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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Final Deluge of 2010

Just before we trundle off for the holiday season, it is worth noting that the Los Angeles area has just suffered unprecedented rainfall in the past couple of days. More than 20 inches of precipitation (No, that is not a typo!) in the mountains surrounding the LA basin, while more than 6 inches (half the "normal" annual rainfall) fell in the basin itself. The media are broadcasting hourly reports of houses slumping into ravines, sinkholes opening in the streets, and flash-flood channels filled with water, debris and automobiles. In summary, the last few years have shown record precipitation events of a severity unknown in modern times, WORLDWIDE.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thanks to the Obliquity of the Ecliptic

No, this is not an expression of gratitude for the holiday recess of Congress, rather it is an acknowledgement that our days in the northern hemisphere will (mercifully) be lengthening for the next few months due to the axial tilt of the planet.  Not that we'll feel much difference soon, but there is some comfort in knowing that things are improving.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

River Eternal

Watching and feeling the extremes of seasonal changes in Minnesota are hallmarks of living in mid-continental North America. These include a landscape going from bare ground and mineral soil to croplands luxuriant with leaf and flower; temperatures ranging from -30° to 105°F; and, rivers brown and angry in draining the land from snowmelt and cloudbursts, or clear and serene in meandering to the Gulf. The constant in this is perpetuity itself with the orbit of the earth imposing adjustments on its surface, and by all who live here.  The wonder is that so much can be accomplished in so little time, a single revolution about our nearest star.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pheromones and Fear of Invasives

Every trout angler knows the dangers of invasive species, how they can disrupt native communities, destroy habitats, displace treasured species, transmit new diseases and otherwise create ecological mayhem.  Australians, especially, can attest both to the ravages of the invasives themselves, and to the perils of inappropriate control measures hastily implemented in the hope of preventing further damage by exotic species running amok.