Showing posts with label South Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Park. Show all posts

February 26, 2017

A Kid, a Dog (?), and the World's Greatest Cave Art

What he or she saw: lions and prey at Chauvet
Sometime, say 26,000 years ago or more, a kid and a canid (wolf? dog? wolf-dog?) went exploring  underground.
The human prints are of a barefooted child aged eight to ten years old and standing about 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) tall. The child was walking, not running, although at one point it appears that he or she slipped a little in the soft clay. Researchers know that the child carried a torch because there is evidence of him/her stopping at one point to clean the torch, leaving behind a stain of charcoal.

It is amazing to think of a Paleolithic kid exploring this ancient cave, examining the paintings and bear skulls that were placed reverently at the back of the cave. Even more amazing is that accompanying (not stalking) the child’s footprints are the paw prints of a wolf (or possibly a large dog). This timeless image of a child and dog shatters the notion that dogs were only domesticated 15,000 years ago. More importantly, the new time period radically alters the answer to how dogs became man’s best friend.
OTHER NEWS: 

There are more prairie dog towns in Colorado than we thought. But I am still sorry that my sister did not ever follow up on her plan to clandestinely reintroduce them in South Park, from where, she said, they had all been poisoned in the mid-20th century.

• Hunting writer Dave Petersen of Durango interviewed in High Country News.
When I interviewed Western writer David Petersen for a magazine article several years ago, I really only had one question to ask him: Could hunting be morally defended in the 21st century?

At a time when few people seem concerned about that question — either they’re already convinced that hunting is barbaric, or just the opposite, that it’s a right that ought to be exercised with as few restrictions and as easily as possible — Petersen has spent much of his life examining what it means to kill in order to eat.
More about his hunting-ethics documentary here.

New study revises tree-ring dating of archaeological sites.
Currently, archaeologists have to rely on relatively sparse evidence for dating the history of Western civilisation before 763 BCE, with Chinese history also only widely agreed from 841 BCE. For example, they depend on ancient records of rare astronomical phenomena, such as the solar eclipse during the ninth year of Ashur Dan III of Assyria, to determine the age of historical events. In the absence of such records, standard radiocarbon measurements provide the best estimates, but these are still often only accurate to within 200 to 300 calendar years. If the radiocarbon spikes in the tree-ring data were also found in archaeological items attributable to specific historical periods, the information could be used to anchor exactly when events occurred, says the paper.

November 28, 2016

Living "Free" in the Real South Park

Robert Dear's stationary RV in South Park (Colorado Springs Gazette)
It was around 1970 or a little earlier that someone subdivided several square miles of South Park, the altiplano of Colorado, at the foot of Wilkerson Pass, north of US 24.

The real-estate developer cut roads across the cold, dry, and windswept pasture land east of tiny Hartsel and put up green-and-white street signs with names like "San Juan Drive."

And then no one bought most of the lots (except for some more scenic, hillier ones) because they were cold, dry, and windswept.

I used to drive by there a lot when I lived in Manitou Springs, now not so much. So I missed its transformation into a "gritty" community of "RVs, Tuff Sheds and nylon tents," as the Colorado Springs Gazette describes it. 

The area came onto the media radar a year ago because Robert Dear, who shot up a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding five, had been living there in a permanently parked motor home, "equipped with solar panels, a wood stove and a ramshackle fence encircling a storage shed, chickens and a yapping dog."
Shelters started popping up within the past five years, but the situation compounded with the so-called "green rush" after recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, many residents say. . . .

The explosion in emergency calls is fueled by out-of-control trash fires, faulty generators and embers dumped in the woods, among other hazards, officials say.

Getting to the emergencies can be difficult, because many lack addresses.

"A lot of them are societal dropouts. They just don't want to be a part of it," [Hartsel Fire Protection District Chief Jay] Hutcheson said.
It is a harsh place to live. The Ute Indians came through only in the summers, while the early ranchers picked sites with more shelter and water. (Hartsel is on one fork of the South Platte River.) Five acres out on the flats — I would not want to live there year-around. Gardening is out of the question. The hot springs at Hartsel, developed commercially in the 1870s, have been closed for decades, so you can't even go soak off the grime.

We see this story played out elsewhere, and it's all "live free or die" until someone starts a forest fire. Or starts shooting. The "problem," if you define it as a problem — and should we? —  is not homelessness in the ordinary sense, because people can buy little acreages cheap. (No utilities.)  But then some of them turn into literal basket cases:
Two years ago, Hutcheson encountered a family of five living in a tent. While removing a woman on a stretcher, he said he "postholed in 3 ½ feet of snow" and fell backwards, fracturing a vertebra. "Surgery. Plates. Screws," he said in recounting the episode.

Other calls have brought his workers to places where people "are living in their own filth, with no sanitary precautions at all," he said.
The bureaucratic response, of course, is more regulation.

Maybe if you want to go West and re-invent yourself, all that is left are places like this.