Americans have never met a hydrocarbon they didn’t like. Oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, tar-sands oil, coal-bed methane, and coal, which is, mostly, carbon—the country loves them all, not wisely, but too well. To the extent that the United States has an energy policy, it is perhaps best summed up as: if you’ve got it, burn it.
America’s latest hydrocarbon crush is shale gas. Shale gas has been around for a long time—the Marcellus Shale, which underlies much of Pennsylvania and western New York, dates back to the mid-Devonian period, almost four hundred million years ago—and geologists have been aware of its potential as a fuel source for many decades. But it wasn’t until recently that, owing to advances in drilling technology, extracting the gas became a lucrative proposition. The result has been what National Geographic has called “the great shale gas rush.” In the past ten months alone, some sixteen hundred new wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania; it is projected that the total number in the state could eventually grow to more than a hundred thousand. Nationally, shale-gas production has increased by a factor of twelve in the past ten years.
Like many rushes before it, the shale-gas version has made some people wealthy and others miserable. Landowners in shale-rich areas have received thousands of dollars an acre in up-front payments for the right to drill under their property, with the promise of thousands more to come in royalties. A new term has been invented to describe them: “shaleionaires.”
Meanwhile, some of their neighbors—who are, perhaps, also shaleionaires—have watched their tap water turn brown and, on occasion, explode. Shale gas is embedded in dense rock, so drillers use a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to open up fissures in the stone through which it can escape. (This is the process known as “hydraulic fracturing,” or, more colloquially, “fracking.”) In the 2005 energy bill, largely crafted by Vice-President Dick Cheney, fracking was explicitly exempted from federal review under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result of this dispensation, which has been dubbed the Halliburton Loophole, drilling companies are under no obligation to make public which chemicals they use. Likely candidates include such recognized or suspected carcinogens as benzene and formaldehyde.
U.N.: Past Decade Tied For Warmest on Record International meteorological panel prods world leaders to take action at latest round of UN climate talks. Any Surprises Here? JR
By Greg Howard | Posted Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011
This year caps a decade that matches the record for the hottest on record, the U.N.’s World Meteorlogical Organization said Tuesday in a new report unveiled to coincide with the latest round of international climate talks.
“Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa said in Durban, South Africa, where officials from almost 200 nations are gathered.
According to the provisional report, 2011 is set to become the tenth hottest year on record, and thirteen of the warmest years on record in terms of average global temperature have occurred within the past decade and a half.
The rise in yearly temperatures, the scientists say, contributes to extreme weather conditions like droughts, floods, heat waves, heavy precipitation and cyclones. Measures of Arctic sea ice this year show its area is the second lowest on record, and its volume is the lowest.
The WMO report was unveiled in hopes of further nudging world leaders to take action to address climate change during the U.N. climate conference in Durban, which runs through December 9. But Reuters explains why the talks may prove fruitless:
Prospects for a meaningful agreement appear bleak with the biggest emitters the United States and China unwilling to take on binding cuts until the other does first. Major players Japan, Canada and Russia are unwilling to extend commitments that expire next year and the European Union is looking at 2015 as a deadline for reaching a new global deal.
If no agreement is reached, many scientists fears that greenhouse gas emissions will reach a point of no return. Some believe that by the end of the century, glaciers will melt, sea levels will rise, and some island states will be submerged if the global average temperature increases between 3 and 6 degrees Celsius.
Bob Fulton died in his plane while flying over Pennslyvania in 2002. A very creative guy…artist, musician, film maker, philosopher, intellectual, poet. A Renaissance man……and a good guy… Lived in Aspen and put together a great film called ‘Pilot Notes’ with the BBC and other film projects… check him out.. JR
http://www.filmontage.com/ Trailer’s of PILOT NOTES (Andes Part I and American South West Part II)
Fulton’s Father was the original adventurer….must be genetic memory… JR
OWL ON FINAL APPROACH
Enjoy this one minute video of the majesty of flight.
The aeronautical engineers can’t improve on this model……
Watch the wing feathers as he Flares to slow down.
You can see the airflow.
Dusting Off A Gritty, Glamorous California Classic –Also Fante’s novel has been made into a good film with Colin Farrell & Salma Hayek
People think of Los Angeles as a city without a past. But as a native Angeleno, I stumble upon the relics of its history all the time: the rails of our long-ago vanished street cars embedded in the asphalt, for example, and the mostly vacant towers of stone in our Old Banking District.
There are many novels that can give their readers a sense of what it was like to live in that old L.A., a city of men in fedoras and women in broad-shouldered dresses. But it’s John Fante, largely forgotten outside Los Angeles, who best brings the passion, the possibility and the hurt of that glamorous city to life, specifically with his 1939 novel Ask the Dust.
Ask the Dust is the story of Fante’s alter ego, Arturo Bandini. Like Fante himself, Bandini has come to L.A. from Colorado during the Great Depression. His dream is to be a great writer. But his so-far miniscule royalty checks allow him nothing better than a room in Bunker Hill, a neighborhood of worn-out apartments and sagging Victorian mansions overlooking downtown.
I love Fante for the intimacy with which he portrays the working people of his day. Los Angeles was the newest big metropolis in the U.S. back then, a magnet for people in search of work and reinvention. Fante populates Ask the Dust with people who’ve come from the colder corners of the U.S.: the bright daylight that makes the California palm trees grow tall unsettles them. Many are drifting, lost Midwesterners searching for wealth and happiness, and they’ve arrived in L.A., as Fante writes, with the “dust of Chicago and Cincinnati and Cleveland on their shoes, doomed to die in the sun.”
Roy Orbison’s melancholy style had a tremendous influence on American rock and pop music.
Roy Orbison was one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll. And, boy, could he rock. But it was his distinctive baritone and melancholy vocal and songwriting style that had the greatest influence on American rock and pop music — and that make him a natural candidate for NPR’s 50 Great Voices series.
Among rock ‘n’ roll’s pioneers, Orbison was different. Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard had that pound-the-piano self-confidence. Elvis Presley had his sexy hip-shake swagger. Chuck Berry had one-of-a-kind guitar riffs to go with his trademark duck walk. But Orbison — with his thick corrective glasses, insurance-salesman looks and stiff stage presence — stood out. He and Buddy Holly shared what you might call geek chic: a unique style expressed in what he sang about and how he sang it.
Remembering the Sixties
By Robert Stone
Illustrated. 229 pages. Ecco/HarperCollins. $25.95.
Indeed, the events of the ’60s and ’70s seemed so surreal, so beyond the imaginings of most novelists, that it tended to be the so-called new journalists like Michael Herr and Hunter S. Thompson — not fiction writers — who created the most visceral portraits of those times. Now, with “Prime Green,” Mr. Stone sets down his own memories of the ’60s, creating an impressionistic, strobe-lighted picture of that era that serves as a kind of bookend to his early novels. “Prime Green” may not possess the immediacy and the kinetic energy of Tom Wolfe’s renderings of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters in “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” It may not possess the staccato brilliance of Joan Didion’s “White Album.” But it does provide the reader with some trippy, Day-Glo snapshots of that decade.
Living life in the ’60s as a series of Kerouacian road trips, Mr. Stone and his wife, Janice, moved from city to city, country to country, as whim and work dictated, and in retracing his peregrinations in this volume he gives us a magical mystery tour of the places that would form the backdrops for his novels.
AND SO IT GOES
Kurt Vonnegut: A Life.
By Charles J. Shields
Illustrated. 513 pp. Henry Holt & Company. $30.
Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, but one gets the sense from Charles J. Shields’s sad, often heartbreaking biography, “And So It Goes,” that he would have been happy to depart this vale of tears sooner. Indeed, he did try to flag down Charon the Ferryman and hitch a ride across the River Styx in 1984 (pills and booze), only to be yanked back to life and his marriage to the photographer Jill Krementz, which, in these dreary pages, reads like a version of hell on earth. But then Vonnegut’s relations with women were vexed from the start. When he was 21, his mother successfully committed suicide — on Mother’s Day.
It’s a truism that comic artists tend to hatch from tragic eggs. But as Vonnegut, the author of zesty, felicitous sci-fi(esque) novels like “Cat’s Cradle” and “Sirens of Titan” and “Breakfast of Champions” might put it, “So it goes.”
Vonnegut’s masterpiece was “Slaughterhouse-Five,” the novelistic account of being present at the destruction of Dresden by firebombing in 1945. Between that horror (his job as a P.O.W. was to stack and burn the corpses); the mother’s suicide; the early death of a beloved sister, the only woman he seems truly to have loved; serial unhappy marriages; and his resentment that the literary establishment really considered him (just) a writer of juvenile and jokey pulp fiction, Vonnegut certainly earned his status as Man of Sorrows, much as Mark Twain, to whom he is often compared, earned his.
Was Kurt Vonnegut, in fact, just that — a writer one falls for in high school and college and then puts aside, like one of St. Paul’s “childish things,” for sterner stuff?
Willie “The Lion” Smith in his New York City apartment in 1947, smoking a signature stogie.
The life of stride pianist Willie “The Lion” Smith was the stuff of legend, but unfortunately, some of that legend seems to have come from Smith’s own imagination. For example, Smith always claimed to have been born in 1897, but his WWI draft registration states that he was born 118 years ago, in November 1893.
Like the date of his birth, the origin of his nickname (“The Lion”) is also subject to debate; Smith always said that he earned it for his bravery as an artilleryman in WWI. After the war, he returned to Harlem and was soon known as one of the three great Harlem stride-piano players (along with James P. Johnson and Fats Waller). Among the Big Three, many remember Smith as the chairman of that particular board: Duke Ellington idolized “The Lion.” Aspiring jazz pianists as diverse as Billy Taylor and Thelonious Monk studied under him. Smith was also a composer, a bon vivant, a student of Judaism and one of those maddening braggarts who could make outrageous claims about his abilities and then proceed to back them up. He was seldom seen without a cigar in his mouth and a derby on his head; he made sure he was noticed, which he usually accomplished by outperforming every other piano player in the room.
When Art Kane published his famous Great Day in Harlem photograph in Esquire magazine in 1958, some wondered where “The Lion” was. Well, Smith showed up for the shoot, but got tired of standing around, so he sat on the stoop of a nearby brownstone while that great photo was taken. Here are five reasons why Willie “The Lion” Smith should have been in that picture.
Professor Anna Stefanopoulou (left) examines a V8 internal combustion engine with students Jacob Larimore and Xinfan Lin at the University of Michigan’s Automotive Research Center. The researchers model engine performance to improve efficiency.
Last in a three-part series
The auto industry has work ahead to meet ambitious fuel efficiency goals of 55 mpg by 2025 — nearly twice the current average required. Hybrid and electric cars will play a role, but the plain old internal combustion engine can’t be overlooked.
Gasoline-Powered Cars Dominate
Automakers recently agreed to a new fuel economy initiative proposed by the Obama administration that will double Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to a fleetwide average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.Hybrid and electric cars can potentially help automakers meet that goal. But the vast majority of consumers currently purchase vehicles that operate on gasoline, diesel, ethanol and other fuel sources.
To find out where the new technology is being developed to make gas engines more efficient, I went on a tour of an engine lab with professor Anna Stefanopoulou, director of the Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan. I was expecting cams and pistons, but she first showed me computer screens.
“It’s hard to see, since a lot of the work we do is not necessarily only hardware [but] software,” Stefanopoulou says. “If you really need to meet the [55 mpg standard] and to do it cost-effectively, you have to do it sometimes through strategy.”
Eventually Stefanopoulou and I wound up looking at one of the dozen engines they test here. She says they test it once a week, sometimes once a day.
“We don’t run durability tests here: We run tests to model the engine and then be able to understand what’s going on with running different fuels,” she says.
This particular engine can run on a variety of fuels, and Stefanopoulou and her students are working to perfect every part and function in the engine. You can now put computers or even tiny crystals right into an engine.
“[It] can monitor in real time what’s happening inside the cylinder, and [communicate] this to a mathematical formula, that … says, ‘Now I want you to be a little bit to the left, a little bit to the right,’ when it comes to [picking] the pressure,” Stefanopoulou explains.
Robert Johnson (left) with Johnny Shines, also a blues guitarist who toured with Johnson in the mid-1930s. Only the third known photo taken of Robert Johnson ??.. See Vanity Fair article below…
Nov. 23, 1936, was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, each stepped up to a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the queen of Spain; the other was a guitar player in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. But on that day, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson each made recordings that would change music history.
Honeyboy Edwards, who died this year, not long after being interviewed for this story, says he first met Robert Johnson in those juke joints: “He wasn’t famous then,” Edwards says. “He was just a quiet man who played guitar.”
75 years ago, Johnson walked into the Gunther Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. He had been brought there by Ernie Oertle, an executive with the American Record Company, which had refashioned a hotel room into a makeshift studio. The company had brought people from all over the country to record, and the range of artists in the hotel that day was startling. Blues musician and writer Scott Ainslie lists them: “Gospel musicians, polka bands, string bands.”
PORTRAIT OF A PHANTOM
Searching for Robert Johnson
A Disputed Robert Johnson Photo Gets theC.S.I. Treatment
Forensic analysis revealed remarkable similarities between a confirmed photo of Robert Johnson and Zeke Schein’s controversial recent discovery.
In the November issue of Vanity Fair, I write about a New York-based guitar salesman named Steven “Zeke” Schein who purchased a photo on eBay that, he is convinced, depicts the blues legend and guitar virtuoso Robert Johnson (“Searching for Robert Johnson”). Even if you’re not an avid fan of the blues, you’ve probably heard of the Johnson crossroads myth (where he supposedly sold his soul to devil for supernatural talent) or read that there are only two known photos of Johnson that have ever been seen by the public: a photo-booth self-portrait which depicts the bluesman with a cigarette cantilevered out of his mouth and a portrait of him in a hat and pin-striped suit taken by the Hooks Bros. studio in Memphis. An artist’s rendering of that first image—minus the politically incorrect cigarette—was used for a U.S. postage stamp back in the 90s. The latter photo appeared on the cover of Columbia Records’ Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings, a two-CD boxed set of Johnson’s work that went on to sell more than 1 million copies. (A Johnson researcher named Mack McCormick reportedly is in possession of a third known photo of Johnson, although it’s current whereabouts are in question.)
My story details Zeke’s attempts to determine if his photo, which bears no date stamp or provenance of any sort, is authentic. The results of a forensic analysis, publicly documented here for the first time, may help provide the answer.
November 22, 2011
In Cambodia this week, three elderly men are sitting in a courtroom, accused of atrocities that took place in the 1970s.
The three former leaders of the radical Khmer Rouge are on trial for their role in a regime that exterminated more than 2 million people — or roughly a quarter of the country’s population.
The Khmer Rouge was forced from power more than three decades ago, its former leaders are growing old, and this may be the final trial held by the U.N.-backed tribunal.
Dressed in a black barrister’s gown and speaking through a translator, co-prosecutor Chea Leng summed up the case to the tribunal’s five foreign and Cambodian judges.
“The evidence we will put before you will show that the Communist Party of Kampuchea turned Cambodia into a massive slave camp, reducing an entire nation to prisoners living under a system of brutality that defies belief,” she said.
The regime’s chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, the head of state, Khieu Samphan, and its foreign minister, Ieng Sary, listened mutely to the proceedings. Their trials have been divided into segments in hopes of reaching some verdict before they die off.
The three, all in their 80s, have maintained their innocence.
Accounts Of Mass Killings
But Chea Leng linked the trio to policies that resulted in the deaths of up to 2.2 million people. She cited a witness account of when the Khmer Rouge forced the evacuation of the capital Phnom Penh in April 1975.
Attendees at the Los Angeles Auto Show look at the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid concept car. Toyota’s Prius is the best-selling hybrid on the market, but almost every carmaker has some form of hybrid technology.
Hybrid cars will take a lot of floor space at the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning this weekend, but they still represent a tiny portion of the U.S. car market.
Fewer than 1 percent of cars on the road have hybrid or electric technology. But for car companies to meet new fuel efficiency rules that will nearly double automakers’ average fuel economy by 2025, that percentage is going to have to grow by a lot.
If you watch TV, you might think the hybrid was king judging by the sheer amount of ads for cars like the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion hybrid. But that’s far from true: Hybrid sales are under 3 percent of 13 million cars sold in the U.S. Brian Moody with AutoTrader.com says automakers want you to think that their hybrid is the next best thing.
“They want you to think of their company as primarily a green company,” he says. “So the more they can get that message out, then the less ill you might think of them — and you may buy one of their cars even if it isn’t a hybrid.”
Nearly half of consumers say they’ll never consider buying a hybrid, according to a recent survey by Kelley Blue Book. Moody says the main reason is price — hybrids cost thousands more than comparable gasoline-powered models.
|I’ve often said, the only thing standing between me and greatness is me|
Two Bathers on the Grass (1886-95) is one of the works featured in Degas and the Nude. The exhibit is on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts through Feb. 5, 2012. The show then moves to Paris, from March 13 to July 1.
Many of Degas’ nudes have their backs turned to the viewer. Above, Degas’ pastel work, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1886-95.
At first, in the 1850s, Degas, still in his 20s, was doing academic studies of male nudes. Then he suddenly turned to women and, for the rest of his career, he painted and drew and made prints and sculptures of naked women — usually women getting into or out of bathtubs, often shallow washbasins on bathroom floors.
But even his images of clothed women, especially dancers, including the young ballerina, he often first did as nudes, as if he needed to understand the bodies under the clothes before he could put clothes on the bodies. Like the ballerina, none of these women are very graceful. They are full of the awkwardnesses of real life.
Degas’ nudes — including his 1886 work, The Tub — depict the everyday awkwardness of real life.
They almost always have their backs to us, so their faces, their identities, remain mysterious and private. The one exception is an astonishing series of small monotypes set in a brothel, in which the nudity is fully and graphically frontal. These women have nothing to hide and keep nothing to themselves. Yet all these images depict something vulnerable.
One of the points the show’s Boston curator makes is that in a couple of odd, very early quasi-allegorical paintings, Degas showed women quite explicitly as victims of war or rape. And their often contorted poses turn out to be very similar to the positions of the later images of women bending over a bathtub, twisting themselves to wash themselves or dry themselves off, or comb their long hair. Seeing the way this private vulnerability derives almost in a straight line from those early images of explicit victimization maybe helps us understand more clearly why these later, relatively innocuous and mundane images have such mysterious power.
Hwy. 550 Corridor Weather Station Website Now Working–SOMETIMES–keep the faith, they’ll figure it out..
This website is under WEATHER LINKS as Index of Weather Stations on therobertreport. Great asset to use before heading up the pass or anywhere in Colorado… Abrams/Eagle/Kendall/Molas html are the stations along the 550 corridor.
Air Force Planning Controversial Training Flights Over SW Colorado and N. New Mexico–Colorado Public Radio–LISTEN–
The Air Force says low-altitude night flights are essential. Opponents say the proposed low-altitude training flights would be too polluting and noisy.
A Nissan Leaf charges at a station in Portland, Ore., that can recharge an electric car in 30 minutes. Electric cars could be an integral part of meeting 55-mpg fuel standards by 2025, but many consumers are put off by the vehicles’ higher price and what some call “range anxiety.”
November 21, 2011
Under fuel-economy rules announced by the White House this summer, cars will have to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — nearly double the current average. Reaching that goal will take not only feats of engineering but also changing how Americans think about their cars and how they drive them.
Under standards proposed by the Obama administration, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will rise to 54.5 mpg by 2025. A carmaker’s entire fleet average must meet this target.
CAFE standards for 1978-2011 are in miles per gallon. For 2012-2025 they include mpge, an EPA standard for alternative fuel vehicles.
Source: White House Fuel Economy Report, NHTSA
Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR
The electric car is one of the ways carmakers expect to lower their average fuel consumption and get to the 55 mpg average. The problem is, people aren’t buying, whether all-electric or plug-in hybrid.
General Motors is struggling to sell 10,000 Chevy Volts this year, and Nissan has sold just over 8,000 Leafs. For context, about 13 million cars are expected to be sold in the U.S. in 2011.
Brian Brockman with Nissan took me on a test drive of the all-electric Leaf. Starting the car, there’s no sound of the engine turning on because there’s no gas engine under the hood. The car is not only quiet but also smart, and it looks genuinely space-aged.
The Leaf doesn’t fly, but Nissan claims the car gets about 100 miles per charge — sort of.
Unfortunately, the San Juans are not favored by the current storm system. The higher terrain (above 11,000′) might see 4-8″ over the next few days, but really, wind will be the story. The chance of snow goes from a high of 70% today/tonight to 40% Sunday and 30% on Monday… We could see a little rain or sleet down here in the low country through Monday.
Monday a Kalifornia low moves into the area, but doesn’t look favorable for the San Juans… a weak La Nina is loose in our mountains.
Tuesday a benign weather pattern sets up as a broad upper ridge of high pressure and travels across the U.S. through Thanksgiving.
Armstrong Park Re-Opening Gives New Orleans A Reason To Celebrate–LISTEN–A very beautiful/historical park.. JR
New Orleans’ Armstrong Park re-opened Friday for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Guest host Linda Wertheimer reflects as people are able once again to enjoy some of the Crescent City’s unique charm.
Spruced-up Armstrong Park reopens Friday with new sculptures
On a cold morning last week, Michael Bevis walked quickly past Armstrong Park, his jacket collar pulled up to keep warm. But he stopped for a few minutes at the Dumaine Street gate, one of the few open entrances for the long-shuttered park.
There, on the edge of the lagoon, as Bevis watched, electricians installed in-ground lights next to a massive blue concrete sculpture. A representation of the city’s old French Opera House, it was the last of six new works to be installed in the park’s sculpture garden before a grand reopening Friday, November 18, at 11 a.m. with music by the Treme Brass Band, whose bass drummer, Uncle Lionel Batiste, grew up in a house demolished a half-century ago to make room for the park.