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Prologue: And now for something completely different given the usual diaries that I post. I say 'unusual' without exaggeration, because this monument is conceivably the most singular in all respects. For one thing, the word "DUCK!" comes to mind, that is, when missiles launched from the nearby missile range track across the sky. For another, here are sand dunes that you can actually hike during the hottest weather and never, ever burn your footsies. Do you know why? Well, to find out that answer, and lots of other peripherally related information connected to this site, including the most famous (or by some accounts, infamous) big blast of all time, the first of its kind, this tour promises at least one thing: adventure. Do bring water, however, because anytime sun and sand are in the picture a psychological need for drinking water arises. Make that copious swallows of water.

Location/Geography: In central New Mexico, Western Otero and northeastern Dona Ana counties: Closest town: Alamogordo (Spanish for "cottonwood" or "big fat tree"). Area: 143,733 acres (224.5 square miles). Elevation 4,235 feet. Setting entirely within the Tularosa Basin Valley and ringed by the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains.

Spotlight: Gypsum sand dunes. Air Force testing missile range. Historical “Trinity ground zero” (premiere atomic bomb blast) as part of the sprawling monument.

Snapshot: White Sands NM with its glistening white setting was founded in 1936 and governed by the NPS, who later added to the monument's repertoire of scenic places. Today, White Sands comprises the southern sector of 275 square miles of dunes composed entirely of gypsum crystals. Located on the northernmost boundaries of White Sands Missile Range is the famous Trinity Site. During the mid-1940s, this sector of White Sands was used for detonation of the first atomic bomb (a/k/a/ "ground zero"). The site remains a popular tourist attraction when it's open and traffic jams are said to be nearly as awesome as the first atom bomb explosion, which was very small in relation to what followed.

Photo by arkdiscovery.com
(Continues after the fold.)

Guided Tour Essentials: In 1849, a party of U. S. Army officers explored the dunes while Mescalero Apaches were already living in the region. Later in 1861, Hispanic families formed small farming communities at Tularosa and two years later at La Luz. Toward the end of the 19th Century, a group from El Paso proposed calling the unusual site Mescalero Park, mainly as a game preserve. Instead, the Department of the Interior in tandem with the Secretary of the Interior worked out a different scheme: a national park. In 1933, President Herbert Hoover refused to go that far and declared, instead, that it receive a national monument protection status. Entirely surrounded by military installations (White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base), this gorgeous setting has always had a dubious relationship with the military (errant missiles off course and causing damage, or jet noise conflicting with White Sands' otherwise tranquil setting). At one time, White Sands was proposed as a World Heritage Site (in 2008); however, the idea met with opposition by locals and the military. (The answer for such opposition should also be patent!)

Despite such relative and close proximity to the national monument, there is still a lot of terrain to hike and explore.

Some folks might also enjoy just sitting and taking in the view from these makeshift shaded pavilion outposts. . .

Of course, any shade during the heat of day is preferable to typical sun glare that reflects and radiates from this so-called white desert. . .

Of course, for those who simply can't abide with the heavy heat, there's always A/C places to hang out and peruse the many displays and learn about the monument's many fascinating facets. . .

By evening, the sun turns down its lamp, the dry air dissipates it heavy heat, and the sunsets over the monument are simply outrageous to see and admire. . .

Flora And Fauna: Some people believe no living critter could possibly exist and endure in such a formidable environment. However, creatures large and small can and will survive in such a typically desiccated environment, including the oryx, which is one of a few large antelope species. Because these handsome unicorn-like critters (make that bi-corn) have no natural predators, they tend to be invasive and populate the region. Naturally, they compete with native species for forage. (In other words, oryx were originally introduced into this landscape by humans.) In recent years, hunters from all over the world apply for permits to help cull the ranks of oryx herds.)

In addition to the hardy plants (mostly yuccas) and trees and wild grass that manages to anchor roots and thrive throughout the monument, there are other critters that are commonly seen. Biologists classify both plants and animals as drought resistant, meaning each species is able to compete and hold its own given the usual arid conditions throughout the monument.

Blue whiptail lizard
White lizard
Beetle (species unknown, mea culpa)

Geology: Gypsum, from the Greek word chalk or plaster, is popularly known as plaster of Paris (drywall in the construction industry). Gypsum (chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O is a very soft mineral composed of calcium sulfate (dihydrate). As a common mineral, gypsum has multiple uses in industry, with foot creams and shampoos chief among them. Its thick, extensive evaporite beds are associated with sedimentary rocks, and its deposits often occur in strata from the early Permian Age (from 300 to 250 million years ago). These deposits are in lake and sea water, but also hot springs (from volcanic vapors and sulfate solutions found in veins). Hydrothermal anhydrite (also in veins) is commonly hydrated to gypsum by groundwater (in near surface exposures) and often associated with the minerals halite and sulfur. The presence of gypsum throughout the monument is an oddity because, as a water-soluble substance, it is so rarely found as sand. The reason for this happening is rain would dissolve the mineral. Since the Tularosa Basin has no outlet to the sea, dissolved gypsum from the surrounding mountains is trapped within the basin. Either the rain sinks into the ground or forms shallow pools that subsequently dry out. This leaves surface gypsum in a crystalline form called selenite. Gypsum can be granular or very compact. It can also be transparent-to-opaque. Gypsum forms some of the largest crystals found in nature (called "selenite"). Indeed, if left alone for thousands of years, crystals can grow into huge translucent specimens more than 30 feet tall, such as these in the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Photo by Javier Trueba (but I think taken with creative sizing for the sake of a visual demonstration. . .)

Bonus Details: How did the area get so much gypsum? During the last great ice age, which represents the Pleistocene (110,000 to 10,000 years ago), Lake Otero covered much of the Tularosa Basin. When it dried out, it left an extensive exposed flat area of selenite crystals now called Alkali Flat. Yet another lake, Lucero, at the southwest corner of the monument became a dry lake bed at the lowest points of the basin. Occasionally it fills with water here at Alkali Flat and along Lake Lucero's shoreline. Otherwise, the ground is covered with selenite crystals that can reach lengths of up to 3 feet. Weathering and natural erosion eventually break the crystals into sand-size grains which are in turn carried away by prevailing winds from the southwest. Erosion therefore creates the impressive white sand dunes. Naturally, the dunes tend to move with the shifting winds, slowly reaching downwind. Some of the more hardy plant species covered by the shifting sands manage to grow quick enough to avoid being altogether buried by the dunes.

Exploring The Dunes: From the entrance, the Dunes Drive covers 8 miles into the monument. There are four well-marked trails to explore by foot. For the more vigorous visitors, the dunes can be used for downhill sledding. Because gypsum, unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, its mineral does not convert the sun's energy into heat. (Now you know the answer to the opening question about walking barefoot on the dunes.) Visitors can therefore feel comfortable walking the dunes in their bare feet regardless how hot the weather gets during the summer.

Footprints in the sand. . .

Even horses won't burn their tootsies. . .

Cautionary Advice: Heads up! White Sands National Monument lies completely within the White Sands Missile Range. Both the monument and U. S. Route 70 (between Las Cruces and Alamogordo) are sometimes subject to closure for safety reasons when tests are conducted. The average is about two missile tests a week, and each lasts anywhere from one to two hours.

Thus visitors have ample warning about where they can go, as well as when they can go. . .

Where it is permissible to visit, there is plenty of stuff to see. . .what some might call the backbone of homeland missile defense security. . .

Of course, the missiles fly high overhead and there’s really no need to duck, though the noise and exhaust trails may be exciting to hear and see.

Those A-Bomb Folks From The 40s: I suggest reading a biography on Robert Oppenheimer, who played a key role inventing the atomic bomb; also, watch the movie Fat Man and Little Boy, which is a narrative about the science of the atomic bomb and where it was tested and later used in war. On December 21, 1965, the 51,500-acre (20,800 ha) area Trinity Site was declared a National Historic Landmark district and, on October 15, 1966, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site remains a popular destination for those interested in atomic tourism, though it is only open to the public twice a year during open houses, on the first Saturdays of April and October. (No worries; the fallout from radiation.)

On July 16, 1945, the 'gadget' was exploded at 05:29:21 (plus or minus 2 seconds) local time (Mountain War Time) with an energy equivalent to around 20 kilotons of TNT (84 TJ). It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet deep and 1,100 feet wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated "brighter than daytime" for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as "being as hot as an oven" at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. The shock wave was felt over 100 miles away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches." Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

At the time, the secret weapon was known only as "the gadget."

As seen from this historical archive photo, it was truly an epic and terrifying sight to behold:

A blast 'bubble burst' 16 ms after detonation
Then came the towering mushroom blast and cloud
The only color photo of the first atomic bomb explosion
Words can't quite describe what went on here in the late 1940s...but the blast officially inaugurates what Pink Floyd dubbed "Atom Birth Babies" (that's everyone of us since).

Of course, the recipients of the gadget were literally blasted in kingdom come, whose memorials today hopefully remind all of us the consequence of an atomic-nuclear war is nothing less than hell on Earth:

Lest we forget the ultimate and initial purpose for the gadget and what Oppenheimer's quote had wrought: the Hiroshima Memorial.
Nagasaki: "Ground Zero" memorial.

Besides the horror and haunting of this world-famous test site, there are reminders (actual displays and pictures) everywhere of what the embryonic atomic research and legacy looked like some sixty years ago (in its making). . .

The McDonald Ranch House where the plutonium "gadget" was assembled.

Directions: Visitor Center is located on Hwy. 70, 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo and 52 miles east of Las Cruces. From Carlsbad, follow Hwy. 82 through the Sacramento Mountains.

Contact Information: White Sands National Monument, P. O. Box 1086, Holloman AFB NM 88330. Phone (park information): 575-679.2599. No fax. Email embedded in NPS site’s URL (click on “Email Us”)

Parting shots:

Sand, mountains and clouds. . .

And so, DKos community, we come to the end of another trail, another armchair tour. There will be other scenic places to tour and more supplemental topics to read and think about, so stay tuned for a continuation in this series.

As always, your thoughtful commentaries are welcomed.

Rich
http://www.nmstarg.com/...
http://www.grandcanyon.org/...

FYI: For a list of all diaries posted to date, please see the growing inventory by clicking on my profile or by dialing in this URL: http://www.dailykos.com/...

Also, if commenting on an older diary, please send an email to my profile account. That way I am sure to notice it and respond in a timely manner. Gracias. Also, feel free to use this diary's information, or any other diary that I’ve posted, but it would appreciated if you can site the original source. Gracias.

All photos, unless otherwise indicated, are educational in purpose and intent and are taken from the Creative Commons contributors site. Ergo, the URL’s are embedded into the diary as licensure for non-commercial use only (i.e., “Fair Use” policy).

Originally posted to History for Kossacks on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My daughter says one of the most beautiful (17+ / 0-)

    scenes she's ever experienced is camping at White Sands National Monument on a full-moon night. She and her friend carried their tents and gear a fair distance from where they parked the car and she said it was so bright they didn't need additional light. Magical.

    The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:27:30 AM PDT

    •  full moon nights. . . (11+ / 0-)

      I had a similar experience, but also lizards messing about my sleeping bag (I NEVER use a tent!). Of course, what sleep? I mean, that big, yellowish orb was in my eyes for most of the night. Agreeing with your daughter, it is quite the outdoors experience camping out in the monument and seeing a big, fat and full moon so close you can almost reach out and touch it. Almost! If she has any pics of that camping experience and wants to share. . .post 'em on this commentator's site, because I think the DKos community will enjoy sharing the experience (vicariously), of course. Thanks for posting your comment, Hanging Up My Tusk!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:47:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Her camping experience at WS was approx 25 years (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, Larsstephens

        ago and any photos she might have (I've never seen any of this particular trip) are non-digital and packed so far away it would take months to unearth. Other than that, I'd love to post photos. That area is spectacular and I think those seeing it for the first time are dumbfounded at the purity and brightness of the dunes.

        Thanks for writing and posting this series on our national parks. Great opportunity for us to see those out-of-the-way parks we might never have a chance to visit in person.

        The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

        by Hanging Up My Tusks on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 12:14:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was too chicken to camp here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, qofdisks

        I was afraid of snakes and other critters and was alone. Too bad. I bet the sky show was unbelievable on a moonless and cloudless night.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:26:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. just like in the winter up north with snow. (4+ / 0-)

      We had last full moon of the winter.  It is so amazing at night when you outside.

      •  what is it about full moons. . . (4+ / 0-)

        do you think? Spiritual? Human and animal instinct? What about so-called "Biological time?" I'm thinking the latter, but I also think, as you and most others do, full moons are dreamy and magical. Thanks for posting (again).

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:37:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably because full moons give you a glimpse of (4+ / 0-)

          a world that is usually shrouded in darkness.

          In areas without a lot of light pollution, it can be truly magical.  

          •  and that'll work. . . (4+ / 0-)

            as in, "Mr. Moon. . .you light up my life!" Well, you know. Bortles Dark Sky places, like Natural Bridges and Death Valley, are magical given the intensity of the cosmos over such places. I remember when I was living in Prescott (Arizona), before moving, first, to Blue Diamond (Nevada), then to Tucson, and god knows everywhere else since. . .how wonderful Prescott's night show was. It sits at about a mile-high in the atmosphere, and of course the closest and largest city is Phoenix; it's also in the mountain country, and somewhat dry. So, that's one of the reasons why night-sky observation, especially for DSO's, was always epic. Haven't seen anything like it since I took a couple of astronomy courses, at Kitt Peak.

            Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

            by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 11:19:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Prescott...somewhat dry....LOL. (3+ / 0-)

              Sounds like you've spent a bit of time enjoying the wonders of the southwest. When I lived in Louisiana I remember talking with someone who'd driven through the southwest and this person said, "There's nothing to see there." Au contraire, you can see EVERYTHING there.

              The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

              by Hanging Up My Tusks on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 12:19:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  nothing to see in the Southwest. . . (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest, helpImdrowning

                that's anything like the rest of the country. I think that person should've added that much. Do you think? Well, it's not bayou country, that's for sure and damn certain. HA!

                Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

                by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 12:21:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A couple of weeks prior to this conversation, my (4+ / 0-)

                  partner and I had taken a trip to the northwestern corner of Arkansas and had been driving in the Beaver Lake area (gorgeous country) where you literally couldn't see the forest for the trees. Big contrast with the southwest where there are precious few forests to see. That said, beauty to behold in every corner of our globe if your eyes and mind are open to appreciation.

                  The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

                  by Hanging Up My Tusks on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 02:47:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Gorgeous full moon out tonight here in NY (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        Makes one want to howl.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:28:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if you don't howl loud enough. . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, RiveroftheWest, greengemini

          kovie, then how are you going to find the pack you belong to??? Send us a picture. And where, in New York, are you harbored? If that full moon is what I first saw anchored over the  Adirondack profile . . . make way for me . . . it was so gorgeous in its creamy appearance it made me think. . .am I on the planet, Earth, or somewhere else? (Hope I spelled that mountain range key-recklee!)

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:50:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nah, down in more prosaic Queens (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, greengemini

            Although there are racoons, feral chickens and a small woods nearby.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:13:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  hey. . .it's wildlife of a sort...right? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kovie

              thanks, kovie, and living in prosaic Queens. . .that has to be good enough. Look at all that humanity you're exposed to on any given day. And those raccoons will always keep you honest regarding what you do or don't do with your trash and such. Or outdoor cat or dog feed. I love those bandits. In the Grand Canyon we have an even slicker raccoon-type, called a "ringtail cat" (related to raccoons, but craftier and far more adaptable due to the heavy heat of the inner canyon). Check 'em out online and see the pics. They are rascals to the max. Anyway, I love all creatures great and small (that's why a lot of my field institute student-trekkers sometimes called me "Doc Suess, the second!).

              Get out in those 'small woods' more often, because sometimes doing the Thoreau thing is all that we have to bridge our reality with imaginations and dreaming. . .Nature's bounty and all that stuff.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:20:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Trust me, I do (0+ / 0-)

                I've always been lucky with living near parks and nature. Even when I lived in the concrete jungle of Manhattan years ago, I was a block from Central Park and its (admittedly mostly man-made) "wilderness", that in some sections actually felt like real wilderness, with red-tailed hawks and black squirrels.

                I think I've seen ringtails in zoos. Are they related to red pandas?

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:21:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  nope. . .they're raccoons. . . (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kovie

                  only a slimmer species and they can climb straight up the Vishnu schist or granite walls. They also sleep all day and raise hell all night long. . .backpacker's are their favorite people of all. Go figure why. Concrete jungle, eh? I lived in Paris for a long time and none of that concrete canyon country there. But what would the Big Apple be without its tall buildings and such?

                  Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

                  by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:17:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Paris lacks NYC's tall buildings for the most part (0+ / 0-)

                    But it's a different sort of urban jungle, in its case one of monumental history, political, cultural and literal. You can't walk through it without feeling at least somewhat oppressed or at least overwhelmed by its history and the unhumble character of its architecture, which as beautiful and interesting as it often is was clearly intended to impress and intimidate and make you know your place.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:34:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  If you go to White Sands (10+ / 0-)

    Just to the east, the Sacramento Mountains rise up, and you can drive from desert flatlands to alpine terrain in less than an hour. The contrast is impressive, as the road follows a relatively lush river valley on its way to Cloudcroft and Elk at over 8000'.

    Carlsbad Caverns is another natural wonder in this region.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:08:25 AM PDT

    •  Carlsbad and the like. . . (5+ / 0-)

      I have a diary ready to go next week on that very place. Glad you mentioned it, though. That drive up to the cooler terrain is also a good idea. Thanks for mentioning it. Cloudcroft and Ruidiso is, of course, the most populated metropolises in that part of the state. I'd even suggest driving extra mileage to Lincoln. That's one of my favorite Old West towns.

      So, thanks for adding that good info the diary, elfling. Got any more ideas? Send 'em along.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:35:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed, we did this as a loop (4+ / 0-)

        one year, one way to Carlsbad through Cloudcroft, one way thru the Texas panhandle. Cloudcroft is objectively "better," in terms of pleasant scenery, but I highly recommend the experience of the panhandle drive as well. ;-)

        When possible, I recommend taking different routes, when there is the time. It is truly amazing how many different corners there are to these United States, how many places and microclimates and microcommunities there are out there that you've never heard of, that you'll find.

        For example, I've driven I-15 and I-40 more times than I can count, and even done a fair amount of destinations along those roads. And yet, the one time we took a little detour just 5 miles off the main highway, to explore an obscure trail, it was a whole different world. The fragility and life in the desert crust is an amazing thing to behold.

        I also drive California north to south with some frequency, and every once in a while I take the time to drive some new road. (Shockingly, this is still possible for me.) Again, it is just such a pleasure of discovery to find what is behind those hills first hand. :-) Even doing a familiar road at a new time of year is special.

        There are so many incredible places out there that aren't national monuments or state parks... though I still have a lot of state parks (etc) to get to!

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 01:27:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  those other not so popular places. . . (4+ / 0-)

          well, I'm into that, elfling. I don't know if you're a hiker or a backpacker, though I've racked up thousands of miles doing both, but here in New Mexico, particularly away from city life and such, you can walk one, maybe two miles, and be in the most fantastic country, ever. It's not even protected. I'm thinking the Rio Puerco landscape, say, en route to the Jemez Mountains. I have driven those roads quite a lot, well, I used to, then stopped, put on my backpack and was enthralled with the scenery, the wildlife, the solitude, the silence. All those places you mentioned, and of course, driving slow and easy to make sure the sense perceptions take it all in. . .everyone of those places are special. The Gila Wilderness is also one of my favorites. Anyway, I could go on and on about this, and so could you, but point taken: find the slow roads in life, folks, take your time and explore out of the way places that aren't heavy with foot traffic. And why not break the routine of a driving habit now and again and take a different? Indeed! Thanks for the lovely comment and posting.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 03:02:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Copyright (5+ / 0-)

    You need improvement on this matter. I think perhaps you are conflating Creative Commons with Public Domain. Typically, Creative Commons includes a requirement for credit. That doesn't mean announcing all (or most) of the pictures are Creative Commons. It means giving appropriate, specific credit for each image. It's not a lot for the creator of an image to ask: give credit.

    Put another way: If it's my pictures in the Creative Commons, I want credit that I took the picture. My name attached to the picture I took. Not a blanket statement that it's Creative Commons. It's not just a matter of legality, it's a matter of respect for whoever took the pictures.

    Pictures created at taxpayer expense by government agencies are generally public domain, as opposed to Creative Commons. Even so, they generally ask for attribution, too. And considering how much anti-government BS gets spewed around by the Tea Party &c, it's a good idea to give credit where credit's due for government agencies.

    It's easy enough to do, too. When you upload your pictures to the DKos image library, you just add the source under attribution, and it will be automatically included when you add it to the diary. It requires a little bit of effort, but nothing compared to if you went out and took the pictures yourself.

    So, for example: I'm guessing your first picture came from the National Park Service. If you had put that info in the image library's meta section, it would automatically show on the little black band at the bottom of the image, which now pops up to say "attribution: None Specified."

    It's not that hard to get it right, or at least mostly right. Since you seem to be in the habit of posting diaries using images you didn't make yourself, it's worth taking the time to do it right. That bit at the end about "fair use" doesn't make sense. Furthermore, your "intent" isn't an acceptable excuse for not giving attribution to the pictures.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:16:57 AM PDT

    •  Agreed completely. (6+ / 0-)

      Photo use has always been a little loose at this site - I wish I could say I've been 100% consistent - but it's especially important with these photo-heavy diaries that some attribution is given.

      To the diarist: Creative Commons or not, you still have to give attribution in order to comply with Fair Use.  Someone did take these photos, after all.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:04:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  am in agreement. . . (6+ / 0-)

        with your comments and I think more and more the site is clearing up this ubiquitous problem. If not using my own or other agreement-types of photos, I always embed those names in the photos (if Creative Commons) and that DOES give credit to the folks who take the shots. Just scroll over the picture and copy the image and voila. Anyway, thanks for posting the comment. I have been working with a site coordinator on the matter and his clarity on the subject speaks volumes (as does yours).

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:26:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is one reason I rarely -- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, RiveroftheWest, Don Enrique

        if ever -- post photos in a diary, I'm amazingly confused about what the appropriate way to handle all this is.

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:51:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was told how to do it. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, Don Enrique

          and when using Creative Commons photos, those that are not used for commercial use, embedding the name source is gud enuf. I believe the site administrator's are also working on a universal agreement, which, of course, should be in effect (though it's plainly not) and hang on for the ride. I hear from others that it's something all picture-posters, as it were, should be doing. Of course, that's not the case then, is it? Thanks for posting your comment on the matter.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 11:16:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is the Trinity site open broadly or is it still (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don Enrique, RiveroftheWest

    only two days a year.

    New Mexico is pretty part of the US, even though some people don't realize it is part of the US.

    •  geesh. . .twice a year visits. . . (4+ / 0-)

      and I sure hope I posted that info on the diary. IF not, I think it is always the FIRST SATURDAY in APRIL and OCTOBER. If you do go, keep in mind it's one hellava traffic jam, and people start lining up the day before! It's that popular. Oh, and I love your comment, NEW MEXICO IS A PRETTY PART OF THE US (even though some people don't realize it is part of the US). You would be surprised how many people think differently on the matter. Indeed, I was once in Penn. filling the tank, my own car, with NM tags, and was chatting with the lady behind the counter, who upon asking where I was from (which I always tell folks, "From my mother!"). . .she said I have a very good English accent. (I didn't bother telling her this is Americ, and so it's more the case of an American accent). Anyway, I told her "Gracias! and then "Adios." What the hell, I had to play that hand, don't you think? Thanks for posting your comment NeverThere.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:23:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you did post it. I missed it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        that is what I get for reading Kos during a Conference Call.(Kos was more interesting than the call.)

      •  Two weeks until the next opportunity (0+ / 0-)

        I went last October. It's mind-expanding. I didn't know about the Ibex, though.

        Hmmm. Wonder if the Ibex are the source of the parasite that's devastating bighorn herds in southern NM and far west TX?

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 03:40:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a question for you. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest

          have you thought about submitting your theory, about the parasites devastating the bighorn herds, as traceable to that wonderful twin-horn beastie? I think you may have something there, and would you possibly be a biologists, by trade (or even interest)? Such connections have been traced to other indigenous critters, plants and trees, as caused by introduced alien species, whatever, and your point makes damn good sense. If you don't approach the scientists with this information, do you mind if I do (and cite your source for doing so)? You see, I have no experience to carry forth given what you suggest, BlackSheep1. But thank you so much for submitting this added comment.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:44:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a biologist, thanks, though I once hoped to be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            an epidemiologist for Texas Department of Health.

            I'm just a fifty-something Texan brought up on a farm and upset at the loss of our native bighorns, really. But it might be something other than the ibex, too; it's not like they're the only "exotic game" species we've ever brought to Texas or the Southwest. If your state has a health department with some zoonosis folks, they'll be able to point you at the right people to get an answer.

            I know a few years back the population crash had the TWPD working overtime to find a cause. Now we're in another multi-year killer drought, so it may be worse.

            Please, pursue whatever avenues you can think of -- state game folks, or state health department, or a veterinarian you know, or somebody in ag science and wildlife management down at Sul Ross State University in the Big Bend, or somebody -- heck, I dunno, somebody at Los Alamos?

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:19:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  actually, I have already begun. . . (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, BlackSheep1

              the process, by sending out emails to some of the sources you just mentioned, but a few people I know (who are scientists, though not in this field) who also know other scientists in related fields. The U of T (Austin, right?) is another source I contacted and I am sure their departments of agriculture and such will have loads of information on this problem. Like you, I am a big desert Bighorn groupie. We have very healthy herds in the Grand Canyon, mainly because there is no predation on their species, and so far there are no outbreaks of any infectious diseases culling their rank and file. I likely will get back in touch with you at your profile email address given whatever I find. Feel free to contact me the same way and we can discuss our mutual interest. You sound like a very interesting person, given your field of study, and I am glad to have met you in such a way as merely posting a diary, then reading comments from a variety of folks, like you, who have 'learned' me a thing or two or three.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:15:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Glad to hear it. I think I'll drop a line to a (0+ / 0-)

                vet who still works for DSHS in Canyon.

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:57:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  and let me know what you find out. . . (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlackSheep1, RiveroftheWest

                  OK? Your friend, the vet, may have some answers. I'm meeting my friend for lunch, tomorrow, who is also my cat's vet, and I think he can also enlighten me to the problem and possible solutions.

                  Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

                  by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:14:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll do that, if you will. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiveroftheWest

                    He's referred the question to a colleague at the regional Department of State Health Services office out in El Paso.

                    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                    by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 03:13:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  I visited there when I was a teenager (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don Enrique, qofdisks, Jean Sloan

    and had a great time 'surfing' down the dunes on a waxed board.  An amazing place - and your pictures are gorgeous!

    •  bet you didn't burn your tootsies. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don Enrique

      having fun like that. And, of course, I'm guessing you and everyone else in the DKos community knows why White Sands gypsum sands don't burn, even in the heat of the day! Thanks for posting your comment, kathny.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:16:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  About 35 years ago I got lost day hiking (5+ / 0-)

    at White Sands National Monument before there was a system of trails there.....and it took me until well after midnight to finally find and locate where I camped.

    I had hiked all the way to the first dune facing the sand flat area/joint use area, and I got lost on the way back through the dunes.

    •  just wanted you to know. . . (5+ / 0-)

      people STILL get lost hiking there. Someone, in fact, perished not too long ago. And of course, when you hike with little or no water, even on a cool to tepid day, you're asking for trouble. By the way, I teach a hellava backpacking orienteering (topo and compass) course, and wilderness survival. HA! Well, I used to when I was running the field institute treks. Now I think I forgot everything except one cardinal rule: never leave the house with dirty underwear! I mean, isn't that what moms always used to tell their kids before going out to play? Thanks for posting your scary comment. We're all glad in this community you didn't get lost because your posted commentaries are always interesting!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this, richholtzin. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Do you have anything planned for Monahans Sand Dunes or the Roswell/Carlsbad region?

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 03:41:14 PM PDT

    •  Carlsbad. . .yes. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, BlackSheep1

      coming up next week if someone in this community doesn't first cancel my ticket for posting same. The Monahans Sand Dunes, alas, I am not that familiar with, that is, to write a diary on same. How about if I look at the subject matter and at least study and consider posting a diary some day, BlackSheep1? I sense a passion and interest in you for even recommending it, and how I love and respect passion from others given what they enjoy learning and hearing about. I also enjoy the challenge of learning something new. I am mostly a Colorado Plateau hiking fool, and if memory serves, these sand dunes are somewhere in Texas???

      Anyway, thank you for posting your comments and suggestions. Carlsbad should be posted sometime next week. Kartchner Caverns, I assure you, won't be too far in the future, depending on how the community relates to the much larger Carlsbad Caverns (and, of course, bats and spelunking of a sort).

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:31:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes, "somewhere in Texas" ... but they reach (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        up toward New Mexico north -- skips and outcrops on both sides of Kermit and clean out nearly to Ft. Bliss. Gypsum sand.

         TPWD has a park there, but if I were a geology buff (instead of a parks buff, generally; if you haven't been there yet, go to Balmorhea sometime. The cienega will give you a whole new perspective on deserts and water) I'd be thinking the dunes are similar to White Sands.  

        You'd be doing me a favor, writing something on Carlsbad. Should the Sand Dunes or the Guadalupe Mountains draw your interest, I'd be obliged to read those tours, too.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:33:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll add it to my list. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, BlackSheep1

          your encouragement to get me to the Kermit, Texas area. That place I know about because my former boss, at the U. S. Forest Service, had this appellation for a first name. I have been meaning to get back to Big Bend, anyway, so what's a detour here and there, just to see more dune country? And, yes, Balmorhea and the Cienega, I know about. I'm a desert and canyon rat, besides. Something fascinates about such a living, yet in a way, sterile, environment. And by the way, I have decided to post Carlsbad, the diary, tomorrow. One of our community contributors, a Rescue Ranger, mentioned this and other places in that vicinity, and to take the slow roads to see the wonder of such places.  I am finishing the research today and will get on that posting by tomorrow sometime; maybe 9, and maybe as late as 3. Anyway, thank you so much for the tips and the embedded information. And, yes, the Sand Dues, like the Guadalupe Mountains does peak my interest. I climbed those 'dry' mountains one time and damn near ran out of water. A lovely view from the summit, let me tell you. Gorgeous country all the way around.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:11:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  when my kids were high-schoolers, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            we went out to the Caverns on a weekend jaunt. You could see all the way to Guadalupe Peak from the Cavern's upper parking area.

            Can't do it now. Too much junk in the atmosphere. Over the last several years, the daylight view towards Juarez from El Paso has deteriorated, too. I think it's the coal plants.

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 03:57:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  fossil fuel and a carbon-buildup. . . (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, BlackSheep1

              a double whammy for this ailing planet, yet people turn a blind eye (and a somewhat blurred vision) to such stuff as needs to be done. . .alternative energy sources, for instance. When I first popped on the Colorado Plateau scene in 1970, the acuity of any given view on a clear day was around 110 miles. From the eastern shores of the Grand Canyon that huge, round and black laccolith, Navajo Mountain, was plainly visible on the horizon. I think the average viewing distance today is something like 60 miles. So, your thoughts on the matter are received at this end, BlackSheep1. Thanks for posting the memories of a time way back when. . .etc.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:01:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Super diary & series...nitpickers notwithstanding (4+ / 0-)

    I used to think I had been around the country quite a bit in my time. No more! Every time I read one of your tour diaries, I am blown away by the beauty and diversity of our country and especially the Southwest. What makes your diaries so interesting to me is the combination of your unique and extensive academic and personal knowledge of the region, competent and interesting writing (with a sense of humor), and maps and photos that bring it all to life. When I finished reading this one, like all the others, I wanted to go there tomorrow!

    If you posted these diaries without photos or maps, I regret to speculate that the readership would dramatically decline. I do not quite understand why a couple of folks want to detract from these research and educational diaries by bringing up what seem to be non-issues about photos? In fact, the current thread complaint is not even about copyright, but about attribution which is easily fixed as you note.  And why make a public issue out of it? I believe the personal messaging feature on DKos works just fine for such matters. Anyway, keep up the great diaries and don't let the detractors diminish for one minute your enthusiasm and your dedication to increasing this community's knowledge and appreciation for this great country.  

    •  my appreciation, Don Enrigue. . . (0+ / 0-)

      for your thoughts on this matter. I think it is in some people's nature to fly the pseudo flag of their presumed power and control over others. I have explained my position to others about this sordid nonsense that should have been administered on a higher level, yet someone has a beef and wants to punish. That being said, any more complaints from this person and I withdraw my frequent diaries and will avoid the quagmire and the argumentation. It is simply not my way, though, I think, Land of Enchantment, seems to take this crusade in a personal way that ultimately falls on her shoulders. She risks much by complaining about such a matter. I do not have the patience for such people or such triflings. Mea culpa. But thanks to you and many others in the community for such support given the import of this niche market I seemed to have stumbled onto, and may just soon stumble away from.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:25:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a description of the first atom bomb (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Don Enrique, JayBat

    explosion, as described by William L. Laurence in the New York Times in 1945:

    The Atomic Age began at exactly 5:30 Mountain War Time on the morning of July 16, 1945, on a stretch of semi-desert land about 50 airline miles from Alamogordo, N.M., just a few minutes before the dawn of a new day on that part of the earth.
        Just at that instant there rose from the bowels of the earth a light not of this world, the light of many suns in one. It was a sunrise such as the world had never seen, a great green super-sun climbing in a fraction of a second to a height of more than 8,000 feet, rising ever higher until it touched the clouds, lighting up earth and sky all around with a dazzling luminosity.
        Up it went, a great ball of fire about a mile in diameter, changing colors as it kept shooting upward, from deep purple to orange, expanding, growing bigger, rising as it was expanding, an elemental force freed from its bonds after being chained for billions of years. For a fleeting instant the color was unearthly green, such as one sees only in the corona of the sun during a total eclipse. It was as though the earth had opened and the skies had split...."  
    Link

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:24:42 PM PDT

    •  your comments. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, ybruti

      and what a comment and cited source, at that. You see, ybruti, you have hit on exactly the reason I write diaries for this community: to fulfill and enrich my own repository of information shared. In this case, what a Post Scrip this man's view on things. I find it incredible your comment does not receive a hundred-fold "tips" given the merit of what you shared with all of us. You humble me. I have never heard or read of this report until then. Thank you. And thank you for sharing this comment with all of us.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:20:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rich, I've used this description many times (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don Enrique, RiveroftheWest

        in English classes for different purposes, but I never knew the author until today.  I googled "from the bowels of the earth a light not of this world..." and found many references including the date of the NYT article: Sept. 26, 1945. The entire piece was in a much more recent book. As for the writer: William L. Laurence (1888-1977) was an

        American journalist who co-founded the National Association of Science Writers (1934). In Apr 1945, he was appointed official journalist of the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico to report on the Manhattan Project. He wrote many of the first official press releases about nuclear weapons, and was the only journalist to attend the Trinity atomic bomb test in Jul 1945. Link

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:05:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ah blessings. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, ybruti

          I am going to jump right on this one, ybruti, and will love reading more about what you initially brought up (given the big blast of the 40s). I don't know why I am so doggone fascinated with that era and that huge blast, but I am. I guess, too, it was like a birth of a kind, an atomic birth, that changed everything from there on, and of course introduced the cliche of the "Atomic world." One of my student's father's (when I was teaching guitar and music theory here in the Burqy region) was a scientist at LANL (Los Alamos) and had connections with someone down there and we took a drive to White Sands (an over nighter) and he got us into the Trinity site. . .without the usual millions of others crowding to the site twice a year). I remember standing in that huge blast era and I swear. . .I swear I heard everything that was spoken by the scientists that day (in my head, of course) and then heard and felt and saw the blast. It was so quiet there; so haunting, and it had a very strange and powerful effect on me. . .that austere silence and the replication going on inside my head. Anyway, thank you so much for sending this information to me. I really do appreciate your effort and comments on the matter.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:04:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  My granny was an operator (3+ / 0-)

      for AT&T in Alamogordo when that went down.  I can only imagine the kind of calls she got.  My dad grew up there though he hated it.  He did take us to White Sands in any event and I must say, it is an incredible treasure.  Thanks for reminding me about it.

      "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

      by emobile on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:05:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  your treasured memories. . . (3+ / 0-)

        of your granny. I take it that was long ago and I think Alamogordo is still a sleepy time hamlet. Certainly, no industry down there except military affairs and tourism. Well, maybe cattle rustling. (Use to be case at the turn of the century and the history of that entire region makes for a great read. If I can find the book title about same, which was one of my very favorite New Mexico history books, I'll send it along to you by your profile's email. Give your connection with your granny and your experience in that neck of the sandy woods. . .I think you'll enjoy reading it. For I know, she and your dad are likely part of that narrative.) Thanks for posting your comment, emobile.

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:58:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this series! (3+ / 0-)

    We should have stopped there on our way to Roswell and Carlsbad.

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:32:44 PM PDT

    •  the road goes both ways. . . (3+ / 0-)

      boran2. . .and I think you will make it back this way. Some day. By the way, I haven't heard too much about the Trinity facet of this story, but trust me. . .it is the reason, the only reason, I wrote this diary. There needs to be tribute on both sides of that fence. And, of course, none of us can say what our lives would not have been without the birthing of the Atomic Age, like it or not. In short, the horrors of war have also introduced a betterment to humankind. Behold medical science and its achievements in such a regard. As always, thank you for your enriching comments.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  pictures (3+ / 0-)

    I agree with Don Enrique - I don't think it is appropriate to chastise someone who is willing to take the time and effort (lots of both!) to share with all of us these wonderful places. If you have a problem with the attributes (or lack of), I feel it is not necessary to criticize the writer in front of everyone. Why not send a personal email so that the rest of us don't have to be subjected to your rants about photos. Thanks for letting me vent. I want to thank richholtzin for your good nature in the way you respond to these complaints as well. What the hell? (Love this diary too - we drove by the area several years ago, but were hit with the no-entry allowed at this time sign.)

    •  my thanks. . . (3+ / 0-)

      I am not too familiar with this site as are many of you older contributors, I mean, my 6 or so weeks in the fold, but there is much to learn about how this site works, and through the mentoring of key few others by god and by golly I am learning. On the other the hand, I do not need the grief caused by just one in the fold. And as I mentioned to this person, I have potential contracts for most of my works and the only reason, the ONLY reason I share any of this information with the community is because I really do care about all of you. And I want to give something back to all of you; something I find a rare, extremely rare, privilege to give back to others what I have managed to do for a living for many, many years. Imagine getting paid to learn and teach. I don't think there is a more honored professor than that of an educator, because to me the essence of this bailiwick is to give to others what was learned. I do my best to site sources, and these are always embedded in the URL's. And with the advice of key few others (in administration) I now know how to 'properly' go about it in a way that is acceptable as a standard. That will process will commence immediately. No one counseled me on such a procedure until lately, and I think the reason may be there was no standard set (until now). I also realize many readers enjoy, not only the informative guide's tour and info along the way, but also the picture. So be it! That being said, I will not be bullied by any impudent sorts who do not know the decency of how to advise. That is exactly how I feel about this controlling other. I should not be signaled out for something that has been going on for far too long. In my view, this source is having a hissy fit over something that amounts to power control. I can easily take all of these diaries back to my own blog sites if that is what is forthcoming. I prefer, however, relating to all of you in the DKos community. I have never, ever found a more receptive audience than this site. This is not mere adulation. I write these diaries for you, all of you, as best as I can. I will learn the protocol of this site, which to date, seemed to have been a bit vague, though now, and thanking the administrators of the site, is becoming more clear. Folks, I am only a glorified trail tramp who happened to strike upon a lucky vocation, and therefore I am merely a writer. The rest of the process does seem to elude me at times. Thank you, wynative, and others, for being so patient with me.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:14:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the warning sign. . . (0+ / 0-)

      in a way you were lucky to see it, wynative. I mean, I've been to the dune country a time or two or three and I was hoping to see or hear a missile flying by. No such luck. Ah well, I got to mess about hiking there and all's well that ends well. Trust you at least got into the missile range, eventually??? Fascinating display of killer stuff. Literally. As for that other matter, I hope that's all cleared up by now. Some people just don't have a good or tactful way of delivering their gripes. There's an art to it and I have been involved with the public in some way or another for over 40 years, mostly as an educator, and the one thing you learn. . .or should. . .about being in such a capacity is never talk down to anyone. It's a matter of simple respect. Namaste, you know?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:55:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Damn, you're like the Eddie C of national parks! (3+ / 0-)

    And yet another NP I've been to. I spent most of a day there over 20 years ago in mid-summer. I think that dusk was most beautiful, where you could still see the white dunes but also enjoy the lightning in the distant mountains and see people sledding down the dunes. They're not nearly as big as the ones in Great Dunes NM in Colorado, but their white color makes them really special. I think I saw some of these dune beetles. I named him George. Or was it Ringo?

    Great diary!

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:25:09 PM PDT

    •  that remarkable beetle. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, RiveroftheWest

      I am still looking through tons of research stuff to identify this character. . .Ringo is also a good name for him or her, kovie. I'll let you know as soon as I finish my research, or I am thinking (and hoping) someone in this savvy community will provide the genus. In any event, I take it your mean those big and tall dunes near Redstone, Colorado (close to Alamosa)? I remember doing what you did on those slopes. . .sledding, and hit something down the way that nailed my coax and that pretty much crimped my style (of walking) for a bit. I have no idea what it was, but it likely was some buried rock or tree (or almost buried) Anyway, sledding there is far different than it is in White Sands. . .because those Colorado dunes relates to cold country, while White Sands is the exact opposite. Most importantly, even in July or August you don't burn your butt sliding down the gypsum. As always, thanks for posting your comments, kovie. Seems that you have been around my turf for a long time. When's your diary coming out given such travel and experience??? P. S. the nocturnal sheen of moonlight on White Sands reminds me of a dreamscape and surrealistic.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:39:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great Sand Dunes National Monument (4+ / 0-)

        I forgot where it's near town-wise, but it's in south central CO near the San Juan range IIRC. You basically think you're in the Sahara when you're there, as the dunes are hundreds of feet high (or so they seemed). Quite an effort to walk up them since it's sand, but well worth it. Thing is, when you do get to the top of the nearest big dune, you're immediately humbled by the extent and size of the dunes and realize how puny you are and start looking for a camel.

        Yeah, I got around a bit on my 75 day X-C drive over 20 years ago. I vented a lifetime of pent-up wanderlust and dreams of national parks and the great western outdoors on that trip. Bought a new car in late July and 3 days later I hit the road, not to return until mid October and nearly 15,000 miles and some 35 states later. I did a clockwise loop starting and ending in NYC, that looked a bit like an hourglass turned on its side.

        The highlights were red rock country, driving up PCH and the northern Rockies. But I also stopped at a bunch of Revolutionary and Civil War sites, music history sites like Robert Johnson's home town of Clarksdale, Elvis's childhood home and Graceland, and some fine BBQ joints.  I took hundreds of pictures and maybe even over a thousand (back in the film era and mostly on my favorite, Kodachrome 64). I'd love to do a diary but first I have to convert all those slides to digital, and I can't really afford or justify a decent scanner now. It's going to be a few years, unfortunately. Until then, I feel like I'm reliving it via your diaries (hey, you weren't tailing me, were you? :-) ).

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:11:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a lovely diary in the making. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, RiveroftheWest

          kovie, and you have the right foundation to build it. I don't know if I ever mentioned this to you or others, but you mentioned Graceland and did you know I knew Elvis when he was alive? Well, it's true. Only trouble is. . .he didn't know me! Ah well. Did see the lad, in Vegas, shake it up during his final years. The King still had it. Anyway, your comments probably tipped the scale given how a lot of readers are likely one of two things after digesting what you wrote: envious or planning to head out the door some day soon and replicate your travels (with a changed itinerary, of course) 15K miles and 35 states! That's impressive. Maybe we, as a community, can crowd source funds for you to buy a scanner, and then you'd have to scan those pics and posts a diary or two or three. HA! Thanks, as always, for your interesting comments, kovie.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:50:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He and I share a fondness (0+ / 0-)

            for toasted peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Except I make my own and don't get in a private jet for mine!

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:23:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and for his diet. . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kovie

              and what he enjoyed eating. . .like those sandwiches. . .it is amazing his skin was so perfect that he didn't even need makeup, though of course when on stage that's necessary. I knew someone who met him (Buddy Allen), who, on one of my field institute trips, regaled us about the humanity side of Elvis, who, as it turns out, was a damn decent person in all respects.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 09:13:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Rich, another nice diary, this time in my (5+ / 0-)

    backyard!  Keep writing.

    Sent via African Swallow carrying a coconut

    by ipaman on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:44:53 PM PDT

    •  where? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, FindingMyVoice

      I mean, your backyard??? Cloudcroft? Alamagordo? Ruidoso? The mountains, maybe? Lovely country you folks have down that way. And I take it you enjoy jaunts to White Sands every now and again. It's the kind of terrain that I don't think you'd ever get tired of seeing. Anyway, thanks for posting your comment, ipaman. I'll keep 'em coming. . .the diary. I've decided to move Carlsbad up on the diary agenda, mainly because one DKos community member mentioned the caverns and 'slow road' driving in that vicinity. Several times, in fact.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:45:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My kids and mom and I went to White Sands (3+ / 0-)

    a few years ago. It felt magical to me. You did a great job writing it up.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:31:40 PM PDT

  •  an aside on those whiptail lizards . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, qofdisks, Don Enrique

    They are actually quite interesting animals because they are among the very few vertebrate animals that are "parthenogenic" -- that means the entire species is female, there are no males at all, and the females are capable of producing and laying fertile eggs without a male.  In some species of whiptail, the female simply lays eggs and they hatch into new females.  In other species, the females must first engage in "pseudo-copulation" with each other (yes, lesbian lizard sex) to become stimulated to lay eggs.

    •  oh, this is rich. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don Enrique, RiveroftheWest

      your zoology and expertise on the whiptails. In the Grand Canyon, there are also parthenogenic lizards, and now I will have to do some sleuthing to determine which ones are as such. Lots of lizards, in fact, encroaching from the Mohave Desert in the west and the Great Basin in the east, and of course the Lower and Upper Sonoran is the overlying and main ecosystem of the canyon. What I don't understand is how pseudo-copulation works, yet of course, it does. You may even know the scientific reason for their 'weird science,' Lenny Flank. In any event, thank you so much for the enlightenment on the matter. I think you should contact the Supreme Court on this matter and. . .you know. . .help those judges along given what they're pondering these days. Thanks for publishing a most interesting comment. Truly.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:39:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the Grand Canyon lizards are probably whiptails (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        too.  The genus is found all around the southern US.

        Not all the species are parthenogenic, though.

        As for why they do the pseudo-copulation, it seems to be a leftover from their two-gendered past--the physical act of mating triggers certain hormones for them, and now even though they don't need a male's sperm from sex, they still need the physical trigger to stimulate the hormone production. Hence, lesbian lizards.

        Go find an anti-gay fundamentalist kooker, ask him why God designed these lizards to do same-sex sex, and watch them get all red in the face.  ;)

        •  yep, whiptails, Lenny Flank. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest

          but I am not sure of the species just now. Westerns, I think. I was just reading about this subject matter and the article mentioned what you just did. . .a two-gendered past. And I don't hang with anti-gay anything. So, I don't know such people. But people need to get your acts together and find something more important to gripe about. I'm thinking the environment. It's in serious trouble. Do you know about about the great demise of desert tortoises? These are wonderful creatures that harm no one and I know the environmental stress, as in human development, is part of the reason for the loss of numbers, but there is an infectious disease that is taking a swipe at their former great numbers. It's these sorts of subjects and themes that interest me, not a person's sexual preference, his or her social or religious or political beliefs. I am all in for the environment. Period. Anyway, thanks for posting this added information. I now know where my best human resource is for science and such. Send me a bill!

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:54:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have seen samples of the glass from the Trinity (4+ / 0-)

    explosion (known as "Trinitite", resulting when the heat and blast melted and compacted the sand) for sale from various geology sources. Apparently it is now illegal to take any material from the site, and the stuff for sale was all collected before that ban went into effect. It is still noticeably radioactive--safe enough if you store it inside a container, but you wouldn't want to be carrying a piece around in your pocket . . .

    •  indeed, radioactive. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, FindingMyVoice

      as you pointed out, yet folks still have a hankering to take and store the glass. And, yes, illegal to take home. I once had a private tour of the big A-holes (the other kind) at the Nevada atom bomb testing place, and that stuff was all over the place. But not for me. I mean to take home. I also found out once the bomb site was open to the public, and I forget what year that was, people pocketed a lot of Trinitite, and one rumor claimed some guy had taken a bit too much home, and ended radiating himself to a perilous end. I have never confirmed that story, but it does seem plausible. Anyway, thanks for posting your comment on the matter. Actually, you're the first to do so.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:34:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very very nice! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    I remember surfing the dunes as a child.  Those dune are  so big that you can surf down them on a waxed board for quite awhile are a fairly high speed.

    •  surfing. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      you may be from California where that activity is popular. I tried the standing-up trick a time or two, at White Sands, but ended up on my butt and preferred the face forward and laying down style. But, yes, the dunes are enjoyable for all sorts of reasons, including surfing. Thanks for posting your comment!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:29:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am from over the mountain from WSMR. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        I grew up in the area.  I am a Native New Mexican generational.  My forefathers hunted in the mountains all around WSMR.

        •  thanks for the posting. . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, qofdisks

          your background and that area of where you were raised and lived. . .fascinating. It seems to me there is so much history worth retelling compared to the rest of New Mexico's history that seems to get the lion's share. Have you ever thought of, say, writing a diary about same? I recently wrote a diary on Meteor Crater and happened to awake a memory field of someone who was born and raised in Winslow, Arizona, which the crater is near, and that diary's epistle seemed to awaken a major dream or memory release in this person and he is in the process of writing such memoirs. So, I thought I'd mention this to you as well, gofdisks. It may be something you will find a lot of us in the DKos community are eager to reach, especially considering your a native New Mexican generational. If you would like to contact me further about this point, please do so by sending me an email to my profile account. And thanks for posting your comment, besides.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 06:32:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not a writer per se. I just remember a bit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            here and there.  
            My 93 year old mother is reticent about revealing history because she was so shamed about her culture.
            You can see a ceramic depiction of my mother as a child near the cultural center in the historic section of Las Cruces, NM. My family is considered old "royalty" and we are treated like celebrities at the Branigan cultural center.

            •  thanks for posting, gofdisks. . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              I don't see an embedded link but I will certainly look up the Branigan cultural center and get a glimpse of "royalty" (as in your mom and your family), because it's probably as close t royalty as I'll ever get. I'll check back with you and wanted you to know I'm glad I go back to former diaries and make sure everyone's comments were answered and/or addressed, such as this late posting. Thanks for doing same.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 03:15:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  What a blast from the past! (0+ / 0-)

    In the early '60s my father taught Nike missile maintenance at nearby Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. He occasionally went to the missile range to work.

    Our middle school class (Dolphin Terrace Elementary) spent a day trip to the firing range. We visited the park on family and church picnics.

    Thank you for the great pics and stroll down memory lane.

    A - American L - Legislators E - Exemplifiying C - Corruption

    by Jean Sloan on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 10:13:29 AM PDT

  •  The photo of the man with the crystals (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, JayBat

    Is actually real, those are the giant crystal formations discovered in a mine in Mexico when underground water was pumped out of a chamber system. It's a fascinating story to learn about, it's so hot in the crystal chambers that scientists have to wear special cooling suits to go inside and study, and can still only spend a short amount of time inside.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    "We are not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people." - future President Paul Ryan.

    by Fordmandalay on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 10:33:00 AM PDT

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