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
It's Russian here in Oregon. Never would have guessed that. I am also surprised at French in some places: the Carolinas, West Virginia. I know that Germans comprise the largest group of European immigrants to the USA but the frequency of German - 16 of the states - was unexpected.
I stumbled upon (euphemism for 'displacement behavior') something I wrote in my last Vienna Reportin May 2003. I was in Vienna for a committee meeting at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the United Nations complex. The comments by an IAEADeputy Director General were quite fascinating, even in 2014. The emboldened remarks were added by me for this post.
At a reception for our committee in the UN's restaurant one of the Agency's DDGs (Deputy Director-General) made an appearance among hoi polloi, and promptly launched into a lament about his new E-series Mercedes, which wasn't as good as his 5-series BMW, but cost more. Just as we were done commiserating with his misfortune, he launched into his analysis of why the world has been turned upside down, and we soon realized why this guy was a DDG and we were not. "A white man [Eminem]is the world's best rapper. A black man [Tiger Woods] is the world's best golfer. The Germans don't want war. The Italians want fiscal responsibility. The Poles ask the Germans to "contribute" to their military mission. The French think the Americans are arrogant." We all thought of a few things we could add ("Starbucks is in Vienna, across from the Hotel Sacher") but a forthright colleague said it best: "And an IAEA DDG buys a round of drinks." The DDG left after that, saying that he had to get his E-series from the shop.
To conclude, I'le tell you news that's right, Christmas was kil'd at Naseby fight: Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine, Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie, Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found. Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down. - Last verse,The World Turned Upside Down
(being a semi-fictional account of my sabbatical adventures, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
21 August 2002
It's a beautiful day in Vienna drizzly and about 65. Most everyone else is complaining, but not I. They don't understand.
I landed here on 16 August, and as we touched down, the sun broke through (it had been raining for about eight days). The flight on Austrian Airlines (motto: "Like a smile in the sky - but don't push it.") from Dulles was uneventful and up to their usual high standards (seriously). As I went through immigration, I commented on the glorious sunshine to the inspector. He looked at me forlornly and replied "Yes, but it is still raining in my heart." I decided to pass on that one and departed his desk quickly. Willkommen!
Vienna avoided much damage from the recent floods. When I landed, I saw little standing water. There was some flooding, but a floodway built on the Danube by the city over 40 years ago sent most of the flood wave downstream to Budapest (which fared better than expected). Prague, on the Vltava, and Dresden, on the Elbe, were hit quite hard. The damage in Dresden may set back the Germans' efforts to rebuild the once-beautiful city, famous for its Baroque architecture. The Allies destroyed Dresden in 1945 for no good reason, except to test a theory about the sustainability of bombing-induced firestorms. (For some reason, I'm reminded of Paul Rodriguez's line: "War is God's way of teaching us geography.")
I have been at work (so to speak) since 19 August, ensconced in the offices of the Isotope Hydrology Section of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a semi-autonomous division of the UN (all of whose divisions are semi-autonomous). I checked in with the HR folks that morning and after I introduced myself, the first thing the HR czarina said to me was "You're a week late" - for some reason, she had me down as starting on 12 August. I replied "Hello to you, too, and when I'm donating my time, I can be a week late." Having dispensed with the pleasantries, I was soon dispatched to the badge office to get photographed. The pass people were very nice (Gary Larson cartoons all over the place) and within a few minutes I was badged and ready to go. I asked one of the security guards what kind of access the badge gave me, and he smiled, saying "You have the same privileges as Kofi Annan", at which point I asked him to carry my bag. His well-developed Austrian sense of humor quickly dissipated. Seriously, though, I have 24/7 access to all buildings (I am not sure "sabbatical" translates well into German).
I was a little surprised by the security at the main gate. I have not been here since 9/11, but things have not changed - no metal detectors, for one thing.
I was then advised to go to the Commissary to get on the access list, which seemed to be rather important. The Commissary is in the basement (so visitors can't see what a great deal we have) and is a place where UN employees (or hangers-on, like me) can buy duty-free and tax-free food and other things. So now I can buy cheap cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, etc., but I have sworn not to purchase these for any use but my personal use. So don't ask. No chocolate for you!
I am on the 23rd floor of the Vienna International Centre, overlooking the Danube and the city. The Section has but eight full-time professional staff, so it's a cozy group - mostly isotope geochemists, but still okay.
We had a staff meeting yesterday, and it reminded me of an E&PS faculty meeting: meticulous adherence to the agenda, no extraneous conversation or wisecracks from those in the back. The fellow who runs the isotope lab asked me if I was interested in tritium-helium dating, and I responded that I thought it was against the law. Again, so much for humor.
The Section wants me to work on their ground water sustainability project, which is fine with me. They thought my superb background was tailor-made for it, and besides, the only fellow who was working on it left last spring. I immediately thought of posing David Brookshire's question "Which of the 25 definitions of 'sustainability' are you using?" but decided that would destroy the moment, leaving me with either nothing to do or 25 things to do.
The IAEA does a lot of neat things: research, establishment of analytical standards, nuclear facilities inspections, documentation of nuclear/radioactive incidents (they have a heartwarming series 'The Radiological Accident at ______'), etc. One task they are doing that is of great interest to me is a search for two lost nuclear power plants (little ones - port-a-nukes) in the Republic of Georgia. Since I am about to start work there, I am anxious that these things be found. They have streaming videos of the search on their WWW site. The guys don't look happy.
I am living in a hotel about a 25-minute walk from the VIC, in a hotel by the Prater, a huge park in the eastern part of the city. The Prater has an impressive amusement park, dominated by the Riesenrad, a gargantuan (greater than 200 feet in diameter) Ferris wheel built in the 1890s by a British engineer. If you saw the film "The Third Man", the Riesenrad was the only thing in the film larger than Orson Welles would eventually become. (Seriously, that film, like Graham Greene's novel, gives a stark picture of what Vienna was like right after World War II -- not a pretty sight at all.)
The housing office at the VIC is great -- they have given me some leads and I start visiting places tomorrow. If this doesn't provide me with fodder for future stories, I'm going home.
I have to go now - it is time for a "torte break" (required by law). Auf wiedersehen!
(being a semi-truthful account of my travels, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
3 August 2004
I am now aboard (a bored?) one of Delta’s jets hurtling through the night sky en route from Cincinnati – er, I mean Northern Kentucky - to Albuquerque. I am returning from Myrtle Beach, SC, where I attended, for the fourth year, the South Atlantic Well Drillers’ Jubilee, an event that annually draws thousands of well drillers and their families, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and hangers-on like me, to lovely Myrtle Beach, the jewel of the Carolinas. In some ways, Myrtle Beach reminds me of Las Vegas, the jewel of Clark County, NV, but there are five fundamental differences between the two. Myrtle Beach has: 1) a beach, as implied by its name; 2) lots more golf courses (over 100); 3) no casino gambling (ooops - I mean gaming); 4) air service by the notorious Hooters Air; and 5) much less class than Las Vegas. Despite this latter shortcoming, it is still a great place for vacations, and capitalizes on its family-friendly atmosphere.
A brief aside about Hooters Air. It is owned by the same corporation that owns the restaurants and features female flight attendants outfitted in the same manner as their “sisters” who wait tables. Hooters Air runs golf junkets from Atlanta. They also run them from Gary, IN, but no one in Gary can afford to golf so the planes are mostly full of gawkers. Other airlines have cried “Foul!”, claiming that Hooters Air’s skimpy fares are loss leaders and that the deck is stacked against any competitors. Dewey Cheatam, CEO of Delta, Hooters Air’s biggest competitor out of Atlanta, was quoted as saying, “We know that Hooters is cheating. They have a well-endowed “slush” fund and can afford to undercut us. They have a leg up on all the other airlines. Hooters drives us crazy!” Hooters spokeswoman Ima Skank commented: “Delta? They’re boobs.” The FAA is said to be scrutinizing Hooters closely and promised to keep other airlines abreast of its findings.
After reading the aforementioned paragraph there should be no doubt in your mind that I am a proud graduate of the Catholic elementary and secondary school systems. I am honored to number among my fellow high-schoolmates former Senator Al D’Amato (currently on work-release, serving as ethicist-in-residence at UNLV), Bill “No Spin” O’Reilly, Louis “Call me Lou” Gerstner (former IBM CEO), and Glenn “YMCA” Hughes, the original biker guy in the Village People. Guess which one of the above avoids our high-school reunions? Guess which one we wish would not show up?
So back to the Jubilee. You can tell something about it when you realize that Calvin Falwell, Reverend Jerry Falwell’s first cousin, was one of the movers-and-shakers in the organization. Calvin gained fame by distributing Bibles with each successful well he drilled. He believed that Satan was responsible for poor well yields, so he would bring in cousin Jerry to perform an exorcism. The duo became quite well-known throughout southern Virginia. Get your water, and religion, too.
On the flight from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati I sat next to a German fellow who vaguely resembled Gert Frobe, the actor who portrayed James Bond’s nemesis Goldfinger in the movie of the same name. We struck up a conversation, and I learned that Ulrich was an executive with BMW in Munich who had come to SC to check out the BMW assembly plant in the Greenville-Spartanburg area farther north. He had taken a short golf vacation in Myrtle Beach before heading back home. Now, for those of you who own BMWs and believe that they were painstakingly crafted by meticulous German assembly-line workers named Klaus, Hans and Dieter – surprise! They may have been assembled by Bubba, Goober and Gomer in SC (you can tell by looking for tell-tale tobacco stains). Hey, but now they are cheaper (Mercedes owners – don’t snicker; your “German” car may have been built in Alabama). But I digress. Anyway, Ulrich was curious as to what I thought of Ahhhnold the Governator. I told him that I didn’t know that much about him but that he seemed to be doing a half-decent job, except for calling legislators “girlie-men” the other day. I asked Ulrich what he thought of South Carolina and he replied that it would be good to get home.
Cincinnati’s a neat town, although they did get confused and built their airport in Kentucky. It suffers from the “Philadelphia complex” – so overshadowed by the vibrancy of an adjacent city – usually across a river – that it pales in comparison. In Cincinnati’s case, it’s Covington, KY. In Philadelphia’s case, it’s Camden, NJ.
Speaking of the great state of South Carolina, I think I should enlighten you about it. The state has a proud past, its residents having started the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) by firing upon Fort Sumter. It has had memorable politicians, such as John C. Calhoun, Preston “Bully” Brooks, Mendel Rivers, Fritz Hollings, J. Fred Muggs, and Strom Thurmond, whose embalmed body lies in a glass case in the capitol in Columbia. The quote on the pedestal reads “Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time.” Few people realize that ol’ Strom actually died three years before he left the Senate. His staff, inspired by the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, decided to “keep the dream alive” (and their cushy jobs intact) till his term ended. No one noticed until Strom introduced some fairly significant legislation – giving African-Americans voting rights - which was totally out of character. And a recent SC governor gained infamy by being caught in a compromising position on his desk with a female staffer. The governor muddled through the rest of his term, but the staffer resigned quickly. Newspaper headlines noted her resignation with lines like “She had served ably under the governor for many years” or “Governor’s aide was always on top of things.” Charleston is perhaps the best-known of all SC cities. A recent downtown renovation has rejuvenated Gallows Square, which for many years, was the source of entertainment for Charlestonians, especially those of the upper class. Each Sunday (except for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day), residents would gather in their finery, attended to by servants, to watch “uppity people” get “taught a lesson” from local law-enforcement officials. Charleston is far more sensitive now, and that barbaric ceremony, discontinued in 1978, has now given way to re-enactors who celebrate the good ol’ days on the third Sunday of each month. Charleston’s residents are quite boastful and prone to exaggeration. As an example, they note that their fair city is bounded by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, which join to form the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, like the residents of Honolulu, Santa Fe and San Francisco, Charlestonians suffer from the disease known in medical circles as terminal pretension.
I could not end this without a few SC jokes. Q: What’s the best thing to come out of South Carolina? A: Interstate 95. Q: What’s the next best thing? A: Interstate 85. Q: What is the difference between Mississippi and South Carolina? A: At least Mississippi tries. Q: What do you have when you have three South Carolinians in a room? A: A full set of teeth. And finally, there is the state motto:
Honduras, a Central American nation of 7.9 million people, has had close
ties with the United States over many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on anti-drug efforts today. Trade and investment linkages are also long-standing, and have grown
stronger in recent years through the implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Migration is another central concern in bilateral relations; over 702,000 Hispanics of Honduran origin live in the United States—nearly two-thirds of whom are foreign born. Although the U.S.-Honduras relationship was somewhat strained as a result of the 2009 political crisis in Honduras, close cooperation quickly resumed in 2010. Since then, broad U.S. policy goals in Honduras have included a strengthened democracy with an effective justice system that protects human rights and enforces the rule of law, and the promotion of sustainable economic growth with a more open economy and improved living conditions.
Porfirio Lobo, who was inaugurated president of Honduras in January 2010, is now in the final six months of his term. Lobo assumed power after seven months of domestic political crisis and international isolation that had resulted from the June 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. While the strength of Lobo’s conservative National Party in the legislature has enabled his administration to pass much of its policy agenda, Lobo has had limited success in resolving the many challenges facing Honduras. His efforts to lead the country out of political crisis, for example, have helped Honduras secure international recognition but have done little to rebuild confidence in the country’s political system. Lobo is constitutionally ineligible for another term, and presidential, legislative, and municipal elections are scheduled for November 24, 2013. Several new parties have been established to contest the elections and early polling suggests that Honduras’ traditional two-party system is fracturing.
Security and Human Rights
The poor security and human rights situation in Honduras has continued to
deteriorate under President Lobo. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and common crime remains widespread. Moreover, human rights abuses—which increased significantly in the aftermath of Zelaya’s ouster—have persisted. A number of inter-related factors have likely contributed to this situation, including the increasing presence of organized crime, weak government institutions, and widespread corruption. Although the Honduran government has adopted a number of policy reforms designed to address these challenges, conditions have yet to improve.
President Lobo also inherited a weak economy with high levels of poverty and inequality. Honduras suffered an economic contraction of 2.4% in 2009 as a result of the combined impact of the global financial crisis and domestic political crisis. Although the economy has partially recovered, with estimated growth of 3.3% in 2012, the Honduran government continues to face serious fiscal challenges. The central government’s deficit has been growing in recent years. As it has struggled to obtain financing for the budget, public employees and contractors occasionally have gone unpaid and basic government services have been interrupted. Honduras also continues to face significant social disparities, with over two-thirds of the population living in poverty.
Members of Congress have expressed considerable interest in Honduras since the 2009 political crisis, focusing in particular on the state of the country’s democratic institutions as well as the significant security and human rights challenges that have plagued the country in recent years. These issues have continued to attract interest in the 113th Congress. Members of both houses have sent letters to the State Department expressing concerns about human rights abuses, and Congress chose to maintain human rights restrictions on aid to Honduras in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-6).
This report examines current conditions in Honduras as well as issues in U.S-Honduras relations.
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
(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
United was certainly promoting the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as the greatest thing since the Lockheed Electra- ooops - check that - sliced bread. As I'd sit back in my economy-plus seat awaiting the safety video, Jeff 'Slick' Smisek, dapper CEO of United Airlines, would appear and start yammering about the amazing 787. He would be followed by 'regular people', a chorus line of smarmy UA employees trumpeting the features of the all-plastic...I mean carbon-fiber...airliner.
I suspect those ads have been pulled and I'm sure flyers are now checking what type of plane they will be flying before buying a ticket. After all those delays, it seems like the Dreamliner acquired a flaw that those of us with laptop computers worried about a few years ago: lithium-ion batteries and their proclivity to spontaneously combust.
No worries, right? Boeing can fix that problem, just like they did with the engines of the 747. All new planes have 'teething problems', right? Well, yeah, but not like this.
In the current (4 February) issue of The New Yorker, James Surowiecki explains it all in his article,'Requiem for a Dreamliner?'. In it, he describes Boeing's plan to save money by outsourcing to a degree they never had before:
Under these conditions, getting the company to commit to a major project
like the Dreamliner took some doing. “Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane,” Aboulafia says. So the Dreamliner’s advocates came up with a development strategy that was supposed to be cheaper and quicker than the traditional approach: outsourcing. And Boeing didn’t outsource just the manufacturing of parts; it turned over the design, the engineering, and the manufacture of entire sections of the plane to some fifty “strategic partners.” Boeing itself ended up building less than forty per cent of the plane.
This strategy was trumpeted as a reinvention of manufacturing. But while the finance guys loved it—since it meant that Boeing had to put up less money—it was a huge headache for the engineers. In a fascinating study of the process, two U.C.L.A. researchers, Christopher Tang and Joshua Zimmerman, show how challenging it was for Boeing to work with fifty different partners. The more complex a supply chain, the more chances there are for something to go wrong, and Boeing had far less control than it would have if more of the operation had been in-house. Delays became endemic, and, instead of costing less, the project went billions over budget.
So we had the triumph of been-counting over sound engineering and project management, at least until things started going wrong.
I call what Boeing did 'extreme outsourcing'. Boeing had outsourced some manufacturing on previous planes - no big deal - but not like with this one. Let the French do the electrical system and the Japanese build the tempermental Li-ion batteries. Cheaper that way, you know.
Based on my limited experience, I will nevertheless propose a law: Campana's Corollary:
"Companies that actually manufacture things, especially those involving public safety, should not be headed by finance, sales, or marketing people."
I imagine the Dreamliner will fly again, but I suspect it'll be a cold day in Hell before Slick Smisek and his employees gush over the 787.
"The safer we get, the safer we expect to be, so the performance bar keeps rising. And this, ultimately, is why the decision to give other companies responsibility for the Dreamliner now looks misguided. Boeing is in a business where the margin of error is small. It shouldn’t have chosen a business model where the chance of making a serious mistake was so large." - James Surowiecki (from the article) [Note: cartoon by Christoph Niemann from the article.]
I suspect the town in the Middle East lays greater claim to that appellation, but the New Hampshire town is the one where I spent the summers from 1959 through 1962, working at the Maplewood Caddy Camp. At MCC a number of boys, almost all from the greater Boston area (my Long Island chum Peter Xeller and I were two of the outliers) toiled as caddies for golfers at the Maplewood Hotel, which burned down in the winter of 1963.
My Boston friend Frank Colvario,whom I met there, sent me this recent article from theBoston Globe:
'A tank away' refers to the fact that Bethlehem is one tank of gas away from Boston.
Actually, you should be able to get up and back on one tank - it's only about 150 miles one way. It lies on the edge of the gorgeous White Mountains (shown here, from Wikipedia). Beautiful area!
The top photo is from the article and shows the main street, US Route 302, looking east. The taller peak on the right is Mt. Washington, the highest mountain (6,288 feet or 1,917 meters) east of the Mississippi River outside of the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
Sure brought back some wonderful memories.
"Live free or die." - Official motto ofNew Hampshire
I saw this monument while walking along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL, this morning. Thought it was appropriate for Veterans Day.
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." -Woodrow Wilson
Barney Popkin's latest missive, from back home in Tucson.
But first, his message:
Hello all, hope y'all are well. I am now back in Tucson, Arizona after 26 hours of international travel from Islamabad through Dubai and Atlanta. Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport claims to be the world's biggest airport. In the South, if you ask a preacher if you are going to Heaven or Hell, he'll tell you, "I don't know, but for sure you'll be going through Atlanta!" Back home, LSW is rigorously campaigning for our young, Harvard-grad, Navajo niece running in a Democrat primary for the first Native American Representative to our U.S. House of Representatives. I wish her a long and prosperous life but not in politics as she favors everything I oppose - socialism, larger government, environmentalism, unions, gay marriage, federal handouts, increased taxes on working people, etc. Nonetheless, it's "history" in the making. LSW sees the "history" as the rise of Native American and people of color power. I see the "history" as the budding dictatorship by democracy over good public law and policy, over the domination of the beneficiary majority here at home - the tyranny our founders fear would happen if we abandoned representative, Constitutional republican government. Ugh, now back to trying to got sleep once more out of schedule, swollen eyes and throat and loose, well no need to go into that. Oh, good to be home after three weeks of lock-down, swim in my own pool, rough-house with my own dog, and kiss my own LSW. Yahoo!
Self-promotion alert! Ten years ago today, the IRS granted the nascent Ann Campana Judge Foundation temporary 501(c)(3) temporary as a publicly- supported nonprofit organization. In 2007 we acquired permanent.determination as a 501(c)(3).
Its mission statement is simple:
The Ann Campana Judge Foundation exists to promote, undertake, support, and fund philanthropic projects focused on potable water, sanitation, and health in developing countries.
Loring Green, Mary Frances Campana, and I serve on the Board of Directors. Check out its officers, projects, and financials (990-EZ forms).
Since its beginnings, the ACJF has raised almost $300,000 - not a lot by most standards - to support water and sanitation projects in a number of countries. It now focuses on Central America, especially Honduras (see map at left) and Nicaragua. We've focused on those two countries because we are getting to know the landscape - political, social, topographic, cultural, etc. Best to work in those areas you know better than others.
From a foundation that supported others, the ACJF is now undertaking its own projects in Honduras (see small map above) and has an informal partnership with the Municipio (analogous to a county) de Omoa(see map to the right) in Honduras, located on the coast in the northwest corner of Honduras near Guatemala. The projects are gravity-flow surface water projects for potable water. We work in the rugged Sierra de Omoa.
One potable water project, Brisas de Rio Cuyamel, was completed last summer. The photo shows the tank with me and friend Rolando López on the far right. Rolando acts as our facilitator; we could not work here without him.
Alex Uriel del Cid, a teacher by profession and also an Omoa city councilman, does the technical stuff. Alex has been instrumental in getting Omoa to help out by providing in-kind services such as 4WD trucks, human power, etc.
I once asked him why he worked in the remote Sierra de Omoa, he said that the people there had no political power so the politicians ignored them and the NGOs would not work there because the chances of failure were too great. I immediately knew this was a man with whom I would like to work.
Omoa MayorRicardo Alvaradohas also been a huge supporter. Here's a photo of him presenting me with a certificate of appreciation. Rolando is on the right.
We are currently working in Los Mejias, a village of several hundred persons. The project should be completed by the end of August.
Total cost to the ACJF is about $22,000. The Brisas de Rio Cuyamel project cost about $9,000.
Here's a photo of some GI pipe that will be used to link the small dam to the 5,000 gallon tank. The smiling man to the right of the pipe is Alex.
We are scoping out additional projects in including Rio Abajo (Omoa) and El Pacayalito (Santa Barbara). We'll also have to raise a fair amount of money, probably about $20K - $25K for each project.
Want to donate? Your money will be put to good work. Only about 2-3% will go to administrative costs.
Several things I've learned:
1) Think sustainability! If you can't do sustainable projects, don't do them at all (thanks to Ned Breslin).
2) Solve the global access to water issue one village at a time. You can't do everything everywhere.
3) Appropriate technology and solutions only, please! [See #1]
4) ¡Muy tranquilo, por favor!
It's been a great ten years. But I'm just getting started; I'm looking forward to ten more.
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” - Betty Reese
A Polish nobleman is riding by a Jewish ghetto some centuries ago. He sees several targets painted on the outside of the walls and upon closer inspection, notes that most of the bullets are exactly in the target center. He is surprised to see this, and asks around, “Who is such a good shot?” Several people tell him it’s Moshe, the tailor’s young son. The nobleman is determined to meet the youngster and see what he might learn from him. Making arrangements, the nobleman meets the young man and asks him how he has so perfected his armament skills. Moshe replies, “Why should I be a bad shot? It’s simple, you see: first, I shoot at the wall. Then, I paint the target around the bullet!”
Had a great trip up to Banff. Just a glitch or two along the way.
There was an Idaho State Police checkpoint at the WA-ID border. The troopers were turning back cars bearing 'Save The Wolves!' or 'I Brake For Liberals' or 'Obama 2012' bumper stickers. Fortunately, my Starbucks cup was hidden from view as was my 'NRA sucks' T-shirts. Trooper Haywood U. Gonow snarled, but stamped my passport. I spent Sunday night in Coeur d'Alene preparing for my assault on the Canadian border on 4 June.
I arrived in the Banff area about 4 PM local time today after a short (about 325 miles or 525 kilometers) trip from Coeur d'Alene, which is about 100 miles (160 km) below theCanadian border. The trip through northern Idaho was gorgeous, and served to prepare me for what was in store.
I passed the beautiful, deep (c. 1,150 feet or 350 meters) Lake Pend Oreille, where the U.S. Navy still tests underwater detection devices.
Here is a picture of the Kootenai River Valley just north of Bonners Ferry, about 10 miles south of Canada.
As I drove north on Highway 95, my mind would wander to thousands of years ago, when huge floods, precipitated by the failure of the ice dam containing ancient Lake Missoula, shaped the landscape, especially the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington (see my earlier WaterWired post, The Great Lake Missoula Floods). Some evidence now suggests that additional sources in Canada augmented the Lake Missoula waters. Regardless of the sources, the floods were so huge that the effects propagated as far away as my home area, the Willamette Valley of western Oregon.
I crossed into British Columbia at Eastport, ID, with nary a problem. Just a few questions from the Canadian border official and a perusal of my passport sent me on my way.
My 45-year old knowledge of structural geology, learned in the folded Appalachians, ill-prepared me for an understanding of what I was about to see. Pretty soon I I was staring at the gorgeous Rockies, a sight that would only become more spectacular.
I even stumbled upon the source of the Columbia River!
As I entered Kootenay (different spelling in Canada) National Park a sign warned methat bears were on the roadway. Sure enough, a few kilometers later I encountered a momma and her two cubs taking a leisurely stroll across the road (Highway 93).
Here is a picture of me in KNP with the Rockies in the background. The view is to the southeast. At this point I am about 50 miles(80 km) from Banff.
After a few more hours of work and perhaps a brief trip toLake Louise, it's off to a 5 June meeting with the CWRA Board of Directors.
Good week ahead.
"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice." -- Will Durant
Just like he didlast June the President-For-Life is about to embark on a solo road trip in the official state vehicle - the 2003 Toyota MR2, Platita ('little silver one' in Spanish). The PFL and First-Lady-For-Life are childless, so like most childless couples, we give names to inanimate objects. Pathetic,we know.
Here is the latest newsletter from my former graduate school officemate Barney Popkin, globe-trotting water, environmental, and energy consultant. It has some good advice on staying balanced and focused.
Friend and former graduate school officemate Barney Popkin is on another trip, wrapping up a trip to Manila for the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Here is his fourth seriocomic report (read the first one, thesecond one, and the third one).
Friend and former graduate school officemate Barney Popkin is off on another trip, this time to Manila for the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Here is his third seriocomic report (read the first oneand thesecond one).
Here's Barney giving a geography lesson, indicating how well Americans know the whereabouts of Philippines.
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.