Thursday, May 21, 2009

Very scary climate news from MIT - up 10 deg. F by 2100

This is twice as bad as previously predicted. And even so,

"...this modeling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback “is just going to make it worse,” [study coauthor Ronald] Prinn says."

Published in The American Meteorological Society’s (peer-reviewed) Journal of Climate, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Climate Change. Read about it in this post on Joe Romm's blog Climate Progress.

Note to readers, and to fellow bloggers - the NCFocus comments section is now a climate-crank-free zone, and will be maintained as such. Those who wish to provide disinformation can do it on their own turf.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brian's leaving KVMR News

Reliable sources (plural) informed us today that Brian, the keeper of the news at KVMR, gave notice a week or two back.

Another journalism-at-KVMR news flash - a couple days ago I learned we have another big-fish editor here in town, Michael Young from the LA Times foreign desk; he's on the KVMR board. Move over JeffP; it looks like we're going to have to rename a certain street Editors' Row...

Welcome Michael and Karen (belatedly; they moved here a summer or two ago.)
(Michael, if you start a local blog, please put it in the the Suggestion Box for Nevada County Voices.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What happened to Somerville?

Former The Union editor (~2002-2004) Rich Somerville, who left Nevada County for the Eureka Times-Standard in fall 2006, started a blog there in late 2007. All went well for about six months; then in early June 2008, he expounded, unfavorably, on the, ah, "rough-and-tumble", fistfighting political landscape of Nevada County, relative to his new home turf:
...considering the sometimes polarized politics of Humboldt County, decorum reigned.

It was a different story in Nevada County, where I did a stint as an editor a few years back. Once, a last-minute whispering campaign said a candidate had rats in his restaurant. (An inspector had found mouse droppings some years before.) Not only did the candidate lose, but his restaurant soon went out of business.

In a particularly nasty supervisor race, one candidate had nails strewn on his driveway, while another was the subject of postcards titled “Supervisor for Sale?,” accusing her of dispensing governmental favors for campaign donations. Included was an invoice with county letterhead, later proven to be faked.

Once, at a meeting of the county Republican Central Committee, anger bubbled up over an old slight about the lack of an endorsement, leading to a fistfight in the street in front of the meeting hall.

Humboldt County seems polite by comparison — knock on wood!

- Posted by Rich Somerville at 06:39 PM
A week and a half later, he was dead.
Their coroner's office ascribed it to a heart attack, but didn't do an autopsy, or else did an autopsy and then the paperwork misplaced itself...when I asked, the story was a bit hazy.

I'm writing about this only now, almost a year later, because a) I may have been irking the unstable, recently, and b) I didn't stumble across Rich's blog & that post until just a couple days ago. Before that I hadn't pursued it, since I'd just assumed that "heart attack" was a euphemism for suicide.
(Confidential to my recent caller: it's poor form not to say anything, when you phone. Confidential to my readers: I am *not* suicidal, I look both ways when crossing the street, my housemate's nonvolatile, and my ticker's just fine.)

For those of you pointing out that it could have been coincidence: yes, it could have been. But remember Weismann.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Small, surreal world

Stephen Bechtel (Jr.) and I went to the same high school.

And on a related note - I sure wish The Thacher School in Ojai did a better job of instilling environmental consciousness in their graduates. Perhaps they do now, but 40-odd years ago they were dropping the ball.
(caveat: n=2, not much of a sample size)

[Upon reflection, I have removed some remarks that seem inappropriate]

Sunday, May 03, 2009

That pesky gulag

(This post is moot, BTW. Just so you know...)

Back in 2004, the day after George W. Bush was elected to a second term, after I'd done my crying I wandered over to a neighbor-of-sorts who'd I assumed had voted for him, and asked, quietly, only half in jest - "Will you come visit me in the gulag?"

To my surprise he exploded. "You are so full of $%^&!"

At the time the overreaction baffled me. Now I think I understand better; and what's more, I could - conceivably - be headed there after all.

So, y'all, if I do go, I hope you'll feel free to drop by.
(either there or the place with the straightjackets, if I'm merely losing my marbles)

Bring books, please.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The problem with metaphors

The problem with thinking in metaphors, or rather with expressing your thoughts if you think in metaphors, is that if you have more than one thought they're likely modeled using incompatible metaphors which makes for a muddled mess of mixed metaphors when you try to put them into print.

That is all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Flu news site, interpreted by experts

The public health blog Effect Measure at is the go-to site for pig flu news and interpretation thereof.

Just so you know.

Update - the latest Effect Measure post is on naming the strain; contenders include Aporkalypse and Hamthrax.

Me, I'm sitting this one out, unless it becomes a lot more newsworthy.
(I devoted a lot of blog real estate to bird flu, back in the day, not, at that time, being clear about some of the factors that would preclude it from becoming another severe 1918-style pandemic; am now older and more jaded and have more important things to work on.)

FYI though - I had started a rather cool, intended-to-be-month-long "~90 years ago today" blog history series on the 1918 pandemic (albeit in Oct 2005 not 2008) but life and work got in the way of completing it. If someone wants to spend some pleasant, old-book-smelling afternoons in the historical library on Pine St, to take it through the rest of the month, it's a worthwhile project.
...especially if cranking through microfilm doesn't make you carsick.