A family rides past the house of Rimsha Masih, a Pakistani Christian girl arrested on blasphemy charges, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday. Rimsha is accused of burning pages of Quranic verse — a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. Her case has reignited debate over the country's blasphemy law and the growing influence of Muslim extremists.
Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
Driving along the Forest Service roads on the edge of the Bandelier National Monument, you can see the destruction wrought by the Las Conchas fire. The megafire burned more than 150,000 acres of forest — about twice the area of Manhattan.
Craig Allen, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey, points to the devastation in Bandelier's Cochiti Canyon, which was burned by the Las Conchas fire. According to Allen, these megafires are "the new normal."
Wildflowers and weeds dot a once-forested landscape. The suppression of natural forest fires during the past century has set the stage for devastating megafires, setting new records in size and intensity.
Allen (left) and Castro look across the wasteland of a plateau reduced to ashes during the Las Conchas fire. Because the fires stripped vegetation from hillsides, these areas are now vulnerable to flash floods during the summer rains.
Collin Haffey, a biotechnician with Bandelier National Monument (left), and Allen examine a tiny Ponderosa pine tree sprouting up in the burn zone in the Dome Wilderness. Indigenous species of trees have failed to return to the area since the Las Conchas fire.
Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of Ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area. Last year's Las Conchas fire devastated the area burning over 150,000 acres of forest.
Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.
One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:00 am
Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.
President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.
Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.
My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:04 pm
Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.