Dec 22, 2012

Climate Change: James Hansen on Tipping Points

Published on Dec 22, 2012

Interview with James Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute) recorded at the UN University G8 symposium on innovation and climate change held 4th July, 2008 Tokyo.

Wikipedia: Carbon Tax

Frontline: Climate of Doubt

Answering Climate Change Skeptics, Naomi Oreskes

Test trial convicts fossil fuel bosses of 'ecocide'
Top lawyers put fossil fuel bosses on trial in the UK's supreme court in a mock case to explore if ecocide - environmental destruction - could join genocide as a global crime

Climate: Arctic Thermostat Blows Up
The Arctic thermostat for the world is broken, with record heat & emissions in 2012. Four speakers from Arctic Methane Emergency group film: Peter Wadhams, James Hansen, Natalia Shakhova, and David Wasdell. Plus interview with AMEG member Paul Beckwith from University of Ottawa. How polar ice-melt derails climate of Northern Hemisphere, heading for uncontrollable heating. Radio Ecoshock 121219.

DIY Target Holder & Spinner Target Base

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Light and Easy Setup Targets
Homemade Slide Down Target Holder and Spinner Target Base
No need to attach target to board

Free Printable Targets

Click a free target to print. Target will open and must be printed in Adobe Acrobat for correct measurements. Targets print on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. If the target doesn't show up in a new window after clicking, you need the free Acrobat Reader.

Dec 21, 2012

Fort Peck Dam Construction on the Missouri River

This video, produced in 1990, captures the construction of Fort Peck Dam, the northernmost of the six main stem dams on the Missouri River. Of particular interest is some of the old reel footage that captured the actual work behind this U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District project. The video is shown regularly at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center.

Interesting! Monte

Dec 20, 2012

Ouch! Metal Target Returns Ricochet Fire

This guy is shooting a .50 cal towards a steel target. He hits it just right and gets hit in the head with the ricochet. Lucky for him it hits the dirt first.

I was thinking of building a "homemade spinning target" like the guys did below, but decided even one of those could could cause ricochet off metal edges and would be too dangerous.

Finally, after further research, bought one of these
Champion DuraSeal Double Spinner Target
Simple, low cost, and safe!  

It is constructed of a non-metal, self sealing material that absorbs hundreds of rounds from even the largest caliber rifles and handguns and still keeps its shape. Weighing 80% less than metal targets, these auto-resetting targets let bullets pass through with minimal damage–prolonging the life of the target.

Ultra-bright orange target
Approximately 7-inches by 2.5-inches
DuraSeal self-sealing material for the ultimate in target longevity
Handles .17 cal. through most large caliber .50 cal handguns / rifles
Target wobbles and spins upon to impact to show positive hits
Rugged metal legs firmly hold target in varying terrain
41900 Duraseal Double Spinner

Related Links:

24 Hr Precip. (Quad Cities) - Dec. 20, 2012

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Potential temporary help to relieve Corps navigation problem on Mississippi River!

Time Magazine Person of the Year: President Barack Obama

Richard Stengel on Time Magazine's Person of the Year: President Barack Obama
Video Link

Promised Land - Matt Damon

with Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and John Krasinski
in Movies, TV & Theater --> January 4


We think this will be a good movie to see...

Matt Damon plays a character who grew up around Davenport, Iowa and the closing of the Caterpillar Plant

Monte and Eileen

Dec 19, 2012

Mississippi River Navigation Issues Persist - Farm Futures

Corps releases water from Carlyle Lake to support navigation near Thebes, Ill.; leaders meet to discuss low water operations

Published: Dec 19, 2012

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District Saturday began releasing water from Carlyle Lake in Southwest Illinois to improve navigation on the Mississippi River.

The releases will help provide the depth necessary for river commerce to pass in Thebes, Ill., where rock formations pose a hazard at -5 feet and below, the Corps says. Carlyle Lake is one of few Corps reservoirs able to significantly capture water above its seasonal pool level to support navigation during the current drought.

Lighter loads have taken to the Mississippi River in light of low water levelsReleases gradually increased to  4,000 cubic feet per second between Saturday and late Monday. The full extent of the releases is expected to reach Thebes by Dec. 24. The Corps say this will provide an additional six inches of depth in this critical reach of the river.

Releases will continue if needed until the river level increases through precipitation, or until Carlyle Lake reaches its winter pool elevation. With the additional release schedule, Carlyle Lake is expected to reach its winter pool level in approximately three weeks. The Corps says additional releases from other reservoirs will be considered if the need arises.

Maj. Gen John Peabody, Mississippi Valley Division commander, authorized all the lakes on the Upper Mississippi River system to hold an additional 10% above seasonal pool levels in October in anticipation of historic low levels on the Middle Mississippi.

"With the Mississippi River watershed receiving less rain than forecasted, we are working to provide the water depth needed at a time when inches make a difference," Peabody said. "We'll continue to work closely with the navigation industry and our partners in the U.S. Coast Guard to keep the vital artery for commerce open."

River Meeting

On Tuesday, Corps officials met with state and local representatives to discuss the release and river navigation. The meeting was organized by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and also attended by Capt. Byron Black of the U.S. Coast Guard, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon.

Maj. Gen. Peabody also attended the meeting, noting that removal of limestone began this week, which he expects will ensure that barge restrictions will not be needed at this time.

"We remain cautiously optimistic that if we do have any interruptions, it will be short in duration as we continue to maintain a safe and reliable navigation channel," Peabody said.

Along with work on rock removal, the Corps plans to continue to dredge.

"The Dredge Potter has dredged more than 6 million cubic yards of material on the Upper and Lower Mississippi since it began operations in June," said Army Corps St. Louis District Commander Col. Chris Hall. "We will continue dredging problem areas, conducting channel patrols and surveys to keep commerce safely moving on the Middle Mississippi."

Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture: Dale Allen Pfeiffer

The miracle of the Green Revolution was made possible by cheap fossil fuels to supply crops with artificial fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. Estimates of the net energy balance of agriculture in the United States show that ten calories of hydrocarbon energy are required to produce one calorie of food. Such an imbalance cannot continue in a world of diminishing hydrocarbon resources.

Eating Fossil Fuels examines the interlinked crises of energy and agriculture and highlights some startling findings:

• The worldwide expansion of agriculture has appropriated fully 40 percent of the photosynthetic capability of this planet.
• The Green Revolution provided abundant food sources for many, resulting in a population explosion well in excess of the planet’s carrying capacity.
• Studies suggest that without fossil fuel-based agriculture, the United States could only sustain about two-thirds of its present population. For the planet as a whole, the sustainable number is estimated to be about two billion.

Concluding that the effect of energy depletion will be disastrous without a transition to a sustainable, re-localized agriculture, the book draws on the experiences of North Korea and Cuba to demonstrate stories of failure and success in the transition to non-hydrocarbon-based agriculture. It urges strong grassroots activism for sustainable, localized agriculture and a natural shrinking of the world’s population.

Related Links:
Eating Fossil Fuels - From The Wilderness

Midwest Soils Losing Ground 5-100 ton per acre per year!


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Bad federal policy and intensifying storms are washing away the rich dark soils in the Midwest that made this country an agricultural powerhouse and that remain the essential foundation of a healthy and sustainable food system in the future. The Environmental Working Group produced this short film with Atlas Films that provides stark images illustrating how federal farm subsidies and ethanol mandates, piled on top of skyrocketing crop prices are supporting an intensive monoculture that kneecaps any hope for a more resilient and diverse food and farm system. Go to for more information.

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Above: Grass waterways, filter strips, and vegetative
buffers help hold soil in place and protect
northwest Iowa’s Ocheyedan River.

Above: Iowa State University soil scientist Rick
Cruse says current levels of soil erosion are unsustainable.
“We are losing ground,” he says.

A closer look. “We are losing
ground,” says Iowa State soil scientist
Rick Cruse. “Soil is eroding faster
than new soil is forming. We have
data to show that we are continuing
to degrade the soil resource. The only
way that we can maintain high productivity
is to keep soil in place.”
Cruse teamed up with John Laflen,
a retired USDA Agricultural Research
Service agricultural engineer, to create
IDEP, hoping to bring increased
attention to the problem of excessive
soil erosion. This daily simulation of
the erosion process on nearly 20,000
hillslopes across the state was implemented
with the help of a long list of
partner organizations.
“It’s not average rainfall that drives
soil erosion rates,” Cruse explains. “It
is the intense storms. We combine a
number of technologies to allow us
to project erosion based on local data
and soil conditions, not averages.”
He also has concerns about whether
T levels, defined as the maximum rate
of annual soil loss that will permit
crop productivity to be sustained economically
and indefinitely on a given
soil, truly are sustainable.
T time. On Clarion-Nicollet-Webster
soils that are typical for much of
the state, the T rate is considered to be
around 5 tons per acre per year. But
Cruse says recent studies show “solid
evidence” that soil formation is considerably
less, perhaps only about 0.25
tons annually.
“There is an increasing
amount of evidence that even the ‘acceptable’
rate is higher than the rate
that soil is forming,” he says. “And 
with the trend toward more frequent
heavy rainfall events, along with
more fragile land being brought into
production, we’re likely to see accelerated
levels of soil erosion.”

Related Links: 
Deere Furrow Magazine_Feb 2012 - "Losing Ground" Article - page 22-24
Losing ground-executive-summary
Excellent Articles!  Monte

Other related Links:

Dec 17, 2012

The NFL Responds to the Sandy Hook Massacre. Should We Listen? | The Nation

Dave Zirin on December 17, 2012

Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz paid tribute to Jack Pinto, a fan and victim of the Sandy Hook massacre.(Credit: @teamvic)

After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the NFL and its players made an effort on Sunday to recognize the collective grief shaking the country. There was a moment of silence at all 14 NFL games in remembrance of the 26 people, including 20 children, mercilessly gunned down. Players on the New York Giants wore decals with the school's initials on their helmets. Their star wide receiver Victor Cruz paid tribute to one of fallen children, writing "R.I.P. Jack Pinto," and "Jack Pinto, my hero" on his shoes and "This one is 4 u!" on the backs of his gloves. Cruz was Pinto's favorite player and six-year-old Jack will be buried in his Victor Cruz jersey. The New England Patriots also made a statement, wearing a helmet sticker with the Newtown city seal and a black ribbon. They in addition pledged to donate $25,000 to help the each family affected by the tragedy. But it's what the Patriots didn't do that speaks volumes and perhaps says more than they intended. Normally after the team scores at home, their "end zone militia", dressed as revolutionary war soldiers, shoots 20 muskets in the air. There were no guns fired, thankfully, on Sunday night.

The NFL's intervention into this national tragedy as a voice against gun violence comes at an awkward time for the league. Just two weeks ago, Kansas City Chief's player Jovan Belcher shot and killed the mother of his two-month-old child, Kasandra Perkins before taking his own life. Belcher had an arsenal of weapons in his house, all of them - like the guns used in Newtown - legally purchased. When NBC broadcaster Bob Costas, the day after the Belcher murder/suicide, said that easy access to military-proficient guns combined with our glorified "gun culture" played a central role in this tragedy, he was derided by the Fox News crowd as a fool. Now he looks horribly prescient.

But, as we try to understand the numbing regularity of these mass shootings, there is also a question that goes beyond just gun control and mental health. Should our culture, and in particular the violence of the sports we consume, shoulder some of the blame? It’s an increasingly recognized fact that our most popular sport, football, is also our most violent. Every new study reveals that on Sundays we are watching people become mentally and physically crippled for our entertainment. In addition to the violence between the lines, this is a league that drapes itself in the trappings of war, from military flyovers before games to the constant slickly produced recruitment ads for the US armed forces.

Given all of this, can the NFL as an institution be a credible voice of peace? The answer is simply no: not even when they silence their muskets. The NFL cannot be a force for non-violence because its popularity is the perfect reflection of what we've become as a country. We are a nation that has outsourced war overseas to remote control killer drones we overwhelmingly support, private security forces we don't control, and an armed forces we barely acknowledge. Meanwhile, a host of basic freedoms have been eroded over the last decade except the freedom to arm ourselves to the teeth. We can't assemble with our neighbors in protest but we can assemble military style weapons alone in our apartments.

As we become further atomized and further desensitized to the daily violence that surrounds us, we also further worship a sports league that acts as the perfect metaphor for this state of affairs. Safely hidden under helmets for our consumption, we don't have see the glassy eyes or faces contorted with pain on the field. We also don't have to see the broken bodies and lives off the field. We just get three and a half hours of incredibly entertaining, highly commodified violence in a safely consumable package. The true costs are hidden from us until they erupt into view, as in the case of Jovan Belcher or the suicide of the great Junior Seau. Similarly, the true costs of worshiping the way of the gun are only dragged into open view when it comes home to places like Newtown, Connecticut. We don't have to see the faces or learn the names of the children killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan. We aren't asked to care about the young black teenagers who die on the corners of Chicago. No NFL player writes their names on their shoes. But now we have to look in the mirror and either reckon with what we see or recoil and turn away.

If we want to follow the example of the NFL, the answer doesn't lie on the field. Follow the example of the seven NFL players who turned in their guns to team officials the week after the Belcher shootings out of fear of what might happen if they were in the wrong state of mind or if a family member somehow grabbed a hold of their weapons. But even that is not enough. We need to throw ourselves on the machines of violence in Washington DC otherwise we are just dooming ourselves to more of the same. And the same is simply intolerable.