The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not the Obligatory Spencer Post



Satellite-derived fire sites today. (click image for higher resolution.)

Sorry if I'm not in the thick of the soap opera this week.

We are kind of sliding into a full blown catastrophe around these parts. It seems not quite timely to be playing paranoids and nerds right now.

6 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Sudden climate change?

Steve Scolnik said...

"paranoids and nerds":
Another former GoogleNope™ bites the dust!

Doug said...

For us remote gawkers, the Austin American Statesman is doing a yeoman job of covering the fire story.

Houston Chronicle features some remarkable video of smoke plumes from Bastrop as seen from the ISS.

Adaptation is not really supposed to mean burning or drowning but that's what it'll include if too many folks try to brush our mess under the rug. Our dustballs are conservative and will escape.

Jay Alt said...

You have more important things to attend to now.

Pangolin said...

Defensible space around rural buildings is a pretty nerdy concept but it saves homes and lives. Remember not to use power tools when it's dry and quit cutting by 10 am.

This is a concept that people in other states besides California need to learn and get militant about.

Doug said...

Yes to Pangolin's remark. Attention to a number of details moves odds in favor of survival. Spark arresting metal cloth in eave vents or (better) roof-wall transitions that don't trap heat, covering windows with metal shutters, (many homes apparently ignite inside first, depending on what's just behind windows), keeping flammable garden accessories and plantings away from the house, etc. Once you're aware of these things they seem like plain common sense, difficult to forget.

On the other hand, this episode is a hint at what happens to places that are relatively marginal for human habitation, should conditions change for the worse just a little bit. In the case of Texas we're trading energy for space, as anybody who has noticed the universal ambient tinnitus of air conditioning compressor noise in the wee hours of the morning in Houston can attest. "Straining to stay comfortable" is the phrase that comes to mind. How hard do we want to work for that?

We're told that the equation of cost for space in Texas is due for a change; whatever the balance of causes, this summer in Texas ought to be considered a teachable moment in terms of our approach to maintaining our presence there.