a tune… a haiku… an infrared loop

Archive for February, 2011

Climate Change Takes Toll on the Lodgepole Pine


Rising temperatures, drought and the spread of destructive insect pests will shrink the North American range of the lodgepole pine  nearly 10 percent by 2020, a new study finds.

Bidder 70

It’s a story of stunning civil disobedience in a time of global climate crisis.  On December 19, 2008, Tim, a college student and environmental activist, derailed Bush’s last minute, parting gift to the oil and gas industry when he crashed the BLM’s illegitimate oil and gas auction in Salt Lake City. While protesters circled outside, Tim breezed inside, registered to bid, and took his seat. Bidder’s paddle #70 rested on his knee. By the time the guards escorted him out, he’d won 22,000 acres of pristine Utah wilderness with no intention to drill or pay.

Tim knew his actions carried the risk of arrest and prison, but believed environmental damage and climate crisis were a greater threat to his future. News and internet outlets immediately branded this ingenious ‘monkey-wrencher’ either hero or terrorist.  A month later, Bush was out, Obama in, and new Interior Secretary Salazar nullified the sale and removed Tim’s parcels and others from future oil and gas leasing.

That didn’t stop Utah’s U.S. Attorney (or the industry lobby).  On April Fools Day, 2009, Tim was indicted on two federal felonies. He faces ten years in prison and fines of $750,000.  His trial is February 28, 2011.



After nine postponements, it’s finally happening.

It’s Sunday evening; no chance the courts can cancel on us again. Tim DeChristopher– aka Bidder 70— is going to trial tomorrow.

Supporters are showing their solidarity for Tim with joy, resolve, and that spark of creativity that defines the Peaceful Uprising group. The Empowerment Summit is in full swing with speeches, demonstrations, vigils, sing-alongs, a concert, and even a mock trial. Celebrity highlights:
* Peter Yarrow of ‘Peter, Paul, and Mary’ will be leading sing-alongs and candlelight vigil tonight
* Alex Ebert, lead singer for the ‘Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ will be performing a concert
* Daryl Hannah, actress and environmental activist, will be bringing us updates from the trial proceedings tomorrow

The Gage and Gage Production crew is here in Salt Lake capturing this historic moment for our film Bidder 70. We’re filming it all with FOUR HD cameras– thanks to generous equipment contributions by Frank Marshall, Tom Beers, Stash Wislocki, and Suzan Beraza.

We need your support to bring Bidder 70 to completion. Please make a tax-deductible donation to this non-profit feature film!

Also, it would be a huge help if you SHARE the campaign with whatever social-networking outlets you prefer. The more traffic we get through our funding platform, the better!

Thank you,

Beth + George + the Crew!

Supercolossal Street Art


In a Paris suburb in October 2005, two teenagers of African descent were running away from the police and tried to hide inside a power substation. They were electrocuted instantly. The violence that broke out in protest of police harassment soon spread to neighboring communities and eventually to housing projects across the whole of France. When the media came to document the events in Clichy-sous-Bois, they were met with an additional, unexpected kind of confrontation: behind one of the countless cars in flames was a black-and-white photograph that was pasted onto the side of an apartment building some time before and took up its entire width. From its center, surrounded by a group of boys striking aggressive poses, a black man several times larger than life stared out, pointing with what appeared at first to be a shotgun. On closer inspection, it was a video camera. Get out, he seemed to be saying, we’re recording this too, and we’ll tell the story the way we see it.

Fact-Free Science


President Obama has made scientific innovation the cornerstone of his plans for “winning the future,” requesting in his recent budget proposal large financing increases for scientific research and education and, in particular, sustained attention to developing alternative energy sources and technologies. “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he declared in his State of the Union address last month.

It would be easier to believe in this great moment of scientific reawakening, of course, if more than half of the Republicans in the House and three-quarters of Republican senators did not now say that the threat of global warming, as a man-made and highly threatening phenomenon, is at best an exaggeration and at worst an utter “hoax,” as James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, once put it. These grim numbers, compiled by the Center for American Progress, describe a troubling new reality: the rise of the Tea Party and its anti-intellectual, anti-establishment, anti-elite worldview has brought both a mainstreaming and a radicalization of antiscientific thought.


Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers


The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.

So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.

San Juan Mountains Weather Update. Saturday, February 26,2011 08:30

Good morning,

Current in Silverton:  Snowing S1-2 in town- HN24-7-8”(hard to tell with the wind at my house), Winds SW 15-20, Temp 19F.

Current on Passes:  Molas and Coal Bank- 16”-18” in past 24 hours, Red Mt Pass is at 12”-14” and much less in the Gorge with only 5”-7”.

Current Weather Stations: SSW in the 20’s with gusts in 30-40’s, except for Kendal which has been showing higher wind speeds in the 30’s with gusts in 50’s.  Temps in around 10 deg and RH in 90’s.

We can expect continued snow through today and tomorrow.  Mitigation is planned on all passes this morning.



Following are snow totals so far for Storm 19:   11:00
HN/water equiv.
Monument                    6″/0.45″
RMP                            14″/1.0″
Molas                           19″/1.1″
Coal Bank                     15″.1.1″

‘Shenanigans Are What He Does’: Is Banksy Gunning For An Oscar?


The elusive artist Banksy became well known for creating street art around the world as documented in his film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. It’s one of five films nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category for Sunday’s Academy Awards.

But leading up to the Oscars, Banky’s rumored to have spray-painted and stenciled walls, billboards, and other spots around Los Angeles.

LETTERS Shared Sacrifice: A Sliding Scale? Letters to D. Brooks OP-ED- Make Everybody Hurt


“I agree with David Brooks’s assertion that truly shared sacrifice is the only way out of our fiscal crisis. Nothing of substance or value will happen until each one of us is willing to say, “Here’s something that the government currently provides that I can and will do without.”

“I’d like to point out, however, that the public employees are, in fact, taxpayers themselves. They understand that every dollar they receive is, in fact, in part coming out of their own pockets as part of the taxes that they pay every day.”

“Besides, public employees tend to be local citizens whose paychecks are likely to stay within the local communities they serve.”

Robert Rottenberg
Brattleboro, Vt., Feb. 22, 2011

OP-ED COLUMNIST-David Brooks-Make Everybody Hurt


Over the past few weeks we’ve begun to see the new contours of American politics. The budget cutters have taken control of the agenda, while government’s defenders are waging tactical retreats. Given the scope of the fiscal problems, it could be like this for the next 10 or 20 years.

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?


Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”


THE WRONG WAR Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan By Bing West-Book Review


“The Wrong War” amounts to a crushing and seemingly irrefutable critique of the American plan in Afghanistan. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand why the war there is so hard.

The strength of West’s book is the legwork he’s done. Most accounts of America’s wars, particularly those by former military officers, are written in the comfort of an office in the United States. Not so here. At age 70, West, the author of several books on America’s wars, went to Afghanistan and into the bases and out on patrols with the grunts, waded through the canals, ran through firefights and humped up the mountains. (At one point he contracted cholera and was evacuated by helicopter.) Embedding with American troops in God-forsaken places like Kunar and Helmand Provinces is hard business. What drives this man? West is worth a book in himself.


Gates Warns Against Any More Wars Like Iraq or Afghanistan…hummm, wonder what prompted this??? JR


Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of regime in that fashion again are slim.

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.

Quote of the Hour…




“I do believe in the mysteries of things, about myself and the things I see.  I enjoy being puzzled and arriving at my own incorrect conclusions.”  Tom Waits

San Juan Mountains Weather & Snowpack Report-Friday, Feb. 25, 2011-09:30


An upper level low (turning into a closed low by Saturday afternoon) is off the Oregon coast moving south and coming onshore in northern California later today and will track over the 4-corners by Sunday.  The system will bring strong winds to the Colorado mountains with a good stream of moisture.

The zonal flow (west flow to east) will change to SW flow as the system moves further south in California and with jet support (SW-NE oriented) will increase precipitation by Saturday favoring the SW San Juans.  The spinning low migrates into the 4-corners early Sunday, but will quickly move east late in the day into the central planes.

The southern San Juan including RMP could see up to two feet of snow and the north SJ’s (Uncompahgre Gorge) should see less accumulation of 12 to 15 inches of snow.  This looks like a prolonged period of persistent but not necessarily heavy snowfall.


The AVALANCHE DANGER is currently rated at CONSIDERABLE on NW-N-NE-E above TL and MODERATE on windward slopes above TL & on all terrain below TL.  Anticipate this danger rating to rise as new snow accumulates accompanied with strong SW winds.

Billionaire Brothers In Spotlight In Wis. Union Battle


February 25, 2011

As conservatives battle with public-employee unions in Wisconsin and other states, the conflict has drawn increasing public attention to a pair of low-profile billionaires, David and Charles Koch, who give millions of dollars to groups working to drive civil service unions out of government and ultimately out of politics.


For Location Scouts, It’s All About Making The Scene by SUSAN STAMBERG


In the old days, movies — even the big epics — were shot on studio back lots. Tara, that iconicGone With the Wind plantation, was made of plywood and papier maché.

These days, movie locations are mostly real, though. And they’re found by location scouts, who are often the first people hired for a film.

Should be easy work, right? You drive around town, spot a house you think could work for a film, drive back home? Not quite.


Objectively Speaking, It’s All About The Prop Master by SUSAN STAMBERG


A wooden sled. A weapon to vanquish a villain. Indiana Jones’ whip, the Maltese Falcon — even Babe the pig. In the movies, if an actor touches it, it’s a prop. And if it’s a prop, a property master arranged for it to be there.

“The set decorator does all of the furnishings, all of the draperies, the hardware, the paintings,” she explains. “The prop master does the things the actor picks up and touches.”

The Apostle of Modern Art


In this week’s issue of the magazine, Peter Schjeldahl writes about “Cézanne’s Card Players” an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,

The $200 Microhouse


A HOUSE tour is the highlight of a visit with a proud homeowner, but when one drops in to see Derek Diedricksen, who makes playful micro-shelters out of junk, it is less so. Possibly because the temperature up here on a cold winter day is less so, possibly because his square footage is less so.

At about 24 square feet, the Gypsy Junker, made primarily out of shipping pallets, castoff storm windows and a neighbor’s discarded kitchen cabinets, is the largest of Mr. Diedricksen’s backyard structures.

Extreme rain and snow events linked to global warming, study finds


Global warming helped drive a rise in the intensity of extreme rain and snowfall across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the last half of the 20th century, a new study has found.