Saturday, September 6, 2008

Woe is we've got a nitrogen crisis

Brace we've got a nitrogen crisis.  I have a suspicion that pretty soon we're going to have an oxygen crisis too.  After all, it make it possible for almost everything thing that's bad for the earth (us) to live and grow...Let's just get out the periodic table and ban every element on it.

Beyond Carbon: Scientists Worry About Nitrogen’s Effects

Nir Elias/Reuters
A woman clears away algae in Quindao, China, a buildup caused by too much nitrogen in the Yellow Sea.
Published: September 1, 2008
Correction AppendedTOOLIK FIELD STATION, Alaska — As Anne Giblin was lugging four-foot tubes of Arctic lakebed mud from her inflatable raft to her nearby lab this summer, she said, “Mud is a great storyteller.”

Dr. Giblin, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., is part of the Long Term Ecological Research network at an Arctic science outpost here operated by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
Public discussion of complicated climate change is largely reduced to carbon: carbon emissions, carbon footprints, carbon trading. But other chemicals have large roles in the planet’s health, and the one Dr. Giblin is looking for in Arctic mud, one that a growing number of other researchers are also concentrating on, is nitrogen.
In addition to having a role in climate change, nitrogen has a huge, probably more important biological impact through its presence in fertilizer. Peter Vitousek, a Stanford ecologist whose 1994 essay put nitrogen on the environmental map, co-authored a study this summer in the journal Nature that put greater attention on the nitrogen cycle and warned against ignoring it in favor of carbon benefits.
For example, Dr. Vitousek said in an interview, “There’s a great danger in doing something like, oh, overfertilizing a cornfield to boost biofuel consumption, where the carbon benefits are far outweighed by the nitrogen damage.”
Soon after Dr. Vitousek’s report, the journal Geophysical Research Letters branded as a “missing greenhouse gas” nitrogen trifluoride, which is used in production of semiconductors and in liquid-crystal displays found in many electronics. Nitrogen trifluoride, which is not one of the six gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the celebrated international global warming accord, is about 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Its estimated worldwide release into the atmosphere this year is equivalent to the total global-warming emissions from Austria.
“The nitrogen dilemma,” Dr. Vitousek added, “is not just thinking that carbon is all that matters. But also thinking that global warming is the only environmental issue. The weakening of biodiversity, the pollution of rivers, these are local issues that need local attention. Smog. Acid rain. Coasts. Forests. It’s all nitrogen.” ..........Nitrogen is part of all living matter. When plants and animals die, their nitrogen is passed into soil and the nitrogen in the soil, in turn, nourishes plants on land and seeps into bodies of water. Dr. Giblin is pursuing her research because as the Arctic warms, the tundra’s permafrost will thaw, and the soil will release carbon and nitrogen into the atmosphere.

When an ecosystem has too much nitrogen, the first response is that life blossoms. More fish, more plants, more everything. But this quickly becomes a kind of nitrogen cancerMORE....

Light entertainment for a Saturday in September

Here's some light entertainment for a Saturday in September....

Category: Documentaries
Gilles Apap is a classically trained French violinist who respects no musical boundaries. He has an unquenchable thirst for music making, and this documentary follows him from his home in Santa Barbara where he enjoys playing Old Timey and Bluegrass music with friends at the local hang, to India, and the serious study of the varied styles of Indian playing. While teaching Western Classical music at the University of Benares, he joyfully explores the wellspring of Indian tradition and innovation, bringing us along for the ride. 

Category: Documentaries
Sampling dishes such as fat-tailed sheep's testicles and picking up recipes from "Dr Dogmeat", food writer Stefan Gates explores some of the most controversial food issues in the world.

In this fascinating BBC series, Gates explores unusual food stories in some of the world's more dangerous places, using food to explore and understand cultures worldwide and the unique challenges these communities face. Join him in Afghanistan, South Korea, Fiji, Uganda and elsewhere, and learn more about the world one meal at a time.
"An insane idea, but a fascinating film," Daily Telegraph 19/07/06

"Terrific reportage: thoughtful, unpatronising and gently provocative," Guardian 22/7/06

"A kind of antidote to the mundanity of the rest of culinary TV," Mail on Sunday 30/7/6

"Deceptively sharp, very funny and gently inquisitive," Guardian 5/5/7
Visit the BBC's Cooking in the Danger Zone page
Stefan Gates online

Support Georgia......Drink Their Wine and Brandy!

Support Georgia......Drink Their Wine and Brandy!

It's the least that we can do (since we don't seem to have the ability to kick the Russian's out of their country).  And since the French we're one of the countries that veto'd allowing them into NATO (and that veto provided the Russians with the view that they could then act with impunity towards Georgia), switch from French to Georgian Brandy this coming holiday season......if you can find any Georgian wine or brandy.  And of course, it would only be appropriate to propose a toast Vlad Putin's just rewards....... with some Georgian Brandy!

Sweet Georgia Gold: A Brandy With Geopolitical Benefits

September 6, 2008; Wall Street Journal

Long before Russian tanks clattered and clanked their way into Georgia, the government of Vladimir Putin had already begun its war against the small, former Soviet republic. Among the opening salvos was an assault on Georgia's economy, an attack that took the form of a boycott of the country's wines and spirits, begun in 2006.
"Russia was the biggest market for every exported Georgian product, so the embargo had really hurt the economy," says Ekaterine Megutnishvili, a manager at Telavi Wine Cellar, one of Georgia's largest wine exporters. But not one to whine, Mrs. Megutnishvili notes in her email that Russia's wine blockade has merely "made Georgian companies turn their minds to target European and American markets, and now we really have good results on our hands."
[Georgia Brandy]
Dylan Cross for The Wall Street Journal
No doubt, Georgian brandy does make for a good "gift bottle" -- at least the one I was able to find. After no little searching, I was able to track down a bottle of a Georgian brandy called Vartsikhe. It came in a funky flask of raw brown earthenware decorated with little rust and white glaze triangles in patterns that remind one that Eurasia is just as close to Asia as it is to Europe.
The brandies of the Caucasus region -- Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan -- are known for their distinctive fruitcake sweetness. When the whisky writer Michael Jackson wanted to describe a single-malt Scotch as tasting of dried fruits and raisins, he would say it was redolent of Georgian brandy. 
.....Georgian brandy was the closest in style to cognac, with the medium body and elegant balance of a French VSOP.
It's worth noting that Georgia's vintners also make a distinctive alternative to vodka, an indigenous grappa called chacha. Like the Italian eau-de-vie, chacha is distilled from wine and the leftovers of winemaking -- grape skins, seeds, and even a stem or two. I was able to find a chacha made by the Telavi Wine Cellar, a spirit that was aged just enough to give it a honey-tinged color and with a nice balance between the fire essential to any good grappa and the mellow sweetness of the original grapes.
Georgian brandy and chacha are delights, even without the geopolitical benefits of buying them. But there's no denying that added bonus. Richard Holbrooke writes that "so far, Moscow has failed in its real goal -- getting rid of Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's pro-democracy, pro-American president." A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Holbrooke has been a vigorous advocate for bolstering Georgia with aid to keep the country, and its government, from collapsing of economic asphyxiation. "If Mikheil Saakashvili survives," Mr. Holbrooke writes, "Vladimir Putin loses." Now that's something worth toasting -- where's that claret glass?  MORE....

Rebirth of Good Music?

Rebirth of Good Music?
Try as I may, I haven't been able to really enjoy most contemporary 
music since the 70's.  Yeah, it may just be a factor of getting older,
or being busy about other things, but I'm not so sure.

I grew up in a home with seven siblings and music was alway in the air.  
My wife and I both love music in the background, so our home with our
four children always had music playing. In the beginning, it was our 
choice with tunes from the 50's and 60's, with a heavy bit of jazz, and a
sprinkling of classical. But, eventually (since they outnumbered us) the
airwaves became theirs.

I became disinterested in the lasted releases, and couldn't tell one new
group or singer from another. Punk, made me sick, Hip-hop made me 
avoid the radio. I became a music recluse, hoarding my precious
"oldies" and listening with headphones. I didn't even bother to turn the 
radio on to anything but a news station.

But Jim Fusilli's story in the Wall Street Journal has rekindled hope.
Maybe, just maybe.....real music is coming back. Check out the web
site so you can listen to some of the selections.....ahhhh!

The Sum of the Vocal Parts

Soaring, shimmering harmonies stage a rock and pop comeback
September 6, 2008; Page W9

Long a staple of rock and pop, but sorely missed in recent years, soaring, shimmering vocal harmonies are staging a strong comeback this year. Among the terrific releases so far: "Clouded Staircase" (Bar-None) by Starling Electric; "Fleet Foxes" (Sub Pop), a quintet's self-titled debut; and "For Emma, Forever Ago" by Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar).
[Brian Wilson]
James Minchin III
Brian Wilson
Caleb Dillon of Starling Electric and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes said they were inspired by the work of Brian Wilson, whose new album, "That Lucky Old Sun" (Capitol), was released this past Tuesday. When I called Mr. Dillon in Ann Arbor, Mich., he told me that 10 years ago, when he was 17, he first heard a bootleg version of Mr. Wilson's "Smile" album, which he studied for its complex vocal harmonies and shadings. (Recorded in 1966 and 1967 by the Beach Boys, which featured Mr. Wilson and his brothers Carl and Dennis, that "Smile" was never officially released, but Brian Wilson recorded a new version that was issued in 2004.) With a four-track tape recorder, the teenager made his own version of Mr. Wilson's composition "Child Is Father of the Man," building vocal harmonies by singing the four parts himself.
On "Clouded Staircase," some songs have 10 vocal parts, most sung by Mr. Dillon, that form a tight, textured and often captivating whole. Rich but uncluttered orchestral pop with reoccurring themes and a few tracks that are crafted of separate but complementary parts, the CD shows the influence of "Smile," especially on the Dillon composition "Camp-Fire" as voices dart and built over organ, chimes, bass and banjo. But the album's "Death to Bad Dreams/Black Parade" invokes the Beatles' harmonies, and "She Goes Through Phases" recalls Pink Floyd's............ 
[Starling Electric]
Starling Electric
Listen to song clips:
[Audio clips]
Bon Iver's album "For Emma, Forever Ago"
Brian Wilson's album "That Old Lucky Sun"
Fleet Foxes' self-titled album
Starling Electric's album "Clouded Staircase"
[Bon Iver]
Sarah Cass
Bon Iver
[Fleet Foxes]
David Belisle
Fleet Foxes


Video Of The Week

Blog Subjects

Our Blogger Templates Web Design

  © Blogger template Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP