Citizens

Sturtevant redo next spring!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 01/23/2022 - 1:25pm

The Sturtevant Street project meeting was last Thursday night, and few neighbors were there. HEADS UP, NEIGHBORS!

The project has been postponed for a couple years, but for this spring, 2022, it seems to be a GO! The plan is to dig up and redo utilities and the street, from West Avenue over to Prairia, and Pine over to Putnam. It looks like a cost of at least $6,000 per house, and a spring and summer of discontent. What we did learn with the “Great West Wall” was that the City did work with people to make sure they knew the schedule, could access their homes, and for sure this will not be as complicated as the Great West Wall project:

The Great West Wall, circa 2014 (that long ago?!?)

CONTACT RYAN ILLA AND ASK TO BE PUT ON STURTEVANT PROJECT NOTICE LIST — THEY SEND OUT EMAILS AND UPDATES REGULARLY. ryan.illa@ci.red-wing.mn.us

Sturtevant in Red Wing has been a mess for a while, full of constantly refilled potholes. It’s narrow, with parking on only one side. We’re on the corner of West and Sturtevant, so impacts won’t be as bad, as we have a driveway on West, not just the short one on Sturtevant, so parking won’t be an issue here. However, the assessment? Just a few years ago, we got hit with the “Great West Wall” project assessment, and now this one, whew, it’s going to hurt!

OUCH!

Apparently they made some mistake in calculations regarding the sewer and water, I believe, they admitted this, $369 worth, so I’m waiting for the correction, but looking at the map, I think the 140′ on the north side is also off, but I can’t verify, because that’s not online anymore – click and see!!! We’ll be checking that out. Alan did some measurements after we got the house.

Ryan Illa is the Project Manager (651) 385-3628 and (651) 260-5956, ryan.illa@ci.red-wing.mn.us

Jay Owens is the Grand Pooh-bah in City Engineering Dept: (651) 385-3625 and jay.owens@ci.red-wing.mn.us

Red Wing is offering FREE televising of your sewer connection. Call Steve Thoms (651) 385-3680, (651) 380-0470, or steve.thoms@ci.red-wing.mn.us, to schedule. This is helpful if you’re considering, or NEED TO, replace service to the house, and city only goes ONE FOOT past the sidewalk. The rest is up to the homeowner.

If you need to replace service to your house, get on the plumber’s list early.

Rough schedule:

  • February 14 – Public hearing prior to council formal approval
  • April – May 2022 – “Private utilities work” (not clear what that means)
  • May 2022 – begin work on the project
  • Fall 2022 – project over, with luck trees will be planted in fall.
  • 2023 – Assessments start to hit.

Assessments are an issue, because in these times of very, very low interest, the city’s interest rate to spread it out is way too high. Very few people are able to cough up that amount of money, looks like about $7,000 per house, before it goes into “payment” mode and they start charging interest. I’ve called Marshall Hallock, City Finance (651.385.3602 or marshall.hallock@ci.red-wing.mn.us), and will keep on this so Council is aware that this is a problem. If the City’s interest rate is an issue for you, CALL AND MAKE IT KNOWN! They’re not mind readers.

Sturtevant Street needs to be redone, the storm system needs to be extended up the hill, and yeah, we will need to replace our house service (UGH!), no doubt about it. The money end of it, though, needs attention.

Categories: Citizens

Penguins: Seeing, Sorting, Eating

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 01/21/2022 - 2:37pm

Like International IPA Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas, Penguin Awareness Day – January 20 – is a made-up event that has a worthy purpose: to draw attention to one of the world’s most charismatic birds.

Penguins comprise 18 different species, but just seven are actually found in Antarctica and only four of those are found only in Antarctica. The other 11 live far and wide, from the Galapagos and Chile to South Africa, Namibia, and Angola, all the way to Australia and New Zealand.

What distinguishes penguins isn’t adaptation to cold, but adaptation to water: they’re all superbly aquatic, having turned the skill of flying into swimming. Though they look comical on land, they’re actually surprisingly adept at moving on solid ground (or ice). The Emperor famously migrates hundreds over miles over ice to open ocean, and many smaller species climb mountainous island terrain to find nesting sites. All penguins are social and monogamous, and all are also stone-cold killers that eat lots of crustaceans and fish. Plus, they (like many birds that live on or near the ocean) can drink seawater and excrete the salt.

We could see five of the seven Antarctic penguins on our cruise of the Antarctic Peninsula: the gentoo, rockhopper, macaroni, Adélie, and chinstrap. We won’t see the pretty big but sleek King, which lives on islands we won’t visit (including some in the Indian Ocean),

King penguins (Coolantarctica)

or the larger, rounder Emperor, which mostly lives in colder, icier parts of the continent (though a couple colonies are in the area we’ll visit).

Emperor penguins (Coolantarctica)

The Emperor is the largest penguin, as its name suggests, and probably the only bird in the world that doesn’t ever touch land, living its whole life on pack ice.

Conversely, we should see lots of the smaller Adélie, which is the most widespread Antarctic penguin,

Adélie penguins (Coolantarctica)

and chinstrap

Chinstrap penguin (Coolantarctica)

penguins, whose range seems to be expanding as ice retreats around the continent.

We will be luckily to see any Gentoo,

Gentoo penguin and hatchling (Coolantarctica)

rockhopper,

rockhopper penguin (Coolntarctica)

or macaroni, all of which are in decline, whether from the retreat of ice or, more likely, the loss of their prey to warmer coastal waters.

Macaroni penguin (Coolantarctica)

I’ll be pretty excited to see any of the birds, honestly. The penguin colonies are usually described as “teeming” and “raucous” and “smelly,” and though we’re strictly prohibited from approaching the birds, it’s apparently not uncommon for them to approach humans either on their way between land and water or to defend their territory. Being bitten by a penguin would be a novel experience.

So too would eating one, but that’s reserved now for orcas and seals. Antarctic explorers did have to eat a lot of penguins, and almost universally detested the meat, which was usually served raw or only lightly seared. American Frederic Cook, on the ill-fated Belgica expedition of 1897-1899, described the penguin steaks as akin to

a piece of beef, odiferous cod fish and a canvas-backed duck roasted together in a pot, with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce.

But Cook, and later explorers, ate penguin meat because its vitamin C prevents scurvy. I’ll just have some oranges.

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Categories: Citizens

Supreme Court does not extend Executive Privilege and docs will be turned over to House

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/20/2022 - 12:03pm

The Supreme Court did the right thing!! From New York Times: In Rebuke to Trump, Supreme Court Allows Release of Jan. 6 Files:

Here’s the Supremes’ opinion:

Categories: Citizens

Nobu Shirase – The Unknown Antarctican

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 01/20/2022 - 3:14am

While Amundsen and Scott dueled to reach the South Pole first, another team – led by Nobu Shirase, an unknown Japanese soldier – was deep in its own expedition to Antarctica. Shirase had long aimed to go to the North and then to the South Pole, but his effort was slowed by a lack of interest in Japan – still emerging from shogun-era inwardness, and focused on building its Asian empire – and the concomitant lack of funding for the trip.

Halting attempts to reach the continent finally culminated in a push in spring 1911 that brought Shirase and his crew to the Ross Ice Shelf from which the Europeans had launched their treks south. Realizing that the he would never reach the pole first, if at all, Shirase decided on other goals. His tiny ship – the smallest exploration ship to try the Southern Ocean – ranged along the coast of the Ross Sea while Shirase and a few men made a dog-sled sprint as far south as they could, beginning on January 20, 1912 (110 years ago today). They turned around, nearly out of food, after 8 days, having ventured to 80º 5’ S – the fourth-furthest anyone had ever gone (after Amundsen, Ross, and Shackleton).

Amundsen had reached the pole exactly two weeks before; Scott was still heading south to his fate. Shirase sensibly headed back to his ship and then home to Japan, where he was briefly hailed as a hero. He spent most of the rest of his life paying off the debt incurred by the expedition. At least he’d looked like a complete badass during his expedition.

Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition, 1910. Shirasenobu.com

Sources:
Stephanie Pain, “Scott, Amundsen… and Nobu Shirase,” New Scientist (12/20/11)
Jeff Moag, “This Forgotten Japanese Dreamer Raced Scott and Amundsen To The South Pole,” Adventure Journal (1/6/22)

Read more:

The post Nobu Shirase – The Unknown Antarctican appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Contactless Caucus – Feb 1

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 2:20pm

From Goodhue County DFL:

Due to the continuing rate of COVID-19 spread, the Goodhue County DFL will conduct “contactless caucuses” on February 1, 2022. We’re seeing a record breaking surge of infections and hospitalizations; there is no way to know who’s been exposed or where someone’s traveled. Our caucuses rely on volunteers to operate, and we want to ensure everyone can participate in the democratic process safely. Because our Democratic caucuses are an open, public event to anyone that affirms they are a DFL-er, the Goodhue County DFL unit (Goodhue21) is providing multiple ways for all Democrats to participate in the 2022 Precinct Caucuses.

Participation in this year’s caucus will consist of submitting the following:

Precinct Caucus Non-Participation Forms: Precinct caucus attendees can submit a Non-Attendee form which shows their desire to hold Precinct Officer or Convention Delegate positions via email, mail, or in-person drop off at their caucus location. If there are more people interested in being a Convention Delegate than delegate slots, a random selection will be held during a public Zoom call on Wednesday, February 9. Watch your email for more details.

Resolutions: Attendees can also submit resolutions to be considered for inclusion in the State DFL Party Platform. All resolutions must be attached to the official resolution form. All reso​lutions will be forwarded to the OU convention (similar ones may be combined).

Ways To Participate:

Fill out the online form (Goodhue 21 Google Form) and submit directly to Goodhue 21 DFL.

Download and print the online form (Non-Attendee, Resolution), fill it out, and email the scanned document to goodhue21dfl@gmail.com. You can also physically mail documents to 11995 350th Street Way, Cannon Falls, 55009.

Print and fill out the online form, then submit in-person at your Precinct Caucus location on Caucus night.

Come to your Precinct Caucus location on Caucus night to fill out and submit your forms.Regardless which option you select, all Non-Attendee and Resolution forms must be received by 9pm on February 1 to be considered. Options one and two can be submitted any time before the deadline. Submit completed forms at any one of our 8 caucus locations:

Cannon Falls Elementary School, Door A

Goodhue Public School, Door 8

Kenyon-Wanamingo Elementary School, Wanamingo, Main Door

Kenyon-Wanamingo High School, Kenyon, Main Door

Lake City High School, Door 2 or 11

Pine Island High School, Door 18

Twin Bluff Middle School, Red Wing, Main Door

Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School, Zumbrota, Main Door

A Goodhue-21 DFL representative will be at each of the 8 caucus locations from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm on February 1 to accept your documents.

Download the Non-Attendee Form:

From the DFL website at https://dfl.org/…/Precinct-Caucus-Fillable-Non-Attendee…

Or fill out the online form (Google Form) at https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSfwhoVXHWa…/viewform…

Download the Resolution Form:

From the DFL website at https://dfl.org/…/Adopted-7-August-2021-Rev-A-Page-A-1.pdf

Or fill out the online form (Google Form) at https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSedeZF3u7j…/viewform…

Email all documents or any questions to goodhue21dfl@gmail.com

Find your Caucus Location here. You can find more information on our website at www.goodhue21dfl.org

Categories: Citizens

Scott Reaches the Pole

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 3:19pm

110 years ago today, the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole – and found that Norwegian Roald Amundsen had reached it five weeks before. I can only imagine Scott’s reaction. He had contorted his entire life to be the first man to the South Pole, and had failed.

Scott and his team at the South Pole on January 17, 1912.
Image from Wikipedia.

Here is how Scott – in a journal found with his body – summarized the day that he reached the pole:

Camp 69. T. -22ºF at start. Night -21ºF. The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected….

We started at 7:30, none of us having slept much after the shock of our discovery….; the wind is blowing hard, T. -21ºF, and there is that curious damp, cold feeling in the air which chills one to the bone in no time…. Great God! This is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority. Well, it is something to have got here, and the wind may be our friend tomorrow. We have had a fat Polar hoosh [food in liquid form, typically made of lard, oatmeal, beef protein, vegetable protein, salt, and sugar] in spite of our chagrin, and feel comfortable inside—added a small stick of chocolate and the queer taste of a cigarette brought by Wilson. Now for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.

He was correct to wonder. All five of them died on the return trip, defeated by hunger, frostbite, malnutrition, exhaustion – and disappointment.

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Categories: Citizens

Books on the End of the Earth

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 01/15/2022 - 3:30pm

It’s apparently pretty easy to title books on Antarctica. On the other hand, if a book has “end of the earth” in the title, it’s probably pretty good.

The Sancton book is a gripping account of a near-disastrous 1897-1899 expedition led by Adrien Gerlache to the Antarctic Peninsula — discovering many of the places I’ll see next month, but also getting trapped in the ice and barely surviving.

The Matthiessen book comprises two long, beautifully written essays on eco-tourism cruises that Matthiessen took in the 1990s, one to the Ross Sea south of New Zealand, the other to the Antarctic Peninsula. I hope my experiences there are more like Matthiessen’s than Gerlache’s!

Finally, the Mulvaney book is, uh, a history of the polar regions. I haven’t finished it yet, but the sections on Antarctica look to cover both exploration and subsequent use of the continent for science, whaling and sealing, etc. Should be good!

The post Books on the End of the Earth appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Tsunami fear? Nope, reality!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:42pm

Warnings for West Coast, see U.S. Tsunami Warning Centers:

… and it’s hit Fukushima!

See simplyinfo.org: Fukushima Daiichi Hit By Tsunami 1.15.2022

Categories: Citizens

Mineral leasing in Superior Nat’l Forest – more hearings Saturday & Tuesday

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 12:49pm

A few weeks ago I’d published notice of the “hearings” for comment on the request to withdraw leasing and a 20 year moratorium — there was a moratorium, but in 2017, the previous administration withdrew that moratorium, that previous administration also renewed the Twin Metals leases. WTAF?!?! So this moratorium request is to go back to where they were, to reinstitute the moratorium, to address the environmental issues they’d started on, and to take a 20 year pause on leasing for extractive exploration. This does not affect existing leases, only new ones.

BLM & USFS Comment Period on Withdrawal of Leasing for Mineral Exploration December 21st, 2021 Comments are due January 19, 2022:

And press release from BLM:

Biden Administration Takes Action to Complete Study of Boundary Waters Area Watershed

They’re hosting zoomies over three days. Yesterday was the first. You supposedly have to register to get the link, though I sent Alan my link and it worked for him. I was #67 for commenting, #67 of 173 who’d requested time to comment, and I did get to comment after nearly THREE HOURS of waiting, and I was one of the last! They shut down the meeting at 4 p.m., leaving about 100 people without an opportunity to comment.

Here are the next two meeting dates, Saturday and Tuesday, and a link to “register” and ask for time to comment — maybe you’ll “win” the lottery as I did? I think odds are better at Treasure Island.

Register for the Meeting on Saturday, January 15, 2022, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., CST at https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_q9OWw5P3TSuvACoQ2o6gnQ

Register for the Meeting on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., CST at https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_rs2ueUYaQ-CoRO25s2bLqA

When you register, you’ll get a link to zoom right away, and then you’re notified whether you’ve been selected to make a comment 3 days before the meeting.

Send comments by January 19, 2022 to F. David Radford, Deputy State Director of Geospatial Services, BLM Eastern States Office, RE: Superior National Forest Withdrawal Application, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, OR via email to BLM_ES_Lands@blm.gov (in subject line, “Superior Nat’l Forest Withdrawal Application). Comments need to be made in the record, blathering on anti-social media does NOT count.

Documents thus far that I could find:

Scoping
Categories: Citizens

Off-shore wind noise

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 12:08pm

This came up again today, and studies popped up — if there are important ones not here, please let me know in the comments (with a link!!):

Ocean-Noise-and-Marine-Mammals_10564Download Underwater-noise-emissions-from-wind-turbines_Betke-2004Download Ocean_bio-acoustics_and_Noise_Pollution_OCR_2002Download How loud is the underwater noise from operating offshore wind turbines_Pine_2012_0051790 (with several articles linked too)Download

Note how this one sets it up: “Wind farms’ operating companies have increased their interest in noise impact due to resistance from people settling in the proximity of new projects.: See study:

Simplified-Assessment-on-theWind-Farm-Noise_energies-13-05788Download

This one is interesting because it specifies use of ISO 18406 (2017) (percussive pile driving), and not ISO 9613-2. Keep a lookout in these studies for ISO methodology, because as we saw with Freeborn Wind, GI/GO — gotta use the right measurement methods and criteria. So check out this article from Acoustics Today:

The-Underwater-Sound-from-Offshore-Wind-Farms-Jennifer-AmaralDownload Acoustic-impacts-of-Offshore-Wind-Energy-on-Fishery-Resources_33-4_mooneyDownload
Categories: Citizens

The Other South Poles

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 5:31pm

In addition to the geographical South Pole, with its actual south pole, Antarctica has three other salient southerly “poles.”

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t understand enough about science to really understand either the magnetic south pole or the geomagnetic south pole, but suffice to say that the former is the spot where the lines of the earth’s magnetic field point straight up from the surface of the earth, and the latter is… a theoretical spot where a theoretically regular magnetic field would emerge? Sort of? Maybe someone on my trip can explain it! Wikipedia says this, unhelpfully:

The south magnetic pole is the point on Earth‘s Southern Hemisphere where the geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards. The Geomagnetic South Pole, a related point, is the south pole of an ideal dipole model of the Earth’s magnetic field that most closely fits the Earth’s actual magnetic field.

Anyhow, neither one is anywhere near the South Pole. The magnetic South Pole moves about three miles a year. It’s now located in the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean off the north (ha!) coast of Antarctica, just outside the Antarctic Circle and on its way to New Zealand.

The Magnetic South Pole,” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

And but so, the other other south pole is quite a bit easier to explain, and both quite a bit cooler and colder: the Pole of Inaccessibility! Quite straightforwardedly, this is the spot on the Antarctica continent that’s furthest from the Southern Ocean in each direction (that is, north, north, north, and south).

Loneliest place on Earth,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation

It’s about 500 miles from the South Pole, about 12,000 feet high (just a shade under the altitude of the highest spot in the contiguous U.S.), and pretty much impossible to reach except by air or unless you were the Soviets in 1958, who established a base there during the International Geophysical Year. Those crazy commies abandoned it a few years later. All that’s there now is a weather station (the forecast is always for cold and wind) and apparently a bust of Lenin.

Yeah, I’d visit.

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Categories: Citizens

Biennial Xmsn Report Comments Filed

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 2:13pm
Balloons v. transmission near Stillwater
(yes, that’s as bad as it looks!)

Every other year, there’s a “Biennial Transmission Projects Report” filed with the state (funny how that works), and here’s the most recent one:

2021 Biennial Transmission Projects Report

And then Comments are due on it… voila!

Overland_Comment_1-10-2022Download Attachment-A_NERC_LTRA_2021Download Attachment-B_MTEP21-Full-Report-including-Executive-Summary611674Download Attachment-C_202110-179119-04_Vol-2B_Testimony_Benson_XmsnDownload

And the Dept. of Commerce Comments are delightful:

20221-181222-01_Commerce-CommentsDownload

Particularly this part:

Categories: Citizens

The Pole at the South Pole

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 01/09/2022 - 5:23pm

The South Pole that everyone thinks of is technically the geographical South Pole, the southern end of the earth’s axis of rotation, a fairly straightforward concept. As much as I’d like to go there someday, the trip I’m taking at the end of January doesn’t go anywhere near the South Pole. At our closest point, we’ll be about as far from the geographical South Pole as Chicago is from Los Angeles. Antarctica is big.

One reason I’d love to visit the South Pole is to see the literal South Pole:

The Guardian

The location of the literal south pole changes constantly as the ice at the South Pole flows, at a rate of about 6 feet a year. At least once a year, scientists at Amundsen-Scott station relocate the pole, topping it with a new marker. Here’s the 2021 marker:

Via the South Pole Station

And here’s the 2022 marker, which features the amazing “True South” design that’s an emblem of the snow and water of Antarctica.

@antarcticreport

The post The Pole at the South Pole appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

The Bonneville Report on Xmsn and MORE!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 2:31pm

I’m cleaning the office, trying to move into 2021 with less reliance on paper and more on electronics. That could be asking for trouble, but the piles and piles I’ve got here, decades of utility work, it’s going to topple the house. So I’m continuing my practice of scanning or finding on-line many of these reports and posting them here so I can find them, and others can too.

Years ago, circa 1999, maybe 2000, during the Arrowhead transmission contested case in either Minnesota, working out of a garage and staying in a tent, or Wisconsin, a two month long hearing from hell, rooming with Cassidy, one of two German Shepherds where we were staying…

… I received a “brown paper envelope” copy of “The Bonneville Report,” a report that was issued by Bonneville Power Administration and very shortly thereafter, it was disappeared, and it later returned. The copy I received was a later version, circa 1996. I present to you World Organization of Landowner Freedom’s Exhibit A:

Electrical-and-Biological-Effects-of-Transmission-Lines-A-review-December-1996Download

And here’s a 1989 version:

Electrical-and-Biological-Effects-of-Transmission-Lines-A-Review-1989Download

And here’s another great one that shouldn’t be forgotten, particularly as Xcel’s Benson, in rate case testimony about transmission, notes rehab of the King-Eau Claire-Arpin transmission line:

Northern MAPP/Northwestern Ontario Disturbance June 25, 1998

And…

Buffalo Ridge Transmission PlanDownload

And an interesting report, wherein Xcel forecasts peak demand:

10-Year-Plan-South-Dakota_Xcel2002_Download

And as they start the shift to “economic” need:

Investigation-of-Bulk-Power-Markets-Midwest-Region-November-2000Download

And for those ready to shut down Prairie Island Nuclear Generation Plant:

PRAIRIE-ISLAND-REPLACEMENT-STUDY-SS01_reportDownload

And anyone remember when “Wind on the Wires” was a program of the Izaak Walton League? This was in 2001, the beginning of the machinations and set up for the big transmission build-out, the SW Minn 345kV line was the first out the gate, and gave Xcel/NSP the start it needed. And below, read the minutes, this transmission that we’re all paying big bucks for is the impact of the enviro sell-out.

National Wind Coordinating Committe – Minutes 5-01Download

Note the part about the “settlement agreement,” for that SW Minn 345kV line!

And here, introducing “Wind on the Wires,” an Izaaak Walton grant program, “identifying the highest priority transmission upgrades and working with utilities, state and federal regulators, and local communities for their completion.” Thanks a lot:

And a LOT of old Arrowhead info, contracts, costs, even application!

141300_PUC-OLD-Arrowhead_Costs_Ks_MiscDownload

And from the “Wisconsin Western Interface Alternatives” (still looking for online), this precursor of CapX 2020 and MISO’s MVP Portfolio below – which ones HAVEN’T they built?

Saving and posting for posterity…

Categories: Citizens

Ernest Shackleton, RIP (100 years ago today)

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 01/05/2022 - 4:25pm

Few men are more famous as explorers of Antarctica than Ernest Shackleton – perhaps only Amundsen and Scott. Shackleton died exactly 100 years ago ago today, succumbing to a heart attack on the remote Atlantic island of South Georgia at the start of what would have been his third major expedition to Antarctica. He was just 47 years old, a young man, but then many of the explorers died early – Scott at 44, Amundsen at 56.)

From Wikipedia

Reading on Shackleton, I’m struck by the fact that he is so famous despite, or maybe, indirectly, because, he never actually reached the South Pole. That failure somehow magnifies his stature as a leader of men. On his first expedition, the Discovery expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott in 1901-1904, Shackleton, Scott, and another man went as far south as 82º – a record for the time – but Scott then dismissed Shackleton for ill health.

A few years later, in January 1909, Shackleton’s own Nimrod expedition brought him and three others to 88º S, less than 100 miles from the pole and a new Furthest South. Though Shackleton longed to win the “race to the pole,” instead Amundsen did, in 1911, and Shackleton instead aimed at what would have been an even more impressive feat than merely attaining the pole: crossing Antarctica from the Weddell Sea on the South American side of the continent (the north, ha!) to the Ross Sea on the New Zealand side (the north again!) – and, naturally, crossing the pole on the way.

This was the famous, or infamous, Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 which ended prematurely when Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (surely one of the most ironic names ever), was trapped in pack ice in January 1915. They had not even gotten close to Antarctica proper, and in fact had been caught in the same region where a German expedition had been trapped in 1912.

Shackleton and his crew lived, barely, for the entire summer, fall, and winter of 1915 on the ship itself, hoping that warmer temperatures in the spring would allow them to free the ship and sail either home (which was in the throes of the Great War), or amazingly, deeper into the sea, toward the continent, to try the crossing after all. A separate group had already laid supplies on the other side of the continent, fueling Shackleton’s hope to lead the third party to the pole – and only the second to return successfully from it.

These plans disintegrated in October 1915 when the spring breakup crushed the Endurance, driving the men onto the ice. They tried to march north, but found the going too slow, so they camped on the ice until Shackleton decided to make another march, which also failed, just a few miles further along. They returned to the shipwreck to salvage supplies and lifeboats in the hope that they could find open water and sail to one of a few relatively nearby outposts of civilization, then camped for months.

All the while, the ice floes were drifting and splitting, drifting and splitting, and the men were starving, losing their wits, fighting and mutinying. They shot all their sled dogs and ate some of them, a complement to endless seal meat. Finally, in April 1916, with another winter approaching, conditions deteriorated enough that Shackleton ordered a desperate effort to sail the open lifeboats – now renamed, almost ludicrously, for the expedition’s main financial backers – to any of several islands they knew were nearby. A brutal five-day voyage brought them, without the loss of anyone, to Elephant Island, just off the tip of the Antarctica Peninsula.

Resting on the barren island, Shackleton determined that he and five other men would sail one of the boats through the rough seas of the Drake Passage to South Georgia, from which they’d departed about sixteen months earlier. This was an unimaginably harrowing trip that depended entirely on the ability of Shackleton’s captain, Frank Worsley, to navigate without proper instruments, maps and charts, or even, you know, a stable deck.

Worsley did it. After two weeks at sea, the tiny boat made it to South Georgia on May 10 – but on the uninhabited side of the island. After a couple days of recuperation, Shackleton, Worsley, and another crewman made a two-day trek through the wilderness to the whaling station at Stromness, the port from which the Endurance had left in December 1914.

I nearly weep to think of the relief they must have felt to see ships, houses, and other people after so long a time, and so much an ordeal – but also to think of the need they felt to rescue the rest of the Endurance’s crew.

After retrieving the three other lifeboaters who’d stayed on the far side of South Georgia, Shackleton made four successive efforts to sail back to Elephant to rescue everyone else – not even knowing if they were still alive, three months after he had left in the lifeboat. The damn sea ice defeated the first three attempts over three months until finally Shackleton reached Elephant Island in August to find the entire party still alive, though they had suffered horribly through another austral winter – starvation, depression, scurvy, frostbite, gangrene, amputation. Again, I can hardly imagine the mixture of feelings they must have felt, sailing back to Chile and then home to Great Britain: elation and relief, certainly, but probably also sadness and frustration. All that effort, all that suffering, all for naught.

Shackleton was recognized as a hero, however, and after service in the British military and a period of lecturing, he organized another Antarctic expedition – partly to pay off debts from the failure of the Endurance trip. (That these insane treks required so much financing and were even seen as possible ways to make money by discovering minerals or other resources or simply by publishing newspaper and books, seems ludicrous.)

This expedition was to have conducted a wide range of scientific research during a circumnavigation of Antarctica. Shackleton fell ill on the journey south but insisted on continuing. Finally, on the morning of January 5, 1922, with the ship docked in, yes, South Georgia, a crewman discovered Shackleton in terrific pain. He cautioned “the Boss” about his hard living. Shackleton replied, “You’re always wanting me to give up things, what is it I ought to give up?” Moments later, Shackleton had a coronary and died. The expedition carried on, as he would have wished, but did little of the work he’d planned. Shackleton was buried in South Georgia.

The post Ernest Shackleton, RIP (100 years ago today) appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Playing with Light in the Winter Garden

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Mon, 01/03/2022 - 7:05am

Winter in Minnesota may be cold, but at least it’s sunny. That’s something gardeners can take comfort in and use to create a more interesting winter garden. As I am writing this, the temperature is hovering around 0 degrees F but the sun is bright as can be, reflecting off the snow. Cathy Rees, who ... Read More about Playing with Light in the Winter Garden

The post Playing with Light in the Winter Garden appeared first on My Northern Garden.

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Categories: Citizens

Farthest South

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 3:57pm

As I read on Antarctic exploration, I keep reading about explorers’ efforts to go further south than anyone else. And so on New Year’s Eve at the bottom of the year, we can look at the history of “Farthest South” – efforts to go closer to the pole than anyone else.

As one might expect, Wikipedia includes a pretty good entry on “Farthest South,” and honestly, the striving – like that of Antarctica exploration generally – is fascinating to read about, inspiring to contemplate, and hollow to actually achieve. Quite literally none of the “farthest souths” went anywhere other than an empty spot on the map – and until 1900, only empty spots in the Southern Ocean. Not even land (or ice shelf). There’s more to say at another time about the fascinating, inspiring, hollow spot that is the farthest south, the pole itself.

But look at the fits-and-spurts non-pattern of this list of known farthest south records, which doesn’t include the legendary 7th-century feats of the Polynesian sailor Ui-te-Rangiora, who ventured far enough from to see icebergs, but does include the Yaghan natives of what’s now Tierra del Fuego, who probably sailed as far south as Cape Horn at the end of South America. Once the Europeans began trying transoceanic voyages, they set three successive furthest-souths in the 16th century but then only one in the 17th. Sailing so far south was simply too difficult and too unrewarding – not many places to colonize!

From Wikipedia

154 more years passed before James Cook set two farthest-south records, both on his second circumnavigation of the planet – and both measured with the famous marine chronometer that allowed sailors (Cook almost first among them) to precisely determine their position on north-south lines of longitude. Cook’s Second Voyage, in fact, was an effort to prove or disprove the existence of a Terra Australis, a huge unknown land at the bottom of the planet. Cook never saw that land, but he did sail far enough to encounter icebergs and other suggestions of a landmass even further south.

Cook died in Hawaii on his Third Voyage, and almost fifty years passed before another British sailor set a new record, then another twenty years before James Clark Ross went almost to 80º south in 1841 and 1842, reaching what’s now the Ross Sea, directly below New Zealand. As Britain and other European powers strived to colonize virtually all the rest of the planet, explorers had less interest in the southern continent itself, which was deemed to have value only as an object of scientific research – not as an object of colonization or even just economic extraction. (The whales and seals in the seas were valuable enough.) Answering calls late in the 19th century to finally investigate Antarctica proper, Carsten Borchgrevink set a new farthest south at 78º 50’ S on the ice shelf in the Ross Sea in 1900. Two years after that, Robert Falcon Scott went further down the shelf, finally passing beyond 80º S – a very forbidding few more degrees from the pole.

Seven years of increasingly intense international competition all around Antarctica (and, at the opposite end of the planet, around the North Pole) culminated in 1909 with Ernest Shackleton getting to within two degrees of the South Pole – a huge leap forward. And then Roald Amundsen finally made it to the pole at 90º S in January 1911, beating Scott by a few weeks. Amundsen brought his men back from the pole safely, but Scott and all his men died as they headed back north.

The post Farthest South appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

NSP/Xcel Rate Case testimony on nuclear

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 1:30pm
Within Red Wing city limits, and right next door to
Prairie Island Indian Community 202110-179119-07_Gardner_NuclearDownload

NSP/Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant is just 13.4 miles away through our bluffs, and more like 9 as the crow flies. And don’t forget about Monticello, same GE reactor as Fukushima Di’iachi, upriver, also on the Mississippi.

FYI, the NRC’s page for:

Prairie Island Enforcement Actions (it’s been a while, is that a good thing?)

Categories: Citizens

Only two comments on rulemaking

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 12/29/2021 - 11:25am

Only two comments were filed by Advisory Committee members (not including utility comment prior to the 12/16/2021 Commission meeting):

202112-181045-01_McNamaraGWTDownload 202112-180993-01_NoCapX_U-CAN_North Route Group_Initial-Comment_OAH_7849-7850Download

The Comments before-hand seem orchestrated, as much as the 97 or so last minute comments in November:

Withdrawal of proposed rules at the last minute? What’s the procedure? What happens now?

Have all these folks not heard of the notion of submitting a Rulemaking Petition if they want something other than what’s in the rules? The excuses mouthed by the Commission at that 12/16 meeting were utterly off point. No mention of the 2005 legislative changes, and attempts to subvert the “prime farmland” rule by weaving it into this? Just no…

Categories: Citizens
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