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I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain.  None of us lives apart from the land entirely;  such an isolation is unimaginable.  If we are to realize and maintain our humanity, we must come to a moral comprehension of earth and air as it is perceived in the long turn of seasons and of years.
    —     Navarre Scott Momaday
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On This Day In:
2020 In The Moment
2019 I Will Try Again
Original Chips
2018 Still Blogging
2017 Reliable Vision
2016 Still Walking
2015 Steps
2014 To Be Greatly Good
2013 Limited Capacity
2012 Two Ear Ticklers
Justification
2011 To Avail The Nation

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Some things you miss because they’re so tiny you overlook them.  But some things you don’t see because they’re so huge.
    —    Robert M. Pirsig
From his book:  “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
[To “save” American democracy we need three things:  A voting rights act (to save the people’s right to decide our leaders);  increased vaccinations (single payer health care would be nice, too);  and, an infrastructure bill which make fighting climate change a national priority.  Unfortunately, one or two will not be enough – and the clock is ticking…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Two Hours From Now
Criminal Incompetence, Criminal Indifference Or Both
2019 Slow Wisdom
It Is A Start…
2018 Young, Fun And Playing Well
2017 Earning Your Blessings
2016 A Suggestion…
Capable Of Being
2015 Looking For The Needles In The Haystacks
2014 The Definition Of A Gentleman
2013 Thar She Blows (Not)!
2012 Naturally
2011 Been Here, Done That
Remember
2010 Timeless Classics

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“For a lot of people a car means freedom and social status,” says Janette Sadik-Khan.  “But if a city provides you no choice but to drive, a car isn’t freedom, it’s dependence.  If you have no choice but to drive for every trip, it’s not your fault.  Your city has failed.”
    —    Janette Sadik-Khan
Head of New York City’s Department of Transportation
Quoted by:  Adam Rogers
In his article:  “Road Warriors
Appearing in:  Wired Magazine, dtd:  Apr 2020
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On This Day In:
2020 A Short Count
Two Loves
2019 Don’t Forget: Fire Burns
2018 Especially In The Middle East
2017 A Good Local
2016 Life Unlimited
2015 Still Trying
2014 Destiny, n.
2013 No Apologies
2012 Utterly Convinced
2011 A Key To Effectiveness

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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.  We have broadened the circle of those we love.  We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience.  If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.  Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant.  They will fear the loss of power.  We will hear much about treason and disloyalty.  Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones.  But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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Unlike the La Pérouse expedition the Conquistadors sought not knowledge but Gold.  They used their superior weapons to loot and murder, in their madness they obliterated a civilization.  In the name of piety, in a mockery of their religion, the Spaniards utterly destroyed a society with an Art, Astronomy and Architecture the equal of anything in Europe.  We revile the Conquistadors for their cruelty and shortsightedness, for choosing death.  We admire La Pérouse and the Tlingit for their courage and wisdom, for choosing life.  The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity.  As the ancient myth makers knew we’re children equally of the earth and the sky.  In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage, propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt.  But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience and a great soaring passionate intelligence, the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.  Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth.   But up there in the Cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits.  National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space.  Fanatical ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our Earth as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and the citadel of the stars.  There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably headlong into self-destruction.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 It Is Still About Sharing And Cheering
2019 Sounds Like #LyingDonald
2018 Start Building
2017 Woof! Woof!
2016 Cast Out
2015 Small Pieces
Happy Father’s Day!
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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So, this was our house last year after the new paint job…
And here it is after updating our front garden to help conserve water…
As you can see, we’ve removed the front grass and replaced it with (mostly) white stone.  We’ve circled the two trees with larger riverbed stones and red pumice (like) stones.  We’ve high-lighted the roses on either side of the brick path and added river stone edging on the sides.  We added a “fake” stream bed curving from near the top of the path, around our big tree, down to the sidewalk.  And, finally, we sprinkled various plants in the white stone areas.  We hope they will fill out and add a bit of color to the otherwise plain white space.
Many (not quite most) of the houses in our neighborhood have already done the same to their front gardens.  I don’t know how much money we’ll save, but every drop of water counts in this age of climate change.  Over 25 of the last 30 years have been drought years here in California, so our action is long past due.  Hopefully, better late than never…
And, of course, the best news is:  NO more mowing the lawn, while reducing the expense of our water bill.
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On This Day In:
2020 Was #IncompenentDonald Born To Be A Diplomat?
2019 Have You Planted Lately?
2018 Something / Nothing
2017 Kindness
2016 Dealing With It
2015 Too Many Choices!
2014 Vini, Vidi, Vici
2013 Heroes
Education, n.
2012 Who I Want To Be
2011 Mythic Forgetfulness

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Once intelligent beings achieve technology and the capacity for self-destruction of their species, the selective advantage of intelligence becomes more uncertain.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Two Loves
A Short Count
2019 Don’t Forget: Fire Burns
2018 Especially In The Middle East
2017 A Good Local
2016 Life Unlimited
2015 Still Trying
2014 Destiny, n.
2013 No Apologies
2012 Utterly Convinced
2011 A Key To Effectiveness

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We have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works…
As a boy Kepler had been captured by a vision of cosmic splendor, a harmony of the worlds which he sought so tirelessly all his life.  Harmony in this world eluded him.  His three laws of planetary motion represent, we now know, a real harmony of the worlds, but to Kepler they were only incidental to his quest for a cosmic system based on the Perfect Solids, a system which, it turns out, existed only in his mind.  Yet from his work, we have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works.
When he found that his long cherished beliefs did not agree with the most precise observations, he accepted the uncomfortable facts, he preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions.  That is the heart of science.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Up Again
2019 Advice From #1 To #45
2018 How Much I Will Miss The Trump Administration
2017 We Need To Continue Experimenting
2016 Consistently
2015 We Must Dissent
2014 Now What?
2013 Judgement
2012 Stuck In My Mind
Life’s Hope
2011 Just Getting Up
Directions Please

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In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.  It is up to us.
   —    Carl Sagan
[An Inauguration and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords are just a start.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Hoping For #46 In January 2021
2019 Interesting, But Not Fascinating
But Try To Eat The Low-Hanging First
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Favorite Line(s):
Whoa,
Oh,
Mercy mercy me
Oh,
Things ain’t what they used to be,
No no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the North and South and East
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On This Day In:
2020 A Profound Source
2019 Sad Words
2018 Self-Sorted
2017 Right
2016 At Least One Step
2015 Month To Month Rental
2014 Professional Beliefs
2013 Books Are…
2012 True Distinguishing Marks
2010 Sub-300

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Since this series’ maiden voyage, the impossible has come to pass:  Mighty walls that maintained insuperable ideological differences have come tumbling down; deadly enemies have embraced and begun to work together.  The imperative to cherish the Earth and protect the global environment that sustains all of us has become widely accepted, and we’ve begun, finally, the process of reducing the obscene number of weapons of mass destruction.  Perhaps we have, after all, decided to choose life.  But we still have light years to go to ensure that choice.  Even after the summits and the ceremonies and the treaties, there are still some 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world — and it would require the detonation of only a tiny fraction of them to produce a nuclear winter, the predicted global climatic catastrophe that would result from the smoke and the dust lifted into the atmosphere by burning cities and petroleum facilities.
The world scientific community has begun to sound the alarm about the grave dangers posed by depleting the protective ozone shield and by greenhouse warming, and again we’re taking some mitigating steps, but again those steps are too small and too slow.  The discovery that such a thing as nuclear winter was really possible evolved out of the studies of Martian dust storms.  The surface of Mars, fried by ultraviolet light, is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep our ozone layer intact.  The runaway greenhouse effect on Venus is a valuable reminder that we must take the increasing greenhouse effect on Earth seriously.
Important lessons about our environment have come from spacecraft missions to the planets.  By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one.  By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds.  It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history.
Our science and our technology have posed us a profound question.  Will we learn to use these tools with wisdom and foresight before it’s too late?  Will we see our species safely through this difficult passage so that our children and grandchildren will continue the great journey of discovery still deeper into the mysteries of the Cosmos?  That same rocket and nuclear and computer technology that sends our ships past the farthest known planet can also be used to destroy our global civilization.  Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil.  It is as if there were a God who said to us, “I set before you two ways:  You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars.  It’s up to you.”
   —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Willing
2019 Another Prayer
2018 After Silence
2017 Are You Looking Forward To A Trump Presidency?
2016 Three Errors From Eureka
2015 Limiting Choices
2014 Praise The Lord And Pass The Hypocrisy
That Sound
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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The earth laughs in flowers.
   ―    Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2019 Ruff Clean
2018 Sounds Like A Blog To Me
2017 My Fear For America
2016 Proceeding Still
2015 Seeing Rainbows
I Am A Runner
2014 The Law Of The Perversity Of Nature
2013 One Standard Deviation
2012 High Anxiety
2011 And I’m Taking Me There
2010 1,000

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There are occasions when you can hear the mysterious language of the Earth, in water, or coming through the trees, emanating from the mosses, seeping through the undercurrents of the soil; but you have to be willing to wait and receive.
   —     John Hay
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On This Day In:
2019 In Silence
Not Much Light Here
2018 A Gift
2017 Unless You Genuinely Are Small
2016 B1
2015 Five Things
2014 Have Faith
2013 Found In A Mine
2012 Two-Sided Coin
2011 Passionately Scorned Rules

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There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong.  That’s perfectly alright; it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right.  Science is a self-correcting process.  To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.  The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that many of his ideas were wrong or silly or in gross contradiction to the facts; rather, the worst aspect is that some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky’s ideas.  The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science.  We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system, and the history of our study of the solar system shows clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.
   —   Carl Sagan
[Accidents happen…  As the saying goes:  “Even the blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.”  And, so it appears President Trump has (purely by stupid chance) stated a truth…
A few days ago, while visiting California to view the destruction being caused by wildfires, the President was advised one of the reasons for the massive fires is “Climate Change”.  Trump replied:  “It’ll start getting cooler.  You just watch.
I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot (Wade Crowfoot is California’s secretary for natural resources) countered.
Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said.
As bizarre as it sounds, President Trump is correct (for all the wrong reasons).  To start off, in less than a week Autumn starts.  Followed by Winter!  So, yes, the daily temperature will start getting cooler.  The second part is the “squirrel finding the nut“.  No, “science” doesn’t KNOW if the climate will stay hot or get hotter.  Just as science doesn’t KNOW the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.  Science does, however, have a pretty good certainty that IF the sun does rise tomorrow, it will be in the East.  President Trump’s BASELESS claims “Climate Change” is a “hoax” and / or invented by the Chinese to cripple our economy are both as unscientific as they are silly, but that doesn’t make his “uncomfortable idea” wrong (from a scientific perspective).  His claim also erroneously conflates two issues:  1) is climate change real; and, 2) if it is real, what is causing it?
And, this is the problem (for science and all rational humanity):  we have overwhelming data supporting the theory of climate change; we don’t have overwhelming evidence of causation – just a LOT of data of correlation.  Our little blind squirrel is denying both the substantial data of change AND the substantial data of correlation.
True science requires that we admit the possibility “Climate Change” is not happening – despite the multiple decades of data which support the scientific conclusion “Climate Change” 1) is real, 2) has already happened, and 3) is getting worse.  More precisely, we must admit the possibility that our current understanding of why “Climate Change” appears to be happening is not valid, i.e., it’s not being caused by human production of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The policy question is:  What if our little squirrel is correct?   Well, if he is correct and there is no climate change, then “eventually” the consistent rise in temperature which the planet has been experiencing with revert back to the norm.  If humanity is lucky, this will happen soon (and quickly) and life will go on pretty much as it has for the last 10,000 years (or at least since the last major ice age).  Policy decision:  do nothing and hope for the best.
Alternatively, if he is correct the climate change (which has been accelerating for the last 50 years) is not caused by humans, what IS the cause and how do we slow, stop or reverse it?  If we don’t discover the “real” cause, humanity (and most of life as we know it) on Earth will become extinct.  Unfortunately, because the data has been so one sided (climate change is real and is happening NOW), we don’t have any good / reasonable alternative theories to human caused CO2 emissions.  Policy decision: we need to pore tons of money into research to come up with an alternative root cause which we can then pore TONS more money into correcting / fixing.   (All the while hoping and praying we’re not too late to fix the problem.)
And if our little squirrel is wrong about Climate Change and its cause?  Well, despite what we’ve seen over the last 20 years (droughts and wildfires / hurricanes and typhoons), you ain’t seen nothing yet!  Forty(40%) percent of humanity lives within 60 miles of an ocean.  What happens when the ocean levels rise and large swathes of that coastal area becomes uninhabitable due to flooding, storm surges and salination of coastal water supplies?  What happens to sea life when the salination in the oceans changes due to the increased ice melts dumping fresh water into their environment?  What happens to the rest of the life on Earth when there is a vast die-off of life in the world’s oceans?  Policy decision:  we better get busy because our window of opportunity to save the habitable planet we’ve known for the last 10,000 years is closing fast!!!
Our little squirrel is in his 70’s and probably won’t live to experience the full results of his blindness.  Somehow, I don’t find that comforting.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Future Tools
Three Swedish Girls
2018 Four Loves
Favorite Westerns
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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Way back in November 2018, #PresidentIdiot said the problem of California forest fires was caused by poor forest management and not by “Climate Change.” He suggested raking 13 million acres of Federal land to prevent future fires.  Today (14 September 2020), #IncompetentTrump restated this opinion (if not his solution).
Let’s look at some of the “facts” about “forests” in Washington, Oregon and California (WA numbers are rounded, so they don’t add up to 100%):
Washington State is 53% forested.  Of that:
44% is Federal owned
36% is privately owned
14% is State and county owned
8% is Tribal
Oregon 49% forested.  Of that:
60% is Federal (Forest Service or Park Service)
3% is State and Local gov
35% is Private
2% is Tribal
California 33% forested.  Of that:
57% is Federal owned
40% is privately owned
3% is State owned
The President of the United States (that would be #IncompetentDonald), said TWO years ago, the problem of wildfires was caused by mismanagement.  Two years later, he’s still saying the same thing.  In two of the three states, the Federal government owns and is responsible for the majority of the “forested” land.  In the third state (Washington), the Federal government owns the largest percentage of forested land, but not the majority.
This means he admits for the last two years his administration has been knowingly mismanaging the forested land in these three states.  Since that date was almost two years into his presidency, that means he has been mismanaging the forests for almost four years.
Today, it appears the President has inadvertently told the truth:  he has mismanaged the National Forests for the whole of his Administration.
Now, this doesn’t mean I agree his mismanagement is the cause of the fires.  Only, that I agree he has mismanaged the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (basically, the Department of the Interior).
Here’s three more bits of information I picked up while browsing around looking for information about “forest fires” vs “wildfires”.  They don’t have anything to do with President Trump:
“Forestland” is land that is capable of having at least 10% cover of trees.
  —   Oregonloggers.org
“Forestland” means any woodland, brushland, timberland, grazing land or clearing that, during any time of the year, contains enough forest growth, slashing or vegetation to constitute, in the judgment of the forester, a fire hazard, regardless of how the land is zoned or taxed. As used in this subsection, “clearing” means any grassland, improved area, lake, meadow, mechanically or manually cleared area, road, rocky area, stream or other similar forestland opening that is surrounded by or contiguous to forestland and that has been included in areas classified as forestland under ORS 526.305
  —   Oregon State law
Timberland is “forest land” that is producing, or is capable of producing, more than 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood crops under natural conditions, that is not withdrawn from timber utilization, and that is not associated with urban or rural development.
Forest land is land at least 10% stocked by forest trees of any size, or formerly having had such tree cover, and not currently developed for nonforest use. The minimum area for classification of forest land is one acre.
Reserved forest land is withdrawn from timber utilization through statute, administrative regulation, or designation.
  —   Illinois Dept of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
[Of course the title to this post is a bit “tongue-in-cheek”…  The #LiarInChief would NEVER accept responsibility for anything the least bit negative.  He only takes credit when something “good” happens – irrespective of whether or not he had anything to do with it.   But hey, that’s OUR President for you!  —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 A Lifestyle
Day 16: Cheat Day
2018 The Children Are Our Future
2017 And Three
2016 Nine Parts Mystery
2015 Little Or No Common Ground
2014 Just Between Me
2013 Beyond The Strings
2012 Saving The Union
2011 Still And Too Often

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