Insurers see new risks, markets w/climate change

From the Wall Street Journal, a new series debuts today: The Price of Climate Insurers’ most immediate climate peril is water. More heat means more moisture held in the atmosphere and greater precipitation. Melting ice is pushing up sea levels. A 2013 study in the journal Nature projected average flood losses for the world’s 136Continue reading “Insurers see new risks, markets w/climate change”

Sea lion attacks kayaker with octopus

In an extraordinary incident, a sea lion flung an octopus at a young man kayaking near a New Zealand shore, and was caught live on a digital camera. The clip went viral around the world. National Public Radio’s Rachel Cohen followed up with a wonderfully thorough and appropriately playful story. Check it out: it’s astonishing:Continue reading “Sea lion attacks kayaker with octopus”

What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)

It’s not a coincidence, surely, that Monica Vitti in the Italian movie poster for Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic Red Desert, from l964, assumes the position of the tormented man on the bridge in The Scream by Edvard Munch.  Most of Antonioni’s movies seem to begin with a beautiful woman, usually Monica Vitti, rushing from the social sceneContinue reading “What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)”

Stunt journalism scores again (in the Guardian)

A terrific story today in the Guardian puts the infamous all-beef diet extolled by Jordan Peterson and his clan to the test. This could be described as a stunt journalism, much like Supersize Me, but given that we’re talking about food; yes, it’s fair. It’s reporting. Gabbatt does talk to a medical expert, who sharplyContinue reading “Stunt journalism scores again (in the Guardian)”

Cowboy camping on the PCT: from Crater Lake Nat’l Park to Timberline Lodge in Oregon

What does it mean to cowboy camp the PCT? Put simply, it means camping without a tent. Throwing down a mat and your bag (or your lighter and maybe even warmer down quilt) and using the stars for your night light, and dawn for your alarm clock. But expand the definition a little and cowboyContinue reading “Cowboy camping on the PCT: from Crater Lake Nat’l Park to Timberline Lodge in Oregon”

speeding wildfires and their dark beauty

Forty-six years ago  a young fire ecologist published a paper that for the first time found a math to usefully describe the behavior of wildfires in the west, as modified by slope and wind. It’s a remarkable achievement and was, according to Wildfire Today, a team effort led by a man named Dick Rothermel. Rothermel, Anderson,Continue reading “speeding wildfires and their dark beauty”

“The fire had me fully terrified” — T.C. Boyle on the Thomas Fire (and more)

For the Ojai Quarterly [pdf], yours truly had the opportunity to talk to T.C. Boyle about the Thomas fire, debris flows, climate change, and other scary realities of the 21st Century. The interview also motivated me to catch up on some past works of Boyle’s, and boy was that worth the reading. Check it out:Continue reading ““The fire had me fully terrified” — T.C. Boyle on the Thomas Fire (and more)”

The biggest problem in California: Housing

State Senator Hannah Beth-Jackson came to Ojai recently, and visited with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, where I volunteer, and met with the board of directors. We discussed many topics but ended up on the issue that has been dividing the state: housing — affordable housing — and the lack thereof. The New York TimesContinue reading “The biggest problem in California: Housing”

“Biology we haven’t discovered yet”

Ever stumble across something — even something you’ve not thought much about — and then suddenly see it everywhere around you? This strange stumbling-into-obsession has caught me in the last couple of weeks with the concept of consciousness. What the hell? What is it? When do we have it? When do we have too muchContinue reading ““Biology we haven’t discovered yet””