Medals by Lisa Issenberg of Kiitella – Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race @ Aspen/Snowmass
3.1.14 – Power of Four race day! Form follows form… the medallion’s inside cutout follows the shape of the Audi Power of Four’s new cool logo. At 1/8″ thick by 4.5 inches square, this stainless steel medal has weight… a substantial award for the hard core winners of this awesome race. Today’s race includes 12,000 feet of vertical gain over 25 miles traversing Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain. (podium shot photo – Max Taam)
In northeastern Brazil, a pre-Lenten Carnival party has its roots in slavery and religion.
It Wouldn’t Be Carnival In Brazil Without
The northeastern town of Olinda throws as good a Carnival party as anywhere else in Brazil, but its celebrations are marked by giant puppets. It’s been a tradition there for 100 years.
In Rio, A Universe Of Samba
Today is the final day of the massive Carnival in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Samba is that festival’s native sound, but the music can be heard in Brazil for the entire year. Tom Moon went to Rio before Carnival to witness samba rehearsals. He spoke with NPR’s Melissa Block on All Things Considered. Listen to that conversation at the audio link on this page. ~~~~ LISTEN ~~~~
Snowfall picked up in intensity this morning and continues to snow 2″/hr + on Coal Bank and Molas. Snowfall is a little less intense on RMP but the winds are screaming along there.
HN24/H20 2 DAY TOTAL-HN/H20 .
Monument 2″/0.15″ 12” /1.05”
RMP 6″/0.75″ 19” /1.95”
Molas 8.5″/0.9″ 20.5”/ 2”
Coal Bank 10″/1.05″ 25.5” /2.45”
The former home of a New Orleans musical great Professor Longhair was severely damaged by Katrina. It was recently restored by local nonprofits, and now his daughter and her son, who are homeless, plan to move back in.
Professor Longhair performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, circa 1970.
On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there’s a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch,blurgh and blah. There’s nothing compelling about Henry Roeland Byrd’s house — that is, unless you’ve heard the music he made under his other name, Professor Longhair.
Through a career that began in the 1940s, Longhair’s style of R&B piano helped create a new musical tradition in New Orleans: a modern postwar sound that reverberated up and down the national charts. If you’ve ever heard New Orleans piano greats like Fats Domino, Eddie Bo, James Booker or Dr. John, you’ve already met Professor Longhair in the ether. Allen Toussaint, a piano player who’s written and produced music for more than 50 years, says the late musician’s work defies comparison.
“I’m a disciple of Professor Longhair,” Toussaint says. “There’s Professor Longhair, and then there’s the rest of us.” ~~~~ READ/LISTEN ~~~~
A flooded street in Los Angeles on Friday. Several roads around Los Angeles County were closed Friday morning because of flooding and rock slides.
The next 36 hrs. the San Juans will see some heavy precipitation with 1-2″ of H20/2-3′ of snow. This closed low with a moisture tap from Hawaii, will spin a copious amount of moisture into our mountains, slowly open up with SW flow then turn zonal later Saturday with continued precipitation. WSW terrain above TL will be favored.
Coal Bank 15.5”/1.4″
Mostly sunny skies today with increasing high clouds moving into western Colorado and another day of very warm temps for February. Thursday, westerly flow brings Pacific moisture/snow in the morning to our area and the beginning of a series of juicy storms lasting through the weekend. Thursday’s low pressure trough could bring 6-10″ of snow into the high country above 11,000′.
There will be a lull in the action Friday, but by evening the second storm (which is a series of smaller storms) will be on us and could last through Monday. There is plenty of moisture carried by this large trough so snow totals could be significant. The 1st wave of energy will move across western Colorado Friday night through Saturday p.m. bringing up to a foot of snow for the San Juans on SW flow.
Model details for the later storms Sat. through Monday are less confident, so new model runs in the future hold the changing details… Snow should end by Sunday with SW flow shifting to westerly flow (zonal) and continue into next week. If optimism prevails, SW aspects above TL could see 20-30″ of snow on the high end.
Extreme drought conditions in California have state officials looking for alternative sources of water, including desalinated ocean water.
California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.
On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.
“That’s enough water for 112,000 households here in the region,” says Peter MacLaggan with Poseidon Resources, the developer of this $1 billion plant.
The process, MacLaggan explains, involves taking water from the Pacific Ocean, removing the silt, sand and “organics,” then pressurizing the water through very fine membranes. The technical name is reverse osmosis. And the result? “Every 2 gallons of seawater that goes in, 1 gallon of high-quality drinking water comes out,” he says.
And MacLaggan says the best part is it’s droughtproof.
“It’s droughtproof because it’s not dependent on snowpack in the Sierras, it’s not dependent on rainfall here in San Diego,” he says. “You’re getting water from the Pacific Ocean.”
The word “droughtproof” carries a lot of weight in California. That snowpack in the Sierra Nevada he’s talking about is still less than half of what it should be for this time of year. Farmers, environmentalists and cities like nearby San Diego have been fighting over what little water there is.
“San Diego currently imports about 70 percent of its water,” says Bob Yamada, the water resources manager at the San Diego County Water Authority.
Yamada says that’s why the authority has agreed to buy water from the Carlsbad plant when it’s finished — even though it costs twice as much as the water imported from Northern California and the Colorado River.
It’s expensive “but it does provide you with the highest reliability,” Yamada says. And he says people are willing to pay more for reliability. He also thinks that the difference in price between imported water and desalinated will shrink as more and more people vie for less and less water from rainfall and snowpack.
Desalination costs more because it takes a lot of energy to suck 100 million gallons of ocean water into a plant and pressurize it through little tubes. And that’s where the opposition comes in.
“Well, on a macro level, we just think that there are less expensive, less environmentally damaging ways to increase our water supply,” says Rick Wilson with Surfrider Foundation. The nonprofit environmental group opposes the Carlsbad project.
One reason, Wilson says, is that all of that energy use will contribute to global warming. More directly, he says, the intake pipe for the plant will suck in sea life, killing marine animals.
“And there’s also the concern in some cases about the discharge from these plants,” he says. Discharge is the extra salty leftover water that’s pumped back into the ocean.
Those concerns have stalled plans for another desalination site farther up the coast, in Huntington Beach. Carlsbad though, has met all of the state’s requirements. Still, Wilson says, money would be better spent on conservation and water recycling efforts.
Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, says the district has invested in conservation and recycling, and it has helped, but the region still needs more water to meet demand. That’s always been the case in arid California, but it’s even more so now.
“There are two things that are changing the landscape for us,” he says. “One is we’ve grown a lot. We’re doing water for nearly 40 million people statewide. The second thing that really changed is climate change. It’s real. And it’s stressing our system in new ways.”
Kightlinger says that means Californians have less time and flexibility to debate different ways of getting water, storing it and moving it to areas where it’s needed.
“We don’t have time to rehash the same debates over and over and over again. We’re going to have to start investing in things for the future,” Kightlinger says.
He says desalination helps, but it’s not a cure-all. It’s expensive, it does take a lot of energy and it can treat only so much water at a time.
His agency gets about 30 percent of its water from Northern California through the State Water Project. “To replace that supply would require a Carlsbad plant every 4 miles between LA and San Diego,” he says.
That would be 25 plants in that stretch. Statewide, 17 desalination plants are in some stage of planning on the California coast.
You can see why California is in trouble. This animated image shows that the Sierra Nevada mountains, which usually supply a third of the state’s water,have only a fraction of the snow that covered them last year. No wonder the drought there is so brutal.
The images were taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. It’s not the first time that Terra has helped California’s authorities cope with an environmental catastrophe – it acted as the eyes of the state’s firefighters during massive wildfires in 2003.
Thar’s gold in them thar cans: One of the eight cans discovered by a California couple. They were stuffed with gold coins minted in the 1800s. The cache’s estimated value: $10 million.
If you’ve ever dreamed about finding buried treasure, this story’s for you:
A California couple who say they had walked by the same spot on their Sierra Nevada property many times over many years are an estimated $10 million or so richer after digging up eight rusty old cans containing 1,427 very valuable gold coins. It’s thought to be the most valuable discovery of such coins in U.S. history.
Identified for now only as “John and Mary,” the lucky landowners tell Kagin’s Inc. — a numismatic firm that has examined the coins and is representing the couple — that they had in the past noticed an old can sticking from up the ground.
“We thought the can might be a place for someone to put flowers in for a gravesite — something which would have been typical” in years past, John says in an interview posted on the firm’s website.
But during a walk last year along a part of their property that they call Saddle Ridge, John and Mary wondered whether the can might also be a marker of some sort. So they did a little digging — literally.
By the time they were done, they had recovered coins that were minted mostly in San Francisco from 1847 to 1894 and have a total face value of nearly $28,000. Many are in almost pristine condition. Kagin’s estimates they will sell for about $10 million. The most valuable of the coins, writes the Los Angeles Times, is an 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle worth about $1 million.
John and Mary tell Kagin’s that they plan to keep some of the coins, sell many of them and donate some of their windfall to charities.
One of our favorite parts of their story is what they did with the coins immediately after the discovery.
“The first thing the family did after finding all the cans was rebury them in a cooler under their woodpile,” David McCarthy of Kagin’s tells the San Francisco Chronicle. “They were terrified and had to think about what to do.”
Or, as John tells Kagin’s: “Yeah — the old-timers had it right — it’s safer than in a bank!”
Escape from Tomorrow is a 2013 American fantasy-psychological horror film, the debut of writer-director Randy Moore. It stars Roy Abramsohn as a man having increasingly disturbing experiences and visions during the last day of a family vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It premiered in January at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was later a personal selection of Roger Ebert, shown at his 15th annual film festival in Champaign, Illinois.
It drew attention because Moore had shot most of it on location at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland without permission from The Walt Disney Company, owner and operator of both parks. Due to Disney’s reputation of being protective of its intellectual property, the cast and crew used guerrilla filmmaking techniques to avoid attracting attention, such as keeping their scripts on their iPhones and shooting on handheld video cameras similar to those used by park visitors. After principal photography was complete, Moore was so determined to keep the project a secret from Disney that he edited it in South Korea. Sundance similarly declined to discuss the film in detail before it was shown. It was called “the ultimate guerrilla film”.
Critics who saw it at the festival were astonished by Moore’s audacity but mostly praised the film artistically for its use of monochrome and surrealism to create a neo-noir effect. It has been compared to the work of Roman Polanski andDavid Lynch. However, many who saw it expressed strong doubts that the film would be shown to a wider audience due to the legal issues involved and the negative depiction of the parks. At the time of its premiere, Disney said only that it was “aware” of the film; since then the online supplement to Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia has included an entry for the film. Rather than suppressing the film, Disney chose to generally ignore it, and the film was released simultaneously to theaters and video on-demand on October 11, 2013.
The colors of the zircon crystals range from transparent to blue to deep red.
Scientists have used a powerful new technique to prove that some tiny crystals found in Western Australia are indeed the oldest known materials formed on Earth.
Back in 2001, scientists reported that one of the zircon crystals was about 4.4 billion years old — so old that not everyone believed it.
“There have been challenges, because nothing in science goes without being questioned. It always has to be proven,” says John Valley, a geochemist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The crystals formed just tens of millions of years after an early proto-Earth was melted by a violent impact with a Mars-sized object. The crash created the moon and turned our young planet into a red ball of molten rock.
“It would have glowed almost like a star. Nothing could exist on the surface. There would be no continental land masses. There’d be no liquid water. And there certainly would have been no life at that time,” says Valley.
The bits of zircon suggest that those fiery, inhospitable conditions actually didn’t last long — that the Earth’s continental crust formed early on, and the planet started being more homey.
The crystals are so tiny that if you had one in the palm of your hand, you could not see it without a magnifying glass. Some have jagged edges, while others look like smooth jellybeans. “The colors can be anything from transparent to a deep red,” says Valley.
Geologists found them on a sheep ranch in a remote part of Western Australia called the Jack Hills, in sandstones that were a beach around 3 billion years ago.
“It’s always blown my mind,” says Valley. “I mean, to collect samples that were on a beach 3 billion years ago — and to find crystals that were more than a billion years older even than the beach — is just really surprising and wonderful.”
In their original report, Valley and his colleagues had determined the antiquity of the crystal by looking at a small part of it and analyzing how much of the element uranium had decayed into lead.
BETWEEN THE DREAM AND THE FULFILLMENT
FALLS THE ORANGE ROPE.
I love that the majority of the people posting comments miss the entire point of the scene, which is that Hopper’s character was DELIBERATELY MESSING with Walken’s character…because 1) he knew he was gonna die anyway and 2) he wanted to mock his belief that he was a human lie detector. It has nothing to do with race or “facts,” per se, but more to do with him giving Walken’s character the finger with his words.
Great use of lighting (low) to create one of the “classic scenes” in film.. Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper really captured something.. JR
photo by Bernie Arndt
Chasing dreams, feeding passions.
Dorworth taught us that the road
of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Is there nothing better than driving
at night into a storm ?
At our age we do know better but there is often a big gap between
wisdom and desire.
I have just returned from a memorial
for a wonderful lady who rode through life joyfully with loose reins,
With a red headed friend we toasted
life with the best Tequila at the Hotel
Jerome and headed into this storm.
Tomorrow will be a powder day.
Western Colorado will see increasing cloudiness, winds and possible snow by sunset on Wednesday as a trough of low pressure will bring a Pacific northwest storm into the area. Until then we will enjoy above normal temps as we’ve been experiencing the past 10 days.
Timing is everything with this storm… a cold front along with the trough will enter Colorado from the NW and the timing of the two will determine when and how much snow falls from a cooling atmosphere. Some mountain locations will probably only see a 6 hour window Wed. evening through early Thursday morning for snow with trough/frontal passage on SW flow quickly flipping to NW flow. Depending on the speed and duration of this storm, west and northwest terrain above 11,000′ will be favored and could see 4-8″ of snow.
This system will depart Thursday morning with a break in the action then another NW storm will affect the central & northern Colorado mountains & maybe brushing the NW side of the San Juans Thursday night through the weekend… Our warm temperatures should be cooling off a little from this past week to more normal February temperatures.
Chicago’s lakefront took on an arctic feel in late January with temperatures of minus 10 degrees. In Alaska, the average temperature was almost 15 degrees above normal.
For people throughout the Eastern United States who spent January slipping, sliding and shivering, here is a counterintuitive fact: For the earth as a whole, it was the fourth-warmest January on record.
It was, in fact, the 347th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average, the government reported Thursday.
That may feel plausible to Californians, whose state experienced temperatures 10 or 15 degrees above normal in some places last month, and especially to Alaskans, where the average temperature was almost 15 degrees above normal.
But on a map of January temperatures released Thursday by government weather analysts, the Eastern United States stood out as one of the coldest areas on the planet, compared with seasonal norms.
By the time analysts averaged the heat in the West and the cold in the East, the national temperature for the month fell only one-tenth of a degree below the 20th-century average for January. January 2011 was colder.
No state set a monthly record for January cold. Alabama, also walloped by the ice storms, came closest, with the fourth-coldest January on its record books.
The United States covers only 2 percent of the surface of the globe, so what happens in this country does not have much influence on overall global temperatures.
Brazil, much of southern Africa, most of Europe, large parts of China and most of Australia were unseasonably warm in January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday. That continues a pattern of unusual global warming that is believed to be a consequence of human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases.
Even in the United States, more than a third of the country is in drought of varying intensity. Mountain snowpack in many parts of the West is only half of normal, portending a parched summer and a likelihood of severe wildfires.
“Today’s snowpack is tomorrow’s water in the West,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., in a briefing on Thursday. “If it does not recover, this will have consequences for months down the road.”
The Arctic blasts of this winter do stand out in the weather records of this young century, even if they are pretty humdrum when compared with the 1970s and 1980s. Winters have been so mild over the past couple of decades — probably as a result of global warming, scientists say — that some young adults have never experienced cold waves quite so intense.
In delivering aid to drought-stricken California last week, President Obama and his aides cited the state as an example of what could be in store for much of the rest of the country as human-caused climate change intensifies.
But in doing so, they were pushing at the boundaries of scientific knowledge about the relationship between climate change and drought. While a trend of increasing drought that may be linked to global warming has been documented in some regions, including parts of the Mediterranean and in the Southwestern United States, there is no scientific consensus yet that it is a worldwide phenomenon. Nor is there definitive evidence that it is causing California’s problems.
The jet stream that circles Earth’s north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states.
Mark Twain once said: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”
He was making an unknowing reference to the jet stream, which drives the weather over North America and Europe like a high-altitude conveyor belt. But increasingly, the jet stream is taking a more circuitous route over the northern latitudes, meaning weather systems hang around longer than they used to. And a warming Arctic is probably to blame, says Jennifer Francis, a professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.
Francis — who says it’s too early to know if the well-established Arctic warming is caused by man or some natural phenomenon — was speaking during a session on Arctic change at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Saturday.
The wayward jet stream could account for the persistently severe winter weather this year in the U.S. and Britain, as well as California’s long drought.
“The strength of the jet stream is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the poles and the tropics. When it’s strong, the jet stream tends to take a straighter path, but when it’s weak it meanders. As the Arctic is experiencing warming at faster rates than the tropics, that difference is getting smaller, so the jet stream is weakening along with it.
“What that means for mid-latitudes, where Britain [and the U.S. are] located, is weather that stays in place for longer. Weather patterns will be more likely to get ‘stuck’ over a location, yielding long periods of rain and sun rather than Britain’s traditional ‘changeable’ skies.”
“The temperature difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes is one of the main sources of fuel for the jet stream; it’s what drives the winds. And because the Arctic is warming so fast, that temperature difference is getting smaller, and so the fuel for the jet stream is getting weaker,” Francis says. “When it gets into this pattern, those big waves tend to stay in the same place for some time. The pattern we’ve seen in December and January has been one of these very wavy patterns.
“It doesn’t mean that every year the U.K. is going to be in a stormy pattern,” she adds. “Next year you could have very dry conditions, and for that to be persistent. You can’t say that flooding is going to happen more often. Next year may be dry, but whatever you get is going to last longer.”
Mark Serreze, the director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, was on the panel along with Francis. He says the idea that changes in the polar north could influence mid-latitude weather, was a new and lively area of research.
“Fundamentally, the strong warming that might drive this is tied in with the loss of sea-ice cover that we’re seeing, because the sea-ice cover acts as this lid that separates the ocean from a colder atmosphere,” Serreze says.
“If we remove that lid, we pump all this heat up into the atmosphere. That is a good part of the signal of warming that we’re now seeing, and that could be driving some of these changes.”
Blues artist John Hammond is celebrating more than 50 years of recording with a live album called Timeless.
Coming up through the Greenwich Village folk scene, John Hammond collected the work of some of the greatest blues artists of all time. On his latest album, that music is presented as bare-bones and honestly as possible: just him, his guitar, his harmonica and a deeply appreciative audience.
Now 71, Hammond is celebrating more than 50 years of recording with a new live album called Timeless. It’s a smattering of modern compositions and a healthy dose of classic blues from the likes of Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and Sleepy John Estes.
“He came to a recording date I was doing in San Francisco in 1992,” Hammond says. “John Lee Hooker had sat in to do a duet with me, and Tom Waits appeared out of nowhere and said, ‘I have a song for you, man.’ It was about 20 minutes long, with everybody in the Bible coming down to the river. I said, ‘Gee, you know, it’s a great song, but I don’t think I could do anything like that.’ He said, ‘Oh, you don’t like that one?’ So he goes into the control room.”
Scarcely 10 minutes later, Hammond says, Waits emerged — with a brand-new song at the ready. Hammond listened, and liked what he heard.
“So I did it,” he says. “He had left by the time we completed it, and so I sent him a cassette of it. And I hadn’t heard from him for a while, so I called — and he had it on his answering machine. I guess he liked it.”
John Hammond spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath; hear more of their conversation at the audio link.