Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waking Up to a Non Fact Based World

On Tuesday night, November 8th, I was very disappointed by the preliminary national election results coming in that I went to bed hopeful.  Hopeful that I'd wake up to a new brighter November 9th, along with my other fact-based fellow US citizens.

Instead, I woke up to the realization that the White Walkers (aka the Walking Ignorant) have chosen not only the most unqualified candidate for POTUS in the history of our democracy, but also a majority (54 of 100) Republican senators who
- will approve SCOTUS nominations be more like Thomas and Scalia
- deny climate change exists
- believe that women should make 76 cents on the dollar that a man makes
- like pre-existing conditions and denied health care, when they'll finally repeal the Affordable Care Act
- want the United States to look more like the failed state of Kansas than the flourishing Republic of California
- want their wives and daughters to be 9s or 10s and that it's fine to "grab them by the pussy" when they have celebrity status
- who do not care about actual facts. Facts, verified and authenticated, not Brietbarted, not trumped up, not delusional and paranoid fabrications.

The Down Jones has plummeted 750 points in less than a day as I write this last posting.  There's no sense or use in worrying or hand wringing.  All I, my family, and my friends who live in a fact based world can do now is endure the next 2 years, and then the next 2 after that.

I'll be advocating that the Republic of California build a wall on our Eastern Border, to stop the influx of non-fact based immigrants who embraced Breitbart and Infowars over Politifact and Snopes (and The Guardian, and The Economist, and every reputable media outlet and fact checking source on the planet).

And since history has proven that fascist regimens and the masses who support them are unkind to journalists, intellectuals, and others who live in a fact based world, this will be my last JustJoeP posting of the year.  Perhaps the last one ever, as there's really no sense to shouting into a hurricane's wind anymore.  The vast majority reject the facts I present, and it just makes my voice hoarse over time.  Mike Judge's prescient film Idiocracy and Scott Adams' predictions almost a year ago were more accurate than any logical, fact-based citizen of the world were willing to believe.  Heck, even Michael Moore - who is often incredible hyperbolic - was accurate in his Trumpland predictions.

The White Walkers have won for a generation.  Winter's not coming... Winter is here, already.  It arrived November 9th, 2016.  America, you had a pretty good run... 240 years.  Now, it's the Chinese's turn I guess.  Commenting further here will only damage my and my family's best interests, so with a heavy heart, I say good bye to blogging and social media.  My real friends, those who live in a fact based world, still know how to reach me.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Walking Ignorant

My colleague Patrick coined a phrase this afternoon while he and I were conversing at work about next week's election:  "The Walking Ignorant".  Patrick is a resident of Georgia, a very smart guy, and he's a genuinely nice person as well as being a good co-worker.  Since "The Walking Dead" is supposed to be based in Georgia originally (now they're up in rural "Alexandria" Virginia, in the drawn-out series, that I honestly wish would just end - they killed off Glen in a meaningless, brutal, and gratuitous death by barbwire covered baseball bat bashing from the current incarnation of what the worst human urges could manifest themselves) so the "Walking Ignorant" label is particularly poignant.

"The Walking Ignorant" is aimed at supporters of Donald J. Drumpf (his real name, not "Trump" that he made up when he was a kid), as it symbolizes their willful ignorance of facts and their embrace of a false equivalency.  Their candidate Donald spouts lies constantly - according to Politifact more than 75% of the time he's lying - but they scream about Hillary Clinton lying about her emails?  Yeah, that's equally as bad.... right?  Or far worse?  No, it isn't.  Politifact rates Hillary Clinton as lying about 25% of the time, or, for those who are not good at math, Drumpf lies three times more than Clinton does, and the lies he tells are massive whopper ridiculous lies.  But "The Walking Ignorant" don't care about facts or lies or the existence of audio recordings of their candidate contradicting himself constantly, repeatedly.

To illustrate how incredibly ignorant and misinformed the typical Drumpf supporter is, all one needs to do is look at this Daily Show piece from Jordan Klepper who perfectly nails it:

The sheer ignorance, willful ignorance of these Drumpf supporters is beyond description.  It is impossible to write more outlandish racist and paranoid dialogue than what this clip depicts.

I wonder if Jordan feels like he loses a little bit of his soul... his life force... his will to live, when he does these kinds of field pieces?  I know I sure couldn't do it without wanting to slap most of these people upside the head who see themselves somehow as 'patriotic Americans' ... when they're really just an illustration of how massively misinformed the masses are within the American electorate.

People, facts matter.  Actual, real facts, not fabrications or things you 'believe are true' but which there is no actual factual basis to justify that they are true.

108 Year Drought Is Over

2 minutes ago, the Wall Street Journal stole my blog post headline... but that's OK WSJ.
Link here:

A 10th inning rain delay last night didn't dampen my spirits, as I watched in disbelief that the Chicago Cubs finally won a world series, after enduring a 108 year drought.  It was a great game, and a great series.  Sure, Cleveland has waited 68 years since they last won a world series... but I hope they win again in the next 40 years so that the Cub's epic loss record can remain.  I only wish my Dzia Dzia who died almost 30 years ago didn't have a chance to see his beloved Cubs win a world series before he left this mortal coil (he was alive for the 1908 win, as a very young child).

The videos at this early hour are not the most comprehensive or captivating, but I am sure better ones will be posted later today and this week.

Cleveland fought a good series, with very talented players.  I won't say anything disparaging here, though I often shouted less than positive comments at my television over the last week and a 1/2.  While Akron and Canton are two of my least favorite places neighboring Cleveland, where I have spent far too much time for work purposes, Cleveland itself is not a bad place, and Clevelanders (or Clevelandites?) are generally nice people, from the dozen or so who I have met.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Same As It Ever Was, Same As It Ever Was

I turned on MSNBC yesterday afternoon for a moment, before I headed out to go do yoga at the beach, and saw Steve Kornacki present the two graphics below:
These two survey poll results make it extremely clear, how American progressives are optimistic, improving, and growing, while 1950s focused American conservatives long to go back in time (member berries),
- before civil rights legislation passed and became enforceable in all 50 states
- before the EPA existed,
- before Germany and Japan rose up from the rubble of WWII to become economic rivals,
- back to the cold war & fear of Armageddon,
- back when LGBT citizens were treated as outcasts by 99% of Umerikuns,
- back when cigarette smoking in public was ubiquitous,
- back when drunk driving was a sport instead of a felony
- back to when you could fire a woman for becoming pregnant if she was not married
- back to when housing & finance discrimination against minorities was standard practice
- back to when Ike deported a million Latin Americans in "Operation Wet Back"
- back to when there were poll taxes and literacy tests to be able to vote

... yeah, a "simpler era" ... for simple minded people, who abhor change, and who are fiercely clinging to their guns & religion & 'majority white paradigm'.  Those who want all the benefits of living in a free Democracy, while having smooth roads to drive on, fast internet to access, reliable electric power, clean water to drink, a clean ocean to swim in, a bucolic landscape in which to hunt, free land on which to graze their cattle, and a strong army to defend them, without paying any taxes or having any convenience to their own personal preferences and desires.

Count me in the 70% of "it's getting better".  I'm still not a huge fan of any of the 4 candidates running for PUSA, but I will be voting for the woman most likely to defeat and contain the threat of a megalomaniacal narcissist who constantly lies & fabricates his own reality from taking over the Executive branch of our government.  The fossils of the 72% will eventually go extinct.

Monday, October 24, 2016

PUSA Lump Cover

This has been out for 10 months..  and I just heard it today.  Too damn funny!

This is really quite genius!  =)

DDF and I saw The Presidents of the United States back in Indianapolis in the mid 90s, at The Egyptian Room...  awesome show.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Complete Meltdown & Sedition

Last night, as I was grilling, and then eating my grass fed, hormone free rib eye with wild chanterelles (found at COSTCO for a reasonable price) I tried to watch the 3rd, and final US Presidential "debate".   I found myself growing increasingly upset by the lies and denials that the orange reality TV show host kept spewing, so I turned to baseball and enjoyed watching my favorite, the under-dog Cubs trounce the LA Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Then the DVR reminded me that South Park was about to record, and the channel needed to automatically change (I have a 2-at-a-time DVR, not one of the new fancy 8-at-a-time recorders).  Matt & Trey once again beautifully captured the essence of current events in America with their portrayal of Candidate Garrison doing his darnedest to lose and get out of the US Presidential race.  The "meltdown" that Garrison had, complete with orange toner running off him in the rain, was much funnier than the meltdown Drumpf (his real name... own it, don't try to hide it Donald) had on national television last night.

When Fox "News" anchor Chris Wallace tried to get Drumpf to back down on his statement that he would not accept a loss on November 8th and that he would continue to stoke the seditious flames of violent insurrection, with Chris's "But sir..." soft ball question reiterated in the most basic way possible that everyone in America could understand, Drumpf, Putin's puppet, doubled down on his "we'll see, I'll keep you in suspense."

While Drumpf kept talking about how he believes Hillary Clinton should go to federal prison "for 5 years", what he doesn't realize is that inciting Sedition is a violation of federal law, punishable by 20 years in prison; link here: 18 US Code Chapter 115, sections 2381 -  2385  (Thanks Cornell Law School!)   And the more he keeps encouraging the worst of Umerika to intimidate polling places in inner cities (also a federal crime), and reject the free and fair election results in all 50 states, the more he's paving a straight path towards federal prison for himself and his surrogates who repeat his dangerous and violent call to arms.

The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail is often very funny.  Drumpf's meltdown is really sad and pathetic.  The United States needs a viable 2 party (or three...  someday...?) system to function correctly.  Drumpf's nilhilistic attempt at destroying everything shows just what a sad little boy he really is.

If you don't think last night's "debate" was a meltdown, read the 'extremely liberal' links here:
National Catholic Reporter:
National Review:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Angels' Landing

In the middle of September, Dr Desert Flower and I drove our FWD station wagon up to Zion National Park in the SW corner of Utah.  The last time we were there in 2011, we did not have the time or the right foot wear to climb up to Angels' Landing, which is a severely difficult climb that able bodied hikers need to be in good shape to successfully assault.

We were well hydrated, wore layers, and headed up at 8am.  We've learned we should have gone much earlier - there was a full moon and we could have gone before dawn - and avoided the crowds and traffic jams once we reached the chain climbs, where single file in one direction only was required.

Here are a few of the pictures I took on the way up and back down.  They don't do justice to the sheer magnificence of looking down upon the verdant valley below with the stark, sheer vertical drops and steep canyon walls.

I'm delighted that we're in good enough shape to make it up and back down, 1800 feet elevation change, and not be too sore to enjoy the rest of our vacation to Grand Teton and Yellowstone the following week.

Don't Eat People Food!

At Zion National Park last month, Dr Desert Flower pointed out this sign on the shuttle bus that takes people up and down the canyon.  Very funny, and remarkably accurate!

When I see common squirrels at the Carlsbad beach here in California, they're also chubby, puffy, not-lean mammals, addicted to hand-outs from humans.  Fed by tourists, they live high on the junk-food-chain.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Doug Applegate Over Slimey Issa Anyday

I came home from donating blood today, to find this smear campaign against Colonel Doug Applegate from the California Republican Party in my mail box.  The former Colonel is running against THIS CAR PROTECTED BY VIPER Darryl Issa, king of meaningless subpoenas as the chair of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.  I unfortunately moved from the reddest of red counties in California (Orange) to North San Diego County where Issa is the entrenched Congressman.

If I was an ignorant, apathetic, or uninformed voter, I Would Have been ALARMED by this inflammatory mailer... look at all the horrible things Applegate wants to do to the booming California economy and tax paying citizens!?!?! How terrible!!  (an uninformed Independent voter might say) Then, I read the fine print:  "Sources: US Energy Information Administration (EIA); Progressive Democrats of American candidate questionnaire"

OK, so the California Republican Party is scared that Issa might lose, they're cranking up ads and mailers to try and smear Applegate, and they're using "Progressive Democrats of America" (PDA) to try and facilitate this?  It sparked my curiosity, so I started google searching it... turns out, PDA is outraged that their words are being twisted, and they're punching back.  I found a link (here)  that explains how the CA Republicans are using EIA future projections and PDA Democratic endorsements to double down on stupid, clinging tightly to fossil fuels, the Republican status quo, and ignoring climate change the inexorable progression of time.  No, Douglas Applegate is not "WRONG for our Economy"... unless the "our" there denotes Republican dinosaurs who deny facts of peer reviewed science, and who want to go back to the 1950s America that they loved so much (except for those 90% taxes on the upper income brackets that were in place during Ike's administration).

Applegates ubiquitous TV ads are factual, and damning of Issa.  The entrenched Congressman Did increase his personal wealth to multi-millionaire status while in Congress, and is cozy with Donald Drumpf.  I hope Drumpf's millstone sinks Issa into the depths of the Pacific Ocean off the continental shelf, 3 miles off-shore of Carlsbad.

Play fair Republicans.  Own your personae, don't try to denigrate your opponent.  You're the party of rich & selfish guys who want to keep the status quo, or go backwards in time, without a T.A.R.D.I.S.  In California, which added 300,000 people, and which has lower unemployment than the rest of the country, where there are 75 craft breweries within a 30 mile radius of my home, where well regulated business are prospering, and where one can find more electric vehicles on the roads than in any other state in the U.S., I really don't want to go back in time.  I prefer to progress forward.  Thanks.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

My final red wine posting...

Followers of and visitors to JustJoeP know that I love wine, and I've blogged about wine here more than just about any other subject; more than food, more than politics, more than nature photography, music, or travel.  Well, sadly, blogging about wine is coming to an end for me.

For the last year, I've been experiencing chronic itching that has been driving me batty.  It typically gets worse in the evenings, but it can also manifest itself in the mornings when I am waking up at 4 or 430am and starting my work day, hosting international conference calls with 50 to 100 engineers calling in some mornings with me as the ring master / orchestra leader / debate moderator.  Sometimes the itch was so severe that I'd scratch until I bled, arms, legs, neck, chest, back... it was unsustainable.  So upon the advise of my wise friends Steve and Ron, as well as DDF, I went on an elimination diet in February that last 2 months, eating a mono-diet of simple foods and adding one thing at a time, one week at a time, to see what the effects were.  Problem was, I didn't exclude wine from my diet, as I love it so very much.

I have known for many years (more than 10 years) that Valpolicella, a delicious red Italian wine, caused my neck and chest and face to turn red, itch, and made it hard for me to breathe.  Other wine varietals grown nearby did not have that effect, so I just avoided Valpolicella.  And looking back through the 221 postings here on wine, I enjoyed many different types of red wine from many different countries over the years.  But I started noticing this summer, that after drinking a glass or two of Bordeaux (usually 50% merlot + other varietals) that I'd start to itch, my hands would turn pink or red, and forearms would start to light up with intense surges of itching, and I'd generally be miserable. Falling asleep that night was rough. Going to work the next morning, the itch resurfaced and drove me out of my mind.  So I started avoiding Bordeaux.

I stuck to Syrah and Malbec, and other varietals like Primitivo, Nero d'Avola, and my favorite, Minervois.  Kept it to a glass or two... but even then, over the last few months, the itching resurgence was directly correlating.  Stay away from wine, itch is much less.  Drink wine, itching flared up right after and the next morning.  So a few weeks ago, I bought a bottle of Santa Julia Malbec, Mendoza Argentina, made with organic grapes.  Sprouts sold it for $9 a bottle, and I've had good organic wine from them before, so I thought... "let's see".   Santa Julia was good, drinkable, paired well with the grass fed steak I had grilled... but still, the itching flared up after drinking it.  I fooled myself into thinking "maybe it was a bad bottle... the next one won't cause me to itch!"  So last week, I bought a second bottle, and opened it up that night with dinner.  Before the 2nd small glass was done, I could feel my arms starting to itch.  When I went to bed that night, my neck and chest and back were itching as well.  Highly medicated, I eventually fell asleep, and upon waking the next day was hit with the regular resurgence of itching.

2 days ago, I saw the last glass still in the bottle.  I felt bad leaving it in the bottle and DDF doesn't like most red wines, so I poured the last 4 ounces into a small Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens glass, and had it with lunch.  Soon thereafter, the tops of my hands turned pink, the itch began creeping up...  it was not the Malbec's fault.  It's my over-reactive immune system that has now decided that Joe's had enough red wine in his lifetime, and it's going to punish me if I have anymore.  Just 4 ounces, and my immune system over-reacted, again. = \

So I've had a glass of white wine, and it's ok... but without the tannins and the depth of flavor, I can't help but seeing it as empty calories.  Fine for a hot summer afternoon with cheese perhaps...  but...  not something I want to have with dinner regularly.  Adieu, delicious reds...  I bid you farewell, with much remorse.  

It's a good thing that bourbon and Irish whiskey cause no such itching for me.  I've not yet run extensive Cognac experiments, but I fear with Cognac's geographic proximity just North of Bordeaux, that it may stimulate a similar immune response from my insides, on the outside.  Vodka and ice and some small amount of mixers for flavor (like lemonade or 100% cranberry juice + stevia) also have no ill effects with itching or anything else.  And no, my liver is not having problems... my liver function tests are just fine, checked more than once a year, just in case.  One must choose their poison, very carefully. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

First Dragon & Castle of 2016

After work yesterday, I headed down to Ponto State Beach here in lovely Carlsbad, with my shovels,  cooler, sun screen, hat, water shoes, and sand castle moulds.

After 2 hours, I had the 3 foot high by 5 foot wide castle done.  After another 2 hours, I was progressing well on the dragon when most of my elementary school fans had to leave with their families.  After about 3 hours (5 hours into the building) I had the dragon about finished.

It lived (I think) until near high tide at 11pm, so 5 hours to build, and another 5 hours of presence before being taken away by the tide.

A wet strand of kelp made a nice touch for the fire that the dragon was breathing.  A very small plastic shovel made for nice fingernails for the dragon.  Altogether, it turned out pretty well, I believe.

I doubt it'll be my last. Come visit, bring your small children, and we can make more of them = )
When I was getting ready to leave, 3 siblings (ages 5 to 9) asked if they could play in the 3 foot deep hole I'd dug, which had water in the bottom of it (as the tide was Just starting to come in). "We want to make a hot tub" they pleaded.  "Go ask your parents" I told them...  I didn't was 3 foot tall kids to get trapped in a caved in 3 foot deep hole.  When I had loaded up my car with my tools, I went up to the bluffs above the beach and found the dragon and castle were still standing, with kids in "the hot tub" beside it.

Again, The Idiot Reveals Himself

Donald Drumpf met with Republican Senators today, and once again revealed how really stupid he is.

When Jeff Flake (who I never voted for while I lived in SC, but whom I am starting to have some respect for) introduced himself as "the other senator from Arizona, the one who didn't get captured", Drumpf told Flake "He would not win re-election this November"... to which Flake hilariously responded "I'm not up for re-election".

Donald, study that constitution you so blatantly & repeatedly state you love so much.  Senators have 6 year terms. McCain is up this November, not Flake. Duh.  It's called the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution, you moron:

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures."

Monday, July 4, 2016

5th on the 4th

5th in a row...
No fireworks yet, but delicious craft beer... Even though the USA can't nominate 2 viable, likeable candidates for POTUS, it's still an awesome place to live!  

I am enjoying "Happy Treason Day" to all of my British followers­čśť­čĹŹ‼️‼️‼️

MissionBrewing Hard Root Beer... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 3rd Weather

Not sweating my ass off, or swatting mid western or southern mosquitoes away... This has been a phenomenal July so far!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Last Weekend's Epiphany on The South

Last weekend, Dr Desert Flower and I went down the hill on Alga Road to go see Free State of Jones at the Cin├ępolis in Carlsbad.  It exceeded expectations, despite what the critics on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes say, it was a great film that shined a light on the racist, bigoted, arcane & persecutory laws & culture engrained in The South - in this case Mississippi.  McConaughey was great in it, but so were Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, and a host of other excellent actors.  Having lived 16 years of my life in South Carolina, I can talk about how it felt, what I heard, and what I saw when I lived there... I'm not an outsider who never lived nor experienced the hatred and bigotry in the work place, in public places, and in conversations about it with my friends and co-workers who were trying to rise above the ugly, despicable, evil past that ensconced The South before, during, and after the Civil War, and still lives and breathes today (sorry SCOTUS, racism and bigotry are NOT dead even after we elected a black President; they're still alive and well in many parts of The South.

Then, when we got home after the movie, we watched Bryan Cranston in the HBO movie All the Way, where he portrayed LBJ accurately.  The movie portrayed the hatred and bigotry of The South (again, Mississippi leading the way... but other Southern States agreed with them) very accurately as well.  Not only was it well acted, but well written, nuanced, well researched, and well directed.

After watching both of these films so close together, whose settings were 100 years apart, but which accurately and poignantly portrayed the racism and hatred in The South that is still alive today, I am resolved that I never want to move back there and live there again.  Perhaps in another 100 years, after I am ashes, the progress seen since the Civil Rights legislation was passed in the 1960s MIGHT continue and the old entrenched racists die off, with their progeny becoming slightly more progressive and color-blind - similar to how Gay Rights & Equality was unthinkable 20 years ago by main stream America, and now it is an accepted fact for 95% of the country.  But I won't see it in my lifetime.

I am not a hater, and I still firmly believe that there are many very nice, very accepting, very civil & loving people in The South, both in the states that voted for George Wallace, and in the states that didn't.  I've met and worked with many of them, or they were my neighbors & friends.  But the fact remains, that there's a solid double digit percentage block of Southerners who still think lynching is a good idea if they can get away with it, who believe Klan meetings are an acceptable form of social gathering, and who have a false-superiority complex in regards to anyone who is not Caucasian - black, brown, Asian, Jewish, Catholics, Sikh, Muslims, included in their fearful hatred & loathing.  Trump's tapping into their base with his rhetoric and his re-tweets of white supremacists, and "the worst" is manifesting itself amoung us in America.  I do hope that in November 2016 we can close the Trump chapter and not open up a "Wallace 2.0" era of the American political landscape.

No, I'll take the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual melting pot that is California,
any day over any of the nicest places in The South.  Yes, it is expensive to live in California, but the weather is great, the people are nicer, the hatred is (I've seen) less wide-spread, the wildlife is more diverse, the waves are at least 10X better than the East Coast, the population is more heterogeneous & diverse & growing (+300,000 residents last year! We're gonna add another congressman or two at least in the next census, making the most populace state even more populace!), the businesses RUN BETTER and are safer (and growing), the wine is better, Science is accepted and not argued against or 'disbelieved', the State budget is balanced (after getting a Democratic governor, finally!), the humidity is lower (in Northern San Diego County, at least), religion is less invasive & pervasive, and the people are more accepting of everyone, not just those who look like themselves.

31 Scientific Societies Agree...

Climate Deniers - much like birthers - hate facts but really hate the Scientific Method even more.  Climate Deniers can make up their own facts, and then cite fringe scientists or paid corporate lobbyist studies to reinforce their opinion-pushed-as-fact, that agrees with the idealogical narrative they’ve engrained in their own psyche.  Sadly for them though, the Scientific Method doesn’t care which side of the ideological fence you might be on, or if you’re liberal or conservative… it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that your experiment is reproducible, your instruments are calibrated, and that you didn’t falsify any of your findings.  If your experiment is reproducible, then theories can then be tested and if they’re true, then they’re widely accepted by the scientific community. 

So yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sent a letter to the United States Congress, signed on by 31 different scientific organizations, that stated Climate Change is real and that greenhouse gases (CO2 and chlorofluorocarbons) emitted by human activity are the largest driver of Climate Change.  This is a more forceful version of the 2009 letter to Congress that 19 major scientific societies signed… and which Congress promptly ignored.  

The 31 scientific societies on the 2016 letter include:
American Association for the Advancement of Science American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences 
American Meteorological Society
American Public Health Association
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists American Society of Naturalists 
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Botanical Society of America
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Entomological Society of America
Geological Society of America
National Association of Marine Laboratories
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society for Mathematical Biology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Society of Nematologists
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 

Read the letter here, for yourself:

“Dear Members of Congress, 
We, as leaders of major scientific organizations, write to remind you of the consensus scientific view of climate change. 
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science. 
There is strong evidence that ongoing climate change is having broad negative impacts on society, including the global economy, natural resources, and human health. For the United States, climate change impacts include greater threats of extreme weather events, sea level rise, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems. The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.1 
To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced. In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others. 
We, in the scientific community, are prepared to work with you on the scientific issues important to your deliberations as you seek to address the challenges of our changing climate. “

Problem is, the Republican led congress doesn’t want to work with real scientists.  It derides and dismisses them, denying the scientific community’s CONSENSUS, clinging to a corporate profit driven model of increased compulsory consumption.  

Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have grandchildren…  or possibly never will… since we are either AT the tipping point currently, or far beyond the tipping point globally… and since I am not one of the wealthiest 1% of Western Civilization I won’t be the one building a well stocked, well filtered, fully independent & sustainable for millennia under-ground bunker complex where my progeny could live & work & go about life after the seas rise, the fish & plants & pollenating insects all die, and hordes of angry surviving scavengers sift through the hell-scape that used to be Earth as they absorb massive amounts of UV from Sun without an ozone layer to filter it, breathing air with a significantly reduced oxygen content, and living much shorter life spans due to the toxin build up and cancer from the unmitigated UV (UV and DNA are not very compatible).  Il faut voir.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Crazy About the Black Oily Flowers

When we moved to Carlsbad last yer, I noticed the hummingbirds were crazy about these very tall, very dark, almost a black oily color flowers that were in the front and back yard.  The one plant int he back yard was very scraggly, and sent up only one shoot of flowers, but the plants in the front yard were very healthy, quite robust, and sent up multiple shoots of flowers which the hummingbirds preferred to all other forms of food.

Taking pictures out the window of Dr Desert Flower's office and the attached bathroom, I've tried to capture the images of the voracious hummingbirds focused on the black oily flowers.  Here are a few.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Principled, Determined, Ethical & Admirable

Watching this 76 year old man - old enough to be Speaker Ryan's father - sit on the floor of the House of Representatives, demanding a tallied vote on legislation to restrict no-fly-list and known terrorists from purchasing weapons, trying to protect American citizens last Wednesday and Thursday morning, was inspirational.  This man who marched with Martin Luther King Jr and who has fought for civil rights and the rights of ALL Americans his entire political career, without scandals, without corruption, without compromising his ethics... was a stark contrast to the sophomoric and idiotic assaults by mentally challenged fools like Louie Gohmert of Texas who wanted to physically assault Democratic members who were in the sit-in, and who proclaimed his stupidity by saying he was "going to go home and buy a gun" - woefully inadequate, aren't you Louie?

Time will show that John Lewis was on the right side of history, while inarticulate court jesters like Gohmert will not even be a minor foot note.  Thank you Representative John Lewis, for being one of the best parts of a not very good week.  I hope your health holds out and you're able to continue serving for as long as you're willing and able to do so.

Smug, Cowardly and Disingenuous

Watching this smiling, smug little boy pound his gavel in the House of Representatives early Thursday morning at 230am, passing 'all the bills that were slated to be discussed from June 22nd to July 3rd' in one vote, and then calling the House into recess, was just despicable.  Sad that elected federal leaders from the Republican party do nothing to protect US Citizens while protecting the NRA & their own Primary Election viability instead.  Stop hiding behind your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, Paul the absolutist.  And then run off and hide for the July 4th recess.  Despicable.  Paul Ryan, you were almost elected Vice President. in 2012  You can do better than being so scared of the NRA.  Where is your leadership?  Stand up, and protect American citizens! The next time you try and run for national office, your cowardice will be remembered.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sentinel Hummingbird Turf Battles

Around my home, I have 10 hummingbird feeders, on 8 hangers - essentially 8 different locations. Six of the eight locations are "out of the line of sight" of each other, so that a hummingbird male who tries to guard / covet / protect / defend one location cannot effectively cover more than one of the six.  I've come to observe today, that EACH of the six separated & isolated locations has a male hummingbird who has claimed it.  Each of these six hummingbirds chase off all other males who approach, and if the female is a different species, they get chased off as well.  The guarding males allow females of the same species to drink from their unlimited nectar supply, and vociferously swoop and strafe me when I go to refill the feeders.

So after work today, I decided to photograph each of these six possessive males, and document them here, so that you can see them too.  When I go into my kitchen to make tea throughout the day, I can see two of the Anna's males - one outside the kitchen sink window and one outside the patio doors.  When I walk through the living room I can see another Anna's perched beside the hanging fuschia and jasmine. As I cross the dining room, there's another Anna's  perched in the plum tree, standing vigil over the feeder hidden under the pepper trees.  Then, when I go into Dr Desert Flower's office, I can spy the Rufous hiding in the oleander beneath the two feeders.  And each time I return to my office, outside my window is a very feisty Rufous (this month) who sits in the lemon tree outside my window, menacing any creature who comes near his feeders, including a lizard that was at least 5 times the bird's body mass who had climbed up the wall behind the jasmine I planted here, and who probably would have enjoyed dining on the Rufous if he'd come within striking range.

For those with slow internet connections, these are each 4 to 6 megabyte jpegs, so you might want to view them when you're on free Wifi and not roaming on a mobile device.

Office Window Rufous quaffing refreshing nectar after chasing off a rival
Office Window Rufous perched in the shade of the lemon tree
Hungry patrolling lizard, beside the lemon tree

The Rufous in the oleander outside of DDF's window, looking up at me; taken at a 58.5X zoom "thru window" setting
The living room Anna's, guarding both feeders visible from the couch.
Kitchen door Anna's, perched in the dwarf palm, 3 feet from his guarded feeder
Kitchen sink window Anna's, looking down at his feeder & the human with a camera pointed up at him. (58.5X zoom)
The immature juvenile in the plum tree outside the dining room window; he hasn't gotten his full plumage yet
It's been rather 'gloomy' here, weather wise, with the "June Gloom" marine layer hanging around most every morning, and not burning off until at least 2 or 3pm, even though we are more than 3 miles (as the heron flies) from the shore.  Each of these males, in full sunlight, are much more brilliant than they are in the shade, but getting them "to pose" in the sun is next-to-impossible, as they appear to enjoy guarding their posts in the shade more often than in the sun.

Below are several other hummingbird related shots taken over the last few weeks, that I thought turned out pretty well.  I hope you enjoy them too.

2 juvenile males cautiously sharing the feeder outside my office, while the Rufous is off chasing away another challenger.

Thirsty Rufous outside of DDF's office window
A mature male Anna's, June 7th outside the dining room in the plum tree, before moving onto bigger nectar feeders
He was rather a ham, and liked to pose, as long as I stayed inside the house (yes, exact same bird as previously pictured)

Under the dwarf palm outside the kitchen door, last week. Maybe I should call him Tyrion?

The plums last week
After picking 1/5th of them

Mature Anna's male in the front yard palm tree, ready to fight the Rufous who hangs out there.
Iridescent Anna's in the lemon tree, before the pugnacious Rufous chased him away, last month
Same Rufous last month; this shot taken as I crouched in the door of my office's closet to get a different angle.
Time for me to go pick the last of the plums, and then walk down the street to get the mail.  Cheers.