That Was The Week That Was

1. Got about 3 1/2″ of rain over the last 2 days. North of here, and at higher elevations, 6 or 8″ wasn’t unusual. Around here, that’s a LOT of rain. Most areas have already received 50% or more of season normal rainfall, and we’re way less than half way through the rainy season out here – January and February are when we tend to get most of our rainfall.

Now, before you laugh at us weakling Californians and our panic at getting slightly moistened, just recall how non-Californians react to earthquakes. Anything less than a 4.0 isn’t even enough to get a native out of bed, yet the non-natives have heart attacks if the light fixtures sway a little. .So, back off!

Spring bloom 1998
Death Valley in 1998, after a little rain.

Death Valley got 2″ of rain. The valley sits in the rain shadow of 4 different mountain ranges to the west, the last being the southern end of the Sierra – a pretty impressive barrier. Years go by sometimes with only a trace of rain getting through. When it does rain, however, amazing wildflowers bloom everywhere – the floor, the hills, all over the place. We’re thinking of taking the trip down – it should be awesome this spring.

The level of Lake Shasta, a gigantic reservoir up near the Oregon border rose 23′ in less than a month, and is still rising. Only about 100′ to go to full. Similar story at the other reservoirs. In other words, a half dozen more decent rainstorms, which would be pretty normal, and we can go back to panicking about something else besides drought.

2. Some distant day, I hope my kids can look back and say: “Then the old man lost over a hundred pounds, and lived another 30 years!”

3.”The Future is Renewable”. Um – what? This from the same rigorous thinkers who are out to “save the planet.”

Quick refresher, from a natural science point of view: The sun goes red giant in about a billion years, evaporating everything on earth, maybe even the planet itself. Everything goes poof, curtain comes down, and, in the highly implausible event that we’re still around, we (meaning our descendants who would be much farther removed from us than we are from trilobites) all die.

Well before that, we almost certainly become extinct. Mammals, while highly adaptive as a group, are made up of many short-lived species. A mammal species that last more than a couple million years is unusual. The longest lasting species of Homo was Homo erectus, which lasted a bit over a million years. By that standard, we’ve got maybe a few hundred thousand more years to go. So, I wouldn’t sweat that whole main sequence star stuff.

Finally, and more to the point: civilizations don’t tend to last more than a few hundred years, tops. What this means is, if you pick a point in time and space where there’s a civilization worthy of the name, then go back or forward a couple hundred years, you almost certainly wouldn’t recognize the place. So any particular civilization is like the weather: if you don’t like it, just wait and it will change. Usually to something more akin to the French Revolution or the Mongol conquests than to the American Revolution, but change it will.

So, all those Greens who think we’re doomed are correct – just not the way they think we are. If natural history also repeats itself, the worst case is that we do some damage to the environment, then die out – and, a million years later, it will be hard to tell we were ever here, and all sorts of new and interesting life forms will infest the planet, doing old and boring things like disemboweling their prey alive and casually driving other species to extinction on their way to their own extinction. Ah, the good old days, before we people messed things up!.

I suppose “It would be better if we used renewable energy instead of fossil fuels” wouldn’t fit as well on a T-shirt, and might do even more damage to Latin American national monuments if deployed in a similar manner.

4. Got all these great ideas for posts. When I’ve got time, my brain tends to be full of other business. Next week for sure!


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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