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Showing posts from May, 2012

Who's Next?

May 29, 2012 - The Memorial Day weekend was one for the record books.  Much of the interior U.S. sizzled.  Even worse, the heat was accompanied by unrelenting humidity.  Here in southwest Ohio, our temperatures were in the low 90's, with humidity hovering around 60 percent.  The weather was dangerous.

Republicans are known for being ferociously opposed to regulation.  They represent much of the western United States, where Americans are likeliest to take the attitude "no one can tell me what to do."  That's patently ridiculous, of course.  We all have bosses; even the CEO's of major corporations report to a board of directors.  There's a reason for that.  When people aren't held accountable, some among them ultimately engage in whatever sort of behavior will benefit them the most, even if rules forbid that behavior.  They collectively give each other permission to ignore the rules, little bit by little bit.  What one dares to do at the outset becomes what…

Hoist on Their Lying Petard

May 21, 2012 - Don't you just love it when justice prevails?  When right makes might?  When the perps get caught red-handed?  I know I do, and so it is with great, if inappropriate, glee that I inform you of a mass departure of both donors and staff from the Heartland Institute (HI).  The Unabomber billboard has proved to be their downfall, if not their undoing.  In fact, Heartland has lost more than 35% of pledged but uncollected funds for the year 2012, according to the campaign group Forecast the Facts.  In an admirable attempt at piling on, Forecast is urging corporate donors to boycott Heartland.

Not only have funds suddenly dried up, but staffers at Heartland's Washington, D.C. office have exited in disgust, putting an end to a major project overseen by Eli Lehrer, the former Washington office director.  Lehrer, who has himself resigned, lost all but one of his office staff in the billboard brouhaha.  As a result,
Heartland's much touted "climate conference,&qu…

No More Weather?

May 14, 2012 - One of the more sophisticated devices available to climatologists in their struggle to gain further understanding of the changing climate is the polar-orbiting satellite.  Capable of continuously scanning our planet from north to south, instruments aboard the satellite can also monitor volcanic eruptions, gather sea surface temperatures, and locate emergency beacons indicating aviators or mariners in distress.  Oh yes, and they help forecast the weather.  Without these satellites, weather and climate forecasts are less accurate.  Furthermore, climatologists' ability to monitor natural disasters declines significantly.

The NRC (National Research Council) has issued a new report concerning ongoing satellite programs, an update of a decadal report published in 2007.  Long story short, these programs are in trouble.  I'll bet you'll never guess what the problem is!  Gosh, you're good: not enough money.  While the launching of the next satellite was to have b…

So Far, So Good

May 7, 2012 - Time to grow a garden once again.  Now that we've lived in the same place for eight years, the fruits of my prodigious labors are finally there for all to see.  The rains we enjoyed last year and, so far, this year, have made a huge difference.  Astonishingly, horribly infertile soil notwithstanding, there are a number of plants I'm going to STOP fertilizing, they've gotten so big.  The trees in the yard got off to a start that was best described with the word "inertia."  It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand just how really and truly awful our soil was.  That said, they have thrived since getting annual, generous doses of organic fertilizer.

I try very hard to garden organically, and I do think I get a little better at it each year.  The one battle I'm never going to win (because I live in a subdivision) is the dandelion battle.  By winning, I mean letting the lousy things just grow.  That is not, however, what my neighbors mean …