Evidence

January 7, 2018

BW photograph of an icy Morgan Run and some rocks.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a follow-up to the previous post.

The bomb cyclone that tore up the East Coast over the past couple of days has moved on, but it is still frigid (single digit if not below zero ambient temps with wind chill factors that makes the air much colder) in many areas.   However difficult this has been, and this is not at all to minimize the loss of life and inhospitable conditions (which was the reason for the homeless statistics previously posted) created by the combination of extreme cold, snow, wind, and flooding, it is still a relatively isolated (chronologically speaking), short-term event.

In Alaska, the problem is a bit different.

In addition, all along the perimeter of the United States, residents are dealing with a much more longer-term issue: habitat loss due to sea and flood-level rise as a result of climate change.  Given the current administration’s on-going commitment to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, this is a very real problem of the now, not the future.

BW photograph of a lone tree against a large rock with layered snow.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Given that mitigation is clearly not an option until there is a willful political change in thinking and action (the mid-term elections later this year?), adaptation becomes a “solution”.  However, as the above report (linked under “habitat loss”) indicates, the funding for such large-scale efforts is sorely lacking, particularly for the more fiscally challenged portions of the country.  Even in relatively affluent areas, the drop in real-estate values makes for an economic dis-incentive.

Economics aside, the need for re-location also creates a titanic change in the culture for coastal residents, particularly for those whose livelihood has been linked to the land and water for generations.

BW photograph of a snowy trail leading into the woods at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There are no easy ways to deal with climate change.  Having said that, this is a problem that will only escalate as time moves on and efforts at mitigation are ignored or “rolled-back”.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

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Deep Cold

January 4, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a recent snowfall in a cold spell.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yes, indeed.

BW photograph of a section of Morgan Run frozen by winter temps.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

And then there is this and this…take note of the use of the word “bomb” in this context.

BW photograph of a stick laying upon a rock surrounded by crystallized snow.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Given the content of the above reports, there are larger numbers also worthy of attention.  According to the 2016 Annual Report on Homelessness as prepared by Maryland’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, the PIT (Point In Time) count yielded 7,352 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore.  The PIT is done on one night during the last two weeks in January.  According to the same report, the Annualized number (the number served in shelters and other types of housing between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016) grows the population experiencing homelessness to 29,670.

According to the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, there were 549,928 people experiencing homelessness in the United States on one night in January when the count was made.  22% of those were children.  39,471 were Veterans.

Take care.

Exposure and Privacy

January 1, 2018

BW photograph of a toilet sitting in a store window.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Exposure in the age of digital, and especially when using a cell phone, photography has undergone a sea change.  Arguably, today’s technology has rendered this as a non-issue to the degree that many most likely have no idea what their devices are doing when a photograph is taken.  In the days of film photography, as a direct result of the nature of that medium, the resulting photograph was heavily dependent on exposure, especially when using slide film.  The photographer needed to be precise with regard to the interaction of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture setting in order to achieve optimal results.  Print film was much more forgiving in that regard.  While it remains a truism that there is no single ‘best” exposure for any given scene, there sure are multitudes of mistakes to be made when transforming light into pixel response.  Software applications can “repair” a great deal of this (the aptly named “fix it Photoshop” or “FIPS” approach) and automatically in many cases; however, it is still generally useful to start with the ISO, shutter speed, aperture setting for the desired effect.  Otherwise, one is just taking chances.  Of course, the photographer may be perfectly comfortable with the device being in charge and may not consider, or even be aware of, the risks.

The word “exposure” also has other meanings-more on that in a bit.

Privacy seems to be nearly as antiquated a concept as photographic exposure in this digital era.  EULAs (End User Licensing Agreements) are quite long, complex, and written in legalize that (almost) guarantees that they will not be read.  Just click “Yes” and move on.   The problem is, of course, that buried within the EULA is the language related to what a given company can do with the data mined from the consumer’s use of a product or service.  As such, it is important to recognize that the consumer is (generally) not the manufacturer’s/service provider’s customer-advertising companies are.  Such companies pay for access to the consumer’s data so as to be able to specifically target ads for products/services based on a consumer’s browsing/purchasing history.

Therein lies the link between exposure and privacy.  The more cavalier one is about accessing sites and signing EULAs, the greater the likelihood that, at some point, one becomes vulnerable to identity theft.  The recent Equifax breach is one such example.

One would do well to keep from having their privacy as exposed as the above photograph implies.

Take care.

Coffee

December 1, 2017

 

BW photograph of a strongly-lit coffee cup.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yes, the availability of good coffee, preferably at an independently owned shop, is very much a key to the walkability of a place.

Coffee is an integral part of global history and culture, and therefore very much open to a sociological view.  One of the major sociological theories is Symbolic Interactionism, which essentially argues that societies attach meaning to words and concepts-and it is the interpretation of those meanings that is critical to understanding a given group.  With that in mind, this is an anecdote from a wander in Los Angeles:  Every now and then when walking, I order a decaf, sugar-free, skim milk, vanilla latte.  Given that it is somewhat frightening when I hear myself make that order, I usually just get regular decaf coffee.  However, on that particular occasion, I went with the latte.

In keeping with the attachment of meaning to words, having ordered the latte described above, the barista said “We call that a ‘why bother?'”.

Take care.

Hurricane Season

September 27, 2017

BW photograph of a bike rack flooded by Hurricane Jose at Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a photo essay showing the standing water that remained a couple of days after having been left by Hurricane Jose as it passed by Bethany Beach.  Jose remained off the coast, and so this part of the world was spared the massive damage generated by the 2017 Hurricane Season (thus far).  Such is not the case for other parts of the mainland U.S. and several of the islands in the Caribbean.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a flooded storm drain in Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NPR’s 1A broadcast a program dedicated to the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico.  This discussion addressed the breadth and depth of the humanitarian, political, economic, and social issues generated by this disaster.  Several important historical points that have contributed to the current crisis are included.  Mr. Johnson’s opening lines encapsulate what follows.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This link addresses The Jones Act mentioned in the above discussion, and this link provides more details regarding the extreme hardships being experienced in Puerto Rico.

 

 

Fall 2017

September 20, 2017

BW photograph of fall debris.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The official start of Fall 2017 is right around the corner.

BW photograph of a foggy river.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As last week closed, the days generally started with decidedly cooler temperatures.

This week, though, has seen a return to more summeresque conditions-higher temperatures and humidity.  The week also brought a continuation of natural disasters:  Hurricane Jose has created some disruption for the Mid-Atlantic, and Hurricane Maria has torn up several countries on her march westward.  Time will tell if she is destined for the U.S.

Violent weather patterns are not the only issue as we make this transition:  Mexico had a 7.1 earthquake.

Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.  There is no “season” for earthquakes-they are the result of geology.  Such quakes are not unique to Mexico-in 2015, Nepal experienced a 7.8 quake.  The U.S. is still waiting for “The Really Big One”.

Just as human lifestyles have contributed to climate change and the subsequent increase in massive storms, not to mention our propensity to drain wetlands and build close to shorelines, which makes the infrastructure more susceptible to flooding and storm surges; human activity also plays a role in some earthquakes and the subsequent damage done.  Part of this is due to the location and the manner in which buildings are constructed-the latter point is especially true for less developed countries-but here in the U.S., many are related to our energy production needs/methods-please read this and this.

Condolences to all who continue to suffer through these catastrophic events.

Take care.

 

Torrents

September 1, 2017

BW photograph of dark and light clouds with a tree in the foreground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Harvey has set a U.S. record for the amount of rain dropped by a single storm in the history of recording such things.

Attention here is focused on Texas and Louisiana, and the other states impacted as Harvey moves north and east-what remains will most likely arrive in this area Saturday. On the other side of the world, South Asia has been hammered with torrential monsoons.  Last month, Sierra Leone experienced this.  The death tolls for both Harvey and the monsoon in India continue to rise.

The property damage caused by Harvey has yet to be determined-that should provide an interesting comparison to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

While some politicians have said this is not a time to discuss climate change, as that would be “playing politics”, at what point will the severity of climate change get the full attention of those with the power to make large-scale systemic changes?  Four years is an awful long time to wait, and there are no guarantees then.

An awful lot of losses can accrue over that span.

There is another issue to address as well-the human factor.  The above incidents are referred to as “natural disasters”.  However, that grossly overlooks the human factor.  The failure of New Orleans’ levee and seawall system has been widely documented.  (As an aside, New Orleans had flooding earlier this year due to many pump failures.).  NPR published this report regarding Houston.  Part of what contributed to the flooding in Mumbai was clogged storm drains due to the amount of trash generated-poverty and poor infrastructure add to the problems.

One thing is certain, though:  these “100 year storms” are occurring with greater and greater frequency.  When there are weaknesses in the social structure, they will increase the risk to the population.

The clouds in the above photograph?  They produced not a drop of water.

Take care.

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