Author: Paul Handover

Remembering the Queen and her Corgis

It seems fitting to share this!

Until Her Majesty is laid to rest next Monday it is impossible just to come up with a topic that has nothing to do with her. That’s my feeling (and I am sticking to it)! 😉

Voice of America is a website that I recently came across and they appear to allow the republication of their stories. On September 12th, they published an article about the the Queen and her Corgis and it is shared with you all.

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A Queen and Her Corgis: Elizabeth Loved Breed Since Childhood

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, left, looks at a Corgi dog as British television presenter Paul O’Grady, second right, looks on during a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London on March 17, 2015.

LONDON — 

For many people around the world, the word corgi is forever linked to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Princess Diana once called them a “moving carpet” always by her mother-in-law’s side. Stubby, fluffy little dogs with a high-pitched bark, corgis were the late queen’s constant companions since she was a child. She owned nearly 30 throughout her life, and they enjoyed a life of privilege fit for a royal pet. 

Elizabeth’s death last week has raised public concerns over who will care for her beloved dogs. But Sky News reported Sunday, according to a palace spokesman, the corgis will live with Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. 

“One of the intriguing things people are wondering about at the funeral is whether a corgi is going to be present,” said Robert Lacey, royal historian and author of “Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor.” “The queen’s best friends were corgis, these short-legged, ill-tempered beasts with a yap that doesn’t appeal to many people in Britain but was absolutely crucial to the Queen.” 

Puppy love

Elizabeth’s love for corgis began in 1933 when her father, King George VI, brought home a Pembroke Welsh corgi they named Dookie. Images of a young Elizabeth walking the dog outside their lavish London home would be the first among many to come over the decades. 

When she was 18 she was given another and named it Susan, the first in a long line of corgis to come. Later there were dorgis — a dachshund and corgi crossbreed — owned by the queen. Eventually they came to accompany her in public appearances and became part of her persona. 

Throughout Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, the corgis were by her side, accompanying her on official tours, reportedly sleeping in their own room at Buckingham Palace with daily sheet changes, and occasionally nipping the ankles of the odd visitor or royal family member. 

Three of them even appeared alongside the queen as she climbed into James Bond’s waiting helicopter in the spoof video that opened the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. 

Royal treatment

British author Penny Junor documented the dogs’ feisty lives in a 2018 biography “All the Queen’s Corgis.” 

She writes that Elizabeth walked and fed the dogs, chose their names, and when they died, buried them with individual plaques. Care for the corgis had fallen largely on the queen’s trusted dressmaker and assistant Angela Kelly and her page Paul Whybrew. 

The corgis were also present when the queen welcomed visitors at the palace, including distinguished statesmen and officials. When the conversation lulled, Elizabeth would often turn her attention to her dogs to fill the silence. 

“She was also concerned about what would happen to her dogs when she is no longer around,” Junor wrote, noting that some royal family members did not share her fondness for the corgis. 

After the death of her corgi Willow in 2018, it was reported that the queen would not be getting any more dogs. 

But that changed during the illness of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at age 99. She turned once again to her beloved corgis for comfort. On what would have been Philip’s 100th birthday last year, the queen was given another dog. 

In addition to her human family, Elizabeth is survived by two corgis, a dorgi, and a cocker spaniel.

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It is clear from all the news and tributes presented following Her Majesty’s death on September 8th that she had a very special affection for her Corgis. As does Jean for all our dogs!

We are getting close to it being too late!

As in we humans living on this planet.

Next Saturday I am giving a talk to our local Freethinkers and Humanists group on climate change. As a result of this I was doing some research on the subject and I thought that I would share what I found with you.

But first may I say that the new King of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, may not have ages and ages on the throne but he is a committed environmentalist. In a recent VoA article the Prince of Wales, as he was then, reported that when Charles opened the COP26 climate summit, held in Scotland last year, and gave the opening speech, urging world leaders seated in front of him to redouble their efforts to confront global warming, he warned: “Time has quite literally run out.”

It is us!

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicked off its 2021 report with the following statement: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

A little later the article says: It took a while, but climate modelling is now refined enough to predict how things would go without human influence, within a margin of error. What we are observing today, however, is beyond that margin of error, therefore proving that we have driven the change.

It is getting hot

The last decade was the hottest in 125,000 years. There are a number of graphs to support this. Here is one:

The oceans

One of the facts of having a water world, 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water, is that a 2019 study found that oceans had sucked up 90% of the heat gained by the planet between 1971 and 2010. Another found that it absorbed 20 sextillion joules of heat in 2020  – equivalent to two Hiroshima bombs per second.

Carbon-dioxide

In fact CO2 levels are now the highest that they have been in 2 million years. Today, they stand at close to 420 parts per million (ppm). To put that into context pre-industrial levels, before 1750, had CO2 levels around 280 parts per million.

We are losing ice big time

I can do no better than to quote from Earth.org: Since the mid-1990s, we’ve lost around 28 trillion tons of ice, with today’s melt rate standing at 1.2 trillion tons a year. To help put that into perspective, the combined weight of all human-made things is 1.1 trillion tons. That’s about the same weight as all living things on earth.

I repeat: Every single year we are losing 1,200,000,000,000 tons of ice!

Extreme weather

We can now attribute natural disasters to human-driven climate change with certainty. We can now say with precision how much likelier we made things like the North American summer 2021 heatwave, which the World Weather Attribution says was “virtually impossible” without climate change as well as the Indian heatwave, which experts believe it was made 30 times more likely because of climate change.

Climate change mitigation

There is a long and comprehensive article on the above subject on WikiPedia. I will quote from the paragraph Needed emissions cuts.

If emissions remain on the current level of 42 GtCO2, the carbon budget for 1.5 °C could be exhausted in 2028. (That’s 42 gigatones, as in 1 gigaton is a unit of explosive force equal to one billion (109) tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT).

In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report on climate change, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030, in order to likely limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, clarified that for this “Main emitters must drastically cut emissions starting this year”.

Then just before that paragraph WikiPedia reports that: The UNFCCC aims to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems can adapt naturally to climate change, food production is not threatened, and economic development can proceed in a sustainable fashion. Currently human activities are adding CO2 to the atmosphere faster than natural processes can remove it.

We need to act now, otherwise…

… it will be too late for billions of us.

This may be the most catastrophic of our climate change facts. As of now, only 0.8% of the planet’s land surface has mean annual temperatures above 29°C, mostly in the Sahara desert and Saudi Arabia (solid black in the map below).

study by Xu et al. (2020) called “Future of the Human Niche” found that by 2070, under a high emissions scenario, these unbearable temperatures could expand to affect up to 3 billion people (dark brown areas).

Doing nothing is much worse than doing something

On the current path, climate change could end up costing us 11 to 14% of the global GDP by mid-century. Regression into a high emissions scenario would mean an 18% loss, while staying below 2°C would reduce the damage to only 4%. 

It has been proposed that ending climate change would take between $300 billion and $50 trillion over the next two decades. Even if $50 trillion is the price tag, that comes down to $2.5 trillion a year, or just over 3% of the global GDP. 

Climate change is an incredibly complex phenomenon, and there are many other things happening that were not covered above.

These are the facts. There is no disputing them. Jean and I are relatively immune from the effects, because of our ages, but not entirely so. The last few weeks with the imminent risk of our property being damaged by wildfires is one example. The last three winters being below average rainfall is another. But it is the youngsters I fear most for. On a personal note, my daughter and husband have a son and he is now 12. What sort of world is he growing up in?

So here is a view of the global population of young people.

Just before I close let me show you my final chart. It goes to show our attitudes.

I am not a political animal. However I recognise that it is our leaders, globally, but especially in the top 10 countries in the world, who have to be leaders! Here are the top 10 countries.

So, please, dear leader, make this the number one priority for your country and for the world (areas of their country in square kilometres): Russia. 17,098,242, Canada. 9,984,670, United States. 9,826,675, China. 9,596,961, Brazil. 8,514,877, Australia. 7,741,220, India. 3,287,263 and Argentina. 2,780,400.

Almost no post today.

We have a guest with us.

Plus, there is the potential for strong winds and possible spot fires in our neighbourhood. But I want to share the update from Inciweb issued yesterday morning:

Rum Creek Fire morning update for Monday, Sept. 5

Firefighters prepare for another windy dry spell

MERLIN, Ore. – Tomorrow’s weather will provide a test for the fire lines. If the fire stays within the current footprint, fire managers can be more confident that it will not escape the fire lines in the future. Rum Creek Fire will be under a Haines 6 tomorrow, the highest level on the index, indicating the greatest potential for rapid fire growth. Also, the National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for Tuesday afternoon and evening for the Rum Creek Fire area. The forecast calls for high temperatures, gusty winds and low relative humidity. 

The Haines Index is a tool used to estimate the effect of atmospheric dryness and stability on fire growth potential. When the atmosphere is unstable, windy conditions allow mixing of air near the ground with air higher in the atmosphere. This mixing provides ample fresh air flow to a fire, allowing it to burn freely and potentially grow rapidly and develop a smoke plume. These conditions are more likely to allow a fire to run or spot past fire lines.

In advance of this weather change, firefighters are working aggressively to contain more of the fire. Sunday night, crews completed the last of the planned tactical firing operations on the west side, tying lines from Mount Peavine north to the Rogue River. The large areas of unburned fuels between this primary line and the natural fire edge in the Rum Creek drainage are being closely monitored. At this time, the fire is steadily burning through this area, reducing the chance of fire running across the primary line or spotting north across the Rogue River.

On the east side, tactical firing is expected to be completed today near McKnabe Creek. Firefighters continue to mop up around the fire perimeter and near any structures, reducing the chance for fire to cross the primary lines. This hard work is reflected in the increase in containment to 34%.

Office of State Fire Marshal resources continue to mop up remaining hot spots near structures, cutting hazard trees, and patrolling areas along Galice Road. Firefighters are also working on structure assessment and pre-planning to the north and southeast of the fire. 

Fire personnel found three more burned structures, bringing the losses to two homes and four minor structures. These were destroyed during the fire’s rapid spread on August 26th and are in an area previously inaccessible to firefighters.

Evacuations: Existing evacuation orders and notifications remain in place. An interactive map showing evacuation levels according to address can be found at //JosephineCounty.gov/FireMap. For the most current evacuation information and resources, go to Josephine County Incident Information (rvem.org).

Road control: Josephine County Sheriff’s Office has established traffic access points around the fire zone. Road blocks are located at Galice Road near Crow Road; Galice Store; Bear Camp Road at Peavine (top intersection); Lower Grave Creek Road at Angora Creek (Grays Ranch); Quartz Creek Road about 3 miles up (end of County maintenance); Dutch Henry Road near Kelsey Creek (42 44’56.2/123 40’35.4); and Hog Creek at Galice Road. The National Guard is staffing the roadblocks. Only residents (must show proof of residency) and permitted users will be allowed through.

River status: The Wild section of the Rogue River below Grave Creek will remain open unless fire conditions warrant closure. River status is determined on a day-to-day basis. Please call 541-471-6535 for more information regarding Rogue River permits. No new boating permits will be issued at this time.

Still uncertain!

Just a brief update!

Rum Creek fire two days ago.

We have had gentle winds for Tuesday and Wednesday and there is good progress on the curtailment. So long as we don’t get more winds in the next 24 hours (writing this yesterday morning) then the firefighters will be able to keep up the good work.

The smoke has been bad and the whole area of Merlin and Grants Pass is affected.

But hopefully conditions will improve later on Thursday and more so on Friday.

The fire update, released around 10am yesterday, says:

MERLIN, Ore. – Overnight, the Rum Creek Fire pushed across the line on the east side of the fire near McKnabe Creek, burning several hundred acres. Resources are being shifted to this area to corral the slop-over and establish new control lines. An increase in fire activity is expected through Friday as the weather shifts to a hotter, drier pattern. Inversions are expected to lift earlier in the day, increasing temperatures and winds while reducing relative humidity.  

As of early this morning, the fire was already burning actively on the ridges. Firefighters are expecting potential spot fires, and have shifted resources to continue alternate contingency fire lines to the east.

Last night firefighters successfully conducted burnouts on the south edge of the fire near Taylor Creek, eliminating remaining fuels between the control lines and the fire’s edge. Today, they will work to secure the southeast corner of the fire working toward the north. Hose lays and pumps have been set up along many control lines, including those constructed near Stratton Creek.

On the west edge of the fire, burnout operations near Mount Peavine and the 34 road have secured more of the western edge, and crews built line from Taylor Gulch toward Chrome Ridge. Today, fire personnel will tie the line from Chrome Ridge north to Bear Gulch, and are working near Ridge Gulch. North of the Rogue River, the line tying to the Dad Creek Fire scar is expected to be completed today.

Firefighters working with the OSFM are assisting with active fire suppression as needed. They are also extinguishing all remanent heat spots found within 100 feet of buildings, and continuing to assess structures. Also they are making preparations to include clearing brush and installing sprinklers, to further develop structure protection.

It is starting to look as though an evacuation for us at Hugo Road is more and more unlikely.

Just one of those days!

There is no post for today!

Although I admit that having this come out at the usual time for a Tuesday rather flies in the face of that sub-heading!

But on Sunday evening Merlin was placed in the first zone of the evacuation instructions. This follows the rapidly expanding Rum Creek Fire that is just West of us. Depending on what defines as the actual location of the fire we are anything from 5 to 9 miles away. Our home is on Hugo Road, Merlin.

3-D map of the Rum Creek Fire, looking south-southwest at 9:45 p.m. Aug. 28, 2022.

The Rum Creek Fire 14 miles northwest of Grants Pass, Oregon has grown to 10,709 acres since it started from lightning on August 17. The fire is burning in very steep, remote, rugged terrain on both sides of the Rogue River. It has spread upriver to Galice and east to Stratton Creek. Spot fires have occurred two miles down range.

(Copied from Wildfire Today.)

So there you are!