NWS meteorologist (Grand Junction) Joe Ramey’s winter forecast….Check out Joe’s Power Pt. talk, it’s good… J.R.
A helicopter is unloaded from an LC-130 in Antarctica last December. Researchers on this mission were studying the Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-receding glaciers on the continent.
It looks like even Antarctica isn’t far away enough to avoid getting caught up in the government shutdown.
That’s because it’s currently springtime there, and scientists who study this remote, rugged continent are poised to take advantage of the few months when there’s enough daylight and it’s warm enough to work. Advance teams have already started working to get things set up and ready for the researchers, who usually begin heading south right about now.
But they’re hearing that the government’s contractor for logistics in Antarctica, Lockheed Martin, will run out of funding for its Antarctic support program in about a week. A decision about whether they will need to start pulling back personnel is expected very soon.
The fear is that this year’s entire research season will effectively be cancelled — that scientists and logistical support workers will be called back home, and only skeleton crews will be left to keep the three U.S. research stations going.
“Just a week ago, even though we knew about the government shutdown and everything, we weren’t really thinking it would impact us and our field season,” says Peter Doran, a professor of earth sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. “What a difference a week makes. Now it all seems very uncertain.”
Doran notes that the U.S. has the largest and most impressive Antarctic program in the world. “I mean, we can do things that other countries can’t do because of the great logistic support that we’ve had for years,” he says.
I’ll Find a Way is the latest album in The Blind Boys of Alabama’s seven-decade run. Left to right: Ricky McKinnie, Paul Beasley, Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Joey Williams.
The men behind the new album I’ll Find a Way may be in their 70s and 80s today — but they’re still The Blind Boys of Alabama.
The original members of the gospel group met in the 1930s at at the Alabama Institute for the Blind. Since then, The Blind Boys have won five Grammys and plenty of other awards for their music. Jimmy Carter — the musician, not the former president — was there from the beginning.
“When the Blind Boys started out, we weren’t even thinking about all these accolades and all that stuff,” says Carter. “We just wanted to get out and sing gospel and tell the world about gospel music. But changes came and we had to change with the times.”
That’s no small undertaking, considering the times their music has lived through. They formed in the Jim Crow era, lent their voices to the civil rights movement, and have now witnessed the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“I was never fortunate enough to meet Dr. King, but we were at some of his rallies and I hope that our music helped to change what was,” he says. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve got a long way to go but we’ve come a long way — and I hope that
Wild Weather (Colorado Flood) Tied To Unusual Jet Stream Activity —the earth reproduction is remindful of Van Gogh painting??
There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.
The jet stream is “this ribbon of very fast moving winds that’s high over our heads,” saysJennifer Francis, a research scientist at the Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. “It actually is what creates the weather that we feel here on the surface.”
That’s partly because the jet stream contains a lot of energy in the form of heat. Also, its winds, which can reach 200 miles an hour, help move weather systems from west to east across the country.
And the jet stream acts as a sort of dividing line, Francis says. “If it’s north of you, you’re in the warm air and when it’s south of you, you are in generally much colder air,” she says.
The jet stream does not follow a straight line — it’s wavy. Francis says it usually enters the U.S. somewhere in the Northwest. “Seattle is a very typical place,” she says. “And then it might dip down southward along the Rocky Mountains, and then it might shoot northward again, say, up toward the Great Lakes.”
But this year, the jet stream has been making surprisingly dramatic swings to the north and south. And it also has split into two separate streams, saysJohn Nielsen-Gammon, a research professor at Texas A&M University and the Texas state climatologist.
Back in May and June the presence of this dual jet stream contributed to flooding in the northern Alps and in Alberta, Canada, Nielsen-Gammon says. “The flood conditions took place in between the two jet streams, where weather patterns tended to move relatively slowly because they weren’t being carried along by the upper-level winds,” he says.
During the summer, the double jet stream produced a very strange temperature pattern along the Pacific coast, Nielsen-Gammon says. Down in Southern California it was unusually hot — in Death Valley the temperature reached 129 degrees. Meanwhile, up in British Columbia, it remained unseasonably cold.
Even farther north, in Anchorage, Alaska, residents experienced a relative heat wave, with a record number of 70-degree days. But even farther up in the Arctic, temperatures were relatively cold again.
The double jet stream also played a big role in the Colorado flooding this month, Francis says. High up in the atmosphere, one stream was carrying moist air from the Pacific to the Rockies. Then, lower down, an unusual eddy was pulling in more moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, an unusual bulge in the jet stream was causing all this weather to stall near Boulder.
The Sacred Steel tradition is an integral part of worship. From the House of God Keith Dominion Church, Aubrey Ghent (pictured) helped revive the style in 1990s.
Some say the purpose of church is to deliver the word of God. If so, what’s the role of music in the service?
“The music has always been a part of God’s way of getting people’s attention,” says Bishop Calvin Worthem, pastor at the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss. “Sometimes he speaks through the thunder, the lightning, and sometimes he speaks in the music.”
Music is a kind of delivery mechanism, choir director Mary Worthem says. It not only helps get people’s attention, but it also helps them get the meaning.
“If there’s something they need to be listening to or God is giving a message through the song,” Worthem says, “they need to hear what it’s saying. Not just the sound and the music, but they need to hear the words of it.”
Guided By The Spirit
At the Church of the Living God, there’s another way of receiving God’s message: through the lap steel. It sits on four legs, like the pedal steel used in country music, but it’s simpler to play. It looks kind of like a miniature ironing board, it’s got eight or nine strings, and the guitarist uses a metal bar to glide across them, allowing him to slide between the notes of the scale and mimic the wailing sound of gospel singing.
We’ve all faked our way through conversations before — whether about books we haven’t read, movies we haven’t seen or concepts we don’t understand. In her new book, I Don’t Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn’t), Leah Hager Cohen explores moments in history and everyday life when “I don’t know” can have a big impact.
“I think those words can be so incredibly liberating,” she tells NPR’s Steve Inkseep. “They can just make your shoulders drop with relief. Once you finally own up to what you don’t know, then you can begin to have honest interactions with the people around you.”
On a fatal 1982 plane crash, in which a Boeing 737 was cleared for takeoff on a freezing January afternoon, and then crashed into a bridge in Washington, D.C.
De-icing had gone on, but by the time the plane was actually given the thumbs-up to get in line to taxi to the runway, more ice had built up. The co-pilot could see on the aircraft in front of the one that they were in that there was build-up on the wings …
It sounds as though the co-pilot did try to warn, but perhaps in a somewhat subservient way — cognizant of the fact that he was the co-pilot, but not the captain — that maybe they’d better go back and get the wings de-iced again. And the captain seems to brush off the warning. It seems to be an instance where he didn’t want to know what the co-pilot was pointing out to him …
The copilot was in a less powerful position than the pilot. He seems to have allowed the pilot’s dismissal to, you know, also make him kind of drop this knowledge that he was trying to communicate.
“I do spend time trying to think about what I cannot imagine.” — Nicholas Negroponte
Visions of the future don’t just have to come from science fiction. There’s very real technology today giving us clues about how our future lives might be transformed. So what might our future look like? And what does it take for an idea about the future to become a reality? In this hour, TED speakers make some bold predictions and explain how we might live in the future.
In this short film, Stan Dibben, a winner of the World Sidecar Championship in 1953, recounts the thrills and perils of his profession.
From left, Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; Addie Mae Collins, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14, were killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 15, 1963.
On Tuesday, Congress will bestow its highest civilian honor — posthumously — on the young victims of a deadly Alabama church bombing from the civil rights era.
The Congressional Gold Medals for Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley come 50 years after the black girls were killed by a Ku Klux Klan bomb.
Just as the federal recognition is long in coming, so was justice.
The plot to bomb the 16th Street Baptist Church can be traced to a once-remote spot along Alabama’s scenic Cahaba River. Suburban traffic now rumbles above a deserted, gravelly spot under the Cahaba River Bridge.
“But in the day it was apparently a hot spot for some of the more violent members of the Klan to sit down here and talk and do their dirty work,” says former U.S. attorney Doug Jones.
One man was convicted in the bombing in 1977, but more than two decades would pass before any other suspects were tried for murder.
Jones was the federal prosecutor who tried and convicted Klansmen Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry in 2001 and 2002, for the murder of the four girls killed in one of the most notorious racially motivated crimes in U.S. history.
Blanton and Cherry were part of a small group of disgruntled white supremacists who didn’t think the Klan was doing enough to stop the rising tide of the civil rights movement in 1963.
“They just were the self-proclaimed Cahaba River Bridge Boys,” Jones says. “It was almost like they were trying to be the outlaws of the Old West.”
Jones says they knew the FBI had infiltrated their Klan klavern, which met at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.
“They would gather up to plan the real violence,” he says. “So they brought the guys down here that they could trust.”
Jones says the Cahaba River Bridge Boys were busy in the week leading up to Sept. 15, 1963. On that morning, Youth Sunday, dynamite exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church, killing the four young girls. The church was a target because of its role in the civil rights movement.
But in 1963, no one was arrested for the crime. The first prosecution would come more than a decade later.
The cultural shift is complete. We’re all just alone with our smartphones, even when we’re surrounded by other humans.
The extent of our obsession with capturing every moment instead of merely just experiencing them is highlighted in the viral short film, I Forgot My Phone. It’s now at nearly 20 million views and if you haven’t seen it, you must have gone without your phone too long.
Charlene deGuzman — who wrote and stars in the film — shows scenes that can hit too close to home, saying something about how we often use technology at the expense of forging real, human connections. Artists use hyperbole to express a truth, but when NPR editor Avie Schneider first saw this, he said, “This is not that exaggerated.”
John Fogerty teams up with Brad Paisley, whom he calls one of the greatest guitarists alive, in “Hot Rod Heart” on his new album, Wrote a Song for Everyone.
Imagine you wrote some of the most enduring songs in 1960s rock, but then got so mired in legal and financial issues with those same songs that you felt you couldn’t play them.
That was the story of John Fogerty and the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Today, Fogerty is not only performing his early hits again but has also reinterpreted them with a new generation of rock and country stars on his new album, Wrote a Song for Everyone.
The band Foo Fighters joins Fogerty on the record’s cut of “Fortunate Son.” Fogerty wrote it more than 40 years ago, but the song has hardly aged — partly because, at 68, he sounds remarkably the same and partly because the song’s themes of privilege and class are as current as ever, as Fogerty says.
“When I sing ‘Fortunate Son’ now, part of me is remembering a time a long time ago,” Fogerty says, “and part of me is — I could have walked into my bedroom yesterday or tonight and written the same song.”
Wrote a Song for Everyone features an array of A-list artists playing Fogerty’s songs — like “Born on the Bayou” with Kid Rock, “Long As I Can See the Light” with My Morning Jacketand “Bad Moon Rising” with the Zac Brown Band. The whole album feels energetic and joyous.
“I’m sure that has something to do with how I’m feeling myself these days and how I’m feeling about the songs I wrote,” Fogerty says. “It’s all in a really happy, good place now. I only say that because some of you may have heard I had a few difficulties in the music business.”
In case you haven’t heard, here’s a quick summary: Back in the ’60s, Fogerty signed away the rights to his Creedence songs to Fantasy Records. For decades he battled the label, as well as his former bandmates — including his brother. Fantasy notoriously sued Fogerty for plagiarizing himself. For many years, he refused to play his early hits. To explain, he says he imagined himself singing Creedence songs in a cheesy Las Vegas act, circa 1979.
Dust Storms Threaten Snow Packs—Old story from 06 from snow friend Dr. Tom Painter about the San Juan Dust on Snow Study
The town of Telluride, Colo., stretches out beneath Painter as he stands atop a 13,500-foot peak. Beyond the town is the Colorado Plateau, the source of most of the dust that lands in the Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies have been blasted by six dust storms since last December. That’s the worst it has been in at least two decades. And dust doesn’t just make the snow look bad. It makes the snow melt faster. That can spell trouble for farmers, power companies and others who rely on the water from the melting snow.
Scientist Thomas Painter recently set out to investigate the dusty snow. But, as he drove over a mountain pass, the blue sky wasn’t quite blue enough for Painter’s trained eye. He suspected we were driving through the sixth high-altitude dust storm of the year.
Dust Series, Part 2
Follow USGS ecologist Jayne Belnap into the Utah desert for a look at dust sources, and solutions.
“Now this will be exciting. It will be the first one that I’ve seen. I’ve always seen the remnants of them, but I never see them happen,” Painter said.
Painter continued to crane his neck as he studied the sky. He says this dust might have blown all the way from China. He was dying to get up to the snow so he could sample it, study it and worry about it. As we wound into the San Juan mountains in southwestern Colorado, the dust became more apparent.
“Whoa! This is very pink snow for this early,” Painter exclaimed.
Not Cat-in-the-Hat pink, but clearly not white, either, the way the snow usually is in the middle of spring.
The next day, Tom Painter drove up Red Mountain Pass and strapped on mountaineering skis to get a closer look.
The Little Ice Age brought colder, snowier winters to Europe, starting about 1550. Many paintings at the time documented the climate change, including Pieter Bruegel’s “Hunters in the Snow,” painted in 1565.
Glaciers in the Alps of Europe pose a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.
But nobody could explain the glacier’s rapid decline. Now, a new study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uncovers a possible clue to why the glaciers melted before temperatures started rising: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice.
Scientists trying to understand Europe’s climate for the past several hundred years have turned to the glaciers in the Alps because they preserve some of the temperature and precipitation history during that time.
The Alps’ largest glacier, Aletsch Glacier, extends more than 14 miles and covers more than 46 square miles.
If you look back through the 1600s and 1700s, the glaciers were big and quite stable, says NASA’s Tom Painter. That’s probably because Europe was in a prolonged cold spell, known as the Little Ice Age. “And then around 1860, 1865,[the glaciers] all started to retreat to lengths that they had not in the previous few hundred years,” he says.
To some historians, that retreat marks the end of the Little Ice Age. But there’s a problem: Europe didn’t actually heat up until the 1910s or 1920s. In fact, if you go by just air temperature and precipitation, the glaciers should have advanced, not retreated. So why would the glaciers have started to melt?
“It dawned on me that industrialization was kicking off then,” Painter says. “We have these visions from Charles Dickens and others of that time — the mid 1800s — of a huge amount of soot being pumped out into the atmosphere, not just in England but in France and Germany and Italy.”
Painter’s previous research has shown that dust blowing onto the Rocky Mountains is making the snow melt much faster there because dark snow absorbs a lot more sunlight.
Of course he couldn’t sample ice from the Alps that has already melted away, but he found a record of soot from ice samples higher up in the mountains. He and his colleagues argue in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the glaciers didn’t simply melt away because the Little Ice Age petered out.
As the world warms, and the environment changes around us, it’s good—for a sufficiently broad definition of “good”—to see the media starting, just barely starting, to take the issue seriously.
For example, MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” ran a segment where he had climate scientist Michael Mann as a guest, as well as Republican strategist Chip Saltsman. Matthews repeatedly hammered Saltsman on Republican denial of climate change, which was refreshing; usually a denier is brought in for false balance, not to show how out-of-touch the party is on this particular piece of reality.
Also on MSNBC, Chris Hayes had a special about this called “Politics of Power”, which unfortunately is not online for viewing, but he did a Google+ Hangout with some environmental bloggers which discusses how to get the word out about climate change.
I don’t get Al Jazeera America, but they apparently spent a half hour covering climate change, which, according to Media Matters for America, is about half as much as other stations gave itin the entire year of 2012. A few minutes of video are available on the MMfA site. Apparently, they also didn’t give any time at all to denial, which is the way to go.
If you have a segment about global navigation, you don’t give time to flat Earthers.
This young whooping crane is on its first fall migration, guided by an Operation Migration ultralight aircraft. Each whooper in this population wears an identification band, and many carry tracking devices that record their movements in detail.
Being a wildlife biologist in the 21st century increasingly means rescuing rare animals from extinction. Among the success stories is the whooping crane. Seventy years ago there were only 16 birds left on the planet. Now there are 403.
But breeding more birds isn’t enough. Scientists want to restore the crane’s way of life, too. And a team of ecologists at the University of Maryland have discovered something that suggests they are succeeding: Captive-bred whoopers are picking up tips from older birds about how to skillfully navigate south for the winter.
It’s a sign that those whooping cranes are passing knowledge from one generation to the next and, in a sense, rebuilding their culture, scientists said Thursday in the journal Science.
All the whooping cranes studied by the University of Maryland team received the same initial flight training as chicks, following an Operation Migration ultralight from Wisconsin to Florida in the fall. The Science study looked at data on their subsequent migrations — without the plane — beginning with the following spring.
How birds navigate over vast distances during migration has long been something of a mystery. Scientists aren’t sure how much is innate and how much is learned, or how much is based on landmarks, stars or even the Earth’s magnetic field.
But the country’s small population of whooping cranes has provided a clue.
Many of the whoopers in the world were born in a wooded wilderness 20 miles from the U.S. Capitol, at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. Patuxent is a hidden gem, a pocket of wilderness surrounded by highways, suburbs and government compounds.
Rock islands dot the ocean in Palau, Micronesia, May 26, 2012. The waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean have been relatively cool for the last 15 years.
A study in the journal Nature could help explain why the Earth’s average temperature hasn’t increased during the past 15 years — despite a long-term trend of global warming.
The Earth’s average temperature has risen by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But the temperature rise has not been moving in lock step with the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide — mainly from burning fossil fuels — traps heat in the air.
Now scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have more evidence that this global “pause” has to do with conditions in the Pacific Ocean.
Crowds gathering at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
It was late in the day and hot, and after a long march and an afternoon of speeches about federal legislation, unemployment and racial and social justice, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. finally stepped to the lectern, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, to address the crowd of 250,000 gathered on the National Mall.
He began slowly, with magisterial gravity, talking about what it was to be black in America in 1963 and the “shameful condition” of race relations a hundred years after theEmancipation Proclamation. Unlike many of the day’s previous speakers, he did not talk about particular bills before Congress or the marchers’ demands. Instead, he situated the civil rights movement within the broader landscape of history — time past, present and future — and within the timeless vistas of Scripture.
Dr. King was about halfway through his prepared speech when Mahalia Jackson — who earlier that day had delivered a stirring rendition of the spiritual “I Been ’Buked and I Been Scorned” — shouted out to him from the speakers’ stand: “Tell ’em about the ‘Dream,’ Martin, tell ’em about the ‘Dream’!” She was referring to a riff he had delivered on earlier occasions, and Dr. King pushed the text of his remarks to the side and began an extraordinary improvisation on the dream theme that would become one of the most recognizable refrains in the world.
With his improvised riff, Dr. King took a leap into history, jumping from prose to poetry, from the podium to the pulpit. His voice arced into an emotional crescendo as he turned from a sobering assessment of current social injustices to a radiant vision of hope — of what America could be. “I have a dream,” he declared, “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”
For King’s Adviser, Fulfilling The Dream ‘Cannot Wait’
Aug. 28, 1963, was a tense day for Clarence B. Jones. As the longtime attorney and adviser for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Jones had a long list of worries as people started to fill the streets around the monuments on the National Mall. Were the right permits filed? Would the speakers veer off script? Would enough people show up?
“I had this feeling that we were going to throw a big party and nobody comes,” Jones recalls.
But people did come — at least 250,000 of them. Still, Jones also worried that the crowd might also include agitators, “some of what I called ‘agent provocateurs’ — white as well as black,” Jones says. “I didn’t know whether some of the black nationalists who were opposed to Dr. King’s non-violence, or whether some of the people from the right wing, the Klan … would provoke something.”
And then there was the delicate and thorny issue of wrangling all those celebrities, Jones says, like Marlon Brando, Shelley Winters, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Joan Baez, Odetta and Bob Dylan, to name just a few.
In the end, things went smoothly, from the singers and the speakers to the big crowds and blue skies. After sleepless nights and fretful days, Jones was able to take his place on the stage at the Lincoln Memorial and take it all in.
Among his most vivid memories is singer Mahalia Jackson at the microphone, Jones says. “How could you not be moved by this woman’s voice? You would have to be unfortunately afflicted with some type of muscular disease that would prevent your muscles reacting to what your ear brought to your body.”
Of all the entertainers that day, Mahalia Jackson was the singer who had a special hold on King. When King was feeling down, he would speak with Jackson on the phone.
“I guess you would put it now as ‘telephone gospel therapy,’ ” Jones says. “And he would speak to Mahalia Jackson and he would say, ‘Mahalia, please sing to me. I’m having a rough day today.’
“And she would sing one or more of his favorite songs, and … he would close his eyes listening to her,” Jones continues. “In some cases, tears would come down his face and then he would say, ‘Mahalia, you are giving me the Lord’s voice this morning.’ “
King had enormous respect for Jackson, Jones says. And because of that, the reverend listened to her when she offered him unsolicited advice while King stood at the podium on the day of the march.
While he was reading from the prepared text, Jones says, Jackson shouted at King. “This is after she had performed, of course, she’s sitting down, and she just shouted at him … ‘Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin! Tell ‘em about the dream!’ “
Sly & The Family Stone in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., in 1968. Left to right: Sly Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Freddie Stone, Rose Stone, Jerry Martini, Larry Graham.
“I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person.”
That’s how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman’s choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.
It was something of a first for a major American rock band, whose legacy remains strong and is celebrated on a new box set titled Higher!Robinson, the band’s trumpet player, says she doesn’t think race or gender entered into decisions surrounding the lineup. Saxophone player Jerry Martini, however, says he believes that Stone’s choice of bandmates was intentional.
“I said, ‘You know, I know a lot of other African-American sax players that can justburn me.’ He goes, ‘But you’re what I wanted,’” Martini says. “I didn’t say, ‘Is it ’cause I’m white?’ or anything like that. But I just saw him as a visionary person who knew the group that he put together represented a lot of society.”
Stone himself acknowledged in a 2009 interview with KCRW that he had in mind a mix of race and gender. That mission wasn’t always easy: Jerry Martini says he remembers a point when Stone was pressured by the Black Panthers to kick the white members out of the band.
Lake Eyre in South Australia is normally a dry salt pan and rarely fills with water. But it did after massive rains two years ago, and is seen here on May 20, 2011.
Global sea level has been rising as a result of global warming, but in 2010 and 2011, sea level actually fell by about a quarter of an inch.
Scientists now say they know why: It has to do with extreme weather in Australia.
The sea level drop coincided with some of the worst flooding in that continent’s history. Dozens of people died and torrents washed away houses and cars, forcing thousands from their homes.
Some of those floodwaters simply ran back into the ocean, so they didn’t affect sea level. But a lot of that water was trapped on the Australian land mass. That’s because the continent has an odd geography.
“It’s kind of like if you took a plate and turned it upside down, the whole center area doesn’t run off back to the ocean,” says John Fasullo at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “In fact, there are major river basins that run back toward the center of the continent.”
Some years, rainfall pools up in the middle of the continent and creates a temporary freshwater sea called Lake Eyre.
“You get millions of birds migrating to the area and the whole ecosystem transitions from a desert to an inland sea in a few months,” Fasullo says.
Gorgeous Glimpses of Calamity Man-made perils to the universe’s garden of life are evident from space
Jan. 10, 2013: In this photo from NASA’s Aqua satellite, haze below the Himalayas blankets Northern India and Bangladesh, likely the result of fires, urban and industrial pollution, and a meteorological phenomenon called temperature inversion.
In 1961, Yuri A. Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, issued his initial impressions from an altitude of more than 100 miles. The sky was deep black, he said, and the Earth’s horizon crowned with “a beautiful blue halo.” Between bright white clouds, he enthused, he could make out “snow, forest, mountains.” It was an Edenic picture.
In the subsequent depths of the cold war, with nuclear weapons racing off the assembly lines of the Soviet Union and the United States, succeeding cosmonauts and astronauts contributed their own observations. Like Mr. Gagarin, they found their world mesmerizingly beautiful. They also reported a singularly intriguing fact: no borders or political boundaries could be seen from space.
In fact, few signs of humanity were visible, at least on the sunlit side. Sure, Los Angeles was visibly smoggy. And irrigated cropland could sometimes be discerned, like pointillism on Nile Delta sand. But these were exceptions. Under a startlingly thin layer of atmosphere, vast expanses of desert ceded to forests that gave way to the oceans that make up 70 percent of Earth’s surface. The planet seemed largely untouched. Only at night, when jewel-like cities rotated into view, did clear signs of civilization emerge.
There was something profoundly reassuring about this. Even as the ICBMs slept, it was heartening to know that despite our best efforts, we had not yet banged up the biosphere enough to make the effects easily visible from space.
But those were the 1960s and early ’70s; the global population was half what it is today, and the portion driving cars and leaving the lights on was far lower.
Contrast that with the last decade or so, when astronauts and Earth-observing satellites have recorded a different, deeply unsettling picture. While our world remains ravishingly beautiful, it increasingly shows symptoms of distress.
Many of these indicators are the direct result of human activity. Others are the indirect consequence of using our atmosphere as a dumping ground for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Japanese painter and sculptor Ushio Shinohara was the bad boy of the avant-garde when he came to the U.S. more than 50 years ago. He knew Andy Warhol, hung with Red Grooms and polarized audiences with his vivid work.
And Ushio met his wife, Noriko Shinohara, not long after arriving here. She’s an artist, too, but she’s spent most of her career living in his shadow.
Less so recently, though. Noriko is coming into her own. And now the story of their life together is the subject of an intimate new documentary called Cutie and the Boxer.
Odd title? Not once you get to know the two artists a little. It comes from Ushio’s style of painting — he punches huge canvases with boxing gloves dipped in paint — and from the pig-tailed Noriko’s nickname.
“Eleven years ago I was walking on the street,” she remembers. Her hair was in a braid, and a young passerby — maybe 25 years old — surprised her with a shout-out.
“He said, ‘Hi, cutie!’ I was, at that time, maybe 48 or 49,” she says. It’s not the sort of thing every mature woman might expect — or appreciate — but Noriko took it as a compliment. “So since then, I ask my family and my friends to call me Cutie.”
‘A Maker Of Ideas, A Maker Of Revolutions’
Noriko sits in the same cluttered studio that filmmaker Zachary Heinzerling captures in his feature-length debut. He’d been working for HBO, making mostly sports documentaries, when he met the couple at an open studio. He knew pretty much right away that they’d be great documentary subjects.
“They live these authentically Japanese lives,” he says, “but transplanted in Brooklyn. They live in this loft that this sort of catacomb of history — paint everywhere, photos everywhere. And there’s a sort of open-door policy there; you kind of come in, you experience them and their world, and then you leave and go back to the city.”
The couple lives on two upper floors of a building in one of those Brooklyn neighborhoods most artists can no longer afford. (Often, neither can the Shinoharas.) Ushio leads the way to the rooftop.
“This is my studio,” he says, indicating the open expanse. “I’m so lucky, because I’m an outside worker.”
The star of the TV series House has been acting for his bread and butter. But this Oxford-born, piano-playing Brit has had a long love affair with American blues music. Host Rachel Martin talks to him.
After the huge success of his debut album, Let Them Talk, on which he celebrated and revived classic material from the world of NOLA blues, Hugh Laurie presents his second album, Didn’t It Rain.
Didn’t It Rain sees Hugh Laurie depart the sounds of New Orleans as he follows the trajectory of the blues upstream and into the American heartland. It includes songs dating back to early pioneers W.C. Handy (“St Louis. Blues”) and Jelly Roll Morton (“I Hate A Man Like You”) to more recent artists such as Dr. John (“Wild Honey”) and Alan Price of The Animals (“Changes”).
Again produced by Joe Henry, Didn’t It Rain was recorded at Ocean Way Studio in Los Angeles in January of 2013. Complemented with the heart and accomplishment of his supporting musicians the Copper Bottom Band – Jay Bellerose, Kevin Breit, Vincent Henry, Greg Leisz, Robby Marshall, David Piltch and Patrick Warren with Elizabeth Lea and Larry Goldings – the album also features several lead vocal performances from Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno and soul singer Jean McClain who has previously worked with artists as varied as Jimmy Cliff and Sheryl Crow. The album also highlights a very special guest in the shape of the Grammy-winning blues artist Taj Mahal who contributes vocals to a new take on Little Brother Montgomery’s “Vicksburg Blues.”
For All The Cell Phone/Text Junkies——-Werner Herzog Plumbs Guilt And Loss Wrought By Texting And Driving
For decades, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog has introduced audiences to subjects that stick in one’s mind long after the credits have rolled, from a cave of artwork painted more than 30,000 years ago to the landscape of Antarctica to a man who believed he had a special relationship with grizzly bears.
His latest film is no less thought-provoking, but it’s a bit of a departure for Herzog. It’s a public service announcement. His haunting documentary From One Second to the Next was created after AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile approached him to make a film about the risks of texting and driving.
The PSA is part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, urging young people to put their phones away while driving. The campaign encourages drivers to pledge that “no text message, email, website or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road.” From One Second to the Next is available online, where it has logged more than 1.6 million views, and will be distributed to thousands of schools across the country.
Herzog joined NPR’s David Greene to explain why he made the film and what he hopes viewers will take away from it. ……… LISTEN/WATCH ………