liveonearth: (moon)
We might think, as we become more open, that it's going to take bigger catastrophes for us to reach our limit. The interesting thing is that, as we open more and more, it's the big ones that immediately wake us up and the little things that catch us off guard. However, no matter what the size, color, or shape is, the point is still to lean toward the discomfort of life & see it clearly, rather than to protect ourselves from it.
~Pema Chodron
liveonearth: (moon)
The First Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the foragers, was followed by the Second Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the farmers, and gives us an important perspetive on the Third Wave Extinction, which industrial activity is causing today.  Don't believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature.  Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving th emost plant and animmal species to their extinctions.  We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology.
--Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, 2015, p74.
liveonearth: (moon)
Not a surprise but we are not storing fuel.  We figure the roads will be toast also so who needs it?  Might want to top off our propane tanks for the cookstove, though.

“Is there any worse soil in Portland that we could have built on?” she asked.

Wang, an engineer with Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, known as DOGAMI, wrote a report in 2013 that said an earthquake could cause this ground to liquefy, as she had just now demonstrated.

“The risk here is extreme,” she said. After an earthquake, “within 10, 20 seconds, the sand will turn into a thick, sandy soup.”

And that would be bad.

Soil liquefaction, as it’s known to geologists, can exacerbate shaking and destroy roads, buildings and underground pipes. If that happens in Portland, it could devastate supply lines for fuel, electricity and natural gas. It also could mean a major chemical spill into the Willamette River.

What exactly is the problem?

Oregon’s petroleum reserves, along with substations, key pipelines and natural gas storage, are highly concentrated in one stretch along the Willamette River. Scientists now know that stretch of land poses a higher seismic risk than other parts of the city.

DOGAMI modeling for a magnitude-9 earthquake shows most of the petroleum tanks in that area sit on soils the agency considers to have a medium to high probability of liquefaction. The area also is predicted to have very strong shaking.

Read all about it here:
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.
--Lily Tomlin
liveonearth: (hwy 666)
The take-home message
is that we should blame religion itself,
not religious extremism
- as though that were some kind of
terrible perversion of real, decent religion.

--Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion
liveonearth: (hand)
This engineer (ironically named Mix) knew that the 4/20/10 BP oil geyser was bigger than the company had told the media, and they're arresting him for deleting 300 text messages on that subject. Not to be totally uppity but I KNEW at the time that the guesstimated amount was likely to be false and low. Anybody with half a brain knew the number was not likely to be the eventual truth. They just picked a nice round number and were sticking to it. It sorta sickens me to see an engineer go down for this. Somebody higher on the food chain is more responsible, and for more heinous crimes.

liveonearth: (Default)
Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.
--HG Wells
liveonearth: (Default)
This is where I am going in less than 2 weeks. My friends there are traumatized.

liveonearth: (Default)
Wild how big an issue this flow has turned out to be. And how they keep switching units on us. How about reporting in CFS or CMS, so I'd know without calculating how much oil that is, huh? I don't think in barrels. The latest from the WSJ:

The government's Flow Rate Technical Group estimates that the BP well is now leaking 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department said in a statement. Last Thursday saw the release of three preliminary estimates of the flow from before the well's riser pipe was sheared, ranging from 12,600 to 50,000 barrels a day. Initial estimates of the flow were 5,000 barrels of oil a day.

6/16/10 update: Hightower on BP's record of willful and egregious violations of safety code, and on their CEO with a big mouth:
liveonearth: (Default)
After the recent series of earthquakes around the world, and a news article I read interviewing a Portland City employee about what will happen here when the fault pops loose. It's the same fault that San Fransisco sits on. He thinks the big one will happen here within a century. It could be tomorrow. I am not ready. When I mention it to others, no one seems willing to think about it. But why not be prepared? We here live on a giant fault, and this city would be paralyzed by a quake because the city is split in half by a river. There are eight bridges in the city. Probably half of them would fall down, or be severely damaged. Water lines would break. Lawlessness would ensue. Even here. But we like to think that we are so civilized that nothing bad would happen. I do think that Portland, of all cities, would probably be one of the best to be in when the shit hits.

This is a bit of general advice I gleaned from living through the utter anarchy that followed the earthquake, in no particular order. I write this in the hopes that it helps someone someday.
ADVICE, not mine, but I agree, not that I act )
liveonearth: (Default)
There's a cynic in me that rears higher when I hear a report about "SOS" signs showing up along the roads in Haiti. The closer to the airport the signs are, the more likely they are to be scams. With loaded humanitarians pouring in, everybody will be trying to get in on the do-gooding action. And it is so much easier to do-good if you have someone local who knows the ropes. Why do your homework when someone there says they will take the money and do good with it in your name? Where money goes, greed awaits. The opportunists will make good on this crisis. I hope that people who are NOT putting up desperation shingles on the road from the airport aren't forgotten.
liveonearth: (Default)
This morning they declared Multnomah County (the one I'm in, includes most of Portland) to be a federal disaster area. The news report was filled with city officials griping about how the snow had already cost the city $800,000 when the city budget was already strained. I think "disaster" is just a way for local governments to beg more money from the fed.
more )
liveonearth: (Default)
Andre is a regular comentator on NPR, and his voice with the Romanian lilt is so familiar that we're on a first name basis, though we've never met. He is a poet, teaches creative writing in Louisiana, and lives in New Orleans. He spoke at Prochnow Auditorium on the NAU campus, and the venue was about 3/4 full. Inga the Gringa drew a bigger crowd. But Andre is funny, witty, and really intelligent. He brings the outsider's view to our culture, the appreciative perspective of a refugee from World War II. He brings the wild joy at our freedoms that artists feel.
more )


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