My Blog Week: July 4 to July 17
Last Sunday, my internet went out, and was still out Monday. I called my provider and got an estimate of next Thursday, the 22nd, for repairs. But then on Saturday a technician arrived early, so I was able to post again sooner than I expected. (After learning more about my phone than I ever knew before, like how to keep up my NYT crossword streak with the app.) Not working on posts, I was busy catching up on books I’m preparing to self-publish. (It does seem like the pandemic has inundated publishers, and no one is looking at manuscripts right now.) Later on, I’ll be asking book bloggers who would like a free review copy to let me know, especially Ohio bloggers, who’d like to help a local writer.
I got cartooning done this week, but not enough to post one, so below is an older selection.
A Word on the Week
Let’s begin with a basic: What is rain?
Moisture in the sky condenses around particles; condensed water vapor is the stuff of clouds. Anything miniscule enough to be carried aloft by air currents grows a water droplet; droplets in turn grow as they collide. When they become so heavy that updrafts can’t suspend them, they fall.
Rain evaporates over hot, dry areas, sometimes seen in a phenomenon called virga, where rain descends from clouds and vanishes before reaching earth.
Rain falls more heavily in areas with high humidity. The calculation is that a one centigrade increase in temperature enables the air to hold 7% more water. That the drier areas get drier and the wetter areas wetter is called amplification of the water cycle.
Our 2021 midsummer climate crisis is the theme of 0ur present lives. Likely the tendency still exists, in slowly adjusting humans, to view these changes as “this season”, while looking hopefully forward to “things getting back to normal”. But the pattern has persisted for enough years now, the American western drought has lasted long enough, to count the region as undergoing desertification.
Wildfires destroying forest cover will accelerate that. East of the Mississippi, and in the Gulf states, extreme thunderstorm events, landfalls of tropical storms/hurricanes that deluge water channels and cause flooding, are now an expected summer problem.
The rightist party representation that the northwest states are “logging communities”, and all that they demonize in their version of liberalism (which is only taking climate change as a New Reality fundamental) will seem ironic, when the GOP’s climate inaction helps destroy the famous forests, and eliminates the “jobs, jobs, jobs”. Old voters have to give way to new voters, while the apparent circumstance that the old generations had gainful employment, and future ones won’t even have a planet, makes a tough sell.
Restoring the forest ecosystem so that the land can maintain its natural water cycles, can’t work if the idea is only to plant rows of trees. Logging practices based on replanting trees, after the forest is otherwise devastated, and with the intent of harvesting the trees again long before an understory ecosystem could evolve, are not restorations at all. The trees of a forest alone are not its ecosystem. Without a sustained understory, there is no return to water capture, no natural cooling, no insect, fungus, and bacteria population to balance the biome’s health.
Meanwhile, for firefighters, the equation shifts. The danger of being killed by fire is above average for this kind of work, but largescale tragedies have been statistically rare enough to justify boots on the ground. Sending firefighters into temperatures above 100°F, increases the probability of dying on the job from vascular and respiratory stresses, which bears on the use of prison labor for firefighting. An almost guaranteed health crisis would function as an unjustifiable summary punishment.
Also in the news has been the greatly decreased level of water in Lake Mead, the reservoir behind the Hoover Dam, that provides water and electricity to California and other western states, and the beleaguered tribal reservations. But all reservoirs in the drought-stricken west are drying up. Any policy, then, that allows new construction, residential or commercial, new attachments to the grid, will make no sense if the grid is failing. It isn’t fair to those who have paid their utility bills faithfully to have a portion of their service bumped for newcomers.
Future construction should be allowed only by attrition: when a building goes down, a new one can go up. If there are to be parking lots at all, they need to be offset by parks. But attaching to the electric grid is only part of the issue, as the water supply makes a greater problem. Solar panels, wind turbines, may help buildings function independently of the grid, and prevent overdrawing, but new constructions tapping into the water supply can’t mitigate the strain by only reducing use. Buildings need to furnish some part of their own water supply, which may be through rain collection, condensation, or closed-system greywater recycling.
On Monday, July 5, a new Totem-Maker, the character seeing a zhatabe face to face. Tuesday, the last episode in the short story “Bad Counsel”, Andrée imagining a life for herself. Wednesday, The Sword Decides!, with a deputation arriving from Giovanna. Thursday, a poem, “Witness”; Friday, Shine!, Annie venturing again into post-WWI France. Saturday, Hammersmith, a frank talk between Aimee and Curach. Then Saturday again, a week later in this odd stretch, and a new episode of Sword, with Andreas and his counsellors debating how to approach the missing Queen.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: July 4 to July 17