Green Screen Review #14 :Perpetual novelty can only last so long

Google Daydream is a quixotic quest to make VR normal

Practically, though, Daydream will still just be a delivery mechanism for pictures and video — media that’s more immersive, sure, but hard to mistake for real life. The notion of sharing VR moments with your friends and family is genuinely great, but as long as it’s limited to Android, a lot of people will get left out, or at least be limited to less comfortable options like Google Cardboard. For all the heady possibilities of VR, the apps people end up loving on any platform can turn out to sound boring or outright silly, until you try them for yourself and get caught in a month-long bender of cat collecting or navigating Flappy Bird. The members of Google’s VR team talk about letting people go anywhere in the world through virtual reality. They also know that for some reason, people really love to flip pancakes.

It’s fun to think of VR as a direct mainline of human consciousness, an obscure kind of techno-wizardry, or basically anything except a crude and uncertain, if promising, new medium. But that’s the very thing that Daydream is implicitly pushing back against. VR is magic in the way that all technology is magic. The ultimate success, for Google, would be getting us to start taking it for granted.

Green Screeners should read the whole article. Will GSI become Android-centric and follow Google or wait for Apple to catch up.  My guess the novelty will wear off first.

Posted in Economics, Green Screen, Local

California Drought Report #74: “The Blob” returns to the North Pacific, and La Niña is fizzling

Note:  According to Bob Tisdale writing at Watts Up With That the blob has disappeared. More details HERE.  We will have to wait to see if the La Niña will reappear. Stay tuned.

The California Weather Blog has more details:


The Blob has been associated with a strong ridge of high-pressure ridge along the West Coast of the US, blocking storms from filling CA reservoirs with rain and snow. The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has produced past dry winters in California and could do so again this year.

It does not look like the long predicted strong La Niña predicted by Joe Bastardi is going to happen. The models show a rather neutral response to pacific surface temperatures.


In the past strong La Niña patterns have resulted in strong El Niño responses, but not this time. It will be interesting to see what Joe Bastardi at Weather Bell has to say. For the past year, he has been promoting the idea that we could have a strong La Niña winter. Not according to the models.

Declining ElNino

The CA Weather Blog concludes “that multi-month precipitation outlooks are quite challenging in California. This is partly because it only takes a small handful of powerful atmospheric river storms to “make or break” annual precipitation totals across much of the state, and it’s therefore possible to have very dry conditions (and persistent ridging) punctuated by a few brief but intense periods of heavy precipitation that heavily sway the overall average. That’s not a specific prediction for this year, but recent evidence does suggest that increasingly wide swings in California precipitation are likely as the climate warms. For the moment, we’ll just have to wait and see how the Pacific Ocean and model forecasts evolve in the coming months.”

Preserve what water we have as there is a reasonable possibility drought will continue for an another year. The troubling issue is that the Pacific Ocean is not following the past El Niño – La Niña cycle shown above and the re-appearance of “The Blob.”  Is this going to be the new normal?  Only Mother Nature knows the answer.


Posted in Analysis | 1 Comment

Only in Obama’s Growing Economy: Sears & Kmart MAY Close Doors

Moody’s analysts say Sears and Kmart don’t have enough money — or access to money — to stay in business.

In a note published Wednesday, the analysts downgraded Sears’ liquidity rating, saying the company is bleeding cash and will have to continue to rely on outside funding or the sale of assets, such as real estate, to sustain operations.

“We recognize the risks associated with relying on these sources and continued shareholder support to finance its negative operating cash flow which is estimated by Moody’s to be approximately $1.5 billion this year,” the analysts wrote.

Kmart in particular is at risk of shutting down, according to Moody’s.

“The ratings… reflect our view on the uncertainty of the viability of the Kmart franchise in particular given its meaningful market share erosion,” the analysts wrote.

Sears said in August that its cash and equivalents have fallen to $276 million from $1.8 billion one year ago.

As a result, the retailer was forced to accept $300 million in financing from Sears CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, in the most recent quarter.

The company is losing cash as sales plunge at its namesake and Kmart stores.

Net sales fell 8.8% to $5.7 billion in the second quarter. Same-store sales plunged 7% at Sears stores and dropped 3.3% at Kmart stores.

This could have an impact on the local shopping and sales tax revenue generation in Nevada County.  I suspect we will see a lot more Nevada County citizens shopping in WalMart, Costco and RC Willey  in Rocklin and Roseville. Too bad that Costco pulled out of Auburn. Placer County is putting Nevada County leaking sales tax to good use, improving roads, building parks, expanding infrastructure, and welcoming businesses.  Nevada County not so much.

Posted in California, Economics, Human Behavior, Jobs and Economy, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

California Drought Report #73: The Pacific Ocean Surface Temperatures Controls CA Drought Potential

Prolonged California aridity linked to climate warming and Pacific sea surface temperature, Nature Scientific Reports.

This was just another Greenhouse Gas scare report, claiming that greenhouse gasses could be the future driver of CA droughts. Ignoring the references to scary climate change the study has some interesting findings on historic drought conditions.


The research team spent years analyzing the core sample drawn from Kirman Lake in the Central Sierra, which revealed California’s climate history layer by layer for 10,000 years.

  • Charcoal deposits indicate when wildfires were more prevalent.
  • Layers of fossilized pollen shows eras of more pine trees or drier sagebrush.
  • Shells from mollusks indicate times of deeper water.
  • Single-celled algae and molecules of carbon and nitrogen give clues to the lake’s depth and salinity, and the abundance or waning of plant and animal life.

From 6,000 to 1,000 B.C., during a time geologists refer to as the mid-Holocene, the core sample captures a 5,000-year dry period in California that has been seen in less detail through other paleoenvironmental records. This arid period is linked to a slight variation in Earth’s orbit that increased the amount of solar energy received by the Northern Hemisphere in the summer months. California was warm and dry, while marine sediment records show the Pacific was in a La Niña-like state, likely reducing precipitation.

A similar dry period was seen from about 950 to 1250 B.C.[D.C.], a time known as the medieval climate anomaly. Increased radiative forcing and warming at this time is connected to decreased volcanic activity and increased sunspots. Again, La Niña appears to have reigned in the Pacific Ocean.

“We suspected we would see the millennia of aridity during the mid-Holocene at Kirman Lake, but we were surprised to see a very clear record of the medieval climate anomaly as well,” MacDonald said. “It was very cool to see the lake was sensitive on the scale of not just thousands of years, but also something that lasted just a few centuries.”

Even more exciting to the researchers was a brief shift in the record toward moister conditions around 2,200 B.C. In the middle of thousands of years of mid-Holocene dryness, Kirman Lake suddenly became moister again, MacDonald said, while simultaneously the Pacific Ocean record switched to more El Niño-like conditions.

“This change at 2,200 B.C. was a global phenomenon,” MacDonald said. “It’s associated with the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. It’s linked to the decline of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia and similar Bronze Age societal disruptions in India and China. It was amazing to find evidence of it in our own backyard.”

That blip in the record was a reminder that El Niño and La Niña weather patterns have global repercussions. It also confirmed the accuracy and sensitivity of Kirman Lake’s record and the strong link between the ocean and California’s weather.

See the highlighted text. La Niña weather patterns bring more drought conditions,some lasting long periods, much longer than the five to six years of drought we have experienced in the last 100 years. We are on the cusp of a La Niña condition in the Pacific. Stay Tuned.

Posted in Analysis, California, Climate Change, Drought, Local | 1 Comment

California Climate Change Legislation Targets Flatulent Cows

At the Legal Insurrection:

California’s inane battle against climate change has resulted in even more toxic legislation.

Last week, our legislature approved a bill targeting cow flatulence and manure, which lawmakers blame for releasing greenhouse gases.

Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) authored the bill, which passed shortly before the end of the legislative session. Lara agreed to a compromise that will give dairy farms more time to comply with the new regulations.

Critics have expressed concerns the new regulations will result in an increase in the price of milk from California cows. Proponents of the bill say methane emissions have a huge influence on the climate.

The legislation also calls for efforts that would significantly increase composting in order to eliminate the amount of food waste in landfills. Food waste releases methane when it breaks down.
The timeline will also allow more dairy farmers—and their cows—to move out-of-state as well.

More here.

Californian’s and cows will all enjoy their new Texas home and pasture. I hear that Texas grass is much sweeter and the taxes are more business friendly. 

Something really stinks in Sacramento . . . and it’s not cow “emissions”

Posted in AB-32, California, Economics, Jobs and Economy | 2 Comments

Nevada County Fiddles While the Environmentalist Fires Continue to Consume the Local Economy.

The Union Editorial Staff wrote that NIMBYism is destroying the local economy and it is time for citizens to recognize that much need tax dollars for infrastructure improvements are slipping way to Placer County.

Nevada County also is a place where you can’t afford a home. There’s barely any new development, a scarcity of high-speed internet connections, a masochistic level of NIMBYism and a phalanx of sales tax revenue running as fast as it can to Auburn, Roseville and beyond.

We as a community have to change if we want a better story.

The Editors failed to consider two important factors, one of which Steven Frisch pointed out on another local blog:

By the way, by the time Nevada County “wins” the sales tax battle and is successful reducing “leakage” to ex-urban community norms we will already be well down the road to the new model of retail, which is on line.

The other factor missed by the editors is the economic friction created by AB-32, which Governor Brown just extended and increased CARB’s power to levy more CO2 reducing regulations. The impact will be more costly and less reliable electrical power.

“Brown’s signature will cost the state economically, as businesses and entrepreneurs increasingly flee California’s anti-business environment. The higher energy costs and increased unreliability of the state’s electric grid resulting from this law, should the state actually try and enforce it, are just more nails in California’s economic coffin – with future politicians, ratepayers, and businesses paying the price for the climate mania of Gov. Moonbeam and the legislature’s liberal Democrats.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Research Fellow, Environment and Energy Policy, The Heartland Institute

If a business is going to move, why move to Nevada County, why not move to a more business-friendly state? According to Joel Kotkin, this is the major demographic trend. More details here.

The Union’s Editorial Board need to look at the larger picture. There are more economic destroyers than NIMBYism.

Posted in Climate Change, Economics, Human Behavior, Technology | 1 Comment

California Drought Report #72: The Blob is Coming Back

Bob Tisdale writes at Climate Observations:

After decades of no surface warming in the North Pacific as a whole, a prolonged weather event in the eastern extratropical North Pacific caused an unusual and unexpected warming there, raising sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific to new levels. That region of unusually warm sea surfaces in the eastern extratropical North Pacific has become known as The Blob . . .


The Blob had returned to the neighborhood of “Normal” values, but it has again made a very noticeable uptick. The Blob appears to be reemerging.

The Blog is associated with the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge which in the past has brought the state warmer winters reducing the snow pack in the Sierra. The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge is known to wobble producing both dry and wet spells in the Northern parts of the state.
In the past the Western ridge has forced Pacific storm systems to take make a sharp poleward turn 1000-2000 miles west of California, advecting copious warm/moist subtropical air toward much higher latitudes in Alaska and British Columbia, rather than in California. However, if the ridge is slightly further east, California will able to benefit from an occasional stream of moisture producing precipitation of the warm and wet variety.

If the Blob grows as currently indicated and the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge returns as it has in the past the best we can hope for is a warm wet winter, and not a warm dry winter. If the blob continues to grow the snow forecast is for a poor ski season and more drought for parts of California.

Posted in California, Drought, Local, Weather