Saturday, February 24, 2018

Black Panthers in Seattle

When I lived in Seattle, I would regularly see a Black Panther. He would be standing at the main entrance to the University of Washington campus collecting money for the breakfast programs run by the Black Panthers. I regularly put some money in the can.

Breakfast programs for school children are now a regular program - the schools I taught at in the 1980s had these programs. The Black Panthers had what at the time were radical ideas -- feeding kids was one of those radical ideas.

black-panthers-breakfast
Map of Headquarters and Breakfast Centers in Seattle

I did see the movie. It is good. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Northwest Music: Typhoon - "Rorschach"

Typhoon came back to the Pacific Northwest and visited Seattle at the Crocodile. The tour is associated with their latest release, Offerings, a very ambitious and thought provoking double album. I am in the crowd at this Portland show:



Good complex music and lyrics that takes time to digest. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Non Bare Earth Lidar

Lidar (light detecting and ranging) is a landscape reading tool that I use whenever the imagery is available. I have frequently posted lidar derived imagery. The ability to have bare earth imagery with accurate elevation has been a huge change for geologists. But the non bare earth imagery is also a powerful tool.  

Lidar image showing electric high voltage power lines, forest, pastures and homes

The image above has not gone through the computer program that removes the trees and thus does not show the underlying bare earth features very well. But in this case I wanted to see the areas of forest cover; Where are there big trees? I was able to compare this 2013 lidar image with Google Earth images to assess if the a stand of large trees was still present. At issue was the role large trees play in intercepting and partially routing debris floods and debris flows on alluvial fans. Having the imagery of where large tree stands were located versus just brush helped my analyses.   

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Our Gun Experiment Should be Discontinued

Part of my work sometimes involves long drives. On such days I get a good dose of news - maybe too good of a dose. Yesterday's news of yet another mass shooting at a school was heart rending. Market Place, and NPR show on market/economic issues, mentioned the shooting at the start and end of the show with a repeat of a statement the program made in 2012 and in 2016 that there are more places to buy a gun in the United States than there are Starbucks (marketplace.org/final-note, 2016)  One could quibble over details of what it means to be "a place to buy a gun".

My own thought on this policy issue is that we have essentially performed a giant experiment regarding guns in this country. The results suggest that we may want to call an end to this experiment and try something different. Then again, this may have little to do with policy but a lot more to do with making money.


Monday, February 12, 2018

More Snow Geese

I participated in the annual raptor count on the Skagit and Samish Flats. That is mostly I tagged along with a couple of folks who knew what they were doing. We counted 53 raptors in our section. While doing the count we observed a large flock of Anser casrulescens (snow goose) flying into area a bit west of us just north of LaConner. So after the raptor counting was complete we detoured out to check out the geese. I recently posted on this population HERE



The vast majority of the geese are mostly white, but there is a gray/blue morph. 
The blue phase goose is just to the left of center with head down 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Swirling Hole in The Clouds

I have been traveling and saw this on my return flight. 


I am inclined to believe this cloud pattern is the result of a localized low pressure system, but have not thought through alternatives. The cloud layer is a thin essentially elevated fog layer over cold ocean water with relatively warm air, but in this case appears to have some circulation taking place.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

White Russians in Northwest Washington

Over the past few years the winter fields of the Skagit and Samish Flats have become progressively whiter. 


Our winter snow geese breed on Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic and travel down the Pacific coast to winter on Flats as well as on the lowlands of the Fraser and Nooksack Rivers as well as the lower Stillaguamish.


The number of snow geese has been increasing appreciably (WaterfowlPopulationStatusReport17.pdf) and the results have been noticeable in the fields of the Skagit and Samish Flats with multiple large flocks visible on most drives I make across the flats. The above picture was just west of Bayview Road north of Highway 20.

The population has recovered and surpassed the planned population goals. Past over hunting and weather factors had reduced the population, but the number of birds is now causing habitat damage in both the Arctic and on the farm fields. Washington State has expanded goose hunts and has partnered with a number of farmers to allow hunting access on private land as well as the Fish and Wildlife lands (https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/snow_goose/)