Author Archives: Dean Golan

Photos From the Massive Yosemite Wildfire

Mother Jones

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Northern California’s ferocious Rim Fire exploded to more than 106,000 acres Friday. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it is threatening roughly 4,500 structures, has entered Yosemite National Park, and is just 2 percent contained. These images will give you an idea of what it looks like:

Map of the fire from Friday, August 23. Updates can be found here. National Wildfire Coordinating Group

A DC 10 air tanker drops flame retardants just east of the town of Groveland. Hundreds of campers have been evacuated. Al Golub/ZUMA

A firefighting bulldozer from Barstow, California, behind San Jose Family Camp, near Yosemite National Park. Al Golub/ZUMA

A crew from the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard flies over the Rim Fire on Thursday afternoon. The best shot of the fire comes around the six-minute mark.

On the first day of the Rim Fire, firefighters in an aircraft worked until sunset to attempt to keep the fire from reaching the Tuolumne River. When this photo was taken the fire was only 200 acres, but the next morning it had made it to the bottom of the Tuolumne River. Al Golub/ZUMA

Cal Fire firefighters created a backfire to stop fire coming out of the Tuolumne River Canyon on Highway 120 Near Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire jumped this road in several places. Al Golub/ZUMA

Members of the Horseshoe Meadow Hotshots—Chuck Ervin, left, and Ian White—prepare a fire break at the Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest in California. Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee/ZUMA

The Rim Fire jumps Highway 120 near Cherry Lake Road and San Jose Family Camp near Yosemite National Park. Al Golub/ZUMA

Cal Fire firefighters take a break from creating a backfire on Highway 120 near Yosemite National Park. Al Golub/ZUMA

A US Forest Service crew hikes down Harden Flat Road to support structures during the fire. Al Golub/ZUMA


Photos From the Massive Yosemite Wildfire

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Huge Majority Thinks Arctic Warming Will Mess With the Weather

Mother Jones

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From Superstorm Sandy to wildfires, droughts, and freakout temperatures, weather extremes have been hitting the United States hard. And simultaneously, a new scientific theory has emerged to explain much of this weather weirdness: Climate change is warming the Arctic more than the mid-latitudes, leading to a loopy jet stream and, in turn, all manner of weather extremes, including both heat waves and also excessive cold.

What’s striking is that even as scientists continue to debate this idea, the public seems to buy into it. Or at least, that’s the upshot of a new study in the International Journal of Climatology, reporting on a series of surveys of residents of the state of New Hampshire (whom, the paper notes, are pretty representative of Americans as a whole when it comes to their views on climate change). From Fall 2012 through Spring 2013, 1,500 Granite Staters were asked the following question: “If the Arctic region becomes warmer in the future, do you think that will have major effects, minor effects or no effects on the weather where you live?”

Here’s the stunning result: 60 percent of respondents answered “major effects,” and another 29 percent answered “minor effects”—leaving just 11 percent saying “no effects” or professing that they did not know. Overall, then, 89 percent of these New Hampshire respondents thought changes in the Arctic would reverberate far beyond that region, and would affect their weather in the mid-latitudes. “Research on an Arctic/weather connection is new, but it seems to be reaching the public,” says Lawrence Hamilton, co-author of the study and a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire.

The study contained two additional noteworthy findings. First, in a reprisal of the notorious “smart idiot” effect, Democrats and Republicans polarized over the issue of the Arctic’s influence on weather, and that polarization got worse with increasing levels of education. Thus, highly educated New Hampshire Republicans—GOPers with postgraduate degrees—were the least likely political group to accept the idea of an Arctic influence on their weather. Democrats with postgraduate degrees were just the opposite—they were the most likely to accept it.

Perhaps still more interesting, belief in an Arctic influence on the weather depended on…the weather. In the study, the researchers compared respondents’ answers with the temperature on the day in which they were surveyed, and the temperature on the preceding day. They found that belief in an Arctic-weather connection increased with both abnormal heat and also abnormal cold:

Belief in an Arctic influence on weather varies with…the weather. Lawrence Hamilton

One upshot of the research? That President Obama’s new climate communication strategy—focused on talking about the weather, rather than talking about “green jobs”—gains some more empirical support in its favor. “Our results indicate some degree of public acceptance for scientists’ global perspective in which Arctic change has consequences far outside the Arctic, and for studies showing that changing probabilities of extreme weather events are a key aspect of climate change,” says Hamilton.

In other words: It’s the weather, stupid. People get it—and so, it seems, do politicians.

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Huge Majority Thinks Arctic Warming Will Mess With the Weather

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Antarctic marine reserve plans scuppered by Russia

Antarctic marine reserve plans scuppered by Russia


Still open for fishing.

You can’t get much farther from Antarctica than Russia. Yet it was Russia that this week sunk American- and New Zealand-led efforts to create sprawling marine reserves around the South Pole.

The multi-nation Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources met in Germany this week to discuss proposals to protect more than 1.5 million square miles from the growing threat of fishing. The meeting was called after the countries that make up the committee failed to reach agreement on the proposals last year. From Nature:

There was widespread hope that new reserves in the Ross Sea and in East Antarctica would be approved this week …

But [Tuesday] at the meeting the Russian delegation questioned the very authority of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which regulates fishing in Antarctica, to create reserves, several participants said. To establish any reserve requires the agreement of all 25 members.

This has enraged NGOs, who pointed out that CCAMLR has already created one such ‘marine protected area’ and that all of the commission’s members had previously agreed in principle that it should create such zones. NGO representatives accused Russia of coming in bad faith to the meeting, which was convened specifically to discuss the marine reserves after they were not agreed to at another meeting last year.

“Everyone here is very disappointed,” says Steve Campbell, campaign director at the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a coalition of groups pushing for more marine protection in the region. “There is no doubt CCAMLR has authority to establish these areas.”

Reserve supporters aren’t giving up hope, though. The proposals will be considered again in October when the committee gathers in Australia for its next regular meeting.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

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Antarctic marine reserve plans scuppered by Russia

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Anthony Foxx, transit booster, confirmed as transportation secretary

Anthony Foxx, transit booster, confirmed as transportation secretary

U.S. Department of Labor

Anthony Foxx.

Anthony Foxx, the transit-friendly mayor of Charlotte, N.C., has been confirmed as Obama’s transportation secretary in a rare unanimous Senate vote. (GOP lawmakers must be focusing all their energy on obstructing Gina McCarthy’s nomination for EPA chief.) He’ll be the youngest member of Obama’s cabinet.

From the Associated Press:

Foxx, 42, is considered a charismatic rising figure in the Democratic party and was a staunch and active campaigner for President Barack Obama in North Carolina, including playing host to the Democratic National Convention. …

Foxx is expected to continue in the vein of [former Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood. He told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that safety would be his top priority at a nomination hearing a month ago.

His short tenure as mayor, and his professional background, suggest he will also carry on LaHood’s fondness for rail and transit.

Foxx worked to expand Charlotte’s light-rail system, break ground on an electric streetcar project in the city, and build electric vehicle-charging infrastructure. During his three and a half years as mayor, Charlotte’s unemployment rate dropped more than 3 percent, in part thanks to Foxx’s efforts to bolster the city’s reputation as an energy-industry hub.

Some transportation-policy wonks worry that LaHood will be a tough act to follow considering Foxx’s relative inexperience. But Foxx is no stranger to Washington, D.C. — he’s worked for the Department of Justice and the House Judiciary Committee, and he collaborated closely with the Obama team when Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention last year.

But just because his confirmation process was smooth sailing doesn’t mean Foxx won’t have his work cut out for him in the Transportation Department. The Charlotte Observer reports:

The department faces an immediate problem in finding a sustainable funding stream for badly needed improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. It also has struggled to replace the country’s radar-based air-traffic-control system, which dates to the 1950s, with a modern, satellite-based system.

The Highway Trust Fund, which was created in the 1950s to fund the construction and maintenance of the Interstate Highway System, is going broke. Since the 1980s, the fund has also supported transit systems – a signature issue for Foxx.

Federal gasoline tax revenue has become insufficient to support the fund, and Congress has bailed it out with more than $50 billion from the U.S. Treasury in the past five years.

The 18.4-cents-a-gallon tax has remained unchanged in two decades, and Foxx will have to consider whether to raise it or replace it with something else. Almost any choice would force drivers to pay more, and would be politically unpopular.

All we want to know is, will he bike to work?

Claire Thompson is an editorial assistant at Grist.

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The IRS Also Targeted Groups That Labeled Themselves "Progressive"

Mother Jones

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As the search for IRS perfidy continues, Democrats are finally getting into the act. Today, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released a copy of the (now infamous) BOLO spreadsheet used by the IRS screening group in Cincinnati to highlight groups that analysts should “be on the lookout” for. This includes tea party groups, of course, as well as groups focused on open source software (?), medical marijuana, and—ta da!—anything with “progressive” or “blue” in its name:

Needless to say, House Dems are now a little peeved at the IRS inspector general, who released an audit report in May that highlighted all the tea party cases but said nothing about extra scrutiny being given to progressive organizations. In particular, they’ve asked Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to hold a new hearing at which the IG can “explain the glaring omission in his audit report.” I wouldn’t hold my breath on Camp agreeing to do this, but I guess you never know.

Anyway, that’s the latest.

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The IRS Also Targeted Groups That Labeled Themselves "Progressive"

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Thermodynamic Solar Panels – Your No. 1 Origin For Renewable Energy!

Thermodynamic Solar Panels

Unlike normal solar panels which only absorb straight sunshine from the sunshine, thermodynamic solar panels take in heat through the encompassing air. This thermodynamic device can provide you along with all your hot water needs throughout the year. It handles sunny days, rainy days, windy days, snowfall times, as well as during a hail hurricane. It can easily also generate boiling water at dusk and in freezing climate. This proves to become very beneficial because the sun’s rays really isn’t constantly out! And in winter season the times possess an average of 7 hrs of lighting using only 3 to 4 hrs of sunshine.

Thermodynamic Panels are the most up to date breakthrough in water heating system technology.

Inside these panels, an environmental water at a bad temperature of -20 C is actually circulated throughout the panel. This fluid flow produces much more power as well as solar power. The heat as well as electricity collected is launched onto this liquid through a heat energy exchanger. Since the temperature of the liquid rises, the water vaporizes. Within the panels, there is actually a glass allowing the fuel to boost the heat energy exchange. This gasoline is after that absorbed by converter. This procedure generates tension, which additionally improves the temperature level. The heat energy generated is actually transmitted with water through the warmth exchanger. The fuel is then extended prior to this is actually returned to the panel. This growth of the gasoline lowers the stress and also the temp leading to the gas to condensate back to liquid type.

Close of a Thermodynamic panel.

Thermodynamic solar panel devices (shown listed below) possesses a 250 litre or perhaps a 280 litre hot water tube. As a result, keeping a family of 5 to 6 people along with adequate hot water for their bath, shower, and many more. And just what’s even more, having a thermodynamic mechanism is that your fuel or even oil hookup is actually absolutely removed from your hot water tube. This suggests that the only time you will definitely must turn on your boiler is during the course of the winter months for your heating system. This is actually due to the fact that the system will certainly take care of your hot water unaided during the warmer months. Dazzling really isn’t it?

Thermodynamic Panel System using Hot Water Cyndrical tube.

Thermodynamic panels are becoming much more widespread as a result of their rewards. These rewards create thermodynamic panels, the suitable idea over regular panels.

Benefits of Thermodynamic Panels

They work throughout the year, 24 hours a time, 365 times a yr. These panels work in all weathers. These guys are uncomplicated to put up and require remarkably little bit of repair and maintenance. These panels are not affected using corrosion (corrosion evidence). These professionals are actually non-toxic and ecologically welcoming. These professionals dramatically minimize carbon emissions. They do not freeze or get too hot. They have an impressive thermal productivity. These professionals can easily heat up water to 55 C, all the time. These guys could deliver steady boiling water, even during the night. These guys simply evaluate 8 Kilos. These guys have accessible outputs as much as 53 Kilowatts. These professionals are plated aluminium panels. These guys might be installed horizontally on roofs. These professionals could be mounted up and down on wall structures. Suited for residential and professional functions. 6 times far more dependable compared to vacated solar thermal devices. SAVE approximately 80 % OFF electric costs. Qualifies for Eco-friendly Warmth Incentives (RHI) payments. Qualifies for Eco-friendly Warmth Costs Payments (RHPP).

H2ecO: Eco Power Pros

H2ecO provides experienced help and also installments for the Residential & Commercial Sectors around Dorset, Uk. how to build your own solar panels

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