Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year From Mars

Posted By on Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 10:17 AM

A few new HiRISE images of Mars from the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab to start the new year:

  • NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

  • NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The upper shot shows dark sand covering bright bedrock in the Terra Meridiani region of Mars.

Nathan Bridges of the LPL tells us:

The MER Opportunity rover is currently exploring Meridiani, but is located about 500 kilometers to the west-southwest from here (as of 2007).

There are three broad classes of terrain in this image. The regular spacing of the dark ridges, with one side of the ridges (in this case generally on the northwest) shallower than the other, indicates that the material is windblown sand deposited in the form of dunes or large ripples.

On the slopes of and in between the dunes/ripples are smaller-scale ripples. The dark tone

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resistance to Rental Tax, AKA Landlord Tax

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Trouble is brewing for City Manager Mike Letcher's proposed tax on residential rent payments.

The Arizona Multihousing Association is promising to bring a crowd to the City Council meeting next Tuesday, Jan. 5. The meeting, BTW, has been moved from the council chambers at City Hall to the Tucson Convention Center to accommodate the hundreds of people who are expected to turn out. The study session begins at 2:30 p.m. and the evening meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Here's the AMA press release:

Renters in the City of Tucson are outraged over a new tax being proposed by City staff as part of a mid-year budget fix. Tucson City Manager Mike Letcher is pushing for the tax and yesterday held a press conference to force the City Council to choose between a tax on renters and police & fire layoffs—a move that Tucson’s renters are calling a “false choice.”

“This is an example of political posturing to force the City Council into adopting new taxes on Tucson’s renters—people who can least afford it right now,” said Barb Dolan, Government Affairs Liaison for the Arizona Multihousing Association. “It does not need to be pitted as public safety vs. renters.”

“I support our police officers and firefighters,” said Isabel Pena, a Tucson renter. “I am mad that the City manager would make the Council choose between a new tax on me and other renters and police & fire layoffs. Why are Tucson’s renters being singled out to fix the entire budget problem?”

Renters are also criticizing City staff for lack of transparency in the budget process, as the rental tax proposal was unveiled on December 15 and scheduled for a vote on January 5, which is the same day as the public hearing on the subject. Details about the hearing’s location and time, as well as the renter’s tax, were not available until Monday, December 28. Despite the lack of public notice, renters are vowing to show up at the hearing, scheduled for January 5, 2010.

Earlier this year, the City turned down a proposed 2 percent rental tax after more than 700 residents rallied against it. Among the reasons given by the Council for rejecting the tax were the regressive nature of the tax and the impact it would have on those with lower income levels and on housing affordability in Tucson. Additionally, opponents argue that the tax is double taxation, as property taxes are charged to all rental property, which is then passed on to renters.

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Hoopleville: 2010

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 9:18 AM


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Picture This: Markus Steinhauser's Winter Wonderland, Con't

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Photograph by Markus Steinhauser © 2009
  • Light shines into Antelope Canyon in Paige, Ariz., on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Antelope Canyon attracts thousands of visitors each year

Photograph by Markus Steinhauser © 2009
  • A snow-covered Bryce Canyon, Utah, offers a nice view of the canyon.

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New Restaurants at Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 2:53 PM

The new Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain (15000 N. Secret Springs Drive, Marana)—which opened Friday, Dec. 18, with a ceremony that included an address by Gov. Jan Brewer and the release of 72 white doves—has three new restaurants that are open to the public.

Check out CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar here.

Information about Ignite, a fire-themed lounge that serves a flaming ginger margarita and a Cholula martini, can be found here.

Or you can cool off at the poolside Turquesa Latin Grill. Think quesadillas, seafood salads, sonoran hot dogs and other casual, Latin-themed fare. They serve margaritas and other signature cocktails, too. All the details are here.

Cayton's is also located there, but they've been open for a while. Check out the Weekly's review here.

Technically, there's another little restaurant there too, but it sounds like it's mainly geared toward resort guests. It's called TO/GO, and all the info about it is here.

And Life Goes On Without Us...

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Let's celebrate 2010 with a new series about planet Earth—without all those pesky people.

Life After People starts on the History Channel on January 5. I'm hoping for an extended version of The Road, without cannibals (and, unfortunately sans Viggo Mortensen.)


Check out the series Web site here for more end-time inspiration. Interesting that on the Web site there's no reference to Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, although it seems like that's where the series got its inspiration.

In every episode, viewers will witness the epic destruction of iconic structures and buildings, from the Sears Tower, Astrodome, and Chrysler Building to the Sistine Chapel - - allowing viewers to learn how they were built and why they were so significant. Big Ben will stop ticking within days; the International Space Station will plummet to earth within a few short years, while historic objects, like the Declaration of Independence and the mummified remains of King Tutankhamen will remain for decades.

The series will also explore the creatures that might take our place. With humans gone, animals will inherit the places where we once lived. Elephants that escape from the LA zoo will thrive in a region once dominated by their ancestors, the wooly mammoth. Alligators will move into sub-tropical cities like Houston - feeding off household pets. Tens of thousands of hogs, domesticated for food, will flourish. In a world without people, new stories of predators, survival and evolution will emerge.

¡Oye! Congratulations Dean Ruiz

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:30 AM

According to Joaquin Ruiz, executive dean of the University of Arizona's College of Letters, Arts and Science and professor of geosciences, has joined the list of outstanding researchers admitted into Mexico's National System of Researchers, known as SNI. Ruiz will be honored during a ceremony in early spring in which Mexico President Felipe Calderon will officially recognize the contributions of the council's newest members.

Over the years, membership in the SNI has become an important distinction for researchers, since this selective recognition is given based on an independent peer evaluation, and symbolizes the quality and prestige of the scientific contributions of the researcher. However, this distinction had only been awarded only to researchers residing in Mexico.

This year, for the first time in SNI history, the organization has opened its membership to outstanding Mexican scholars living abroad.

Ruiz was accepted as a "National Researcher" under the organization's highest-ranking category for contributing researchers. He was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions and efforts to enhance Mexico's scientific and technological capacity through collaborations with the UA and research institutions in Mexico.

"There are many important scientific questions that can be addressed in Mexico and that are pertinent to my field of study. These questions include environmental problems and fundamental issues about the tectonic evolution of Mexico," Ruiz said.

Ruiz is well known for his research involving the formation of metallic ore deposits. In particular, he studies the factors responsible for the origin of ore-forming elements in copper and gold ore deposits at or near the earth's surface.
His work has revealed that gold deposits also offer a method for studying the evolution of the atmosphere, specifically how the oxygen concentration has changed through time. He also is an expert in the tectonic evolution of southern Mexico. His research team addresses problems ranging from the origin of life to present-day climate change.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Steak in the Neighborhood

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Steak in the Neighborhood at 135 E. Congress St.
  • A Steak in the Neighborhood at 135 E. Congress St.
Luke Cusack, the man behind the upscale Pearl and Zen Rock nightclubs, has opened a new downtown restaurant called A Steak in the Neighborhood at 135 E. Congress St.

Cusack is also opening a place called Sapphire Lounge in the former Heart Five location at 61 E. Congress St. It is set to open New Year's Eve.

Cusack says A Steak in the Neighborhood works like this: The place uses nothing but prime and choice cuts for its beef dishes, and those cuts are prepared in a number of ways. You can have it as a straight-up steak, as beef stroganoff or as oriental beef and broccoli.

For those who like their beef between buns, they serve cheesesteaks and burgers, too. Also on the menu: A popular chicken marsala dish, salads, appetizers, breakfast burritos and other items. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday; and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday.

Just down the block at Sapphire Lounge, Cusack is up to something completely different. He says dueling pianos will be featured downstairs while Las Vegas-style music and dancing go down upstairs. A “skydeck” area overlooking Congress Street offers outdoor seating on the top floor.

Cusack—who opened Zen Rock in the old Asylum location at 121 E. Congress St. earlier this year—was busy putting the finishing touches on Sapphire earlier this week.

Staff Pick

Arizona State Museum’s Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest

This permanent, ongoing, exhibit explores the origins, histories, and contemporary lifeways of ten Native American culture groups… More

@ Arizona State Museum Ongoing, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1013 E. University Blvd.

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