Category Archives: Existence

The material within these videos and articles will be discussed on our first day of class.

 They came. They drilled. They left, and in their aftermath are unplugged holes in the ground — orphaned coal-bed methane wells. To date, there are 6,924 plugged and abandoned coal-bed methane wells in Campbell County, according to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Of those wells, 5,202 are on fee or state land. The rest are on federal land. There also are wells that are orphaned — wells that the operators walked away from, leaving them unreclaimed. The responsibility of plugging these wells falls on the Oil and Gas Commission if the wells are on state or private land, or to the Bureau of Land Management, if they are on federal land. Since production peaked in 2009 at 580 million thousand cubic feet, the number of orphaned holes has been rising. There are about 1,220 abandoned wells on state and fee (private) land in Wyoming, most of which are in the Powder River Basin, according to Gov. Matt Mead’s office.
Wyoming’s Orphan wells – By Alexandra Sukhomlinova
The mounds of kelp that recently washed onto local beaches point to a thriving offshore ecosystem created by restoration efforts over the past decade, experts say. Ten years ago, there was practically no kelp off Orange County’s coast. Pollution and an overabundance of predators such as sea urchins had decimated the kelp forests, killing 80 percent of what Southern California had a century ago. But over the past decade, environmentalists and others planted nearly 5 acres of kelp along coastal Southern California. They planted lab-grown kelp, transplanted healthy kelp from existing beds, released kelp spores and removed kelp predators, namely sea urchins, which can take over and obliterate a kelp forest if left unchecked. Those efforts seem to have paid off: The kelp is back. “This is just a sign of how healthy our kelp forest has become. Just 10 years ago, there was almost no kelp on the Orange County coast,” said Ray Hiemstra.
Ocean’s hidden kelp forests return — Aaron Orlowski
 This article was also fLaurie Barr is a hunter. Each year, around November, when the trees in Pennsylvania lose their foliage and the shrubs are nothing but bare sticks, offering no hiding place or cover, the hunting season begins. But Laurie Barr doesn’t carry a rifle or a crossbow; she doesn’t wear camouflage, and no faithful hounds lead the way. She doesn’t have to tread silently across the forest floor or keep her voice down because her quarry, if she is lucky enough to find it, is already dead – has been dead for decades. Armed with just a digital camera and a GPS device, Laurie Barr is hunting for what almost no one in Pennsylvania has heard of: orphaned oil and gas wells.
Dimiter Kenarov, for the Pulitzer Center
"In my opinion . . . just to get this many people talking about it (is a win)," Sheehan said. "It really is a David and Goliath story, and it's a story that will not go away no matter" which way the vote swings. Indeed, the initiative to impose a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Maui County has become one of the most divisive issues the county has ever seen. It's driven thousands of residents to become more politically engaged this election season by marching in rallies, offering testimony before the Maui County Council or sitting down to analyze the piece of proposed legislation. But the initiative also has brought out combative behavior and vandalism that seldom characterize Hawaii elections. Extreme advocates have been caught on video removing campaign signs from private property and stopping in the middle of a roadway to yell at sign-wavers. In Lahaina, trees and buildings were spray-painted. For a county that has drawn the lowest voter turnout in the state in the past few elections, this singular initiative has driven more residents to get involved than ever before. It's uncertain what effects the surge of one-issue voters might have on other ballot measures or candidates. The "vote yes" side hopes to stop cultivation of genetically engineered crops until studies show they are safe for the environment and public health. The "vote no" side maintains such a ban would cost residents hundreds of jobs and taxpayers millions of dollars. And, it is not clearly written, they say.
GMOs or no GMOs?
2014 Election: That is the voter initiative question
— Eileen Chow
Conventional wisdom says western Lake Erie’s toxic algae is supported by commercial farm runoff, animal manure, sewage spills, faulty septic tanks, and other major sources of nutrients responsible for putting much of the excessive phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. But that’s not the whole story. As Great Lakes scientists probe deeper into the weeds on this issue, they find such contributing factors as invasive species and climate change also foster algal growth. Invasive species and climate change don’t cause algal blooms, but they worsen them. That message often gets lost or misunderstood by a confused public that gets bombarded with information and wants to assign blame to a single issue, even though science doesn’t work that way.
Invasive species compound toxic algae risk — Tom Henry
Cape Town - Gauteng’s water was recently switched off because it was “so close to the edge” – and that’s just the beginning. The rest of the country is running on empty unless government spends 100 times more to secure our water supply. In more than half of the country, South Africans are using more water than what’s available. We are already using 98% of our available water supply, and 40% of our waste water treatment is in a “critical state”. A staggering 37% of our clean, drinkable water is being lost through inefficient ways of using water such as leaking pipes, dripping taps – and that is what’s being reported, the figure could be much higher.
South Africa’s looming water disaster — Emma Thelwell
While big companies make millions from El Salvador’s water-rich Nejapa municipality, locals have little or no access to water. Ana Luisa Najarro’s neighbours include some of the world’s largest corporations. Down the street from her house, giant drinks manufacturers have set up a series of factories and warehouses, bottling water and fizzy drinks for distribution across the country and export across central America. Coca-Cola is here, bottled by a subsidiary of SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer. A Mexican juice multinational has also moved in, as has a large bottled water company. Millions of dollars are made by major beverage businesses in Nejapa, an expanding industrial area in El Salvador near where Najarro lives. But despite living down the road, and on top of one of the country’s largest aquifers, she says she struggles every day to find enough clean water to drink. “Nejapa is a gold mine for water. It’s rich in water, and the communities have no access,” says Najarro, sitting in her garden. Her family has lived on this plot for three generations and she remembers a time when water was plentiful. “There were beautiful rivers you could go to and wash or swim. Now we can’t use the water for anything,” she says. “The water in the river is dirty; it’s dead water.” Just 20km north of the capital, San Salvador, Nejapa is an ecologically critical zone in central America’s smallest and most densely populated country. Salvadoran civil society groups say it is also a prime example of how unfettered competition over limited resources has created scenes of extreme water poverty next door to water-intensive industries
Water everywhere for profit in Nejapa, but few drops for local people to drink — Claire Provost and Matt Kennard
The more traffic pollution a pregnant woman is exposed to—especially during her third trimester—the greater chance her child will develop autism. That’s the conclusion of yet another study, this one published online in the October 2014 edition of the journal Epidemiology. It was only about a decade ago that scientists first began looking at whether air pollution impacted infant development. Today, four studies link traffic pollution exposure to autism, a developmental disorder characterized by social problems, communication difficulties, and repetitive behavior. According to lead author of the latest study, environmental epidemiologist Dr. Amy Kalkbrenner, the literature has been very consistent. “When looking at health impact in a human population, not a controlled animal experiment, getting this level of consistency is, in my assessment, notable,” she said.
Fourth Study Finds Traffic Pollution May Cause Autism — Conran Milner

Something out there is worth discovering…

UPDATE June 6, 2015: the owner of the video has made it private. Big loss to all. I am looking out for a replacement recording of Carl Sagan’s historic reading.

Listening to Carl Sagan is an infusion of hope.   This is another wonderful video where Carl Sagan espouses the dream of space exploration; that something “out there is worth discovering.”

I do not believe that there is a single person who has ever lived who has looked up at a night sky populated with uncountable numbers of suns and not thought the same thing. Kudos to Sagan for having articulated this great longing in such a heartfelt and meaningful manner.


Arithmetic, Population, and Energy

Economic success is traditionally measured by positive increases in growth.  The  United States economy isn’t any different.   Economists report on the numbers of new jobs, sales of durable goods, auto sales, houses built and sold, and more.  All of these economic signifiers are reported in percentages.   The higher the value of these positive percentages, the better things look.

U.S. economic growth sustainable, rates to rise in third quarter 2015

The Washington-based forecast for 2015 is a “sustainable” economic growth rate of the United States economy between 2.4% and 3% per cent per year.  A rate of 3% means that our economy will double in twenty-four years.   This certainly sounds good, but as Faust would have you know, there is a price tag for everything.

If the phrase “sustainable growth” has always sounded like slick, political double-speak, Physics Professor Albert Bartlett’s lecture will confirm that your reptile brain’s survival response continues to work correctly.

Albert A. Bartlett Los Alamos wartime security badge (c. 1944)
Albert A. Bartlett Los Alamos wartime security badge (c. 1944)

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”Prof. Albert Bartlett, 1923 – 2013

According to a Wikipedia entry, Professor Albert Allen Bartlett gave the lecture “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy” 1,742 times.

In this lecture Professor Bartlett examines the simple arithmetic of steady growth, continued over modest periods of time, within a finite environment.  The concept is applied to populations as well as to fossil fuel.

World human population (est.) 10,000 BC–2000 AD.
World human population (est.) 10,000 BC–2000 AD.

“Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global,
whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?”

Prof. Albert Bartlett

Oil prices adjusted for inflation 1861 - 2006
Oil prices adjusted for inflation 1861 – 2006

Populations effect an impact on environments and resources.   Unchecked population growth amplifies these effects.    On a cellular level, unchecked continuous growth(cancer) will destroy the host organism.   The corollary here is that unrestricted influxes of people into any location will effect change upon the environment and resources.

Gaylord Nelson, originator of Earth Day, had this to say about human populations and the environment:

“The link between population growth and environmental degradation is made often in retrospective studies, which is why they aren’t really considered valid, but clearly more people living better lives is the hallmark of progress.  Activists worried about the environment don’t want better lives unless it means fewer lives too.  More people means more cars, trucks and buses, more air pollution, more parking lots and less green spaces.  In their progressive dystopian future, there are more chemicals, more trash and more runoff cascading down super sewers into our streams, lakes and oceans means more damage to California’s biodiversity hot spots.  Plus, more people means more pressure on declining water supplies.3

Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth DayIssues regarding energy aside, unchecked growth of any population will degrade the environment and its resources until the colony fails.   One way to understand the impact of population on the environment is through an equation which was developed by ecologists in the 1970s.

“The IPAT equation, though phrased mathematically, is a simple conceptual expression of the factors that create environmental impact. IPAT is an accounting identity stating that environmental impact (I) is the product of three terms: 1) population (P); 2) affluence (A); and 3) technology (T). It is stated I = P x A x T or I=PAT.”2




Now Disputed Model of Easter Island Collapse May Yet Contain Messages for Today
Fifty lane traffic jam
Fifty lane traffic jam

Resource wars are beginning to flare up:

April  7, 2016Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti led the blowing up on Tuesday of 23 foreign fishing boats caught poaching in Indonesian waters. Susi, as commander of the 115 Task Force, led the destruction of the boats from her office through live streaming. The force consists of officers from the ministry, the Navy and the National Police. “The sinking of the boats is to enforce the law and to protect the sovereignty of our territory to ensure that the sea is the future of our nation,” said Susi as reported by The 13 boats were registered in Vietnam and 10 in Malaysia. The sinking began simultaneously at 11 a.m. in seven location across the country and is legal under Law No. 31/2014 on the fisheries industry, she added. In West Kalimantan, two boats were sunk in waters around Datok Island, Mempawah regency. “The fishing boats were seized in late February,” said West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Arief Sulistyanto on Tuesday. The two boats were among dozens of fishing boats caught fishing illegally by the water police, said Arief, adding that he appreciated local people’s efforts to inform the police about the foreign boats’ illegal activities.

11-11-11: Veteran’s Day 2011

Today is Veteran’s Day. The West has a lot to be thankful for… I have a lot to be thankful for.

The fact that people do not venerate our heroes from every single conflict can be traced back to some very bad PR from LIFE magazine during the war in Vietnam. Out of the number of WWII veterans I have known, two remain standing. Albert Miglio is one of these men. Artist, friend, New Yorker, combat veteran, he also possesses a unique appreciation for the gifts of Greek civilization. My recent visit to the war museum in Crete has also provided food for reflection on this day.

Click the image below for a PDF of truly unforgettable imagery taken by a forgotten LIFE Magazine photographer, prior to the involvement of the United States in World War II.

I also appreciate the effectiveness of some of the images as an anti-ad campaign for Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. Could never understand why so many of my friends and their parents purchased either brand for transportation.

Freedom isn’t free. Thank the veterans around you and those who serve now.

Buy a Benz?
Buy a Benz?.


Nuclear Spring
Heritage of Nuclear Power

Click image above for full article and/or text below for a related article.

By Dan Eggen, Wednesday, March 16, 2:00 PM

“Nuclear power advocates are waging an intense lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill this week in an attempt to limit the political fallout from the reactor crisis in Japan, which threatens to undermine already shaky plans for expanded nuclear capacity in the United States.” Washington Post;

Weapons Of Mass Effect In San Diego

“10News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher asked, “Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponized device?”

“At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,” said Hallor.”

I went for a ten mile bike ride today in a park not far from home. A couple miles in the trail, two joggers were studying the brush where a bobcat had been seen. In the background, the San Diego river was making a happy racket as water ricocheted from rock, to hollow, to rock, on its headlong rush to meet the sea.

After a short drive I hiked a hill which was part of Kumeyaay lands. It’s not far from the highway and no one seems to go there. This is good as there are some grave sites on the flattened peaks. It’s a great place to have your earthly remains interred: Nearly from the moment the sun rises and until it sets, the sun warms that gentle earth. There’s a spectacular view of a valley to the east, more rolling grassy hills to the north and south, some mountains to the west, open sky above. Watched the moon quickly rise. It was huge; beautiful. Almost like i had never seen it before.

Came back and went to the garage where I do most of my electronic experimentation and assembly.

I worked on some pieces for an upcoming performance event at UCSD, Allyson Green’s “An Archive of Happiness” It’s going to be a beautiful dance and I am happy to play a small part in her work. Her piece will be an homage to Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch. I will be building works of art to bridge their worlds.

The past few months I have been obsessed with readying the next phase of a project begun in 1993. In April I will start showing the flame sculpture which articulates the collected names for God.

In 1993, 2010 seemed far away.