Tag Archives: Environment

Facts about tornadoes

From FEMA:

Quick facts you should know about tornadoes:
  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.

You can learn more about tornadoes and how to prepare for them here: http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes

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2013 government shutdown was hard on communities near national parks

According to a newly released report by the National Park Service, not only did it take a substantial toll on NPS itself but surrounding communities were also affected. From the executive summary:

  • A 7.88 million decline in overall NPS October visitation resulting in a loss of $414 million NPS visitor spending within gateway communities across the country;
  • Gateway communities near forty five parks experienced a loss of more than $2 million in NPS related October visitor spending;
  • Five states experienced a decline of over $20 million in NPS October visitor spending; and
  • Each dollar of funding for the 14 parks opened with state funding before the end of the shutdown generated an estimated $10 in visitor spending.

You can read the entire report at this link:

Effects of the October 2013 Government Shutdown on National Park Service Visitor Spending in Gateway Communities
Natural Resource Report NPS/EQD/NRSS/NRR—2014/761

Not Just for Profit: Apple CEO Suggests That Climate Change Deniers Should Take Their Money Out of Apple Stock

I don’t usually post political pieces to this blog but it’s more legal than political, anyhow, and it’s a really good article about technology, corporate citizenship, and sustainability.

JONATHAN TURLEY

apple-logoSubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a “self-described” conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., happens to be a shareholder in Apple. NCPPR has not been happy with Apple’s environmental initiatives. According to Chris Taylor (Mashable), Apple has made great improvements “in its use of renewable energy” since Tim Cook took over as CEO. Taylor said, “More than three-quarters of the company’s facilities worldwide, including all of its data centers and its Cupertino HQ, now run on solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power, up from about a quarter under Jobs.” Just last year, Cook hired former EPA head Lisa Jackson “to lead the company’s sustainability efforts.”

In a written statement prior to Apple’s recent annual shareholder meeting, NCPPR’s general counsel Justin Danhof said, “We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental…

View original post 550 more words

Stuff in the news 7/23/2013 – New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM - Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM – Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

  • The pending horse slaughter business now has an added obstacle of disposing of its wastewater. While they seem to have a workaround for that, there’s a lawsuit file that starts Aug 3rd, 2 days before their set to open. Bill Richardson and Robert Redford are purportedly signing onto the suit. Wastewater hurdle for proposed slaughter plant
  • Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Townsend Farms Berries Now at 151 Sick – including 9 in New Mexico
  • In a filing yesterday with the New Mexico Supreme Court, state Attorney General Gary King asked the 5-justice court to end the state’s ban on marriage equality, arguing that it violates the new Mexico Constitution. Read more
  • (Dallas/Santa Fe – July 23, 2013) EPA is awarding $350,000 to the New Mexico Environment Department for supplemental brownfields funding. The money goes to a revolving loan fund to help the state fund shovel-ready projects to redevelop contaminated sites. Read more
  • This is fun! Great to see tech skills development in students here… A Beginning Robotics Camp for students ages 10 and older will be held in Las Vegas Aug. 6-8. The camp is hosted by the New Mexico Engineering Resource Network, New Mexico State University, College of Engineering. – See more at: http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/9597/beginning-robotics-camp-offered-in-las-vegas/#sthash.Irb37fd1.dpuf
  • And, speaking of tech in New Mexico, The University of New Mexico Hospital and Albuquerque-based telemedicine provider Net Medical Xpress have launched a telemedicine effort that will allow UNM doctors to help treat stroke and head trauma patients remotely in 25 rural New Mexico hospitals. Read more
  • This is sad – I used to enjoy wandering through Peacecraft on Nob Hill in Albuquerque. Apparently it’s closed and, worse yet, its closure is affecting artisan women in New Mexico. If you’re hooked into the fair trade community and can give them business leads, please do so.

Stuff in the news 7/20/2013 – Social Good

Friend Joining Group Showing Friendship And Togetherness.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Stuff in the news 6/28/2013 – New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM - Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM – Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

  • You may not realize just how bad this drought is… Santa Fe now joins the list of towns in New Mexico that are running out of water. Local reservoirs are only at 33% capacity and after McNichols and McClure are tapped out, they’ll have to go to underground aquifers. Pray for rain, guys, and pray hard.
  • Extreme drought is also in its third year in Magdalena, where the water is trickling back but only trickling enough to re-open town for now.
  • In other liquid news, there’s a fight brewing over an arrest made in Tucumcari for an open container of near beer in a vehicle. 5-year legal fight over O’Doul’s beer
  • Have you noticed a lot of people here that have Michigan ties? I wonder if the load officers at CUANM do. The New Mexico Credit Union Assn. of New Mexico teamed up with a Troy, MI firm to release a mobile arcade game called Kirby’s Catch and Save, that features a kangaroo that catches coins in its pocket.
  • The Legal Tender in Lamy is re-opened this week. You can see a video from opening night here. To start out, they will only be open for dinner, Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour goes from 3-5pm and dinner goes from 6-9pm. Here’s the info:

    HOURS & RESERVATIONS

    Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Happy Hour Served: 3:00 P – 5:00 P
    Dinner Served: 5:00 P to 8:00 P
    Reservations Requested Call: 505.466.1650
    email: info@TheLegalTender.com
  • According to the US Department of Energy, “Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) is at some risk of seismic events and susceptible to forest fires, including those started by lightning.  Since 2000, there have been two major forest fires that threatened Los Alamos.Although Los Alamos had made progress in upgrading existing nuclear facilities, concerns remained regarding the mitigation of risks related to natural disasters.  Specifically, we found seismic issues affecting the Plutonium Facility that remain to be addressed.  Additionally, we found that fire protection and prevention vulnerabilities in Area G Waste Storage and Disposal Facility (Area G) continue to exist.  Further, we found that several known risks exist with compensatory measures implemented in Area G that may lessen their efficacy in mitigating natural disasters.  Los Alamos’ processes and procedures have not always been fully effective in ensuring that hazards, including natural disasters, are fully analyzed and effectively mitigated. ”
    If it weren’t the Energy Department, one would find this piece of news to be alarmist, not just alarming. But it is from the government agency and more than a bit frightening.
  • The Hepatitis A outbreak, blamed on Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend, has now affected 122 people, including 5 here in New Mexico.

Stuff in the news 6/24/2013 – New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM - Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM – Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Stuff in the news 6/21/2013 – New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM - Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM – Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

  • Santa Fe Opera House was named one of the world’s best opera houses by Four Seasons Resorts. No surprise to any of us here but nice to see: Where Is the World’s Best Opera House?
  • Apparently, the Opera isn’t enough to keep people living here. “Not only does Albuquerque lead the nation in losing jobs, it’s also one of the leaders when it comes to losing people, as in people moving away. It’s a double whammy haunting the state’s deeply troubled economy.” It’s more than job loss, though – people are even leaving to retire.  Record number of people moving away from Albuquerque.
  • New Mexico ranked number 8 in the top ten solar states, based on solar incentives; utility policies; interconnection; and net metering. Interesting that 4 of the top 5 were all eastern ones. Didn’t see that coming.
  • OK, so putting this in the New Mexico post is a bit of a stretch but the question was posed to Outside by someone in Santa Fe and I’m sitting in Hillside Market Cafe again, so there ya go. Q: How much caffeine is too much? 
  • Megafires seem to be expected in NM. “Scientists studying a prolonged and severe drought in the southwestern U.S. say that extensive damage done to trees in that region portends what lies in store as other forests worldwide face rising temperatures, diminished rainfall, and devastating fires.” — Megadrought in U.S. Southwest: A Bad Omen for Forests Globally (Hat tip Jim O’Donnell)
  • If you never got over to The Legal Tender in Lamy before it closed (I’ve blogged about it here), another chance is coming: Judge gives Legal Tender green light to reopen. Is it too much to hope that Santa Fe Southern Railway makes a comeback, as well?

Stuff in the news 6/21/2013 – Science

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • “Though it might not fit with New Age dolphin lore, the reality is that dolphins, even those born in captivity, are wild. There’s absolutely no evidence to support the burgeoning practice of dolphin-assisted therapy. Here’s why dolphins are not healers — and why this practice needs to stop.”:  No, dolphins are not your ‘therapists.’ So just stop it.
  • Hey! Bill Nye the Science Guy has come to your mobile device. How awesome is that?

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

  • From  U of M – Ann Arbor New Service: “Some people feel so “creeped out” that they would decline an organ or blood that came from a murderer or thief, according to a new University of Michigan study.In addition, they express concern that their personality or behavior may change to become more like that of the donor, as a result of the donation.”  For some, it matters who’s donating an organ, blood
  • You might want to take that next animal crossing sign just a little more seriously… “In spite of considerable human development, the southeastern United States region could provide some of the Western Hemisphere’s more heavily used thoroughfares for mammals, birds and amphibians on their way to cooler environments in a warming world, according to new research led by the University of Washington.” Detour Ahead: Cities, Farms Reroute Animals Seeking Cooler Climes
  • Do you really want to know what your cat thinks? Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals? 
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council has launched a tool to let you check what impact climate change may have on you, by zip code.
  • “An entire Maya city full of pyramids and palatial complexes has been discovered in a remote jungle in southeastern Mexico, archaeologists report.” Ruins of Maya City Discovered in Remote Jungle
  • Summer officially begins this week as the summer solstice marks the longest day of the year. For Americans, summer will begin either on Thursday or Friday—depending on which time zone you live in.

    That’s because the timing of the summer solstice depends on when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator, and that varies from year to year.

    This year’s summer solstice falls on Friday, June 21, at 1:04 a.m. ET, but it will start on Thursday night for places in North America west of the Central Time Zone.  Read more about Solstice at National Geographic

  • Fruits and Veggies Are Alive, Can Defend Against Herbivores. A new study finds that produce can be “trained” to specific circadian cycles, boosting their natural defenses against pests. And, in related news…

What is the FLAME Act of 2009?

This morning, one of my colleagues, Kelli Merritz, tweeted at me, telling me that there was a Senate hearing of the Energy Committee on wildland fire management. You can watch the whole 2-1/4 hrs session here (sadly, I cannot seem to embed it):  http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2013/6/full-committee-hearing-exploring-wildland-fire-management.

There was talk, throughout, as to whether the FLAME Act had been properly implemented since it was signed into law and how to make sure that happens. I had no idea what it was, so I went and looked it up….

The main provision is the establishment of two FLAME Funds; one for the Forest Service funded at $413 million and one for the Department of the Interior funded at $61 million in FY2010. These funding levels are not permanent and are likely to change in coming years. The FLAME Act requires the agencies to develop new methods for determining fire suppression funding estimates in the future. Not surprisingly, the FLAME Act acknowledges that the previous method of using the 10-year rolling average has not been effective: “the 10-year rolling average has failed to keep pace with actual funding requirements and has led to significant disruptions as agencies borrow from non-fire programs accounts when funds are exhausted”.

One of the main objectives of the policy change was to reduce the transfer of funds to wildfire suppression from other agency programs, a practice which has led to significant disruptions in other non-fire programs. Congress expects the administration to appropriately and fully estimate suppression costs, but not at the expense of other agency programs.

The FLAME Act requires the Agencies to report to Congress on a quarterly basis on the use of FLAME funds, a provision designed to avoid last minute emergency actions. The conference report language encourages suppression planning from year to year through a new approach to budgeting for both the FLAME funds and the Wildland Fire Management appropriation. The funds can only be used after a declaration by the Secretary of the Interior or Agriculture that a fire is large or complex or if annual suppression accounts are depleted.

Source: Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (direct link to paper)

I was initially posting this just to share what the FLAME Act is, since this is and will continue to be an ongoing topic of discussion if you’re reading / watching things about wildland fire  funding policy. Frankly, though, the entire session is really quite educational and if you can come up with 2 hours to watch it, you absolutely should.

Note that session didn’t start for 25 minutes so fast forward to there. Also, if you’re based in New Mexico, Martin Heinrich comes on at about mark 45:00 and if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you can watch Doug Decker, Oregon’s State Forester at about 46:50