Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday morning quick hits

Man made flooding
Not entirely, but humanity helped. Kamyar Enshayan director of an environmental center at the University of Northern Iowa, suspects that this natural disaster wasn't really all that natural. The impact of human activity probably played a role in the flooding in Iowa. A landscape of rolling prairie that used to be covered with tall grasses, which have deep root systems and absorb water has been plowed under to plant corn, which has a shallow root system has played a role by increasing runoff. In the rush to cash in on ethanol, thousands and thousands of fallow acres have been taken out of the "soil bank." Rivers and creeks have been straightened, and farming moves closer and closer to the banks of waterways. While human impact alone is not entirely responsible, the rains did fall on a drastically altered landscape, and that impact needs to be evaluated critically. "We've done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions," he said. "Agriculture must respect the limits of nature."

Gas prices and the VA senate race Democratic candidate Mark Warner weighed in on energy prices on Wednesday, saying that the U.S. government needs to get tougher with OPEC
and better regulate investors speculating in the oil market to drive down gas prices. . James Gilmore, his republican opponent, has made drilling in ANWR and off the East Coast - including Virginia - a central focus of his campaign, casting it as the only plausible solution for reducing the price of gas. Warner dismissed Gilmore's position as pure piffle. "We could drill everywhere from here to New Jersey, and it's still years away and will only add about 140 days of oil supply to this country."

Conspicuous by their presence Fashion isn't deep, but every now and then something noteworthy and applicable to the larger culture happens in that alien world. For the July issue of Italian Vogue, photographer Steven Meisel photographed only black models. In a reverse of the general pattern of fashion magazines, all the faces are black, and all the feature topics are related to black women in the arts and entertainment. Mr. Meisel was given roughly 100 pages for his pictures. The issue will be on European newsstands next Thursday and in the United States soon after.

No one likes a sore loser - especially this one
I voted for Hillary in the primary too - but Obama won enough delegates to get the nomination, and this idiot isn't going to change that by having a monumental hissy fit. Deal with it and get on board, or stop calling yourself a Democrat. Asshole.

Dish Detergent ban Two counties in Washington state - Spokane and Whatcom - have taken the unique step of making it illegal to sell dishwashing detergents that contain more than 0.5% phosphorus. The ban will take effect statewide in 2010, but Whatcom and Spokane counties have been singled out to begin the ban this year. A number of water bodies in Whatcom County, including Lake Whatcom and the Nooksack River, are considered impaired because oxygen levels are below state water quality standards. Phosphorus leaks into water bodies through industry and wastewater treatment plants, storm-water runoff or even through faulty septic systems. Phosphorus in the water feeds algae blooms, and when algae die, their decay uses up oxygen, choking lakes and streams, suffocating salmon and other aquatic life.

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