Friday, June 29, 2012

Northern Cheyenne Reservation Burning

The Ashland Creek Fire, burning on the
Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation,

had consumed more than 110,000 acres as
of June 28 and was uncontained.

Northern Cheyenne Reservation Burning by John Youngbear

As it surpassed 110,000 acres on Wednesday, three towns were evacuated and the people taken to Lame Deer 21 miles away, according to KULR TV in Billings. But Lame Deer is without power, so 700 people were crowding into the shelter there looking for food and other assistance.

"We've had quite a few families that are actually displaced," Geri Small, of the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Cheyenne, to the television station. "Their homes burned, and they don't have nothing. Some don't even have their shoes on."

The reservation was calling for monetary donations to go toward essentials. The Red Cross of Montana is accepting donations on behalf of the reservation, as is the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, according to KULR.

More photos..

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RTД challenges filmmakers on its 1st anniversary

RTД challenges filmmakers on its 1st anniversary
RTД challenges filmmakers on its 1st anniversary -

RT’s documentary channel RTД is challenging amateur and professional filmmakers to take part in competition for short documentaries. The winning film will be broadcast on RTД and published on the RTDoc and RT websites.

­Films have to be less than thirteen minutes long, and need to submitted by 1st September 2012.

A team from RT will judge the submitted films.

Jury member RT’s George Watts shares his advice with the wannabe filmmakers.

“Most films give viewers a closer look at the lives of other peoples and nations, which helps bring them closer together and makes the world a safer place. Make your short film as simple as possible: concentrate on one or two aspects of the main subject, be it a different lifestyle, occupation, schooling, nature, etc,” Mr. Watts says. “You can never go wrong with stories about modest people helping the handicapped, charity and in general, kindness to other people and even animals.”

RT’s reporter Oksana Boyko, is also a member of jury and says “many of the documentaries aired by the world’s leading channels were made by amateurs.”

“Being so involved and interested in the stories they tell, amateur filmmakers often do it with much more feeling and emotion, than the professionals,” Boyko says.

Another jury member and the head of RTД channel Ekaterina Yakovleva says the competition is for people dedicated to what they do and attentive to details and to life around us all.

“Viewers normally see the world through the eyes of reporters, directors, cameramen. But we’ve decided to revert the situation,”
Yakovleva says. “We want to see the world as our viewers see it. We are interested in what kind of stories and events bother the participants of the contest. Thus we’ll learn to understand our viewers better.”

As part of its first anniversary on air, RTД will be giving viewers another chance to see the most acclaimed shows of the year.

My Conversation With a Banker

June 26, 2012: My Conversation With a Banker by Mark Stopa

I had a conversation with a banker today, and as I reflect on our conversation, I have an inescapable and overwhelming desire to take a shower.  I’ve never rolled around in a pigpen for an hour, but that’s how I’d imagine it feels … grimy and dirty all over.  It wasn’t all bad, though – I used it as a tool to learn more about the foreclosure process.

The conversation started as I headed to court for a foreclosure trial … except we settled the case on terms my client found acceptable.  As opposing counsel and I sat around finalizing the settlement paperwork, I saw an opportunity to pick this banker’s brain.  Basically, I wanted to understand his motives and thoughts with respect to the foreclosure process.

During the conversation, many of my beliefs about foreclosure were confirmed.  For instance, this banker explained, just as I have believed for some time now, that banks are never going to offer principal reductions or other such settlements on mortgages that are insured by the federal government – what this banker called “GSEs.”  In this banker’s words, banks have “no choice” but to pursue foreclosure on such mortgages, as they have to procure title, transfer title to Fannie or Freddie, and collect full payment on the judgment from the government.  (Alas, banks do have a “choice” – they could accept less, but they’re so greedy that the greater good is never a consideration.  They’re never going to give a homeowner a break or act for the benefit of society when they can foreclose and get the judgment paid in full by the government … “our” government, that is.)

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This banker also confirmed my long-standing belief that all of the foreclosure sales we routinely see where the banks bid up to their judgment amount – even when the judgment amount far exceeds the value of the property – is a byproduct of the government insuring these mortgages.  So if you’re not thoroughly disgusted already, take a look at or whatever website conducts the foreclosure sales in your county.  Whenever you see a bank bidding up to its judgment amount – which is what happens the vast majority of the time – that probably means the bank is getting that judgment paid in full by you, me, and “our” government.  It doesn’t matter that a house is worth $100,000 and a third-party investor is willing to pay $105,000 because he really likes that house – the bank is going to bid up to its $175,000 judgment because it wants to get title, convey title to Fannie, and have the government pay the $175,000 judgment in full.
You thought foreclosure sales were to sell properties to the public?  Think again.  It’s “our” government foreclosing on homeowners so banks can get paid in full.

So if you’ve been unable to get a principal reduction, at least now you know why.  Your bank isn’t going to reduce principal on your loan and accept payments over time when it can foreclose and get paid in full by the government.  It’s quite a gig … if you’re a bank.  Foreclose on Americans, then collect tax dollars from those same Americans to get paid in full.  Disgusting, eh?

This banker went on to explain that for those mortgages which are not “GSE,” his bank has more “wiggle room” to negotiate settlements.  Even then, though, his bank won’t offer principal reductions based on “principle,” which is his fancy way of saying they could, but they choose not to.  Ahhh, yes … we can’t have all these “deadbeats” having mortgages that actually reflect what their houses are worth … we have to continue forcing them to pay more than fair market value.

Which foreclosures aren’t “GSE”?  That’s easy – the ones where the banks don’t bid up to their judgment amounts.  For instance, this banker told me that his bank routinely gets a BPO (that’s “broker price opinion”) and bids 85% of that BPO.  If a third-party investor bids more than that, he/she gets the house.  So those are the only cases where there’s a true “auction” – where the bank isn’t getting paid by the government.

The worst part?  When this banker confused my friendly attempt to pick his brain about the foreclosure industry with a genuine interest in what he does, prompting him to suggest – totally unsolicited, of course – that I change teams and work for the banks.  His pitch?  Homeowners are ”limited” in what they can pay, and his bank can pay as much as necessary if I’m working for them.

I was thoroughly disgusted at this proposition, of course, as it was all prompted by money and not at all about helping people or feeling good about my work.  I wanted to tell him exactly what I though, but he was giving me useful information, so I responded with a polite “have you ever read my blog?  I hate the banks, and they hate me.”  His response?  ”We hate you because we like you, and we wish you were working for us.”

Eek, enough already.  Please, someone pass the soap.  I really, really need a shower.  That said, it was worth feeling dirty, I suppose.  The more I know, the more I can help homeowners understand just how corrupt and crooked the whole process truly is.

The other moral of this story?  While I’m appalled at bank misconduct, I’m convinced the government is just as much to blame.  After all, these perverse incentives to foreclose exist because “our” government insured these mortgages in full, creating a perverse dynamic where banks say they have “no choice” but to foreclose and get paid in full.  I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat (or, in my case, neither) … the government isn’t supposed to operate in this manner.

It’s all so dirty … where is that soap already?

Mark Stopa

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Richard D. Wolff: "Personal Debts" (Video)

Mar. 21, 2011: Richard D. Wolff: "Personal Debts" (Video)by Richard D. Wolff

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He has a PhD in Economics from Yale University as well as degrees from Harvard University (history BA) and Stanford University (economics MA). Wolff has authored or co-authored 10 books and over 50 scholarly articles and 75 popular articles. His recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the current global economic crisis.

His documentary film on that crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, can be previewed at He also published a book of essays on the current crisis in 2010 entitled Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic meltdown and What to Do About it. Detailed information on and copies of his many writings, audios and videos of his media interviews, lectures, and classes, and his speaking schedule are all available at his website:

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Florida riddled with sinkholes: Multiple sinkholes open in Hernando County

In the Trillium community of Brooksville,
at least 15 sinkholes sliced up several front and back yards.
Florida riddled with sinkholes: Multiple sinkholes open in Hernando County by Tony Holt

 Brooksville - Chris Cook heard the suction from inside his house Sunday night.

It was dark, windy and raining. He saw the water stretching beyond the edge of the retention pond behind a row of homes along Nodding Shade Drive. It was inching toward the pole to his bird house, which is about 20 paces from his back porch.

Cook shined his flashlight to the left. He was joined outside by his next-door neighbor, who was hearing the same sounds.

He saw the whirlpool. He knew the depression underneath the flowing water was a fresh sinkhole.

In 24 hours, he saw 14 more open up in his neighborhood - some of them deeper than 20 feet.

Based on what he's heard during the previous 72 hours, he now immediately recognizes the sound of the ground collapsing into a sinkhole.

"Oh, I could hear the booms from my living room," he said. "It sounds like a big piece of furniture falling over. The whole house shakes."

Calls from several homeowners were made to Pulte, the developer of Trillium of Brooksville, located along County Line Road, a short distance east of Spring Hill.

A few of them said they aren't getting any answers.

"They clammed up," said Cook, who also made calls to his insurance company, the homeowners association and the county.

 One of his neighbor's has a sinkhole in his front yard.

Kelly Gregoire, who lives next door, had one sinkhole open a few feet from her 3-year-old's swing set. She dismantled a portion of it and moved it closer to the house so that it wouldn't fall inside.

"All of a sudden you hear this, 'woosh,'" she said, describing the last sinkhole she heard. "Everything just crashes down. It's crazy."

One of the holes that opened Monday morning swallowed a couple trees about 15 yards from Cook's property.

Mike Berros saw one third of his backyard disappear after a 25-foot-deep hole opened that same day.

He said the water was rushing out of it like a geyser.

Beginning today, the homeowners association will begin "earth-moving activities" in an effort to fill in the holes.

"We ask for your cooperation and patience as we mobilize the appropriate equipment necessary to make these repairs and undertake corrective actions," wrote Adam Smith, the board president.

He stated all homeowners who have detected sinkhole activities should contact their insurance companies.

Cook, who has lived at Trillium for six years, said promises have been made about filling the sinkholes in the retention pond - property owned by Pulte. No guarantees have been made about holes on his or his neighbor's property.

"You trust your builder to do the right thing and build on a safe area and obviously this isn't safe," he said.

Sinkholes have cropped up across the county. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office reported about 30 in the area of Mariner Boulevard and Claymore Street.

* * * * *

In related news:

A trio of gaping holes opened Monday on a taxiway at the Hernando County Airport, affecting one of the entrances to the Army Air National Guard facility. Kim Poppke, marketing and property coordinator for the airport, said the airport is operational and repairs have already begun.

Poppke said the holes are roughly six feet deep and up to eight feet wide.

Comment: Unfortunately, and as these pictures reveal, homes in Florida developmental areas are built similar to cars, they last about 5-15 years, and the neighborhoods then become the slums they are today, almost in every case. The homes are built with cheap labor depriving any artistic value to vie for excessive contractor profits. A study was done a few years ago on the quality of these types of homes seen in the photo in the Orlando area, and what was discovered was that the homes were literally falling apart. All home eventually sucuumb to termite damage as the industry refuses to upgrade their technology to that of a natural deterent such as what is known of mycelium. With the economic downturn, this maximizes the kill on value in building these types of developments. Now, millions of these homes set vacant and the prices will continue to fall in effect destroying the notion that these types of useless neighborhoods have any value at all. They give you a place to live, but its use is only in the value that is provides in forcing the occupants out of their houses and into the shopping malls and spending apparatuses. The sinkholes intensify the notion that sprawl building is a sign of the times of the lost cause and homes that seriously offer nothing to the owner. I've worked for hundreds of these owners in fixing all the shody work that the owners were unable to affectively determine was part of their vulnerability to the shysters who would in their own greed build homes that are truly garbage, expensive to maintain, and if built within a development such as seen, guaranteed to lose value. Unfortunately, these homes are still being built in surrounding areas in the same way, although this has drastically been reduced, people are only now beginning to realize what is occurring in relation to the false real estate scam dependent on these diseases.

Instead of building homes that truly offer value, an attempt is now being made to confess that these developments were wrong in scope, and the way to solve that is to focus on what I would call Stupid Cities where the blame for all these mistakes can be refocused onto the consumer to attain more profits. It is called Agenda 21.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tool Time: GMO You Can't Know

June 22, 2012: Tool Time: GMO You Can't Know - TheAlyonaShow

As they saying goes: You are what you eat. So why does the Senate want you to be in a state of perpetual identity crisis? This week, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would allow states to force companies to label foods made with genetically modified ingredients. But despite American's growing concerns about the safety of transgenic food, and despite widespread public opinion in favor of such labels, the Senate roundly trounced the amendment. And instead of focusing on the issue of informed consumerism, prominent Senators opposed to the amendment dodged the issue, making a debate on transparency absurdly opaque.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Colorado farmers are facing disaster

June 21, 2012: Colorado farmers are facing disaster by Dave Delozier

Weld County - Glenn Fritzler's family has been farming their 320 acres for 57 years. It is productive land that has helped them build their family. To succeed here, it took hard work, good soil and one thing they can't do without: water.

"Water to us is actually more valuable than gold," Fritzler said.

In recent years, that has not been a problem. Heavy snows and rains allowed Fritzler and other farmers in Weld County to irrigate their fields with surface water from the South Platte River. This year is different.

Because of the dry winter and spring the South Platte River is not flowing at a level to allow farmers, like Fritzler, to continue to use it as an irrigation source. Unless conditions change Fritzler will not receive any more above surface water for their crops.

"We have no surface water," Fritzler said. "We have an abundance of groundwater, but we do not have the permission to use it."

Fritzler and other farmers in Weld County want to use their wells to pump groundwater from the aquifers beneath their farms. They are being prevented from doing that by a 2006 Colorado Water Court ruling. In that ruling, the court said farmers, like Fritzler, are only allowed to pump a limited amount of groundwater. If farmers exceed their allotment of groundwater, they are charged $3,000 a day for each pump used.

When the surface water ran out, Fritzler started pumping his allotment of groundwater. It will last for one week. The current drought conditions are expected to extend well beyond that one week supply.

"I looked at it this morning," he said. "It is anywhere from 97 to 105 the next five days. Then the next five days after that are in the mid 90s with almost no chance of rain."

What frustrates Fritzler is the groundwater level on his farm. While he doesn't have enough water for his fields, he has standing water in the basement of his home. He has installed drains and pumps to prevent his basement from flooding.

Weld County Commissioners formally requested Governor John Hickenlooper to declare a statewide disaster emergency affecting Weld County. They are asking him to let farmers pump groundwater for a period of thirty days to get them through the drought. During that period of time, the pumps would be metered and the impact of the pumping on the groundwater levels and groundwater return flows to the South Platte River would be monitored.

In a statement released to 9News, Governor Hickenloopers said:
"Even if we could legally pump groundwater to use for irrigation and reduce water in basements, that water belongs to someone else downstream. We all are committed to the same laws, and in this case the water law is clear. Senior water rights take priority over junior water rights. It's tough to see so many crops in the ground desperate for water. That's why we are continuing to work with Weld County and others to find other possible solutions and to continue to promote conservation."
For Glenn Fritzler the situation is simple. In another week his supply of groundwater will be done. If a resolution can't be reached, some of his crops will be done soon too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Regulators gag doctors treating fracker poisoning

Regulators gag doctors treating fracker poisoning - ANH

If you’ve been exposed to dangerous fracking chemicals, your doctor can find out what these chemicals are—but can’t tell you! Action Alert!
As we reported last year, fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling that can threaten water supplies. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand, and 596 different proprietary chemicals are injected under high pressure into the well shaft. The pressure fractures the shale and opens fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out.

The chemicals enter the water table and the air, causing severe pollution. As proponents of integrative medicine know, the body’s chemical burden, due in great measure to environmental pollutants, may trigger or worse many diseases—and some of the chemicals released during the fracking process are particularly toxic. They include:
  • benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, which in low levels can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness, and in high concentrations can cause leukemia and death;
  • barium, which is found in underground ore deposits and can cause high blood pressure, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness, swelling of the brain, and kidney damage;
  • radium, a naturally occurring radioactive (and carcinogenic) substance; and
  • strontium, which is necessary in trace amounts for bone development, but in too large amounts can disrupt it and cause cancer.
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Then there’s the question of what to do with the contaminated water. Standard procedure is to use disposal wells drilled deep into the earth; each well uses about 4.5 million gallons of chemical-laced water. Many experts believe that the use of these disposal wells is creating earthquakes—and data from Midwest shows that it is happening more often than originally thought. A US Geological Survey report found that the frequency of earthquakes started rising in 2001 across a broad swath of the country between Alabama and Montana. In 2009, there were 50 earthquakes greater than magnitude-3.0, then 87 quakes in 2010. The 134 earthquakes in the zone last year is a sixfold increase over 20th century levels.

So what if your physician believes you may be ill from fracking chemicals, but needs to know which ones to make sure your diagnosis and treatment are correct? A Pennsylvania law signed earlier this year allows physicians to access information about the proprietary chemicals being used (which are protected by trade secrets) so they can help their patients who are sick from the chemicals. But here’s the catch: they have to sign a confidentiality agreement that they won’t tell anyone else—not you their patients, and not even other doctors—what’s in those formulas. It’s being called the “doctor gag rule.”

The Pennsylvania gag rule is strikingly similar to a law in Colorado—which also influenced laws in Texas and Ohio. In Colorado there was near silence on the issue. The Texas Medical Association actually endorsed the doctor gag rule!

Happily, such quiet compliance at the expense of citizens’ health doesn’t have to be the norm in other states. A new bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would remove the gag rule. HB 2415 allows the health professional to disclose information on the chemicals to anyone she or he determines is necessary for the patient’s diagnosis or treatment—whether that be another health professional, the patient, or a public health official.

The Pennsylvania bill is currently in the state’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, contact your legislators immediately and voice your support for HB 2415. Restore your doctor’s freedom of speech and your right to know about what is making you sick! Please take action today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing National Movement Against "High Stakes" Public School Testing

June 18, 2012: Growing National Movement Against "High Stakes" Public School Testing - TRNN

New York parents and students say testing mania obstructs learning and hands money to private companies

More news at


EWG Releases 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

© n/a
EWG Releases 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce - EWG

Researchers Highlight Pesticides in Produce, Baby Food, Tap Water

Washington, D.C. – Environmental Working Group has released the eighth edition of its Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce with updated information on 45 popular fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its new Dirty Dozen Plus™ list and the cleanest conventional produce with its list of the Clean Fifteen™.

“The explosive growth in market share for organic produce in recent years testifies to a simple fact that pesticide companies and the farmers who use their products just can’t seem to grasp: people don’t like to eat food contaminated by pesticides,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “Our shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce gives consumers easy, affordable ways to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding most of the bug killers, fungicides and other chemicals in produce and other foods.”

“This year’s guide will also give new parents pause,” Cook added. “Government scientists have found disturbing concentrations of pesticides in some baby foods. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found weed killers widespread in finished tap water. Environmentalists have had important successes in forcing pesticides that presented unacceptably high dietary risks off the market. The latest USDA tests show we have much more work to do.”

EWG researchers analyzed annual pesticide residue tests conducted by the USDA and federal Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2010. The samples were first washed or peeled prior to being tested so the rankings reflect the amounts of the crop chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten.

The USDA and FDA tests have produced hard evidence of widespread presence of pesticide residues on conventional crops. The most recent round of tests show that as late as 2010, 68 percent of food samples had detectable pesticide residues. EWG found striking differences between the number of pesticides and amount of pesticides detected on the Dirty Dozen Plus™and Clean Fifteen™ foods.
Notable findings:

Some 98 percent of conventional apples have detectable levels of pesticides.

Domestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues.

Seventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples.

Every single nectarine USDA tested had measurable pesticide residues.

As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other fruit, with 64 different chemicals.

Thirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample each of celery and strawberries.

New to the Shopper’s Guide: The Dirty Dozen Plus

Read complete report..

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Monday, June 18, 2012

150 mph Super Typhoon Sets Aim at Japan: Fukushima near center of forecast track — “Expected to intensify” and already the highest category storm

150 mph Super Typhoon Sets Aim at Japan: Fukushima near center of forecast track — “Expected to intensify” and already the highest category storm -

Free Solar Book
 Tropical Cyclone Information
Japan Meteorological Agency
00:00 JST, 18 June 2012

Super Typhoon Sets Aim at Japan
By Evan Duffey, Meteorologist
Jun 17, 2012; 11:32 AM ET

Guchol, a tropical cyclone in the western Pacific, rapidly strengthened Saturday afternoon, local time. Winds are now in excess of 150 mph, making Guchol a super typhoon, the highest classification for tropical cyclones in the western Pacific.

If Guchol were an Atlantic Hurricane, it would be considered a Category 5 storm.


the storm is also expected to intensify further over the next day or two.


Guchol will still likely be a very powerful tropical cyclone upon reaching the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Powerful winds, torrential rain and intense surf will be among some of the problems expected for the islands.


In fact, the main threat the storm poses to the main island of Japan will be its torrential rains. Heavy rain could lead to mudslides and flash flooding, especially in the mountains just west of Tokyo.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Colorado wildfire: High Park Fire claims 181 homes

© The Denver Post | Hyoung Chang
Gov. John Hickenlooper shows a
photo of the tree hit by lightning
that started the High Park Fire.
June 16, 2012: Colorado wildfire: High Park Fire claims 181 homes by Kirk Mitchell and Jordan Steffen

Larimer County Sheriff's officials said this afternoon that the number of homes lost in the High Park fire has reached 181, the most in Colorado history surpassing the Four Mile fire in 2010, which claimed 169 homes.

Meantime, the evacuation order for residents of the Santanka Trail area on the north end of Horsetooth Reservoir has been lifted. Residents in the neighborhoods of Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon also will be able to return home starting at 6 tonight. This area will only be open to residents for the time being to give them time to move back in and for officials to secure the area.

Fire officials said the main priority for fire crews today remains structure protection and keeping the edge of the fire south of Poudre

Canyon and north of Buckhorn Road in check.

This morning's fire briefing put the fire at more than 54,232 acres burned, the third-largest in recorded Colorado history. Only the Hayman fire at 137,760 acres and Missionary Ridge, at 71,739 acres are larger, and those fires happened during the drought of 2002.

Sen. Mark Udall, after attending this morning's fire briefing, said, "This is going to war with Mother Nature." Udall, in addition to several other government officials, is visiting the fire site today.

As some residents were permitted back in their homes, Fran Docherty and his family are looking at spending a seventh day away from their home. While he's eager to return, Docherty said he understands the safety concerns keeping residents out of some areas.

Docherty's home is safe, he said.

"I understand why we can't get back in, it's just frustrating," Docherty said.

Along with his family, Docherty had to evacuate his horses as well. Friday, the shelter caring for the horses ran out of hay. While driving to get more hay, Docherty said his truck broke down.

"It's just one thing and then it's another," Docherty said.

Brett Haberstick, spokesman for the incident command team, said

Evacuee Carole Prieskorn, left, and Cy Johnson comfort each other at a roadblock for the High Park fire Friday. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)firefighting efforts today may be aided by the high humidity overnight last night and lower temperatures today. A chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, however, is worrisome because it could bring strong winds and lightning, he said.

Also overnight, one firefighter was rushed to a hospital in a helicopter with undisclosed injuries.

The unnamed firefighter was in stable condition and had non-life-threatening injuries, Haberstick said.

Meantime, firefighters have deployed an apparatus rarely used on wildfires to battle the fire, a feller buncher, hoping to more rapidly build a defensible fire line on the north and west flanks.

"It's a very large piece of equipment," said Reghan Cloudman, spokeswoman for the fire. "You can cut a lot of trees quickly."

The gigantic tractor-like machinery used primarily in the timber industry has a large claw that grabs the base of a tree and a circular or chain saw that cuts the trunk. The claw doesn't allow the tree to fall and the tractor then carries it to a pile or loads it onto a flatbed truck.

Three feller bunchers arrived Friday and are now in use.

Firefighters want to use the feller bunchers to build lines around the fire that is currently at 20 percent containment. Firefighters are trying to bring all the resources at their disposal to contain the blaze, Cloudman said.

There are now four spike camps stationed around the wildfire with 120 firefighters in each camp. In all, there are at least 1,553 personnel using 103 engines, 16 helicopters including three National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, battling the fire today.

Firefighters are working in two shifts, day and night, Cloudman said.

The crews have spotted many bears near the fire lines, Haberstick said.

Firefighters were focused on the north and west flanks to protect homes on Friday. Much of their work was focused on a 200-acre fire north of the Cache La Poudre River, burning on Sheep Mountain near the Glacier View Meadows neighborhood.

Darlene McClurg sat with her friends on a bench outside of Vern's restaurant in La Porte today, watching helicopters fly toward and away from the fire.

"It was all kind of scary," said McClurg, who lives in west Fort Collins. Today was the first day in a week when the smoke didn't keep McClurg indoors.

She said knowing the fire would burn for weeks is "horrifying."

Jennifer Blakesley was one of several residents to climb to the top of Bingham Hill with a pair of binoculars. There, Blakesley and others stared at the charred hillsides where the fire had swept over days before.

Blakesley was ordered to evacuate her home early Sunday morning. Earlier this week she learned her home was safe. Now she's waiting to get back.

"It's a matter of being patient," Blakesley said.

Jennifer Hillmann, Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman, said about 195 firefighters with heavy helicopters managed to build a line around much of the Glacier View spot fire, which was sparked by wind-driven embers Thursday afternoon.

"They were able to get a line around a lot of it," Cloudman said.

Authorities announced Friday at least 112 homes burned in the first days of the High Park fire, setting a record for fire devastation in Northern Colorado.

The homes lost include one each in the Soldier Canyon, Cloudy Pass and Picnic Rock neighborhoods; five in Pine Acres; 21 in Stratton Park; 17 in Poudre Canyon; three in Spring Valley; one on Old Flowers Road; one on Missile Silo Road; 40 in Whale Rock; 12 in Paradise Park; and seven in Rist Canyon.

Larimer County sheriff's executive officer Nick Christensen said Friday the homes were lost early in the fire when firefighters were focused on public safety rather than property protection.

As of Thursday night, the cost of fighting the fire was $9.1 million, Cloudman said.

People with homes in the Cloudy Pass area west of Bellvue will be allowed to return home today. Later this afternoon, homeowners with credentials will be permitted to return to homes at the entrance of Gateway Park.

No access is permitted on roads in the area south of CR74E. This includes areas south and east of McNay Hill, Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way, Gordon Creek Lane and all connecting roads in that area.

Hillmann said residents in the Davis Ranch, Laurence Creek/Redstone area, Buckhorn Road and Stove Prairie Road will receive information at a briefing at 3 p.m. today about the status of their homes.

Dave Lipson, a fire-weather meteorologist assigned to the High Park fire, said winds from a brief thunderstorm Friday fed the blaze, much more than the brief shower dampened it.

The terrain near the Glacier View spot fire is extreme, with many steep pitches and gullies. Fire fuels are abundant, including large patches of beetle-killed timber.

Residents of homes in the Glacier View area will likely not be allowed to return home for a few days.

The east flank of the fire toward Fort Collins is in good shape.

The Red Cross has opened an additional evacuation center at Cache la Poudre Middle School and will be providing food and shelter for evacuees.

View a slideshow of the High Park fire.

Comment: The system is broken and will continue to break. The plan it seems is to add Agenda 21 in a way you do not recognize the invasive nature of insurance companies into hazardous living such as cities that offer the land absolutely nothing, and fantasy living as the normal in complete defiance of mother earth. Only those things that are sustainable are actually insurable, the rest is fantasy that will be swept up by the storm that is coming.

Friday, June 15, 2012

How Bain Capital helped BP blow up the Deepwater Horizon

June 9, 2012: How Bain Capital helped BP blow up the Deepwater Horizon by Greg Palast

A Book Review by Greg Palast, for
on Poisoned Legacy: the Human Cost of BP's Rise to Power (St. Martin's Press) by Mike Magner.

Here's my bead on Magner's book....

I almost fell off the barstool when I read that it was Bain Capital (Mitt Romney, former CEO), that told oil giant BP it was a good idea to cut costs. The cuts would lead to death, mayhem and the destruction of the Gulf Coast (not to mention BP’s poisoning of Alaska, Africa, Central Asia and Colombia).

In 2007, after BP's criminal negligence and penny-pinching led to the explosion at the BP oil refinery on the Gulf Coast, in Texas City, Texas, the company brought in industry pooh-bah James Baker, their lawyer and former Secretary of State, to write a report. Baker is Big Oil's BFF, but in this case, he was horrified, and told BP to get its act together and spend some real money on operating safety.

BP didn't like Baker's recommendation nor did it like another report by its own consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton which advised the company to ...get its act together and spend money on safety.

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When two respected industry voices agree that you'd better start spending and thinking while you're operating in a deadly business, a corporation's CEO has only one choice: find a consulting house of ill repute to contradict the others and tell you what you want to hear.

That's what BP's CEO Tony Hayward did. In 2008, he hired Bain Capital to say the company would be better managed if it spent less money. Bain used consulting BS terms like reducing "complexity," but it all meant the same thing: cut, cut, cut.

After all, Bain's motto is, "We like to fire people." The oil company then fired 5,000 employees in response to the Bain report.

To hell with safety.

BP read Bain's recommendations as the green light to chop funding. Of course, it was all done with Hayward's PR pronouncement that the company would now "focus like a laser on safety". (A laser, I'd note, is a thin beam surrounded by darkness.)

BP's Bain-blessed, deadly, insouciant cost-cutting was the deadly habit that federal regulators identified as a cause of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.

That's just one of the ill-making stories in Magner's book which takes you through BP's poisonous history before, during and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blow-out.

Much of Magner's opus centers on the Texas City refinery explosion that was a loud, flaming warning about allowing BP to play with matches and oilrigs. He begins and ends with the story of another refinery, Amoco's long-closed plant at Neodesha, Kansas.

At first, that sounds weird for a book about BP––but it's an exceptionally important tale, explaining how the industry hits and runs. Amoco closed its refinery decades ago, took off and left the toxins there. It takes years for toxins to kill, and Amoco's poisons killed Lucille Campbell's baby in 1963. And it takes more years to figure that out, which Lucille did in 1999, after BP bought Amoco.

Lucille continues to this day to fight to stop the rash of cancers and poisonings still caused by BP's dump. The oil company has done the honorable thing: it's gone after Lucille and her little township, attempting to smear, discredit and bankrupt her and the company's victims.

Lucille's fight against the petro-saur corporation is the big story of the book that you should read––in fact, that you should memorize.

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures' Picnic, centering on Palast's own undercover investigation of BP and Big Oil around the planet.

Palast's, reports can be seen on BBC-TV and Britain’s Channel 4.

You can read Vultures' Picnic, "Chapter 1: Goldfinger," or download it, at no charge: click here.

Subscribe to Palast's Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

Gasland director exposes fracking

Gasland director exposes fracking - RTAmerica

Here at RT we have extensively covered hydraulic fracturing. The technique also known as fracking poses high health risks for residents living near the drilling sites and according to US energy projections,natural gas will be used to produce 29 percent of electricity which is an increase of 9 percent from 2008. Those who support fracking say it paves the way for energy independence, but on the other hand opponents say the dangers offset the benefits. Josh Fox, the director of the documentary Gasland, joins us with his take on the practice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

North Dakota may eliminate all property taxes, restore real family ownership of land and homes

"Abandon Home in North Dakota"
North Dakota may eliminate all property taxes, restore real family ownership of land and homes by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) There's a revolt of sorts brewing among citizens of a growing number of states who realize that, no matter how much they pay on their mortgage or how long ago they may have paid that mortgage off, they never truly own their homes. Rather, because of the property tax, Americans really just rent their homes from the government.

On Tuesday, North Dakotans were trying to reassert their property rights by voting on Measure 2, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state's property tax for good.

"I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can't pay a tax," said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who support ending the tax. "When did we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?"

Beehler is part of a growing movement of Americans who have come to realize that no matter how much or how long they pay on their homes, all it takes to lose it to the state is failing one time to pay annual property taxes. Unlike a sales tax, which is a one-time charge, property taxes come up every year, meaning the levy is like a recurring lien on your home and land. And as long as it's around, you will always live under the threat of having your property confiscated.

One umbrella group called "Empower the Taxpayer" is hoping to convince even more Americans of the injustice of property taxes. Visitors to the group's website can download a free eBook called, Property Tax Revolution, and watch a video entitled, "Do We Really Own our Homes?" as well as others related to the movement.

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Renters, not homeowners

"No tax should have the power to leave you homeless," says Jim Cox, a state representative in Pennsylvania who has proposed legislation there to eliminate the school property tax because, among other reasons, in the past residents have lost their homes to sheriff's sales over failure to pay their taxes.

"It means all of us are renters - none of us are homeowners," Charlene Nelson, a homemaker who became a leader of the effort to amend the state constitution, told The New York Times. That, she says, is the underlying problem with the property tax.

Not all North Dakotans seem interested in being liberated from property taxes, however. Among them is Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

"It's mind-boggling, really," he said of how much of an effect repealing the tax would have on things. "We'd be changing everything, frankly."

"I have to say that we totally understand that North Dakotans are very concerned about their property tax payments," he told the Times. "You have a tension there, and people say this can't keep on."

High property taxes = lower economic growth.

"The problem in New Jersey is that our tax system is upside down, and that makes us uncompetitive. Unlike other states, we collect more in property taxes ($25.8 billion) than we do in income, sales and corporate taxes combined," he writes in a recent column.

Bottom line: Property taxes mean you never really own your home or your land. It's time to change that.

Sources for this article include:

World Awakening Awards Exhibition in Tehran

World Awakening Awards Exhibition in Tehran - Press TV Global News

World Awakening Awards Exhibition. Veteran artists from 59 countries from around the globe forwarded their art works in the forms of posters, caricatures and photographs to the secretariat of World Awakening Exhibition in Tehran. 439 art works from 3006 works of art were selected to compete in the first World Awakening Awards Exhibition. The head of Imam Ali Religious Museum where the event took place said that bringing together renowned international artists to work with top Iranian experts as jury members was an important event all by itself.

Art critiques talked about some intricate points in the art works and tried to explain to us what the artist wants the viewer to see.Some visitors said that looking at different works of art at this exhibition made them feel the pains and struggles of people fighting for freedom in the region and through out the world. The event kicked off on May 13th and was to end on June 11th but it was extended until June 21st because of great number of people wanting to attend.

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120+ Dolphins washing up on shore, Dead in Texas, U.S. NOAA declares it "Unusual Mortality Event." Trail of deception and Lies from BP and U.S. Government included.

120+ Dolphins washing up on shore, Dead in Texas, U.S. NOAA declares it "Unusual Mortality Event." Trail of deception and Lies from BP and U.S. Government included. - Sherrie Questioning All

This is one of those, "You don't think we are that stupid, do you?" articles.   The U.S. NOAA must think people are that stupid to make up the most lame excuse (reminds me of the 'swamp gas' excuses) regarding 120+ dead dolphins so far, washing up on the shores of Texas.  U.S. NOAA are saying they are not related to anything but are simply "Unusual Mortality Event."

I remember last year when hundreds of dolphins washed up on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico states.  Those stories went away fast.

Learn more..

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Over 1300 Fukushima Residents Demand Nuclear Officials Face Jail

A group of Fukushima Prefecture residents
are seen on their way to the public
prosecutors office to file a complaint
over the Fukushima nuclear disaster,
in Fukushima on June 11. (photo: Mainichi)
Over 1300 Fukushima Residents Demand Nuclear Officials Face Jail -

Lawsuit filed Monday accuses TEPCO, gov't officials of negligence in disaster

Over 1300 residents of Fukushima filed a criminal complaint on Monday against 33 people including Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) executives and workers in government organizations saying that they are responsible for negligence over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and should go to jail.

The groups says that the officials failed to adequately prepare for the nuclear disaster, despite the well-known risks of earthquakes and tsunamis in the area.

"The Fukushima nuclear accident is the worst corporate crime in Japan's history and caused significant damage to the life, health and assets of the people of Fukushima and the rest of Japan," the group, the Plaintiffs Against the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, said on its website.

At a news conference where the group and their lawyer addressed a crowd after submitting the complaint, Ruiko Muto, the 58-year-old head of the group that submitted the complaint, said, "We want to restore our power by having prefectural residents come together as one, saying, 'We're not staying silent.'"

"We lost our homeland, filled with beautiful nature, and our irreplaceable community. We shoulder the heavy burden of a divided local community and we are sitting in the midst of a suffering which shall never end," the group lamented.

* * *
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CNN: Fukushima residents call for criminal charges against nuclear officials
Tokyo (CNN) -- The executives of the Japanese utility that owns the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and a number of the country's government officials should go to jail, according to a complaint filed by more than 1,000 local residents on Monday.

A total of 1,324 people lodged the unusual criminal complaint with the Fukushima prosecutor's office, naming Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and 32 others.

The complaint argues that the 33 TEPCO executives and government officials are responsible for causing the nuclear disaster that followed the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and exposing the people of Fukushima to radiation.

* * *
The Mainichi: Over 1,300 Fukushima residents file complaint with prosecutors over nuclear crisis
Altogether, 15 TEPCO executives including Katsumata and Masataka Shimizu, who was president of TEPCO when the nuclear disaster broke out, are named in the complaint. Another 15 people, including Haruki Madarame, head of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, and Nobuaki Terasaka, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, are from government organizations. The remaining three, who include Fukushima Medical University vice president Shunichi Yamashita, a radiation health risk advisor after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster, are specialists.

The residents accuse the 33 of negligence in their response to the nuclear crisis. They say that after the outbreak of the crisis, the government did not release data from its System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which predicts the spread of radiation. They also say that specialists underscored "safety" after the accident.

These factors delayed residents' evacuation and caused them to be exposed to radiation, their complaint says. In addition, the residents accuse TEPCO and the company's officials of violating the Environmental Pollution Offense Law by releasing radioactive materials from the plant. [...]

"Disaster victims should express their anger more," said 72-year-old Ryuko Tachibana, who was in the Fukushima town of Namie when the nuclear disaster broke out and moved nine times in the wake of the meltdowns. "The wounds that people suffered as a result of the accident are all too deep," she added, addressing a gathering.

Monday, June 11, 2012

NASA Predicts Lowest Sunspot Max in 100 Years

© Hathaway/NASA/MSFC
June 5, 2012: NASA Predicts Lowest Sunspot Max in 100 Years - NASA

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 60 in the Spring of 2013. We are currently over three years into Cycle 24. The current predicted size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years.

The prediction method has been slightly revised. The previous method found a fit for both the amplitude and the starting time of the cycle along with a weighted estimate of the amplitude from precursor predictions (polar fields and geomagnetic activity near cycle minimum).

Learn more..

Related Education:

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ray Bradbury in 2008

June 6, 2012: Ray Bradbury in 2008 - Truthdig

Ray Bradbury in 2008 speaking with Steve Wasserman for Truthdig. The author,who died Tuesday night at the age of 91, spoke about his own books and the loves of his life, including Halloween.

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The Visionary of 1934: The scientist whose 'televised book' foretold the world wide web seven decades ago

© Wikipedia
Father of the net? Paul Otlet,
a Belgian scientist, may have
foretold the internet in 1934
June 8, 2012: The Visionary of 1934: The scientist whose 'televised book' foretold the world wide web seven decades ago - Daily Mail Reporter

 A scientist in the 1930s may have been decades ahead of his time when he suggested combining a telephone connection with a TV screen.

While many have difficulty remembering the world without the internet, it was nothing more than imagination in 1934, when Paul Otlet described what would become the information superhighway.

TechNewsDaily reported that during a discussion of the world wide web's past, present and future at the World Science Festival in New York City on Saturday, Otlet's name came up.

Otlet, a Belgian scientist and author who is already regarded as the father of information science, was on to something when he published his Treaties on Documentation.

Decades before the iPad, the Kindle, or even the computer screen, Otlet was devising a plan to combine television with the phone to send and spread information from published works.

© alvaro19mad/Youtube
Technology: Otlet's vision involved
combining the television and
the telephone to send
and receive information
In his Treaties on Documentation, Otlet referenced what would become the computer when he wrote: 'Here the workspace is no longer cluttered with any books.

'In their place, a screen and a telephone within reach... From there the page to be read in order to know the answer to the question asked by telephone is made to appear on the screen.'

He went on to suggest that dividing a computer screen could show multiple books at once, a possible reference to opening a few browser windows or tabs at once.

He called his vision 'the televised book.'

© alvaro19mad/Youtube
File sharing: Otlet's idea even
involved what may be
considered audio and video data
More than 30 years later, Otlet's writings were first put into practice.

Also appearing at the World Science Festival discussion was Vinton Cerf, who was at the forefront of the world wide web when it was a military project in the 1960s.

The notion of the 'internet' was set in place when ARPANet was used to send a message between two computers set up side-by-side at 10.30pm on October 29, 1969 at UCLA.

It was sent by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline and supervised by Prof Leonard Kleinrock.

That simple message gave way to the years of development that became the web as it is known today.

Watch video here:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wood How To: Standing Desk Reader

© R. Mark Sink
Wood How To: Standing Desk Reader by R. Mark Sink

The more or less famous idea of the standing desk is rooted in the notion of reading, from the Latin lectus, meaning "lectern," which comes from the root of law and defined as a "reading desk." The substance of the reading desk is also addressed in the English language and defined as a "wooden platform," meaning "pulpit," from the Latin pulpitum, leaving the notion of softness as with spruce, aspen, or pine, used in paper making. All these encompass the idea of an elevated platform in which our world's readers suffice as necessary.

The standing desk reader in which I have built was designed to replace an older 30 minute creation from the past which had been used many years. Specifically, I wanted to address the tilting function and allow for the top to swing up to a much steeper angle so that the standing desk reader would also serve as a table reader which would easily allow someone who is sitting in a chair to capability use the standing reader near the office computer desk. This is great because if you are studying the dictionary or possibly the constitution, you can easily flip the pages next to you while also capably typing on a keyboard without being uncomfortable in the process.

© R. Mark Sink
Here at right you can see the standing desk reader can be used for any type of book or magazine display which would accompany any type of research one might be in progress of doing. In this particular design, the height of the reader is 34 inches from the floor. The back edge is 38 inches which equates to an 18 degree cut for use as a reader while one is standing. The depth and width are 12 and 19 inches respectively. With that said, the plinths were added to the legs to increase stability. One may increase stability further by closing in the back side which in effect adds more weight and design capability. One shelf is at the height of 7 inches and the second at 25 inches.

In construction, the design is the same as that of the standing desk design kit that was previously built. The legs are 3/4 inch material in Honduras mahogany. These are scraps left from previous projects. These are ripped at 2 inches wide and two pieces are glued together to make the legs while the shelves are butted up to the outside piece, and the inside vertical pieces are set between the shelves. This provides the strength necessary for the table to be structurally sound, and hold square.

These are built on a flat work table same as the floor, another type of standing desk. If you intend to build one similar to this one, remember that carpeting affects stability and children should be made aware this type of furniture may tip over if bumped into. With this piece, the back side was finished the same as front basically as the table will be used in a manner that leaves it exposed.

It could also be noted that if you decide to build one, you could use solid material to do so, although you would have to join up the top piece as this is 14 1/4 inches wide by 20 1/4 inches long with a 3/8 inch thick piece of mahogany glued to the edge. The front piece was made wider and rounded down to the surface at each side. This allowed for the stop to be at exactly 90 degrees.

© R. Mark Sink
You can make up the bridge pieces any size you desire which sit at the top of each side. I again used scrap pieces I found laying around but left a space at the back edge where another piece of wood could be attached underneath the back edge. (see photo left) Here, a light was attached to the table which has a long adjustable arm.

You'll also notice that the board that is stored inside the top is now flush with the back edge. This is the third position which works off to one side and is optional. The entire standing desk reader is mahogany and stained the traditional color of intense dark red.

One thing that stands out about these designs is the amount of material needed is lessened by creating the lectern or leg notion but you will find out of your geometry is working when you begin to construct the parts into a standing unit. The most critical area of construction is divided into two parts. The first part is joining the legs with the bottom shelf and tying the bridge at the top. I divide this up, squaring the legs with the bottom shelf (without the added pieces inside on the legs above) by adding the top back piece in and squaring up the whole unit to set dry overnight. The next day with the unit standing square, all the additional pieces are added to add more strength to the squaring done the day before. By the time these pieces are finally in place, the piece has become a stable and square unit. If this process is not handled well, your standing desk will likely not sit well or actually be out of square. To prevent these failures, use a framing square extensively making sure that when pieces dry, they are also square and 90 degrees as appropriate.

© R. Mark Sink
I'd really like to build more of these of various designs based on some of these concepts of reduced material although when we start getting into fabrications of various compounds the weight drastically increases. This standing desk reader easily weighs less than 50 pounds and these designs offer the reader ways to address their ability to activate their desires.

If you would like me to build a standing desk reader, lectern or pulpit design, please contact me at avatarone(at) We can create the standing desk as you had imagined it for your space through any elaboration possible.

Be sure and check out  the standing desk design kit as this serves as another example of this power of communion. Both these designs used a top that is adjustable in some manner. With this particular design, two brass hinges are on each side under the front edge which allows the top to swing to a vertical position and books or other items can be stored inside the top.

To remove the bottom shelf would require the piece be made horizontally more square to account for the stability. This piece weighs just enough to become fairly stable while only addressing 12 inches of depth. Again, contact me for your preferences and we can determine cost and find a shipper if necessary.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stunning Timelapse: Spacecraft Capture the Transit of Venus

Stunning Timelapse: Spacecraft Capture the Transit of Venus - Nancy Atkinson

Here's the entire 7-hour transit of Venus across the face of the Sun - shown in several views - in just 39 seconds, as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 5, 2012. This view is in the 171 Angstrom wavelenth, so note also the the bright active region in the northern solar hemisphere as Venus passes over, with beautiful coronal loops visible. The transit produced a silhouette of Venus n the Sun that no one alive today will likely see again. With its specialized instruments SDO's high-definition view from space provides a solar spectacular!

Scott Wiessinger from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio wrote this morning to tell us, "If you have the space and the bandwidth, I really recommend downloading this large file on the SVS to view. YouTube compression is hard on solar footage, so it looks even better when you watch it at true full quality."

Below is a composite image from SDO of Venus' path across the Sun, as well as another great timelapse view from ESA's PROBA-2 microsatellite:

SDO's Ultra-high Definition
View of 2012 Venus Transit

This movie shows the transit of Venus as seen from SWAP, a Belgian solar imager onboard ESA's PROBA2 microsatellite. SWAP, watching the Sun in EUV light, observes Venus as a small, black circle, obscuring the EUV light emitted from the solar outer atmosphere - the corona - from 19:45UT onwards (seen on the running timer on the video). At 22:16UT - Venus started its transit of the solar disk.

Venus appears to wobble thanks to the slight up-down motion of Proba-2 and the large distance between the satellite and the Sun.

The bright dots all over the image, looking almmost like a snow storm, are energetic particles hitting the SWAP detector when PROBA2 crosses the South Atlantic Anomaly, a region where the protection of the Earth magnetic field against space radiation is known to be weaker.