SAN FRANCISCO — Sure, fine, California may have its problems right now. There is the budget, yes, what with that pesky $26.5 billion deficit, and the legislative stalemate with its, you know, stalemate-ness. Unemployment is still high, and so is anxiety, about everything from housing prices to radioactive clouds drifting over from Japan.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney confronts his new book’s major problem right up front. “You might well think,” he writes, “that cloud collecting sounds like a ridiculous idea.”
True, he acknowledges, clouds are ephemeral, “magicked into being” by the atmosphere and constantly changing. And, of course, they cannot actually be gathered up and stored away. But as Mr. Pretor-Pinney sees it, you don’t have to possess something to collect it: “You just have to notice it and record it.”
Hence “The Cloud Collector’s Handbook,” published by Chronicle Books, a serious yet charming field guide to clouds.
Part 1 of a two-part series on the impact of Canadian oil in the U.S.
The oil sands of Alberta, Canada, constitute one of the biggest proven oil reserves in the world. Today, Canada is the single biggest foreign source of oil for the U.S., and industry analysts project that 20 years from now, it may be supplying one-fourth of all U.S. oil needs.
But getting all that oil across the border requires heavy-duty infrastructure, and some new projects are causing cross-border tensions.
Ever since the iPad 2 launch, American consumers have had trouble walking into a store to buy it. Every morning, Apple stores open early and potential customers wait outside. How long can these lines continue — and what’s the holdup?
LOCAL BOY DOES GOOD! HANS HOLLENBECK BOOK SIGNING AT CIMARRON BOOKS-WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30. NOON-5 P.M.
Hans spent his youth in Ridgway along with brother Trevor and “Poppy” Chris in the 80′s and 90′s. I’ve know these guys since they were children and what a trip seeing them grow and following their trails.
It’s been a fine friendship hanging out, going to Mexico, motorcycle trips and watching them getting into and usually out of various scrapes of life. The “old man” treated them right, but they probably didn’t appreciate it…..anyway……back to the point of this.
Hans lives an unusual life in Durango and has published his first novel. I’ve got a signed copy, but haven’t read it yet so I can’t critique it, but knowing Hans, it’s gotta be interesting…. I’ve heard that the local Nazis had a BOOKBURNING the other night and Highpoint was the starter fuel…
A startling discovery comes to light for retired Argentine criminal investigator Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darín) as he pens a biographical novel about the unsolved case of a young newlywed’s brutal rape and murder years ago. Past and present intertwine for Espósito and colleague Irene Menéndez Hastings (Soledad Villamil) in director Juan José Campanella’s Oscar-winning character study in which justice, pain and love collide.
Augustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) attempts to find the mysterious Ezequiel, the leader of a revolution being fermented by native people of a Latin American nation. But weighing equally heavy on Rejas’s psyche is his attraction to his daughter’s ballet teacher (Laura Morante). The affair provides solace to the emptiness of his marriage and his frustration in the search for Ezequiel, but it isn’t a cure-all. John Malkovich directs.
On Saturday, I participated in a TEDx event focused on the future of America’s century-old National Wildlife Refuge system, with a special focus on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the North Slope of Alaska. The video is archived above. [You can scan my live blogging below.]
The timing is propitious because the Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment through Earth Day on the best ways to shape its priorities for refuges. Visit AmericasWildlife.org for more information.
ABOUT DOT EARTH
By 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, which recently moved from the news side of The Times to the Opinion section, Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Conceived in part with support from a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Dot Earth tracks relevant developments from suburbia to Siberia. The blog is an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts.
For GOP presidential hopefuls, its become necessary to court the crazy. Earlier today, Tim Murphy told you about Newt Gingrich’s remarks at an American Family Association forum in Iowa, where the former House Speaker—and likely Republican presidential contestant—lavished praise on Islamophobe conspiracy theorist David Barton.
But wait, there’s more: The Iowa Independent reports that Gingrich, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are scheduled to appear on Bryan Fischer’s radio show today. Fischer, the AFA’s issues director, has long been a leading basher of Muslims and gays and lesbians. He has said that inbreeding causes Muslims to be stupid and violent; he has equated gay sex with domestic terrorism; and he has claimed that Hitler and his stormtroopers were gay. Yesterday on his blog, Fischer wrote that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion does not apply to Islam:
Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.
Our government has no obligation to allow a treasonous ideology to receive special protections in America, but this is exactly what the Democrats are trying to do right now with Islam.
March 26, 2011
There’s nothing new about studying animal sounds; biologists have been doing that for centuries. After all, if you want to understand birds, you need to understand how they communicate.
But Bryan Pijanowski is now asking his colleagues to take a huge step back and, metaphorically speaking, listen not just to the trees, but to the forest.
“We’re trying to understand how sounds can be used as measures of ecosystem health,” says Pijanowski, who teaches in the department of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University.
He and some colleagues have written a call to action in the journal BioScience. It’s time, they say, to formalize the study of “soundscape ecology.”
Back in 1970, a young blues fanatic named Bruce Iglauer walked into Florence’s Lounge on the South Side of Chicago. The band he heard, Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers, inspired a record label that endures to this day.
Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers made the first record released on Alligator Records. Some 280 releases later, the label is marking its 40th anniversary this year.
“Florence’s was a little neighborhood tavern — they only had music on Sunday afternoons,” Igauer tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon. “It was jammed with people, everybody dancing — even the people in their seats dancing. And at the far end of the club, no stage, no PA system: They just moved a couple of tables. There were these three guys just playing with such joy and such intensity that I fell in love with a band.”
A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack’s final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation.
This critically acclaimed comedy-drama won six Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Director. Pinot noir lover Miles (Paul Giamatti) convinces his soon-to-be-married friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) to enjoy his last days of bachelorhood in style. But the pair end up choosing women (Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen) over wine.
It’s got to be the funniest guy/wine tasting-road trip/chick flick I’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it see it. If you’ve seen it, see it again… JR
This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it’s only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O’NeillTheater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to “The Book of Mormon,” and feast upon its sweetness.
From left Rema Webb, Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad on their way to a village in Uganda, in “The Book of Mormon.”
Now you should probably know that this collaboration between the creators of television’s “South Park” (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and the composer of “Avenue Q” (Robert Lopez) is also blasphemous, scurrilous and more foul-mouthed thanDavid Mamet on a blue streak. But trust me when I tell you that its heart is as pure as that of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show.
Thanks Mike Friedman
You’d think by now that 9/11, the New Orleans disaster and the Japanese tsunami would have taught us that in this world none of us are safe unless everyone everywhere is safe, that the lives of all human beings are inextricably bound together and that mankind and the wellbeing of the earth are interdependent and always will be.
The real subject of this column: How the media’s coverage of the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan reveals an uncomfortable amount of evidence about America’s endemic racism. All week long I’ve been hearing broadcasters refer to Three Mile Island, as “America’s worst nuclear accident,” and pro-nuclear energy advocates countering with, “Nobody died at Three Mile Island.”
In reality, our worst nuclear disaster happened on the Navajo Indian Reservation; the catastrophe unfolded over several decades, climaxing in the radioactive flood that roared down the Rio Puerco in western New Mexico, poisoning an area comparably to what was left by the Chernobyl meltdown.
Speaking of Sarah P., I just want to say that I am so looking forward to the Republican primary campaign this cycle. It looks like Michele Bachmann is going to run, Palin might run, Newt Gingrich is probably going to run,
Jim DeMint seems like he might run, and I suppose Ron Paul will run again too. This is a freak show of stupendous proportions, and it would be perfect if Donald Trump really did decide to join all these nutbags on the stage during the debates.
I guess I’m wondering how these debates are going to go. I mean, the party line even among the relatively sane wing of the GOP holds that Obama is a socialist Kenyan sleeper agent, global warming doesn’t exist, millionaires are taxed too highly, and Ben Bernanke is courting hyperinflation. Parroting those positions won’t make you stand out from the pack, so the crazy wing is going to have to up the ante. But how? Obama needs to turn over a DNA sample to prove he’s not a mutant mole? Our real danger is the potential for ice caps to start forming in Los Angeles by the middle of the century? We should take a cue from the airlines and give rich people a million-dollar-club card from the government that exempts them from all taxes for the rest of their lives?
“This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.”
— Charles Bukowski
Bukowski reads “The Secret of My Endurance”
Some years ago, the British writer Patrick French visited the Sabarmati ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in the Indian state of Gujarat, the site from which Mahatma Gandhi led his salt march to the sea in 1930. French was so appalled by the noisome state of the latrines that he asked the ashram secretary whose job it was to clean them.
Mohandas K. Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893 as a young British-trained lawyer.
A sweeper woman stopped by for an hour a day, the functionary explained, but afterward things inevitably became filthy again.
But wasn’t it a central tenet of the Mahatma’s teachings that his followers clean up after themselves?
“We all clean the toilets together, on Gandhiji’s birthday,” the secretary answered, “as a symbol to show that we understand his message.”
Gandhi, circa 1906.
Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India
By Joseph Lelyveld
Traditionally, intelligence agencies have relied on top-secret information to track changes in other countries. But wiretaps and secret intercepts didn’t help U.S. officials predict the Arab Spring that has brought revolution across the Middle East and North Africa.
In hindsight, officials say there could have found some clues about what was about to happen if they had read open sources more closely. Now they are searching for systematic ways to do that.
The uprisings in the region have shown intelligence officials that they need new ways to understand what motivates people around the world. While traditional intelligence tools can help, they are limited in their ability to put their fingers on the pulse of society or anticipate fickle human behavior.
The 1945 movie Mildred Pierce starred Joan Crawford as an ambitious woman capable of anything — even murder. But it turns out that this film noir was quite a departure from the novel it was based on.
Although author James M. Cain was known for his hardboiled plots in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, his novel Mildred Pierce was a comparatively quiet portrait of a single mother in 1930s Los Angeles.
To make ends meet, the title character works her way up from baking pies to owning a string of successful restaurants. Rather than murder, the novel’s only crime is the painful, turbulent relationship between Mildred and her ambitious daughter Veda.
It was this version of Mildred Pierce that inspired director Todd Haynes’ new HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet.
“The Mildred that emerged on the page was someone quite different from the Joan Crawford Mildred,” Haynes tells Morning Edition‘s Renee Montaigne. “It was no longer a film noir; it was almost a social realist document about rough times in a very specific economic moment in our history.”
After Mildred sends her unemployed and cheating husband packing, she finds herself a “grass widow” in the Great Depression. Struggling to take care of her family, without the help of her husband, one character describes Mildred as “the great American institution that never gets mentioned on the Fourth of July.”
“It’s really about a woman taking stock of herself in a whole new way and looking at what her sort of value is, now that she has to go out on the street and find some sort of livelihood to sustain her middle class life,” says Haynes.
IT will be years before we know the full consequences of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. But the public attention raised by the problems there provides an opportunity to rethink nuclear-power policy in the United States and the rest of the world — and reduce the dangers of a similar disaster happening elsewhere.
From one perspective, nuclear power has been remarkably safe. The 1986 Chernobyl accident will ultimately kill about 10,000 people, mostly from cancer. Coal plants are much deadlier: the fine-particulate air pollution they produce kills about 10,000 people each year in the United States alone.
Without cutting through the fog of war it’s impossible to understand what’s really going on in Libya.
Odyssey Dawn is only happening because the 22-member Arab League voted to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab League – routinely dismissed in Western capitals as irrelevant before this decision – is little else than an instrument of the House of Saud’s foreign policy.
Its “decision” was propelled by Washington’s promise to protect the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) kings/sheikhs/oligarchs from the democratic aspirations of their own subjects – who are yearning for the same democratic rights as their “cousins” in eastern Libya.
This is exactly the same GCC, posing for Saudi Arabia that invaded Bahrain to help the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty to crush the pro-democracy movement. The GCC gang is considered by the West as “our” bastards, while Colonel Muammar Gaddafi – according to the Western narrative – is a terrorist who went to rehab and is now a thug.
The common rap against technology is that it leads to an accumulation of devices. But the nature of technology is changing. Fewer products are doing more tasks — all accomplished by countless lines of massless software code.
And so we no longer need to accumulate products. If anything, we can cut down. The question is, Which can be replaced and which are fine, or even preferable, to keep? It is plain as day that paper maps and Rolodexes have given way to their digital counterparts. But what else can you get rid of? Here is a list of common consumer technologies and products and a somewhat opinionated judgment on whether to keep or pitch it.
Detective John Rebus of the Edinburgh police force has retired after 17 novels and a slew of short stories. His creator, Scottish author Ian Rankin, has now written a new book with a new protagonist, a cop who works in the division of internal affairs — in other words, a cops who chases cops. The book, The Complaints, feels like it has the potential to become a new series.
Because of Rebus’ popularity, readers will inevitably compare Malcolm Fox, The Complaints‘ protagonist, with their beloved detective. Rebus gained a reputation for being a bit more rough-and-tumble, while Fox, Rankin says, is the kind of cop who drinks soft drinks at the bar.
Rankin sees why readers would make the comparison, as both cops work in Edinburgh, and their stories are intimately tied to the city (where, incidentally, Rankin also lives). But, he says, there’s a big difference between the homicide unit and internal affairs.