That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
Yep, you've got that right. The Hotel America, O & O by a Chinese corporation. I tell people to look for the 'Coca-Cola' sign. Makes sense, right?
No complaints here - it's right near the fabled south end of the airport, the City Mall, and every fast-food store you can imagine (and some you can't). Fifty bucks per night for a king bed, 90-channel cable TV, A/C, free breakfast, furnishings right out of Mad Men, hot water, and flawless WiFi provided by the Chinese Army.
I am kidding about that last statement. I Googled 'China sucks' and a bunch of sites came up.
"Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men's clothes." - Chinese proverb
"Nothing is so fatal to the progress of the human mind as to suppose that our views of science are ultimate; that there are no mysteries in nature; that our triumphs are complete, and that there are no new worlds to conquer." - Sir Humphry Davy (17 December 1778 – 29 May 1829) (thanks to Jerry Sehlke)
Okay, not really.Toncontín International Airport(TGU) has shed its retro bus station look for a
beautiful new terminal building. It is still one of the world's most dangerous airports: it sits in the middle of the city, has a relatively short runway by international standards, and is surrounded by mountains. Not conducive to confidence when you are landing, that's for sure!
But part of an 'annoying' hillside has been removed and the runway is longer. Plus a road that skirted one end of the runway has been closed. There used to be a stoplight there for vehicles when planes were landing or departing (see this video and related ones). Oh, by the way, the other end of the runway ends abruptly at an embankment that slopes down into the city.
I have landed there 4 or 5 times. Each time, the passengers (myself included) broke out in spontaneous applause upon hitting the runway and hearing the squeal of the brakes. A set of tires probably lasted a couple of landings.
I have heard that gringo pilots - United (former Continental flight from Houston), Delta (Atlanta), and American (Miami) fly there - like to fly high then make a steep descent, whereas the more confident Central American pilots (mainly from TACA, the El Salvador airline) will fly lower, hugging the topography. But oddly enough it was the crash of a TACA flight on 30 May 2008 that prompted the closure of the airport to international flights for a month or so and some improvements in safety.
One of my funniest (but not at the time) experiences regarding TGU occurred in the USA. My wife and I were having three undergraduate students over for dinner on the eve of our flight (the students and me) to TGU. At dinner, Mary Frances nonchalantly mentioned, 'Oh, and I'm sure Michael's told you that you're flying into the world's second most dangerous airport, hasn't he?' The looks on their faces told her that she had said the wrong thing. So much for trust...
But we made it, and flying into TGU was far safer than my driving a 4WD Toyota pickup in Tegucigalpa and southern Honduras!
"There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror." - Orson Welles
Near North Falmouth. I thought I saw some lead ingots stacked near the barn.
Coonamessett Pond near North Falmouth, MA.
"Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts: the shoulder is at
Buzzard's Bay; the elbow, or crazy-bone, at Cape Mallebarre; the wrist at Truro; and the sandy fist at Provincetown, — behind which the State stands on her guard, with her back to the Green Mountains, and her feet planted on the floor of the ocean, like an athlete protecting her Bay, — boxing with northeast storms, and, ever and anon, heaving up her Atlantic adversary from the lap of earth, — ready to thrust forward her other fist, which keeps guard the while upon her breast at Cape Ann." - Henry David Thoreau
The North Korean leaders are terribly misunderstood. They are not warmongers, nor are they anti-social. The reason they keep to themselves and are so cranky and belligerent is simple: they are terribly self-conscious because they have really bad haircuts.
Yes, take a look at Kim Jong-il, the departed Dear Leader. Would you have gone out much if you had had his haircut? Would you have been a benevolent, generous leader when you knew your own people were secretly laughing uncontrollably at the mere thought of your hair? You'd also have a huge internal security apparatus and prisons everywhere. And could you present a serious proposal to world leaders when you looked like you were sporting a bad fright wig? You'd be cranky, too!
But this is not their fault; a few years ago it was discovered that North Koreans lack the gene that enables a person to give good haircuts to men. You remember one of my Vienna Reports (go back and readVienna Report 7 now) in which I described my encounter with Azerbaijan's Minister of the Interior, who had a really bad haircut. Turns out that Azerbaijan barbers were trained in North Korea!
Realizing that Mother Nature had dealt them a bad hand, the North Koreans recently asked the Japanese if they could borrow a few thousand barbers. But the Japanese are understandably reluctant to do so because the last time the North Koreans "borrowed" some Japanese, they forgot to return them for about 30 years. And when they did, they
had bad haircuts!
As for Kim Jung-un...well maybe some improvement is in the offing. He's still a young-un, and he did go to school in Switzerland.
Let's send him some Italian barbers.
"Don't I look like a midget's turd?" - Kim Jong-il to a kidnapped South Korean actress (alleged)
(being a semi-truthful account of my travel adventures, designed to amuse, befuddle, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
Kazakhstan. The name conjures images of Mongol horsemen sweeping across the steppes. The Silk Road. Majestic mountains. Silos brimming with Soviet nuclear-tipped missiles. The movie Air Force One. Borat. But University of New Mexico professors? Yes, in our never-ending search for contracts, grants, and indirect cost return, several of my colleagues (Tim Ward, Bruce Thomson, and Greg Gleason – none of whom had anything to do with this report) and I are working with the Eurasian National University (ENU) in the capital city of Astana to help faculty there develop a Master of Science degree in Environmental Management and Engineering. Bruce (a civil engineer), Greg (a political scientist) and I just returned
from a visit from there and have much to report, some of it actually true.
Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic, which found itself thrust into independence in late 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up. It also found itself, along with Ukraine and Belarus, a major nuclear power overnight, as the Soviets kept a lot of their missile silos there (better Kazakhstan get nuked, right?). Wisely wishing to avoid the infamous “WMD/Axis of Evil” tag, Kazakhstan, with our blessing and to our relief, decided to dismantle the nukes. When asked by Congress if all of them were gone, George Tenet, then CIA Director, enthusiastically uttered words that would return to haunt him: “Yep. It’s a slam dunk!” Kazakhstan faced an immediate crisis, however – what to do with hundreds of empty missile silos. Ingenuity quickly surfaced, and the silos are now used for landfills and for “retraining” political prisoners. It is said that spending a couple of cold, dark months in the bowels (remember that word) of a silo has a way making people “see the light”. But enough about Kazakhstan already.
I had to fly the Kazakhstan national airline, Air Astana, from Almaty to Astana after taking KLM from Amsterdam. I was ready to trash Air Astana, figuring it was like the Chinese domestic airlines (flying those wonderful old Russian TU-154s) or Airzena, the Georgian national airline, which flies planes (2, actually) the likes of which I’d never seen before. But Air Astana was a treat – new 757s, free newspapers, attentive flight attendants (I knew I was not in the USA), on-time departures/arrivals, no scimitars allowed, etc. Air Astana is owned by the government and the UK firm BAE, and recently brought in a Brit, Sir Hugh Jeego, with 35 years of BA experience, to be its President.
Astana has been the capital since 1998. The president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, decided to move the capital from Almaty, the major city and financial and cultural center, to Astana, which was in the country’s interior, on the steppes. By contrast, Almaty, with its beautiful tree-lined streets, was located in the south, near other countries, and framed by the gorgeous Tian Shan Mountains. So how do Astana and Almaty compare? Think Brasilia vs. Rio de Janeiro; Albany vs. New York City, Sacramento vs. Fresno, Cheyenne vs. Laramie. In other words, no comparison. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
President Nazarbayev, who bears a resemblance to Tom Ridge, is the former Communist party chief who miraculously became a democrat (that’s with a small “d” – a very small“d”) overnight. But he doesn’t appear to meddle, acting more like a father-figure (remember Ward Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver?) and stepping in when the “children” get a bit unruly. He apparently takes this father-figure business seriously, as the new board chair of Air Astana, an attractive young woman, is rumored to have a son who looks like Mr. Nazarbayev (or Tom Ridge, if you catch my drift).
I had been warned about Kazakhstan’s national dish: horse-bowel sausage with noodles. I managed to avoid it until two days before departing, when we had a sumptuous lunch in the Rector’s (that’s rector, folks) office. Towards the end of lunch I was breathing a sigh of relief, when the door flew open and the University’s Research Director brought in a steaming plate of the morsels. My first thought? Finally – a good use for a university research director – waiter. My second thought? Unprintable. But actually the stuff wasn’t bad, and I would not have known it was horsemeat (it was, right???) had I not been told.
Since the Rector had us around, he decided to show us off and invited us to a conference ENU was hosting the next day. We could not decline, although it sounded like a psychobabble-type meeting dealing with anomie, dysfunction, isolation, etc. The keynote talk was something like Grieving Towards Healing or some such. We thought of a couple of talks we could give, providing a vantage point from our professions. How about Extreme Social Isolation: The Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, or The Loneliness of the Stream Gauger; or A Modern Societal Dilemma: Why Sanitary Engineers Are Civil But Civil Engineers Are Not Sanitary.
Let’s get serious for a moment. Remember every so often you’ll hear of an incoming international flight diverted to some place like Bangor, Maine, because a suspected terrorist is on board? This happened last year to Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), when the DHS realized he had not written a decent song since Here Comes My Baby in the late 1960s and wisely put him on its “no-fly” list. So why was he allowed to board the plane at Heathrow? Because the airlines do not have to check passenger lists against the no-fly list until the plane has departed. I am not prevaricating here, folks. Do you believe this? In fact, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has pressured DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to change this. Chertoff said he would address this as soon as he finished listening to Tea for the Tillerman backwards, a record reputed to contain encoded terrorist messages. One Chertoff admonition: don’t play Shirley Ellis’ The Name Game with Schumer’s first name.
Traveling overseas is usually enjoyable. Lately I have taken to wearing my IAEA logo T- shirts, which gets me lots of airline upgrades and approving nods from the Euros. The IAEA still has cachet, and as long as I don’t tell people what the IAEA really does in Vienna I’m okay. I would not wear such a shirt to Iran and thought better of wearing it to Kazakhstan. I used to wear National Geographic shirts, given to me in quantity by my late younger sister Ann. I always thought that doing so would have some benefit till Ann told me that she never wore them, especially on certain foreign airlines, because some of the NG photographers had really bad reputations as prima donnas (“What? No chilled Tanqueray gin?”, “Pretentious? Moi?”). But then again, I don’t fly the kinds of airlines she did, which had names like Aeromuerto (Paraguay).
No doubt you are all as relieved as I to learn that we are no longer fighting a Global War On Terror, but a Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. No more GWOT; it’s GSAVE from now on. I feel so much safer!
With that, it is time to go. Till next time.
"You can train a puppy and it will later bite you in the calf; you can train a blind man how to shoot a gun and he will later kill you." - Kazakh proverb
"Kazakhstan is the greatest country in the world; all other countries are run by little girls." - Borat
So much for sequestration; some people are more concerned with a 'fiscal sinkhole'. Like those in Florida, for instance.
But seriously - I know who can save us - the Mighty Quinn! I first met him in the late 1960s and knew him as someone who could always get the tough jobs done.
If you think I've taken leave of my senses, just read this tale of his exploits. Like the song says, just tell me where to put him and I'll tell you who to call.
Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Everybody's building ships and boats Some are building monuments, others are jotting down notes Everybody's in despair, every girl and boy But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here Everybody's gonna jump for joy
Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet But jumping queues and makin' haste, just ain't my cup of meat Everyone's beneath the trees, feedin' pigeons on a limb But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here All the pigeons gonna run to him Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Let me do what I wanna do, I can't decide 'em all Just tell me where to put 'em and I'll tell you who to call Nobody can get no sleep, there's someone on everyone's toes But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here Everybody's gonna wanna doze
Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn Come all without, come all within You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn --The Mighty Quinn, by Bob Dylan
Only $2! Recall that Carlin died almost 5 years ago.
"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.' ” - George Carlin
I’m allergic to cats—even pictures of cats make me wheeze. But I like the expression “herding cats” to describe organizing uncoöperative characters, and it’s also a nice metaphor for this President dealing with this particular Congress over the so-called fiscal cliff (among other things). So I took one for the team.
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." - Garrison Keillor
FromHuffington Post. George Clooney is partnering with Randy Gerber, Cindy Crawford's husband, to launch a new product, Casamigos Tequila. This ad features the three of them, plus Clooney's girlfriend du jour, Stacy Keibler, in various bedroom scenes. Casamigos, all right; I guess this is what happens when they all sit around drinking the stuff.
I'm supposed to be intrigued enough by all this to purchase the some tequila. I will pass; I've been off straight tequila for around thirty years after a bad experience, although I will have a margarita.
"Take another shot of courage Wonder why the right words never come You just get numb It's another tequila sunrise,this old world still looks the same, Another frame." -- Tequila Sunrise, written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey
"Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China? Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China and spend it on all these various different interest groups?"-- Paul Ryan
"We can’t expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their companies’ money and invest in America if they think we’re headed to the road to Greece. And that’s where we’re going right now unless we finally get off this spending and borrowing binge." - Mitt Romney
Love this cover from the 28 December 2012 - 4 January 2013 issue of The Week:
So who are these people?
Susan Rice is looking over the cliff; Gov. Chris Christie is hugging President Obama, who has just pushed Mitt Romney over the cliff; Gen. David Petraeus is hanging onto the branch; Hillary Clinton is greeting Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma/Mynamar; Kim Jong Un and Psy are in the back doing it 'Gangnam Style'; and Clint Eastwood is kicking the chair.
"Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get." - George Bernard Shaw (from the issue)
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.