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November & December 2015 High Sierra Backpacker's News, Events, and Observations of Note | High Sierra Backpacker

November & December 2015 High Sierra Backpacker's News, Events, and Observations of Note

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 02 November 2015

High Sierra News

November & December

         December 31, 2015.
 News, Events, Observations, and Analysis

Happy Trails through the New Year...

Picture of the Day

We're covering News from across the worlds of media, science, and Nature influencing the High Sierra and its Backpackers. We're especially focused on the profound changes in the progression, timing, and character of the seasons in the Sierra.

Much like the high and low lattitudes, high elevation zones are showing more dramatic changes in "all of the above" that low ele zones.

In pursuit of understanding why we are torturing ourselves and our planet we review pertinent political, economic, social, and human cultural events powering the destruction of our environment. 

All of this includes covering current events, research into understanding the past, and discoveries affecting our world, perspective, health, fitness, and experience.


Really Worth Watching
Fantastic Video
Big data reveals glorious animation of Antarctic bottom water,
Nov. 23, 2015, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

Also See
El Nino-Ocean Interaction Video

Latest News

 A Fight for the Soul of Science,
December 16, 2015, Quanta.

James Webb Space Telescope mirror halfway complete,
12-28-2015, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.


Earlier Posts:


Mass Extinction
How to see a mass extinction if it's right in front of you?
December 16th, 2015, Yale University.
Are Humans the "Living End?"
Also See:
Humans creating sixth great extinction of animal species, say scientists.
How we became Nature
Pope warns of destruction of Earth ecosystem


Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Rises Rapidly,
5-3-12, Live Science.

Mosquitoes are tuned to seek out temperatures that match warm-blooded hosts,
December 16th, 2015, Rockefeller University. 
Also See
 Mosquito Forum 

Animal Kingdom 
Dogs (and probably many other animals) have a conscience too!
December 16th, 2015, National Research Tomsk State University.
Also See
"Smart Plants," below.
Fish have feelings.


102 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2015,
December 17th, 2015, California Academy of Sciences.


Long nights and lazy days could send you to an early grave.
Research from 45 and Up Study finds new hazards with sitting time and sleep,
December 3rd, 2015, Sax Institute.

New report finds 43 percent increase in ADHD diagnosis for US schoolchildren,
Girls showed a sharp rise in ADHD diagnosis during eight-year study period,
December 8th, 2015, George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Health and Fitness Forum



American Stupidity Quantified
Distracted walking: A serious issue for you, not me,
December 02, 2015, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"Today, the dangers of the 'digital deadwalker' are growing with more and more pedestrians falling down stairs, tripping over curbs, bumping into other walkers, or stepping into traffic causing a rising number of injuries--from scrapes and bruises to sprains and fractures,” said Alan Hilibrand, MD, AAOS spokesperson.”

 This was the same attitude when the 55 mph speed limit was imposed. Folks said, “everyone should do 55 but me.”

Nonetheless, A disengaged person in motion is a self-defined idiot.
On two feet or four wheels.

Right On Time!  
Lions, and Tigers, and ZOMBIES?
Call for international action to prevent a zombie apocalypse ,
Rise of zombie infections should be a wake-up call for global community, says expert,
December 14th, 2015, BMJ.

Walking Well:

Study highlights the importance of physical activity and aerobic exercise for healthy brain function,
December 02, 2015, Boston University Medical Center.

My perspective:
 No big deal. Just keep moving. Problem is, our society has become fat and lazy. and now research links stupid with fat and lazy.

How about that?
You can exercise your way to using the intellectual assets you do have!

No big deal. Just start moving, then keep moving… and never stop!


How much TV you watch as a young adult may affect midlife cognitive function,
The JAMA Network Journals.

The Body:

Gut microbes trigger fat loss in response to cold temperatures,
December 03, 2015, Cell Press.

Health and Fitness Forum


The Great Brain?

What is the universe made of? 
December 02, 2015, Université de Genève.
Celestial tendrils of superheated gas tie our visible universe together.
Pic: Max-Planck Institut fur Astrophysik, Munchen. A vast "universal" brain cell?

If so, our behavior indicates we are the "mad cow" disease of the universe...

Another View of the Research Above:
Hot gas caught streaming into “Pandora’s Cluster,”
December 9th, Ars Technica.

Theory of 'smart' plants may explain the evolution of global ecosystems,
December 02, 2015, Princeton University.

“…as if they are sentient beings…"


Seasonal Celestial Observations

Orion the Hunter, Grand Image and Overlay.
NASA Image of the Day.


Adjustable Sky Chart
Orion the Hunter:

Right Ascension: 5h 30m 48s
Declination: 19°21'46" NORTH

Ecliptic and equator
Constellation outlines, names, and boundaries
Image size: 700

Identify RA of Celestial Objects


November is the month of the Pleiades,
November 18, 2015, Earth-Sky.

Keep watching for Taurid fireballs!
November 5, 2015, EarthSky.

 November 2015 guide to the five visible planets,
November 1, 2015,  Earth-Sky.


Celestial-Human Misalignment Growing!
Leap-second decision delayed by eight years,
 20 November 2015, Nature.

HIstory of Time
USNO, RO, NIST, and the Leap Second.

In the era of GPS, Naval Academy revives celestial navigation
Oct 25, 2015, LAT.

Time and Navigation References


Picture of the Day


Searching the Sky for the Wobbles of Gravity,
October 22, 2015, Quanta.

Experiment records extreme quantum weirdness,
Nov, 10, 2015, Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore.

more theory.


Gotta Keep the Pack-Hanger Strong:
Study: Low-weight, high-repetition exercise increases bone density up to 8 percent in adults,
Oct 26, 2015, Portavoce Public Relations.

Study: Strength of brain connectivity varies with fitness level in older adults,
November 5, 2015, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Little Porkers Need to Hike:
Obese kids young as age 8 show signs of heart disease,
Nov, 10, 2015, American Heart Association.

So do the Geezers,
Exercise program in senior centers helps decrease participants' pain and improve mobility, Nov, 7, 2015, Hospital for Special Surgery.

Fitter legs linked to a 'fitter' brain,
 Nov, 9, 2015, King's College London. 
Health and Fitness Forum


This will Change the NFL & all Contact Sports:
Concussions in kids are detectable by blood test,
 Nov, 9, 2015, Orlando Health.


Mosquito News
Mutagenic chain reaction could knock malaria out of mosquitoes for good

Ecology: A world without mosquitoes

Dengue: Asymptomatic people transmit the virus to mosquitoes.

More Good News:
New disease-carrying mosquito arrives in B.C.
Nov. 8, 2015.

Mosquito Forum



 Jerry Bows to Bribers AGAIN
CPUC reform veto vexes Brown backers
 Nov. 3, 2015, San Diego Union-Tribune.
More Jerry Bribes.


Deep History

Looking back 3.8 billion years into the root of the 'Tree of Life,' 
Nov. 30, 2015, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Mayan Pompey 
Ancient Salvadoran village buried by ash freezes daily life in time,
November 3, 2015, University of Colorado at Boulder.

"Cool" Stuff! 
Growing Antarctic ice sheet caused ancient Mediterranean to dry up,
Nov, 10, 2015, University of Otago.


We Broke It:
Fossil wasp galls indicate little change in Southern California habitats since Ice Age,
Nov, 9, 2015, American Museum of Natural History.

Ancient pollen reveals droughts between Sierra Nevada glacier surges,
October 31, 2015, Geological Society of America.


Terrestrial Observations

When apps talk behind your back,
December 03, 2015, University of California – Riverside.

"Almost 9 percent of the popular apps interacted with malicious URLs
  (implicated in distribution of malware). 
 15 percent talked to bad websites (with intentions that vary from harming devices, stealing confidential data or annoying users with spam). 
73 percent talked to low-reputation websites (those receiving a Web of Trust rating lower than 60/100). 
74 percent talked to websites containing material that is not suitable for children."

Also, FYI:
Higher levels of Fukushima cesium detected offshore,
December 03, 2015, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

 An excellent source of information (Woods Hole) about the actual spread of radiation is valuable, as the devolving situation at Fukishima is an issue of valid ongoing concern. Most important in my mind is the dynamic, the motivations that are impelling our ongoing ecological crisis.

 Fukishima reveals the problems of continuing growth and expansion beyond rational and natural limits. Well, now Japan has "offshored" most of their heavy manufacuturing to Indonesia and Malayasia, and is looking hard at Burma. Nonetheless, creating one problem (Nuke Meltdown) to “solve” another (Carbon Meltdown) just leaves us with three problems:

    1> The original problem. That would be the initial irresponsible growth (and even the offshoring) that caused the second problem, global warming. The original problems would be irresponsible growth and “offshoring,” in our case we led the globe in moving our clean American jobs to dirty Chinese coal-based manufactures, as did Japan. Our corporate elite got rich as traitors. We became internationally irresponsible, starting the global, "race to the bottom."

    At the very same time our offshoring fueled a massive increase in global greenhouse gases we pushed a huge Irresponsible internal growth program. Simultanously shifting "our" manufacturing to China ("globalism") paired with a rapid increase in population rapidly drove the global climate right over the edge, the "tipping point," while destroying middle-class Wealth and Democracy in America.
These policies of unmitigated greed and growth coincidentally concentrated all our nation's wealth, being the greatest amount of wealth in the fewest hands over all of human history.

A viscious corporate elite based on greed and self-gratification has openly emerged. Mission Accomplished. Now let's see 'em hold this mess together.

That's how the rich took the middle-class's share of American Wealth and political power. With the lure of greed. The endless problems eminating from forty years under these craven policies are now coming home to roost. Fukishima is merely the tip of the iceberg.

     2> The proposed nuclear “solution” to the problems our greedy growth creates a dangerous third problem involving both unsafe nuclear operations and their deadly byproducts. Nuclear plants go “Ka-Boom” every now and again, which also happens to poison a vast swath of the Earth…

    3> The final result we are left with is a cluster of festering problems. Our first problem, our relentless pursuit of irresponsible “growth” (our greed) is still driving global warming, while simultanously driving the nuclear poisioning our planet through both nuclear operations and its byproduct storage problems. That could be added up to four problems.

Our irresponsibility, the global warming it drives, and the various strains of environmental poisioning "alternatives" to global warming are all advancing in a very destructive lockstep. The only reason this is unstoppable is that this system of growing destruction is profiding vast power and profits to the very, very few very evil folks who clawed their vicious way up to the "top of our heap."

And to everyone who profits from, or helps it, each in proportion to their participation. I figure the top 15% and the bottom 15% of those residing in our country are unified in using this program of relentless growth to strengthen each other's ability to obtain and maintain their shares of our stolen political power and wealth.

  Finally, at the crash-point of this great  "pyramid of stupidity" or craveness, we are still left with the consequences of all the initial irresponsible population growth that drove the secondary warming and nuke problems, which are all actually indicative of our behavior problems.

 Our behavior problems likely source to our fundamental problem understanding the difference between personal greed, cheating, against the mutual responsibilities "baked-into" our Constitutional values, our "freedoms."

You can't steal or sell those. Seriously.

    It is OUR loss of our ability to control of our own greed by our own principals that spawned our evil empire of  kings, dictators, and corporate elites feeding the endless irresponsible growth that triggered these cascading environmental problems in the first place!
  These are the fundamental identity and ethical issues we must first address if we really want to solve our physical environmental problems. Our problem must be addressed and  fixed at its source, which is not the environment, but by the nature of the evil, greedy motivations currently controlling the mind, body, and soul of our society.

NONE of the so-called "environmentalist" players are currently addressing the root of our problem, which is our ethical corruption. That corruption is what is and has been driving American growth for a very long time. It must be stopped.

The vast majority of foreign folks I meet in this country came to this country as international by-products of our international dictatorships, or their failures, ultimately to live in the shadow of, and profit from the corruptions of our Consititution, not "solve" 'em.

   Putting personal self-interest before our laws and our rule of law here (or around the world) are not expressions of, "American Freedom," as our leaders claim and are doing, but these behaviors preclude one from citizenship, no matter what our currently criminal Dem. and Repub. bribery-financed "parties" say and do.

They sell and steal our citizenship, respecitively, as they are eating our planet and our people. And they call it, "Good!"

Citizens mutually bound by our shared democratic principals were the initial basis of our freedom, NOT MUTUAL GREED. Not putting yourself above our rules.

Our Revolution and Constitution were designed to remove one greed nobility and prevent another from forming and controlling our society. This has failed.

Those who put their personal interests, their greed, above these, our mutual principals  have stripped our environment naked and terminated our freedoms using their currently employed long-term growth and trade practices. Open your fricking eyes.

You know, the same practices used to displace our democracy and build the corporate state and its elite. These are the modern versions of the same folks who changed our national symbols from mutual democratic rights to individual greed.  Open your fricking eyes.

   These corrupt practices and their justification of cheating and cheaters are the actual, emotional expressions of the greed and corruption fueling our political, economic, and environmental meltdowns. That's the sad, politically incorrect truth. Our current program of greed and growth is anthical to our own fundamental values, and our capture by the forces of greed is killing us and the world.

The only thing the consumers here in the USA are unified in is greed itself, the endless pursuit of gross self-gratifications. The victory of greed over ethics has stripped our land, and is driving the stripping of our whole planet. This must stop and change. But first we must stop it from growing larger.

The masters of our country currently have all the power and all the wealth, but no legitimacy. The rewards of greed are easy to steal, but much harder to hold. Their lack of values has poisioned systems of personal, cultural, and political values here and in nations around the world ("globalism"), while crushing the Natural World that they themselves ultimately depend upon.

Human and Natural systems have become very unstable.

And, despite the increasing chaos, the indiginious greedy in our country are still pushing their criminal program of growth and empire to the furthest limits they possibly can, before we, the collapse of Nature, or the devolution of our society itself finally does a "reset," which will rapidly remove these criminals from using our own wealth, power, and political system to destroy us. 

Greed is provably blind, incapable of leaning from its own history and apparently incapable of escaping its own inevitable self-created fate.

    These systems of organized political bribery running our country must be terminated by the exercise of our own values before these corruptions terminate us all, citizen and consumer alike.

Political bribery and the irresponsible growth policies eminating from this corruption must be terminated. The beast of the mega-city must not be fed and grown larger. We must start disassembling this system of death now. This starts internally with each of our own sets of values and expectations.

You must find values if consumption and material philosophies drive your life. Your expectations must shift with the shift from material to ideal motivations. Greed and cheating must be set aside.

I choose to be an American, and practice mutual protection of our Constitutionally specified values. Policy is determined democratically, not by bribery. My fellow citizens identify themself by their mutual defense of my differently held values, and I of theirs.

I will not cheat you.

Most important is our shared abhorrence at our government's criminal loss of legitimacy, drowned  in an ocean of unmitigated greed and corruption.

 Everything else is just bullshit until we finally address the greed, corruption, and cheating that source and manifest our problems.

Fish could have emotions and consciousness,
Nov. 30, 2015, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.


New and presumably tick-borne bacterium discovered in an Austrian fox,
Nov. 27, 2015, University of Veterinary Medicine – Vienna
  Mosquito Forum


Fantastic Video
Big data reveals glorious animation of Antarctic bottom water,
Nov. 23, 2015, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

Also See
El Nino-Ocean Interaction Video


Fruit flies provide new insight into body's rhythms
Nov. 23, 2015, University of Bristol.

Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean warming,
November 20, 2015, National Science Foundation.

Eastern coyote’s a hybrid, but ‘coywolf’ is not a thing,
November 19, 2015, Earth-Sky.

CO2: Earth Passes Into ‘Uncharted Territory,’
December, 19, 2015, KQED.


Professional Liars
California 6th grade science books: Climate change a matter of opinion not scientific fact, Nov, 10, 2015, SMU.

 “ "The message communicated in the four textbooks was that climate change is possibly happening, that humans may or may not be causing it, and its unclear if we need to take immediate mitigating action, the researchers found."

That representation matches the public discourse around global warming, in which previous studies have shown that media characterize climate change as unsettled science with high levels of scientific uncertainty. The researchers said only 33 percent of the U.S. public believes climate change is a serious threat.

The textbooks misrepresented, however, actual scientific discourse, which asserts climate change is an environmental problem bearing immense risk, where the human impact is clear, and where immediate action is warranted, the authors said.”

A 1000 year flood per decade
After historic flooding, Death Valley gears up for 'a long, hard recovery,'
Nov 9, 2015, LAT. Also see original report, and note this is the second "1000 year" flood DV has seen in the last decade.

A Cascading Set of  Unleashing Triggers:
Northern lakes act as CO2 chimneys in a warming world
Nov, 10, 2015, Uppsala University.


An Interesting Perspective
A hairy situation: Hair increases surface area for animals by 100 times,
Nov, 9, 2015, Orlando Health, Georgia Institute of Technology.


Global climate change,
November 5, 2015, University of California - Santa Barbara.

Study of cloud cover in tropical Pacific reveals future climate changes,
November 4, 2015, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science.



El Niño already disrupting ocean food web,
November 5, 2015, EarthSky.

Marine invasive species benefiting from rising carbon dioxide levels,
Nov. 6, 2015, University of Plymouth.



Climate change is moving mountains, research says,
November 5, 2015, University of Cincinnati.

Wildfires may double erosion across a quarter of western US watersheds by 2050,
November 3, 2015, Geological Society of America.


Ancient pollen reveals droughts between Sierra Nevada glacier surges,
October 31, 2015, Geological Society of America.


Annual Antarctic ozone hole larger and formed later in 2015,
 October 29, 2015, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.


Second 1000 year flood in Ten Years
DEATH VALLEY: National park reels after flooding,
October 29, 2015, Riverside Press-Enterprise.


Fire Season 78 days Longer than in 1970
Lighting Small Fires As Cure to Catastrophic Blazes in California,
October 27, 2015,  Circle of Blue.

Is our Poop Pump Broken? 
Lost giant poop disrupts whole planet,
Oct 26, 2015, University of Vermont.

Gotta Keep the Pack-Hanger Strong:
Study: Low-weight, high-repetition exercise increases bone density up to 8 percent in adults,
Oct 26, 2015, Portavoce Public Relations.

New study unravels mystery of why deadly tick disease appears to be surging, yet fatalities have not,
Oct 26, 2015, Burness Communications.
Mosquito Forum



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