A poisonous spider is aggressively colonizing Southern California.
Now, take a deep breath: The spread of brown widows could actually be good thing.
Newly released research suggests nonnative brown widows are pushing out more dangerous (and native) western black widows. Most of the time, brown widows have a bite similar to that of common household spiders, producing only a red mark and slight pain, according to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.
“The most common thing, anecdotally, that homeowners are saying is, ‘I used to have 3 or 4 black widows and now I have 10 to 15 brown widows,’” said Richard Vetter, a retired researcher at UC Riverside and lead author of a recent study about the interaction between the arachnids.
A map of all the Southern California MPA’s (marine protected areas), defined as:
A space in the ocean where human activities are more strictly regulated than the surrounding waters – similar to parks we have on land.
They are supposed to form a network of safe areas for marine life ro repopulate and bring back big populations to our oceans. You can see that they aren’t that large, nor extensive, but serve as a good starting point.
Here are maps for each of the regions: San Diego, Los Angeles (Santa Monica Bay), Orange County, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island.
We hold this truth to be self-evident: America loves pie.
Food writer Adrienne Kane celebrates that right. She has gathered those regional pie recipes into a new cookbook, United States of Pie.
Some excerpts from the interview:
Bakewell Pie: “is adapted from the very common English dessert, Bakewell Tart. I found the Bakewell Pie recipe in an 1886 cookbook called The Unrivalled Cook-book and [Housekeeper's] Guide. It’s a raspberry jam on the bottom, and then an almond meal sponge on top. It’s not too sweet, so
Chocolate Raisin Pie: “It’s sort of like a brownie in a pie, and it has that wonderful combination of chocolate and raisins — think Raisinets,” Kane says. “And it’s obviously from the West Coast, actually from Southern California. It comes from the fact that California is grape country and raisin country, and it’s sort of an adaptation of using what’s around you.”
Sack Pie: “That is an intriguing recipe. You bake the entire pie in a large paper bag, and so it steams the fruit and the fruit becomes very tender. And then at the last moment, you take it out of the bag and finish it off in the oven and just sort of brown the crust and the top … It sort of smells papery in your kitchen for the first half-hour or so, but I will tell you that it doesn’t taste papery at all.”
The 2011-12 rainy season — which ran from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 — has come to an end with less than impressive numbers, according to figures compiled by the National Weather Service. None of the six key sights where the weather service records long term precipitation reported above average rainfall.
San Diego – 8.03″ (avg. – 10.34″)
Orange County – 6.32″ (avg. – 13.33″)
Riverside – 5.53″ (avg. – 12.04″)
Los Angeles – 8.69″ (avg. – 14.93″)
The season that starts today could be different. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center says that an El Nino appears to be developing in the eastern equatorial Pacific. If the periodic climate change system continues to strengthen, it could lead to above average rainfall this winter in Southern California.
This summer may be just a test run for operating Southern California’s electrical grid without a nuclear plant.
The latest report on the outage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station shows the replacement of four massive steam generators was accompanied by serious design flaws, with no clear solution in sight.
Both stakeholders in San Onofre and critics of nuclear power say the start of a summer without the twin-reactor plant has forced a new accounting for its costs and benefits.
The utility industry and the state’s main grid operator are “considering a range of existing and new alternatives for mitigating the impacts of a long-term or permanent shutdown at San Onofre,” said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator.
At full tilt, San Onofre can produce enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes.
Yet the grid operator foresees only the remote chance of rolling outages during hot weather in the next three months — when San Onofre is needed the most.
Every week I read the surf column from local surf legend, Corky Carroll, and this week I was delighted to find him musing about the ideal after-surf food. For young whippersnappers, like me, these stories let you know how long surfers have been catching waves and scarfing afterwards.
Enjoy Corky’s stories and afterwards I’ll share my modern-day favorites.
Whenever the subject turns to hanging out at the Huntington Beach Pier in the ’50s and ’60s, somebody always mentions “strips.” I mentioned them right here not long ago myself.
Strips were these fairly soggy and extremely greasy tortilla pieces that were drowned in some sort of cheese substitute and a kind of catsup with a hint of Tabasco. We all loved them for an after-surfing snack. I am not sure what kind of nutritional value they had, but at that time nobody cared about that stuff.
I was sitting at the Sugar Shack not long ago woofing down a stack of their amazing pancakes and thinking that there just is not a much tastier after-surf breakfast than that, especially with a side of bacon to go along with it.
There have always been those certain little taste treats that stick out in your taste-bud memory banks. I remember the Helms bread truck that came down our street every afternoon at about 4 o’clock. It had the most amazing cream puffs known to man. I would beg my mom for the 12 cents. They also had a good glazed donut for a nickel and chocolate and maple bars for a dime. But the ultimate was the cream puff.
Before the Sugar Shack, there was Poor Richards around the corner on Pacific Coast Highway…
This letter was sent to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, with a copy to The Orange County Register:
We were stunned to learn recently that for nearly three decades, the San Onofre nuclear reactors have been operating with inherently flawed backup emergency diesel generators, flaws that could have caused these generators to shut down as a result of a major earthquake. According to documents submitted to the NRC on May 14 of this year by Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre plant, the effect of a major seismic event on the high-frequency sensors that would trigger the shutdown of the backup generators had not been analyzed. Upon discovering this issue, the sensors were immediately turned off, indicating significant safety concerns.
Allowing the San Onofre nuclear reactors, located directly next to major fault lines, to operate with such a fundamental safety issue unexamined for three decades is a dramatic failure on the part of the commission. The loss of both offsite and onsite power, or station blackout, is the very condition that led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi (Japan). As you are aware, the seismic vulnerability of nuclear reactors has become an even more urgent issue in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. We are well aware of your particular concerns in this area. Tuesday’s news underscores the need for immediate and urgent action.
You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around. But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.
California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.
“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”
Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans. According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.
All across America you can find beautiful front lawns with green grass and sprinklers. Even in places where water is scarce, like Southern California and Arizona. Those areas import water at a great expense and in some cases dry up the source.
In response, many living in these areas have developed new ideas about front lawns. There are many plants that require a fraction of the water that grass does, and can still be as green. Or, in some cases provide a variety of colors, shapes, and designs.
Most of these plants are called drought resistant, meaning they don’t want to be watered. I have a few of them growing in pots and they wilt when I water them. So far, the occasional rain that comes has satisfied their needs.
Here are a few photos of these new types of lawns:
Radioactive particles released in the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami were detected in giant kelp along the California coast, according to a recently published study.
Radioactive iodine was found in samples collected from beds of kelp in locations along the coast from Laguna Beach to as far north as Santa Cruz about a month after the explosion, according to the study by two marine biologists at Cal State Long Beach.
The levels, while most likely not harmful to humans, were significantly higher than measurements prior to the explosion and comparable to those found in British Columbia, Canada, and northern Washington state following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, according to the study published in March in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.