FROM READERS: Reader photos of Flat Branch wildlife growth

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | 2:59 p.m. CST; updated 7:07 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 13, 2012
These are 6-10" fish, mostly largemouth and striped bass, in the Hinkson Creek near the Green Tennis Center (~1/4 mile downstream past the bend). Despite extremely low water flow levels, the Hinkson has been a more stable habitat than Flat Branch Creek.

Derrick Fogle is known by some as Columbia's "Hack Man," frequenting Liberty Plaza or Speakers Circle to put on a show with his footbags, boom box and camera. He works at MU as the Lead Audio Visual Systems Engineer and is a frequent commenter on the Missourian's website.

After a fire on Business Loop 70 caused pollution to run into Flat Branch, many fish and wildlife were killed in a certain stretch of the stream. Fogle frequently rides his bike through the park and shared these pictures of wildlife growth in the area after the fire. The creek and its wildlife have begun to show a strong recovery.

First significant ice formation of season on Flat Branch, in pool just above low water bridge, taken Nov. 27.


Looking downstream from new Garth Extension Bridge. This is actually a "test" photo I took while trying to come up with a good place to take a "daily photo" series for fall. Unfortunately, I hurt my ankle at the end of September, and was unable to be on the trail every day for a couple of weeks, ruining my chance to get a time lapse series of the fall foliage change this year.

I am planning to start a new photo series on the creek Jan. 1 and hope to run the daily photo series for an entire year this time. A springtime "green-up" photo series I did last spring can be found here.


Looking upstream at a creek crossing area just off the Hinkson Creek Trail (but this is actually still Flat Branch, about one-fourth mile upstream of where it meets the Hinkson). One of the conservation department water quality collection stations is about 20 feet downstream of where this photo was taken. 


As I was photographing a swarm of crawdads, several young deer came rambling by. There are usually two to four young deer living in the upper Flat Branch Creek area each summer.


Looking upstream at the confluence of Flat Branch, left, and Hinkson Creek, right. Note that total creek flow at this point (after creeks join, June 1) is incredibly low, probably well under 10 gallons per minute.


This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Derrick Fogle December 11, 2012 | 7:36 p.m.

More h4x354x0r Photosets: New Stadium Underpass: Mini-Series on TwitPic:

...and a full photoset here:

Unfortunately, this otherwise excellent new trail infrastructure does have one problem:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 11, 2012 | 10:03 p.m.

More h4x Photos & Twitterstream: Homelessness and Thanksgiving:

An older photo of a newly established homeless camp:

Then a recent Twitter series on an expanded homeless camp area:

@h4x354x0r: Not to mention a Res Life reflective barrier, various deck and camping chairs, etc. I've known about homeless camp for over a year.

@h4x354x0r: The one really whacked homeless guy never causes any trouble. But others moved in the area this summer, now the camp will be destroyed.

@h4x354x0r: I feel bad for the one homeless guy, the rest kinda too; homelessness is a very complex and multifaceted problem.

@h4x354x0r: I see the homeless, their camps, the complexity of their subculture… And always think, "There but for the grace…"

@h4x354x0r: I am very thankful for my family, my work, my house, my life. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 11, 2012 | 10:09 p.m.

More h4x Twitter/Photostream stuff: Today's update on homeless camp:

As of noon today (12/11/12) no action has been taken to clean up the homeless camps on Flat Branch Creek:

I can't imagine there's a city worker who would get assigned to the job, who would actually want to do "camp cleanup".

Site isn't abandoned, but has seen very little activity. Stolen bike frames have been hidden (but not well):

I draw parallels between the ecological damage we inflict on Flat Branch Creek, and the homelessness seen there.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 11, 2012 | 11:52 p.m.

Where are these located? Compared to the "permanent" homeless camps across 63 from Home Depot and behind Socket these look like a little trash blow in by the wind.

From the HW they look pretty organized and clean by a relative of mine working for the city said that it is kind of scary when they have to go back in there and the places just smell worst then the sewer lines they are checking and the ground around the housed and tents are used as a trash can.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 8:06 a.m.

Copying my comments from main story to here, since main story will become inaccessible to all but a small handful of subscribers today, but Reader Contributions are not subject to the paywall.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 8:09 a.m.

I'm disappointed this article does not mention the siphon just past Stadium, which completely drains and dries out the creek in dry conditions. It's frustrating that the fire fish-kill has grabbed everyone's attention, while nobody seems to care about this other, persistent, also creek-health-damaging problem.

This siphon completely dries out the creek for weeks at a time. It causes fish kills on the creek pretty much every year, and also completely separates the upper part of the creek from the lower part, making migration repopulation impossible during dry periods (which are becoming more common with climate change).

Photos of the siphon last year are here:

Photos of the siphon this year are here: (water inflow) (siphon terminal pool) (dry creek below siphon)

I estimate the siphon can drain 4-10 GPM, depending on conditions, which is the entire creek flow in dry conditions. It seems like this would be a source of concern for both the city and environmental groups. This siphon also creates the conditions which contribute to very high levels of bacteria in the creek around MLK Park (which the city has posted signs about).

It's probably an old abandoned sewer tunnel, which it seems the city would have some interest in fixing. It could even be infiltrating current sewer lines, which would be even more imperative to fix. But unless this siphon is a natural feature, fixing the siphon would probably be the "right thing" to do, and really improve the health and water quality of the creek around the MLK park area. It would also help make sure there's a continuous creek flow to facilitate species migration and creek repopulation after kills.

Does anyone besides me care to look into this other, very real creek health problem?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 8:10 a.m.

A Columbia native who befriended me when I moved here once told me that, as a kid, his family would go down to Peace Park to hunt crawdads. Then, when he was a young teen, one year the crawdad shells were all soft and squishy. The next summer, there were only a few, frequently mutated ones. The next year, they were just gone.

They've never come back. Today, playing in the creek in Peace Park risks bacterial infections.

This isn't our parent's environment. It's not that any one thing, any one compound, or any one toxin is degrading our environment or causing an epidemic of neurological disorders like autism. This is more the infliction of a thousand little stings. It's the aggregate of all the pollution we've put in the environment. It really is degrading our environment.

Nobody can deny it. Flat Branch Creek is a heavily damaged ecosystem because it's drainage basin, especially it's headwaters, is an urban area. Lots of pavement, lots of traffic, lots of pollution in rain runoff. Plus, various water releases from the power plant, sewer system overflows, and other as-yet unidentified sources. I don't think the power plant releases do much harm (in fact sometimes they help by overwhelming the siphon with relatively clean water), but other releases, maybe not so much. I've recently seen a white-chalky, steaming-warm heavy discharge that lasted for several hours.

It's our choice to live the way we do, and have the creek be in the condition it's in.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 12, 2012 | 8:40 a.m.

Until ca. 100,000 people move away, Flat Branch is doomed.

Been that way a long time.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 8:49 a.m.

Corey: The one guy has been living there for well over a year. The others have only come during the summer, and seem to have mostly left now.

I think the one guy just wants left alone - by everyone, including other homeless people. An outcast, even among outcasts. Some of the other summer residents appeared to be students. The rest appeared to be petty criminals and transient vagrants that had been kicked out of other places.

I've known about and monitored the camps for well over a year, and have closely guarded the knowledge. But I figured, once the city put up the signs about cleaning up the camp, it was no longer a secret. So, I exposed the camp to the public via twitter and facebook posts.

I will not disclose the exact location of the camps. I respect their - especially the one guy's - desire to live apart from society; perhaps, because I understand that desire well enough.

I've always felt a kinship to the homeless. No matter how good or stable my job or my life is, I know full well it only takes one big mistake, or even one small accident, to lose everything. Under those circumstances, simply withdrawing from society would be a real and viable choice for me.

The overarching point here is that, just like Flat Branch Creek being our ecological sewage sluice, the homeless there are our social trash. And, just like the fire damage being one thing that captivates everyone's attention while they remain ignorant and blind to the larger picture; some homeless person, or one particular camp, will captivate people's attention, while they remain blind and ignorant to the larger picture of homelessness.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 12, 2012 | 8:57 a.m.

Our social trash?

That implies and assumes some sort of ownership by the public, a cause/effect relationship, that just may not be true.

It's also condescending and elitist as hell.

I will have to admit that "...simply withdrawing from society would be a real and viable choice for me" did draw a chuckle.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 12, 2012 | 3:50 p.m.

I was not talking the specific location. I know it says Flat Branch but as far as I know Flat Branch is downtown and there are not a lot of places to live other then under the bridge by the power plant.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 5:14 p.m.

Our culture, our society, throws people away by the millions. Damaged? Broken? Used up? Not what you need right now? We discard people like unwanted appliances. We treat other humans like stray animals; shoo them off, kick them when they're in the way, call someone to come capture them and haul them off for you. And then, we wonder that they go live like wild animals.

I've dipped a toe in those shoes, I've seen and felt it. It's a permanently perception changing experience.

Chuckle all you want, call me elitist and condescending all you want. I'm the one out there next to these people, observing. I've watched a man hide his face from the world almost every day, just like an animal that has learned to hide from an abusive owner. Even though I think he's learned to recognize me as someone who will not judge or disturb, he still can't bear to show his face to me, or risk interaction.

I think it's very sad and shameful.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 5:36 p.m.

Yes, Corey, this camp is very close in town, very close to the trail. It's been there for well over a year, yet it's taken that long to be discovered by the "wrong" people (those who reported / complained to the city about the camp).

I actually spend time exploring the creek and the woods in the area, just like I explored the outdoors as a kid. I've just never lost that kid-like wonder of mother nature. This isn't the only homeless camp I've found within a mile of downtown, just the most permanent one so far.

A little pocket of woods can hide a lot; a nearly infinite number of natural wonders, and a fair amount of trash and human activity, as well. Most people are astoundingly un-inquisitive and un-observant. I think that's because those traits don't mix well with judgmentalism.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 5:43 p.m.

Now, another photo: Natural wonders you can find, if you only bother to poke around and look a little bit:

(Report Comment)
Mike Heimos December 12, 2012 | 6:52 p.m.


Thanks for bringing attention to this issue and the great photos and story....


Mike Heimos

City of Columbia, Missouri
Public Works Department - Stormwater Utility
Stormwater Utility Educator
P.O. Box 6015
Columbia, MO 65205-6015

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 12, 2012 | 8:29 p.m.

Looks like I've got the right person's attention ;-)

Mike does absolutely outstanding work as our stormwater utility educator. Check out the Facebook page:

There's all kinds of great news and information about various projects and events in the city, including a photo collection of the new solar array at the COLT facility, news and information about regular volunteer stream cleanups, and much much more including a link back to this article.

Thanks Mike!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 13, 2012 | 4:21 a.m.

For Mike Heimos:

On the caption of the solar array album, you have that the 3,500 panel array will produce 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Check that - I believe it should be 1,000 megawatt-hours/year. 1000 kwh will ony power one average Columbia home for about 40 days.

Not being critical - just pointing something out that perhaps many would miss.


(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 13, 2012 | 5:11 p.m.

That was probably not a mistake considering the number of cloudy days we have and the area in which they place many of those panels ( Columbia MO). :)
Seriously though. I would like to know why GoColumbia website used to have easy access to the Solar information so we could watch real time the results of the city owned panels but have moved the link or made it harder to find. I often wondered if they did that because it was easy to see the amount of tax dollars being spent per KW and it was not looking good.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 13, 2012 | 6:38 p.m.

Now, back to Flat Branch Creek Health: Today's photos:

Extremely muddy, slightly higher than normal discharge from tunnel today:

Extreme cloudiness dissipates quickly (this pic ~1,000ft downstream), but the reason I tracked upstream to check today was because I noticed some unusual cloudiness 1st thing AM in the pool under the bridge next to the Rock Quarry, and a slightly higher than normal flow rate as well.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 13, 2012 | 7:04 p.m.

Information on the COLT solar installation shows output in megawatt hours, not kilowatt hours. A very recent Columbia Tribune article: the project is supposed to grow by 6,000 megawatt-hours per year, and have 12,000 megawatt-hours of capacity by September 2013 (if I'm interpreting the article correctly).

Here's an "hours of sunshine" report for Missouri:

I would hope the expected output already takes this into account, but I do not know whether or not it does. If not, the output could be ~40% less, but certainly not 3 orders of magnitude less.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 13, 2012 | 7:35 p.m.

This PDF from the city estimates COLT solar capacity at "up to 12,000 megawatt-hours annually".

This is a power purchase agreement, not an outright system buy. We are paying $54/megawatt-hour for generated electricity, with a fixed 1.75% annual increase in per-unit electricity cost. We provide the location for the panels, Free Power buys, installs, and owns all the physical infrastructure (panels), and sells us only the power it produces, at a fixed cost per unit.

Compare the contract's annual 1.75% cost increase rate to Ameren's fee rate increases: and

FTA's: AmerenUE electric rate increases, last 6 years:

August 2007: $43M
March 2009: $162M
June 2010: $230M
August 2011: $173M
January 2013: $262M

The article behind the 2nd link claims the first 4 rate increases averaged 17% per year, but it looks a lot more like an average of about 10% per year to me, especially if you include the 2013 increase which is stated as an approximate 10% increase.

The city's PDF also notes that 12,000 megawatt-hours per year is about 1% of Columbia's total electricity use.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 13, 2012 | 8:02 p.m.

Just to irritate some folks, I'll also point out that $90M of the latest Ameren increase is earmarked to *subsidize* energy efficiency upgrades. Even private, for-profit money sees the sense in 'efficiency welfare' payments.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 14, 2012 | 4:56 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Even private, for-profit money sees the sense in 'efficiency welfare' payments."

It makes good economic sense to reduce or slow the growth in electric demand, because building a new power plant (of any type) is an expensive and lengthy proposition.

Corey, we get about 5 hours/day of what they call "peak sun", which is the number they use to estimate solar resource availability in an area. So if you have a 200 watt solar panel in a location free from shading, you'll get about a kwh/day out of it average. That number jives well with my own experience.

The critical time for these systems is the dead of winter, when days are short, cloud cover is common, and snowfall can cover the panels. 5 hours of insolation is a capacity factor of about 0.2, and I've noted capacity factor in winter of as low as 0.06. That's a 2/3 reduction in output, and while it doesn't matter for us because these panels provide so little energy relative to Columbia's total use, it matters more the more solar capacity you install.

Grid tie solar is dependent on the rest of the grid to provide useful energy. Without it, or without significant energy storage, the power these panels provide is not stable enough to do much useful with. That's a cost which is not usually figured into the cost of these systems. It is also a cost (in the case of the grid) which net metering customers don't pay, and while it doesn't really matter now, as solar increases, it matters more.

I think a good take home message is that even with a large, expensive array like this, it goes a negligible way to replace the energy we currently get from conventional sources. It's important for advocates to recognize that any significant replacement of fossil fuels will take decades under the best of circumstances. People that say we can repower America by 2035 or 2050 are selling something.


(Report Comment)
frank christian December 14, 2012 | 10:57 a.m.

" People that say we can repower America by 2035 or 2050 are selling something."

Maybe the U.S.of A., "down the river"?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 15, 2012 | 1:11 p.m.

Or, mirror our culture, and choose violence as an answer.

I want you (yes, YOU) to think about how many times you've personally advocated force and/or violence as a solution to *any* problem. Hopefully, you can do this without lying to yourself. If the count is more than zero...

I continue to advocate refocusing law enforcement activities away from drug control, to firearms control; if we tracked bullet purchases like we do sudafed, if we bothered to develop any kind of transactional awareness of firearms purchases, it *could* make a positive difference.

The core problem is certainly the rampant violence of our culture and society. But, there's also no doubt that the easy availability of guns and lack of any real monitoring provides a massive, deadly amplification to the underlying violence of our society.

To claim otherwise is pure baloney. "Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48)." (there is some good news in that article though)

Add registration and transactional tracking to that list, and get a couple more significant negative correlations.

But it's still going to take a real change of heart to make a real difference. We're far too punitive, and resort to force and violence far too quickly. Saying this person's, or that person's, particular use of punishment and violence is wrong, just isn't good enough. It's still endorsing the concept of violence as a solution.

And so, the carousel of guns and bullets and violence keeps going 'round and 'round.

More guns and punishment and vengeance are NOT going to slow it down, or help anyone get off that carousel.

Only peace in the hearts of our nation, and kindess and consideration for all others, will make a real difference.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 15, 2012 | 4:03 p.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Only peace in the hearts of our nation, and kindess and consideration for all others, will make a real difference."

I agree with you, but how are we going to do that?


(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 15, 2012 | 4:48 p.m.

Derrick: Do you assign much importance to correlations with an absolute value less than 0.5?????

These are r values if I am not mistaken. Let me know if this is not true, because when the absolute value of r is 0.5 or less, only a minor portion of the variation of Y is attributed to the correlation with X.

That's because r-squared is the estimated proportion of the Y variance attributed to it's linear regression on X. 1 minus r^2 is the proportion free of X (simplified explanation)

Hence, for an r of 0.5 (or -0.5), the proportion of Y attributed to X is only 0.5^2....or 25%. 75% is attributed to "other" factors, but not X.

Scientists generally only pay attention when r is 0.7 or more. At that point, ca. 50% of Y (r-squared = 0.49) is attributed to X. The other half is from something else.

Your correlations are not good at all, which means your (and their) conclusion is not good at all. Even worse, in small sample sizes (which you stated these were), a SINGLE data point can skew the results of a correlation calculation quite severely.

Looks like very bad data to me which, of course, calls the entire link into question.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 15, 2012 | 5:17 p.m.

"Only peace in the hearts of our nation, and kindess and consideration for all others, will make a real difference."
"how are we going to do that?"

DF devoted one sentence to your question, when he admitted:

"The core problem is certainly the rampant violence of our culture and society." But, then he moved quickly on to the removal of honest use of firearm protection by honest people, so it is clear that he has no idea how we are going to do that. When looking for "kindess and consideration for all others," he might study a while, the pre 1960 U.S. Even with the humanitarian problems of the times, anyone wanting one, could own a firearm. Few considered the use of a firearm as a tool to harm another human being. He probably knows what happened to change the level of kindness and consideration in our country, however and that's why he ignores the "core problem".

Within 24 hours of the Connecticut shootings, MSNBC had gathered a panel to discuss, "the mass violence against Americans - with guns. Looking for information a couple of hours ago I visited daily kos. First thing I got was a popup proclaiming: "Now is the time to talk about Gun Control!" "They are going to use the dead bodies of children to push their agenda", said a gun rights advocate in the other paper.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 16, 2012 | 11:13 p.m.

Whatever Pro-Gun BS you hear, read this first:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 16, 2012 | 11:25 p.m.

Hope you like that one better, Mike. It's a bit more comprehensive.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 17, 2012 | 8:03 a.m.

Forget the pro-gun, anti-gun crap. Guns, as electricity and internal combustion engines are with us for foreseeable future and if not handled properly will cause death and injury to human beings and others.

Find us a liberal sociologist that can show that total ban on guns will remove them from criminals as well as the honest, innocents. Or, better yet,find us someone that can produce charts showing the reason(s) the few are unable to see the horror and utter Wrong in killing of other humans, for no apparent reason. Do that and you will have served us well.

The rationalization used by yours, in "Rationalization #2", is astounding!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 17, 2012 | 9:04 a.m.

Not much better, Derrick.

The charts amply demonstrated how one data point can change correlation coefficients....not a good use of statistics at all.

I think these charts DO show the US as an outlier, and there are tests for that...but the correlation coefficient isn't one of them. When I see this kind of statistical crap, I start thinking "hidden agenda" or blind ignorance as two very real possibilities. Either way doesn't help the arguer's argument or credibility one in, "Given their false and misleading treatment of the data, why should I believe this person?"

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 17, 2012 | 9:16 a.m.

And my comments above about r-values still stands for rationalization #2. An r value of ca. 0.4????

Useless. It's not even a "correlation" at all. It's a cluster with 3 outliers, and there are better ways of showing that. This is a really poor way of making a point...very unscientific.

I'm astounded that an apparent sociology professor has such a poor understanding of statistics and correlations. Either that or he/she is deliberately misusing the discipline to make a point. Absolutely awful....pure junk.

But it is good to have a sampling (small) of the webpages you use to make a point.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 17, 2012 | 9:35 a.m.

Besides, all this talk of "gun control" is just "bear shaving."

Useless...a solution that is not a solution at all. It is a sop, tho.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 17, 2012 | 9:57 a.m.


My point is this:

In any argument, HOW you get to your conclusion is just as important as WHERE you end up.

Credibility is the issue. A person who knowingly, or unknowingly, uses an inappropriate statistical test to make a point has a real credibility problem with those who know different.

Since you are on campus, there's an easy way for you to check out my comments. Simply print off those first two graphs, depoliticize them by taking off the x and y axis descriptor labels and headers...but leave the x and y values themselves. Also include all the data points, the line, and the r-value. Show them to any statistics professor on campus, or any person who recently received an "A" in Statistics 101, and ask, "What do you think of this use of correlation statistics?"

Let us know.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 18, 2012 | 9:13 a.m.

The city has now cleaned up the homeless camp. All the items, whether stolen or rightfully owned by these people, has been removed. There is still some trash strewn about in the woods.

I even saw "Johnny Walker" for just the 3rd time in 2 weeks yesterday. I do no know his real name, and only call him that because I see him walking all over the place all the time (not because of probable alcoholism). He was headed towards the trailhead. I would have liked to follow him, to see where he's moved to, but was working at the time.

If anyone thinks cleaning up the camp somehow helped this person, they are wrong.

In other news, the creek was very dark and murky at the quarry pool and low water bridge this morning, and the power plant was just finishing a discharge of water. I'm hoping to investigate the source of murkiness at lunch and report on it this evening.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 18, 2012 | 11:56 a.m.

DF - Please also report on: "These are 6-10" fish, mostly largemouth and striped bass, in the Hinkson Creek"

I had thought striped bass were stocked in some MO impoundments and could not survive in the murky, diseased waters of Hinkson Creek.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 18, 2012 | 11:32 p.m.

Nothing interesting to report on Flat Branch Creek today. AFAICT, the murkiness in the water this morning is just left over sediment from recent rains.

I am working taking a picture of the creek every morning, and posting it here, but I need to place a camera jig, and come up with a much more streamlined process to ingest and post the photo.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 19, 2012 | 12:07 a.m.

More data on gun control: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has analyzed various changes in homicide and firearms death rates before and after that country implemented aggressive firearms control legislation:

From the Abstract:

"Results: In the 18 years before the gun law reforms, there were 13 mass shootings in Australia, and none in the 10.5 years afterwards. Declines in firearm-related deaths before the law reforms accelerated after the reforms for total firearm deaths (p = 0.04), firearm suicides (p = 0.007) and firearm homicides (p = 0.15), but not for the smallest category of unintentional firearm deaths, which increased. No evidence of substitution effect for suicides or homicides was observed. The rates per 100 000 of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides all at least doubled their existing rates of decline after the revised gun laws.

Conclusions: Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 19, 2012 | 5:32 a.m.

p = 0.15 for total homicides????

Wow. That's a powerful test!

I liked the weasel word "may", as in: "may be an effective way..."

And here I thought they proved it....

PS: Check out the y-axis values on all those graphs. Per 100000 population.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 19, 2012 | 7:16 a.m.

Mr. Fogle has found a permanent site for rendering his daily dose of liberal propaganda. One interested in providing information, provides all the information! DF too busy?


April 13, 2009

It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. In 2002 -- five years after enacting its gun ban -- the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.

Even Australia's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

Moreover, Australia and the United States -- where no gun-ban exists -- both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

People cause crime, not guns! Read up on your bass yet?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 19, 2012 | 8:01 a.m.

Violence + Guns = Gun Violence. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?

To be clear, I still believe the root cause of so many gun deaths in our country is the underlying violence in our society; but the guns are still an incredibly strong amplifier for the death that violence causes.

I don't want to ban guns, I just want sensible regulation: Universal registration, required training and mental health screenings for ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines (as well as CCW), and the tracking of all transactions, both guns and bullets, so we can spot when someone starts stockpiling these things, and go check them out.

Plus, a strong law enforcement focus on finding and confiscating any guns that get stolen or otherwise disappear, or guns in possession of those who do not have the proper training and screening.

This is not unreasonable. It's not taking away your guns. It's sensible regulation and due diligence for a device that makes killing others trivially quick and easy.

Implementing these gun ownership and tracking reforms will not make our society more dangerous or more violent. No matter how much anyone whines about it.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 19, 2012 | 8:58 a.m.

To my knowledge it has just now been reported that the shooter at Newtown had several prescribed medications, none of which were present in the home after the disaster. His mother, proven to have known his mental condition was not addressing it with the medical help necessary and at the same time apparently left her weapons available to him. (The Va Tech shooter had also been diagnosed for mental illness, but allowed to continue his mission, kill human beings.) It is also reported that he tried to purchase weapons twice but was turned down by legitimate gun dealers. Laws revised in the 1960's in the interest of "individual rights", make it now nearly impossible to force mentally ill to take their medication. Won't those still blessed with all their faculties, realize that the human error in this case as well as the error incurred over the last 50 years are responsible for this horror?

You, again, point to "underlying violence in our society", then shrug it off and proceed with the ignorant liberal attack upon the weapon. It is pure liberalism to avoid basic truth while promoting liberal agenda.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger December 19, 2012 | 5:24 p.m.

Frank: How would you feel if one of those kids at Newtown, maybe the one with eleven bullet holes in him, was your kid? Would you just chalk it up to "human error"?

You know what "mental illness" is? It's reflected in a country with over 300 million registered (and who knows how many unregistered) weapons, reflected in a country where countless citizens fetishize weapons as symbols of true-blue-macho-America and vilify those who think otherwise, and reflected in a country that's witnessed 61 mass murders in the last 30 years.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 19, 2012 | 6:58 p.m.

Mr. O - Could it possibly have occurred to you, that you have added absolutely nothing to this conversation, with this post, except the liberal idiocy of blaming the weapon rather than the culprit?

I would not "just chalk it up to "human error". I would do my best to find out why and how it was allowed to happen. I would not call Washington to demand, new meaningless, gun laws, as you, if so affected, would apparently do. Both this shooter and the Va Tech culprit had been medically declared mentally ill. The V Tc received prescriptions and was asked to come back. This one has been shown to have Not been taking meds. Even the Obama Force, headed by Biden says:

"White House officials say the eventual package of proposals is likely to include new restrictions on guns, particularly assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. But they say it will also probably involve measures that touch on mental health initiatives and, as Obama noted Wednesday, a close look 'at a culture that, all too often, glorifies guns and violence.'"

You and I should pray that they spend necessary energy on mental health laws that allow (since 60's), mentally ill, to disregard their med's and take "a close look 'at a culture that, all too often, glorifies guns and violence.'"

OK, I'll work on it by myself, tho, I got nowhere with the elections.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 20, 2012 | 8:06 a.m.

It should be mentioned that the previous ban on assault weapons had no apparent effect on mass shootings (1994-2004):

It's also of interest that the state with the most mass shootings has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

Far more could be done to address the problem by better restriction of access to guns by people known to be disturbed. If Ms. Lanza had been advised to keep her guns locked up, he couldn't have used them. I'm more interested in solutions that will help with the problem, and not so much in reactions based more on ideology than proven effectiveness.


(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 20, 2012 | 6:32 p.m.

New Photoset: Winter Wonderland on Flat Branch Creek!


(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 20, 2012 | 11:45 p.m.

Large fire at Sound Concepts on Business Loop 70 tonight. Will report on any apparent effect on creek tomorrow.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 21, 2012 | 8:33 a.m.

I could not smell anything, or see anything, that would indicate the fire at Sound Concepts caused any significant discharge into the creek.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 21, 2012 | 8:33 a.m.

Tracy G - I got zapped on page with your comments of last night. Hope you'll answer here. You were writing about dollars and cents and values and sense. I was writing about liberals who believe that spending the former is answer to everything and that they often come up shy, on the latter.

IMO, liberals seldom consider time before 1960 as our history. Folks whom saw us eradicate tuberculosis, by hospitalization of victim, involuntarily if necessary, until they either were cured or died, were astonished to learn after HIV/AIDS epidemic became apparent, that laws had been passed to prevent a victim from being forced to admit they had the desease! Little "value" for lives of others was shown here.

Before the 60's a person shown mentally ill and a danger to themselves Or Others could be hospitalized involuntarily if necessary. This is why State Hospital #1, in Fulton was built. Now, the liberal concept (concerned only for rights of patient and ignoring rights of others, to safety from an apparent danger.) is to allow the dangerous patient to roam free and like a parent with a blind offspring try to constantly follow to remove obstacles that might trip him up. In this case the guns of others.

Our medical and legal systems, in both Va Tec and this, should have been legally able to act for the safety of others as well as those patients. This shooters mom not only allowed guns to be available, there was no sign in the house, of any of the prescriptions he was supposed to be taking. This was human error and should not have been allowed, whether guns were in the home or not.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 21, 2012 | 8:52 a.m.

Even though I don't usually respond to Frank directly, I support and endorse him, and others, using this thread to continue their discussions from firewalled stories.

It would be helpful to reference which other story the thread is being moved from, though.

I have already spoken my peace on the "Gun Control" issue: There are 4 primary regulations (but NO bans on anything) that I advocate:

1. Universal registration;
2. Required screening and training for a license to own 'assault' weapons;
3. Transaction tracking for all guns and ammo
4. Policing, investigation, and enforcement efforts focusing on tracking down and confiscating illegally owned guns

None of these regulations takes any guns away from anyone, except the criminals. They just make sure the ownership and use of them is, to borrow a couple words from the 2nd amendment, "well regulated."

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 21, 2012 | 10:00 a.m.

DF - I have never hesitated to address you.

Your #1 and #3 are exactly what the 2nd Amendment argument is all about! You and yours, believing "Government" should be first in every respect, regarding the citizenry under it cannot accept the history of tyrannic government before you. In every case, communism being the latest, an unarmed, defenseless, demoralized, populace has been the first goal. A government knowing the whereabouts of every firearm belonging to every citizen is exactly what NRA and we others, concerned with keeping ourselves free, want to avoid. Incidentally, only a few years back, the source for the most illegal guns in America was robbery of Government controlled arsenals!

Thank you for the tip on story titles. I told Jake of the Missourian that I would be commenting less, but as I have stated before, somehow, when the bait is presented, like a fish, I have to take it!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 22, 2012 | 8:10 p.m.

Conservative, Bush-appointed judge speaks out about Gun Control:

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 22, 2012 | 10:20 p.m.

Great, the judge gave us part of the discussion we are expecting to have. Shall we expect another alert when we get to the reason Loughner, severely mentally ill, was allowed to walk the streets in his troubled state until he could obtain the weapon?

(Report Comment)
Bruce Caldwell December 23, 2012 | 8:37 p.m.

What alarms many people in our society is the number of folks who are certifiably insane (see above,)who have firearms and are just shy of the the tipping point.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 23, 2012 | 10:11 p.m.


Here is my full response concerning firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

The 2nd Amendment of our constitution concludes with the point blank statement that, "...the right to bear arms, shall not be infringed." Therefore, my proposals do not take anyone's guns away, or even ban certain ones. No prohibition here.

Guns are almost certainly the most dangerous product legally sold to the general public in America. Guns were invented as an evolution of military capability for the purpose of killing enemies. Guns are designed to kill when used, and they are extremely effective at it. It's the only product sold to the public that has both this specific purpose, and effectiveness.

While our Constitution explicitly states citizens should be allowed to have guns, there is absolutely no reasonable or rational excuse not to regulate the ownership of such a purposefully deadly device. None. Whatsoever.

I believe we can implement four main policies that will provide reasonable, rational regulation for guns, without resorting to prohibition.

1. Universal Registration: This does not take anyone's guns away, it just gives us a chance to keep track of who and where.

2. Training, mental screening, and specific, periodically expiring licensing for ownership of high capacity weaponry*: This would be similar to Missouri's CCW licensing laws. Again, this is not even a ban. It just gives us some assurance that Americans who do have own these weapons are not nutjobs, and are trained and trusted to keep them out of the hands of nutjobs.

*"High Capacity" will be a measure of both short-burst firing speed, and sustained firing speed, as determined by real-world tests done by trained professional handlers of those weapons. The top 30-50 percent (depending on how the curve falls) will be classified as 'high capacity' and subject to ownership licensing.

3. Transaction tracking for all firearms and ammunition: For the third time, this is not taking any guns away from anyone. Transaction awareness just allows us to automatically spot sudden changes in purchasing patterns (stockpiling) so we can go check it out.

4. Law enforcement focus on tracking down and eradicating guns that go missing or stolen or otherwise end up being possessed illegally - as a top priority. Actually, this DOES take guns away from some people: namely, the criminals.

In closing: These are my proposals for reasonable, realistic regulation, without confiscating anything from anyone (except the criminals), or even banning the ownership of certain weapons. My proposals only makes sure that the ownership and use of guns is, to borrow the clearly defined type of intended gun ownership from the 2nd Amendment, "well regulated."

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 24, 2012 | 8:19 a.m.

"Here is my full response concerning firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy."

Repetitious and false as usual.

"Guns are almost certainly the most dangerous product legally sold to the general public in America." No, cars have a big lead in the "most dangerous" category.

You have been told that registration, giving a tyrannical government the location of every weapon is prime in this argument. If you wish to be meaningful, address this difference.

Our problem is that since the beginning, Americans have been taught to be suspicious of government! Then, in 60's, came liberalism. Democrats embraced it and with their ability to Spend and cajole soon had it in the best, or worst of places, our public education system. Citizens that always loved their country are now confronted with great numbers who hate it. You, from previous posts, indicate that you reside within this latter group. You can never consider that our central government can be central in the problems we face. Imo, your posts dealing with politics are of no value and you might do better studying the fish in Flat Branch.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 24, 2012 | 9:35 a.m.

"Guns are almost certainly the most dangerous product legally sold to the general public in America" I would have to say Alcohol and Tobacco.

"registration" I definitely would not want to be putting my name on any list signaling me and family out especially since criminals would not be doing the same.

*"High Capacity" Could you explain this a little more. As a "trained Person with an m16 and having used many 10 and 30 round magazines at the range and in war I want to know what you mean before I comment.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 24, 2012 | 4:50 p.m.

Derrick Fogle, I almost forgot, Merry Christmas! To you and to all within reading distance, of the Missourian Blog.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 25, 2012 | 12:25 a.m.

Christmas Eve Flat Branch Creek Report:

Not that our infrastructure is rotting away while we argue about filling schools with guns or anything...

…but this rotting drainage pipe is the source of a ~270 meter long muddy discharge into Flat Branch Creek today. The water was clear with no brown sediment residue in the bed above, but lots of brown sediment at the pipe mouth.

The muddy discharge is almost certainly coming from construction, probably one of the sorority house projects. It was muddiest right around the Garth Extension Bridge at ~4pm-ish today:

Muddy discharge into creek was making it's way slowly downstream (40-50m per hour flow rate?) towards low water bridge, but water still clear below that.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 25, 2012 | 2:32 a.m.

Here are some 'units sold' vs. 'deaths from' numbers:

Pharmaceutical drug deaths: ~37,000 per year
~50+ Billion pills sold, ~1.4 Million units per death.

Auto Accidents: ~32,000 per year
~3+ Trillion miles traveled, ~94 Million miles per death.

Firearms deaths: ~32,000 per year
~10 Billion bullets sold, ~312,000 bullets per death.

Smoking related deaths: ~443,000 per year
~303 Billion cigarettes sold, ~684,000 units per death.

Alcohol related deaths: ~80,000 per year
~150 Billion drinks sold, ~2 million units per death.

Cigarette smoking is certainly one of the *costliest* problems in our society (voting down that tax proposition was was just ideologically stupid), because unlike gunshots, smoking doesn't kill immediately with just a bullet or two. It kills very slowly, with lots of costly health problems prior to death. But stacked up against bullets, it takes twice as many cigarette sales to produce a death, as it does bullet sales.

Obviously, these metrics are not exactly apples to apples. An idiot award goes to the next poster who tries to make that point. But, they still give some rough, top-level numbers about consumption/use vs. 'deaths from' results for you to chew on.

Many here who are adamant about not violating the 2nd amendment, are perfectly OK with one of those other little compromises of the US Constitution, vis-a-vis "sobriety checkpoints." The SCOTUS even stated, point blank, that it *was* indeed a small violation to the constitution, but that it was warranted because of the incredible danger of drinking and driving.

Many of you (the true libertarians excepted) have supported that compromise to the Constitution, in the name of safety. But, you can't stand the thought of registration for all firearms, and licensing for high capacity firearms ownership? Guns are designed to be dangerous, they are dangerous.

BTW the "high capacity" methodology is to shut down the responsibility obfuscation people have tried by responding: "But, I can shoot off X number of rounds in Y seconds with my revolver and an auto-reloader, too!" Well, if so, then maybe it should be classified as a high-capacity weapon and you should need training, screening, and a license to own it.

That's why I call for real-world tests for capacity: mass deadliness *IS* the real-world use capacity of the weapon; not some specific make, or model of gun, barrel or stock design, or magazine capacity.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 25, 2012 | 10:19 a.m.

"But, I can shoot off X number of rounds in Y seconds with my revolver and an auto-reloader, too!" Well, if so, then maybe it should be classified as a high-capacity weapon and you should need training, screening, and a license to own it."

Or perhaps, we could allow religion Back into our public educational system. Our children could Again be taught the sanctity of life, the personal benefit achieved by "doing to others as you would have them, do to you". Perhaps, fewer would feel the need to arm themselves so as to fire back at those trying to kill them. Perhaps, then firearms would Again be thought of only for hunting, target practice, or a true tool for the defense of the family in the home.

These are just more stupid, conservative thoughts, but could be called the "condition" of our nation, after Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower cleaned out the fascists threatening us then. We of the United States were people of the strongest, most prosperous and happiest nation on earth.

Then came liberalism and we are now watching our children shoot each other, while wondering which weapons we must take away from them (as tho that were possible).

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger December 25, 2012 | 4:19 p.m.

I think Second Amendment aficionados need to pay more attention to the second word therein.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 25, 2012 | 8:09 p.m.

Mr. O - "I think Second Amendment" detractors (whom HO, but liberals, have questioned the intent of the 2nd Amendment?)need to stop fighting our Constitution and address the faults,detriment and deterioration of our nation, created and caused by the ideology of liberalism! No one, except those willing to ignore our history, states a belief that availability of firearms is reason for actions by some of our people and the crime wave overcoming us, within last 40 years.

You and yours, cannot accept that, the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" provides a major component of "a well regulated Militia".

Which comma was it that they used to contest?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 2, 2013 | 1:39 p.m.

Flat Branch Creek "Picture A Day" series has begun!

Shot consistency still needs more work, but... better than nothing!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 4, 2013 | 8:26 a.m.

Heavy brown muddy discharge into creek again last night from construction near Providence and Rollins. You can see the muddiness in today's PADS photo:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 7, 2013 | 9:54 p.m.

Flat Branch Pic from yesterday morning: MU Power Plant discharging water into creek. Probably about the cleanest water the creek ever sees:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 8, 2013 | 10:24 p.m.

Tonight's Hack Man Dissertation is on Anthropogenic Global Warming, or Climate Change. Whatever you want to call it, or try to deny through games of words or semantics, It's all the same, very real thing.

First, on point that the earth's climate has changed constantly throughout history. Duh. It's the height of irony that this known and accepted truth, gained through many decades of climate science research, is being cited as evidence that current climate science research is faulty. Double intellectually dishonest duh.

The past history of the earth's significant changes in climate - the last one occurring at the dawn of human civilization, BTW - actually demonstrates the gravity of current climate change quite well. Here's comparing the previous hottest time on the planet - the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), with current climate change:

The important point here is that the fastest, most drastic rate of change detectable during the PETM was 80-100 times slower than current rates of change. What took the earth 15,000 years back then, is currently on pace to happen in 150-300 years.

Another sobering fact from past changes in earth's climate, is data correlating historical atmospheric CO2 levels with historic sea levels:

Two interesting points from the data are:
1) That we've already pretty much "locked in" 30 feet of sea-level rise,
2) Sea level rise is not entirely linear with CO2 levels. There seems to be little see level rise for CO2 levels between ~450ppm and ~600ppm, but after the ~600ppm threshold, sea level rise is significant with additional CO2, to the point that there is no ice left.

The same scientists and scientific disciplines you trust regarding how the earth has gone through climate changes in the past, are telling you now that what is happening is not normal, and there are significant consequences.

The evidence that the climate is changing very rapidly is absolutely overwhelming.

Albedo change in the arctic:
Antarctic temperature changes: (1)
2012 Hottest Year on Record for US:
Australia shattering all previous heat records:

Continued next post...

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 8, 2013 | 10:29 p.m.

To write this all off with a "So what? Humans will adapt." is morally bankrupt. There are real and serious negative consequences for billions of humans:

This is gonna hurt people. This is gonna hurt a LOT of people. To say it doesn't matter, to say you don't care, shows a callous disregard of responsibility. Anyone who doesn't demand swift action on climate change is doing nothing but pooping - big (and dumb like Big Bird) time - in the environment of future generations. Financial debt is nothing, compared to this.

Yes, I do have the right to speak up about this today. We all had this information 20-30 years ago. I did something about it, back then. I minimized my two biggest fossil fuel consumption activities: 1) auto transportation; 2) meat consumption. These are almost every American's two biggest carbon emitting activities.

I'm sad my actions are so obviously little more than symbolic. Few people cared, almost nobody joined me. The ~40 Tons of carbon I haven't emitted is insignificant by itself. Even with my life of significant conservation, because of the context of the modern consumptive society I participate in, I'm still grossly "over budget" in sustainable energy use.

I still believe I have done the right thing, and still hope that everyone else will join my efforts. Efforts to conserve, now and significantly, and advocate for a rapid transition to sustainable energy sources, for the future.

I will leave you all with this last little video clip:

"...I have consulted with the nation's leading climate scientists, including the National Academy of Science, which exists to guide the nation on science, and science policy, and they all tell me - all of them tell me - that this is real, it's human caused, it's a serious problem, but that we have the solutions in hand to do it."

"The earth's climate does not care if you are a Democrat, or a Republican. ... The point is that climate change affects ALL Americans, no matter what your political belief, your religious beliefs, your race, class, creed, etc. In the end, the only way we're going to deal with this issue, is if we come together as a country, and have a serious conversation, NOT about, 'Is it Real?' but, "What we can do about it?"

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 9, 2013 | 6:02 a.m.

This is a fine summary of the situation, Mr. Fogle. Thanks for putting it together. You're correct, of course, in pointing out the rate and recency of this climate shift, something that's glossed over by those who deny or who are skeptical of global warming (which should actually be renamed, "global heating").

Coincidentally, a front-page piece on the subject is in this morning's NY Times:

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 9, 2013 | 9:09 a.m.

"The earth's climate does not care if you are a Democrat, or a Republican. ..." Maybe not, but apparently Bill Moyers does. First thing I got when reading his and your important message was a pop-up asking for a vote whether 1-2%ers, or middle class deserve tax cuts and pointed me to "middle class". Moyers has been described as the biggest liar in Journalism. I used to frequently note instances confirming this indictment. I no longer bother.

For discussion, however, much of my automobile use and that of my father used to be for trips around our country with our kids to educate them about the wonders here. I believe that ability, more affordable in U.S. than anywhere else on earth, has benefited us greatly. Has Mr. Fogle shown his children Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, the Pacific Ocean, from his bicycle? Or has he benefited them more,teaching them to be happy at home and not wonder what lies beyond the horizon?

None of these predicting the disastrous future, mention the present day consequeces of the remedies they seek. Why Not?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 9, 2013 | 12:16 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"None of these predicting the disastrous future, mention the present day consequeces of the remedies they seek. Why Not?"

For the same reason that those in Congress don't discuss what's really necessary to balance the budget. It's too painful.

Solar, wind and even nuclear are insignificant solutions. Electric cars and vegetarianism are insignificant solutions. All of that takes too long to implement (well, people can stop eating meat tomorrow, but how many really will?). What is needed, to stabilize CO2 levels over the next few years, are conservation and rationing programs like nothing the world has seen.

Each person on earth can only make about 1 ton of CO2/year, and Americans make 20. Reducing that by 95% means, basically, reducing our standard of living to what it was in the 1870's. We'd have a few modern conveniences, like they do in countries that only make 1 ton/year (Angola is a good example), but other than that, fossil fuels are pretty much off the table.

No one wants to do that. So we talk, wishfully, about a "smart grid", or electric cars powered by solar panels, or local vegan food, but these are all woefully inadequate measures that will simply keep us belching CO2 far past most accepted tipping points. The fundamental problem is we use far too much energy to replace in the few decades (or less) we have to do something about this.

And notice I haven't said anything about China, India, Russia, or Brazil. They have no interest in conservation either.

We'll go on like we have because no one wants to do what's really necessary. So we won't do it, until it's so late that we might as well not do anything at all.

frank christian wrote:

"I believe that ability, more affordable in U.S. than anywhere else on earth, has benefited us greatly."

Actually it has locked us into an incredibly inefficient form of transportation that will take enormous resources to replace. We will try of course, and squander resources we could have used for adaptation. Spoiled children do that.

This is a classic example of living well today at the cost of the future. That's really our basic problem. It's almost certain that the people of 2050-70 will have a very difficult time feeding themselves because of frequent extreme weather. But what do we care? Life's too much FUN!!


(Report Comment)
frank christian January 9, 2013 | 5:43 p.m.

"Life's too much FUN!!" Yeah, Mark and unless you know something the rest of us do not, it is the only one we'll ever have. Fogle and Ottinger recommend we others hibernate to save the planet, while the ones they continually preach that we should believe, do absolutely nothing to prevent emissions, except recommend new taxes with which they intend to spend to help "save" us. Try to explain this phenomenon for us, please?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 10, 2013 | 8:29 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Yeah, Mark and unless you know something the rest of us do not, it is the only one we'll ever have."

Well, that's what I'm saying. We're conducting a giant experiment on the only world we have, and if it comes out poorly, we can't just wash out the test tubes and start over. No one has ever been able to dump this much carbon into the atmosphere when there have been so many people that needed to be fed. I think caution needs to trump having fun - food and water are a lot more important.

"Fogle and Ottinger recommend we others hibernate to save the planet,"

You misinterpret what they're saying (you've also said that to me). Hibernation need not mean huddled in your house, but freedom need not mean frivolously and inefficiently using fossil fuels when there may be more efficient options (or the option of doing something just as fun closer to home).

My contention is not whether we should invest in solar and wind. I say, additionally, we should invest in nuclear (which can replace coal directly - solar and wind tend to replace gas and hydro rather than coal), and biofuels that are not foods. But overwhelmingly, I contend that all of these things will only give us a small fraction of the carbon based energy that we have today, and that virtually all action to prevent climate change must come from conservation and efficiency. Painful conservation and efficiency. That point is often glossed over, because it turns people off and they stop worrying about, or become ideological deniers.

"they continually preach that we should believe, do absolutely nothing to prevent emissions, except recommend new taxes with which they intend to spend to help "save" us"

Al Gore's house and plane are really irrelevant to the discussion - people like him use a tiny fraction of our carbon. Regular people make the overwhelming bulk of carbon contribution. Changing behavior is the single most effective way to reduce emissions, and it's also the most difficult to do. We've increased the price of cigarettes by factors of 30 over the past 40 years, and it's only decreased smoking by about half (or less in some areas). Taxing energy will likely have the same outcome, and for some of the same reasons.

If we're serious about controlling emissions, we must ration energy rather than just taxing it. I doubt any politician would support such an unpopular, and manipulable, proposal.

This is why I think adaptation is more important than prevention. We need to prepare for a changed world, and many of the preparations are things that will have to be done in the public sector, coordinated among many governing entities. These things are going to cost, and if this means we levy a carbon tax to fund them, or stop building new roads to fund them, I think we'll be better off in the future nomatter what other action we take.


(Report Comment)
frank christian January 10, 2013 | 10:40 a.m.

Mark - Imo you lose it all when you can refer to our use of energy as completely "just having fun". Why should I concern myself with your opinion, when you ignore my statement about travel as education for our children? You have apparently, consigned your life and way of living to the Spartan way you describe to us. Might you not have done that before climate change became an issue?

Mark, Al Gore and our President taking AF1 to dinner in NYC, are each one of us! Telling we others to ignore their waste is elitist at best.

When you can show that the restrictions and taxes that you and always, liberal Democrats propose, will not reduce, dramatically, the influence of our Democratic Constitutional government around the world, more folks, including myself might listen. You can't, because imo this is what the issue is about, not preservation of the planet.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 11, 2013 | 9:23 p.m.

"When you can show that the restrictions and taxes that you and always, liberal Democrats propose, will not reduce, dramatically, the influence of our Democratic Constitutional government around the world, more folks, including myself might listen. You can't, because imo this is what the issue is about, not preservation of the planet."

And no one junped on me!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 14, 2013 | 5:21 p.m.

Latest preliminary report from US agency on climate change:

This is the very same government you trust implicitly and perfectly to regulate women's reproductive rights, and engage in wars and provide "homeland security", but for some reason don't trust at all to do anything else right. (Well, I bet you expect your SS disbursements to clear, for now)

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 15, 2013 | 9:05 a.m.

Oh, oh! Someone did jump on me, but not, it seems for accusing anyone of trying to reduce the output and influence of the United States. Best I can tell. it's because I receive a SS deposit each month, but still believe those that tell us, if we don't adjust it, it will financially destroy us.

How one person can be so constantly wrong is amazing. It is not this government (the best form, world has ever known), I don't trust. It is the people running it. Anyone trusting the two I listened to last night, Emanuel and Obama, should not be trusted either!

I read much of 5 selected chapters from NCADAC, last night. Found that the fight has now turned to "Adaptation" to the climate and it's changes, not cessation of carbon emissions. Then noted that our emissions are now at a 20 year low primarily due to fracking of natural gas.

Nowhere, did I read of a need for reducing national travel, switching to two wheel devises for more local travel, or any rationing of our energy. Though funding is problamatic for them (as it should be), new taxes or fees and sale of "carbon credits" were not mentioned in any part that I read.

Only adaptation. Haven't we been adapting to our environment and it's climate since we first slivered (according to you) out of the muck? This must be disconcerting to one who enjoys broadcasting that some construction co. has apparently mixed dirt with water and then allowed a brown muddy fluid, to flow into our Flat Branch!

(Report Comment)
Bruce Caldwell January 15, 2013 | 2:58 p.m.

I don't trust Frank Christian either! (he's just another 47%'er feeding at the trough and bad-mouthing those making sure he gets his share of the taxpayers generosity)
Furthermore, I wish he would stop filling this venue with his vile, poisonous fantasies about government official about whom he knows nothing about.
Don't you feel the least bit guilty or hypocritical, Frank, using your ss funds to the same purpose that other "free-loading", liberal 47%'ers do?

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 15, 2013 | 3:59 p.m.

B. Caldwell - In an effort to reason with one who so far has shown none, I'll relate what I learned from the two I wrote about above. R. Emanuel while Mayor of the City with the highest murder rate in the country, apparently plans to stop the violence by forcing those he has power to force, to divest any investment of their own money that has been put into stock of gun manufacturers. I heard nothing about getting the criminals illegally using those guns off of the streets of his town. Obama stood in front of the cameras and told us again, that he intends to spend every taxpayer dollar he is given and borrow those he wants to spend, whether our Congress approves or not. You and those accepting this destruction from elected officials, disgust me.

I use my SS funds to eat and do not know what the "other "free-loading", liberal 47%'ers do?" with theirs. If you don't want to read about the liberal, progressive crooks that now control our government, you'd better stop reading me!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 16, 2013 | 12:37 p.m.

Long term global warming trend continues:

As far as the vast scientific body of evidence supporting AWG, it's no longer just a theory. It's an established and settled fact. Railing against the truth is both intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Human-driven climate change is very real, no matter what people like Frank - who will never have to experience the real consequences of it - try to deny.

And, something really *does* need done about it.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 16, 2013 | 12:40 p.m.

Technically, AGW, not AWG. The typo doesn't make the sobering facts about climate change any less real.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 16, 2013 | 2:21 p.m.

" Railing against the truth is both intellectually and morally bankrupt." So is railing about it!

"Human-driven climate change is very real, no matter what people like Frank - who will never have to experience the real consequences of it - try to deny." But wait! I'm already a victim. I lived through 2011-12. What would your links have to talk about if we had not witnessed those disastrious years? (Obama was worst!)

"And, something really *does* need done about it." I know! Lets destroy the economy of the United States!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 16, 2013 | 6:17 p.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"And, something really *does* need done about it."

Well, what specifically? If you read my posts above, I calculate that we aren't going to be able to do near enough, and quickly enough, to stabilize CO2 levels and at the same time save our "non-negotiable" way of life. I don't see us stopping it, and it's a big question mark whether we can adapt well enough to avoid fundamental shortages of food and water within our lifetimes (and even Frank's).

What would you think the best short term course of action might be? I'm not really arguing with you, I'm just setting it up as a frame for discussion.


(Report Comment)
frank christian January 16, 2013 | 9:40 p.m.

Thanks, Mark, you are probably giving me more time than I deserve, tho imo, I have been good!

Have you not noticed that each of these are proclaiming with every threat, Something must be done! It seems to me however, they all await announcements from the United Nations on how much Money will be needed for transfer, one country to another (to save us, of course), with Americans, G. Soros, Lawrence Summers etc. in the middle. Cannot these wealthy, well educated, elite of American society, devise some other plan? If not, what do you suppose Fogle might do?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 17, 2013 | 7:37 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Cannot these wealthy, well educated, elite of American society, devise some other plan?"

Well, you seem to feel that it's all a political hoax to transfer wealth from rich to poor and for America haters to lessen American influence, and I don't think so at all. Rich countries - everybody in them - are responsible for the increase in CO2 levels, and poor countries have fewer resources to adapt. It makes sense that rich countries should help them. Of course, just like food aid, much of that assistance will likely go to other things, but I still think we need to try.

No one in this country wants to lessen its influence. Some want to lessen its footprint (including me, and I've done a lot personally toward that end). We waste an incredible amount of irreplaceable resources, ande it's going to come back to bite us hard in the butt if we're not careful.

My issue with "doing something" is that there's usually an alarming lack of numbers in what needs to be done. Our successes in WW II and after have deluded us into thinking we can just wish upon a star and make as many renewables, electric cars (which are just as inefficient and wasteful as gasoline ones - the problem is the car, not what we use to power it), nuclear plants, biofuels, or whatever other solutions wefeel we need. The discussion I want to have is how much impact these solutions can have in the 20 or so years before we hit 450 ppm.


(Report Comment)
frank christian January 17, 2013 | 10:08 a.m.

Mark - You've repeated this side of the conversation since I first read you in Trib. Is that not so? Since then at least two things have happened, that you in my memory,have never touched upon. That the Voluntary restrictions and remedies installed by W. Bush have caused more reduction in emissions, than any other "plan", world wide. This certainly includes Cap n Trade programs which the Pelosi House passed with ease before that body was taken away from the liberals.

The price of Natural Gas. Unbelievably inexpensive since "fracking" on private lands (which Obama cannot control) made it's recovery practical.

Our U.S. now leads the world in reductions in emissions. "GHG emissions per capita fell more in the United States from 2000 to 2009 than in any other area reviewed. The Agency also reported that there had been no growth in global GHG emissions in 2009." Why can you not tout these gains and support them in your oft posted writings? Do you not want a good crisis to go to waste? Your willingness to spread other peoples money around the world, to governments, many of which are controlled by dishonest despots with " but I still think we need to try.", would indicate that to be your stance, imo.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 17, 2013 | 4:30 p.m.

Interactive map of recent global temperature changes:

How much warmer has it gotten where you live?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 17, 2013 | 4:39 p.m.

The US is roughly 5% of worldwide population; we still consume about 23% of the world's entire fossil fuel supply. If US emissions were in line with our population share, climate change wouldn't be nearly so much of a problem.

My lifestyle is a lot closer to global average per-capita fossil energy use than most US residents, yet... still WAY above that average.

Bicycles, E-Bikes, these are great ways to be a true conservative, energy-use wise.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 17, 2013 | 5:38 p.m.

Thanks for asking a serious question, DK. There are no easy answers, and the question really is serious.

First, and foremost, our "non-negotiable" way of life needs re-negotiated, somehow. No, I don't have any magic wand for it, just persistent advocacy.

From a more practical standpoint, we simply need to conserve, first, especially in the transportation sector. Again, no magic wand, just a commitment to drive a little less, ride a bike or use other transportation a little more... It's really not that hard, and a lot of people can really do something here.

Another very important aspect of energy conservation is reducing meat consumption. Meat production is extremely energy-intensive, especially of petroleum resources. Nobody has to become a psycho-vegan, just skip one, or better yet a few, meat servings a week.

Computer-driven cars, which are currently being developed, would be another great advancement in transportation efficiency. A computer-controlled throttle on a regular car engine is generally more carbon-efficient than current hybrids. It would save thousands of lives on the highways, too.

After that, comes the real work: developing an entirely new electric grid with enough capacity to carry all peak domestic energy use, coupled with aggressive deployment of existing solar technology, as well as heavy R&D into better technology, including the storage and transportation of electric-source energy.

Our energy resource portfolio should be based primarily on solar, with a good side bet on wind, and smaller portions based on other things like water flow, tide, and geothermal, where they are feasible.

I can't make anyone else do these things. I've only been able to make myself do what I can, on my own. At least I'm (And I believe DK is, even more so) proof it can be done.

I will reiterate, again, that doing something - conserving yourself and/or advocating for aggressive renewable energy R&D and deployment - is really and truly a moral obligation to future generations. With such an important "Why," there should be plenty of active work on "How."

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 17, 2013 | 8:45 p.m.

Only a dumb bell could not acknowledge the conservation that Americans have voluntarily committed themselves to, without moving their wives and children back into the caves, from which we all came.

You have shown your main interest to lie in reading yourself. I'm done here.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 17, 2013 | 10:33 p.m.

BTW: Well over 1,000 more US firearms deaths since Newtown:

The rate of deadly firearms violence in this country is a significant problem that needs our immediate attention, too.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 18, 2013 | 7:16 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Why can you not tout these gains and support them in your oft posted writings?"

Because they're accidental. They're the result of a fortuitous glut of natural gas, plus a heavy dose of conservation due to the recession. And they're really insignificant when you look at total global emissions.

If Americans are now only making 18 tons CO2/capita instead of 20, yet we need to make 1, I'd say that's insignificant. We've only gone 10% of the way to solving the problem. We might as well not done anything.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Another very important aspect of energy conservation is reducing meat consumption."

The type of meat is also very important here. Poultry only has about 1/3 the footprint of beef ,and venison has a negligible carbon footprint. Gress-fed beef is far better than CAFO beef. So do like the Chick-Fil-A cows say and "eat mor chikin" :-)

"I can't make anyone else do these things"

I've said that also - that if you want renewable energy, you have to do it yourself. But the flip side is, if we wait for people to do it themselves, it won't get done fast enough. So someone will have to make it happen, and it will make electricity a LOT more expensive (unless we subsidize it more than we do now). I think electricity is dirt cheap for what it does for us, but that's a very uncommon attitude.

"Our energy resource portfolio should be based primarily on solar, with a good side bet on wind"

Trouble is, the world only makes about 20 GW of solar and 80 GW of wind/year. One GW of solar is only equal to about 250 MW of conventional power in terms of energy production. We'd have to ramp up production by factors of 10 over 10 years to have a hope of making that happen. And it will cost trillions of dollars.

The question, at this point, is what's the better investment? Could we spend trillions of dollars in stormwater retention projects, development of drought resistant crops, relocation of coastal resources, etc? Would that help us better cope than trying to mitigate aproblem that's already starting to manifest itself? I don't think we can do both, and my feeling is, at this late date, that we're better off putting most of our efforts into adaptation, and let the renewables come on board as they become cost effective.


(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 18, 2013 | 9:03 a.m.

A bicycling story: My lifelong commitment to riding a bike!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 18, 2013 | 9:03 p.m.

The pound of cure becomes a real and tangible liability, if the ounce of prevention is not given.

I make this statement from time to time here, and elsewhere, usually followed with: "No matter how righteous you feel about it." That doesn't really apply this time. Mark isn't using moralism in his argument; he's using cold, hard factual probabilities when he suggests, "This can't be done."

I don't want to shoot the messenger. I just want to state for the record, I believe it can be.

We're already on the hook for the mitigation, even if that "mitigation" is nothing more than suffering through massive, costly disruptions caused by failure to take action. Welcome to the pound of cure. This is gonna cost $Trillions, no matter what.

I don't know how to impress upon everyone how important it is to *also* get to work on the ounce of prevention, too. Immediately. I see it as a clear moral obligation to future generations to figure out and implement a way to stop pooping in our own nest ASAP, even as we're faced with cleaning up the mess we've made so far.

Not saying it's gonna be easy, but I still believe it can be done. America is still a great and amazing country; all we have to do is pull ourselves together and really try. We might even discover really cool new things in the process.

That's my pitch, and I'm sticking to it.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 19, 2013 | 4:37 p.m.

Based on recent statistical data from the CDC, the US has had over 3,000 more firearms deaths since Newtown. Less than half are being spotted and recorded by the gun deaths project. Gun violence is roundly hidden and ignored in this country; it even flies under the radar of modern social media. Still there, still happens.

Guns may not be the problem, but they're definitely not the answer, either.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger January 19, 2013 | 5:00 p.m.

Since the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, 1.3 million of our fellow citizens have been killed by gunfire. This includes suicides. That's twice the number of our fellow (and former) citizens killed in WW2.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 27, 2013 | 10:04 a.m.

Follow-up on my "computer-driven cars" point above:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 27, 2013 | 10:22 a.m.

Flat Branch Creek faux suspension bridge in morning rain:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 28, 2013 | 8:26 p.m.

Military initiatives and spending on "Green Energy":

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 29, 2013 | 8:17 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Military initiatives and spending on "Green Energy":

Somethings wrong - 3,200 MW is 40 times 80 MW, not 4. 3.2 GW is certainly possible in 12 years, but since the consumption of the military is about 434 MW 24/7/365 (3.8 TWH/8760hours/year), I would think that would be overkill even using pessimistic capacity factors. I wonder if they really mean 320 MW.

What strikes me is how little of our total capacity the military uses - the US has a capacity of 1.1+ terawatts and the world has about 3. Even with the generous funding the military enjoys, replacing 0.1% of the worlds electrical capacity in 12 years is insignificant. In fact, the installation of all renewables worldwide is not keeping up with increase in demand for electricty.

Plus, oil demand for powering vehicles and aircraft will not be replaced with electricity.

I know some think we can repower America in time to avoid climate chaos, but unfortunately the numbers are not favorable. Without a drastic downward change in our demand for all types of energy, we won't do it.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 29, 2013 | 8:54 a.m.

The military has the ability to generate its own electricity in many instances. At least it did when I was part of it. For land-based units this is done using portable gasoline fueled generators.

Of course when I was part of the Army General Custer was making his last stand. "Damn! Look at all those $#@& Indians!" :)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 29, 2013 | 6:25 p.m.

From "Humans are Pigs" Dept: Trash on Flat Branch Creek:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 29, 2013 | 6:30 p.m.

No flowers or snow here, every single fleck of white along the creek bank in this photo is a piece of styrofoam:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 30, 2013 | 10:36 a.m.

Another article on driverless cars:

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 31, 2013 | 8:59 a.m.

Flat Branch Creek Picture a Day Celebrates First Month!

And if you're anything like me, you're suddenly thinking, "Wait, where did that go?!?"

I've got this picture series posted several places, but it seems the easiest / best resolution viewing is the facebook album link above. It's pretty easy to flip through the photos, especially after they've loaded the first time, quickly enough to get a bit of a "time lapse" sense of them.

The series isn't that exciting yet, but spring will be here soon enough!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the Flat Branch Creek Picture a Day Series Project so far!

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer January 31, 2013 | 11:19 a.m.

Thanks for posting, Derrick. When you're ready (maybe in early spring?) I'd love to talk to you about running some highlights from these in a From Readers post. (

Joy Mayer,
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 15, 2013 | 5:38 p.m.

Many of the "cleaned up" northeast camp homeless are scouting and / or hanging around the MKT trail areas near town. I've seen at least a dozen new, but likely homeless, faces in the area over the last week. A couple of them are recognizable from the recent Trib article.

I've also been seeing "Johnny Walker" on the trail a lot again lately. In the cold, in the rain, never any hat or gloves, standing at the edge of the trail looking away pretending to be interested in something off the side of the trail when I come by. I'd be pretty sure he's managed to set up a new camp somewhere off the trail not too far away.

Lots of area businesses and establishments have felt the ripple effects of displacing the homeless camp.

Homelessness is an incredibly complex and multifaceted problem. I understand the need to clean up camps from a sheer public health perspective. That reality should, at least, drive home the point that there's no neat, clear separation between "their" problems and "our" problems. How we treat the neediest among us affects our entire society. I really wish we could do something more than tear up and throw away what little these people have to show for their lives, and pretend they're just going to go away.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 21, 2013 | 2:19 p.m.

Picture-a-Day Doubletake: 8am vs. Noon: Click back one for this morning's picture.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 25, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.

6-point buck at low water bridge this morning:

I also saw one other smaller doe, and am pretty sure there's at least one more I didn't spot this morning.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 2, 2013 | 9:11 a.m.

Flat Branch Creek Picture-a-Day Enters 3rd month:

It's actually taken quite a bit of effort to collect my PADS photos the last week. The trail has been completely un-rideable several days, I've had to trudge through deep snow! But most days, the "human pack track," while being incredibly tricky and technical, has been mostly rideable. Haven't missed a day yet!

Shout-out to the city for clearing the downed tree on the trail a few days ago, and running their bobcat up and down the trail to help pack down a track. Even in the worst weather, I've always seen other peeps on the trail. A lot of people use that trail every day, regardless of the weather, and we really appreciate the effort the city puts into keeping it useable.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 3:24 p.m.

Hey Michael Williams, I've got a question for you: I was recently tipped off by a student that the most recent assessments indicate we may only have 100 years worth of mineable phosphorus left on earth. What I've found searching the internet mostly confirms that just 5-6 years ago, we thought there was nearly 400 years worth, but that estimate has recently been cut to 100 years or less.

You're both a chemist and a farmer, and I'd love to get your viewpoint and knowledge on this issue.


(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 4:22 p.m.

Derrick: I've seen the same reports. Apparently, phosphorous isn't the only one that's gonna be trouble. It's not only an issue of resources and reserves, it's geopolitical, too. For the latter, think "rare earths"...those things that make solar panels and lots of other stuff possible.

We don't own much.

I sure wish we'd see more in the MSM (and from researchers and environmentalists) about the front end of all these nice products we enjoy. There's only 92 elements naturally available on this earth and we have to make do with those and all possible combinations thereof. And most have to be mined.


Nobody talks about mining...unless and until it's PC to do so and fits an agenda. Did you know Missouri has the world's largest Pb (lead) reserves in the world?

I double-dog dare you to try and open a new one. Lawsuit city........

Sorry, I've strayed from the topic. Yes, P may indeed become a limiting mineral when it comes to farming. I see there are folks trying to figure out ways to recover it from waste products, but doing so isn't as easy as recycling Al or Fe. I don't see recycling as providing much P for the future, kinda like wind and solar power won't provide much electricity either.

How much P2O5 is removed per acre for various crops? Here's some numbers on a lb/bu basis:

Corn grain: 0.35
Rice: 0.65
Soybeans: 0.9
Wheat: 0.6

Now, look at forages on a lb/ton basis:

Alfalfa: 15
Red Clover: 12.5
Cool Season Grass: 12
Warm Season Grass: 10***

***MFA Agronomy Guide (you can get one free)

If you correct forage and grain values to give lb lost/acre, the amount of P (and N and K and trace elements) removed/acre are significant. Good news for grains is that vegetative matter is generally kept with the field; not so for forages and biomass where EVERYTHING above ground is taken from the farm to the end user.

No one mentions that when you take ANY kind of biomass from one place to another, you HAVE to replace the elements that you removed from the soil. Just ask any 1776 tobacco farmer or any farmer slashing/burning his way through the Amazon rain forest. That tasty salad you are eating?.....except for carbon and water elements (H and O), virtually everything else used to be in some farmer's field. Without replacement, can you say "depletion?"

PS: Write another letter to the editor. I hate blue.

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady March 22, 2013 | 4:49 p.m.

Sewage - either animal or human - contains a lot of phosphorus. We are going to have to figure out ways to keep the toxic chemicals out of the sewers so that composted sewage sludge is safe to use. Currently it's mostly treated as a waste product looking for a place to be disposed of rather than as a resource.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 5:02 p.m.

Ha ha! Sorry I didn't realize this thread had gone blue-screen. Or, shouldn't we refer to this phenomenon as white-depletion? Or maybe CO-Blue pollution?

Anyway, thanks for the information and perspective.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 5:32 p.m.

@Chris - Yes, this student mentioned that we needed to be saving all our, um, poo; in fact almost any organic waste matter. Easier said than done. Sobering stuff.

The battle is definitely on - to determine whether being incredibly clever can overcome being not very wise.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 22, 2013 | 5:48 p.m.


Here are some other tidbits that might interest you.

Annually over 25,000 pounds of new minerals must be supplied for every person in the United States, just to make the products we buy and use.

There are several reasons for mineral supply restrictions. Natural ore supplies can be exhausted, or become too difficult to mine economically, or to mine in an environmentally acceptable way (note Williams' comments concerning lead). Political factors can also be an issue.

According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, these minerals are presently in the most critical supply:

Platinum group
Rare earths
Manganese (lots at the bottom of the ocean, but how to mine it economically)

The "Report in Brief" ends as follows:

"Well-educated resource professionals are essential for fostering the innovation necessary to assure resource availability at acceptable costs and with minimal environmental damage. Unfortunately, the infrastructure for adequate training of professionals to service the mineral sector has declined over the past few decades in almost all industrial countries...the current pipeline...does not have enough students to fill the present or anticipated needs of the country."

AS AN ALUMNUS OF THE OLDEST STATE-SUPPORTED MINING AND METALLURGICAL INSTITUTE IN THE UNITED STATES I SUPPORT THAT CONCLUSION! (But study of mining, metallurgy and geology is HARD, and we can't be expected to do something that's HARD.)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 5:54 p.m.

The main problem with the solid waste from our treatment plants is heavy metal content that can bioaccumulate in soils with repeated treatment. It's NOT easy to remove them from the waste stream.

About everything else is water soluble, including various forms of N, P, K, trace elements, birth control pills, antibiotics, mood enhancers, pharmaceuticals, and the like. Finding a microbe population that will degrade all these things at the plant has...and is...eluding us. I'm fairly convinced that most of the fish feminization seen in river/lake waters is because of flushed birth control pills (ethinyl estradiol) and female hormone replacements like estrone that are active at ppt concentrations (and are present in the environment at ppt levels), but most researchers remain fixated on industrial chemicals like bisphenol-A that are active at concentrations far higher than found in the environment. Personally, I think we're looking at the wrong thing.

Small wonder. Can you imagine the politics? Birth control pills are the wonder drug of family planning! You gonna be the one to tell a woman she is contributing to environmental degradation because she peed out parent compound and bioactive metabolites?

I ain't.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 6:02 p.m.

Ellis: When it comes to non-knowledgable environmentalists and lawyers, I don't know which is harder to start up: a mine...or a nuclear power plant.

Prolly a toss-up.

Can you say, "Let's screw ourselves over the next 50 years by delay after delay after delay?"

PS: Alkaline batteries, complete with Cd and Zn, grow on trees. I seen them once, but I might have been soused at the time......

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 6:27 p.m.

Extensive information regarding lead exposure, and crime:

Were an equivalent threat to human health realized today, would we even be able to do *anything* about it? Personally, I doubt it.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 6:38 p.m.

Derrick: With all the bad side effects of aspirin, I sure would NOT try to get it approved by the FDA today. Lawdy have mercy!!!

Thank goodness it's essentially grandfathered.......

And all it is is an acetylated natural product.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 22, 2013 | 7:32 p.m.


There's no "pat" answer to your question: mine vs. reactor.
To my knowledge - which may easily be faulty - no power reactor operator also mines and processes uranium fuel; reactor fuel is purchased ready-to-use by the reactor operator. While reactor operations are much the same all over, mining operations vary greatly: beginning with whether above or below ground. Surface mining is usally less complicated and less costly, but a critical factor is how much "overburden" (useless material) must be removed to get to the ore body.

In a typical modern mining operation the material is removed using specialized machinery and conveyed to a treatment plant for separation and concentration of the mineral(s) sought. The number of persons employed in all operations is often surprisingly small. The originally mined material which remains after processing is waste and usually constitutes most of what was brought from the mine. For materials used in ceramics the recovery rate is usually higher. Sometimes a new, more efficient process will come out, and piles from original process waste may actually be re-processed.

Some concentrates used in ceramics are derived by chemical and thermal processing of sea water.

There's one particular facet of all such operations: when you first set up you have a large amount of capital invested in the mine, processing plant and equipment, but once you begin operations it can be several YEARS before the operation turns a profit.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 8:52 p.m.

Ellis: It amazes me how many gold mining companies are taking ore that assays at 1-2 g/ton. I guess at $1600/oz it pays. You would think those old mine tailings sitting in Victor, CO would be worth something today. Either that, or start panning the million dollar highway, lol.

I fish in Canada every so often...a fly-in 100 miles from nowhere. Lots of exploration and not a few drill holes that sometimes hit visible gold. I have NO idea how such resources could EVER become reserves. It would cost more to make a highway than gold in the ground.

Always loved gold. If I was younger with no responsibilities, I'd probably try my hand in Alaska. I figure 3 possible outcomes: (1) get rich, (2) get poor, or (3) get et.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 23, 2013 | 8:36 a.m.


That's normal - with modern mining and metallurgical practice. Further, a company mining, say, lead will probably also process for precious metals. Why? Because the recovery and sale of minor amounts of gold, silver, etc. will help to pay operating expenses. And you guys thought that only meat packing plants get the last squeal out of the pigs or last moo out of the cows they process. :)

A friend of mine, Francis Pitard, annually teaches a five-day course at Colorado School of Mines on sampling theory and sampling practice, "Heterogeneity*, Sampling Correctness, and Statistical Quality Control." When he's not teaching, Francis jets around the world advising clients on those matters.

For ores containing precious metals or other high-value metallics or non-metallics this is a HUGELY important subject, as small sampling errors multiplied by high dollar prices can lead to all sorts of financial problems.

Francis is a nice fellow, but some of his statistical calculations give me headaches. Fortunately, with ceramic materials the ores tend to contain a high percentage of the mineral sought, the sought mineral is at least somewhat uniformly distributed in the ore, and the "dollar multiplier" (dollar value) of the material is lower.

*- Should not be confused with heterosexuality.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 23, 2013 | 11:45 a.m.


Previous post cites a course at CSM. More than half those attending were female, degreed Mining Engineers. The group from Newmont's Nevada gold mining operation was headed by a middle-aged female engineer, to whom the others, male and female, deferred.

Another female Mining Engineer, employed by Phelps Dodge, an old line U.S. mining and metallurgical firm, received word while at the short course that she would be re-assigned to work in the Congo.

Nobody, including those female graduates with Mining Engineering degrees, purports to know why this trend has taken place; but it definitely HAS taken place, at our campus and others as well.

Enter Siggy Freud. I'm sure, given that Mining Engineering is the only curicula requiring knowledge of explosives to achieve a degree, Siggy could come up with some "repressed desire" on the part of females to blow things up.

Half the Ceramic Engineering graduates at MS&T this year are female, but that's nothing new.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 23, 2013 | 2:49 p.m.

I have fond memories of the Colorado School of Mines! Not because I attended school there, but because the World Footbag Association was headquartered nearby, and the World Footbag Championships were hosted by CSM for several years in a row. It was an annual destination trip for me when I was younger.

I've even stayed in the dorms, although one year we shared the dorms with a BAGPIPE CONVENTION! (allcaps yell to get the point across - it was LOUD). When there's a dozen bagpipe players standing in the fields around the buildings practicing, the dorms tended to pick up the resonant frequency, and there was just a constant low vibration in the buildings. I thought bagpipes were kinda romantic before that; never, ever again.

Good conversation here, I appreciate it, and learn things. Thanks guys!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 23, 2013 | 4:18 p.m.

Ellis: I've had to use statistics quite frequently. With analytical methods, it's important to establish exactly how well (or not) the method is working, using "spiked" samples as the surrogates analyzed parallel with authentic, unknown samples. For pesticides, a good method had mean recovery and standard deviations near 90% +/- 5%, independent of any other variables like concentration, day of analysis, interaction, and the like. Of course, change matrices and you get a whole new performance if the method is not rugged. We always tested methods in advance with an evaluation of multiple control samples fortified at different concentrations over multiple dayz, then tease out the performance and other main effects with ANOVA.

For metals, I expect +/-5% isn't good enough, especially if you are measuring a low concentration metal selling at a high price (eg., Au, Pt, and the like). I expect mining companies can really screw up their reserve calculation and balance sheets with poor methodologies (and I haven't even addressed "sampling" which, of course, impacts everything that follows).

Regarding your comments about Pb and other trace minerals, I have never heard comments on whether Missouri's Pb ore bodies contain things like trace gold, silver, etc. I've wondered about that and wouldn't be surprised if they did. Do you know? In truth, there were several times I've wanted to take my "pan" when in those areas....but always forgot about it until I was already there. I'm guessing, tho, that many others before me have wondered the same thing, but didn't forget their pans. Either there's nothing there, it's in too low of a concentration, or folks can keep one helluva secret.

Often been amazed that Charlotte, NC is a gold-mining area. Who'da thunk it?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 23, 2013 | 6:26 p.m.


My understanding, based on information that's pretty old, is that Doe Run does recover Ag and Au from Missouri Pb ore. The presence of those two as traces in metallic ores is not unusual.

Gold has been recovered from beach sand near Nome, AK. I imagine that may have been done by gravimetric (physical) separatiom alone: your dream of panning for placer gold, but scaled up just a bit. :)

I repeat that while some of these operations require large capital outlays, the number of people required run run them is surprisingly small.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 23, 2013 | 6:50 p.m.


For the benefit of those not familiar with Golden, Colorado, CSM sits on a hillside, dropping down to the east and with US 6 highway on its west. On the east side of the city (~20,000) and running down the side of a range of foothills, is one of the world's largest breweries (Coors, George Killian, etc.). The city lies between those two. A half hour drive north, on a good highway, is Boulder, Colorado, and 15 minutes south via super highway is one of America's finest specialty restaurants (bison, deer, elk, wild trout and wild salmon).

MS&T faculty and students, eat your hearts out!

Derrick, did they then have those outdoor statues downtown? My favorite is the one where a little boy has his hands on his sister's butt and is trying to shove her onto a full-sized horse. :)

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.