ingesting livestock that have drank and fed from contaminated water and grass.
Different radio-nuclides emit gamma rays of varying strength, but gamma rays can travel long distances and are able to penetrate entirely through the body. Both thorium 230 and radium 226 are alpha-emitters; extremely dangerous if ingested or inhaled. Therefore, any skin contact with contaminated surfaces poses a health risk. Thorium 230, for example, has a half-life of eighty thousand years and is believed by some to be as toxic as plutonium. Thorium, a silver-white metal, tends to deposit in the liver, bone marrow, and lymphatic tissue, where even minute quantities can cause cancer and leukemia. If inhaled as dust it can cause lung cancer. According to a study by Winterer, under some circumstances thorium can become “trapped” in the body, making it “a permanent source of radiation” there, and thus doing untold damage to the human organism.
Elevated concentrations of Radium-226 have been detected throughout the 125-acre mine permit boundary and contiguous surface areas. Exposure to high levels of Radium-226 over a long period of time may result in harmful effects including anemia, cataracts, fractured teeth, cancer (especially bone cancer), and death. Exposure to high levels of uranium can cause kidney disease.
In 1983, the privately owned site, owned by UNC, was designated a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who detected elevated radium and uranium contamination in 14 areas on and off-site, and beyond the permit boundary. The CDC warned locals not to drink water from the river, and to avoid its banks during windstorms, when radioactive particles might be more easily inhaled. The CDC emphasized that while radiation levels detected in local animals did not exceed New Mexico standards, caution should be exercised as “the health risks of low doses of radiation” were “not completely understood.” Contamination had exceeded low dosage levels in local animals. One veterinarian told a documentary crew from Eleventh Hour Films that abnormal radiation levels had been found in the tissues of goats and sheep that were drinking Rio Puerco water.
Angela Merkel has committed to shutting down all of the country’s nuclear reactors by 2022, a task said by one minister to be as mammoth as the project to reunite East and West Germany in 1990.
Monday’s announcement, prompted by Japan’s nuclear disaster, will make Germany the first major industrialised nation to go nuclear-free in decades. It gives the country just over 10 years to find alternative sources for 23% of its energy.
The move, hammered out at a mammoth 14-hour overnight sitting at the Bundestag, came amid mass nationwide protests against nuclear power and at a low point for the chancellor’s Christian Democratic party (CDU), support for which has crumbled at the ballot box in five regional elections this year.
Although the proposal was welcomed among the general population, who have long been opposed to nuclear power, it was a move derided by one of Merkel’s own MPs as “knee-jerk politics”.
The plan is to keep shut eight reactors which were suspended in March in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, and to close the rest by 2022.
The phase-out must be ratified in parliament and is likely to face strong opposition from utility companies. On Monday a spokesman for the energy giant RWE said that “all legal options” were on the table.
Last week, grid operators warned the phase-out could result in winter blackouts – a prospect Merkel scoffed at . She insisted the decision would not lead to Germany simply importing nuclear power.
“We will generate our own electricity from other sources,” the chancellor told a press conference in Berlin. She said the plans would give Germany a chance to be a “trailblazer” for renewable energy, suggesting it could eventually earn, rather than cost, the country money.
Energy firms warned that the decision – a total policy reversal – would require significant investment in energy infrastructure. Philipp Rösler, new head of the FDP party, which rules in coalition with the CDU, agreed, likening the task ahead to that which faced Germany in 1990 after reunification. A study in 2009 showed that €1.3 trillion (£1.1tn) had been transferred from the West to rebuild the East.
This comparison was also made in an editorial by the left-leaning Tageszeitung newspaper on Monday, which said Merkel’s decision was “historic” and “a moment like the fall of the Berlin Wall”.
The government’s vocabulary seemed to consciously echo the reunification process, with Merkel heralding an “Energie-Wende” – “die Wende” is the word for change which became shorthand for the fall of communism and reunification.
Die Welt, a conservative daily, said the policy U-turn demonstrated a “creeping rejection of the economic model which has transformed Germany into one of the richest countries in the world”.
The French poured scorn on Germany’s decision. “Germany will be even more dependent on fossil fuels and imports and its electricity will be more expensive and polluting,” said the French industry minister, Éric Besson. German households pay twice as much for power than homes in France, where 80% of electricity comes from atomic plants, he said.
Germany last year was a net exporter of power to France, according to data from the French grid operator, RTE. This trend was reversed last month after the accident at Fukushima and Merkel’s decision to halt Germany’s oldest reactors.
“Germany’s energy policy will only work if there are improvements at the same time,” the EU energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, said on Monday.
He said there was a need for better grid infrastructure, storage capacity and forward planning as well as a more pronounced rise in renewable supply.
Germany plans to cut electricity usage by 10% and double the share of renewable energy to 25% by 2020.
Merkel first mooted an accelerated exit from nuclear power within days of the Fukushima meltdown, ordering a three-month “moratorium” during which nuclear power could be debated.
It was a remarkable U-turn. In September 2010, she had committed to extending the lives of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants.
Many of her party are unhappy with her handling of the situation.
“Knee-jerk politics like the reaction to Fukushima does not pay dividends,” said Mike Mohring, the head of the CDU faction in the Thuringian state parliament, last week.
Among other G8 nations, only Italy has abandoned nuclear power.
Article from The Guardian
Waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.
Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado. They are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.
Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms. While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, a fair weather waterspout develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward. By the time the funnel is visible, a fair weather waterspout is near maturity. Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little.
If a waterspout moves onshore, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, as some of them can cause significant damage and injuries to people. Typically, fair weather waterspouts dissipate rapidly when they make landfall, and rarely penetrate far inland.
Information from National Ocean Service website
With 2011 being the year of the 13-year Cicada in the south, it reminds me of the summer of 1987.
I was water-ski instructor, camp counselor up in Decatur MI at Lake of the Woods. That was also the summer of the 17-year Brood X Cicada. During the last part of my summer there, the trees literally roared with their “singing”, and the shells crunched underfoot as we walked across the lawn and fields.
So, in honor of this years emergence of the 13-year Cicada, thought I would post some recipes found online:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the ability to stop Koch Industries, Inc. from profiting off a pipeline that would carry the dirtiest oil on Earth through six states, one of America’s most important aquifers and almost 2,000 miles of American homes and farmland.
Help us reach our goal of 50,000 individuals telling Secretary Clinton to say No to the Kochs and Yes to protecting Americans at http://kochbrothersexposed.com/tellclintonno
Other articles about the TransCanada pipeline:
Koch Brothers Positioned To Be Big Winners If Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved
Rep. Waxman is seeking answers from the Kochs, after a SolveClimate News article first exposed the brothers’ deep involvement in the oil sands industry.
By Elizabeth McGowan, SolveClimate News
WASHINGTON—Rep. Henry Waxman’s attempts to find out if a proposed controversial Canada-to-U.S. Gulf Coast oil sands pipeline will benefit Koch Industries appears to have hit a dead end.
Obama’s bitterest political enemies already import and refine 25 percent of oil sands crude reaching the U.S., and stand to profit from an increased flow.
The Keystone XL pipeline, awaiting a thumbs up or down on a presidential permit, would increase the import of heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. by as much as 510,000 barrels a day, if it gets built.
Environmental Defence has released a report calling the Alberta Oil Sands the most destructive project on Earth.
Few Canadians know that Canada is home to one of the world’s largest dams and it is built to hold toxic waste from just one Tar Sands operation,” Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence.
Darwin’s bark spider (Caerostris darwini) was discovered in Madagascar. It makes some of the largest webs known, reaching 25 metres across, and produces silk that is more than two times stronger than silk made by any other spider. More…
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It has been more than a decade since Middle Tennessee has dealt with swarms of cicadas.
The last time the 13-year periodical cicada emerged from the ground was in May of 1998.
Come May of this year, most of Middle Tennessee will again see the cicadas, according to Dr. Frank Hale, entomologist at the University of Tennessee Extension.
He said the periodical cicada that will emerge this year is known as Brood XIX.
Various populations are called broods and scientists use Roman numerals to designate which brood they are referring to.
Brood XIX is expected to emerge from the ground in May “and they will come out by the millions,” according to Dr. Hale.
He added, “Brood XIX is the biggest brood that we have in Middle Tennessee. It is encompassing most of Middle Tennessee, even some counties in east Tennessee and probably a few west of here.”
The cicadas will start appearing in early May and live for about five to six weeks.
Most Middle Tennesseans remember the cicadas in 1998.
“They were everywhere. You couldn’t walk outside without getting hit in the head with them and they were big,” Zora Mallory recalled. “I am not scared of bugs but I don’t like bugs and I would rather they not be around me. You would walk outside and they would crunch under your feet.”
“I just remember all the noise,” Anita Jean-Pierre Anita Jean-Pierre. “Very noisy and they also freak me out.”
“They were just every where,” Ray Farris added. “[They] covered your windows, covered your cars, dogs and cats chasing them and hiding from them. It is just a nightmare for some people and then we aren’t used to it down here in the south.”
Cicadas are completely harmless but they are very loud and the noise could affect outdoor events in May like picnics or weddings.
The female cicadas can also cause damage to young trees when laying eggs.
Females prefer branches about the size of a pencil.
They cut into the underside of the branch and lay their eggs.
Dr. Hale recommends covering young fruit and ornamental trees with a thin cloth to keep the cicadas away from the branches.
Posting from WKRN-TV News2 Nashville
If you could sit back and watch clouds and the sky move all night and day, what might you see? One answer from the island of Tenerife, captured over the course of the year, includes sequences that are not only breathtaking but instructive. Visible in the above time-lapse movie include clouds that seem to flow like water, a setting sun that shows numerous green flashes, the Milky Way Galaxy rising behind towering plants, a colorful double fogbow, lenticular clouds that appear stationary near their mountain peaks, and colorful moon coronas. The above video was shot solely from the Teide National Park on Tenerife in the Canary Islands of Spain, off the north west coast of Africa. The video also features an unusual type of plant in several scenes — can you identify it?
Posting from Astronomy Picture of the Day
A volcano in Iceland sends ash 20 kilometers into the air, European air traffic not affected as of yet.
On this first video, watch carefully… at 0:53 you can see the lightning…
Most active volcano in Continental Europe, Mount Etna, on Thursday (12 / 5) morning, again erupted. Mountain located on the island of Sicily, Italy, was accompanied by bursts of backfire hot lava and ash into the air.
Etna eruption occurred between the hours of 02:00 until 06:00 local time. Italian authorities closed the airport services in the city of Catania, the town nearest to Mount Etna, after warnings from the specialist mountain Institute of Volcanology in Catania.
In addition, workers also attempted to clear the airport runway from volcanic ash. The eruption of Mount Etna would create problems. Section, will take place next Sunday racing bike from the city of Messina to the Etna.
Etna, with an altitude of 3295 meters, is the most active volcano in Continental Europe. The mountain had last erupted in 1992.