This is my Political opinion Blog. On it I will write about Nevada / California mostly. My Art site is on which I will post drawings, paintings and sculpture for sale.

Location: United States

I realy have lived in a cave for quite some time, though ive also lived in a franciscan monastary, a log cabin in the mountains, and a completly underground house. I work in stone, clay, wood, glass past (not blown)as well as oil and acryilic. I have also woked a forge (yes the kind with a bellows and anvil) while living on a ranch.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A somewhat lighter shade of black penetrates my languid waking mind. The scent of turgid moist air, earthy and rich with the promise of drink arouses first a thirst, yet slowly a hunger. Not for food do I stretch and sit up nose to the wind. Coarse hatching rippling beneath one hand run down my legs a reminder of the days to do list: water, willows to roof enclosure, several bundles of bunch grass for new sleeping mat. Need whetting an appetite for activity.

The gloaming horizon cutting matt black earth from the shroud of stars and mist, opens the trackless high plains to my sight. A sinuous dragon comprised of ashen grey scales through deepest sable slippered feet descends to the foot of the hills. Listening to the not quite silent fog tiptoe across the dappled green carpet of brush I ponder the footfalls. Foliage awakening in the dewy swath sound their thanks to this cold life affirmance with innumerable yawning stretches and combined with a pelting of the forlorn desert floor with insupportable condensation, an illusion is completed within the mind.

Through a window left between two yuccas, I can see sun brightened red bands of rock more clearly than the ephemeral dun hilltops west and somewhat south of my enclosure. Whispering dryly against my knees as I change position for a greater view, the laboriously portaged sand chaffs. Sitting quiet, still and vigilant I await the chatter, hopping and fuss of my neighbors return from the springs. Soon the fat brown chatterboxes jump bush to bush into then out of my line of sight.

Waiting patiently for both the bright fire from the king of heaven to arrive at and the last tattlers to leave the springs my cold stiffened husk has time to absorb its meal of morning. First golden, the dawn seeps inside of me while I soak up the suns color leaving only shades of silver for the day. Thoroughly sated with dawns warmth I prepare my satchel: digging stick, machete, cordage for snares, empty water skins, lunch, and bedroll in case I stay the night at the springs.

Whirling into my enclosure from behind me the newborn days first Dust devil makes its gritty unwelcome presence known. Uninvited guests such as this help focus attention to the deficiency of my desert abode. A circle of Yuccas 2 yards in diameter with the infrequent gaps closed by the trunks of their fallen kin. A level floor of sand brought from the bend of a nearby dry wash compliment a sophisticated bed of volcanic stones, heated in my evening fire, buried in a shallow depression then covered with sand and lastly the aforementioned coarse woven mat.

To complete the structure my trip to the springs will secure a healthy supply of willows, long, supple, and strong. A wickiup, something like a domed tent in the middle of the natural desert house is made by lashing the poles together forming the framework to which bunch grass will be thatched. By far the longest of this natural textile is located near the springs providing a mat my ancestors would be proud to find still in use. Or at least they would recognize the thing, as my skill with weaving can be described politely as lacking a certain finish.

Along the washes cut into the foothills I breakfast on sego lillys and cakes made from dried ground rabbit meat mixed with wild currants and some fat. A wet crisp flavor something like apple crossed to a potato, the sego has a root ball some 6-8 inches below ground. Pemican is the pre-Columbian equivalent to an energy bar, and almost every fruit that dries well has been used in conjunction with: deer, elk, ground hog (called yahaa) or any meat that grinds well dry. Standing in for coffee dandelion root taken from as far as 2 feet deep washed roasted and brewed has a flavor liked or hated without mediation.

Gold from the king of heaven sucked up so greedily at dawn begins weighing on me under the clear silver pouring steadily across the trackless plateau. Shimmering clearly, yet obscuring distant hills with a palpable life, wavy strands dance in procession guiding me directly toward shade. Hiding beneath a juniper sentinel farther down the desert floor than others would dare grow, from the pressure of a daytime sun, my nose tastes the musk of impending water mixed with loam.

Soon the cooler bluff against the Spring Mountains will shelter me from the worst of the silver fire threatening to consume those who brave its dire weight, not just threatening actually killing people not prepared to endure the scrutiny of the king. Jaybird Springs, holding court in the shade of Sterling peak is attended by game birds, rabbits, and the occasional entourage of burros all on urgent business of their own, namely watter. Most such springs in the range run part of the year then dry up during the hottest and naturally the worst time, while my benefactor flows year round.

Loosening my burden under a pinion pine umbrella, I sip cool relief from the canteen brought along for just such occasions. Willows in stacks, and grass in bundles wetted from my brow await the night trek down to the flats and home.

Hi Everyone
We have a protest planned against the June 2nd Divine Strake military bomb outside of Las Vegas. As of now we will gather on the street behind the Venetian on Koval Lane around 9am-10am. Bush is expected to arrive at this back entrance at around 11am. So we need to get people out for those several hours.
I will send out info regarding a local community forum led by Tony Guzman of Citizen Alert to discuss the implications of this test and how we can protest or even stop it.

The Department of Energy is readying the Nevada Test Site for a large-scale, open-air, high explosive detonation on a tunnel complex. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the DOE customer which is conducting the test, is stressing that the test is not a nuclear blast and the Russian government reportedly has been notified to avoid misunderstanding about the event. "The test is aimed at determining how well a massive conventional bomb would perform against fortified underground targets," the Washington Post reported on March 31st.

No one - with the notable exception of Andrew Lichterman and John Fleck who first reported on this - seems to have tried to dig deeper than the press release from DTRA. I too have monitored the preparations for Divine Strake; It is much more than was reported (for media reports about Divine Strake after publication of this Nuclear Brief, click here).

Divine Strake is neither a bomb nor conventional. Instead, the test is a detonation of a pile of chemical explosives to simulate a "low-yield nuclear weapon ground shock" effect to "improve the warfighter’s confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage."

Divine Strake, moreover, is an integral part of STRATCOM's new Global Strike mission, which is otherwise said to provide mainly non-nuclear means of defeating time-critical targets. Divine Strake is the first nuclear effects simulation of this kind against underground targets since President George W. Bush in Summer 2004 directed STRATCOM to "extend Global Strike to counter all HDBTs [Hard and Deeply Buried Targets] to include both tactical and strategic adversarial targets." (see guidance overview here)

Update April 4, 2006:

Here is DTRA's confirmation:

"Yes, the event described is Divine Strake. Better predictive tools will reduce the uncertainties involved with defeating very hard targets, and therefore reduce the need for higher yield weapons to overcome those uncertainties. There are no nuclear tests planned or desired."

DTRA Public Affairs, email to Hans Kristensen, 4/3/2006 6:06 PM

The Divine Strake Event

Divine Strake was approved in 2002 as part of the congressionally authorized DOD FY2002 Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration (ACTD). Since then, DTRA has prepared for the event under its Counterforce program. DTRA confirmed today that Divine Strake is the event described in the budget documents. The DTRA counterforce RDT&E (Research, Development, Testing and Engineering) budget for FY2006 described the experiment this way:

"Conduct the Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration(s) (ACTD) Full-Scale tunnel defeat demonstration using high explosives to simulate a low yield nuclear weapon ground shock environment at Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site."

The Divine Strake event involves placing high explosives on the surface similarly to the Misers Gold experiment in 1989.
Source: DTRA

The reference to low-yield nuclear weapons was omitted from the section in the FY2007 budget request, which instead describes the event like this: "Conduct the Tunnel Target Defeat ACTD large-scale tunnel defeat demonstration using high explosives to produce the desired ground shock environment at the Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site." Yet the nuclear reference is used elsewhere in the FY2007 budget:

"The Tunnel Target Defeat ACTD will develop a planning tool that will improve the warfighter’s confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage."

Divine Strake reflects a concern in the Pentagon over what is said to be an increasing number of a underground facilities in potentially hostile countries. The 2001 Nuclear Posture Review warned that the existing B61-11 nuclear earth-penetrator does not have sufficient capability against certain deeply buried targets. The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator was supposed to provide additional capability, but Congress has refused to fund the weapon due to concern that it could lower the nuclear threshold.

The U16B tunnel shown in a 3D simulation of a 10 kt nuclear agent defeat experiment conducted by Los Alamos in 2004.
Source: LANL

Divine Stake is not an RNEP-type experiment because it simulates the use of a very low-yield nuclear weapon against an relatively shallow underground target. Divine Strake follows a previous 3D computer simulation conducted by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2004, which examined the use of a 10 kt nuclear detonation inside the U16B tunnel as an agent defeat weapon. The experiment concluded that the relatively large yield was necessary for radiation to penetrate through the entire length of the tunnel "indicating that such yields might be necessary to guarantee agent destruction stored inside large tunnel complexes."

Divine Strake, in contrast, does not simulate agent defeat destruction but simply envisions using the explosive yield of a small nuclear weapon to destroy or severely damage and underground structure. Also important is that the simulation is not directed against the tunnel entrances, but involves detonating the explosives on top of the surface above the tunnel.

The Divine Strake explosion is half as powerful as the lowest yield option of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb.
Source: SNL

The contract for collecting the seismo-acoustic data from Divine Strake was awarded to Southern Methodist University on March 16, 2006.

The "Weapon"

Contrary to most of the media reports, Divine Strake is not testing a conventional bomb but simply detonates a huge pile (700 tons) of Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO). For comparison, the largest conventional weapon in the U.S. inventory is the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb, which contains nearly nine tons of explosives with a yield of approximately 0.012 kt TNT.

The explosive power of Divine Strake will be approximately 593 tons of TNT equivalent, or roughly 0.6 kt. This is about double the lowest yield option on the non-strategic B61 nuclear gravity bomb, and suggests that Divine Strake may be intended to fine-tune use of the B61 bomb. There are three modifications of the non-strategic B61 bomb in the U.S. stockpile with yields ranging from 0.3 kt to 170 kt.

Of course the real problem is detonating anything of any size within miles of Yucca Flats. Conventional or otherwise the clouds of dirt contaminated by the above ground nuclear tests that are going to be thrown into the sky must come down somewhere. Guarantying that Americans will be exposed to the radioactive fallout of our tests and claiming that it's being done to safeguard us from Iran is irresponsible especially in the absence of proof!

"Airblast from Underground Explosions Philip Hookham, Titan Research

Two- and three-dimensional computational fluid and solid dynamics calculations were performed to predict the airblast and dust environment for the DIVINE STRAKE high explosive field test. The DIVINE STRAKE test is planned to be a large-yield, buried burst detonated at the Nevada Test Site. The early-time airblast, crater formation, and ejecta environment were calculated using the two-dimensional CRALE code. This solution was then overlayed onto two- and three-dimensional MAZe code computational meshes. The MAZe calculations simulated the airblast environment as well as the propagation of the dusty environment produced by the ejecta and subsequent dust sweep-up. The airblast environment will be compared to test measurements when they become available, while the predicted dust environment will be used to aid in planning of the test."

I quoted the entire text to show the selections in context. It is from and indicates that the government already knows that glow in the dark leftovers will be served in the days after the test.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Global warming

Abstract: Global warming is a key threat to biodiversity, but few researchers have assessed the magnitude of this threat at the global scale. We used major vegetation types (biomes) as proxies for natural habitats and, based on projected future biome distributions under doubled-CO2 climates, calculated changes in habitat areas and associated extinctions of endemic plant and vertebrate species in biodiversity hotspots. Because of numerous uncertainties in this approach, we undertook a sensitivity analysis of multiple factors that included (1) two global vegetation models, (2) different numbers of biome classes in our biome classification schemes, (3) different assumptions about whether species distributions were biome specific or not, and (4) different migration capabilities. Extinctions were calculated using both species-area and endemic-area relationships. In addition, average required migration rates were calculated for each hotspot assuming a doubled-CO2 climate in 100 years. Projected percent extinctions ranged from <1 onclick="highlight()" class="searchTerm0">global vegetation model and then by migration and biome classification assumptions. Bootstrap comparisons indicated that effects on hotpots as a group were not significantly different from effects on random same-biome collections of grid cells with respect to biome change or migration rates; in some scenarios, however, hotspots exhibited relatively high biome change and low migration rates. Especially vulnerable hotspots were the Cape Floristic Region, Caribbean, Indo-Burma, Mediterranean Basin, Southwest Australia, and Tropical Andes, where plant extinctions per hotspot sometimes exceeded 2000 species. Under the assumption that projected habitat changes were attained in 100 years, estimated global-warming-induced rates of species extinctions in tropical hotspots in some cases exceeded those due to deforestation, supporting suggestions that global warming is one of the most serious threats to the planet's biodiversity.

Calentamiento Global y Extinciones de Especies Endémicas en Sitios de Importancia para la Biodiversidad

Resumen: El calentamiento global es una amenaza clave para la biodiversidad, pero pocos investigadores han evaluado la magnitud de esta amenaza a escala global. Utilizamos los principales tipos de vegetación (biomas) como hábitats naturales y, con base en la proyección de la distribución futura de los biomas en condiciones de climas con el doble de CO2, calculamos los cambios en la superficie de los hábitats y las extinciones de especies de plantas y animales endémicas en sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad. Debido a numerosas incertidumbres en este método, realizamos un análisis de sensibilidad de factores múltiples que incluyó (1) dos modelos de vegetación global; (2) diferentes números de clases de biomas en nuestros esquemas de clasificación de biomas; (3) suposiciones diferentes sobre si la distribución de especies era específica de un bioma o no y (4) diferentes capacidades de migración. Las extinciones fueron calculadas utilizando tanto relaciones especies- como endémico-área. Adicionalmente, se calcularon tasas promedio de migración requeridas para cada sitio de importancia para la biodiversidad asumiendo un clima con el doble de CO2 en 100 años. Las extinciones proyectadas variaron entre <1 onclick="highlight()" class="searchTerm0">global y luego por las suposiciones de migración y clasificación de los biomas. Las comparaciones bootstrap indicaron que los efectos sobre los sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad como grupo no fueron significativamente diferentes de los efectos sobre colecciones de celdas aleatorias del mismo bioma con respecto al cambio de bioma o de tasas de migración; sin embargo, en algunos escenarios los sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad mostraron cambio de bioma relativamente alto y tasas de migración relativamente bajas. Los sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad especialmente vulnerables fueron la Región Florística del Cabo, Caribe, Indo-Burma, Cuenca del Mediterráneo, Suroeste de Australia y los Andes Tropicales, donde las extinciones de plantas por sitio algunas veces excedieron 2000 especies. Bajo la suposición de que los cambios de hábitat proyectados se obtuvieron en 100 años, las tasas estimadas de extinción inducida por calentamiento global en sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad tropicales en algunos casos excedieron a las inducidas por la deforestación, lo que soporta las sugerencias de que el calentamiento global es una de las amenazas más serias a la biodiversidad del planeta.

Paper submitted March 9, 2004; revised manuscript accepted October 20, 2005.

*Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3B3, Canada†Department of Ecosystem Management, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia‡USDA Forest Service, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, U.S.A.§Climate Change Program, World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037-1175, U.S.A.**Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 1919 M Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A.

To cite this article
Global Warming and Extinctions of Endemic Species from Biodiversity Hotspots.
Conservation Biology 20 (2), 538-548.
doi: 10.1111/