Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Fire Brings Down The Building

Just like with the WTC, explosives not required to bring down the building:
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — A high-rise tower in São Paulo, Brazil, collapsed early Tuesday after a fire raged through the building and spread to two other structures nearby. At least one person was believed to have died.

The collapsed building, which reached more than 20 stories high, was a former federal police facility that was inhabited by about 150 squatters, city officials said, but it appeared that the vast majority of them escaped the blaze.

May The Third With Mayzie La Bird

Don Miguelo - "7 Locas"

This is Zumba!

Burro Banton - "Lyrics Daddy"

Pepper uses this song for Zumba, but its hypnotic rhythm seems more-suitable for Dancehall. I just like it!

"Finding Your Feet"

I was bored, so I went to the Tower Theater to see this film, "Finding Your Feet," about which I had heard nothing.

I was alone in the theater, so I guess no one else had heard of it either.

I was hoping it would prove to be an English version of "Strictly Ballroom," but it wasn't that. It was a clash of lifestyles: stuffy lady moves in with her freewheeling sister, and laughs occur. Someone somewhere said that the English used to be the most proper people in Europe, but now they are the most emotional, and that seems right somehow. So, a bit formulaic of a movie, somewhat amusing, but not an epic by any means.

"I Can Only Imagine"

As a heathen, I generally avoid the Christian subculture in America, but I did see the J. Michael Finley/Dennis Quaid movie "I Can Only Imagine," which tells the tale of Bart Millard, lead singer of a Christian band named 'Mercy Me.' To my surprise, the movie's actually quite good. The acting is excellent, and the theme of father/son conflict is universal. Plus, excellent cinematography, reflecting lots of capital investment and artistic thought. Even though the song "I Can Only Imagine" is apparently very popular on the Christian side of things, I had never heard of it before, no doubt due to my heathen status. Apparently the band 'Mercy Me' was honored at a recent Presidential dinner, and a clip from the dinner was included in the movie, but they didn't show Trump, which shows good judgement on the moviemakers' part.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Slow Death of Rural Kansas

Commodity agriculture is to blame:
That’s the thing about rural Kansas: No one lives there, not anymore. The small towns that epitomize America’s heartland are cut off from the rest of the world by miles and miles of grain, casualties of a vast commodity agriculture system that has less and less use for living, breathing farmers.

U.S. census data tells the story. The population in most of Kansas’s rural counties peaked 50 years ago or earlier. The state’s annual population growth rate is among the slowest in the country, steadily falling from 1.2 percent in 1960 to 0.9 percent in 2016, with nearly all of that meager growth concentrated in a handful of eastern urban areas—Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence.

Population is also growing in the areas around the state’s massive slaughterhouses and feedlots, which have built communities largely around immigrant labor. But that’s nowhere near enough to stave off the decline, which is only expected to increase more rapidly.

World's Oldest Known Spider Dies

Forty-three years!:
The world’s oldest known spider has died at the ripe old age of 43 after being monitored for years during a long-term population study in Australia, researchers said Monday.

The trapdoor matriarch comfortably outlived the previous record holder, a 28-year-old tarantula found in Mexico, according to a study published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal.

The spider did not die of old age but was killed by a wasp sting, researchers said.

...Number 16 was monitored in the wild. Female trapdoor spiders stay in and around the same burrow virtually all their lives, so researchers marked her burrow and went back to check on it regularly.

...Trapdoor spiders traditionally have a lifespan between five to 20 years. While females stay in or near their burrows, males leave once mature and go in search of a mate.

Life Out in the Country

Fun video.

Try Subtraction!

Something doesn't add up.

My Photos of DMTC’s “Guys and Dolls” are Posted


Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Sunday Zumba Fundraiser

Fundraiser at California Northstate University Events Center in Elk Grove.

Toy Boat

Dropping That Hot Potato

Catastrophic Rainfall in Kauai

Unbelievable numbers:
Since the 1940s, the Hawaiian island of Kauai has endured two tsunamis and two hurricanes, but locals say they have never experienced anything like the thunderstorm that drenched the island this month.

"The rain gauge in Hanalei broke at 28 inches within 24 hours," said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura of the North Shore community. "In a neighboring valley, their rain gauge showed 44 inches within 24 hours. It's off the charts."

Actually, it was even worse. This week the National Weather Service said nearly 50 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.

Now, as Kauai continues to recover, scientists warn that this deluge on April 14 and 15 was something new — the first major storm in Hawaii linked to climate change.

"The flooding on Kauai is consistent with an extreme rainfall that comes with a warmer atmosphere," said Chip Fletcher, a leading expert on the impact of climate change on Pacific island communities.

He noted that the intense rainfall not only triggered landslides, it also caused the Hanalei River to flood and carve a new path through Hanalei. Homes, cars and animals were swept away in raging waters, but no residents or visitors died. Some were airlifted to safety or rescued by boat.

Members of a bison herd were displaced or carried off by floodwaters, and some were rescued from the ocean after swimming for their lives. "Poor buffalo," said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, who saw video and photos of the animals roaming around businesses and neighborhoods.

The picturesque North Shore communities of Wainiha and Haena are considered the hardest-hit because the only road that leads to them, Kuhio Highway, is now blocked by landslides. Officials say it may not fully reopen for months.

...For about a week after the storm, the normally aquamarine ocean around the island was an eerie orange — a sign of the volcanic soil. The more iron in the lava, the more orange the soil, said Dolan Eversole, a coastal geologist with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program.

Since Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, the mountains are exceptionally steep and the distance between the mountaintops, where it rained, and the sea is relatively short. There was no time for the red-orange clay to settle as water raced out to sea, he said.

We Made This

Stark Rain Divide Between Northern and Southern California

And so, the California 2017-18 rainy season is over. Sacramento Executive Airport ended up with 89% of average precipitation, which is nearly-identical to the 2015-16 rainy season value of 91% two years ago. Northern California's nearly-normal rainy season contrasts with Southern California's terrible rainy season. It will be a long, hot summer this year in the South Coast and deserts.

Five Bat Species

I was out underneath the western end of the I-80 Yolo Causeway again shortly before sunset on 4/29, listening to the batspeak in the vast colony there with my Bat Echometer. Once again, Mexican Freetail Bats were common (as the Echometer ID'd in the picture below), as were Hoary Bats, but as sunset approached, the squeaking chatter grew louder, and other bats began drowning out the more-common bats, namely the Yuma Myotis, the Canyon Bat, and the Western Red Bat. These five bat species are common enough in the Davis, California area, but I didn't realize they all live right next to each other, cheek by jowl. It must be bat heaven there under the Yolo Causeway. Once again, I never actually saw the bats (although one apparently pooped on my head). The rising cacophony was exciting. The mass flights of summer are approaching. I can hardly wait!

I'm worried about the small Midtown Sacramento colony of Mexican Freetail Bats. They've begun a large construction nearby, and although the bats aren't directly affected, all the noise and fuss nearby might be problematic.