Dragon’s Breath

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I go through layers after layers of air, these days as I descend from the mountaintop at 7000 feet elevation through the layers of central Texas smog to approximately 100 feet elevation near the Gulf. I call it dragon’s breath in the middle layer, and at the bottom, on those days that the sun is completely obscured and the windshield is streaked, I call it (pardon) dragon snot.

Where are the dragons? I thought Harry Potter had killed those things off. Obviously their caves are now hidden in areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and they must range up to about 1500 feet, as the airborne materials are thickest below that level. From 1500 to about 3000, it’s just ordinary smog, and somewhere above that, about when one is just leaving Texas two days later, it thins out and the sky looks like it used to look everywhere when I moved to Texas 30 years ago. I guess that’s why all those pipelines converge on the Gulf. Hungry dragons.

140304-DragonBrath-ASC_8324RLSs copy.This has been true, the layers of air, for three round trips over two years, different seasons, getting worse. Now that I have found the best route (avoiding all cities by the way) I will continue to take photos at selected locations during every trip and see what happens next. Dead trees and dead people would be my guess. Like the story of boiling the poor frog, I wonder what it will take for the people who live in this snot to realize THAT’S WHY THEY FEEL SO FUNKY, and that’s not even mentioning the actual illnesses that are increasing by the decade: Alzheimers, asthma, cancers, you name it, the dragon’s breath exacerbates it and not infrequently causes it.


PS, I did nothing to these pictures that would make them look worse. In fact, I might have brightened up, just a bit, the picture of formerly beautiful rolling farmland just to make sure it looks like it looked at the time and not worse, and you old-timers know that, thirty years ago, it looked in this spot near Gause, Texas (below) just as gorgeous as it now looks in Santa Rosa New Mexico (above), with or without the difference in cloud cover.

Bare Bones Biology 075 – Your Local Independent Radio Station

Your local independent all-volunteer radio station is KEOS, 89.1FM. But you already know that, since you are listening to one of the volunteers. And I bet you think I’m going to ask for money, but no, that was your idea. I only have four and a half minutes to say something useful for our future on this earth. But it’s a good idea, giving money, because the local stations are more important than most people know, and this is tough times.

Most people believe that your local independent radio station is mostly for fun, or for practice or listening to a great variety of music, but not so much as a source of reliable factual information. But you know, just for living every day and especially for building a better future, we need an enormous amount of reliable, fact-based information, and a lot of that information is being washed out of the corposystem media and replaced by their self-serving propaganda. Your local independent radio station has a number of programs that can give you different points of view and reliable facts about some the most important decisions you will be making in the coming years.

Of these programs, my favorites are “Sprouts” that airs at 6:30 on Sunday morning, and Alternative Radio on Monday at 7 pm. Bioneers radio airs practical biology on Saturday at 3 pm, and today I’ll give you an excerpt from Sierra Club Radio that you can listen to on Sunday mornings right before Sprouts. In addition to current news, Sierra Club Radio often airs helpful hints for green living. Each of these programs offers downloads at their web sites.

In this short excerpt, Bruce Niles is interviewed by Orley Cotell on the subject of Sierra Club’s campaign to clean up smog caused by coal burning power plants. The full podcast is linked in my blog transcript.

This little clip is part of an explanation of what the Sierra club plans to do with a pretty huge grant they recently received to clean up smog caused by coal fired power plants all across the United States. It begins with Orley Cotell asking the questions.

OC-“I’m curious if you can tell us what part coal-fired power plants play in creating smog, and how bad of a problem is it?”

BN-“Smog is a very serious problem in most every part of this country. There is an estimated 100 million Americans who live in cities and towns across this country where on many days of the year it is unsafe to breath, and so for example here in Washington in the month of July every single day was either a code yellow, orange or red. In the middle of summer it was unsafe to be outside in Washington DC. Coal plants are the largest contributor to that problem of ozone or smog pollution. So as we push to clean up power plants in the remaining fleet we should take a huge bite out of smog pollution and help to eliminate this huge smog problem that is literally afflicting 100 million Americans.”

OC- “I know that asthma in many cases can be exacerbated by smog or by coal pollution. How bad of a problem is that and what role can EPA play in cleaning it up?”

BN- “An asthma doctor described the impact of smog pollution this way. If you can imagine sunburn on your lungs, which is what happens when ozone or smog, which is very acid gets deep down in your lungs and literally sears your lungs. So when someone who already has lung problems, such as someone with asthma, smog can actually send them into asthma attacks and they can end up with pretty serious medical problems. Smog is the number one trigger for asthma attacks.”

Bare Bones Biology 075 – Sierra Club
KEOS Radio, 29.1 FM
Audio available at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Scientific Breakthrough!

For at least the last 20 years, medical technology has been wringing its hands and moaning about the “asthma epidemic.”

For at least the last 20 years it has been completely obvious that smog causes asthma. At least it was completely obvious to this scientist. So someone has finally studied the connection between smog and the childhood asthma epidemic.

Surprise! Smog causes asthma. Of course it was NOT someone in the USA who studied it, which makes me wonder who has been holding the hands of the American medical technologists for all these 20 years, but why do we need scientific studies to see things that are completely obvious?

It won’t go away because we don’t want to see it. Or is it our system of education (by television) that wants us to not know so those people who run all the asthma ads can sell more and more of their asthma treatments. Wouldn’t it be better to cure the CAUSE of the asthma?

Now – when do you suppose someone will investigate the link between smog and obesity? I know what it does to me; surely I am not the only person who gets butterflies in her stomach, in smoggy conditions, that are alleviated by eating.