Posts tagged society

Boulder Army Store to Close

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After 68 years with one of the longest runs in retail on Pearl Street, Boulder Army Store will be closing by the end of December. The store released a statement today to all of its loyal shoppers. Management revealed the closing this morning by phone to Boulder Channel 1. The store  is closed now and will reopen on Thursday December 4, 2014 to begin it store closing liquidation sale.

ODDNESS The reason for the closing appears to be that Boulder Army Store could not negotiate a new lease with the building landlords The Boulder Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows have their lodge on the second floor. A member close to the odd fellows told us that they wanted Boulder Army Store out so they could triple the rent and put in a high end corporate chain store in that space. The Odd fellows are a 19th century fraternal order and secret society much like the Masons. They dress in costumes and funny hats: and have some pretty weird rituals which include keeping skeletons and preserved bodies in hidden closets. This symbolizes immortality. Odd Fellows Have Skeletons in Their Closets–and Their Walls and Attics The Odd Fellows have a group called Rebekahs for their wives who also dress up in weird costumes In recent years the odd fellows have been trying to re-image themselves since all of their members from the 20th century are dying off. By forcing the ever popular Boulder army Store out that is bound to increase their membership in Boulder. Actually, probably nothing will help their membership in Boulder since the Odd fellows is steeped in superstition, 19th century Christianity and is more akin to the Ku Klux Klan that Naropa.

BOULDER ARMY STORE on the other hand has been the authentic cool place to shop in Boulder for years. It is a family owned business by Pat and Shannon Long. The store was started by their father in 1948. When the young hip sons took over in the 1970′s it became the  place for Outdoor enthusiast to shop. That is until REI, Montbello, Patagonia and  the other chains moved in.  The millennials and rich start up kids flocked to these West cost corporate stores which put another nail in Boulders coffin.

Pat Long the stores GM said in a nutshell  ” It is time ”  Fortunately the Longs have similar stores in Glenwood Springs and Denver so this is simply a store closing from a business sense.  But the employees at this store will be out Jobs. Most of them have worked there for 20, 30, or 40 years: since they were kids. Some of them are now senior citizens.  Boulder Army store is one of those stores like Bart’s Records or Village coffee Shop which really represent the soul of Boulder. You can’t say that about REI or Patagonia with all of their slick marketing and new kid brashness. Boulder Army Store is old boulder staffed by long time out door enthusiasts who know every trail in the state by memory. This is a tremendous loss for Boulder.

City of Boulder Office of Arts + Culture

City of Boulder Office of Arts + Culture

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Jann talks with the people who run the City of Boulder Office of Arts and Culture and what they do for the local community to educate and promote arts in the society.

To Find out more and take a quick survey visit: http://boulderarts.org

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

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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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Boulder radical leftists back Hamas terrorism by Jann Scott Editorial

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Boulder Parade of LightsI just can’t stand by while RNPJ and the Daily Camera back Hamas and Palestine. It is  hatred of America. This is treasonous Jann Scott Live 5editorial behavior.

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center views the United States as an imperialist nation who are out to suppress Muslims, the homeless in Boulder and the rest of the world. In accordance radical leftists in Boulder often back terrorists like Hamas or Alcaida. Osama bin Ladin loved the American left because they had so much in common. RNPJ rhetoric is the same as radical Islam.

Messages to the world by Osma bin Ladin review by Simon Kovar of the Liberal
“It is true that bin Laden’s statements define his jihad as reactive: that is, as a legitimate response to Western aggression against Muslims, and one that will cease once its causes have been removed. But let us be clear about what he perceives those causes to be. They include the “Crusader-Jewish” presence in all the lands of Islam. By this he is not referring solely to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, or to Israel’s incursions beyond its 1967 borders. He is referring to the entirety of Israel-Palestine, and (a tricky one for the EU) to Moorish Spain. Bin Laden goes further: “In our religion, it is not permissible for any non-Muslim to stay in our country” (emphasis added). Lawrence et al. might view giving bin Laden what he wants as a “rational” response to the threat of terrorism, but moral honesty requires that we call this solution what it is: ethnic cleansing as a mode of appeasement.

History, of course, teaches us that such fantasies can never be satisfied. And here we come to a second problem with Lawrence’s analysis, one he himself alludes to in his introduction but does not resolve. While “rationality” might tell us that bin Laden’s foe is “American imperialism”, bin Laden himself has an intriguing habit of telling us that his real concern is actually something else: what he calls “global unbelief”. The unbelievers are the Jews, the Christians, and more generally, the liberal, “permissive” societies of the West, epitomized by the US, although bin Laden is explicit in identifying the Jews as the root evil. There can be no permanent peace with the Jews, he states, and scripture demands their annihilation before the Day of Judgement may arrive. American society – its economy, media and politics – is subordinated to the Jews. More generally: “Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews, and hates Christians”.

I know there are a lot of you vulnerable new lefties in Boulder, but if you think for your self and not follow the new business startup new atheist crowd down this path, you won’t regret it later. Israel is exactly who they say they are. A modern peace loving country who are trying to live their lives in their little corner of the world. Of course the united states would back them. The Arab nations and Palestine Hamas are unfortunately mostly backward third world countries steeped in hatred, antisemitism and tribal fighting. It is Hamas who are monsters. Before them it was the Palestinian Liberation Army. Remember these are the people who murdered the entire Isreali 1972 Olympic team in Munich.

I covered for International Times in London. I covered the PLO, Yassir Arafat and watched Muslim Jihadists try to Kill Jews and Americans over the past 40 years. Right . I don’t get it. Why are radical Islamist trying to kill all Jews and Christians.

We are not trying to kill them. Hamas tries to penetrate Israels Iron dome. They attack Israel. Then Israel retaliates in a thunderous response. Wouldn’t you?

America ?? Do not mistake Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton ( when she gets there) Any attacks or attempted attack on American soil by radical Muslims will be met with a terrifying response from the USA. Look what happened after 911. Look what is happening now. Look at our NSA, FBI and CIA. Look at all of our special forces. Look at our financing of intelligence gathering world wide. It is 10 x what it was pre 911.

I would also not rule out our use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Really? yes. If one of the radical Arab nations gets their hands on a nuke and uses it against Israel or us you can expect nuclear retaliation from Israel and the United States backed by Russia china, India and Pakistan.

I would not rule out a widening Middle Eastern war and African war where the nuclear powers would invade, conquer and occupy all of the Arab nations for good. if one nuclear weapon goes off there, watch and see. Islam will become a religion of the past; or at least the uncivilized kind will be outlawed.

Jann Scott

Jann Scott is the voice of reason, culture and careful thought in

Boulder Colorado

University of Colorado

CU study: We’re not so different than the Ancients

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Ancient settlements and modern cities follow same
rules of development, says CU-Boulder researcher

Recently derived equations that describe development patterns in modern urban areas appear to work equally well to describe ancient cities settled thousands of years ago, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“This study suggests that there is a level at which every human society is actually very similar,” said Scott Ortman, assistant professor of anthropology at CU-Boulder and lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE. “This awareness helps break down the barriers between the past and present and allows us to view contemporary cities as lying on a continuum of all human settlements in time and place.”

Over the last several years, Ortman’s colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), including Professor Luis Bettencourt, a co-author of the study, have developed mathematical models that describe how modern cities change as their populations grow. For example, scientists know that as a population increases, its settlement area becomes denser, while infrastructure needs per capita decrease and economic production per capita rises.

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Ortman noticed that the variables used in these equations, such as cost of moving around, the size of the settled area, the population, and the benefits of people interacting, did not depend on any particular modern technology.

“I realized that if these models are adequate for explaining what’s going on in contemporary cities, they should apply to any settlements in any society,” he said. “So if these models are on the right track, they should apply to ancient societies too.”

To test his idea, Ortman used data that had been collected in the 1960s about 1,500 settlements in central Mexico that spanned from 1,150 years B.C. through the Aztec period, which ended about 500 years ago. The data included the number of dwellings the archaeologists were able to identify, the total settled area and the density of pottery fragments scattered on the surface. Taken together, these artifacts give an indication of the total population numbers and settlement density of the ancient sites.

“We started analyzing the data in the ways we were thinking about with modern cities, and it showed that the models worked,” Ortman said.

The discovery that ancient and modern settlements may develop in similar and predictable ways has implications both for archaeologists and people studying today’s urban areas. For example, it’s common for archaeologists to assume that population density is constant, no matter how large the settlement area, when estimating the population of ancient cities. The new equations could offer a way for archaeologists to get a more accurate head count, by incorporating the idea that population density tends to grow as total area increases.

In the future, the equations may also guide archaeologists in getting an idea of what they’re likely to find within a given settlement based on its size, such as the miles of roads and pathways. The equations could also guide expectations about the number of different activities that took place in a settlement and the division of labor.

“There should be a relationship between the population of settlements and the productivity of labor,” Ortman said. “So, for example, we would expect larger social networks to be able to produce more public monuments per capita than smaller settlements.”

The findings of the new study may also be useful to studies of modern societies. Because ancient settlements were typically less complex than today’s cities, they offer a simple “model system” for testing the equations devised to explain modern cities.

“The archaeological record actually provides surprisingly clear tests of these models, and in some cases it’s actually much harder to collect comparable data from contemporary cities,” Ortman said.

Other co-authors of the study include Andrew Cabaniss of Santa Fe Institute and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Jennie Sturm of the University of New Mexico.

The study is available at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087902.

-CU-

 

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We are under attack, and not just by Jihadists

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Capitalism’s Crisis of Value and Imagination
Saturday, 08 February 2014 09:33
By Max Haiven, Zed Books/Truthout | Book Excerpt

You, dear reader, are on the front lines of a war. It is a war between money and the earth, between capital and people, between the blunt stupidity of greed and the resilient creativity of humanity. Perhaps they have destroyed or will destroy the ecosystem in which you live in the name of profit. Perhaps your body or your soul is wrecked or in the process of breaking down because you must work a meaningless, oppressive job to make enough money to survive – or perhaps you like your job but feel the ever-present shadow of the axe in this age of budget cuts and rationalization.

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Perhaps you are devalued by the colour of your skin, the country of your origin, or your perceived gender or sexuality and feel that devaluation in the form of prejudice, exploitation, intimidation or xenophobia. Usually you will feel it economically too. Perhaps you are among or will be among those statistics that indicate that the largest single cause of the breakdown of marriages and relationships is financial hardship.

Perhaps you can no longer recognize yourself after years of seeking success or enduring failure. Perhaps you feel guilty for the ways your economic privilege is fed by the exploitation of others, the way your (relatively) cheap iPod or clothing depends on the incarceration of young people in factories on the other side of the earth. In any case, unless you are extremely fortunate, or extremely avaricious, what and who you love and value has been or will be undermined by capitalism at some point and in some way.

Of Value and Values
According to free-market ideologues, capitalism is the ultimate system for assigning value to the world’s wealth. By bringing people’s wants, needs and desires together into an open market, capitalism will accurately and efficiently price things as diverse as the cost of an hour of a shoemaker’s time, a loaf of bread, the value of a river, or the price of a song on iTunes. These utopian dreamers, whose thinking has become associated with the term ‘neoliberalism’, believe that by mobilizing people’s competitiveness and inherently acquisitive human nature, capitalism is, ultimately, value-neutral – markets are simply egalitarian arenas of exchange.

The truth, of course, is quite different. The value of the market itself has become the overarching and unquestionable arbiter of almost every aspect of human existence today. All social, moral, ethical, and personal values are subordinate to the value of money. The result is a system where, in almost every case, the perceived needs of the market trump any other considerations.

Consider, for instance, the dramatic failure of some of the largest assemblies of world leaders in human history to take meaningful action in the face of global warming and the catastrophic climate change it will unleash. In spite of an unprecedented near-consensus of global scientists, and in spite of the evidence that the continuation of present levels of carbon emissions would lead to the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of millions (perhaps billions) of (mostly poor, brown) people, it was ultimately decided that the perceived needs of capitalist markets were more important, and that no action that in any way impeded or jeopardized ‘economic growth’ would be taken.

The rest of us

The rest of us

Such a perversion of any reasonable notion of what is valuable is, sadly, neither new nor shocking. It occurs everywhere, all the time. Individuals and communities around the world are left to languish in poverty, ill health and strife because markets demand lower taxes, access to resources and cheap labour. Whole nations and populations are ruined by speculative investment because markets desire the unfettered ability to gamble on currencies, food prices and government bonds. In the age of austerity, hospitals, pensions, mental health services, schools and universities and even civil infrastructure must be abandoned in the name of plugging the bleeding holes in the crisis-ridden market. And everywhere the value of the earth and the value of individuals and their labour is measured exclusively in their capacity to render profit for increasingly uncontrollable and unanswerable corporations and the god-like market they serve.

The process is insidious. We are told that the value of the atmosphere itself is best imagined though ‘carbon credits’, that the value of individuals is best imagined through the price of their time in the form of wages, or that the value of schools, universities and other public institutions is to be measured in the fiscal ‘return on investment’ they afford their ‘customers’. Everywhere, money becomes the measure of the imagination, the means by which we comprehend and act upon the world that we share. And, ultimately, the crises we now face (the ecological crisis; the economic crisis of global markets; the political crisis of austerity; the social crisis of alienation; the cultural crisis of dislocation; the food crisis; the water crisis; the crisis of education; the crisis of incarceration) are all crises of value, where the pathological value of the market is diametrically opposed to the plural values of humanity.

The Crises of Capitalism, Crises of the Imagination
The crises of our age, like the crises of ages past, are the crises of capitalism. In this book, capitalism represents a cancerous disorder in the ‘fabric’ of social reproduction, one that works by perverting our sense of what and who is valuable and conscripting us to reproduce a system that works in the short-term interests of the few and against the interests of the vast majority of humanity. The failure to acknowledge that the many global crises we now face are, inherently, crises of capitalism represents a massive failure of the imagination. And without the radicalization of the imagination, we have no hope of overcoming these crises.

The crisis of the imagination develops on several interconnected levels.
First, it represents a crisis of parochialism. While the 2008 financial crisis came as a shock to many in the global North, it came as no surprise to many in the so-called Third World who have been experiencing the dangerous volatilities of financial markets, predatory lending and extortionary debt for generations. Indeed, ‘austerity’, from one perspective, is merely the application of economic discipline to the First World that once was only reserved for former colonies: the maddeningly bull-headed imposition of a neoliberal economic agenda in spite of its inherent flaws and history of abject failures. The idea that capitalism has ever not been in crisis is a privilege afforded to the privileged. As the capitalist crises deepen and widen, swallowing many who once imagined themselves deservingly immune (notably, the Northern white middle class), the imagination struggles to find purchase.

The crises we now face are also crises of the imagination at the heart of the ruling paradigm. The pompous and enthusiastic announcements of the ‘end of history’ and the eternal and unquestionable value of free markets and global trade which characterized the two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall have given way to hopeless resignation. While practically no one still believes that unfettered free markets will lead to prosperity, sustainability, peace and human fulfillment, the vast majority of politicians and policymakers remain enthralled to the now undead ideology of necroneoliberalism. Margaret Thatcher’s famous dictum that ‘there is no alternative’ to unregulated capitalism has ceased to be a smug, self-satisfied pronouncement from on high and has instead become a shrill and desperate mantra of a crisis-ridden and potentially suicidal system, rehearsed with slavish devotion by nearly every government in the world, whether avowedly right or ostensibly left.

Finally, the crisis of imagination is a much deeper, broader crisis, which is the subject of this book.

Economic systems, for all their material wealth and very real relations of labour, exploitation, violence, hunger and tangible inequality, are also dependent on the imagination. As I argue more fully in this book, capitalism relies not only on the brutal repression of workers in factories and fields; it also relies on conscripting our imaginations.

On a basic level, it relies on each of us imagining ourselves as essentially isolated, lonely, competitive economic agents. It relies on us imagining that the system is the natural expression of human nature, or that it is too powerful to be changed, or that no other system could ever be desirable. Capitalism, as a system, is driven by a process whereby the plural, living values of humanity, for all their contradictions and vagaries, are translated, transformed and subordinated to the monolithic, singular value of capital. We reproduce our lives, our society and our world through cooperation, and our cooperation is guided by what and who we imagine is valuable. Capitalism is a system that drives and relies on the conscription of that imaginative process of valuing and the subordination of all value to price.

While the system is ultimately held in place by the threat and exercise of very real violence and the concentration of very material wealth and power in the hands of the ruling class, its imaginary and imaginative dimensions cannot be ignored. For instance, sexism, racism, homophobia and nationalism are, for all intents and purposes, forms of power essential to the reproduction of capitalist social and economic relations based, ultimately, on largely imagined attributions of value to individuals. Those who are empowered by these value systems, in turn, typically use their power to reproduce the system. Ranks, hierarchies and other forms of coercive authority are, in spite of the fact that they are often backed by real wealth, privilege and violence, ultimately imaginary distinctions between people. In all these cases, inequality, oppression and exploitation based on imaginary distinctions are central to the reproduction of capitalism, and also reproduced by and within that system.

So the crisis of imagination is also a crisis we all experience every day, a crisis in how and who and what we value, a crisis in the patterns by which we imagine the world around us and, hence, act in the world, a crisis in the way we, as social, cooperative beings, reproduce our world and are reproduced by it. Essentially, a crisis occurs when the reproduction of capitalism comes into conflict with the reproduction of life and happiness.

Solar eruption could be like an attack on the Earth

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CU-Boulder scientist: 2012 solar storm
points up need for society to prepare

A massive ejection of material from the sun initially traveling at over 7 million miles per hour that narrowly missed Earth last year is an event solar scientists hope will open the eyes of policymakers regarding the impacts and mitigation of severe space weather, says a University of Colorado Boulder professor.

The coronal mass ejection, or CME, event was likely more powerful than the famous Carrington storm of 1859, when the sun blasted Earth’s atmosphere hard enough twice to light up the sky from the North Pole to Central America and allowed New Englanders to read their newspapers at night by aurora light, said CU-Boulder Professor Daniel Baker. Had it hit Earth, the July 2012 event likely would have created a technological disaster by short-circuiting satellites, power grids, ground communication equipment and even threatening the health of astronauts and aircraft crews, he said.

CMEs are part of solar storms and can send billions of tons of solar particles in the form of gas bubbles and magnetic fields off the sun’s surface and into space.  The storm events essentially peel Earth’s magnetic field like an onion, allowing energetic solar wind particles to stream down the field lines to hit the atmosphere over the poles.

Fortunately, the 2012 solar explosion occurred on the far side of the rotating sun just a week after that area was pointed toward Earth, said Baker, a solar scientist and the director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. But NASA’s STEREO-A, satellite that was flying ahead of the Earth as the planet orbited the sun, captured the event, including the intensity of the solar wind, the interplanetary magnetic field and a rain of solar energetic particles into space.

“My space weather colleagues believe that until we have an event that slams Earth and causes complete mayhem, policymakers are not going to pay attention,” he said. “The message we are trying to convey is that we made direct measurements of the 2012 event and saw the full consequences without going through a direct hit on our planet.”

Baker will give a presentation on the subject at the 46th Annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union held in San Francisco Dec. 9 to Dec. 13.

While typical coronal mass ejections from the sun take two or three days to reach Earth, the 2012 event traveled from the sun’s surface to Earth in just 18 hours. “The speed of this event was as fast or faster than anything that has been seen in the modern space age,” said Baker. The event not only had the most powerful CME ever recorded, but it would have triggered one of the strongest geomagnetic storms and the highest density of particle fluctuation ever seen in a typical solar cycle, which last roughly 11 years.

“We have proposed that the 2012 event be adopted as the best estimate of the worst case space weather scenario,” said Baker, who chaired a 2008 National Research Council committee that produced a report titled Severe Space Weather Events – Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts. “We argue that this extreme event should be immediately employed by the space weather community to model severe space weather effects on technological systems such as the electrical power grid.

“I liken it to war games — since we have the information about the event, let’s play it through our various models and see what happens,” Baker said. “If we do this, we would be a significant step closer to providing policymakers with real-world, concrete kinds of information that can be used to explore what would happen to various technologies on Earth and in orbit rather than waiting to be clobbered by a direct hit.”

Even though it occurred about 150 years ago, the Carrington storm was memorable from a natural beauty standpoint as well as its technological impacts, he said. The event disrupted telegraph communications — the Internet of the Victorian Age — around the world, sparking fires at telegraph offices that caused several deaths, he said.

A 1989 geomagnetic storm caused by a CME from a solar storm in March 1989 resulted in the collapse of Hydro-Quebec’s electricity transmission system, causing 6 million people to lose power for at least nine hours, said Baker. The auroras from the event could be seen as far south as Texas and Florida.

“The Carrington storm and the 2012 event show that extreme space weather events can happen even during a modest solar cycle like the one presently underway,” said Baker. “Rather than wait and pick up the pieces, we ought to take lessons from these events to prepare ourselves for inevitable future solar storms.”

CU media release.

Global_Warming_Predictions_Map

Climate change early warning system called for

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A new National Research Council report calls for the development of an early warning system that could help society better anticipate sudden changes resulting from climate change and their impacts on society, says a University of Colorado Boulder faculty member who chaired the committee that produced the report.

Climate change has increased concern over possible large and rapid changes in the physical climate system, including Earth’s atmosphere, land surfaces and oceans, said Professor James White of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and the chair of the National Research Council committee. Some abrupt changes and impacts already underway – including the loss of Arctic sea ice and increases in the extinction rates of marine and terrestrial species – and others could occur within a few decades or even years, said the committee.

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“Research has helped us begin to distinguish more imminent threats from those that are less likely to happen this century,” said White, also a CU-Boulder professor in geological sciences. “Evaluating climate changes and impacts in terms of their potential magnitude and the likelihood they will occur will help policymakers and communities make informed decisions about how to prepare for or adapt to them.”

Other scenarios, such as the destabilization of the west Antarctic ice sheet, have potentially major consequences, but the probability of these changes occurring within the next century is not well understood, highlighting the need for more research, according to the committee.

In some cases, scientific understanding has progressed enough to determine whether certain high-impact climate changes are likely to happen within the next century. The report notes that a shutdown in the Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns or a rapid release of methane from high-latitude permafrost or undersea ice are now known to be unlikely this century, although these potential abrupt changes are still worrisome over longer time horizons.

But even changes in the physical climate system that happen gradually over many decades or centuries can cause abrupt ecological or socio-economic change once a “tipping point” is reached, the report adds. Relatively slow global sea-level rise could directly affect local infrastructure such as roads, airports, pipelines or subway systems if a sea wall or levee is breached. And slight increases in ocean acidity or surface temperatures could cross thresholds beyond which many species cannot survive, leading to rapid and irreversible changes in ecosystems that contribute to extinction events.

Further scientific research and enhanced monitoring of the climate, ecosystems and social systems may be able to provide information that a tipping point is imminent, allowing time for adaptation or possibly mitigation, or that a tipping point has recently occurred, the report says.

“Right now we don’t know what many of these thresholds are,” White said. “But with better information, we will be able to anticipate some major changes before they occur and help reduce the potential consequences.”  The report identifies several research needs, such as identifying keystone species whose population decline due to an abrupt change would have cascading effects on ecosystems and ultimately on human provisions such as food supply.

If society hopes to anticipate tipping points in natural and human systems, an early warning system for abrupt changes needs to be developed, the report says. An effective system would need to include careful and vigilant monitoring, taking advantage of existing land and satellite systems and modifying them if necessary, or designing and implementing new systems when feasible. It would also need to be flexible and adaptive, regularly conducting and alternating between data collection, model testing and model predictions that suggest future data needs.

The study was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, U.S. intelligence community, and the National Academies. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, independent nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter granted to NAS in 1863. The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

For more information and a copy of the report visit http://national-academies.org. For more information on INSTAAR visithttp://instaar.colorado.edu.

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Boulder, the country and the world mourn the death of population advocate professor Al Bartlett

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Albert Allen Bartlett, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, was remembered today as a revered teacher who had a major impact on his students, the university, Boulder and far beyond.

Bartlett died on Sept. 7 at the age of 90.

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“Al Bartlett was a man of many legacies,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “His commitment to students was evidenced by the fact that he continued to teach for years after his retirement. His timeless, internationally revered lecture on the impacts of world population growth will live beyond his passing, a distinction few professors can claim. And we can all be thankful for his vision and foresight in making the Boulder community what it is today.”

Paul Beale, chair of the CU-Boulder Department of Physics, said “Al Bartlett was a treasured friend, mentor, teacher, scholar and public servant. He was an influential leader in the Department of Physics, the university, the Boulder community and the global environmental movement. Generations of students were proud to have called him ‘Professor.’ ”

Bartlett started teaching at CU-Boulder in 1950 and retired in 1988 but continued to teach CU students for many years afterward. He is a former president of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

When Bartlett first delivered his internationally celebrated lecture on “Arithmetic, Population and Energy” to a group of CU students on Sept. 19, 1969, the world population was about 3.7 billion. He proceeded to give it another 1,741 times in 49 states and seven other countries to corporations, government agencies, professional groups and students from junior high school through college.

His talk warned of the consequences of “ordinary, steady growth” of population and the connection between population growth and energy consumption. Understanding the mathematical consequences of population growth and energy consumption can help clarify the best course for humanity to follow, he said.

The talk contained his most celebrated statement: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” A video of his lecture posted on YouTube has been viewed nearly 5 million times.

This year, the world population is about 7.1 billion and the CU Environmental Center announced a program this summer in which 50 student and community volunteers received training in exchange for a commitment to give Bartlett’s talk at least three times in 2013-14.

Bartlett was a dedicated teacher who reveled in finding better ways to reach his students, whether it was the use of 1-inch diameter railroad chalk that could more easily be seen on a blackboard or the design of a new physics lecture hall. He served on the Boulder Campus Planning Commission for 25 years and chaired the faculty committee responsible for designing the building currently housing the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences.

He and Professor Frank C. Walz designed physics lecture halls for the Duane Physical Laboratories Complex that included the innovation of rotating stages. The stages allowed scientific demonstrations to be in use during one class while they were being set up for the next — a process that might take three times as long as the 10 minute period between classes.

In addition to his university work, Bartlett also was a prominent and influential member of the Boulder community. He was an initiator of the effort to preserve Boulder’s open space and also the “Blue Line” amendment that kept houses from being built farther up Boulder’s foothills by restricting the city water supply to a maximum elevation.

As the Daily Camera newspaper wrote when Bartlett received its Pacesetter Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006, “Albert Bartlett’s influence is unmistakable in the foothills surrounding Boulder. With few exceptions, one sees trees, grasses and rock.”

Throughout his decades as a Boulder resident he also was a prodigious writer of op-ed pieces and letters to the editor on a variety of civic and scientific issues.

Bartlett was born on March 21, 1923, in Shanghai, China. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Colgate University and spent two years as an experimental physicist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project before earning his graduate degrees in physics at Harvard. He then started his teaching career at CU-Boulder.

He won the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Distinguished Service Citation, the Robert A. Millikan Award and the Melba Newell Phillips Award, and served as the society’s national president in 1978. Teaching and service awards from the University of Colorado include Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Teaching Awards, the Robert L. Stearns Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University of Colorado Centennial Medallion, the President’s University Service Award, the University Heritage Center Award and the Presidential Citation.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor, and is survived by their four daughters — Carol, Jane, Lois and Nancy.

A memorial service was being planned to be held in Boulder in October.

The Albert A. Bartlett Scholarship was established in 2010 to aid CU-Boulder physics students who plan to pursue careers teaching high school science. Before his death, Bartlett requested that any memorial gifts be made to the University of Colorado Foundation Albert A. Bartlett Scholarship Fund, in care of the Department of Physics, 390 UCB, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309.

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CU study: Conservation efforts might encourage some to hunt lions

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Conventional wisdom holds that East Africa’s Maasai pastoralists hunt lions for two distinct reasons: to retaliate against lions that kill livestock or to engage in a cultural rite of passage. But that view reflects mistranslations of Maasai terms and a simplification of their cultural traditions and their relationship with wildlife, a team of researchers led by a University of Colorado Boulder geographer has concluded.

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Further, some conservation initiatives including those designed to save lions from being hunted have either failed to work or in some cases appear to have incited Maasai to hunt more lions as a form of political protest, the researchers report.

Such nuances are important, because it’s harder to control the hunting of lions unless society knows precisely why lions are hunted, the researchers contend.

Many populations of Panthera leo—African lions—are falling, and the species is classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red List.

Lion hunting is outlawed in Kenya and in Tanzania is limited to mostly tourists hunting with permits, unless the hunt is to eliminate a lion in defense of life or livestock. Still, lion hunting regularly occurs in both countries, usually without the hunters’ following the law.

“We saw an inaccurate representation of the exact reasons for why Maasai hunt lions, and we had a lot of ethnographic background to correct that,” said Mara J. Goldman, the assistant professor of geography at CU-Boulder who led the study.

Goldman collaborated with Joana Roque de Pinho, a postdoctoral researcher at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Sociais e Politicas (Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Portugal), and Jennifer Perry, a CU-Boulder geography alumna now studying law at the university.

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Goldman and her fellow researchers conducted 246 in-depth interviews of Tanzanian and Kenyan Maasai between 2004 and 2008. They found that Maasai hunt lions for multiple overlapping reasons, some relating to predation on livestock and some not.

In some cases, Maasai said they hunted lions to prevent the potential killing of livestock, especially by lions that had killed livestock before, rather than just as retaliation.

And while Maasai still celebrate successful lion hunts and the prowess of the warriors who hunt, that cultural tradition can be less of a motivation to hunt than political discontent.

In Kenya, for instance, conservation programs aim to curb Maasai lion hunting by financially compensating Maasai for livestock killed by lions. In Tanzania, suggestions have been made by some to start such ‘compensation’ programs, but the Maasai themselves explain why this strategy has limitations:

“We cannot agree (to compensation) because we do not have cattle to be killed every day,” an elder Maasai told the researchers. “If they pay money today, then tomorrow, they will pay every day because the lion will keep coming back to eat cattle until all the cattle are gone. And then what will we do with the money?”

These sentiments were expressed in a village bordering the Manyara Ranch, a Tanzanian conservation trust on which hunting is prohibited but over which Maasai from neighboring villages are meant to share governance. In the beginning, the elders kept the warriors from hunting lions, the researchers found.

But after Maasai representation in ranch governance was diminished, the Maasai felt disenfranchised. Lion hunting increased in frequency and severity and was no longer discouraged by elders, the researchers said.

“We have no reason to follow the rules,” one elder told the researchers.

Goldman researches human-environment relations with the Tanzanian and Kenyan Maasai, one of the most recognizable ethnic groups in Africa, known for their distinctive, colorful dress and social customs, and most recently for their lion-hunting practices.

Although the primary motivations for lion hunting differed somewhat between Tanzania and Kenya, the researchers emphasize that Maasai have multiple, overlapping reasons to hunt lions: to reaffirm the protective role of young warriors, to help select brave leaders among warrior groups, to allow individual warriors to gain prestige, to eliminate lions that prey on livestock and to prevent lions from becoming habituated to eating livestock and sometimes harming people.

The multiple reasons illustrate the limitations of explaining Maasai lion hunting “as either a cultural manhood ritual or a retaliatory act,” the researchers write.

“Participatory conservation interventions that respect Maasai knowledge and promote full engagement with management processes are likely to have far better success in persuading Maasai to change or moderate such behaviors themselves,” the research team states, adding that “lion conservation projects rarely address such complex politics.”

Goldman, also a faculty research associate at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science, is the first author on the study that was recently published online in the journal Oryx and is scheduled to appear in the journal’s October print edition. The study is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605312000907.

For more on this story, see Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine at http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine.

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