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News and Essays

How NASA Scientists Are Turning L.A. Into One Big Climate-Change Lab: John Metcalf, Atlantic Cities

Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and elsewhere are turning the entire Los Angeles metro region into a state-of-the-art climate laboratory.

Rebuilding a Chemical Wasteland: Mary Chaffee, E. The Environmental Magazine

Until 1982, the Army and Shell discarded contaminated waste into unlined ponds, injected it into deep wells, and buried it in trenches—disposal practices that were once considered acceptable. But these toxic leftovers would earn the arsenal Superfund designation and require a $2 billion cleanup program.

Threat of Colorado lawsuit looms as fracking ban OK’d in Fort Collins. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post

The Fort Collins City Council on Tuesday night banned fracking within city limits, defying the governor and other state authorities who say local governments have no right to regulate the oil and gas industry.

Ten realities for managing the delta. Peter Moyle, California Water Blog. (via John Fleck)

Reality No. 1: The historical Delta ecosystem cannot be restored. The Delta of today bears almost no resemblance to the Delta of 100 years ago. Late 19th century residents would have a hard time recognizing the place.

Book Reviews

In search of ‘The Searchers’ and the history behind the western: David Kipen, Los Angeles Times

In ”The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,’ Glenn Frankel explores the battles behind the John Ford movie but also the broader conflicts between western settlers and Native Americans.

In the Beautiful, Threatened North: Ian Frazier, New York Review of Books.

Among the wonders to appear in the changing Arctic in recent years is the India-born photographer and activist Subhankar Banerjee. Coming from Kolkata (Calcutta), where the average mean temperature is 80.4 degrees Fahrenheit, Banerjee has dedicated himself to recording and working for the preservation of Arctic places. It is safe to say that he has been colder than most people from his native country have occasion to be. In Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point, an anthology of writings by thirty-seven authors that he has compiled and linked with his commentary, pieces of autobiography sometimes jump out: for example, that he started traveling in Alaska only about a decade ago, and that he became a US citizen after his Arctic photographs raised so much controversy in Senate debates in 2003 that he feared he might be deported.

From the Past

The Hemingway Papers / The Wild West is Now in Chicago: Ernest Hemingway, 1920

But the Wild West hasn’t disappeared. It has only moved. Just at present it is located at the southwestern end of Lake Michigan, and the range that the bad men ride is that enormous smoky jungle of buildings they call Chicago.


Aboard the Tugnacious With Dr. Doom: Craig Miller, KQED (via Jon Christiansen)

Jeffrey Mount, the scientist dubbed “Dr. Doom” for his dire pronouncements about the Delta, has retired from his post at University California, Davis. Science editor Craig Miller caught up with him – where else – on the river, aboard his 27-foot cruiser, “Tugnacious.”


The Worth of Water from Kirk Davis on Vimeo.