Drought Plateau

“Enchanted Light | New Mexico” by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

 
That’s typical. No sooner had I reported on the jet stream being stalled, resulting in cooler, damper weather, than it whipped up north of us putting us in a hotter, drier air mass. As a result the wildfire hazard has spread its extreme rating through more areas in the last week, and a few days ago a fire started just to the east of where I live. In those few days it has grown to more than 1500 hectares. The crews worked hard trying to keep it out of the big timber where it could really take off, but the dry heat and some wind, along with the difficult terrain, have conspired to outrun them.

You can tell where the hills are by the rising sun.

The sound of helicopters and water bombers has been nearly continuous. It’s hard to see the fire in the daytime from here because of the smoke, but at night we can see flames across the hills on the east side of the valley.

With the drying trend I’m surprised that the drought level has stayed at 2 – dry. I was sure I would be reporting a rise to 3 – very dry. I choose to take it as good news. Droughtman has been quiet on the subject. I also take that as good news.

rjb

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Wildfire in the Morning

Jim Bowering – CC-BY-SA


We woke up to this today.

Jim Bowering – CC-BY-SA


A little later on.

Jim Bowering – CC-BY-SA


Jim Bowering – CC-BY-SA


Jim Bowering – CC-BY-SA


Well, they said the fire hazard was extreme.

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10% of Fossil Fuel Subsidy ‘Could Pay for Green Transition’

via Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash ‘could pay for green transition’ | Environment | The Guardian

In the global energy market, renewables get about U$100 billion per year in subsidies. Fossil fuels get U$370 billion per year. Subsidies are defined as direct financial or more indirect tax support for purchasers or producers. It has been estimated that diverting from 10 – 30% of the fossil fuel subsidies to renewables would pay for a rapid transition to clean(er) energy.

From the Guardian:

Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution, according to a new report, significantly cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said.

To quote Richard Bridle of the International Institute for Sustainable Development:

“Almost everywhere, renewables are so close to being competitive that [a 10-30% subsidy swap] tips the balance, and turns them from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is instantly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation,” said Richard Bridle of the IISD. “It goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer.”

It will help us reach our climate protection goals and reduce pollution.

“Taking away subsidies from fossil fuels and channelling them towards clean energy would boost their development at a much faster pace, and help secure our climate goals,” said Ipek Gençsü of the Overseas Development Institute. An added bonus is the social and economic benefits, such as reduced air pollution and health spending, she said.

The cost goes up if we include indirect subsidies. Yes, that’s U$5.2 trillion.

The IMF also includes the cost of the damage fossil fuel burning causes to climate and health, leading to an estimate of $5.2tn of fossil fuel subsidies in 2017, or $10m a minute. Ending the subsidies would cut global emissions by about a quarter, the IMF estimates, and halve the number of early deaths from fossil fuel air pollution.

You can find the full article at the Guardian’s website. They might ask you for a donation, but they’ll let you look whether you choose to make one or not.

via Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash ‘could pay for green transition’ | Environment | The Guardian

rjb

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Drought Returning

“Enchanted Light | New Mexico” by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Since the last report where the drought level was easing due to low temperatures and wet conditions, things are picking up again. While Droughtman seized the opportunity to point out that the wildfire hazard was low, it didn’t last. We’ve had a few hot, dry days and the scale is back up to very high, just short of an extreme hazard. — Breaking news: it just went up to extreme. — July was the only month to exceed normal during this period when we expect to get a good share of our annual precipitation, and it didn’t even reach 115%.

It looks as if the jet stream might be thinking of moving into its usual summer position, which is well to the north of us. When that happens we settle in for that long period of summer heat that we’ve usually had, or at least begun by now. This year, though, the jet stream seems to have stalled with an arm of it looping down to the west of us. That means there’s an avenue for a series of weather systems to pass nearby or right over us. Hence the lower temperatures and wetter weather.

The fire suppression crews got control of the big fire that was threatening to come over the mountain and descend on us. Those people are champs.

One of these times I’m going to have to talk about the deep duff.

rjb

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Guest Post – A Migraine

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Laird Smith

Laird Smith


Before I begin I would like to remind you to check out the free novels and audiobooks while you’re on the Green Comet website.

A Migraine

Recently a relative of mine was abroad when a heat related migraine headache struck. The migraine was so intense, the relative was hospitalized.
I was around the same age as my relative when I suffered my first migraine symptoms. At the time I didn’t realize what it was because all I saw was a jagged, colored aura in my vision. It wasn’t until years later, while in my mid twenties, that I really felt the effects of a full blown, knock you down, head splitting, beastly migraine! To deal with it, all I could do was sleep and fortunately I was home at the time. I thought later about the occurrence and realized the migraine came on as a result of lack of sleep. I resolved to not allow myself to be sleep deprived.

I was visiting someone in the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton Alberta, and was browsing through a pamphlet information rack. I came upon an item that spoke of a way to deal with migraine headaches. The pamphlet spoke of the pain centre of the migraine being filled with blood. The key was to transfer that inflamed blood centre to another part of your body. The example they used was your wrist. If you are one of the fortunate ones to be pre-warned of the migraine, then you begin to slap your wrist, hard enough to make it turn pink. When the migraine symptoms depart and the migraine is supposed to come on with its vengeance, it does not, because the inflamed blood centre is now in your wrist!

I decided to try the procedure next time a migraine afflicted me. I stopped being careful about getting enough sleep. Sure enough, not too far along, my vision pre-warned me with an aura, and I wanted to begin the slapping but was in a public setting and didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself. I held my wrist and plunged my thumb into the soft tissue repeatedly. When the aura went away, so did the migraine, mostly. There was a bit of tenderness in my head from the ordeal and I took a pain killer to deal with it. I decided that next time I would take the pain killer as soon as the symptoms manifested themselves and that worked much better. For the next thirty years I dealt with every migraine headache the same way. Never again was I debilitated by the beast!

In 2015, I began to take blood thinners and anti-cholesterol drugs to mitigate a possible stroke after being afflicted with TIA’s (Transient Ischemic Attack.) There have been many days since when I have experienced a lack of sleep and expected to combat the beast again, but didn’t get the migraine symptoms nor the migraine. I don’t really know, but suspect it is the drugs I’m on, that have alleviated the migraine problem.

My journey with migraines has been an eventful one to say the least. I am not a medical doctor nor do I aspire to be one, all I have is my experience which I hope some may find beneficial.

Laird Smith

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Drought Easing

“Enchanted Light | New Mexico” by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Already we have surpassed the average rainfall for July, at only the three-quarter mark. This has allowed the drought level to be reduced from 3 to 2. That means our conditions have gone from “very dry” to “dry.”

What has Droughtman got to say about this? He says that 2019 has been very rainy, even though July has been the only month this spring/summer to reach normal levels of precipitation. He reiterates that the big lakes have a lot of water. To his credit, this time he didn’t say that means there’s no drought. Maybe he forgot to mention it.

Here’s hoping this unusually cool and wet July continues and carries over into August. It has been a nice change and we can use it. The wildfire hazard is down, a relief after the last two years of big fires. If we keep getting rain, maybe the aquifers will have a chance to recharge. With higher temperatures in the forecast, it would be good to build up a bit of a buffer.

We had a splendid thunderstorm pass through last night, with near-continuous lightning and some rain. Hopefully the lightning-caused fires can be knocked down before they do too much damage.

Don’t stop now, rain.

rjb

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Transgender Sexism


This will be a short piece on the strange kind of sexism experienced by Doctor Ben Barres, a transgender man. When he was born in 1954 his gender assignment was female. At that time there were only two to choose from and the doctors had to give you one or the other. Sometimes there was “minor” surgery to make you fit your assignment. He grew up as a “tomboy.”

Ben Barres, known as Barbara at the time, did really well in school (MIT, Dartmouth Medical School, Harvard) and embarked on a successful career in neurobiology. Actually he did much better once he transitioned from female to male. While a woman he faced typical sexism. Accused of “getting help” from a boyfriend when he outshone his male classmates. Research supervisors unwilling to take him on. Lost scholarship to lesser candidate. Lost scientific competition to less capable male competitor. I think many women will recognize the pattern.

Perhaps the most interesting example of sexism came after he transitioned to male. People who didn’t know his history treated him with the respect due to a person of such accomplishments. Before the transition he didn’t get that respect. Most interestingly, after he spoke at his first seminar as a man, one scientist in the audience was overheard to say, “Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but his work is much better than his sister’s work.” They thought Barbara Barres was his sister. This is a strange twist on the Matilda effect.

This makes me wonder what would have happened if the transition had gone the other way.

rjb

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Guest Post – Observations on American Politics

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Laird Smith

Laird Smith

Recently, I received a picture from an American friend on Facebook which truly shocked me! I’m a centrist and it takes a great deal to jar me but this picture and caption did just that. It was a family picture of a husband and wife and three daughters aged eight, ten, and twelve. All were well dressed and smiling ear to ear. That’s not too shocking is it? It was what they were holding that jolted me. All five of them were holding semi automatic rifles slung across their chests. The daughters were each holding an AR-15 while the parents were holding firearms with much bigger stocks. I couldn’t determine exactly what kind of firearms they were but they were not hunting rifles. I thought for a moment that the family was just doing a spoof when one of the comments the pic received was, that the oldest daughter was a marksman and had won many competitions. The caption read,”repost this and watch a liberal’s head explode!” I wrote to my friend and asked him about the pic. His reply was that someday they might have to resort to defending themselves from the Democrats because the Democrats are a bunch of crazy radicals!

This is not the America that I lived and worked in for 6.5 years. The America I knew was peace loving, friendly, and exuded warmth. Americans were a people I grew to love and respect. The gun toting family picture was anything but friendly. It was downright scary! However, the picture reminded me that we Canadians have an undercurrent of hate and fear mongering swirling in our culture too. Not too long ago I was speaking to a Canadian friend on the phone, a man I respect and honour and have known for 35 years. He spoke of the American Democratic Party having members who were cannibals and have committed all kinds of atrocities to aborted fetuses. To say the least I was shocked! I asked him where he got this information and he said that radio and TV Christian preachers were saying these things and including other accusations too. At the time I found that very hard to believe. I went to the online Democratic Party statement and was unable to find anything that my phone friend was accusing them of. Then later I saw the picture of the gun toting family and read the caption, then I understood that the American Democratic Party was under fire with rumour and innuendo!

I look back to 1975, in which began my 22 year stint with what I call the Control Church(CC). The church was part of a North American wide movement of loosely affiliated groups of Christian churches of born again, Bible based, tongue talking, spirit filled, converted members, mostly youth, some who were former hippies and Jesus Freaks. This is where rumour and innuendo festered. For examples, at our church we once heard that Crest toothpaste had the sign of the devil on it, so many of us stopped using Crest. Canada Safeway grocery chain was supposed to be owned by the Mormons so we were obligated to stop patronizing Safeway. Then white bread was bad for us along with watching TV and participating in amateur sports teams. Going to university was also frowned upon, among many other leadership induced no-nos. Most accepted those leadership decisions without question, myself included.

As I look back at those formative years, I see the hands of the trusted CC leadership fully controlling our lives by allowing rumour and innuendo to infiltrate our social circles.
It looks like the same thing is happening in the CC today. Trusted Christian leadership is villainizing the American Democratic Party which in turn is creating mistrust and fear among the faithful. Similar beliefs were fostered by Hitler during his rise to power and we all know where that went. Is that where our beloved United States of America is going? Will each party villainize the other to the point where they will come to blows leading to civil war? I don’t know of anyone who wants that, but with the current river of fear and mistrust, that seems to be the direction that the nation is headed. I hope I’m wrong because I have friends and family in both camps and don’t want to see anyone hurt.

Laird Smith

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Security Certificate Restored

credit Alvesgaspar – CC-BY-SA


Good news! The missing security certificate has been applied and you need no longer fear visiting the Green Comet website. I scolded them for their lapse and they promised that it would renew automatically next time. No harm done, I hope.

rjb

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The Great Cloud Conspiracy

Credit Craig Sunter – CC-BY


In the past week I’ve had a couple of visits from people who saw a link from another site to a post here. Being curious I backtracked them and found myself reading about the Great Cloud Conspiracy. Apparently when the International Cloud Atlas released a new edition with some added cloud types it meant that they were actually new clouds that didn’t use to exist. And of course that means that someone, probably the government, had done something that caused them to appear. Something about chemtrails? Note that my posts were linked to as a form of validation for their theories. In one case the author of the conspiracy post simply cut-and-pasted my post right off the screen. Any reasonable person who reads my posts will realize that I don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theories they’re supposed to support.

To be misunderstood is bad enough. To then be used as back-up for some wingnut’s conspiracy theory is going too far.

rjb

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