Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Zoning Comes to Northeast Washington

Statesman Examiner Online "The Stevens County Draft Comprehensive Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement evidence tangible steps toward meeting the state's Growth Management Act (GMA) requirements, according to Stevens County Planning Director Clay White. ... For unincorporated Stevens County, this means zoning, a concept already in place in many other counties statewide. Zoning is intended to reduce urban sprawl and structure how the county grows and develops. It also means designating land use and creating guidelines for subdividing property."

Glenn Reynolds on the Failed Solar-Sail Mission

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

He Reports, We Decipher

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kelo v. New London: Public Use versus Public Purpose

Much commentary and consternation has already followed this US Supreme Court 5th Amendment takings case. By a 5-4 decision, the Court affirmed the decision of Connecticut's high court allowing the City of New London to take by eminent domain the private residences of petitioners so that an office-park development could be established on the property. Much has been made in the media of Justice O'Connor's dissent, in which she was joined by Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. However, Justice O'Connor's dissent is unpersuasive. J. O'Connor tries to distinguish the instant case from the prior Court decisions in Berman and Midkiff. In this she sets herself an impossible task, for as the majority insists, Kelo follows perfectly from Berman and Midkiff. It is Justice Thomas, in a truly radical, lone dissent, that presents the only rational response to the majority -- overturn Berman and Midkiff and restore the origin meaning of the term "use," as the Framers understood it. I imagine I know why Thomas would join O'Connor's dissent as she sought that crucial fifth vote, but why did no one join Thomas? What in his analysis did Scalia disagree with?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Solar Sail Launched, Soon to Deploy

"As Cosmos 1, the first solar sail spacecraft, orbits our planet, it will be visible from nearly everywhere on its surface at one time or another—so everyone on Earth can participate in our mission!" The Solar Sail Update: May be lost. Lost.

Wind Power in Idaho?

FR Doc 05-12162 "Windland,Inc.,in partnership with Shell Wind Energy, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, is proposing to construct, operate and maintain a wind-powered electric generation facility on the ridgeline of Cotterel Mountain, near the towns of Albion, Malta, and Burley, Idaho." More at the company website.

California Spotted Owl Status Up For Review

FR Doc 05-11938: "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the California Spotted Owl as Threatened or Endangered

Monday, June 20, 2005

Coming Full Circle

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Washington Tsunami Warning System Problems

Tsunami scare exposes glitches in warning system: "But as it turned out, the coastal communities of Washington never got the automated emergency radio tsunami alert issued by the National Weather Service anyway. The signal was sent, but to a dead Qwest phone line. Malfunctioning equipment prevented the signal from ever reaching the emergency radio transmitter at Neah Bay."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Columbia River Task Force: New Name; New Plan?

Tri-City Herald: Local: By Chris Mulick "OLYMPIA -- Major policy proposals envisioned in former Gov. Gary Locke's Columbia River Initiative have been peeled off, pushing the fledgling attempt to draw up a management plan for the river almost back to square one. But Gov. Christine Gregoire and state lawmakers have meetings set this summer to see if they can reach an agreement on a new plan so management decisions are made in legislative chambers instead of courthouses."

Scientists Grow Brain Cells in a Dish

"Steindler and his team extracted glial-fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP+) cells from a region called the subventricular zone, which lies deep within the brain. They worked with cells from adult mice, but say humans possess these exact same cells. The brain cells were frozen with liquid nitrogen for storage. After thawing the cells, they put them on dishes coated with growth-inducing chemicals, such as polyornithine and laminin. Other chemicals, including retinoic acid and a cytosine compound, were used to control differentiation. Defined neuroblast generators, or cells that produce young nerve cells in the brain, appeared four days after the cells started to differentiate. These cells, in turn, were induced into forming the three main types of brain cells: neurons, which relay messages; astrocytes, which form a barrier between the brain and blood; and oligodendrocytes, which help to form insulation around neurons." Discovery Channel :: News :: Scientists Grow Brain Cells in a Dish

Monday, June 13, 2005

FEC Commissioner Smith Tells It Like It Is

"I go back to a First Amendment perspective, that the First Amendment was there for us to keep government out of this. Now we are past the stage in which we can say that the courts will strike down all campaign finance regulation. But we really need to ask ourselves: is there not one area of American political life that can be unregulated? Is it absolutely required to regulate every area? And if there is one area that could be unregulated, one would think it might be the Internet, given that it's one area where the little guy -- the average citizen -- really can get in there and compete with the big, well-financed interests." TCS: Tech Central Station - An End To 'Everybody's Press'?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Irrigators Unveil Water Savings Plan

Columbia Basin Herald "The Columbia-Snake River Irrigator's Association issued their Best Management Practices for water use Wednesday and have hopes state and federal water resource managers follow their lead."

Friday, June 10, 2005

To Model 2 mm by 0.5 mm of a Rat's Neocortex ...

Blue Brain boots up to mixed response : Nature "One of the boldest brain-modelling projects ever attempted is about to get under way in Switzerland. A team of neuroscientists plans to use a supercomputer to create a biologically realistic simulation of the neural circuits responsible for higher mental processes in humans and other mammals. But experts elsewhere are divided about its chances of success."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What Chicks Know and When They Know It

PLoS Biology: Visually Inexperienced Chicks Exhibit Spontaneous Preference for Biological Motion Patterns From the Abstract: "Here we report that newly hatched chicks, reared and hatched in darkness, at their first exposure to point-light animation sequences, exhibit a spontaneous preference to approach biological motion patterns. Intriguingly, this predisposition is not specific for the motion of a hen, but extends to the pattern of motion of other vertebrates, even to that of a potential predator such as a cat. The predisposition seems to reflect the existence of a mechanism in the brain aimed at orienting the young animal towards objects that move semi-rigidly (as vertebrate animals do), thus facilitating learning, i.e., through imprinting, about their more specific features of motion."

Big Changes at NASA?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Between the Elephants and a Big River

The monsoon-flood season is approaching in Assam and Bihar, and now the elephants have come. The Telegraph - Calcutta : Northeast

A Strong Young Man Who Held On

Cpl. Antonio Mendoza, 21, of Santa Ana, Calif., died June 3 at Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, from wounds received as a result of an explosion while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Feb. 22. At the time of his injury, Mendoza was assigned to 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine ivision, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Monday, June 06, 2005

US District Judge Redden of the Oregon District has invalidated the 2004 Biological Opinion Re Columbia & Snake River Salmon

In a May 26, 2005 Opinion and Order concerning the fourth biological opinion issued by NOAA covering operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System (DAMS) in the Columbia and Lower SnakeRivers, the Court found
that the 2004BiOp is legally flawed in four respects: (1) the improper segregation of the elements of the proposed action NOAA deems to be nondiscretionary; (2) the comparison, rather than the aggregation, of the effects of the proposed action; (3) the flawed critical habitat determinations; and (4) the failure to consult adequately on both recovery and survival in the jeopardy determination.
The two attachments to this Opinion and Order contain interesting information on previous Biological Opinions and the salmon species under consideration.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Whalers of the Olympic Peninsula

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gitmo on the Gulag?

Those who compare Gitmo to Stalin's Gulag should read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn. A truly terrible little book, and Solzhenitsyn's first.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Injustice Being Done

The Makah of the Olympic Peninsula have always been whalers. When stocks of the gray whale plummeted due to over-harvesting by others, the Makah voluntarily refrained from exercising their treaty rights to whale. Now the stocks are back to very healthy levels, but the opponents of whaling -- those who would name each whale and make a pet of it -- have forced the Makah into an expensive thicket of court and administraive proceedings, effectively thwarting the Makah from exercising their treaty rights. Read about it here. As a proud American of European heritage, I am shamed by the treatment of these proud and decent people. Visit their Museum at Neah Bay, Washington.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Good Lawyers

I have always been mystified by the publics' interest in lawyers, e.g., best-selling novels, Court TV, etc. Nevertheless, if anyone wants to see topnotch civil attorneys -- the best of the best -- going at it for high stakes, tune into the livefeed of the Washington State Election Contest for the Office of Governor in the Chelan County Superior Court:

Just a note to me'self to see how this thing works.

I'm an attorney admitted to practice in the States of New York and Washington. I limit my practice to environmental and administrative matters.