Posts tagged cause

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Boulder CU welcome ! Hands Up Don’t Shoot! Cops


Boulder is a pretty safe place; if you are rich and white. It gets less safe if you are Latino or African American. As long as you look, talk and walk white you should be fine here. But the cops are going to watch you.

If you look hip hop and all gangster, all eyes will be on you where ever you go.
If you are Asian, you are less suspect. Try to look like a nerd . If you are middle eastern try to look as American as you can. Many of you are rich, hang together, don’t drink and are fashionable. That goes a long way here. Goes without saying don’t wear hodgie clothes not matter if some white people do. They’re stupid and they don’t understand the implications… but the police do and Afgan and Iraqi war veterans who you will be going to school with don’t think hodgie clothes are cool. It makes them nervous and you suspect.

Most Strict sharia Muslims were thrown out of Boulder after 911. They FBI came to CU and revoked everyone’s passports. So don’t go grocery shopping at 1:00 am with your wife following behind you in a Birka. Dropped the Birka and any of that child or woman repressive civil rights stuff while you are in Boulder.

In all my years with my involvement with Police and  law enforcement one thought comes to mind. They do have the power, training, wherewithal and the guns to kill you at the drop of a hat. Like an explosive offensive lineman in football cops are like wild beasts ready to strike without warning. So you have to be mindful of that. You are not dealing with an ordinary person. You are always dealing with someone who can knock you to the ground, handcuff you and take away your freedom or your life. They are a gang of trained killers who live in a closed society. They are the military except on American soil. Our Military only operates on foreign soil  where the host country fears for their lives. Cops are color blind. They only see blue. They are a brotherhood of men and women who rule the streets.  They have rules of engagement which are less strict than our US Marine Corps.

That means if you frighten them them they can and will shoot to kill you.  They do not have much of an in between.

So I always approach cops with this in mind. I am not stupid.  I don’t ever do things to antagonize them. I never fight with them or argue with then.

They have the gun on their holster. They have the badge of authority and the entire police department, district attorneys office and local government behind them.

Cops are the wrong people to fuck with always.  Many of them are stressed and overworked. They spend much of the day dealing with scumbag wife beaters, child abusers, drug addicts and alcoholics, thieves etc.

So when they run up on you in a traffic stop just know you have a wilkd lion coming up to your car and you don’t want to piss him or her off.

What to do in a traffic stop.

1. Pull over to the right immediately and stop.

2. Don’t get out of the car.

3. Put your hands up on the steering wheel and keep them there.

4. If it is night , turn your overhead light on so the officer can see your hands.

5. Don’t go fishing around for your license or registration in the glove  box.

6. Sit still and wait for the cop to come to your window and wait for instructions.

7. Cops get nervous when you go to the glove box or start fishing around.  They worry that you might have a gun or someone in the car has a gun .

8. Be polite. Yes sir no sir goes a long way.  Don’t argue with him.

9 I have found that being polite to a police officer always helps….. If I have done something wrong  in the vehicle I just admit it or say i didn’t realize and apologize. That approach will get you less point on a ticket or a warning.  I almost never get stopped and when I do it is usually with a warning.

10. I am serious. I could have driven over the guys mother and he’ll give me a warning. Why. because I pose no threat.

12. Now of course I am white, middle aged and look like Rush Limbaugh so that helps… a lot. I am usually well dressed and well spoken. I don’t give off attitude.

13 I have no idea what to say to those of you who are black, Latino, or wear gangster clothes.  I would take my hat off and do your best Eddie Murphy impression.

14. when I was a long haired hippie and on drugs and wearing weird clothes… believe it or not I was the guy who was cool calm and collected around cops.  I was often the spokesperson. ” Yes sir. No problem here sir.  thank you sir . no sir yes sir. did you want to fuck one of the girls sir cause that one there thinks your cute.” I mean , I will do anything to keep the heat off and make sure the cops are feeling non threatened. I just try to be nice to them. Cause nobody else has been all day and they appreciate it.. And that means they will go find somebody else to eat.

15. If you have somebody with you who is being agro toward the cops, you tell that person to “shut the fuck up” in no uncertain terms. You tell the cop .. “You will have no problem with us sir, I am sorry for my disrespectful friend he was smoking crack before you so caringly stopped us ” and then you make sure a friend sits on that guy or girl.

16. Now you people of color, try to dress as white as you can. And talk as white as you can.  Wear Kakis and a blue oxford shirt and a red and blue stripped  tie. Talk about how you love the police and hope to be a police officer next year. Smile like Chris Rock and mention church. 

sorry that is how it goes.  This is a white mans world. White businessmen do rule…Next come our white women and our white children. If you are rich like me and live in a rich white city like Boulder you get treated like a Lord by the cops. Then again I don’t fuck up. I am not out dealing drugs, shooting people, robbing, stealing rapping or walking the streets. I am scared shitless.  But I get more points than you.

If you are black, Latino or homeless you will always be stopped by the cops in rich white Boulder or any affluent white neighborhood in America.

So how you carry yourself, what you wear and how you speak in the presence of law enforcement officers will make the difference of whether you live or die tonight.

Jann Scott has covered the police for over 20 years
by Jann Scott
Jann Scott’s Journal
from White Boulder
and now one of my favorite bands



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Disc Golf dangerous says Lafayette Neighbors


The following is an email sent twice to Lafayette Channel 1 news. It is written by Meredith Flynn and Barbara Jo Kammer who are gearing up for a fight with the Lafayette city council who plan on putting a Disc Golf course in the park across from their home. This is not simply a case of the neighbors being Nimbies, but a real concern for the safety . Further research by LC1 shows a history of serious injury in disc golf and its occurrence around the USA. Injuries include missing digits and severe brain trauma. The discs are hard and move at up to 80 miles per hour. They are not freebies. Who would have guessed?

11 disc golfSusan Koster, the City Clerk, got back to me on our questions. If we have handouts, we give them to her before the meeting and she will put them at the Councilors’ places on the dais.

Each speaker is allowed 5 minutes. Council will listen to everyone. If there are so many people that Council is unable to conduct their scheduled business, they may opt to convene another meeting in order to give everyone an opportunity to speak. Susan said this is totally up to Council and she cannot predict what they might do.

I put together a summary of ten main points why disc golf does not belong at Waneka Lake. Let me know if you have any additions or changes you think should be made.


Top Ten Reasons Why a Disc Golf Course Does Not Belong at Waneka Lake Park

1. It’s not what the majority of Lafayette citizens want.

According to the Lafayette Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Master Plan Survey 2012, pages 27-31, Disc Golf ranked very low in the list of outdoor facilities that people want added, improved, or expanded.  What ranked high on the list was “Additional park areas incorporating both native and manicured park type”. If you take a native park area and turn it into a disc golf course, you are taking away something people have told the city they want more of and giving the people something they have told the city they have little interest in.

2. It’s unlawful.

Lafayette Code of Ordinances, Chapter 80, Article 4

Sec. 80-59. Firearms and other missiles prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to use, carry, or possess air rifles, spring guns, bow and arrows, slings, or any other forms of weapons; it shall further be unlawful to possess or use fireworks of any kind or nature; it shall further be unlawful to play golf or hit any golf balls.

(Ord. No. 1985-15, § 2, 6-4-85; Ord. No. 2005-8, § 1, 3-1-05)

Golf balls are included in the section on “prohibited missiles”. According to the city’s own code, it is unlawfull to hit golf balls at Waneka Lake Park. A golf disc is a “missile” that can cause every bit as much—if not more—damage to person and property than a golf ball and therefore should be prohibited from the park according to Lafayette’s Code of Ordinances.

3.  It will result in environmental degradation.

Even the Professional Disc Golf Players Association acknowledges that a major concern with disc golf is soil erosion. The article “Assessing the Ecological Impact Due to Disc Golf” in the International Journal of Sport Management, Recreation & Tourism examines the ecological footprint of disc golf. In the study, three ecological markers were used as indicators of ecological degradation: soil erosion, soil compaction and density of vegetation cover. Results from the study conclude that disc golf significantly increases soil compaction, which yields greater soil erosion and a decrease in vegetation cover. Soil compaction due to human trampling is a problem with severe consequences. (See “Ecological Impact Due to Disc Golf” article attached to this email).

4.  It’s potentially dangerous.

Discs used in disc golf are not the same as the Frisbees people use to play catch. They weigh 3 ½ times more than a golf ball. Even junior players can throw discs at 40MPH. More accomplished players can throw discs at speeds up to 75 and 80MPH. People hit by flying discs can be severely injured. Given where the current holes are placed, discs are going to be flying across heavily used trails. Even if disc golfers yell “fore” warnings, many people walk with headphones and won’t hear.

5. It is not compatible with the existing use of the park.

To help him design better disc golf courses at Boy Scout camps, Steve West created a statistical model of Boy Scout disc golf skills. He collected data on how far and how accurately Boy Scouts throw a disc. From this data, a model was developed for simulating large numbers of throws. His model can be used to replace guesses about where the discs will land with numbers based on data. The average Boy Scout routinely throws discs as much as 120 feet or more to the right or left of the fairway. If West’s scatter plots are superimposed on top of the proposed holes at the Waneka Lake Park, you will see that discs are going to cross well used trails, hit the Waneka Granary (which is on the Lafayette Register of Historic Places), land in streets and back yards.

6.  Disc golfing requires a large amount of space devoted to a single use.

Regardless of the intent of the disc golf course creators, the nature of disc golf has the effect of discouraging non-golfers from using the area. What typically happens is that once a course is installed, players came to consider it as their own and show little patience for other casual users of the area. Since it makes sense that no one takes a casual walk through a regular golf course, they will most likely not, for their own safety, take a walk on a well-used disc golf course either.

7. Other cities are closing down disc golf courses due to safety and environmental degradation.

8. Sufficient time was not allowed for input from stakeholders.

A letter was sent out April 24 to people whose homes are adjacent to the course. The letter said the Recreation and Parks Departments were “in the process” of developing a disc golf course and that comments and questions would be accepted through May 9, giving the impression that the city was accepting input as to whether or not this disc golf course was a good idea. Yet at the very same time the letter went out, an announcement that a disc golf course “is coming” to Waneka Lake this summer was posted at the lake indicating that the installation of the course was a done deal and any comments or questions Parks and Rec receives in reality do not matter. No one other than the people living adjacent to the course was notified. Even though the Waneka Granary will undoubtedly be hit by flying discs, the Historical Society was not notified. The birding groups that frequent the park were not notified. Many people other than those living right by the park have a stake in how that land is used, yet no one was notified. This leaves the impression that this whole project is being rail-roaded through by the Recreation and Parks Departments.

9. The current disc golf course is underutilized and in disrepair.

The disc golf course at the Bob Burger Recreation Center fell into disuse and disrepair. If that course fell into disrepair, what is to prevent a course at Waneka Lake from falling into disrepair?

10. Because of growing safety concerns, disc golf course designers recommend disc golf courses be exclusive use only.

The following is a quote from Gregg Hosfeld who is:

3-time Professional Disc Golf Association World Champion
4-time United States Grand Master Disc Golf Champion
Disc Golf Hall of Fame inductee-Class of 1998
World Record Holder: “Most Courses Played” – 1,151
Disc Golf Design Group-Senior Designer
Co-founder World Champion Disc Golf Design

“I truly LOVE seeing the growing popularity of disc golf. I’ve been competing in tournaments since 1976 and giving lessons since the early 80s.  I think it is a wonderful game for the entire family.

In the late 1970′s when disc golf was introduced, ALL flying discs were fairly lightweight and rounded edged. In other words, great for lofty flights and a game of throw & catch. As the game became more competitive and more geared toward sport, weight was added and then more streamlined aerodynamics were introduced. Over the years, these aerodynamics have been refined into some fast midrange discs and VERY fast “drivers”. Along with the “improvements” in disc technology, so must awareness of what that brings to the game. These high-tech discs, in the hands of a pro, can produce seemingly magically controlled flights. But in the hands of an inexperienced player, they can veer radically off the intended course.  Very similar to a ’1-wood’ in standard golf in that regard. Simply put, “Faster” is harder to control. Same with cars, airplanes and anything hand propelled. I NEVER recommend these high-speed discs to newer players. Nor can I stop them.

With that in mind, we should consider that golf courses are designed to be exclusive-use areas; golf ONLY. Why? Those little balls are hard and they can hurt. Disc golf has been increasingly moving in the direction of exclusive-use areas, for the same reasons of safety. Any responsible disc golf course designer understands that. Unfortunately, many people in the parks & rec industry are only vaguely familiar with the game and have no reason to think that discs are any different now than in the 1970s.”


Polar bears are already drowning in climate change


With incredible simplicity this visually stunning ad will show people that polar bears are dying right now — but we can save them. It will direct viewers to a dedicated “take action” website that will make it very easy for them connect with other polar bear advocates and to call and write the White House and Congress. The Center for Biodiversity is seeking donations to put this ad on television. Contact them if you want to help. The new ad is even better than the 2008 version, which reached 90 million people and forced President Bush to protect polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. But we’re running out of time to make it happen. We need just $10,000 more this week to make the ad a go. Please donate $35, $50 or $100 today to save the polar bear.

Population Size Declines   In southern portions of their range, like Hudson Bay, Canada, there is no sea ice during the summer, and the polar bears must live on land until the Bay freezes in the fall, whereupon they can again hunt on the ice. While on land during the summer, these bears eat little or nothing. In just 20 years the ice-free period in Hudson Bay has increased by an average of 20 days, cutting short polar bears’ seal hunting season by nearly three weeks. The ice is freezing later in the fall, but it is the earlier spring ice melt that is especially difficult for the bears. They have a narrower timeframe in which to hunt during the critical season when seal pups are born.

As a result, average bear weight has dropped by 15 percent, causing reproduction rates to decline. The Hudson Bay population is down more than 20 percent.  Retreating Sea Ice Platforms The retreat of ice has implications beyond the obvious habitat loss. Remaining ice is farther from shore, making it less accessible. The larger gap of open water between the ice and land also contributes to rougher wave conditions, making the bears’ swim from shore to sea ice more hazardous. In 2004, biologists discovered four drowned polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, and suspect the actual number of drowned bears may have been considerably greater. Never before observed, biologists attributed the drowning to a combination of retreating ice and rougher seas.

Scarcity of Food Exacerbating the problems of the loss of hunting areas, it is expected that the shrinking polar ice cap will also cause a decline in polar bears’ prey — seals. The reduction in ice platforms near productive areas for the fish that the seals eat affects their nutritional status and reproduction rates.   Polar bears are going hungry for longer periods of time, resulting in cannibalistic behavior. Although it has long been known polar bears will kill for dominance or kill cubs so they can breed with the female, outright predation for food was previously unobserved by biologists. Polar Bear Status In 2008, the polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act primarily because of the decline of its primary habitat: sea ice. The Secretary of Interior listed the polar bear as threatened but restricted the Endangered Species Act’s protections and thus the polar bear’s future is still very much in jeopardy. The polar bear is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” of the serious threat global warming poses to wildlife species around the world, unless we take immediate and significant action to reduce global warming pollution.

jonbenet police-chief-mark-beckner

Police end silence on JonBenet murder


Cops say The Ramseys did it. There was no intruder. It’s about time.

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Police and Grand Jury say they did it,


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No non-sense Chief Mark Beckner looking right at you

Investigators at the time were disappointed in the then district attorney’s decision not to issue indictments.  Cases are rarely perfect and often contain conflicting evidence.  As a result, the opportunity to present the entire case to a jury may be lost forever.  We also understand the criteria for taking a case to trial is higher than probable cause.

What we have learned from this experience is how important the relationships are between police departments which investigate cases and the district attorneys who ultimately prosecute cases.    These roles should always remain clear. At the same time, both agencies must work collaboratively together as a team.  Under District Attorney Stan Garnett, we’ve been able to develop a team approach – with both agencies aiming for similar goals – to achieve unprecedented success in prosecuting cold cases, most of which had been rejected for prosecution under previous district attorneys.  Justice, and the public interest, is better served with this type of collaboration and shared focus.



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Mountain Community Debris Removal Beginning Nov. 4





Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County is contracting with a removal company to begin roadside pickup of flood debris in the mountain communities. This is a large project that will span several weeks, and will depend on weather conditions and impending snow. We are asking residents to follow the guidelines listed below in order to help this project progress as efficiently as possible in the limited time we have before major snow falls limit our access even further.

flood debris mt


What: Removal of household debris, woody debris (vegetation), and mud, silt etc.

When: Beginning the week of Nov. 4

Where: Removal trucks will drive down all accessible, county maintained mountain roads which are west of Hwy 36 and Hwy 93


  • Debris piles should be 3ft from the side of the roadway to allow for any snow removal operations
  • Do not block the roadway, waterways or any culverts with debris
  • Debris removal vehicles will only be able to access existing, county maintained, accessible roads at this time; unmaintained Jeep roads will not be serviced
  • In order to follow state laws, and to allow for composting operations, please separate debris into 4 piles:
    • General household debris
    • Electronics and appliances
    • Woody debris (vegetation)
    • Mud, silt, sand and rock


The debris haulers have a potential reach of about 8ft from the edge of the road lane; for that reason, debris piles should be as close to the 3ft boundary along the road as possible so it can be reached and collected.


If time and weather permit debris collection trucks may make multiple trips up and down roads.  However, we encourage residents to move debris to the road as soon as possible. There is no harm in leaving a debris pile near the roadway for a week or more before the truck makes it to your area.


If your property is on the other side of the creek from a major roadway, and you have no way of transporting debris to the accessible roadway, please do not push debris piles down into the creek. Any excess debris in the creeks can potentially cause more flooding downstream during normal spring runoff.


Please remember to be cautious when driving while these large debris haulers are on the road. There will be signage and flaggers warning of the presence of the trucks, but slower speeds and heightened awareness will help lessen any problems on the tight mountain curves.


Boulder County will issue a notification when the debris pickup project is coming to a close and ask residents to assemble any final debris piles before service is concluded.


For any questions about debris pickup in the mountain communities, please contact ReSource Conservation at 720-564-2220 or


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CU researchers find hyper evolution in walking stick insects


Poorly camouflaged insects can kick
off a cascade of ecological impacts,
new CU-Boulder study finds

A California walking stick insect that has evolved to produce individuals with two distinct appearances—an all-green form that camouflages well with broader leaves and a form with a white stripe running down its back that blends better with needle-like leaves—can markedly affect its broader ecological community when the appearance of the bug is mismatched with the plant it’s living on.

The new findings, based on research carried out at the University of Colorado Boulder, illustrate the ability of rapid evolution to cause a cascade of ecological impacts.

Can you find the camouflaged insect?

Can you find the camouflaged insect?

The scientists found that a walking stick insect that is not well camouflaged is more likely to be eaten by birds, and in turn, those birds are then also more likely to feast on the spiders, caterpillars, plant hoppers, ants and other arthropods living on the same plant. The resulting overall reduction in bugs living on the plant also means that the plant itself was less likely to be attacked by sap-feeding insects.

“Our study shows that the evolution of poor camouflage in one species can affect all the other species living there and affect the plant as well,” said Tim Farkas, lead author of the study published in the journal Current Biology. “It’s intuitive, but also really surprising.”

Farkas led the study as an ecology and evolutionary biology doctoral student in Assistant Professor Patrik Nosil’s lab at CU-Boulder. Nosil and CU-Boulder doctoral student Aaron Comeault are also study co-authors. All three have since moved to the University of Sheffield in England.

Evolution is often thought of as a process that unfolds slowly over centuries if not millennia, as individuals with genetic advantages have a greater chance of surviving to pass down their genes to the next generation.

But scientists are increasingly identifying instances when evolution works on a much shorter time scale. An oft-cited example of rapid evolution is the peppered moth. The light-colored moths were historically able to camouflage themselves against lichen-covered tree bark in England. A darker variant of the moth existed but was more rare, since birds were able to easily spot the dark moth against the light trees. But during the industrial revolution, when soot blackened the trees, natural selection favored a darker variation of the moth, which began to flourish while the light-colored variant became less common.

Evolution on such a rapid scale opens up the possibility that the process could have ecological effects in the short term, impacting population sizes or changing the community makeup, for example.

Researchers have begun to compile examples of these “eco-evolutionary dynamics.” The new study offers some of the most comprehensive evidence yet that evolution can drive ecological change.

“We have combined both experimental and observational data with mathematical modeling to show that evolution causes ecological effects and that it does so under natural conditions,” Farkas said. “We also focused simultaneously on multiple evolutionary processes—including natural selection and gene flow—rather than just one, which affords us some unique insights.”

Farkas and his colleagues—including Ilkka Hanski and Tommi Mononen, both of the University of Helsinki in Finland—focused their attention on the walking stick Timema cristinae, which lives in Southern California. The flightless insect lives primarily on two shrubs: chamise, which has narrow, needle-like leaves; and greenbark ceanothus, which has broad, oval-shaped leaves. The variant of the walking sticks that have a white stripe down their backs are better camouflaged on the chamise, while the solid-green walking sticks are better camouflaged on the greenbark ceanothus.

The research team began by cataloguing the walking sticks living on the two types of shrubs in 186 research patches, and determined that the striped walking sticks were indeed more common on chamise and vice versa.

Maybe this one should be tagged a walking {twig).

Maybe this one should be tagged a walking {twig).

In a second experiment, the researchers artificially stocked the needle-like chamise with the different variants of walking sticks. A month later, they sampled the shrubs and found that more striped walking sticks survived than un-striped walking sticks. They also found that chamise stocked with striped walking sticks were home to a greater number of arthropods as well as a greater variety of arthropods than shrubs stocked with un-striped walking sticks. Finally, there were more leaves damaged by hungry insects on chamise stocked with striped walking sticks.

The scientists surmised that the differences were caused by scrub jays and other birds that feed on walking sticks. A group of easy-to-spot walking sticks could attract birds, which might then feed on other arthropods as well. To test their idea, the researchers repeated the experiment, but in this case, they caged some of the shrubs to keep the birds from feeding. As they expected, the caged chamise stocked with un-striped walking sticks did not have the same drop in numbers as they did when the bushes were not caged.

Studies of how rapid evolution can affect the ecology of populations, communities and ecosystems are difficult to accomplish and therefore rare,” Farkas said. “We’re hoping our research helps biologists to appreciate the extent of dynamic interplay between ecology and evolution, and that it can be used by applied scientists to combat emerging threats to biodiversity, ecosystem services, and food security.”

Funding for the study was provided by CU-Boulder, the European Research Council and the Academy of Finland.


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All Boulder OSMP properties closed until further notice


Parks conditions could be dangerous and rescuers are otherwise occupied 

In the wake of torrential rain and flooding, the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department requests that citizens respect an emergency order and stay off all OSMP properties. The flooding has caused rockslides and mudslides, which have led to the destabilized bridges and other significant hazards.


Many trees have had their roots compromised, and there is a danger they may come down suddenly. Rocks have also been tumbling down hillsides and they could cause serious injury. Staff needs time to identify and mitigate these dangerous situations.

The Flatirons and other OSMP properties are closed indefinitely..due to rain damage

The Flatirons and other OSMP properties are closed indefinitely..due to rain damage




“Teams that normally assist injured people on OSMP are busy with search and rescue effort around the county,” said Joe Reale, OSMP’s ranger supervisor. “First responder resources are limited at this time.”


OSMP staff members are working hard at assessing the damage. OSMP will reopen areas of the system when it is determined that areas are safe and that users will not be causing additional resource damage.


City Manager Jane Brautigam issued an emergency order Thursday (Sept. 12) afternoon that closed all OSMP properties in response to rain and flooding that has caused these safety concerns. The order is in effect until further notice.



Jennelle Freeston

Coordinator of Volunteer Services

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks

66 South Cherryvale Rd.

Boulder, CO 80303



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CU-Boulder team develops potential new hydrogen fuel technology


A University of Colorado Boulder team has developed a radically new technique that uses the power of sunlight to efficiently split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen, paving the way for the broad use of hydrogen as a clean, green fuel.

The CU-Boulder team has devised a solar-thermal system in which sunlight could be concentrated by a vast array of mirrors onto a single point atop a central tower up to several hundred feet tall. The tower would gather heat generated by the mirror system to roughly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,350 Celsius), then deliver it into a reactor containing chemical compounds known as metal oxides, said CU-Boulder Professor Alan Weimer, research group leader.

As a metal oxide compound heats up, it releases oxygen atoms, changing its material composition and causing the newly formed compound to seek out new oxygen atoms, said Weimer.  The team showed that the addition of steam to the system — which could be produced by boiling water in the reactor with the concentrated sunlight beamed to the tower — would cause oxygen from the water molecules to adhere to the surface of the metal oxide, freeing up hydrogen molecules for collection as hydrogen gas.


“We have designed something here that is very different from other methods and frankly something that nobody thought was possible before,” said Weimer of the chemical and biological engineering department. “Splitting water with sunlight is the Holy Grail of a sustainable hydrogen economy.”

A paper on the subject was published in the Aug. 2 issue of Science. The team included co-lead authors Weimer and Associate Professor Charles Musgrave, first author and doctoral student Christopher Muhich, postdoctoral researcher Janna Martinek, undergraduate Kayla Weston, former CU graduate student Paul Lichty, former CU postdoctoral researcher Xinhua Liang and former CU researcher Brian Evanko.


One of the key differences between the CU method and other methods developed to split water is the ability to conduct two chemical reactions at the same temperature, said Musgrave, also of the chemical and biological engineering department. While there are no working models, conventional theory holds that producing hydrogen through the metal oxide process requires heating the reactor to a high temperature to remove oxygen, then cooling it to a low temperature before injecting steam to re-oxidize the compound in order to release hydrogen gas for collection.


“The more conventional approaches require the control of both the switching of the temperature in the reactor from a hot to a cool state and the introduction of steam into the system,” said Musgrave. “One of the big innovations in our system is that there is no swing in the temperature. The whole process is driven by either turning a steam valve on or off.”

“Just like you would use a magnifying glass to start a fire, we can concentrate sunlight until it is really hot and use it to drive these chemical reactions,” said Muhich. “While we can easily heat it up to more than 1,350 degrees Celsius, we want to heat it to the lowest temperature possible for these chemical reactions to still occur. Hotter temperatures can cause rapid thermal expansion and contraction, potentially causing damage to both the chemical materials and to the reactors themselves.”

Solar Hydrogen engine

Solar Hydrogen engine

In addition, the two-step conventional idea for water splitting also wastes both time and heat, said Weimer, also a faculty member at CU-Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute. “There are only so many hours of sunlight in a day,” he said.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and by the U.S. Department of Energy.

With the new CU-Boulder method, the amount of hydrogen produced for fuel cells or for storage is entirely dependent on the amount of metal oxide — which is made up of a combination of iron, cobalt, aluminum and oxygen — and how much steam is introduced into the system. One of the designs proposed by the team is to build reactor tubes roughly a foot in diameter and several feet long, fill them with the metal oxide material and stack them on top of each other. A working system to produce a significant amount of hydrogen gas would require a number of the tall towers to gather concentrated sunlight from several acres of mirrors surrounding each tower.

Weimer said the new design began percolating within the team about two years ago. “When we saw that we could use this simpler, more effective method, it required a change in our thinking,” said Weimer.  “We had to develop a theory to explain it and make it believable and understandable to other scientists and engineers.”

Despite the discovery, the commercialization of such a solar-thermal reactor is likely years away. “With the price of natural gas so low, there is no incentive to burn clean energy,” said Weimer, also the executive director of the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2. “There would have to be a substantial monetary penalty for putting carbon into the atmosphere, or the price of fossil fuels would have to go way up.”

C2B2 is an arm of the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory involving CU-Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. The collaboratory works with industry partners, public agencies and other institutions to commercialize renewable energy technologies, support economic growth in the state and nation and educate the future workforce.

For more information on the chemical and biological engineering department visit For more information on C2B2 visit For more information on the Biofrontiers Institute visit


Noxious weeds on the city’s “hit” list



As a result of a state mandate to eliminate “List A” noxious weed species from all public and private property in Colorado communities, the City of Boulder is proposing an update to its existing weed ordinance to require property owners to remove the weeds from all properties.

myrtle spurge


“List A” weed species, as provided in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, are plants that have yet to be well established in Colorado but are either present in small populations or are invasive in nearby states. There are two species of “List A” weeds that are of most concern within Boulder’s city limits: myrtle spurge and Japanese knotweed.  The city was awarded a grant through the Colorado Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Management Fund to assist in an educational plan.



“Early detection and eradication of these particular species can prevent them from becoming a major problem in Colorado,” said city Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Rella Abernathy. “Most of these plants are ‘escaped’ ornamental plants and many residents may not realize that they present a threat to the natural lands surrounding Boulder and are illegal to grow here.”


These noxious, invasive plants can negatively impact biodiversity, threaten endangered species, degrade native habitat, displace wildlife, increase soil erosion, damage streams and other wetlands and increase the risk and frequency of wildfires if allowed to spread.  Boulder is in compliance with the Colorado Noxious Weed Act on city-owned properties but has not been enforcing the statue on private property.


The city will focus on education and outreach to notify the public of the requirements and to provide information for identification, environmentally-sound weed removal and suggested replacement plant options.


“A soft enforcement approach is being implemented with voluntary compliance being the goal and enforcement action being a last resort,” said Code Enforcement Supervisor Jennifer Riley.  “However, ticketing is possible if property owners do not comply with repeated requests from officers to address illegal weeds.”


Education will begin with a “Purge Your Spurge” event on May 18 where residents are encouraged to pull their myrtle spurge and exchange it for free native plants.  This event will occur as part of Boulder Community Day at the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Other education efforts will include a webpage; fact sheets; media engagement; outreach to nurseries, landscapers and lawn care companies; and code enforcement officers who assist with education in the field.


“Identifying and removing noxious weeds from private property can take some effort, but it’s important to prevent these weeds from spreading to our neighbors’ yards and ultimately to natural areas,” said Abernathy.  “Fortunately, only two of the weeds from the list are widespread within the Boulder city limits, myrtle spurge being the most common.  We want to make sure people can easily identify the weeds, know how to remove them safely and know what native plants can be used to replace them.”


Myrtle spurge has been commonly used as a decorative plant. People should be aware that it contains a white sap that can cause skin irritation including blistering if touched.  Those removing it should wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves and eye protection.  Removing at least four inches of the root is recommended to prevent its return.  It should be placed in a plastic bag and tightly fastened.  DON’T compost noxious weeds as that will cause the weed to spread.


The city’s weed ordinance is expected to be modified through a City Manager rule change, which will be published in the Daily Camera on May 3, as well as on the city’s website.  Public feedback will be accepted until May 20.   The rule is anticipated to go into effect on June 1, 2013.


For more information or to provide feedback on the proposed City Manager’s rule, contact Rella Abernathy at 303-441-1901.



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Boulder County Open Space: Picture Rock and Nelson Loop Trails Closed



Closed trailheads lie just southwest of the Town of Lyons


Boulder County, Colo. – The Picture Rock Trail at Heil Valley Ranch and the Nelson Loop at Hall Ranch are closed until further notice.



Recent and forecasted snowfall, combined with expected warm temperatures, will cause extremely muddy conditions and significant trail damage if these trails are used. The trails will reopen when staff determines conditions have improved and are stable.


All other trails at Heil Valley Ranch and Hall Ranch remain open at this time.


Check the latest trail conditions at

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