Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Day After Labor Day

Congress is back in session today, after a five-week break. The president is asking law-makers to make temporary tax cuts permanent. He is also moving his mouth to make strange noises about something called "less reliance on imported oil."
Wildfires in the pacific northwest continue to rage. I guess some people who know stuff about fires and fighting them are saying the 2006 acreage destroyed by this year's fires is twice that of the yearly average over the last 10 years. And that this might be a "trend" due to lots of trees that died this year from some bark disease, and also the fact that they've had several seasons that were particularly dry. No rain. Dead trees. Sounds to me like Mother Nature is just doing her job; considering that the majority of trees out there can't even germinate without fire, and their ranks were thinned by malaise, I am not surprised the weather is cooperating.Make no mistake, I will always put (most) human life above other forms of life. But isn't this "problem" indicative of our insistence as settlers to live where we just shouldn't live?
As a people we consistently approach nature in a reactive way. My biggest bugaboo on this score are dams, and, as one poster on sciforums remarked, "the great dam scam." I don't know if it's a singularly American perception, that dams will save us from all that naughty water. I do know that too many people don't get the science behind it. I wrote a paper on dams in college, based on research I did via the Fish & Wildlife end. For the most part, any dam that's not built by Mr. Beaver is a potential threat to human life. Essentially, man-made dams are put in place to give people a warm and cozy feeling when it rains, so they can keep putting photos and family mementos and electronic equipment on the floors of their basements (I'm speaking about folks who aren't at or below sea level, of course). Unfortunately, the inconvenience of soggy feet is forgone for the larger catastrophes, when men in boats come to rescue you off your roof. Damn dams.


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