Goodbye rain, hello JPL

NASA's Earth Observatory captured this image of a large storm over the California coast on January 20th, 2010. This Friday and Saturday, March 26-27, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge will be hosting two Climate Days in which scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will explain to classes and members of the general public the effect of greenhouse gases and clouds on climate, the difference between weather and climate, the role of the ocean in global warming and how scientists study Earth's climate from space. Attendees may participate in hands-on activities, view exhibits, demonstrations, student presentations, play Climate Jeopardy and other games, and get information on careers and resources for teachers and community members. Click on the Pacific storm for more information.

The meteorologist/blogger Bad Mom, Good Mom recently copied me in on a query to Jet Propulsion Laboratory oceanographer Bill Patzert: “It

Image of the Day: Purple haze

“Fifty Year Bloom, Near and Far," Peace Valley, Gorman, California. Photo: Rob Badger

“Where the Wild Things Grow” opens today at the G2 Gallery in Venice, California and runs through May 2nd. Photographers contributing to the group show include Rob Badger, who took the photo above, Edis Jurcys, Randy Redekopp and Nita Winter.

End of days

Today is “World Water Day.” Yippee. Yikes. Whatever. It would be hypocritical of me not to confess to using the occasional chronological gimmick to further pet causes (highlighting March as “Red Cross month” on this site after the Chilean earthquake is a recent example.) But, as a rule, this kind of thing confuses me. Who in their right mind thought, “Hey, we’re wrecking the world. I’ve got an idea! Let’s name a special day (week, year).”

Climate Week didn’t stop the Chinese from upending Copenhagen talks. Forty years of “Earth Day” did nothing to stop the generation that first celebrated it from popularizing the SUV. World Water Day has a hilariously well hydrated-looking Nestle executive in the news.

As we parse the mess we make, dare we conclude that special days are so last century, that while the event-ification of creeping disaster keeps a

The Dry Garden: What’s that bug?

Pterotus obscuripennis. Source: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Click on the telltale feathery antennae to be taken to the museum's Beetle Project.

Three things happen when you plant a garden. You meet your neighbors, who stop to chat. You meet their kids, who hang out. And you meet the bugs that the kids find. The ability to identify the bugs ensures you heroic status in the eyes of children. Failure to identify them is a crashing experience not to be wished upon one’s worst enemy.

Click here to keep reading the Dry Garden column in the Los Angeles Times as Cal State Northridge entomologist James N. Hogue gives tips on identifying bugs for kids.

Hogue is co-author with Arthur V. Evans of  “Field Guide to Beetles of California.” Click here to find out about Hogue’s April 3 class “Insects and Native Plant Gardens”  at the Theodore

Stop press: Fish need water

As reported last night by McClatchy Newspapers, and today by everyone, a scientific panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to review controversial federal protections for endangered California coastal fish has concluded that fish need water.

Or, in newspeak, the panel has reported that assessments by federal scientists that led to reductions of water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta for Central Valley farms and Southern Californian cities were “scientifically justified.”

The protections for Delta Smelt, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout and Green Sturgeon recommended in 2008 and 2009 by biologists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries division were put to the academy panel for scrutiny last year at the behest of members of the powerful California congressional delegation. Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the delegates who demanded the review repeatedly suggested that the federal scientists had over-emphasized

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