Monday, November 24, 2008

One Third of Curry Village Closes Permanently Due to Rockfall Danger

NPS Press Release

Geologic Assessment of Recent Rockfalls in Curry Village Completed

Date: November 21, 2008

On October 7 and 8, 2008, two rockfalls occurred in Yosemite Valley, affecting the Curry Village area. This resulted in the temporary closure of many of the visitor accommodations until a thorough geologic assessment could be completed. During this time, National Park Service (NPS) geologists, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey, and other national and international scientists, conducted extensive investigation and study of rockfalls that have occurred in the area above Curry Village using the latest scientific mapping and computer modeling techniques. The analysis has shown that approximately 6,000 cubic meters of rock were involved in the events.

With the increased overall frequency of rockfall over the past few years, in conjunction with the geologic research that has been conducted, the NPS can no longer treat each rockfall as an isolated incident. Instead, we must look at the area comprehensively and recognize that geologic processes that have shaped Yosemite Valley since the last glaciers receded will continue to result in rockfall.

Based on the above information, the NPS has decided to close 233 visitor accommodations (tent cabins, cabins with bath, cabins without bath) permanently. This will also permanently close associated visitor support structures (shower house, restrooms, etc.) and 43 concessioner employee housing units. This accounts for approximately one third of the units in Curry Village available to park visitors.

Additionally, 36 visitor accommodations (tent cabins and cabins with bath) that were temporarily closed will reopen to the public today. While the NPS cannot say that the occupancy of these units, and the units never closed, are totally risk free, we firmly believe that the risk remaining at Curry Village is roughly the same level of risk that exists in other areas of Yosemite Valley in which structures are located such as The Ahwahnee and Yosemite Village.

Rockfalls are natural occurrences that have shaped, and continue to shape Yosemite Valley. The natural processes that contribute to rockfall are part of the dynamics of nature. Though impossible to predict or control, ongoing scientific analysis is being conducted to further understand this natural phenomenon.

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Friday, November 21, 2008


Yosemite News Release
November 20, 2008
For Immediate Release
The Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park will open for all vehicles on Friday, November 21, 2008, at 8:00 a.m. The road has been closed due to ice and snow on the road. However, with the recent warm weather, the road will reopen to all traffic. There will be no commercial facilities available at Glacier point, although restrooms will be available.

The Tioga Road remains closed in Yosemite National Park. (-NPS-/K. Cobb - 11/21/08)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spotlight on Sierra Foothills Conservancy

Living close to Yosemite National Park gives you an appreciation for untouched lands...lands that past generations preserved and protected, so we can enjoy their natural beauty today.

The Sierra foothills offer a unique mix of oaks, grasslands, decomposed granite outcroppings, wildflowers and foliage...amazing beauty that is slowly being developed into strip malls and housing. That's why we're tremendously encouraged by the Sierra Foothill Conservancy...a nonprofit based in nearby Prather, California. Their efforts have resulted in protecting thousands of acres of the Sierra Foothills. Their goals are four-fold:

- To protect wildlife & preserve native flora
- To provide educational and recreational opportunities for the community
- To promote the scientific study of foothill ecosystems
- To maintain open spaces and beautiful vistas

SFC offers many ways to volunteer and donate. Their gift memberships provide an excellent holiday gift idea for your friends and family members who cherish wild spaces. For each $25 donation, your friend or family member will receive newsletters, invitations to special events and hikes, and the knowledge that they are preserving beautiful places for future generations. Check out their website today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NEC Updates its 26 inch Display

NEC has a new version of its NEC LCD2690WUXi-BK called the NEC LCD2690WUXi2-BK, the "2" meaning it's new. A quick perusal of the specs show that the color gamut has increased, and NEC has refined the way they describe the gamut of the display.

For the new display, gamut is reported separately for "Coverage" and "Size."

"Coverage" is the amount the gamut of the display overlaps a specified colorspace. The new display overlaps 97.8% of AdobeRGB.

"Size" measures the amount of colors relative to a given colorspace, and for the NEC LCD2690WUXi2-BK, its size is 108% of AdobeRGB, meaning it has 8% more colors, but not necessarily the same colors.

Both of these concepts are best shown on the graphic pulled from the brochure for this product.

You can clearly see the NEC LCD2690WUXi2-BK and AdobeRGB cover almost exactly the same colors, but the size of the gamut for the display is slightly larger.

And while larger gamut displays are a welcome innovation, even this display does not cover all of the colors in wider gamut spaces like Ektaspace and ProPhoto, which I find invaluable in fine art printmaking. Certain reds and oranges just don't reproduce in AdobeRGB, so I avoid it, as well as sRBG whenever possible.

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Apple Discontinues 23 inch Cinema Display

Apple has recently discontinued its 23 inch Cinema Display, most likely in favor of the new 24 inch Cinema Display LCD. The 23 inch model still appears to be available on the Apple Store, but is marked "DISCONTINUED." We don't have any test results for the new 24 inch display, but I'm not encouraged by the comments made by Apple staffers at its introduction. They say that the way to overcome glare from its glass cover was to "pump a lot of light through it." This is not the design philosophy that helps create a color accurate display. Maybe it will be good, maybe it won't, but unless you have a Mac with the new display adapter, you can't use it anyway.

On most things I drink the Apple Kool-Aid, but in the last decade I haven't been a big fan of their displays for professional use. They make great displays for the prosumer, but for those of us in the visual arts, we have far more choices, and far better documentation on the capabilities when we choose a third party product. The 23 inch Cinema Display is the first Apple display I was excited about in a long time, but alas, now it's gone...

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