From NM floods to needed lighter news: Open Thread

Hello friends, and time once again for an open thread and random Intertubes round-up.

I apologize for being somewhat quiet recently, but work has been heavy… and then there’s been the rain. Rain-rain-rain here in New Mexico. Back on September 4th, we got 2 2/3 inches in less than an hour, and in these parts of the American southwest, water doesn’t just soak into the ground — it sheets, forms into streams, drains into gullies and arroyos, and gushes.

We lost our house water supply last weekend because the well’s pump-house building flooded. (And I screwed up my back majorly trying to dig out the mud. It still hurts.) A small arroyo near our house filled its banks completely and began running across a nearby road. One of the eeriest things I witnessed was a whitewater river roaring through a pasture — a place that normally never has any water running through it at all. I wish I had pictures, but we were too busy trying to keep our property from drowning.

Then came more rain this week, another 2 1/2 inches, more flooding (although this time we were ready with a sump-pump). It’s rained every day since September 9th.

We’ve had road closures, kids stuck in schools because buses couldn’t run, a sinkhole in the I-40 interstate, power outages, rock-slides, and washouts all over. And thousands of people stranded in their homes — or away from them — because the roads leading to those homes are gone.

Arroyo flooding at Unser Avenue, Albuquerque NM (

Arroyo flooding at Unser Avenue, Albuquerque NM (

As I write this, Albuquerque metro and the surrounding areas are expecting major flooding from the Rio Grande, which runs right through the city. And New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has declared a statewide state of emergency.

And word is things are even worse up in Colorado, with rainfall amounts being described in some instances as “Biblical.” Sure, we have problems here with more than a few inches of rain coming quickly, but no topography or geology can handle more than a foot of rain in less than a day. As my wife has said, “I don’t think I’ve ever wished for the rain to stop in New Mexico.” More updates here.

(Update 9/14: More updates here, including aerial helicopter video. Sorry, can’t embed. Fortunately it looks like the Rio Grande didn’t spill over its banks overnight.)

Flooding in Rio Rancho, NM (

Flooding in Rio Rancho, NM (

Yeah… no climate change. Right. So I don’t know about you folks, but I seriously need a mental health break. Here are some of the less…stressful things I’ve found interesting out there on the Internet:

  • Voyager 1 was finally declared to be fully outside our solar system, as measured by the ion plasma readings our decades old little probe has been sending. The hashtag #VGER is trending on Twitter. (Sadly, none of them is Trek-Sensei enough to recall that it was the fictional Voyager 6 that fell into a black hole, was spat out on the other side of the Milky Way, picked up by a machine planet, retrofitted to become a sentient but emotionless superbeing, came back to Earth, threatened to exterminate everything unless the Creator merged with it, and finally ascended into an energy-being form of life. The End. Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot: #Spoilers.)
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  • Speaking of ‘strange, new worlds,’ scientists are coming up with ways they believe will be able to tell them whether these planets they’re finding all over the place might be habitable. Neat.
  • Another group of scientists accidentally created the world’s thinnest glass — just one molecule or two atoms thick. It turns out they were trying to make graphene (a carbon compound) but noticed some ‘muck’ on it. That muck ended up being glass so thin, individual atoms can be seen in an electron microscope. They believe it was due to an air leak reacting with quartz inside the furnace. They already believe there could be uses for this technique. Eureka!
Neil deGrasse Tyson doing what he does best: Being awesome

Neil deGrasse Tyson doing what he does best: Being awesome

  • Humans have been making cheese for at least 7,000 years. Archeologists found ancient dried cheese in what they believe was a pottery cheese-strainer. Just kinda cool.

And in closing, the most awesome (and awesomely bizarre) political ad ever created. Meet Jeff Wagner, who wants to be Mayor of Minneapolis. His campaign slogan? “Wake the f*ck up!”

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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