Monday, August 27, 2007

Catching up on the summer news

Kids are back in school, we're making plans for Labor Day. Between vacation and wrapping up the fiscal year, it's the Dog Days of August already and I didn't get to blog about so many things that happened this summer. So, here are a few quick observations -

The Weather Service tossed out the idea of dropping "monsoon" for the terminally bureaucratic moniker of "severe thunderstorm season." Mercifully, that lasted just long enough for everyone to shake their heads in bemusement or make a snide comment about it.

But there does seem to reason to instead call it the "earth fissure season." The heavy downpours opened up a fissure in the same neighborhood in Queen Creek south of Phoenix that got hit almost exactly two years earlier. Tragically, the fissure went through a corral and a horse fell in, was trapped by the mud in it and died from the stress and exertion despite heroic rescue efforts.
Not too far away, county workers laid steel plates across San Tan Highway where it crossed a fissure, to prevent the road from collapsing. Fissures opened up across properties, or grew by hundreds of feet in very short times. Reports of fissure activity are still coming in.

On another hot topic, the Arizona Daily Star columnist Ernesto Portillo Jr, said maybe it's time to say goodbye to mining in Arizona. He wrote, "Water is too precious to throw into a mine," because mines pollute and damage the environment and they compete for water that could be used for cities and agriculture. Regardless of your view of mining, this stance belies a couple of questions. When does water become too precious to throw at growing crops in the desert? And how much pollution and environmental impacts are we going to see from adding 10 million more people to Arizona in the next 25 years with their cars, RVs, demands for electricity, and land cleared for 4 million new houses? The question isn't mining or water; it's more likely to be unlimited growth or water.

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