Miscellaneous Stories

Political Correctness is why trump won

People just got fed up with all the political correctness nonsense. Most of this nonsense is perpetrated by liberals who strive to avoid offending anyone but wind up offending many people.

Walter Williams: “Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you should be disturbed and frightened for the future of our nation based on the response of so many of our young people to an election outcome. We should also be disturbed by college administrators and professors who sanction the coddling of our youth.”

Trump and College Chaos

by Walter E. Williams

If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump’s victory provided it. Let’s begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergarteners, but also among college professors and administrators.

The University of Michigan’s distressed students were provided with Play-Doh and coloring books, as they sought comfort and distraction. A University of Michigan professor postponed an exam after many students complained about their “serious stress” over the election results. Cornell University held a campuswide “cry-in,” with officials handing out tissues and hot chocolate. Read more

Here are some recent examples of political correctness excesses:

University of Wisconsin to Offer Class on ‘The Problem of Whiteness’

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will offer a spring semester class examining “the problem of whiteness” and “what it means to be #woke,” Campus Reform reports.

The course is being offered by the university’s African Cultural Studies department. According to an online description, students will be asked to examine “what it really means to be white,” and consider “how race is experienced by white people” in the United States and abroad.

“Critical Whiteness Studies aims to understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy,” the description reads. “In this class, we will ask what an ethical white identity entails, what it means to be #woke, and consider the journal Race Traitor’s motto, ‘treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.’”

The course will satisfy the university’s “ethnic studies” requirement for graduation, and will be taught by an associate professor whose course load includes a class on “Global Hiphop and Social Justice.” (Source)

Texas university takes the ‘holiday’ out of parties in December

BY Todd Starnes

Don’t call your holiday party a holiday party.

That’s the recommendation from Texas Woman’s University – posting a series of tips on how to make December office parties ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘multicultural.’

Dr. Mark Kessler, a professor of multicultural women’s and gender studies recommends not decorating with Santa Claus, a red-nosed reindeer or evergreen trees. And whatever you do, don’t serve red & green sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees. Read more

College Removes American Flag, Calls it “Symbol of Fear”

by Todd Starnes

A private college in Massachusetts has announced it will no longer fly Old Glory because it has become a “heated symbol” in the aftermath of the presidential election — in an “environment of escalating hate-based violence.”

“There were a range of views on campus, including people whose experience growing up have made the flag a symbol of fear, which was strengthened by the toxic language during the campaign, and people for whom the flag is the symbol of all that’s best throughout the country,” said Hampshire College president Jonathan Lash told WBZ.

The Hampshire College Board of Trustees initially agreed to fly the flag at half-staff on Veterans Day — but not necessarily to honor our veterans.

“This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including many U.S. service members who have lost their lives,” Lash wrote in a Facebook post.

So Hampshire College basically insulted every member of the Armed Forces — men and women who sacrifice their lives for a bunch of ungrateful over-educated brats. Read more

Town renames Good Friday for the sake of “Cultural Sensitivity”

by Todd Starnes

Whenever you hear a liberal talking about cultural diversity and sensitivity it normally means something insensitive is about to happen to Christians.

The latest case in point: Bloomington, Indiana – the home of Indiana University and a nesting place for a gaggle of intolerant liberals.

Mayor John Hamilton recently announced that are renaming two paid holidays for city workers — in an effort to respect “differing cultures.”

Columbus Day will henceforth be known as “Fall Holiday” and Good Friday will be known as “Spring Holiday.” Read more

University of Texas issues 29-point checklist on offensive Halloween costumes

Even themes approved by school ‘can be carried out incorrectly’

by Brian Bensimon

Leave your cowboy boots and Hawaiian leis at home this Halloween unless you want to hear from University of Texas-Austin administrators.

Sorority and Fraternity Life, part of the Office of the Dean of Students, issued its updated “costume and theme resource guide” last week, instructing UT Greeks to avoid Halloween party costumes and themes that may “appropriate another culture or experience.” Read more

Univ. of Northern Colorado students forced to use ‘mandatory’ gender-neutral language

By Jillian Kay Melchior

More colleges around the country are launching “inclusive language” campaigns that encourage students to avoid everyday words and phrases that could possibly offend someone, somewhere—”hey guys,” “mankind” and “man-made” are just a few of the terms now frowned upon.

The University of Northern Colorado has also jumped on the “inclusive language” bandwagon. But at the Greeley, Colo., university, there’s an extra wrinkle: In at least five classes in the last year, the new, ultra-inclusive lexicon wasn’t optional—it was required. Read more

University of Florida offers counseling for students offended by Halloween costumes

By Brittany Loggins

The University of Florida wants students to know that counseling is available for students hoping to work past any offense taken from Halloween costumes.

“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people,” the school administration wrote in a blog post. “If you are troubled by an incident that does occur, please know that there are many resources available.” Read more

A Blizzard of Snowflakes

By Peter Skurkiss

Infantile skittishness on campus is not confined to just politically correct and so-called diversity issues, as bad as that is. As a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out, college students are now literally flooding mental-health centers on campus year round for anything and everything. Read more

Duke University: Combating “Toxic Masculinity”

by David L. Hunter

Rather than classically educating the mind and developing the character, Duke University has officially joined the academic cult of politically correct social engineering.

The estimated cost to attend North Carolina’s Duke University this year is $70,092. For all those greenbacks—some $280,000 for a 4-year degree—any male offspring can look forward to being demonized for inherent “toxic masculinities” due to his gender. To that end The Men’s Project is creating a “safe space” so young men can, in essence, ‘make healthier choices while critiquing their own masculinity’—and fretting over their “male privilege”. Thus, by design, young men should feel deficient solely for the expression of their manliness? What complete hogwash!

College junior Dipro Bhowmik, of the 4-person student leadership team, informed the Duke Chronicle that the indoctrination concerns “questioning how you can be accountable to feminism, to the women in your life and to the larger community.” Excuse me, accountable to feminism? Read more

University of Michigan professors instructed to stick to ‘preferred pronouns’

By Jillian Kay Melchior

The University of Michigan yesterday unveiled a new webpage that allows students to choose their preferred pronouns, including “they” and “ze.”

Preferred pronouns will appear on class rosters, and if professors accidentally use the wrong pronoun, “you can acknowledge that you made a mistake and use the correct pronoun next time,” said the university’s provost and vice president for student life in a campus-wide email announcement. It also called using preferred pronouns “one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.” Read more

Follow up: Michigan student successfully changes preferred pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ on class roster. Read more

Energy subsidies in perspective

This post is reblogged from https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/12/the-truth-about-energy-subsidies-solar-gets-436-times-more-than-coal/

I thought the graph is especially telling.

The truth about energy subsidies – solar gets 436 times more than coal

The next time some paid troll whines about coal getting government subsidies, and wind and solar being “pure” show them this.

From the Washington Times:

energy-subsidies-chart

By Stephen Moore

One of Hillary Clinton’s wackier ideas is to build half a billion solar panels — at taxpayer expense. It would be one of the largest corporate welfare giveaways in American history. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) estimates that the cost of the plan will reach $205 billion. That’s a lot of money to throw at Elon Musk and all of Hillary’s high-powered green energy friends.

By the way, there are only 320 million people in the country so her plan would mean more solar panels than people. If Hillary has her way, the entire landscape in America will be blighted by windmills and solar panels. How is this green?

The economics here are even worse. Back in the 1970s Washington made a big bet on green energy with synthetic fuels and renewable fuels. The programs crashed and were all mercifully killed off during the Reagan years. Billions of dollars went down the drain. George W. Bush made a big bet on switch grass and wood chips to produce energy. President Obama has spent more than $100 billion on wind and solar subsidies. Instead of energy independence, we got bankruptcies like Solyndra.

 A lesson of the last several decades is that the government has a horrible record of intervening in energy markets. Mr. Obama was running around the country in his first term warning that America was running out of oil. He wasn’t paying attention to the shale oil and gas revolution and the advent of clean coal technology that overnight doubled our fossil fuel resources. At the very time that natural gas prices were falling to $2 per cubic million feet, the government was trying to force feed the nation on wind and solar power which costs three to five times more per kilowatt hour of electricity.  Read more

Climate Madness 5

 

The climate madness continues with acts by ignorant politicians, rent-seeking scientists, and demonstrations by true believers – all demonizing our emissions of carbon dioxide. All seem oblivious to a point I made in a previous article: Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth. The tragedy of this madness is that valuable resources are expended on a bogeyman rather than on something useful.

Here is the stupidest story for June:

Stunningly stupid study touts the need for plants and animals to have “climate connectivity corridors” to escape climate change

by Anthony Watts

From the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Department of the “galactically stupid” comes this new spin coupled with a new buzzword – “climate connectivity.” Authors of the study claim a need for creating “climate corridors” for plants and animals to use to flee to cooler areas.“We studied what could happen if we were to provide additional connectivity that would allow species to move across the landscape through climate corridors…” . Right. I’m sure the deer, chipmunks, salamanders, and pine trees can read signs and access these “corridors” assuming of course, whatever fool that tried to build them could secure all the land rights, permits, etc. And, as we all know, animals just don’t like warmer environments, like UHI infested cities, so we have to build corridors around them. Read more This one sounds like a reincarnation of the “Wildlands” program of several years ago. Pima County is on board with this movement, see: “Millions Spent for Oracle Road Wildlife Crossing.”

Related hype:

Climate Change Claims its First Species – or Does It?

by Kip Hansen

There are no longer any Bramble Cay melomys living on Bramble Cay. Their extirpation was almost certainly caused by environmental degradation resulting from the very nature of Bramble Cay as a “geologically temporary..[island]..of considerable instability, which may respond dramatically to fluctuations in [its] environment”, with a maximum elevation of 3 meters (~ 10 feet), made of constantly shifting sand that collects around a small rocky outcrop surrounded by a shallow reef. The area of the cay that supports vegetation, the main source of shelter and food for the melomys, has been shrinking since 1998, down to less than 10% of the 1998 area in 2014.

The main contributing factor to this degradation is the success of other species, primarily the Green Turtle and various sea birds, both of which use the island for nesting (and roosting) which resulted in increasing disturbance and destruction of the vegetation required by the melomys for survival. Read more      Some perspective: Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid smacked-down and only 10% of mammal species survived. So far in the Anthropocene Catastrophe, one type of rat has been wiped off a 300m island. JoNova

Dem Party Platform Calls For Prosecuting Global Warming Skeptics

by Michael Bastasch

Democratic operatives responsible for creating their party’s platform this year have unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies who disagree with Democrats on global warming science. Read more

Famed Climate Scientist Claims Data Now ‘Unnecessary’ To Measure Global Warming

By Chris White, Daily Caller

Michael Mann (of “hockey stick” infamy), a climatologist and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee at a hearing June 17 that climate data is really no longer necessary since we can see “climate change” on our TV screens. Read more

Massachusetts Loses Climate Action Case Brought by Youths

by Kenneth Artz

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) failed to comply with its legal obligation to reduce the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled in favor of four teenagers supported by Our Children’s Trust, the Conservation Law Foundation, and the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance.

The court ordered DEP to create regulations addressing multiple sources or categories of sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, and the Court mandated DEP impose a limit on released emissions and set limits that decline annually. Currently, Massachusetts is not on track to meet its 2020 greenhouse-gas-reduction goal of cutting emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels. Read more

Climate change mitigation: Turning CO2 into rock

University of Southampton

An international team of scientists have found a potentially viable way to remove anthropogenic (caused or influenced by humans) carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere – turn it into rock. The study, published today in Science, has shown for the first time that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can be permanently and rapidly locked away from the atmosphere, by injecting it into volcanic bedrock. The CO2 reacts with the surrounding rock, forming environmentally benign minerals. Read more It may be possible, but it is completely unnecessary.

Seattle’s Socialist Council Member Gets Her Way, Bans Nuclear Power

by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

Seattle City Council unanimously voted to replace the city’s nuclear power with wind and solar. The measure was sponsored by openly socialist council member Kshama Sawant, who claims the unanimous vote means the city is “taking a stand against nuclear energy.” Sawant was supported by activists from the state’s chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and other environmental groups. These activists allege that Columbia Generating Station, the reactor Seattle gets power from, is unsafe and vulnerable to earthquakes. Read more

Feds Funded Study To Build Cities Out Of Bone To Reduce CO2 Emissions

by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funded a study by a Cambridge University professor which advocated making new cities out of animal or synthetic bone to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The study, which has been widely shared in the media, found that making buildings out of animal bones would likely produce fewer CO2 emissions than concrete or steel buildings. Conventional construction materials account for 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Defense has given Cambridge University $6.6 million in grants and financial assistance since 2008. Read more

Global warming is blamed for record number of shark attacks in America

Daily Mail

Shark attack incidents are expected to reach more than 100 this year. Experts say shark populations have been on the rise since the 1990s. Meanwhile rising temperatures mean more people are swimming in the sea. Last year saw 98 people attacked by sharks – six fatally. (Source)

UN : Global Warming To Make Stonehenge Tip Over

Daily Mail

Stonehenge could be toppled by moles if the climate change continues apace, a United Nations report claimed yesterday. The world heritage site is one of many that is under threat, with other famous sites facing oblivion including the Statue of Liberty, Venice, Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands.

The report was produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the UN Heritage body Unesco and the United Nations Environment Programme who warned that warmer winters in the UK are likely to boost populations of moles, rabbits and badgers. As a result of their increased burrowing, they could disturb the prehistoric monuments in Wiltshire, some of which weigh more than 40 tonnes. (Source)

Headlines that caught my eye:

Italian Composer Plays Ballad For Global Warming Atop Iceberg (story)

U.S. contest challenges video-game makers to battle climate change (story)

Leaked DNC docs show Hillary a climate change charlatan (story)

Dem. Senator Pushes ‘Climate Literacy’ Program In US Schools (story) [i.e., brainwashing]

Study: Americans Take Scientists More Seriously When They Act Like Eco-Nut Jobs (story)

Obama: Rising Seas Could Swallow Statue of Liberty (story)

Six Flags ‘to level 66 acres of trees’ to make room for solar panels (story)

“World’s First 24/7 Solar Power Plant Powers 75,000 Homes” for 3 hours per day. (story)

Oakland City Council Votes to Ban Coal, Lose 1,000 Jobs (story)

 

More climate madness:

 

Global Warming – The Madness of our Age

Climate madness 2

Climate madness 3

Climate madness 4

 

 

Arizona Temperatures

Arizona is experiencing some very hot temperatures. Today, June 18, 2016, the temperature is 110 deg F. (Update June 19 it got up to 115 deg F at 4pm.) Is the heat unusual?

AlltimeRcrdHighs_Tucson

Below are graphs showing maximum temperature averages by month and average temperatures by month according to NOAA. You can make your own graphs at the NOAA site: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/
Keep in mind that 1997/1998 and 2015/2016 were strong El Nino years. Also keep in mind that NOAA has been systematically “adjusting” the temperature record to make the past cooler so that the present looks warmer see herehere and here.

According to the National Weather Service for data through 2015, Tucson’s record high was 117 deg F on June 26, 1990, Phoenix reached 122 deg on the same day. Yuma’s high was 124 on July 28, 1995.

Note that the temperatures below are averages for the state, not individual locations.

First Maximum temperatures by month from 1900 to 2016.

AZmax01

AZmax02

AZmax03

AZmax04

AZmax05

AZmax06

AZmax07

AZmax08

AZmax09

AZmax10

AZmax11

AZmax12

Here are the monthly average temperatures for Arizona:

AZavg01

AZavg02

AZavg03

AZavg04

AZavg05

AZavg06

AZavg07

AZavg08

AZavg09

AZavg10

AZavg11

AZavg12

 

Governor Ducey proposes transferring Arizona Geological Survey to University of Arizona – Bad Idea

[This is an updated version of an article that first appeared in the Arizona Daily Independent.]

According to a post by State Geologist Dr. Lee Allison, Governor Ducey wants to end the Arizona Geological Survey as an independent agency and transfer it to the University of Arizona. Apparently, this was a surprise to both AZGS and UofA.

The Governor’s budget proposal states:

The Arizona Geological Survey was originally housed at the University of Arizona. While the Survey was formally established as an independent State agency in 1988, it retains strong collegial and logistical ties with University faculty and staff. Both engage in rigorous academic geoscience research that greatly benefits the state. For FY 2017, the Executive recommends consolidating the Arizona Geological Survey within the University of Arizona. This model, adopted by 20 states, is designed to enhance synergies by streamlining services and location of geological mapping data to better serve stakeholders. It presents potential for greater opportunities to successfully leverage research grant funding, can provide a direct pipeline of student researchers to the survey, and should help attract high-profile geologists.

The Executive recommends moving the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to the Department of Environmental Quality.

For some background, here is the mission of the Arizona Geological Survey:

Serve as a primary source of geologic information to enhance public understanding of the State’s geologic character, geologic hazards and mineral resources.

Inform, advise and assist the public in matters concerning the geological processes, materials and landscapes and the development and use of Arizona’s mineral resources. Encourage the prudent use of lands and mineral resources.

Provide technical advice and assistance in geology to other State and local governmental agencies engaged in projects in which the geologic setting, character or mineral resources of the State are involved. Provide technical advice and assistance in geology to industry toward the wise development and use of Arizona’s mineral and land resources.

The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) currently gets about 85% of its budget from outside grants and returns $4.50 for every state dollar spent according to their annual report. What will happen went AZGS is folded into the University bureaucracy?

AZGS provides many valuable services. You can get an idea of what they do from their main website: http://www.azgs.az.gov/ and from their most recent annual report: http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1666.

Read also a short history of AZGS at http://www.azgs.az.gov/history.shtml

Personally, I find great value in the AZGS program of scanning and digitizing out-of-print reports and unpublished data from donated private collections. These data are then provided online for free download. Their geologic hazards program informs the public of potential dangers from earthquakes, landslides, and earth fissures. AZGS is the lead agency coordinating a nationwide geothermal energy database.

I asked State Geologist Lee Allison for some comments, he said:

Jonathan, it’s my understanding UA only learned of this proposal a few days ago, so they have not had a chance to consider how they would assume the duties of the Survey if approved by the Legislature. They need to evaluate housing 800,000 pages of mining records, well cores, two geological libraries, publications (we are a publishing house), as well as our extensive online document and data repositories and services. AZGS maintains the state’s seismic monitoring network and is required to keep the online interactive earth fissure map up to date for use by the real estate-homebuilding-local planning communities. We are preparing a briefing paper for UA officials to summarize our assets – financial, physical, digital, and people – and duties, so they better assess how and where we would fit in that organization.

This shows that the consolidation would not be a simple task. Many of my geologist friends are against this proposal.

I spoke with other veterans of both eras of the geologic survey. The basic conclusion is that the reintegration is a very bad idea. Under the old university-controlled system, focus was on academic geology designed mainly to aid newly minted, tenure-tracked PhDs who had to establish a record of productivity . The survey was also adversely affected by political intrigues within the university system. As an independent agency, the AZGS is focused on public service, i.e., practical applied geology. There current products help home-owners, developers, industry, and other state agencies. Also, as you may guess, it’s about the money. Grant money goes to the contracted study and to “indirect costs.” The university system tends to syphon off much more “indirect costs” than does the independent agency. What kind of survey do you want?

Geologist David Briggs opines:

I have worked closely with the Arizona Geological Survey for many years. Today’s survey is considerably more responsive to the needs of Arizonans than it was when it was a part of the University of Arizona. As an small independent agency, it has been able to minimize its administrative costs and use much more of its limited budget to do its core mission.

I fear university administrative costs will consume much of the funding the Arizona Geological Survey receives from outside grants, leaving little to serve the citizens of Arizona.

Arizonans will receive a better return for their tax dollars if the Arizona Geological Survey remains an independent agency.

The Arizona Daily Star reported recently that “UA drastically cuts growth goals for research.” It looks like UofA is not in position to take on a major new project. Or would they like to have more money for “indirect costs”? I don’t know the motive for this move, but one geologist suggests that it is money. Current AZGS director Lee Allison is internationally known as a leader in creating geologic (and other) databases. His potential for bringing in lots of externally funded projects is high. That will mean lots of indirect cost dollars. In a time of shrinking State budgets those indirect cost dollars are of increasing importance. For that reason, the UofA may be somehow involved with the recommendation to move the AZGS, or at least would be willing to accommodate the Governor.

I also emailed Gov. Ducey and asked What prompted this move? Do you anticipate saving money? If so how much? I am a registered professional geologist and regard the AZGS working very well as is. As of this writing, I have received no response.

The change will require permission of the state legislature. AZGS duties are specified by State statute here. AZGS seems to be performing those specified duties quite nicely.

Updates:
According to Lee Allison’s Arizona Geology blog:

Arizona Geological Survey’s return on investment = 668%
Since 2011, the Arizona Geological Survey has successfully raised more than $35,800,000 in external research grants from federal, state, local, non-profit, and private sources. Over that same period our total cumulative state appropriation was $5,364,100, for a Return on Investment of $6.68 of income for every $1 of state funds. This compares favorably with top tier research centers across the country.

In addition, we have numerous funding proposals under review and have been told to expect new awards of at least $1.6 million this fiscal year. That would increase our ROI number.

We compiled these numbers for inclusion in briefing materials we are preparing for the University of Arizona to help them understand and evaluate Governor Ducey’s proposal to transfer the duties of the AZGS to the university.

These grant funds have been key to maintaining and even expanding state services despite significant state budget cuts during the Great Recession.

 

In my opinion, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Some not so natural critters of Arizona, Jackalopes, stick lizards and sand trout

Since this is the season of whimsy and fun, let’s revisit legends of the Old West that have spawned some mythical creatures in Arizona. Today we examine three of them: the Santa Cruz Sand Trout, the Arizona Stick Lizard, and the Jackalope. One of these creatures has some basis in fact and the legend may have originated in 16th Century Europe.

Santa Cruz Sand Trout

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout is the native fish of the usually dry Santa Cruz River that runs through Tucson. Folks from wetter climates should realize that in Tucson we do not hide rivers under water. The story of the Sand Trout shows how native fauna can adapt to climate change.

One way to catch a Santa Cruz Sand Trout is to stomp on the river bank and look for the cloud of dust in the river bed as the trout try to get away. Then just run out and grab them.

Sand trout habitat

The Late Hugh Holub has the most concise dissertation on this fish (http://www.bandersnatch.com/trout.htm). He wrote the following as a satire of many Endangered Species listing proposals:

As the last Ice Age ended and the climate of Southern Arizona warmed and dried out, the flows of the Santa Cruz River near Tucson became erratic and then vanished completely by the mid-1950s due to the construction of a series of cheap hotels on its banks. The native fish of that stretch of the river became extinct, with the exception of the Santa Cruz Sand Trout, which evolved a capability to live in an environment completely devoid of water.

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout ranges in size from approximately 5 centimeters to over 100 centimeters, and is characterized by a rubbery skin. It is difficult to tell whether a Santa Cruz Sand Trout is dead or alive due to its extremely low metabolism rate.

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout has been commercially harvested and sold in Tucson toy stores for many years, delighting several generations of local children. There are many reports of Santa Cruz Sand Trout escaping Tucson homes and establishing residence in backyard sand boxes and local washes.

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout is one of Baja Arizona’s most highly prized sport fish, requiring the use of a 4×4 to troll the riverbed. Beer cans are reportedly the most effective artificial lure to catch Sand Trout.

Efforts to restore the flow of the Santa Cruz River with treated sewage effluent have some environmentalists concerned, as this may cause the destruction of the prime Santa Cruz Sand Trout habitat and lead to their extinction. The Santa Cruz Sand Trout can only survive short periods of wetness, such as occur during the infrequent storm flows in the river. A petition to have the Santa Cruz Sand Trout declared an endangered species is being prepared by the Baja Arizona Ministry of Commercial Fisheries.

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout has also been nominated for an award for water conservation efficiency as it is the only known Arizona species of fish which requires zero gallons per capita of water to survive.

Sculpture and a plaque dedicated to the sand trout: http://www.christanz.com/sand-trout/

The Santa Cruz Sand Trout should not be confused with another Sand Trout known to occur in southern estuaries: http://www.fishing-tips-bait-tackle.com/sand_trout.html.

Arizona Stick Lizard (aka Sonoran Desert Stick Lizard)

Stick lizardThe desert floor can get very hot. In summer, air temperature within one inch of the ground can get as hot as 160 degrees Fahrenheit. What is a lizard to do? The Arizona Stick Lizard has a clever adaptation. It carries a stick which it can plunge into the sand and then climb the stick to avoid burning its feet. Or, the lizard can use the stick to pole vault over the hot spots. Some claim that the lizard can cool off in its own shadow while on the stick.

The stick serves another purpose as well. It makes the lizard too wide to be swallowed by snakes.

The Arizona Stick Lizard has been memorialized in works of art such as that at the Tucson Museum of Art, see: http://www.tucson.halversen.com/art/sticklizard.html

And sometimes sticks look like lizards: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26038958@N08/2459389106/

Jackalopes (aka “Horned Rabbits” and “Deer bunnies”)

Jackalope PetleyThe Jackalope is a hybrid between jack rabbits and antelopes or deer. This critter, which has long been in folklore, was made famous in a postcard devised by photographer Bob Petley.

Jackalopes are said to be fierce creatures which use their antlers to fight off other animals. They are also whimsical.

Jackalopes possess an uncanny ability to mimic human sounds. In the old West, when cowboys would gather by their campfires to sing at night, jackalopes would frequently be heard singing back, mimicking the voices of the cowboys. Jackalopes become especially vocal before thunderstorms, perhaps because they mate only when lightning flashes (or so it is theorized).

When chased, the jackalope will use its vocal abilities to elude capture. For instance, when chased by people it will call out phrases such as, “There he goes, over there,” in order to throw pursuers off its track. The best way to catch a jackalope is to lure it with whiskey, as they have a particular fondness for this drink. Once intoxicated, the animal becomes slower and easier to hunt.

Jackalope milk is particularly sought after because it is believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac (for which reason, the jackalope is also sometimes referred to as the ‘horny rabbit’). However, it can be incredibly dangerous to milk a jackalope, and any attempt to do so is not advised. A peculiar feature of the milk is that it comes from the animal already homogenized on account of the creature’s powerful leaps. [Source]

Jackalopes are not confined to Arizona. Wyoming claims to be the “jackalope capital of America.” “In 2005, the state legislature of Wyoming considered a bill to make the jackalope the state’s official mythological creature. It passed the house by a 45-12 margin, but the session ended before the senate could take up the bill, and so it died.”

Jackalope-like animals were reported in Europe as early as the 16th Century. This was probably due to the occurrence of rabbits with antler-like tumors on their heads, the result of papillomavirus infections. Even Buddha mentioned “horned rabbits.”

(See http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Viral_diseases/Pap/Papilloma.htm )

Jackalope ancient

Spend some time on the Santa Cruz River walk. There you may see both the Stick Lizard and the Santa Cruz Sand Trout.

For more interesting critters, check out the Mogollon Monster and the Legend of the Red Ghost.

 

P.S. An account from Peter Dohms:

Jon; I became acquainted with the Hassayampa Sand Trout (evidently a sub-species of the Santa Cruz Sand Trout) in 1967, when I crossed the bed of the Hassayampa River on Highway 60 in Wickenburg for the first time and did a double take at the “No Fishing From Bridge” sign hovering above the 100 yard-wide bed of sand. On a pub crawl that night I learned the story of the Hassayampa Sand Trout, which had evolved from native Arizona Golden Trout as the last ice age slowly ended, and the fish learned to live with less and less water. The locals also introduced me to the (now extinct) Sand Trout Worms, which they used to help catch the Sand Trout. These exceptionally intelligent worms would be lashed to a fishing line, just above the hook, and tossed out onto the cool morning sand. Then they would burrow beneath the river bed and hunt down the Sand Trout. Upon finding one, the Sand Trout Worm would snag the Trout with the hook, then crawl back up the line to the surface and signal the angler, who would happily reel the fish in.

Of course, the Hassayampa River, which rises in the Bradshaw Mountains a short distance northwest of the famous mining camp of Tip Top, is prone to occasional flash flooding during summer monsoon storms. The Sand Trout have learned to listen for distant thunder and take shelter from the floods by leaving the river bed until the flooding subsides. Of course, when the storm is simply too far away, there’s a risk that a significant fraction of the population can drown in the deluge.

How much global warming is dangerous? A geological perspective

The United Nation’s IPCC and other climate alarmists say all hell will break loose if the global temperature rises more than an additional 2º C (3.6ºF). That number, by the way, is purely arbitrary with no basis in science. It also ignores Earth’s geologic history which shows that for most of the time global temperatures have been much warmer than now. Let’s look back at a time when global temperatures are estimated to have been as much as 34ºF warmer than they are now. Hell didn’t break loose then.

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was a temperature spike that happened about 55 million years ago. The preceding Cretaceous and early Tertiary periods where hot and steamy with average global temperatures estimated to be at least 10ºC (18ºF) warmer than now. Atmospheric carbon dioxide was estimated to be at least three times higher than now. Life was abundant and flourishing in part because of fertilization by carbon dioxide – plant food. The Cretaceous has been described as both a “hot house” and as a “garden of Eden.” There was no ice at the poles.

The PETM temperature spike caused global temperatures to get even warmer. Drill core data from deep-sea sediments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans suggested a rapid rise (geologically rapid, i.e., 10,000 years) of 5ºC to 9ºC (9-16ºF) higher than the existing temperature prior to the event, that is, to as much as 34ºF warmer than now. Global temperature stayed at this elevated level for about 100,000 years, then rapidly cooled back to the prevailing normal temperature and then cooled even more. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is estimated to have risen from the prevailing 1,000 ppm to about 1,700 ppm, more than four times higher than today. Life was robust.

The cause of the temperature spike is controversial. Theories include volcanic eruption and massive forest fires that could have put large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, changes in ocean circulation, and evolution of methane into the atmosphere. Recent research shows that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was insufficient to cause all of the temperature rise (Zeebe et al.), and that warming began before the rise of carbon dioxide (Secord et al.).

The current favored hypothesis is that methane (CH4) was the primary cause of temperature rise. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and its evolution into the atmosphere could have initiated warming. Carbon dioxide is formed by reaction of methane with oxygen. Under warming conditions carbon dioxide also exsolves from the ocean. Evidence suggests that warming happened in several pulses. However, once all the methane was destroyed by reaction with oxygen, the planet cooled in spite of there being copious carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This shows that the weak warming effect of carbon dioxide is easily overcome by other natural forces. It also shows that even with carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere four times what it is now, “runaway” global warming is impossible on our water world.

Where did the methane come from? Let me set the scene. At the time of PETM, the continents were not in their present location. The North Atlantic was just beginning to open to the Arctic Ocean; this could have changed the ocean circulation and hence the sea temperature. Volcanism and other tectonic disturbances were very active as the Atlantic opened.

There are two potential sources for methane. One is methane hydrates sequestered in ocean sediments. Methane hydrates are ice-like compounds of water and methane formed under cold deep sea temperatures and pressure. Either a change in temperature or a change in pressure would release the methane.

The second, and perhaps more likely source, involves volcanism and organic methane sequestered in deep sea sediments, similar to the oil shale deposits now being explored. As noted in Geotimes (October 2006), research in the Norwegian sea found thousands of hydrothermal vent complexes that date to the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. As methane-bearing sediments were subducted deeper and deeper, they came into contact with hot magma from the mantle. This can cause explosive events and rapid release of methane. This scenario is supported by the high ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon-13, indicating microbic generated methane, found at the PETM event.

With rapid warming came both death and opportunity. Mammal diversity and range exploded as did that for terrestrial plants. The North American horse first appeared at this time. At the same time, however, deep-dwelling ocean fauna suffered a rapid extinction.

Although the global temperature dropped rapidly after PETM once the methane was used up, another warming spike happened about 40 million years ago in mid-Eocene time, possibly due to a similar cause. But afterwards another sharp cooling trend began and by 34 million years ago ice began to form in Antarctica. Global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide have been dropping ever since (see graphs below). We are presently in an interglacial period of an ice age that began about three million years ago.

Life on Earth made it through the hot Cretaceous and PETM temperature spike, so it is hard to see how a rise of only 2ºC (3.6ºF), if it actually happened, would make much difference. Earth and its life are resilient.

The IPCC’s arbitrary 2ºC (3.6ºF) “tipping point” has no basis in science. It is just a phantom menace designed to control the world’s economy by requiring reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and hence energy use. As H.L. Mencken wrote: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the
populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Below are two graphs, the first showing temperature history of the past 65 million years; the second showing the past 45 million years with more detail on geographic/geologic events. Notice that during almost all of that time, Earth was much warmer than it is now.

65millionyrstemp

45 my

References:

Ross Secord, Philip D. Gingerich, Kyger C. Lohmann & Kenneth G. MacLeod, 2010, Continental warming preceding the Palaeocene–Eocene thermal maximum, Nature 467,955–958.

Richard E. Zeebe, James C. Zachos & Gerald R. Dickens, 2009, Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming, Nature Geoscience 2, 576 – 580 (2009)

Graph references:

The first is from:
http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/thumb/e/e2/65_Myr_Climate_Change_Rev.png/600px-65_Myr_Climate_Change_Rev.png
The second is from: http://s22.postimg.org/804qp4xo1/Temp_Geography_45_Mys.png
It was originally in the a comment from Bill Illis here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/30/co2-destroyer-of-entire-continents-at-the-touch-of-a-knob/
You can see many more such graphs at Anthony Watts’ paleoclimate page: http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/global-weather-climate/paleoclimate/

Sell more Arizona State Trust Land to help fund schools

One of the issues in the current governor’s race is the fact that Arizona owes about $300 million to the state’s schools. Where will that money come from? One possible source is the sale of some State Trust Land. When Arizona was organized as a territory and then a state, the federal government ceded land to be held in trust by Arizona for the specific purpose of funding education. Money is derived from outright sales and from leases for grazing, timber cutting, and mineral exploration. If a mine is developed on Trust land, the State receives production royalties.

There are now over 9 million acres of land in the Trust. While much of that land is rural, some of it is in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and would be very valuable for development, and thus command a high sale price. See parcel viewer here. The screen shot below shows some of the Trust land available in the Phoenix area in blue.

 Phoenix area trust land

State Trust Land must be sold at public auction to the highest bidder. History shows that when a Trust land parcel is valued for development, the winning bid is nearly twice its appraised value.

For some background on State Trust Land, here is a short history from the State Land Department.

“The Territory of Arizona was established on February 24, 1863, by an Act of Congress. This Act granted sections 16 and 36 of each township for the benefit of the Common Schools. Endowment of public lands for educational purposes was a practice established by the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. Congress quickly recognized the value of the land and the importance of public schools to a developing nation.

“The State Enabling Act, passed on June 20, 1910, allowed the Territory of Arizona to prepare for statehood. In addition to the previously designated sections of land, the Enabling Act assigned sections 2 and 32 of each township to be held in trust for the Common Schools. The needs of other public institutions were considered by Congress, and through the Enabling Act, more than two million additional acres were allocated for their use.

“In addition, a 1929 Act authorized an additional 50,000 acres for the Miners’ Hospital Trust. An 1881 Act had already granted the Territory of Arizona about 60,000 acres for the University of Arizona Trust. The total acreage was about 10,900,000. Today, State Trust Land is apportioned among 14 beneficiaries.”

If the sections of land mentioned above were not available for some reason, the State was allowed to choose other federal land in lieu of the designated sections.

The beneficiaries of income derived from Trust land are as follows:

 Trust land beneficiaries

By selling State Trust Land that is within or close to urban areas, the State could make up much of its $300 million educational deficit.

UPDATE:

I have been informed by a friend and former employee of the State Land Department that proceeds from land sales cannot be disbursed directly to schools. He wrote: “To operate as you suggest would require an amendment to the state constitution on an issue that would require the prior approval of the Federal government. The proceeds from the sale of Trust land can not be disbursed directly but must be placed in the Permanent Fund managed by the state treasurer.” Only money earned as interest from the Permanent Fund can be disbursed.

However, money gained from leases can be directly disbursed. He wrote: “These days the largest segment of money going directly to the schools is from mineral revenues, both surface rent and production royalties. If an organization wanted to expand school revenues, the most productive thing would be to expand mineral development.”