Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

THE AMERICAN WEST IS BURNING

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It’s just one god damn thing after another in 2020. Terrible wildfires are raging across California and Oregon now, dozens dead at least, whole rural towns destroyed. And the fire season is just beginning. My friends living in California can’t even go outside now it’s so smokey. I lived in California for decades and never experienced anything like it. My heart goes out to those who lost everything, especially to those who lost family and friends. A natural disaster on top of a natural disaster, what a nightmare. I’m talking about the pandemic of course, which has just made it all the harder to fight the fires.

After reading the following article, I realized I have been wrong about the west’s fire history. In the eighties science belatedly realized that fire was a natural and essential part of western ecosystems, and that putting all fires out for a century had been a terrible mistake. Before Americans settled in the west, millions of acres burned every year. The vast majority of these fires basically being grass fires, because with regular burns huge amounts of deadwood and brush didn’t accumulate. By putting out all the fires, huge amounts of flammable brush built up, so now when fires burn they get huge and burn hotter and deadlier. I thought we had learned a lesson, for example in 1988 they let Yellowstone burn, to much uninformed public outrage. 

I was wrong. While scientists had realized the problem in the eighties, it didn’t get translated into public policy. Basically, politics, inertia, corruption. California and other western states should be burning millions of acres a year to reduce the amount of accumulated deadwood, instead they’ve burned less than 50,000 acres per year in prescribed burns. Add that to a 20 year drought almost certainly global warming related, and the whole west is just a wildfire waiting to happen. Read the article here: They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

Can’t blame this one on the GOP either. California has been pretty much a Democrat state for decades. Which means fuck all. The point here isn’t partisan politics, it’s that American politics have been hostile to science based solutions all my life. Granted it’s gotten worse in recent decades as the GOP has substituted fantasy for science in things like abortion and global warming, but it’s not limited to the GOP. Whole books have been written about America’s aversion to science and learning, it’s a mystery to me. In both natural disasters, the fires and Covid-19, experts have been shouting warnings since the 1980s, yet little to nothing was done. For shame.

Back to the matter at hand, the Covid-19 pandemic and the election. Four links for the gentle reader’s consideration. Real world, politics, paranoia, and fantasy. Hey, it’s the end of an era, I’m gonna cover as many bases as I can. First, politics: Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on Covid-19. If true, well, not like we didn’t know that Trump seems to consider Covid-19 an image problem, rather than an actual crisis to be dealt with. Horrifying and Stalinesque. That’s modern America.

Real world: College athletes show signs of possible heart injury after COVID-19. Yeah, Covid-19 ain’t just an upper respiratory infection, Covid-19 gets into the heart. Covid-19 is not a hoax, not a flu, not a cold. It’s a new and scary virus that people should do everything they can to avoid. A message I will continue to repeat because it’s a matter of life or death

In the paranoid file for today: Roger Stone calls for Trump to seize total power if he loses the election. Well, he’s repaying Trump for the pardon? IDK, apparently he made these statements on Alex Jones’s Infowars. Alex Jones makes Rush Limbaugh look like Carl Sagan in comparison. (No, not really, they’re both off the rails.) I hope we don’t see some horrible shitshow after the election, but stuff like this is not reassuring. 

Lastly, good news! Studio Ghibli Movies Are Available On HBO Max And Now I Know What I’m Doing All Week. I’ve only seen a few of them, but enjoyed them immensely. “My Neighbor Totoro” is my favorite so far. Fantasy, science fiction, and psychological fantasy all wrapped up together. Kinda a genre on their own. Enjoy.

Stay safe everyone, hope all are having a good weekend. Likes, shares, comments appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “Bobcat Fire view from our kitchen window in Monrovia, CA, September 10, 2020”.  Credit: Eddiem360. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

September 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm

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