Friday, March 24, 2023

Stunning lineup of five planets will decorate the night sky

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Credit Suisse rescue creates bank twice the size of the economy

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CNN12hToo big for Switzerland? Credit Suisse rescue creates bank twice the size of the economy

The last-minute rescue of Credit Suisse may have prevented the current banking crisis from exploding, but it’s a raw deal for ...

Here it is March 24th and it's snowing heavily in Portland Oregon?

My son woke me up to live stream a video of heavy snow coming down in Portland Oregon. He was amazed that snow was falling this late in the year there because it hardly ever snows there even in January or February (but March?). He said at that time this morning it wasn't sticking yet but I said to be careful driving in it whether it is sticking or not because of experiences I have had. It's sort of like driving in heavy hail where you feel like you are driving on little ball bearings sliding you all over the place. But, still, snowing in Portland on March 24th?

This is why you want both a pilot and a co-pilot who eat different things during the flight: and then you need another co-pilot if one gets sick

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Off-duty pilot on Southwest flight steps in to help after pilot suffers in-flight medical emergency

An off-duty pilot stepped in to help after a Southwest pilot became ill during a flight, the airline said.
CNN  — 

An off-duty pilot who was a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight stepped in to help the flight crew after one of the on-duty pilots had a medical emergency mid-flight.

The incident began not long after Flight 6013 to Columbus, Ohio, took off from Las Vegas Wednesday, Southwest Airlines said. One of the pilots “needed medical attention,” the airline said.


“A credentialed Pilot from another airline, who was on board, entered the Flight Deck and assisted with radio communication while our Southwest Pilot flew the aircraft,” said airline spokesperson Chris Perry. “We greatly appreciate their support and assistance.”

A nurse who was also on board helped care for the pilot, the airline said, without releasing further details on the pilot’s condition.

“The captain became incapacitated while enroute. He’s in the back of the aircraft right now with a flight attendant, but we need to get him on an ambulance immediately,” a member of the flight crew is heard saying in air traffic control audio from

“It’s standard procedure for our Flight Crews to request assistance from traveling medical personnel during in-flight medical events involving Customers, this situation just so happened to involve one of our Employees,” the airline said.

Data from the flight tracking site shows the plane was in the air for about 1 hour and 17 minutes. After safety returning to Las Vegas, a backup crew boarded and the flight continued to Columbus as planned, the airline said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident, it said.

CNN’s Brian Rokus contributed to this report.


didn't know what La Tur Cheese was before now. It's a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk.

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Murray's La Tur


From the great wine region of Piemonte comes Murray's La Tur: a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. Runny and oozing around the perimeter with a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste, its flavor is earthy and full, with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like a scoop of ice cream; decadent and melting from the outside in. Try a sparkling Asti Spumante – effervescence will whisk away the richness while matching the mild acidity. We recommend you get back-up; La Tur is always the first to go at a party.

Each piece of Murray's La Tur is approximately 1/2 lb. or 8 oz.

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Evidence of Cheese-Making to Circumvent Lactose Intolerance 6,000 Years Ago Found in Poland

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Evidence of Cheese-Making to Circumvent Lactose Intolerance 6,000 Years Ago Found in Poland

Azzedine Rouichi – Unsplash
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Evidence of Cheese-Making to Circumvent Lactose Intolerance 6,000 Years Ago Found in Poland


Analysis of neolithic pottery shards shows that in Northern Europe, where poor soils and low sunlight made primitive agriculture extremely difficult, people were making cheese in places like Poland potentially as far back as 9,000 years ago.

Examinations of perforated vessels not only found the presence of the dairy protein casein which suggests the creation of curd-enriched products from raw milk, but casein from cows, goats, and sheep, suggesting they were making a kind La Tur long before most other forms of modern food production ever reached the continent.

Common arguments for cutting out dairy products from the diet stem from the idea that we have only been consuming dairy for a few thousand years, and that no other mammal consumes lactose after infancy.

Rather than a few, new research points to dairy consumption from herd animals as far back as at least the sixth millennium BCE—or 8,000 years ago.

Researchers from the University of York point out that lactose intolerance would have been common in nearly all European populations at the time, but that the processing methods still used today to create yogurt, kefir, and cheese were being used to overcome this intolerance.

“Whilst previous research has shown that dairy products were widely available in some European regions during this period, here, for the first time, we have clear evidence for a diversified dairy herd, including cattle, sheep, and goats, from the analysis of ceramics,” said Dr. Harry Robson, from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York.

credit: Robson et al. Royal Society Open Publishing

Robson and his colleagues along with a team from the University of Krakow looked at a neolithic site in Poland called Sławęcinek, which shows activity from around 3,600 BCE.

Small numbers of vessels had a white mineral residue that when examined via proteomic and lipid analyses revealed evidence of dairying from cattle and caprids, probably both sheep and goats.

MORE STONE AGE NEWS: Ancient Cave Markings Finally Decoded By Amateur Scientist–A Calendar of When Animals Mated 20,000 Years Ago

“The dominance of caseins… could suggest that the residues formed on these vessels are the result of the presence of casein-rich curd products, rather than milk or whey products,” the authors write in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

“Cheese is composed primarily of curd proteins while the whey proteins and the majority of the lactose remain in the whey portion when the curds coagulate.”

MORE ANCIENT DIETS: Remains of Prehistoric BBQ Suggests Dinner was Served 780,000 Years Ago–600,000 Years Earlier than we Thought

This shows that the clever ancient Poles were managing to circumnavigate their own genetic lactose intolerance to add a sustainable and protein-rich food source to their diets.

Today, people who are lactose intolerant can still eat well-aged cheeses, owing to the removal of lactose both during the cheese-making and aging process, although they probably don’t realize this knowledge is as ancient as pottery.

SHARE This Neolithic Heritage With Your Cheese-Loving Friends… 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Spirit Mountain, Which is Sacred to Tribes, is Designated a New National Monument


Spirit Mountain, Which is Sacred to Tribes, is Designated a New National Monument

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Spirit Mountain summit area – credit Stan Shebs CC 3.0. SA

Last week President Biden continued the bipartisan executive tradition of conserving historic and scientifically significant lands by designating Spirit Mountain—Avi Kwa Ame, in Nevada as a National Monument.

Sacred to several Native American tribes, principally the people of the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, Spirit Mountain sits at the confluence of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts at the southernmost point of Nevada.

The designation covers 506,000 acres, one of the largest tracts of land to come under federal protection since Biden took office, and will conjoin with the existing Ireteba Peaks National Wilderness.

Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, herself a native of the Pueblo peoples, held roundtable talks with the Mohave and other tribes in September of last year to discuss the need to conserve the area.

The slopes and flatlands around Avi Kwa Ame are dotted with important sites dating to modern Indian times but also back as far as the neolithic period. Rock Shelters, petroglyphs, and sacred sites will all be sheltered under the National Monument designation.

Spirit Mountain – credit Stan Shebs CC 3.0. SA

“Avi Kwa Ame is the point of Mojave creation; it’s a very important and integral part of our history and belief system,” Ashley Hemmers, the tribal administrator for Fort Mojave, told CNN. “For us, that mountain is a living landscape; it’s like a person. If something were to happen to it, it would be like losing a loved one.”

MORE FROM THE PARKS SERVICE: Acres of Toxic Chemicals and Rusting Cars Becomes National Park After Amazing Transformation

Beyond the irreplaceable value of the landscape to the Mohave, Gila monster, desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and centuries-old Joshua trees are among the species that can be found on this diverse desert landscape.

The monument includes all of the Spirit Mountain, South McCullough, Wee Thump Joshua Tree, Nellis Wash, and Bridge Canyon. It borders Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Mojave Trails National Monument, Mojave National Preserve, and Castle Mountains National Monument thereby creating a much larger contiguously protected area of the Mojave Desert, and opens the door to an eventual conversion of the whole area, perhaps one day, to a National Park.

SHARE This Healing And Conservation With Your Friends…

Salvaging wood from all the fallen trees in Coastal California

Caltrans and other local agencies like Fire Departments after cutting up downed trees to keep roads open often leave those fallen trees in pieces. So, it's also traditional that anyone who wants this wood can get it and cut it into rounds or split it either there or at their homes for burning at a later date. Where I live most of the trees are either Pine or Cypress trees that have fallen and are between 1 foot and 4 to 5 feet in diameter. So, people often bring chain saws and cut these trees then into 1 to 2 foot wide rounds or even split it down to burnable wood either where they get the wood or where they are going to keep the wood before curing it before burning it. Right now the wood is wet and so people need to find a dry place for the wood to cure because it's mostly too wet still right now to burn in your wood stove or fireplace for heat. 

Sometimes if our wood shed was full we would dry wood under a tarp so it could dry out. You take a 12 foot by 12 foot or 24 foot by 24 foot tarp and then cover the wood you want to dry (or to just keep the rain or snow off of it) until you can move it into your wood shed so it can dry further. This was from when I lived in Mt. Shasta because heating with wood and gathering it yourself with a Forest Service permit was much cheaper than paying for any other kind of heating where it snows. So, a good wood stove (not just a fireplace) if you want to heat a small or middle sized house is best. I think when I did this a permit for a season (usually spring and summer or fall or longer) was only 15 dollars a season but now it is likely 25 to 50 dollars or something like that 30 years later. But, this is still much cheaper than paying for gas or electric heating to your home or business (especially if you live where it snows).

Make sure you take a few pieces of your wood to weight down the tarp in various places so the tarp doesn't just blow away in a good wind.

The biggest concern likely in the state is flooding if the snow melts too fast from warm rains

 I have seen the central Valleys Sacramento Valley which in the south is called the San Joaquin Valley)

Flooded out pretty good over the years. IN fact, it was touch and go one year in the Spring trying just to drive from Yosemite national Park where we were vacationing back to the Greater SF Bay area. Road after Road was flooded after we came down out of the mountains into the big Valley that runs about 400 miles from Redding to the Tehachapi mountains in Southern California. I think we ONLY found one way out of many to even return to the SF bay area that year that time. So, we were just considering getting a hotel when we found at least one way back on a highway then to the San Francisco Area on the coast.

Record snowpack, nearly full reservoirs: Here’s the state of California’s drought after an epic winter

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Record snowpack, nearly full reservoirs: Here’s the state of California’s drought after an epic winter

California snowpack, which serves as a natural reservoir that eases the drought, has largely reached all-time record high.
CNN  — 

California has faced an onslaught of powerful, atmospheric river storms this winter, which has led to record-breaking snowpack, nearly full reservoirs and overflowing watersheds.

At this time last year, all of California was caught in a drought. But according to the latest US Drought Monitor released Thursday morning, just over a third of California remains in some level of drought – the lowest amount since the drought began – with severe drought only covering 8% of the state.

For the last three years, the state has been in desperate need of some rain and snow. Just a month ago, more than 33 million people in California, including in the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, were facing an unrelenting drought. Years of unfavorable precipitation trends and more intense heat waves have fed directly to the state’s prolonged, historic megadrought that has triggered dire water shortages.


Now, that number has dropped dramatically, with 4.6 million people still facing drought conditions.

Snowpack, which serves as a natural reservoir that eases the drought, has largely reached an all-time record high. The state’s largest reservoirs, which were recently at critically low levels, have been replenished and are way past its historical averages. Groundwater reserves, however, are still having a hard time recovering, even with all the rain.

“The good news is that the wet winter has eased the drought significantly,” Jon Gottschalck, of the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said at a media briefing last week. “Drought is expected to improve further or go away completely across much of California.”

Here is where things stand in California after this epic winter.

Above the surface

Climate researchers have said it’s the lack of precipitation, higher temperatures and an increase in evaporative demand – also known as the “thirst of the atmosphere” – that had pushed the West’s drought into historic territory.

So these storms, experts say, were desperately needed. After at least 12 significant atmospheric river storms pummeled California since December, rainfall totals amounted to 150% to 200% of normal since October across most major cities.

Since October 1, the start of the water year, Los Angeles has received more than 24 inches of rain, which is nearly 200% of normal for the time period. In addition, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno have also all seen 150% to 200% of their normal rainfall since then.

High-elevation snowpack in the Sierra Nevada accounts for 30% of California’s fresh water supply in an average year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. After years of being at record lows, the state is seeing more than double what they normally see on April 1, when the state surveys the snowpack to forecast the year’s water resources.

California continues to be impacted by atmospheric river events that are pummeling the state with heavy rains, high winds and snow.

The Southern Sierra now stands at 283% of normal and has never been higher since official record-keeping began in the 1950s. The Central Sierra is at 231% of normal, which is almost at record high, and may reach that point soon after this most recent atmospheric river storm.

Meanwhile, the Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab near Tahoe reported Monday that it has received 677 inches of snow this winter, which is second only to the winter of 1952, when 812 inches fell.

The barrage of storms has also increased soil moisture, which is good for California’s severely parched vegetation. Moisture in plants help keep California wildfires at bay, and April 1 is usually the time of the year when the state has the highest fuel moisture content.

Brad Rippey, meteorologist with the US Department of Agriculture, said the acres of land that have been fallowed due to the drought should decrease in California for the 2023 growing season due to improved water allocations. Land for rice production in the Central Valley, for example, decreased from 517,000 acres in 2020 to 256,000 acres last year, according to the USDA.

But “those gains may be partially offset in areas where levee breaches caused extensive flooding,” Rippey said. “Severely flooded agricultural land, including areas along the Salinas and Pajaro Rivers, may not be planted in 2023 due to soil contamination, pathogenic testing or simply missing the appropriate window for planting.”

Nearly full reservoirs

This winter’s precipitation will undoubtedly help the state’s reservoirs in the short-term, which have for several years been running at critically low levels.

A vehicle submerges in flood waters in the Central Valley on March 22, 2023.

This record snowpack is good for reservoir storage since the snowpack stores water through the winter months and slowly releases it through the spring and summer melting season. The months of deluge have already helped raise the levels in the state’s largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, bringing them back to historical averages. The reservoirs have risen by more than 100 to 180 feet respectively since December.

Rippey said end-of-February storage in the state’s 154 primary intrastate reservoirs is effectively normal for the end of winter, “But storage does not yet include the amazing snowpack that will melt in coming months.”

According to the California Department of Water Resources, these reservoirs gained almost 10 million acre-feet of water from November 30, 2022, to February 28, 2023 – an improvement from 67% to 96% of normal and from 35% to 61% of capacity. And additional storage gains have occurred during March, especially after recent storms. (An acre-foot is the amount of water that would fill one acre a foot deep – roughly 326,000 gallons.)

“We’re up approximately 7.5 million acre feet in California storage since last year at this time, so already a significant gain in water supply and this snowpack is going to benefit those reservoirs, as opposed to melt in the spring,” said Brett Whitin, a hydrologist with the California Nevada River Forecast Center. “But it will be a challenge to manage all this snowpack. I mean, there’s been record snow and a lot of these rivers have limited channel capacity downstream, so getting that water out safely is going to be a challenge.”

But overall, Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist at the Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, previously told CNN that he is “cautiously optimistic” that all this snow will go far to alleviate the state’s reservoir concerns this year.

While the rain has largely benefited California, the situation in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin remains dire: The country’s largest reservoirs – Lake Powell and Lake Mead – are hovering at or near record-low levels following several years of drought and continued overuse. But it could also improve in the coming months as snowpack levels rise in the region.

“It’s definitely moving in the right direction, but we’re far from filling the reservoirs in the Colorado River system and we’re far from being at a comfortable point from a water supply perspective,” Paul Miller, a hydrologist at the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, told journalists last week.

Groundwater reserves

As the cocktail of rain and snow raise snowpack and reservoir levels, experts remain concerned about the state’s groundwater aquifers, which is another major source of water for residents, agriculture and industry, particularly in the Central Valley.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the University of California in Los Angeles, previously told CNN that even with a huge winter like this, it won’t ultimately solve the groundwater problem. That’s partly because they expect drought conditions to return as the West’s climate changes, but also because there’s just too much demand on the system.

“This is not nearly enough, partly because it’s a supply and demand problem. We still got a lot of straws in the ground,” Swain said. “But you’d need multiple years like this in a row to really move the needle on recharging those aquifers.”

There are nearly 200 groundwater monitoring sites in California, according to data from the US Geological Survey, all of which show a variety of conditions from complete recovery to partial recovery of groundwater reserves.

“Complications in some areas include decades of over-pumping of groundwater, leading to land subsidence and decreased groundwater storage capability – you can see a couple of low well readings in the San Joaquin Valley,” Rippey told CNN. “More realistically, there is a bit of lingering ‘groundwater drought’ in northeastern and southeastern California.”

Experts have also been thinking about how California could harness all of the rainfall to help replenish groundwater. And they say the best thing to do would be to let the land flood in a controlled way, so it has a chance to absorb into the aquifers, instead of being channeled through levees, rivers and reservoirs and ultimately lost.

“We have to let our rivers flow differently, and let the rivers flood a little more and recharge our groundwater in wet seasons,” Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and co-founder of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, previously told CNN. “Instead of thinking we can control all floods, we have to learn to live with them.”

What’s ahead?

Gottschalck, of the Climate Prediction Center, said the Western spigot of rain and snow will likely turn off come April.

“Our model forecast information that we have and the other climate indicators that we’re looking at, it does look like that will probably shut off as we go into our early part of April,” Gottschalck said. “And at that point, normal climatological precipitation, for much of California, goes toward zero quite quickly, so we do think there will be a break.”

Water officials in California say that while the record-high snowpack and nearly full reservoirs are good news for the state, snow measurements on April 1 are considered the most important when it comes to forecasting the year’s water resources as well as the state of the drought.