"A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook large parts of Southern California, shaking a wide swath from Ventura County to San Diego.The quake shook downtown L.A. buildings and was felt as far east as Palm Springs." LINK
"Typically built to last 50 years, the average U.S. bridge is 43 years old and approaching the age for replacement, according to the report released Monday.
At least $140 billion is needed to make major repairs or upgrades to one of every four U.S. bridges, transportation officials from states across the country said in a report released Monday. State officials said bridge repairs are just one element of a pressing need for more federal funding to improve the country's deteriorating transportation infrastructure. "We need federal intervention, and federal intervention at a big level," Gov. Ed Rendell said after details were released of the report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials." LINK
" Greek police on Friday evacuated more than 2,000 European vacationers from a strip of holiday resorts on Rhodes as fierce forest fires swept through the Greek island and thick plumes of smoke choked its most popular hotels. Authorities said the evacuation was a precaution as fires raged for a fourth day, scorching at least 7,400 acres of lush pine forest on one of the country's most idyllic islands." LINK
WATERSPOUT ON BARRINGTON BEACH (ABC 6 Viewer Christopher Legro)
I know all eyes are on Dolly, but Rhody had quite a day!
I don't think I've ever seen rain that intense, and I was way at the south of it!
"Massive Storm Slams Southeastern New England
A severe thunderstorm passed through Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts Wednesday afternoon stopping traffic and causing residents to head inside, some into their basements. The storm yielded severe flooding, dangerous lightning strikes, hail and high winds, including a water spout in Barrington." LINK
"A 19-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed this morning after a tanker collided with a barge being pulled by a tugboat, slicing the barge in half and causing thousands of barrels of heavy fuel oil to spill into the waterway.
And state Department of Environmental Quality officials warned the unrefined, tar-like # 6 fuel oil is so thick that it could sink, complicating the cleanup efforts. Residents in Algiers, Gretna, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish are also being asked to conserve water, as water intakes for those communities are closed to prevent contamination of the drinking water supply. Water flowing through the tap is from reserve supplies, which could run out in many areas by afternoon or early evening, officials said. " LINK
"A tiny rectangle superimposed on the vast expanse of the Sahara captures the seductive appeal of the audacious plan to cut Europe's carbon emissions by harnessing the fierce power of the desert sun. Dwarfed by any of the north African nations, it represents an area slightly smaller than Wales but scientists claimed yesterday it could one day generate enough solar energy to supply all of Europe with clean electricity." LINK
Could plant 15 inches of rain in parts of Texas- levee safety in question. "Dolly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday afternoon and was making its way to coastal areas of northeast Mexico and South Texas, where officials worried it would bring so much rain that flooding could break through the levees holding back the Rio Grande. Officials urged residents to move away from the levees because if Dolly continues to follow the same path as 1967's Hurricane Beulah, "the levees are not going to hold that much water," said Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Johnny Cavazos. " LINK
"You have heard that Fannie and Freddie, their gentle names notwithstanding, may cripple the financial system without a large infusion of taxpayer money. You have gleaned that jobs are disappearing, housing prices are plummeting, and paychecks are effectively shrinking as food and energy prices soar. You have noted the disturbing talk of crisis hovering over Wall Street. ...Job losses will probably accelerate through this year and into 2009, and the job market will probably stay weak even longer. Home prices will probably keep falling, shrinking household wealth and eroding spending power. “The open question is whether we’re in for a bad couple of years, or a bad decade,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, now a professor at Harvard." LINK
Reminds me of one of my favorite books, Bright Lights Big City. First line: "You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy." LINK to Amazon, because if you haven't read that book, well, I think you should.
"Tropical Storm Dolly drenched a sparsely populated section of the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday and then plunged into the Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to grow into a hurricane and move toward the Texas-Mexico border." LINK
In advance of the storm, "Shell Oil Co began flying workers from platforms in the western Gulf of Mexico on Sunday ahead of Tropical Storm Dolly, but said no production was shut, according to a statement issued by the company on Monday. Fellow energy giant Exxon Mobil said it was making preparations for heavy weather across its Gulf and South Texas operations. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Dolly, which is forecast to become a hurricane by Tuesday night, would likely miss major offshore production areas but could affect the three Corpus Christi, Texas, refineries with power outages and flooding if it makes landfall as forecast on the Texas coast sometime on Wednesday." LINK
"Global food shortages have placed the Middle East and North Africa in a quandary, as they are forced to choose between growing more crops to feed an expanding population or preserving their already scant supply of water.
For decades nations in this region have drained aquifers, sucked the salt from seawater and diverted the mighty Nile to make the deserts bloom. But those projects were so costly and used so much water that it remained far more practical to import food than to produce it. Today, some countries import 90 percent or more of their staples. Now, the worldwide food crisis is making many countries in this politically volatile region rethink that math. The population of the region has more than quadrupled since 1950, to 364 million, and is expected to reach nearly 600 million by 2050. By that time, the amount of fresh water available for each person, already scarce, will be cut in half, and declining resources could inflame political tensions further." LINK
"It's an anxious summer for watermen harvesting the Chesapeake's best-loved seafood, the blue crab. The way some see it, the crabbing business here isn't just dying. It's already dead. Crabs have thrived in the bottom muck of the Chesapeake and its tributaries even as centuries of overfishing harmed oysters, fish and other species in the nation's largest estuary. Now blue crabs are in trouble, too, and when they go, a way of life is sure to go with them." LINK
"BISSAUZINHO, Guinea-Bissau (Reuters) - The next time you grab a handful of cashew nuts at a party, think that you may be holding the economic heartbeat of one tiny West African state in the palm of your hand. Cashew nuts are the main export of Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony wedged between French-speaking Senegal and Guinea. Its 1.6 million people are ranked among the third poorest in the world in development terms by the United Nations. As world leaders chase solutions to the global crisis caused by soaring food and fuel prices that threaten millions with hardship, Guinea-Bissau's peasant farmers are looking to their cashew crop to see whether they will eat or go hungry this year.
...Last year, government pricing and commercialization blunders triggered a collapse in local producer cashew prices that caused a disastrous cashew harvest for poor local farmers, who found themselves struggling to afford food for big extended families. ..."Last year, we could only sell our cashews at 25-30 CFA francs (6/7 U.S. cents) a kilo. We suffered a lot and couldn't buy rice," said Chico, a teenage girl with tightly braided hair. "Now a kilo of rice costs 500 CFA francs ($1.19), last year it was 250 CFA," Chico added, reflecting the squeeze on pockets and bellies that the global food crisis has inflicted in Africa" LINK
"PROVIDENCE — The state’s highways and bridges need so much expensive work, and the state has so little money to pay for it, that officials are beginning to discuss drastic measures to raise money that include imposing tolls on such main highways as Route 95. That, and measures such as leasing state bridges or highways to private companies to maintain and operate in return for the tolls they would collect, are on the table at Governor Carcieri’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Transportation Funding.
The state’s bridges and highways have deteriorated significantly, to the point that critical structures such as the highway bridges crossing the Pawtucket and Sakonnet rivers have been posted with weight limits. Roads are crumbling, and one in five state bridges is classified as “structurally deficient.” Meanwhile, according to state Department of Transportation figures, transportation revenue will fall far short of what’s needed for repairs and maintenance. The sums involved are enormous. The DOT says it needs to spend more than $600 million per year, while its present sources produce just over $300 million." LINK
"Twenty Russian scientists have been rescued from their camp on an ice floe in the Arctic that was melting faster than expected, a spokesman for the expedition told AFP on Monday. "The 20 polar researchers and their two dogs climbed on board the 'Mikhail Somov'" research ship late Sunday, said Sergei Bolyasnikov, a spokesman for Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Institute. "All scientific programmes at the station have been stopped," he added. The ship travelled with an ice-breaker to rescue the researchers from camp North Pole 35, which was set up last September on an ice floe that has shrunk from six kilometres (3.8 miles) to just 600 metres in length. The scientists are now due to return to the Russian Arctic port of Murmansk. Scientists report that global warming means the thawing season is coming earlier in the Arctic and that the ice cover is retreating, making expeditions on ice floes increasingly perilous. " LINK
"IndyMac Bancorp Inc customers lined up outside a branch at the company's headquarters on Monday, hoping to withdraw their money after regulators seized what was once one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States. Several hundred people arrived around 4 a.m., five hours before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp planned to open that branch." LINK
"The poor breeding of Scotland's seabirds is giving cause for "serious concern", according to RSPB Scotland. Early reports from coastal reserves indicate continuing problems for the internationally important populations of guillemots, kittiwakes and others. Nests have been abandoned, with cliffs which "should be teeming" now empty. ..."At our Copinsay reserve on Orkney, the kittiwake population has plummeted drastically since the mid 1980s, when there were at least 10,000 birds on the cliffs, but today there are just under 2,000." He added: "The declines are primarily being driven by changes in the availability of the fish that these birds depend on. "Seabirds are indicators of the health of the marine environment and, like the canary in the coalmine, the decline in their fortunes should be a wake-up call to us all that we must pay attention to." LINK
"Tens of thousands of newly-born penguins are freezing to death as Antarctica is lashed by freak rain storms. Scientists believe the numbers of Adelie penguins may have fallen by as much as 80 per cent – and, if the downpours continue, the species will be extinct within ten years. And the Emperor penguin – made famous in the Oscar-winning documentary March Of The Penguins – is also under threat. Temperatures on the Antarctic peninsula have risen by 3C over the past 50 years to an average of -14.7C and rain is now far more common than snow. Adelie penguins are born with a thin covering of down and it takes 40 days for them to grow protective water-repellent feathers. With epic rains drenching their ancestral nesting grounds, their parents try to protect them. But when the adults leave to fish for food, or are killed by predators such as seals, the babies become soaked to the skin and die from hypothermia. ‘Everyone talks about the melting of the glaciers but having day after day of rain in Antarctica is a totally new phenomenon. As a result, penguins are literally freezing to death,’ said Jon Bowermaster, a New York-based explorer who has recently returned from Antarctica. ‘It is all very well talking theoretically about how the ice cap could disappear – but watching penguins walking among the skeletons of their young is the most powerful evidence of climate change I have seen.’" LINK
One of the most beautiful and delish looking things I've ever seen was some oysters my DH had in Brittany. They were served in their shells, atop little mounds of fleur de sel, baked in a champagne cream sauce. Glorious. So this saddens me.
"FRANCE'S shellfish industry is facing its worst crisis in 40 years after stocks of young oysters have been decimated by a mystery ailment. French oyster farmers have seen between 40 and 100 per cent of their oysters aged one to two years wiped out in recent weeks, far higher than the normal mortality rate in the summer months, a top industry expert said." LINK
"The World Health Organization has warned people not to go into Ugandan caves with bats, after a Dutch tourist contracted the deadly Marburg virus. The woman, aged 40, died after being taken to hospital following her return to the Netherlands, health authorities there said. They said she probably contracted the disease while visiting a Ugandan cave inhabited by fruit bats. Marburg is a contagious disease that causes sudden bleeding and high fever. There is no treatment or vaccine. The largest outbreak occurred in 2004-2005 in Angola and killed more than 300 people. No tourists are known to have previously contracted the disease. "It is an isolated case of imported Marburg," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl. "People should not think about amending their travel plans to Uganda but should not go into caves with bats." Dutch health officials said people who had come into contact with the woman on her return were being closely monitored. In the past, Marburg and the related Ebola virus have caused outbreaks in humans and great apes with mortality rates of 80 to 90%. Early symptoms of Marburg are diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting, which give way to bleeding. It is spread by the transfer of blood or other bodily fluids. " LINK
A pretty staid group has made a major decision. We are living in a new age.
"The London Society is the world's oldest association of Earth scientists, founded in 1807, and its Commission acts as a college of cardinals in the adjudication of the geological time-scale. Stratigraphers slice up Earth's history as preserved in sedimentary strata into hierarchies of eons, eras, periods, and epochs marked by the "golden spikes" of mass extinctions, speciation events, and abrupt changes in atmospheric chemistry. Although the idea of the "Anthropocene" -- an Earth epoch defined by the emergence of urban-industrial society as a geological force -- has been long debated, stratigraphers have refused to acknowledge compelling evidence for its advent. ...At least for the London Society, that position has now been revised. To the question "Are we now living in the Anthropocene?" the 21 members of the Commission unanimously answer "yes." They adduce robust evidence that the Holocene epoch -- the interglacial span of unusually stable climate that has allowed the rapid evolution of agriculture and urban civilization -- has ended and that the Earth has entered "a stratigraphic interval without close parallel in the last several million years." In addition to the buildup of greenhouse gases, the stratigraphers cite human landscape transformation which "now exceeds [annual] natural sediment production by an order of magnitude," the ominous acidification of the oceans, and the relentless destruction of biota. This new age, they explain, is defined both by the heating trend (whose closest analogue may be the catastrophe known as the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, 56 million years ago) and by the radical instability expected of future environments. In somber prose, they warn that "the combination of extinctions, global species migrations and the widespread replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures is producing a distinctive contemporary biostratigraphic signal. These effects are permanent, as future evolution will take place from surviving (and frequently anthropogenically relocated) stocks." Evolution itself, in other words, has been forced into a new trajectory. " LINK
From the fabulous doom and gloomer, Jim Kunstler. And I have to say, the one thing I've really noticed this year is how often I have NOT been stuck behind someone towing a boat. It's weird.
"Every time I saw a car towing a motorboat this holiday weekend, I wondered what was going through the head of the towee. Did they have a sense that darkness was falling on their careers in motor sports? Did they have an inkling that an oil-and-gas crisis is upon us and just not give a shit? Or were they just going through the motions, following some implacable rote programming induced by, say, forty-odd years of TV addiction and a diet based on corn-syrup byproducts? The holiday to me was a creepy hiatus from an ever more desperate reality overtaking the nation like a miasma. Meanwhile, the mainstream media's ongoing narrative has gotten stuck in the moronic groove of "drill drill drill." The belief of people like Larry Kudlow of CNBC and uber-mega-idiot John Stossel of ABC-News is that we could go back to $1.50 gasoline if only congress would open the offshore exploration areas and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This view is just plain erroneous. Nothing we get out of these regions will come close to offsetting the ongoing depletion of worldwide oil resources, or even arresting our own losses. ...But to get back to my prior point, things are hitting home anyway, and with force. The US economy is crumbling because the way we conduct the activities of daily life is insane relative to our circumstances. We've spent sixty years ramping up a suburban living arrangement that has suddenly entered a state of failure, and all its accessories and furnishings are failing in concert. The far-flung McHouse tracts are becoming both useless and worthless in the face of gasoline prices that will never be cheap again. The strip malls and office "parks" are following the residential real estate off a cliff. The retail tenants of all those places are hemorrhaging customers who have maxed out every last credit card. The lack of business is now leading to substantial layoffs. The airline industry is dying and will probably cease to exist in its familiar form in 24 months. The trucking industry is dying, threatening the entire just-in-time distribution system of things that even people with little money to spend still need, like food. ...These conditions will now get a lot worse, no matter whether the banks continue to conceal their problems. All of it leads to an inflection point that coincides with the November election. By then, I expect that quite a few banks will be toast, job layoffs will rise spectacularly, foreclosures and bankruptcies will be raging across the land, and homeowners north of the magnolia belt will be shattered by the cost of staying warm this winter. That said, I will feel a little sorry for Mr. Obama if he gets to the White House. He'll have to find a gentle way to tell the truth to the people who elected him, people who will be suffering mightily, and who will be very sore about their losses. He'll have to tell them that the previous "release" of the American Dream software is obsolete, and the new version will require a whole lot more of them in the way of earnest effort, delayed gratification, and revised expectations. ...There's a whole lot we can do to greet the new circumstances awaiting us, but the one thing we can't afford to do is put all our efforts into keeping the current system running as is. Reality simply won't permit it. We would squander our dwindling remaining resources trying to keep it all going. The next president is going to have to lead us through the awful process of cutting our losses. So far, the debate has been about how to avoid that." LINK
"Steve Burtch bought a Dodge Ram truck last year, when gas cost $3.75, because he thought gas prices had peaked and would start coming down. Instead, he pumped his first $100 tank in June. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to keep this up,” said Mr. Burtch, 43, who lives in Marion, Ohio." LINK
"President heckled during event at Thomas Jefferson's former home
On his final U.S. Independence Day as president, Bush told an audience Friday at the home of the Declaration of Independence's author that he was honored to be present for the naturalization. Shouts from protesters were heard during Bush's remarks, and the president responded by saying he agrees that "we believe in free speech in the United States of America." The last six Fourth of July holidays have taken place amid continuing violence in Iraq. Bush's addition of 28,000 U.S. troops last year in Iraq helped foster a measure of stability in what is now the sixth summer of the war. Bush mentioned neither the war in Iraq nor U.S. efforts to fight terrorism in his speech." LINK
"The fires that bedevil California took another ominous turn as a blaze near Goleta more than doubled overnight to 5,400 acres and triggered more evacuations but has not destroyed any homes.
Mushrooming in size, the Goleta fire was declared a local emergency by Santa Barbara County officials. Because of its proximity to populated areas, it was also designated the top firefighting priority in a state currently plagued with a multitude of fires, some of them burning without intervention in remote areas.
Starting at 10 a.m., face masks will be distributed free to residents who are sensitive to the smoke that hangs over Goleta.
At Big Sur, more than 64,000 acres have burned, 20 structures have been destroyed and about 1,300 are threatened.
"The weather forecast this weekend is for warming and drying conditions," said Greg DeNitto, a spokesman for the multi-agency team fighting the Big Sur blaze. "That's not a good prognosis."
In a period of less than two weeks, at least 1,700 lightning-triggered fires in California have charred more than 513,000 acres. About 100 fires continue to burn. Statewide, more than 10,700 homes are threatened and 34 residences have been destroyed. A new fire Thursday burned at least 250 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest near Yucaipa." LINK
"The Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, between Mozambique and Madagascar, are a small nation of sparkling blue lagoons and picture-postcard beaches. But the country is politically unstable and a report published today says it is the world's most vulnerable country to the future impacts of global warming such as increased storms, rising sea levels and agricultural failure. At the other end of the scale, Canada is the best place to move to if you want to be a climate change survivor in the decades ahead (although Britain is also a good place to be as a warming atmosphere takes hold).
The best-to-worst rankings are revealed in the first-ever climate change vulnerability index, produced by Maplecroft, a British consultancy which specialises in the mapping of risk. Its study, The Climate Change Risk Report, looks in great detail at global warming risks in 168 countries. Africa is the most vulnerable region, and eight of the 10 most vulnerable countries are African, with the Comoros Islands followed by Somalia and Burundi in second and third places. Only five non-African countries are in the 20 most vulnerable. They are Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and Nepal. As might be expected, developed nations score best. Canada is top, followed by Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The United Kingdom is in 12th position, just behind the US. The surprise in the top 20 is Uruguay, which is listed ninth, and the only well-placed nation not to be in the club of countries which are rich, or Western (and usually both).
"Canada, on the other hand, is extremely well equipped to adapt to changes in climate. It scores well across all aspects of the index. This is because of the low pressure on natural resources resulting from a low population density and large land area, combined with high agricultural capacity, a healthy economy, few development and health challenges and excellent public institutions." LINK
"Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.
The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil. Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush. "It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House," said one yesterday." LINK
"First came the floods -- now the mosquitoes. An explosion of pesky insects is pestering clean-up crews and just about anyone venturing outside in the waterlogged Midwest. In some parts of Iowa there are 20 times the normal number, and in Chicago up to five times more than usual. The good news is these are mostly floodwater mosquitoes, not the kind that usually carry West Nile virus and other diseases. But they are very hungry, and sometimes attack in swarms with a stinging bite." LINK
"It's humans, not biblical downpours, that have raised the Mississippi River water level 10 to 15 feet higher in the past 100 years. "We've made the river flow through a much narrower channel, and we've put these piles of rocks in the river which slow down the flow," says Kusky. "The only place for the water to go is to rise upward and increase the height of the floods." ...Even before the recent deluge, scientists sounded the alarm. Back in March, weeks before the floods occurred, Criss, Pinter and professor Timothy Kusky of St. Louis University sent a letter to the commander for the St. Louis district of the Army Corps of Engineers, critiquing the new structures that the agency puts into the Mississippi and Missouri to make it easier for large barges to navigate the area. "These structures are loaded cannons pointing at St. Louis and East St. Louis, waiting to go off during the next large flood," wrote the scientists. Now that the river can't naturally spread out on its flood plain or meander, the extra water under flooding conditions has nowhere to go. "If floodwaters can't spread out as they would in a natural flood plain environment, they can only go up," explains Criss." LINK
"During the European heat wave of 2003 that killed tens of thousands, the temperature in parts of France hit 104 degrees. Nearly 15,000 people died in that country alone. During the Chicago heat wave of 1995, the mercury spiked at 106 and about 600 people died. In a few decades, people will look back at those heat waves "and we will laugh," said Andreas Sterl, author of a new study. "We will find (those temperatures) lovely and cool." Sterl's computer model shows that by the end of the century, high temperatures for once-in-a-generation heat waves will rise twice as fast as everyday average temperatures. Chicago, for example, would reach 115 degrees in such an event by 2100. Paris heat waves could near 109 with Lyon coming closer to 114. His study projects a peak of 117 for Los Angeles and 110 for Atlanta by 2100; that's 5 degrees higher than the current records for those cities. Kansas City faces the prospect of a 116-degree heat wave, with its current all-time high at 109, according to the National Climactic Data Center. A few cities, such as Phoenix, which once hit 122 degrees and is projected to have heat waves of 120, have already reached these extreme temperatures once or twice. But they would be hitting those numbers a little more often as the world heats up over time. For New York, it would only be a slight jump from the all-time record of 104 at John F. Kennedy Airport to the projected 106. It could be worse. Delhi, India is expected to hit 120 degrees; Belem, Brazil, 121, and Baghdad, 122. And it's not just at the end of the century. By 2050, heat waves will be 3 to 5 degrees hotter than now "and probably be longer-lasting," Sterl said. By mid-century, southern France's extreme heat waves should be around 111 degrees and then near 118 by the end of the century, Sterl's climate models predict. In the 1990s, that region's extreme heat wave peaked at 104 degrees; in the 1950s, the worst heat wave peaked around 91 degrees, according to Sterl." LINK
"A recent study by scientists at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography reveals that warming water temperatures are causing major changes in species composition in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island sound. The study, which will be published in the July issue of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, reports that the fish community is shifting from vertebrate species, such as finfish, to invertebrates like crabs, lobsters and squid. Populations of species that feed on the bottom are declining while species that feed higher in the water column, where water is warmer, are increasing.
“This is a pretty dramatic change and it’s a pattern that is being seen in other ecosystems,” said Jeremy Collie, a professor of oceanography at the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.
As bottom-feeding species disappear, lobsters and crabs have taken advantage of the abandoned habitat, Collie said, which explains why there are more lobsters and crabs.Some species have seen dramatic population changes. Butterfish and bluefish have increased in abundance by a factor of 100, while cunner has decreased by almost 1,000 times.
The long-term result of the changes will cause Narragansett Bay to more closely resemble estuaries to the south, such as Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay.
“It will continue to get warmer and attract more southern species, such as blue crabs,” Collie said. “Species that couldn’t complete their life cycle here before may be able to do that now.” LINK
FIREWOOD "Mainers who buy firewood are paying more as they stock up this summer and many are finding short supplies, as well. Pete Lammert of the Maine Forest Service warns that most firewood dealers are hustling just to fill orders from regular customers. He says customers who used to buy one cord are buying two, and those who used to buy two are buying four. High oil prices are driving the push to heating alternatives including firewood and wood pellets. Prices are topping $200 a cord." LINK
NATURAL GAS "I'm afraid we're headed for another catastrophic year, in terms of natural gas prices," he said. Natural gas futures have risen 97 percent in the past year, following crude oil prices. For residential gas customers, "That is going to hit home in December and January," Popowsky said." LINK
HOME HEATING OIL "New Englanders struggling this summer to pay gas prices topping $4 a gallon should brace for more bad news — home heating oil costs next winter are expected to hit record highs. One retail heating oil dealer says she expects a typical household delivery that cost $500 last winter will climb to at least $850 this winter. "It's going to be staggering," said Northboro Oil Co. owner Sandra Farrell in telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's going to be a real problem going into this winter for everyone unless something changes." Farrell, whose family has owned and operated the Northborough, Mass., business since 1953, said some dealers are talking about prices in the $4.89 per gallon range for the coming winter, about $2 more per gallon than last winter. An average household usually needs four deliveries from December to March, she said." LINK
ELECTRIC HEAT"Residential customers of Public Service of New Hampshire will see electric rates go up 5.7 percent, due to the skyrocketing prices for energy resources." LINK
SHRUB And how is our President addressing this???
"State Sen. Marc Pacheco, a Democrat of Taunton, says "it's really impacting working families dramatically. We're facing a crisis situation." Pacheco criticizes the Bush administration for proposing a 22% cut in federal home heating assistance this winter. "We shouldn't be cutting energy assistance for the needy and for the working poor at a time when home heating oil costs are skyrocketing like they've never done before," says Pacheco." LINK
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?