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SNOTEL ~ Time Series Snowpack Summary

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…Click on graph to ENLARGE…

SNOTEL % of average for Colorado ~ 3/16/15

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While snowfall has not been consistent throughout the season, it has accumulated to near-normal levels in some sections of the state. Two large storms during the middle and end of February helped to increase the snowpack in southern Colorado to respectable levels but still below average for a 30 year history.

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First Listen: Buena Vista Social Club, ‘Lost And Found’

 

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Buena Vista Social Club’s new album, Lost And Found, comes out March 24.

 

It was nearly 20 years ago, back in 1997, that the Buena Vista Social Club became an improbable worldwide sensation: a group of mainly elderly (and some younger) Cuban musicians, performing traditional son music for an album produced by Ry Cooder. The combustible success of that first project — which only transpired by accident to begin with — led to a cottage industry of lovely artifacts, including a beautiful 1998 documentary by Wim Wenders and a string of solo albums from its leading artists (not to mention 2010’s Afrocubism, the fruit of World Circuit chief Nick Gold’s original idea for what became the Buena Vista Social Club’s first album).

Since the group’s initial successes, several of its unforgettable artists — including guitarist and singer Compay Segundo, pianist Ruben Gonzalez, singer Ibrahim Ferrer, percussionist Miguel “Anga” Díaz (father to the sensational new twin-sister duo Ibeyi) and bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” López — have passed away. The remaining Buena Vista artists are saying farewell with an international “Adiós” tour this year, so it must have seemed like a good time for World Circuit to dig through its archives.

The result is Lost And Found, a compilation of studio recordings (from the original Buena Vista Social Club sessions made at Havana’s Egrem Studios in 1996, and from a string of dates through the late 1990s and early 2000s) and live cuts from throughout the artists’ touring career. These tracks have all been taken out of the vault and dusted off only for this occasion, but fans of the Buena Vista artists’ earlier projects will find more than enough gems here. They include “Macusa,” featuring guitarists and singers Eliades Ochoa and Compay Segundo; the cool, trancelike Afro-Cuban jazz of “Black Chicken 37″ with Díaz and López; smoky-voiced singer Omara Portuondo in “Tiene Sabor” and the 1930s Cuban chestnut “Lágrimas Negras”; the blazing horns in “Mami Me Gusto,” featuring Ibrahim Ferrer; and the razor-sharp dance rhythms in “Guajira En F,” featuring Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos, one of Buena Vista’s younger performers (now 63).

If it turns out that this is the year we do say a final goodbye to the Buena Vista collective, Lost And Found provides a gorgeous reminder of what made it so famous to begin with — and what we’ll all be missing.

~~~  LISTEN  ~~~

Aspen Taxidermy ? ~ Bernie Arndt

c/o Baldwin Gallery

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How Mexico Learned To Polka

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Legendary norteño group Los Alegres de Terán, in a promotional still from the 1976 documentary Chulas Fronteras.

A casual listener would be forgiven for not knowing one kind of accordion music from another. But where two cultures in particular are concerned, the similarity comes with a century-old backstory involving immigration and imitation.

On the 76th birthday of Flaco Jimenez — one of the instrument’s most celebrated living players — Morning Edition asks how the accordion-heavy folk music of northern Mexico came to sound so much like the polkas and waltzes of Eastern Europe. Hear the conversation, featuring Felix Contreras of NPR’s Alt.Latino and Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, at the audio link.

~~~  LISTEN  ~~~

Georgia On My Mind

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We were in Santa Fe over the weekend and ran into Georgia. Took her for a spin out towards Abiquiu and had a picnic. Caught her peering thru a hole in the cheese.  

Why China’s Pollution Could Be Behind Our Cold, Snowy Winters

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A lot of the airborne particles in the Earth’s atmosphere come from natural sources, such as desert dust (red-orange) and sea salt (blue). But there’s also soot from fires (green and yellow) and sulfur emissions (white) from burning fossil fuel.

 

It’s March. It’s freezing. And there’s half a foot of snow on the ground. When is this winter going to end?

Many scientists think that climate change might be one cause of this year’s “snowpocalypse” in Boston and bitter cold snaps in New York and Washington.

But physicists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been looking into another culprit: air pollution in China and India.

“Over the past 30 years or so, man-made emission centers have shifted from traditional industrialized countries to fast, developing countries in Asia,” physicist Jonathan Jiang writes in an email.

The animation from NASA shows how pollution from Asia and other continents mixes and moves around the world. (It’s a simulation made with satellite data from September 2006 to April 2007.)

The colorful swirls represent airborne particles in the atmosphere. Many of those particles are sea salt (shown in blue) picked up from the ocean, and dust (shown in red-orange) scooped up from deserts.
But there are also man-made sources of particles. Soot from fires is shown in green-yellow, and sulfur from fossil fuel emissions and volcanoes is in white.

As the animation moves through time, you can see fires billow up from South America and parts of Africa. Dust from the Sahara Desert sweeps west, and power plants in North America and Europe emit sulfur that blows east.

Then, about 43 seconds into the video, Asia comes into view. And its coal-powered industrialization is clear.

~~~  WATCH/READ  ~~~

‘Merchants Of Doubt’ Explores Work Of Climate Change Deniers

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NPR’s Melissa Block speaks to director Robert Kenner about his documentary, “Merchants of Doubt,” which examines the work of climate change skeptics and their campaign to sway public opinion.

~~~   LISTEN   ~~~

Avalanche Mitigation With Drones……….??

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Mountain Drones’ drone prototype can retrieve snowpack information remotely and perform avalanche mitigation from a safer distance. The start-up will be in town this week for the start of the Telluride Venture Accelerator’s 2015 session and plans to move business operations here permanently. [Courtesy photo/Warren Linde]

 

By Stephen Elliott
Staff Reporter
Published: Sunday, February 1, 2015 6:05 AM CST
Drones are all the rage these days. They crash into the White House, they’re used for experimental cinematography, and now, a company about to plant roots in Telluride is planning to use drones to combat avalanche danger.

“Living in Vail for a couple of years, we lost a few friends to avalanche incidents,” Brent Holbrook, one of the co-founders of Mountain Drones, said. “We were wondering if there was any way we could use this new technology to address that danger.”

Mountain Drones is one of five companies participating in the 2015 Telluride Venture Accelerator cohort, which begins Thursday with a kick off celebration, and Holbrook and the other Mountain Drones co-founder Warren Linde have said they plan to make the move to Telluride more permanent than the five-month business development program run by TVA and the Telluride Foundation.

“We think that Telluride is a great environment for us both from a natural resources perspective but also a business resources perspective,” Linde said.

* “It gives us access to the avalanche-prone terrain that we’re focused on and also the individuals that work in that landscape. It enables us to do further research and development.”

The guys at Mountain Drones were originally focused on beacon searches for lost avalanche victims, but decided to focus on the source of the problem rather than the result.

“Instead of starting with the problem, why don’t we start at the beginning and make the problem not happen as much?” Holbrook asked.

Holbrook, Linde and the rest of the team began initial development of their drone technology at the end of 2013 and worked on it throughout 2014. Though they aren’t revealing the specifics of their technology because they are still working on securing patents, they said they hope their drones can provide ski patrols and departments of transportation with timely and accurate snowpack information in addition to a safer alternative to the expensive and dangerous avalanche mitigation work currently done mostly by helicopter and Howitzer-launched explosives.

“With our technology we seek to keep department of transportation operators as well as ski patrol operators out of harm’s way and keep them out of situations where they could be exposing themselves to bodily harm or positioning themselves on a dangerous mountain face,” Linde said. “We’re utilizing our technology to keep humans out of harm’s way.”

Linde said the Colorado Department of Transportation is responsible for 278 out of 522 known avalanche paths statewide and that road closures cost the economy around $1 million per hour in economic development, making state departments of transportation an important target customer for Mountain Drones.

“We’ve been in touch with multiple ski patrol operations and CDOT and they’ve been very receptive. They’re all on our side and think it’s a great idea, a cost-effective and safer way to go about avalanche mitigation operations,” Holbrook said. “Avalanche mitigation hasn’t changed much since ski resorts were really established in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. We believe we have a safer and more effective way to do that.”

Avalanche country often overlaps with extreme weather conditions and high altitudes, creating a challenge for drone-based avalanche mitigation.

“Anyone can operate on a bluebird day,” Linde said. “A lot of our development efforts are focused on operations in high wind and high altitude environments.”

That’s another reason why Telluride is a good base for Mountain Drones.

“This is probably the toughest environment that you could fly one of the mechanisms in,” Holbrook said. “We’ve proven that it can be done with our initial prototype and the next prototype we’re looking to build even better.”

“If we can fly in this environment, we can fly in any environment,” he added.

This is the third cohort for TVA, with the first class of companies coming to Telluride in 2013 for business development work with mentors during the five-month program. Linde and Holbrook are excited about the opportunity to work with TVA mentors and other members of the Telluride community moving forward.

“We are excited about the mentors that are a part of the TVA program,” Linde said. “There will be strong support on both the technical and business sides. We’ll have some mentors that are business-minded and some other mentors out there in the field mitigating avalanches as we speak.”

San Juan Mountains Storm Snow/h20 totals ` 3/3/15 ~ 6pm

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                                                                              HN / HNW (water equiv) 4 day total

 

Monument                                                                5” / .4”                                    20.5″/1.6″

RMP                                                                       7.5” / .75”                                   29.5″/2.4″

Molas                                                                      12” / 1.4”                                   44.5″/4.65″ !!!

Coal Bank                                                                7″ / .8”                                     36.5″/3.8″

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Today’s world view @ 8:31am

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San Juan Storm Report 3/1/15 ~ 07:00

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Below are snow totals since yesterday morning:
                                     HN24/ water
Mon                                        7.5”  / .5”
RMP                                         11” / .7”
Molas                                       11” / .75”
Coal Bank                              10” / .8”

More snow on the way… Things may be getting touchy with recent snow and WIND…
Expect some hwy delays for avalanche control this morning – shouldn’t be too long. Preemptive work.

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Kiitella project: Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race Medals @Aspen Snowmass

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Tomorrow, the Audi Power of Four competitors will race across all four Aspen Snowmass ski areas, climbing 11,600 feet of vertical gain over 25 miles. This year’s medals by Kiitella celebrate the classic ski pole basket with leather, rivets and metal rings.

San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast and snow/water from 2-26-15

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Scattered light snow showers develop later today/tonight as the latest moisture over eastern Utah moves overhead. There will be a small break in the snowy weather early tomorrow for a few hours. Later in the day, the storm that’s being advertised as a “potentially very big snow producer” will initiate. Technically, this isn’t one storm but multiple waves of energy passing through until late Tuesday with ebb and flow.

The low-pressure trough closes off over southern California tomorrow and will pump moist Pacific air into the San Juans. As of now, periods of peak snowfall look to be Saturday evening through Monday. Favored SSW locations above tree line in the San Juans could see two to five feet of snow.

24 hr. snow 2/26/15

                                                    HN/HNW (water equiv)
Monument                                    4”/0.4”
RMP                                                9”/0.75″
Molas                                          0.5”/0.05”
Coal Bank                                      2”/0.15”

In A Few Fateful Years, One Record Label Blew Open The Blues

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Charley Patton was the grandaddy of the Delta blues musicians, according to Jack White: “He’s the one that all the other blues musicians looked up to. He’s almost the beginning of the family tree.”

 

The story of Paramount Records is a story of contradictions. It was a record label founded by a furniture company, a commercial enterprise that became arguably the most comprehensive chronicler of African American music in the early 20th century. And yet, for Paramount’s executives, music was an afterthought.

“They didn’t really care about any of it; they just wanted to sell record players,” says guitarist, singer-songwriter and music impresario Jack White. “And by accident, they captured Charley Patton and Mississippi Sheiks and Blind Lemon Jefferson and Son House and Skip James. I mean, these are the granddaddies of modern music.”

A little over a year ago, White’s Third Man Records and Revenant, the label founded by John Fahey, put out the first volume of an exhaustive survey of Paramount’s catalog, beginning with its inception in 1917 and covering its first decade. The second and final volume of The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records is out now, and presents what may be the label’s greatest contribution to American music – the final five years of its brief existence, when it began to record the Mississippi music style that came to be called the Delta blues.

White says that Charley Patton was the acknowledged granddaddy of the Delta granddaddies: “He’s the most important figure, in my opinion, in this whole Paramount world because he’s the one that all the other blues musicians looked up to. He’s almost the beginning of the family tree.”

Patton is believed to have been born around 1891 and was possibly the first musician in the Mississippi Delta to make his living just by playing blues. Peter Guralnick, author of several books on the blues, says Patton was a hero to other musicians — but that the man was nothing like his music sounded.

“Just hearing the voice, you would think you were hearing someone who looked like Howlin’ Wolf — you know, who was 6’3″, 6’4″, weighed 300 pounds, was jet black,” Guralnick says. “And as it turned out, Charley Patton, as described by his fellow blues singers, was extremely light-skinned and he was a little guy! So this voice just comes out with this unbelievable energy, this focus and intensity. There’s nothing else that’s happening when he’s singing.”

Patton was also a consummate entertainer: He clowned around on stage, playing his guitar behind his head and between his legs. When Patton decided he was ready to record, he wrote a letter to a white man named H.C. Speir, who was a talent scout for Paramount.

~~~  READ  MORE  ~~~

‘Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 2′

Unknown-1For a decade, Paramount Records was one the most influential labels in the country. Now, a two box set collection tracks its rise and fall in the early 20th century.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This music is part of the legacy of Paramount Records. The label was an offshoot of the Wisconsin Chair Company created in 1917 to help sell the phonographs the furniture company built. As one music expert put it, it was like Apple creating iTunes in order to sell iPods. Paramount was incredibly influential in its 15-year run. And now its classic recordings are available in a pair of limited edition box sets called “The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records.” Meredith Ochs has been delving into that history.

UnknownMEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: In the late 1920s, Paramount Records was struggling. As the Great Depression set in, their cash flow dried up. New technology began to make their scratchy-sounding, cheaply-made records less desirable. And the public’s taste in music was evolving. Paramount scrambled to keep up, their talent scouts searching the American South and West for the next big thing. But even as it was slowly failing, the label discovered some of the most influential figures in American music, like Delta bluesman Charley Patton. A top seller for Paramount, Patton was famous for flashy moves like playing guitar behind his head.

                   ~~~  LISTEN TO THE STORY  ~~~

At Least 108 People Killed in Afghan Winter Storm KABUL, Afghanistan — Feb 25, 2015, 8:45 AM ET

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Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 108 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath.

The avalanches buried homes across four northeast provinces, killing those beneath, said Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority. The province worst hit appeared to be Panjshir province, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul, where the avalanches destroyed or damaged around 100 homes, Syas said.

The acting governor of Panjshir, Abdul Rahman Kabiri, said rescuers used their bare hands and shovels in an effort to reach survivors. Rescue teams had been dispatched to the affected areas and casualties were expected to rise, Syas said.

Large parts of Afghanistan have been covered in snow as a major storm interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter.

Afghanistan has suffered through some three decades of war since the Soviet invasion in 1979. But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have taken a toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities.

 

San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast ~ 2/25/15 ~ 7:07

 

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The next few days, unorganized northwest flow will predominantly affect the northern and central Colorado mountains and the north side of the San Juans. Our mountains will see overflow effect from this flow in the form of wind, clouds and maybe a few snow squalls…

There will be a short break in the weather on Thursday, and then a possible repeat of this past weekend’s weather. Latest models depict a pattern very similar to that associated with the storm, which dumped significant snowfall across the San Juans a few days ago and could drop another two feet of snow.

 

Akio Shinya & Matt Wells

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Akio Shinya, authority on snow/avalanche forecasting in Hokkaido recently with Matt Wells