High Sierra Backpacking News and Observations: January and February 2016

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 07 January 2016

High Sierra Backpacker News

January & February

                Feb 18, 2016.
 News, Events, Observations, and Analysis

Earlier News
November and December 2015.

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 very high and low lattitudes are suffering swift changes in climate, so too is our high elevation High Sierra showing dramatic changes in the progression, timing, and character of the seasons.

We study causes and consequences of pertinent political, economic, social, and human cultural events driving these changes in pursuit of revealing and understanding the root motivations impelling us to torture ourselves, each other, and our planet that is powering the destruction of our environment. 

This includes covering current events, research into understanding the past, and discoveries affecting our world, perspective, health, fitness, and experience of interest to engaged backpackers..

(Spoiler Alert: Greed is the driving force, cheating and corruption its handmaidens.) 


Seasonal Observations 

Winter Observations
Orion the Hunter
The Winter Circle

of the
Grand Image and Overlay.
NASA Image of the Day.

Set STAR CHART Below: 
Right Ascension
5h 30m 48s
19°21'46" NORTH

Adjustable Web-Based

Coordinates for setting
 Star Chart Sky Map Above


Astro Resources


Feb 18

The Brink of Extinction:
Salmon concerns may affect water deliveries,
Record Searchlight, 1-16-16.

Salmon Screwed

All Fish News

Vast Regional Transitions:
Drought’s Alarming Toll on California Forests,
Water Deeply, 2-16-16.

Forest and Tree News

Lifelong physical activity increases bone density in men,
University of Missouri-Columbia, 1-11-16.

Does living near an oil or natural gas well affect your drinking water?
Stanford University, 1-15-16.

Health Forum

New experimental test detects signs of Lyme disease near time of infection,
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 1-12-16.

Skeeter Forum

Feb 11

Researcher warns US could see substantial impact of Zika virus,
Boston University Medical Center, 2-1-16.
More Zika News.

Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein's prediction
Louisiana State University, 2-11-16.

Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein's prediction
National Science Foundation, 2-11-16.

See earlier Quanta Article about LIGO facility and search for gravity waves:
Searching the Sky for the Wobbles of Gravity.

Cornell astrophysicists play vital role to validate detection of gravitational waves,
Cornell University, 2-11-16. Great Video.

In-depth Q&A: Three researchers on the front line of today's gravitational wave discovery, The Kavli Foundation, 2-11-16.


Dead Man Still Walking:
Einstein Was Right: Gravity Ripples Across the Universe as Waves,
Bloomberg, 2-1-16. 

Astro-Physics Forum  


Stupid Human Tricks
Half of the large carnivore attacks are due to the imprudence of human behavior,
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), 2-8-16.

Inside the bear…
Bears' seasonal hibernation linked to changes in gut microbes,
Cell Press, 2-4-16.

Two thirds of cattle attacks on people involve dogs, new study finds,
University of Liverpool, 2-1-16.

When cows attack
I’m not a freeking cow, nor a cowboy. A Mule, maybe…


More Stupid Human Tricks
Estrogen, antibiotics persisted in dairy farm waste after advanced treatment, study finds, University at Buffalo, 2-10-16.

Pharmaceutical residues increasingly disrupt aquatic life: A hidden global change,
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), 2-8-16.

THE Stupidest Human Tricks,
or why
Loophole in Water Law Opens Way for Bottling Plant,
Water Deeply, Feb 9, 2016.

Land and Sky
GPS tracking down to the centimeter,
University of California – Riverside, 2-10-16.

Double dose of bad earthquake news (for LA),
University of California – Riverside, 2-8-16.

Bee Worried
Rare bumble bee may be making a comeback in Pacific northwest,
Entomological Society of America, 2-9-16.

Bee virus spread manmade and emanates from Europe,
University of Exeter,  2-4-16. 

Bee News

Howl of the Wild
Wolf species have 'howling dialects,'
University of Cambridge, 2-8-16.


Freak Weather
NASA measures 10 days of US extreme precipitation from space,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, 2-4-16.

Snow rollers
Rare weather event produces spontaneous snowballs in Idaho,
AP, 2-10-16.

Quite Unique ART:
"Like you, Olena Shmahalo is an Operator:
a polyfunctional compound, a homo universalis


JAN 29, 2016  

Zika: Here’s what we know about the virus alarming health experts worldwide
Despite a long history, Zika remains an enigmatic, emerging infectious disease.
Ars Technica, 1-29-16.

JAN 25, 2016  

Zika virus likely to spread throughout the Americas, says WHO,
Guardian, 1-25-16.

City at centre of Brazil's Zika epidemic reeling from disease's insidious effects,
Guardian, 1-25-16.

The Zika virus foreshadows our dystopian climate future,
Guardian, 1-25-16.
More Skeeter-Zika News below.


 More Health and Fitness

Study finds toxic pollutants in fish across the world's oceans,
UCSD, 1-28-16.

Why you won't lose weight with exercise alone,
Cell Press, 1-28-16.

Regular exercise critical for heart health, longevity,
American College of Cardiology, 1-18-16.

Health and Fitness
News Forum


Moon was produced by a head-on collision between Earth and a forming planet,
UCLA, 1-28-16.

Ancient Babylonians used geometry to track Jupiter,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1-28-16.

Bringing time and space together for universal symmetry,
Griffith University, 1-28-16.

Astro Resources
Astro-Physics Forum  

More Astro News below.



Study finds 30 percent of global fish catch is unreported,
University of British Columbia, 1-19-16.
  West Nile

Immune response differences might determine severity of West Nile Virus disease, PLOS, 1-21-16.

More Skeeter News below


 Ticks that transmit Lyme disease reported in nearly half of all US counties,
Entomological Society of America, 1-18-16.


  More Zika

Zika Virus in the Americas — Yet Another Arbovirus Threat,
NEJM, 1-13-16.

The Zika Virus Is Coming to the U.S. Here’s What You Need to Know,
Bloomberg, 1-17-16.

More Mosquito News below

All Mosquito News



"Devil Never Cares"
Yosemite: Famed hotel name to change in trademark dispute,
1-14-16, AP. More on DNC below.



Weird Weather
A rare January hurricane forms, could become month’s strongest on record,
1-14-16, Ars Technica.

NASA sees Tropical Depression Pali headed toward Equator,
1-14-16, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Pali on Climate News Page



Weather Effects
CA's state fish can benefit from restoring and protecting streamside meadows,
1-13-16, USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station.

Research Paper
"Mediating Water Temperature Increases Due to Livestock and Global Change in High Elevation Meadow Streams of the Golden Trout Wilderness," 
 USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Fish Forum


Inside the vault: A rare glimpse of NASA’s otherworldly treasures,
1-13-16, Ars Technica.

   2016 NEWS 

The Company Behind LA's Methane Disaster Knew Its Well Was Leaking 24 Years Ago,
1-8-16, Motherboard.

See Aliso Articles below.

 Latest Greedy Rip-Off 
Yosemite concessionaire wants $44 million for trademarked park names,
1-5-16, Sac Bee.

Also See earlier moves:
DNC tries to steal public names of National Park Historical Landmarks,

We ended 2015 with some unprecedented, never seen before weather:

Unprecedented Tornadoes hit Dallas Metro Area,
Dallas Morning News, Dec 26, 2015.

Unprecedented December-January Floods hit Mississippi,
Weather Underground.

Redirected flood waters lead to unintended consequences,
1-6-16, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.


Despite the vast plume of El Nino moisture  causing unprecedented weather as it wrapping around the North Hemisphere, our drought is projected to survive El Nino's wrath. Follow the Climate Prediction Center for constantly updated precip and temp  projections.  

El Niño Helps, Won't End Historic California Drought,
1-6-16, Cal Public Radio.

Climate & Weather
We follow El Nino and climate trends most closely on the vast and depressing 2015 Weather News Page, which will soon be followed-up by the 2016 Weather & Climate News Page. Along with curiosity, the evolution of Winter into Summer will be the ultimate factor in control of most backpacker's planning. Well, the successful ones.


 West Coast study emphasizes challenges faced by marine organisms exposed to global change, 1-11-16, University of Washington.

The article above about degradation of Golden Trout shows stream life is suffering as much as sea life.

The patterns of currents driving the upwellings of deep, fertile cold water along the California Coast has been shattered by the radical changes in the directions of seasonal winds.

This has pounded feeding interface between land and sea along the West Coast. Birds fly out to traditional upwhellings and starve. Salmon fail to return to land, and get cooked when they do…

 The macro-scale actual interoperation of weather with living things -the web of life- has been smashed, while the article above points out fundamental micro-shifts.


The Latest:
Love Hertz
JCU researchers find the perfect pitch to attract male mosquitoes
1-5-16, James Cook University.

Mosquitoes more likely to lay eggs in water sources near flowers,
1-5-16, Entomological Society of America.

All Mosquito News


Bees threatened by a common pesticide, EPA finds,
1-6-16, LAT.

Bee News


What's New? Nothing here:
The drug war is cutting life expectancy in Mexico.
Despite 20th century gains, upward trend reversed for men, slowed for women
1-6-16, Ars Technica.

Longevity is not the problem. Telling people how to live their lives is the problem, it is wrong, it causes more problems than provides solutions, and is un-American, being a violation of our First Amendment Right to freedom of religion. Everyone faces life with their own tools, and none can tell another which to use or how to live. 

We've got to get our noses out of other people's lives, 
and they out of ours.



"We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, 
  We are stardust, we are golden, we caught in the devil's bargain,
 And we got to get ourselves back to the garden."
CSNY, "Woodstock"

How to Teleport Info Out of a Black Hole,
 1-6-16, Live Science.


Most distant massive galaxy cluster identified,
1-7-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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

'Seeing' black holes with the naked eye,
1-6-16, Kyoto University.

Globular clusters could host interstellar civilizations,
1-6-16, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

 Astro-Physics Forum


Wonders of Nature
An amazing piece of work, worthy of a careful read:
Team identifies ancient mutation that contributed to evolution of multicellular animals, 1-6-16, University of Chicago Medical Center.

Brown declares state of emergency in L.A. County gas leak disaster,
  1-6-16, YubaNet.com.

Also See:
Massive natural gas leak in Southern California may take months to plug,
December 2nd, Ars Technica.

Los Angeles has created a gas version of Fukishima's endless bleeding of radioactivity into our environment. We need to drain our "megacities" as soon as possible.

Check out the EDF's counter for a running total of Aliso Canyon methane emissions.

Later News

April and May of 2016

Earlier News

Earlier Backpacker News:
November and December 2015

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