You are browsing the archive for environment.

by frazgo

This is what a drought looks like

12:14 pm in environment, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Weather by frazgo

San Gabriel Dam...click to embiggen

Things are pretty dire around here.  After several years of not having “normal” rainfall this year was a disaster. Last stat I heard was we only got 1/3 of “normal”.

This morning I took a drive into Azusa Canyon for a walk along the river.  Path was closed due to recent fires and mudslides so I opted to take a drive into the canyons. Gorgeous day for that.  Everything is so clean and green after the storms of 2 weeks ago.

I was really surprized by how empty the dams were.  Worst I’ve seen them in years.  You can see the normal levels way up the sides of what should be big bright full lakes.  In the case of San Gabriel Dam, from the lookout above you can actually see the bottom, and many spots its just muck filled with flotsam and jetsam.  Not pretty at all.  Doesn’t bode well for our summer water needs either.  (Yes I know we don’t get water directly from there, rather water is released to settling ponds to recharge our groundwater). Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Its just too Damn Big – Hahamonga dredging protest

10:00 am in environment, Events, Politics, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues by frazgo

Protest information flyer - click to embiggen

Somehow, somewhere, things have gotten out of hand in the Hahamonga Watershed area nestled below JPL and abutted by LaCanada and Altadena/Pasadena.  After many community meetings, a questional EIR and just plain upset folks it looks like the plan to completely dredge out and obliterate every living thing is moving forward.  An important natural recreation and wildlife spot will be lost if they move through with their plans.

Concerned citizens are being asked to gather on either side of the dam for a holding of the hands protest.  It will take place on Saturday 12/14/2013 at a11AM.  Full details on where to meet up is on the flyer you can click to embiggen.  There is a FB page with more information on the protest as well as the plans by L.A. County Public Works to dredge and expand.  MAP HERE

 

 

 

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by frazgo

Press Days of the LA Auto Show

5:18 pm in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, Fashion, Food & Drink, Media, Technology by frazgo

Beer truck dispensing Stone Brewing brews at the Nissan display

I can’t begin to tell you the fun I have at Press Days for the L.A. Auto Show.  Yes, its a lot of work but a lot of fun is interspersed during it too.  You get to meet some really interesting people from all over the world, both media and manufacturer types.  The reveals are 20 minutes long and 5 minutes apart.  You have two choices…hustle to each or pick and chose the ones you want to stake out and really see.  I always take the latter approach and have time to photo the exhibits with minimal people in the way.

Most of the manufacturers have some sort of refreshment set up.  Audi and Porsche each set up pop-up restaurants with free wifi.  Jaguar did a nice cafe this year too.  However, hands down my favorite was the food trucks AND beer truck at the Nissan stand.  Yes.   A beer truck dispensing ice cold beer, ipa and ale from Stone Brewing.  I had a nice cold glass of Arrogant Bastard thank you very much.

There are tons of other things going on during Press Days as well.  There are receptions and happy hours.  Notable ones were for the Design LA and Aftermarket Halls at the show. There is also the opportunity to get in and drive cars, mostly green cars on the last day (Thursday).   Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Is Comet Ison worth a road trip before the butt crack of dawn?

11:14 am in Entertainment, environment, Photography, Science, Technology, Which Side? by frazgo

I absolutely think so.  Who’s in with me?

The next three weeks are going to be prime, PRIME viewing of comet Ison.  Its crossed earth orbit and is racing to the sun for its closest approach on Thanksgiving Day.  With proper eye protection it may even be possible to see it as it circles around the sun that day.

Ison is billed as the comet of the century by some.  It may or may not depending on whom you talk to,  survive the trip around the sun on the 28th.

Griffith Park Observatory still says that most spectacular viewing will be Nov 30-December 14 in the pre-dawn hours.  I read earlier today that the best time to view will be about 1/2 hour before dawn. Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Is it too early to Geek out over Comet Ison?

9:43 am in Entertainment, environment, News, Photography, Science, Technology by frazgo

Griffith Observatory doesn’t think so.  Its still some 6 weeks to peak viewing which is expected around dawn November 30- December 14, but Griffith Observatory already has their viewing guide up.

Thanksgiving Day about 11am Ison will make its closest approach to the sun and may be visible, with the aid of special filters when it is close to the sun.  It should be visible most of the day that day.  Wow.  Am like a kid in a candy store over this one.

Now that prime viewing charts have been established it looks like a sunset view isn’t gonna happen with this comet.  Dawn and pre-dawn look to be the best during that peak viewing period.  I had thought about going up the 15 to Stoddard Wells for viewing if it was going to be sunset. Scratch that and now looking at points east, say Joshua Tree pre-dawn excursion and set up to capture the comet in its glory as the sun slowly illuminates the horizon?    Might as well start planning now before everyone else gets the bright idea to leave the city for best views without the encumberance of light pollution.  Who’s in for leaving LA early enough to be in the desert for that with me?  I’m thinking the weekend of 12/7-8 as it won’t have the mad hordes of Thanksgiving Traffic and be right in the middle of the best viewing period?

 

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Moving Waters

9:41 am in Entertainment, environment, Events, News, Seasonal, Sports by Will Campbell

As part of a pilot program this summer, a section of the long-lost Los Angeles River coursing through Elysian Valley was reopened to the public for use as a recreational resource, an opportunity angelenos have not had since the 1930s when the river’s channelization was begun to prevent flooding.

As a boy I accidentally discovered the river, and from that single experience I have never stopped being enamored with and zealously protective of what so many others have dismissed as our city’s woeful waterway — little more than a drainage ditch to the sea. Though I’ve been aware of its potential, I never imagined that one day I’d see such a sea change in perception so that  the river would made accessible and embraced not as a prohibited place but as public parkland to be explored and experienced and as something to connect with after so long a disconnect.

River route as seen via Google Earth. Click the image for the bigger picture.

River route as seen via Google Earth. Click the image for the bigger picture.

So for me, thanks to L.A. River Expeditions (Facebook), to be among the first wave during this historic first season and doing what you see in these clips at the top and after the jump: putting a kayak into its waters and putting my butt into that kayak and paddling — however awkwardly — downstream for a water-level perspective of my beloved river, it’s not a dream come true. Because I never dared to dream this could ever happen. Not in my lifetime.

Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Whale Watching season is upon us

8:41 am in Entertainment, environment, Oceanic, Seasonal by frazgo

Whale Watching

click to embiggen, there are 2 whales in this picture

The whales are making their migration north from Mexico.  We are rapidly approaching the zenith of their numbers.  The fam and I made the trek to Dana Point to take advantage of the season as we “heard” that area tends to have the best whale watching.  We were not disappointed.  Our 2 hour cruise left us with memories that will last a life time.

We used the services of the Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching and rode out on the “Dana Pride” at noon yesterday.  We saw many sights as we cruised out past the sea lions on the break water and out to sea.  There were several pods of dolphins feeding out at sea.  What was really amazing was watching them follow our boat and play in the wake as we moved around them.

The captains on the boat are real experts at whale watching.  The offer up a narrative of what to look for as well as what you are watching.  They stay in touch with other Whale Watching boats to expedite the finding of whales by sharing information via radio where they can be found.  (Spoiler alert…we saw something that is rarely witnessed by us land dwellers and you need to make the jump to read about it).  Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Drive Carbon Free for 2 years with a New Car

7:41 am in Driving, environment, Events, News, Social issues, Transportation by frazgo

No, I’m not talking a short term lease on an electric car, its on a gasser.  Suburban Simi Valley Ford is buying carbon offsets on any new car/truck you buy from them now through Earth Day (April 22, 2013).  They will purchase a 2 year carbon offset in your name from Carbonfund.org who in turn sends you a certificate for this purchase.

I talked with Mike Shell the leasing manager at Simi Valley Ford yesterday getting details on this program.  SVF is doing this because they want to leave a legacy and be a leader in helping to bring about an end to climate change.  So far since the Drive to Save the Environment Campaign started they have offset 1 Million, yes 1,000,000 pounds of carbon going into the air.  They hope that other dealers, including other brands will follow suit with this project in coming years. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jeff

Chinese Air Pollution Reaches Los Angeles

9:15 pm in environment, Science by Jeff

This article was originally published at 8Asians.com and has been reposted here with permission.

While smog is yet one of the many problems afflicting Los Angeles, this blog entry points out that some of LA’s famous air pollution comes all the way from China.   According to this report, some days have a third of the air over San Francisco and Los Angeles coming from Asia, and along with it, up to three fourths of black carbon particulate air pollution, among other pollutants.  Just how does Chinese pollution get to the US?  Is it just the fault of the Chinese?

Some of this pollution begins as naturally occurring dust plumes from the Gobi desert, whipped up by storms every spring and summer.  As the dust travels west, it picks ups pollutants as it travels through heavily industrialized parts of China.  Those pollutants include the end products of coal burning, a common source of power in China.

While the US may complain about the pollution, it does contribute to the problem.  Various loopholes and subsidies are driving up the export of coal from the US and Canada to China, which gets burned and exported back through the atmosphere.   The US demand also drives production in some of those Chinese factories.

To me this shows how much the world is shrinking – what happens in one part of the world can unintentionally affect other parts.  Our atmosphere is something we all share.  While Beijing’s “airpocalypse” may seem far away, it really isn’t.  Not only can that pollution reach my family and me here in the Bay Area, but conditions were not much different here some 50 to 60 years ago.

(Photo Credit: Norman Kuring, SeaWiFS Project, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

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by frazgo

Altadena next target for walmartification and not all want it there.

9:01 am in environment, Politics, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping, Social issues by frazgo

Sad, but the quest for domination in L.A. is taking place in the unincorporated areas of the county.  The looser regulations make it possible for them move into communities that don’t necessarily want them.  Altadena, the charming community northwest of Pasadena is the next target and so far no one I know there wants them or their stores.

The community is working on getting people educated but I doubt that will change the plans of walmart to put stores there and circumvent the regulations in Pasadena and other cities that keep them from entering their community and destroying their small indy merchants and downtowns.

Like Chinatown, another unique corner of the city is facing the doom that is walmart.

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A Rocky Getaway in L.A.’s Backyard

4:41 pm in environment, History by Matt Mason

Red Rock Canyon

Tilted sandstone formation in Red Rock Canyon

Forget your troubles, come on get dizzy. That’s what I did last weekend on a hike from Topanga Canyon area through Red Rock Canyon to the top of Calabasas Peak. The hike was about 4.5 miles, pretty short as the crow flies, but there was a lot of climbing (up to 2,000+ feet) and zig-zagging, plus we took some rock scrambling side trips, so it was challenging. One highlight of the hike was the rocky terrain, consisting of numerous sandstone outcroppings. At times I thought I was in Zion National Park, not the Santa Monica Mountains just minutes from L.A. Many of these rocks are tilted at Titanic angles, and it’s mind-boggling to think that they were once under sea, and how it has taken them millions of years to get to this point. There were even seashell fossils in some of the rocks, as the picture after the jump indicates.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Navitat Canopy Adventures: Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Yay!

11:47 am in Entertainment, environment, Seasonal, Sports by Will Campbell

I’ll admit it: Even after making the 90-minute drive up to Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood, and even when I was being strapped into the 12 pounds of harness gear, and eeeeeven when I stared down the length of that first zipline while breathing air so clean it hurt my lungs, there was a part of me that was ready to wuss out.

Fact is, I am pretty much terra firma’s bitch — exxxxtra-terrestrial, so to speak, in that my life-long crush on my physical, foot-planted connection to our earth is practically boundless. Suffice it to say the ground and me, we’re close. Really close. As such it is not often but always with trepidation whenever I intentionally leave its embrace –  but certainly not to seek various thrills such as diving into the sky out of a perfectly good airplane, or bungee jumping off a perfectly good bridge. Ziplining though? Hmmmm, now that was something I didn’t immediately have so adamant an adverse reaction to and therefore might be open to consider doing. At least in theory. Some day.

Ready to roll at zipline No. 1. Did Will stay or did he go now?

Which turned out to be March 24 when, despite my doubts about turning that theory into action, I took Navitat up on its gracious invitation and went up into that wild forested yonder in the San Gabriel Mountains about 75-miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 7,000 or so feet above sea level. Upon my arrival I was warmly welcomed by Caley Bowman, Navitat’s marketing manager, and soon after signed the requisite waiver absolving her company of all responsibility should I break a nail or a neck.

Soon after, among an assembled group of five other fellow blogger invitees (Andrea, Christine, Debi, Nicole and Bob), we were all harnessed and helmeted and venturing via 4×4 van up a steep and winding and narrow old logging road to eventually stand before that first zipline, where I wasn’t surprised at all to find that earth-bound part of me still looking for the chicken exit. But did I make like a tree and leave? Did I “bough” out ungracefully? Oh hell no. Me and my inner adrenaline junkie clipped in and went up, up and away for the ziplining rides of my life.

Read the rest of this entry →

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by frazgo

Pasadena to host Clean Vehicle Rebate Program fair Saturday March 31st.

10:13 am in Driving, environment, Events, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Technology, Transportation by frazgo

ford focus pair

Pair of Ford Focus at the Petersen Museum.

This promises to be an interesting event this coming Saturday on the steps of City Hall in Pasadena.  The folks at Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the city of Pasadena are sponsoring the fair and it is free and open to everyone.

The EV Fair will feature a number of vehicles for test drives and on static display. As of now I have confirmed that a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Toyota Prius Plug-In and CODA will be available for attendees to experience at the event. (Unfortunately Ford dealerships have not quite received the all-electric Focus so the dealers will not be participating. They are, however, working with Ford to provide a Focus EV for the event).   UPDATE 3/29 Ford will have a new Focus EV at the event.   They will also have a number of electric vehicle charging equipment providers at the event displaying products and providing information on home installation). Read the rest of this entry →

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Sometimes The Smallest Creatures Can Instill the Biggest Sense Of Awe

6:08 pm in environment, Seasonal by Will Campbell

If ever this time of year comes and goes without a hummingbird nest in our backyard I’ll know the world is coming to an end. So as you can see in the clip below, we’re safe for 2012 no matter what the Mayans said.

But as regular as the tiny birds may be around my place, they still never fail to make me go wide-eyed with wonder — especially when I see stuff such as this momma feeding her chick, hatched about a week (give or take a couple days) ago from an egg little bigger than a black-eyed pea:

 

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Lunar Eclipse

12:13 pm in environment, Events by Chris Corning

Check it out:

According to Wikipedia, the total eclipse of the heart moon will take place from 6:06 AM to 6:57 AM tomorrow. Anyone staying up that late/ getting up that early to watch it? What are some of your favorite spots for viewing cosmic events such as this?

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