I don’t like the swearing.

map Bahrain dubaiThen tonight I talked with top chefs at Gateway Gourmet who services Air Emirates LAX-Dubai. I’d heard $200 was the allotment per First Class passenger just for food; and they said each First Class seat cost $30,000, and Business class is $10,000.

Oil wealth is somethin’.

Dad, Mt. Kenya CI’m a little hesitant to go because I’m afraid they’ll want me to be the president. My dad was president of Kiwanis 3x, and I went to dozens of Rotary Club meetings giving slide shows of the GSE trip to India, deja vu.

Every 2-3 days
Making new arrangements, 8-5-12
Tomato forestDesert bowl gardens, MP Renfrew, 10-11-12
Succulent dish gardens, mprenfrew, 4-2-13
4-4-13 backyard
I made 30+ more plant pots, 8-17-13, MP Renfrew
Dividing a rootbound pothos into 2, MP Renfrew, 8-9-13
The ficus was from the 99-cent store; the pine was a sad little post-Christmas potted tree
July 10, 2012 backyard
Harvesting the rain, 12-16-12 MP Renfrew
Pine growth, squash harvest August 2008

Weather Conditions for:
Los Angeles / USC Campus Downtown, CA.  KCQT  (NWS/FAA)
Elev: 184 ft; Latitude: 34.01667; Longitude: -118.28333

Time Temp. Wind Wind
Direction Speed
(PDT) (f) (mph)
15 Apr 12:47 pm PDT 79 VRBL 5
15 Apr 11:47 am PDT 77 CALM
15 Apr 10:47 am PDT 74 CALM
15 Apr 9:47 am PDT 69 CALM
15 Apr 8:47 am PDT 66 CALM
15 Apr 7:47 am PDT 62 CALM
15 Apr 6:47 am PDT 57 CALM
15 Apr 5:47 am PDT 57 CALM
15 Apr 4:47 am PDT 58 CALM
15 Apr 3:47 am PDT 59 CALM

Click for update:
4-15-15 'Santa Ana wind event' winds L.A. 3 p.m.

Population Density in Southern California

Population Density in Southern California

NWS FIre danger warning graphic 4-15-15

“It takes a rocket scientist” to make these beautiful summary charts,

HWY 41 going into Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Family taking selfie, Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
El Capitan Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Maples opening Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Half Dome Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Pacific dogwood Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Lilacs Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Flowering trees  Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Yosemite Falls MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Poplar spring growth Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Red bud Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
buck in meadow under Half Dome, Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Mistletoe Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Manzanita Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Manzanita blossoms Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Scree slope Yosemite MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Little waterfall Yosemite Falls MMPRenfrew, 4-6-15
Melanie Renfrew Yosemite Falls 4-6-15

Full moon on fountain, White Pt. MMP Renfrew 4-2-13
Full moon rising Royal Palms 4-2-15 MMP Renfrew
Sunset Royal Palms 4-2-15 MMP Renfrew 1
Sunset Royal Palms 4-2-15 MMP Renfrew 2
Sunset Royal Palms 4-2-15 MMP Renfrew 3

Cumulonimbus over netted orange trees, 4-7-15 MMP Renfrew
Rain in Clovis, CA 4-7-5 MMP Renfrew
Rain for Central Valley 4-7-15 MMP Renfrew
Grape vines near Reedley, 4-7-15 MMP Renfrew

Sunset 1-18-15 MP RenfrewDendritic 1 sunset, MP Renfrew 1-18-15
Maple seed balls sunset 1-18-15 MP Renfrew
sunrise Gardena 1-18-15 MP Renfrew

Texture 5, GC MP Renfrew 1-8-15Desert view, GC 1-8-15 MP Renfrew
Grand Canyon 'texture 1' 1-8-15, MP Renfrew
Grand Canyon 'texture 2' 1-8-15, MP Renfrew
Grand Canyon 'texture 3' 1-8-15, MP Renfrew
Grand Canyon 'texture 4' 1-8-15, MP Renfrew

2 moms + babes, Aug. 2014 MP Renfrew
Great egret MP Renfrew
Flamingos sleeping, MP Renfrew photo, Aug. 2014
The Thinker, MP Renfrew photo Aug. 2014
Desert geometry, MP Renfrew Aug. 2104
Kite-surfing Imperial Beach MPRenfrew, Aug. 2014

(Flower Fields, Carlsbad, May 2012).

We all need to distinguish fantasy from fact. We need to test hypotheses before we make conclusions, and this involves gathering evidence to prove an idea true or false.

img166 For example, I worked among the remote, nomadic pastoralist Turkana people in Northwestern Kenya for my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. For my Master’s Degree, my specialty was medical geography at the University of Minnesota, and in Kenya, I worked with the African Medical and Research Foundation ( Disease ecology is a subfield of medical geography, and I studied hydatid disease, a tapeworm that causes cysts in people and livestock (Echinococcus granulosis, not Cysticercosis that can cause literal worms to grow in the brain,
The hydatid tapeworm grows to adulthood in dog intestines, and people in Nairobi assumed the Turkana had pet-like relationships and caught the disease by petting their dogs. This was based on our “western” perception of pets, projected onto the Turkana people.

My slide show at shows what they’re like: it is a low-elevation desert in the Rift Valley, and temperatures are usually in the 100s° F, similar to our Death Valley, a divergent spreading center in plate tectonics.

To try to understand how hydatid disease was actually spreading, I framed hypotheses by comparing high-incidence (Lokichoggio in the NW) and low-incidence areas (Lokori and Lotubai in the South). img171 I hypothesized that the numbers of and the relationships with the dogs were different, the people’s perceptions of the disease and their dogs, and also looked at other environmental factors that contributed to disease transmission, such as their housing structure, water carrying, slaughtering and selling of the meat, etc.

What I found is that Turkana keep dogs “to bark” as watchdogs, against hyenas, jackals, and livestock bandits, because the animals stay in a fenced enclosure near their homes. (In Lokori, many people sleep outside their huts because it’s so hot.) The dogs also ate garbage, and were not cuddled as pets at all.
The significant differences between the high and low incidence areas were
1) families in the Northwest had fenced-in homesteads (ngawi, “manyattas”), and
2) numbers of dogs in the high-incidence Northwest were higher per compound; so dog feces were contaminating the home environment inside fences.
In the lower-incidence area, homesteads were more open, and fewer dogs were running in and out, so fewer people caught the disease. Transmission was also occurring at the daily meat market, because cysts were cut out and allowed to break, full of tapeworm heads, and dogs came and lapped up the fluid. The butcher needed deeper pits to bury or incinerate the cysts.

Once the people understood how the tapeworm and cysts were spread, they wanted to have the diseased dogs removed at once. That is why I am so passionate about education: let people decide, but give them accurate information. People in Nairobi thought of Turkana as “primitive” and not very smart, but I found them to be very intelligent, especially about their environments, “geography” and animals, and also about reading people’s faces and intent, which most Africans I’ve met are much better at than most Americans.

My Ph.D. research at UCLA looked at sedentarization in Turkana: they settle when their livestock die because of droughts, as there is no longer a need to be nomadic. The long-term theoretical framework, urged by my UCLA geography and anthropology professors, Charles Bennett ( and Allen Johnson ( was “cultural evolution”: in human history, we went from being nomadic hunters and gatherers to sedentary farmers, which is a concentration of human population density. Some of my hypotheses turned out to be false, e.g., their lopae friendship networks survived the shift in livelihood: they just exchanged other things besides animals as symbols of their friendships.

My points are two:
1) Don’t assume things until you test out your hunches, gather facts and evaluate; and
2) If you are honest and there is somehow a misunderstanding, people will eventually trust you if you tell the truth…if they are honest. In any case, it’s worth trying to communicate for the value of it.

These are some of my friends there, who gave me goats:
The elders (feathers convey prestige)

Morning Nescafe before the long walk to Morulem
I try to think carefully and not be crippled with fears. If we test them out, often our fears are not based on reality but on some past trauma.

Dr. Melanie Patton Renfrew, 10/14/09  (Re-posted 2/2/10)

1. Copy what you see.
2. Put strength and feeling into your pencils or pen.
3. Nature is never exactly symmetrical on the surface, so it’s OK if your drawing doesn’t match perfectly.
4. Use dark colors for shadow and dimension (i.e., to look 3-D).
5. Have fun and “risk it,” feeling like a 3rd grader.
6. Optional: make the sky blue, sometimes even bluer than it is.:-)
'Badwater' Field sketch
Opposite Devil's Golf course, Dunes

CA sunset

These were on 20-30 minute field trip stops.


It comes from the ocean.

Weather Conditions for:
Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, CA.  KLAX  (NWS/FAA)
Elev: 125 ft; Latitude: 33.93806; Longitude: -118.38889

Time Wind Wind
Direction Speed
(PDT) (mph)
17 Apr 4:53 pm PDT WSW 14 Gust 23
17 Apr 3:53 pm PDT WSW 21 Gust 30
17 Apr 2:53 pm PDT WSW 21 Gust 26
17 Apr 1:53 pm PDT WSW 13
17 Apr 12:53 pm PDT  SW 12

MiniUSA & Hunch interviewed 66,492, and found stick shift drivers:
Stick shift survey on Hunch, 66K respondents

It was a jolt! (downsized from last night’s 3.5 to 3.3: they take into account all the seismograph readings in subsequent hours to determine the magnitude).
More info:

Monthly Postings