PEMEX Stations Drop Gas Prices in Baja California

PEMEX Stations Drop Gas Prices in Baja California

Apr 22, 2015

The gas wars have started. As Mexico’s energy reforms redefine the petroleum industry, consumers are beginning to see some of the effects. Several Pemex gas stations in Baja California have dropped their prices following the lead taken by two stations in Puebla two weeks ago. In Baja, prices were cut by 30 centavos, a rare occurrence in a country where gas prices used to go up every month, a practice that ended in December. One Puebla station has dropped its prices by seven and eight centavos, while the second began offering discounts of 17 and 18 centavos for Magna and Premium grades, respectively, on Sundays only. The discounts were introduced to drive more sales, which were reported to be down. Grupo Eco is the owner of the 31 Baja California Pemex franchises that have reduced prices. It has stations in Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, Rosarito, Ensenada, Nogales, San Quintín and San Felipe. New energy legislation establishes a maximum price for gasoline this year and next, after which the market will be open to all comers and Pemex franchisees will have the option of switching to new suppliers in the marketplace. There is also a minimum price, that which the stations pay to Pemex Refining, below which, they cannot go.   – Source:...

HAWC: Supermassive blackhole detector installed in Mexico

HAWC: Supermassive blackhole detector installed in Mexico

Apr 18, 2015

The Sierra Negra volcano in the central Mexican state of Puebla is the site of an ambitious astrophysical project which houses the largest gamma ray observatory ever built on the planet. After five years of construction, scientists in Mexico say the High Altitude Water Cherenkov Experiment or HAWC, is operating at full capacity. The facility has been hunting cosmic rays in a limited fashion since 2013. Funded by both public and private money from Mexico and the United States, HAWC hopes to trap gamma ray particles coming from space. The particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists want to learn more about their cosmic origin. The observatory is made up of 300 tanks each holding 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of pure water, as well as detectors capable of sensing and recording Chernakov radiation, a flash of light made up of charged particles produced when they impact the tanks after coming through Earth atmosphere slightly faster than the speed of light. By measuring the angle and intensity at which these particles hit all 300 sensors over time, the scientists can figure out where the gamma rays originated. The researchers hope that at an elevation of 4,100 meters and sensors arranged over 30 square meters, HAWC will provide the best environment to detect gamma and cosmic rays. Dr. Jordan Goodman, from the University of Maryland, explained the importance of the observatory. “We’ve been interested for a long time in gamma rays. They are meant to point back at space differently. Gamma ray points go straight, they’re light, but they’re highest energy light so they let us understand where the highest energy particles in the universe come from. So our idea is to build this observatory to give us a wide field view of the sky at the highest energy,” said Dr. Goodman. Thanks to the Earth’s rotation, HAWC will be able to hunt gamma rays from two thirds of the sky within a 24-hour period. The scientists hope that by determining the origin of the gamma rays, they can learn more about great cosmic events such as supernovas and black holes that produce them. Along with mapping the highest producers of energy...

Check out the predictions for the 2015 Hurricane Season

Check out the predictions for the 2015 Hurricane Season

Apr 15, 2015

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season may be one of the least active in decades, according to an initial forecast issued Thursday by Colorado State University. The early outlook released April 9 calls for seven named storms, including three hurricanes, one of which is predicted to attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). This is well below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The outlook, headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach in consultation with long-time hurricane expert Dr. William Gray, is based on a combination of 29 years of statistical predictors, combined with analog seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. Here are four questions about this outlook and what it means for you. Q: Does this mean a less destructive season? There is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. “It is important to note that our – The Weather Channel – forecasts are for the total number of storms that may occur anywhere within the Atlantic Ocean, and do not attempt to predict the number of storms that will make landfall in the U.S.,” said Dr. Peter Neilley, vice president of Global Forecasting Services at WSI. The 2014 season featured the fewest number of named storms in 17 years (eight storms), but also featured the strongest landfalling hurricane in the mainland U.S. in six years (Hurricane Arthur on the Outer Banks), and featured two back-to-back hurricane hits on the tiny archipelago of Bermuda (Fay, then Gonzalo). Furthermore, six of those eight storms became hurricanes, and Gonzalo was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Igor in 2010. (RECAP: 2014 Hurricane Season) In 1983, there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia, a Category 3 hurricane which clobbered the Houston-Galveston area. The 2010 season featured 12 hurricanes and 19 named storms, which tied 1995 for the third most named storms in any Atlantic season, at the time. But not a single hurricane, and only one tropical storm, made landfall in the U.S during that active season. In other words, a season...

Graham Mackintosh has 4 Baja adventures tales to tell

Graham Mackintosh has 4 Baja adventures tales to tell

Apr 15, 2015

He once described himself as the least adventurous person in the world. Some 30 years later, Graham Mackintosh can look back on adventures that most people would never dream of. Mackintosh was a college lecturer in Britain in 1983 when he decided to show his students that “the adventure of a lifetime” could be enjoyed on a shoestring budget. Two years later, he completed his 4,800-kilometer circumnavigation on foot around the coastline of Baja California. He wrote a book about his experience called Into a Desert Place and subsequently won an award for Adventurous Traveler of the Year. It turned out that one adventure wasn’t enough for the unadventurous Brit, who embarked upon another Baja expedition in 1997, walking 1,600 kilometers down the mountainous interior of Baja from the border to Loreto. Journey with a Baja Burro, Mackintosh’s second book, tells the tale of the hike. Two more books have followed: Nearer My Dog to Thee, the 2001 story of his four months with two street dogs in the Baja mountain range, Sierra San Pedro Mártir, and Marooned with Very Little Beer, which followed a two-month kayaking trip in the Sea of Cortéz, where he also hiked the island, Isla Angel de la Guarda. Another adventure in 2013 hasn’t produced a book, but it is written up on Mackintosh’s website, and he spoke about it in an interview beforehand with Baja Bound. It was to be one of his biggest challenges — climbing 3,000-meter-high Picacho del Diablo, Baja’s tallest mountain. He admitted he wasn’t a climber, but allowed that he didn’t undertake such challenges without considering every possibility for things going wrong. Plus, a bit of tension and anxiety, he said, is a good thing. “You really need a little fear, a little pressure to keep you focused and alert. But not too much that you feel overwhelmed.” Mackintosh, who now lives in San Diego, California, says all his Baja adventure have begun with that uncomfortable tension, which turns into confidence as he settles into the trip. He admitted that climbing Picacho del Diablo, or Devil’s Peak, might be beyond him. “But I will at least try and see what happens and be prepared...

Save the Vaquita Marina! But, what about the fishermen?

Save the Vaquita Marina!  But, what about the fishermen?

Apr 9, 2015

They might have saved the vaquita marina in the Sea of Cortés, but did they sacrifice the fishermen to do so? In San Felipe, Baja California, nearly 900 fisherman and permit holders must stop the one thing they’ve done their entire lives and the one thing that has put food on their table. The federal government has doubled the area of a restricted fishing zone and prevented any fishing activity for the next two years in the northern part of the Sea of Cortés in an attempt to save the endangered vaquita porpoise and the totoaba. The measure restricts fishing to clams, crabs and perch, and nets may only be deployed for a few minutes. Although the totoaba, native to Baja, has successfully been repopulated in recent years, fishermen in the region are complaining that new prohibitions always create bustling black markets. Nevertheless, the government has stated it intends to compensate the fishermen with thousands of pesos due to the ban in the area designated as a biosphere reserve, which has been extended to the San Felipe coast for the purpose of protecting the two species. The fishermen aren’t sure. “Well, the government says they will compensate us, but the money probably won’t get to us,” one San Felipe fisherman laments, arguing that among the list of beneficiaries not a single one of them has anything to do with fishing. The compensation is supposed to go to permit holders, fishermen and key players along supply chains. On March 1 the environment secretariat announced a strategy to save the vaquita by employing four measures: expanding the restricted area, financial compensation to fishermen, surveillance inspections, and after two years, the use of new nets. The federal proposal includes paying 486,000 pesos to those with permits to catch shrimp, 289,000 pesos for finfish and 105,000 pesos for shark. Of these annual figures, 30% would be for fishermen and 70% for permit holders. The federal government promised to compensate all those involved in the business of fishing, including distribution, cleaning and product preparation, along with workers who gut fish, maintain boats and supply the industry. A committee was formed in order to develop concrete compensation plans by January...