In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Friday, December 23, 2011


1.   ...what exists, exists so that it can be lost and become precious
2.   Someone looking to share a ride to San Diego to CNPS Conservation Conference in January
3.   Rec-Park wants to lease Coit Tower to private parties/cities are screwed
4.   GG Bridge plaza and Battery East trail constructions start Jan 9
5.   Chronicle has favorable environmental story for a change
6.   Corwin Community Garden needs steward - must have a steward
7.   Hooters calendar features delightful owl pictures
8.   Fears in modern-city dwellers protect us from dangers that no longer exist
9.   Exporting our universities while they crumble at home
10. Feedback
11.  Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique
12.  Rare lenticular clouds snapped in Yorkshire skies
13.  Predators inspire poetry and fear - the wisdom of Lao Tze
14.  Murder in the Vatican; The CIA and the Bolshevik Pontiff
15.  A Word A Day:  callipygous
16.  Washington boats carry fewer passengers - guess why
17.  Tired of your spouse?  Ever thought of craigslist?
18.  Pretty picture
19.  Feedback, continued

Life is denied by lack of attention,
                        whether it be to cleaning windows
                            or trying to write a masterpiece.
                                       -- Nadia Boulanger

To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen. -Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)



In Passing

How swiftly the strained honey
of afternoon light
flows into darkness

and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into blossom:

as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious

~ Lisel Mueller ~

(Alive Together)


2.  I'm looking for a ride to the CNPS Conservation Conference in San Diego January 10-14.  If any of your readers are interested in giving me a ride or setting up a carpool, please contact me at denise_louie_sf (at)


3.  Jan Blum:
    As you know,  Rec & Park continues to move inexorably forward  in its effort to  commercialize our parks, any way and every way it is possible.  The latest park in the firing scope  is the the historic Coit Tower.  Rec & Park wants to lease it out for for private parties.  While ordinary tourists and residents may simply be inconvenienced due to lack of access during private parties, there is a deep and abiding concern about the threat to the historic murals inside Coit Tower. 

    A poignant series of  hand-painted  murals completely encircle the tower interior.  These old and delicate  murals were painted  by  a series of artists as part of  the WPA  and depict scenes of that time in our history.   They include include fascinating pictures of the people, their lives and the various industries  and around San Francisco during the Great Depression.  The interior surrounding the Tower is now a very wide space at all as those of you know who have visited.    NOW, Imagine people leaning on and rubbing against these 72 year old hand painted  murals while chitchatting; chairs scraping into the murals;  imagine food being spilled or wine splashed on these one of a kind, uniquely San Franciscan, historic panels.

    $3000 is needed RIGHT NOW, by Friday December 23rd to  fund printing petitions for signature gathering . The Committee plans to get enough signatures to qualify  Protect Coit Tower as a ballot remeasure. 

Please send whatever amount you can to:  
                                     THE PROTECT COIT TOWER COMMITTEE,   PO. Box 330476, San Francisco CA 94133.
                                    Or,   CONTRIBUTE ONLINE TO:    www.PROTECTCOITTOWER.ORG


Christopher Duderstadt:  Any mayor in America today has a hard time.  Cities are socialistic by nature.  We live in cities because we are willing to share resources and services with each other. We trade private autos for public transit. We give up yards in trade for common parks. But to pay for these we must pony up taxes; socialism.  In the new ownership society taxes are out, private ownership is in and cities are screwed.  That does not justify closing or giving away control of our parks. 

Golden Gate Bridge Plaza
The Golden Gate Pavilion, the new interim visitor facility, is visibly taking shape as of this week.  The foundation has been poured and structural steel is going up.  Over the next few weeks, external panels will be put in place.  The Round House and Café will close for renovation by January 6, 2012.  And, enhancements to the plaza, including landscaping, signage, and other improvements will begin soon after.  All of this work is anticipation of the 75th Anniversary in May.     
 Battery East Bay Trail Construction Begins January 9, 2012
This year’s work will continue improvements begun in 2008 and feature an improved trail surface, viewing area, accessible slope, and defined bike and pedestrian paths.  The large pile in the Battery East parking lot consists of dune sand from a nearby construction project.  This sand will  be used in the construction of the trail.

Important Notice!  Construction will begin January 9, 2012 and be completed in late March.  Please note that the work requires the complete closure of the west sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge and Battery East Road for the duration of the project.  Please let others you think might be interested know.  We appreciate your patience, and look forward to experiencing the new trail in the spring!
Thank you all for your interest in the Golden Gate Bridge, trails, and upcoming celebration!  To learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary celebration and receive more updates, go to 


5.  The SF Chronicle doesn't often put environmentalists in a good light.  Here's one time they did, from Thursday's issue:


6.  Corwin Community Garden ( is a beautiful, restful, and inspiring oasis on the lower eastern slope of Twin Peaks.  Bill Murphy, long-time steward of the garden, can no longer keep it up, so it is in need of someone to take his place.  If you will visit the website you will realize that it is a place that cannot be allowed to perish.


7.  A friend forwarded a PowerPoint file of owl pictures from a Hooter's calendar.  They're beautiful, sometimes amusing.  Will forward on request.


“Fears in modern-city dwellers protect us from dangers that no longer exist, and fail to protect us from dangers in the world around us.  We ought to be afraid of guns, driving fast, driving without a seatbelt, lighter fluid, and hair dryers near bathtubs, not of snakes and spiders.  Public safety
officials try to strike fear in the hearts of citizens using everything from statistics to shocking photographs, usually to no avail.  Parents scream and punish to deter their children from playing with matches or chasing a ball into the street, but when Chicago schoolchildren were asked what they were most afraid of, they cited lions, tigers and snakes, unlikely hazards in the Windy City.”
    —Stephen Pinker, "How The Mind Works"


9.    Exporting our universities while they crumble at home


10.  Feedback

Bruce Grosjean:
Jake – Your measured response to Judy West was pitch perfect. I too choked on her claim that our government is intent on “undermining private industry” when all I see are politicians of all stripes dancing to the tunes big business plays. Ms. West' suggestion that the Keystone Pipeline would have little effect on climate change may be true, at least when measured against the world's ever increasing thirst for oil, but the fact that Keystone will most certainly be built is a trustworthy indicator of just how serious we are about confronting this complex issue. After all, those of us that are old enough to be involved in this discussion are not the ones that will pay the ultimate price for our shortsighted gluttony. The toll will eventually be paid by those we’ve yet to meet.

(Name Withheld):
I would like to respond to the comment by Judy West in the Dec 19, 2011 issue:
The comment "burning fossil fuels may contribute to climate warming" is incorrect.  Burning fossil fuels DOES contribute to global warming.  The changes we are seeing in the past 20 years are astonishingly fast -- We are rapidly adding to list of "hottest year on record".  

Just a few references for an overview of the facts - with great illustrations and photography!

An online history of global warming by SPENCER R. WEART

Global Warming Fast Facts

World Without Ice

(See bottom of this email for feedback from Judy West.  It is too lengthy for inclusion here, and few people will be interested in our attempted "dialogue".  JS)

Jeff Caldwell:
A rural town in Germany has done some amazing things in saving/creating energy and treating wastewater ...

On Dec 22, 2011, at 6:31 PM, Daniella Thompson wrote:
Hello Jake, On Tuesday, you wrote in your blog:
One of my very favorite all-time pianists was a Brazilian woman, Guiomar Novaes.  I still listen to her playing a lot.  What got my attention was that she was the 19th child of a poor Sao Paolo family.  I don't know the details, but somehow her talent was recognized early, and she was given training somehow.

It's possible that someone else has already set you straight on Guiomar Novaes' biography, but just in case, here are the facts.

Guiomar Novaes was the 17th child out of 19. Eight of her siblings died in infancy or childhood, so the actual count of the Novaes children was eleven -- not unusual in catholic families of that time and place.

The Novaes family was far from poor; Guiomar's father was a major and a coffee merchant. Her elder sisters played the piano (in those days, most young ladies of good families did).

Guiomar began to play at the age of four. When she heard other children sing in kindergarten, she went to the piano and played the melody she had just heard. This prompted her father to send her to a music teacher. Her teacher was Luigi Chiaffarelli, a well-known Italian immigrant who had studied with Busoni. Chiaffarelli is said to have been responsible for Guiomar's extraordinary tone, legato, and left hand.

When Guiomar was seven, she composed a waltz. By the time she had turned eight, she was already a professional and a sensation in São Paulo's concert halls. At the age of 13, she received a 4-year scholarship for the Paris Conservatoire, where she won first prize in her first exam.

Brazilians tend to be very musical, so it's not surprising that Guiomar's talent was recognized and rewarded early on.
Thank you very much for this response and correction.  I know so many things that are not true.

I wish there were "someone else to set me straight" on Novaes; not many know of her.  I have been her acolyte since I first discovered her in university in the late 1940s, and she has been a constant companion since.  Part of my motivation for mentioning her was the forlorn hope that someone out there may have heard of her and respond.  You're it.  (BTW, I took a class on great pianists of the past at the SF Conservatory of Music, and the teacher had never heard of her!  I'm getting used to that, but it always causes me a little pain.  I appointed myself a one-man PR agent for her.)

That's interesting about Chiaffarelli.  It is her tone and legato that I especially treasure.  Chopin, I'm sure, would have been pleased with her singing line.

I heard her the one time (?) she came to San Francisco around 1951.  She gave a recital at the Curran Theater, and I was dismayed that the theater was only half-full.  I suspect that may be because she had not toured a great deal in this country and wasn't known, although I don't know that.  (I know she played New York a lot.)  She was scheduled to play a concerto with the SF Symphony the next year (with Monteux, if I remember correctly), but she was taken ill and Alicia de Larrocha substituted for her.  She never came back.
I know so many things that are not true.
And I just discovered that I fed you some untrue information yesterday. I wrote that Luigi Chiaffarelli had studied with Busoni, a tidbit I picked up (to my shame) on some website. Although I suspected that Chiaffarelli was too old to have been Busoni's pupil, I didn't check the facts until now. So, with apologies, here is the corrected information.

Ferruccio Busoni was born in 1866. Luigi Chiaffarelli was born ten years earlier, in 1856, to a family of musicians. His home town was Isernia. He studied under Gustavo Toffano in Bologna and Siegmund Lebert at the Stuttgart Conservatory. He also obtained a degree in Literature, spoke 13 languages, and taught Italian, French and German. In 1880, he immigrated to Brazil and settled in São Paulo, where he opened a music school. He is considered the foremost piano educator Brazil has ever had.

I have been her acolyte since I first discovered her in university in the late 1940s,
I've been wondering how you came to be acquainted with her work. The reason for my own acquaintance is that Brazilian music is my specialty.

Musica Brasiliensis

I heard her the one time (?) she came to San Francisco around 1951.

She played in Carmel during the 1946–47 season. I'd be surprised if she skipped SF on that occasion.

Keith McAllister:
Executive Order 13514, over two years old, contains no direction to plant native plants, nor anything about prime farmlands, permeable soils, riparian buffer widths, etc.  It is primarily about reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  You can read the Order by following the links in your newsletter.


11.  Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique, by John Gribbin (blurb inside back cover)

Are there other planets in the galaxy that can sustain life? Almost certainly so. Are any of them likely to be populated by intelligent beings? According to John Gribbin, one of today's most popular science writers, definitely not. In this fascinating and intriguing new book, Gribbin argues that the very existence of intelligent life anywhere in the cosmos is, from an astrophysicist's point of view, almost a miracle. So why is there intelligent life on Earth and (seemingly) nowhere else? What happened to make this planet special? Taking us back billions of years to a time before Earth even existed, Gribbin lets you experience the series of extraordinary cosmic events that were responsible for our unique form of life within the Milky Way galaxy.

Is there an upside to Alone in the Universe? For one thing, Gribbin says, Earth and human beings are special, after all. We are no longer insignificant specks in the cosmos but the unique products of an extraordinary set of circumstances that have as yet occurred nowhere else in our galaxy, and possibly not in any galaxy. As such, we are the only witnesses with an understanding of the origin and nature of the universe, and our home is the only "intelligent" planet. Gribbin ends his discourse with an impassioned plea for action against climate change and to restore the ailing ecological systems of a planet like no other.

(I am ambivalent about posting Gribbin's thesis--which I have no idea how he, a veteran scientist and science writer can dogmatically say such a thing.  And calling human beings special [which I think we are] is dangerous, considering our infinite capacity to deceive ourselves and to let our destructive egos have free rein.  Nevertheless, we have heard so much nonsense about the inevitability of other worlds harboring life out there that it's good to hear a dissent.  It is Gribbin's apparent hope that knowledge of our singularity will convince us to take care of our home.  Perhaps so.  Good luck, Dr Gribbin.  JS)

"What do they call it...the primordial soup? the glop?  That heartbreaking second when it all got together, the sugars and the acids and the ultraviolets, and the next thing you knew there were tangerines and string quartets."

                Seascape, Edward Albee


Rare lenticular clouds are snapped in Yorkshire skies
View article...


13.  LTE, Science News

Predators inspire poetry and fear

Regarding "Lopped off" - One of the Tao Te Ching's chapters (excerpt below) is very prescient on the unintended consequences of human behavior.  It was written around 500 B.C.E., long before our innovative abilities threatened the entire planet.  It is ironic that science both leads to innovations that cause the destruction, and now allows us to realize the full range of consequences.

    Woe to him who willfully innovates
    While ignorant of the constant,
    But should one act from knowledge of the constant
    One's action will lead to impartiality,
    Impartiality to kingliness,
    Kingliness to heaven,
    Heaven to the way,
    The way to perpetuity,
    And to the end of one's days one will meet with no danger.

Carl Abbott, Santa Cruz, Calif.


14.  Murder in the Vatican; The CIA and the Bolshevik Pontiff, by Lucien Gregoire

Has anyone out there read this book or have special knowledge of it?  I am not into conspiracy theories and am only sporadically paranoid, but I am hostile to institutionalized religion.  It was apparent that something was going on during John Paul's brief reign that would be of interest to the outside world--which will probably never learn about it--unless it's in the year 3000.  (If crimes were committed, Vatican City is an independent state, so not subject to external power.) 

I am not interested in others' conspiracy theories, but I am interested in established facts.  Know any?


15.  A Word A Day

adjective: Having well-shaped buttocks.
From Greek calli- (beautiful) + pyge (buttocks). Earliest documented use: 1923. Another form of this word is callipygian. Two related words are dasypygal and steatopygia.
"The boys knew that if they could remember the details of their school work only half as vividly as they recalled every detail of the callipygous Kathy, they would all be eligible for full college scholarships."
John H. Steinemann; Handstand; Askmar; 2010.

"'Pick me,' Aphrodite says, arching her back and turning slightly to present to him under her robe a callipygous formation more perfect than ever he has seen."
Joseph Heller; Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man; Simon & Schuster; 2000.


16.  Heard on Marketplace a few days ago:

But the Washington State ferry system -- the biggest in the country -- has to cut capacity.  Not 'cause the ships are getting smaller, but 'cause we're getting bigger. New rules from the Coast Guard say calculations should be made figuring an average passenger weight of 185 pounds -- that's up from 160.

No extra eggnog for me tonight.


17.  Fed up with a husband who interacted only with video games, Alyse Bradley of Logan, Utah, put Kyle Bradley up for sale on Craigslist, calling him "easy to maintain, just feed and water every 3-5 hours."  She quickly got some takers, reports the Salt Lake Tribune...

High Country News



19.  Feedback - continued

Judy West wrote:
Jake, I appreciate your comments, which have caused me to examine my original wording more carefully.
Specific comments to what you wrote are inserted in red...

A slightly revised version might be better received:

As a geologist, I appreciated the article in National Geographic that documented how natural forces have caused rapid global warming as recently as the Paleocene/Eocene (before humans), even more pronounced that what we are witnessing today. I am glad to see the evidence mounting in the public sphere, that global warming is more complex than Al Gore would have us believe. While burning fossil fuels does contribute to climate warming, earth processes outside of our control are far more significant and no change in American energy policy will ever override the powerful natural forces at play.

To suggest that eliminating the Keystone Pipeline would have a significant impact on global climate change is misleading to the public and fuels our dependancy on the hostile Middle East. The current discussion in the legislative chambers is about the proposed route, not about climate change as the Sierra Club indicated. We will never be independent of fossil fuels and I would prefer our government focus be on discouraging toxic, coal-burning power plants in China and India if we want to have a global impact on anything.  Judy West
On Dec 19, 2011, at 5:51 PM, Jake Sigg wrote:
Global warming more complex than thought?  Not really; it has always been recognized as a complex phenomenon, and many scientists have been very slow in coming to conclusions regarding both warming and its cause.  As a geologist you must have an understanding of the scientific process, although that understanding is not apparent in your email.  I have been following the scientific literature on the subject and the scientific community now fully agrees that the climate is warming, but there is considerable disagreement regarding the proportionate causes.  The computer models used to distinguish what the human element has contributed are subject to huge errors. Nearly all the models estimate that our contribution is minimal to that of the natural causes, yet we are told that our small actions will make a difference. Americans can do nothing so long as India and China continue to build filthy, coal-fired plants at an alarming rate. My concern is that our efforts to prepare for the impacts of inevitable warming (rising sea levels, drought, etc) are ignored while we pretend we can stop the warming by converting to windmills. 

My concern is that we are too focussed on divesting in fossil fuels instead of curbing population explosion, for example. (I do appreciate your attention to this issue) That we could ever be independent of fossil fuels is a huge hoax and part of the political agenda I see behind much of the global warming media. Everyone loves to hate the oil and gas industry for a myriad of reasons and fighting global warming has given a huge boost to that effort. We should be preparing for the inevitable warming instead of pretending we can stop it. For example, Instead of subsidizing the construction of solar panels in the US, we should be subsidizing the installation of panels on millions of American homes, regardless of where they are made. But those subsidies are being cut. Why? No Union jobs there I presume.

As a geologist I am particularly discouraged that the contribution to global warming from plate tectonics (volcanic spreading centers, etc) is rarely discussed. This is what was recognized in the Natural Geographic article, and the reason for my comment. Our own Academy of Science in GGPark has a huge exhibit about Climate Change but completely ignores the role of Plate Tectonics - in San Francisco no less!  They have a computer simulation of where oceanic warming is occurring fastest and if they had superimposed this on where the tectonic spreading centers were located, it would be an eye opener. I have visited the exhibit with a number of geologists who have each been simply appalled by the omission. Was it intentional? Who funded the exhibit?

And "...than politicians would have us believe"?  Politicians are more followers than leaders on the issue; it is not primarily a politically-driven issue.  You must be kidding! In fact it is an extremely difficult issue for most politicians, especially national leaders, who dread telling constituents the bad news, and that life might be more difficult for us because of it.  It would be even worse and more expensive if the planet were cooling and one thing for sure, the Earth is dynamic and always changing. There is almost no reward for a politician to grasp this thorny issue, especially in a time of high unemployment. You are absolutely right that politicians have nothing to gain by grasping the reality, but democrats have everything to gain if they can blame a world crisis on the American oil and gas industry. We should be building levees along coastal communities and raising foundations in flood zones like South of Market (but that might require private investment and cause rents to go up) instead of forcing MUNI to use expensive bio-fuels. It is entities such as science, the public, the Dept of Defense and all large insurance companies that are most concerned.  Are you stacking your credentials against theirs? I too am concerned but would respond differently. At least our SF PUC understands the need to prepare for rising sea levels instead of thinking they can prevent it. I would prefer that global communities combat the increase of coal-fired power plants in India and China to prevent toxic air pollution in real time, instead of focussing on hypothetical climate change objectives which individuals in developing countries think is laughable.

As  for the Keystone Pipeline, there are many reasons why it is so strongly opposed, and many of them have nothing to do with the climate.

Your quote from the Sierra Club: Please ask your representative and senators in Congress not to support any bill that would force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.  HERE'S WHY:
This pipeline accelerates global warming -- globally.

Why are you hostile to the now-prevailing view of science, a view hard come by?  There are far more biologists & botanists documenting species changes, than there are geologists documenting the slow processes of the earth, yet we base our "consensus" on the number of scientists who agree that humans are primarily responsible for climate change. By your statements you put yourself in the Denier camp rather than the Skeptic.  Skepticism is a respectable position, but it also takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge to question the evidence. I'm not questioning the warming but the government response. If humans are largely responsible for global warming it is still nearly impossible to change the course we are on unless the rest of the world cooperates - which they cannot afford and will not do. If fossil fuels are not primarily responsible, which is what most models show, the devastating cost of the "climate change agenda" to the American economy will have a greater impact on our quality of life than warmer temperatures ever would have.  Your statements are eye-brow raisers, in particular your final statement.  I see on the website that you are in Environmental Site Assessment for real estate, Geologic and Seismic Assessment, Real Estate Permits and Entitlements, and assisting subdivisions & entitlements for real estate development. Also an environmental educator. For years I have been a vocal advocate for policies that would encourage more seismic upgrades in soft soil areas of SF, but our local leaders are only concerned with keeping rents down. Upgrading property is an evil industry in rent-controlled SF. I hope our local officials recognize their culpability in the devastation and misery that will follow the big earthquake that is inevitably coming soon.   Is there a connection between these and your climate views?Jake

After decades of working in the entitlement industry in SF I have become entirely disgusted with the way our local government has corrupted CEQA and the Environmental Review process in SF and this has certainly made me cynical about the rest of our government. If it goes on locally, it goes on at the higher levels as well. Our local government sponsors research that will give them the desired conclusions. I have become such a cynic that it would not surprise me if the government agencies subsidizing the Academy of Science requested that they down-play the role of plate tectonics in the climate change exhibit. Sends the wrong message.
SO... I apologize for the "eye-brow raisers" but I do believe our current government is trying to undermine the private, non-union, oil and gas industry and replace it with expensive, inefficient, government subsidized solar and windmill farms. Do you have any idea the environmental and financial cost of constructing, maintaining and distributing the energy created from these things? Not to mention that they will never make a significant dent in reducing our need for efficient fossil fuels.
Don't get me wrong, I support incentives for solar and wind energy on homes and businesses, but I do have a problem when our government is attempting to undermine our best and most efficient sources of energy, produced in America, as a solution to our problems. It will be devastating to our future if it continues.
With a deep understanding of how SF government works, I absolutely do not trust our local government to run anyone's economy nor do I want Washington to do so.    YES there is a connection between my experience with government, my understanding of the earth sciences and my views on climate change policy. 
Thanks for asking.  Judy
Your response is such a mixture of sense and nonsense that, even if I had the time, I wouldn't bother trying to unsnarl it.  I will post as is, with an occasional comment.

We're all frightened about China and India - and about the United States and Canada and, and, and...

But a strong case can be made for China's efforts if one looks at the total picture.  China's innovative response is under-reported here, and it serves political interests to blame China and others.  I am not blowing off China, whose industrialization, consumerism, and so on are truly frightening--but the largest factor is the nation's sheer size.  What excuse do we have?  In searching for demons we need to distinguish between those caught in a trap (China, India, et al developing nations) and the sheerly selfish and greedy.  Warming is warming, regardless of the reasons for human actions, but greed cannot be excused as easily.

I pick up from you imputations of hypocrisy--our demonizing the likes of big oil while insouciantly driving our cars just as we always have and not being aware of the implications of our lifestyle.  I agree.  I harbor many hypocritical and contradictory views--being human it is hard not to; however, it is important for all to be aware of that fact rather than hide it.

Having cut you some slack, it seems clear to me that you are not facing up to the situation, and the suspicion lingers that your views may be conditioned by your occupation.

This is too long, so I'll close.  There are no easy answers.  Even if we bravely faced up to the reality, the future is very problematic--grim, even.  But we are not facing up; that is the most worrisome and discouraging aspect.

Thanks for comments.
It is true that my views are conditioned by my experience, is that not true of everyone? I live in a non-profit, artist colony where most of my neighbors have no clue how the real world functions regarding science or real estate for example. Folks who have no personal experience on an issue can only base their views on what others tell them and what they want to hear. I think it is comforting for San Franciscans to believe that we can stop climate change by switching to low energy bulbs and bicycles, but in order to make any real difference we would need something very drastic on a huge scale and it will never happen. One of the significant things the US can do is to close down filthy, coal-powered plants and increase the production of natural gas, but the rhetoric is about eliminating fossil fuels altogether which is ludicrous.
Communication is difficult, and communication by words is much more so.  Add to that the lack of body language and inflection, and you are sure not to be communicating much, if at all.  This medium sucks as a means of communication; it's mostly good for data and information transfer. 

I don't know whether it will surprise you, but I mostly agree with this message.  There is a lot of nonsense about "green" energy and its ability to care for the needs of 7 billion (and counting) humans.  Nevertheless, the effort must be made and promoted to the maximum extent feasible/possible, along with conservation, something I don't a lot about, including from you.  I look around me and the outstanding feature I see everywhere I go in the world is waste, waste on a gargantuan scale.  Do we really need all the stuff we have, and do we need all our activities?  There are different ways of being, and rewarding ones.

You really should take warming more seriously, Judy.  And don't blow off that pipeline opposition.  Nebraskans value the open, only lightly spoiled lands it would maim.  Do you ever consider what it will be like when there will be no place you can go where you can be alone, where there's silence, where there are only sights and sounds not made by humans?**  Think.

**  In 1975 I trekked the Himalayas.  We avoided the Everest Base Camp, which was over-visited then, instead went to the next drainage to the west, where we climbed to 18,000 feet to get an unobstructed view of Everest and the other >20,000-ft peaks completely surrounding us.  We were supposedly one of the first trekking parties there.  All that night we heard in the distance a generator!!  I was stunned; it seemed the fulfillment of a dire prophecy.  Even the Sherpas had no idea where the sound could have come from.  This kind of deterioration has been accelerating for the 36 years since--and is still roaring ahead. 

To add insult to injury, while we were climbing the 18,000-ft ridge, our Sherpa guides spent all day combing the extensive grasslands gathering rhododendron scrub, which they heaped up into a house-size pile.  They ignited it and decades of woody growth went up in spectacular flames, that lasted 5-10 minutes.  They were doing it for us, but I was unable to show much appreciation because of acute distress at this senseless waste.  The Sherpanis herd yaks there in the summertime, but at that elevation it's cold even in summer, and they need fuel to cook their food.  We are destroying the planet's life-support system.

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