17. November 2012 · Comments Off on They’re Talkin’ ’bout OUR Arundo Donax · Categories: Read Online

It’s fast-growing and drought-tolerant, producing tons of biomass per acre. It thrives even in poor soil and is a self-propagating perennial, so it requires little investment once established.

To people in the renewable fuels industry, Arundo donax – also known as “giant reed” – is nothing short of a miracle plant. An Oregon power plant is looking at it as a potential substitute for coal, and North Carolina boosters are salivating over the prospect of an ethanol bio-refinery that would bring millions of dollars in investment and dozens of high-paying jobs to hog country.

But to many scientists and environmentalists, Arundo looks less like a miracle than a nightmare waiting to happen. Officials in at least three states have banned the bamboo-like grass as a “noxious weed”; California has spent more than $70 million trying to eradicate it. The federal government has labeled it a “high risk” for invasiveness.

Many are comparing Arundo, which can reach heights of 30 feet in a single season, to another aggressive Asian transplant – the voracious kudzu vine.

More than 200 scientists recently sent a letter to the heads of federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, urging them not to encourage the commercial planting of known invasives like Arundo.


Gee, maybe it’ll be obliterated from earth and we’ll all have to try a new profession. Ya think?

17. November 2012 · Comments Off on Hearing Loss & Music · Categories: Read Online

Hearing impaired since she was three, Lindsey Dryden has loved music for as long as she can remember. “I never found it was a problem,” she says of her deafness in one ear, due to Meniere’s disease. “You learn to adapt in ways you don’t even notice.”

Three years ago, Dryden, who works as a television documentary filmmaker in London, began to experience more dizziness than usual. A few weeks of “reeling around,” as she put it in a recent conversation, got her thinking what it would be like if she lost the rest of her hearing.

Thinking turned to action as Dryden started talking to other people, especially musicians, with hearing deficits. She interviewed neurologists and neuroscientists and attended a 2009 conference on “The Musical Brain.”

As Dryden went deeper into the subject of music and hearing loss, she opened doors into “these incredibly different ways of thinking about sound. If music isn’t just sound,” she wondered, “what else could it be?”

The result of all her probing is Lost and Sound, a thoughtful, nuanced and movingly resonant documentary that screened at the Napa Valley Film Festival. The movie is playing the festival circuit. It deserves a wide general audience.


Lost and Sound website.

Lisa Hirsch brought this review to my attention. I just can’t believe it. Honestly!

But I’m going to start pounding a bassoon with sticks from here on out.

17. November 2012 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Tweeting does not make the sound of your daughter practicing oboego away.