Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where Did the Ice Go?

Environment Canada has chosen the Vanishing Ice at the Top of the World as its biggest weather story of 2007.
This Radarsat-1 image shows that in September Parry Channel was free of ice from almost one end to the other for the first time in recorded history.

Enviroment Canada say that there was "23 per cent less sea ice than the previous record of 5.3 million square km in 2005. It was as if an ice chunk the size of Ontario had disappeared in one year. Since 1971, and particularly since 1990, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been decreasing significantly on a hemispherical scale. But this year’s “big melt” was a shocker."
Until recently, climate scientists were not envisaging this sort of ice loss for another 30 years.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Depends on your definition, but Geist magazine has compiled this list of the 15 greenest cities in the world. And yes, there is a Canadian city on the list! But check out Barcelona, Spain, where 37% --check that! 37%-- of all trips are taken ON FOOT! That blows my mind!

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James Howard Kunstler

I'm not his biggest fan, but I have to say he gets climate change and oil dependence. I also like his intense hatred of suburbs and what they imply. Here are his Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society. If you haven't been thinking much about it, this is a good place to start.

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Alternet's Environmental Top Ten

Yup, just follow the link to the top ten environmental stories according to Alternet this year.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Viral Advertising

Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit, PETA really understands viral media.They really are a textbook in how brains and tech savvy can put some serious hurt on massive international corporations. They've released a funny and very twisted video starring a detourned Full House cast in an attack on the fashion taste and production of the Olsen Twins. I suspect it was done on about $20 and a borrowed computer, but it is pretty effective. Certainly worth a look for many reasons.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Known Knowns and Unknown Knowns

So, listening to testimony and the coverage thereof today, I began to wonder "what do we really know about this relationship?" As far as I can tell, what we know--even after all the testimony-- is that:
  • Karlheinz Schrieber said he knew Brian Mulroney
  • KS said he'd paid Brian $300,000 and that Brian hadn't done what he was supposed to do for it
  • The RCMP were looking into any relationship between the two, leading up to the infamous letter to the Swiss authorities asking to take a look at banking records
  • Brian freaked out and denied any relationship--denied KS three times or more-- and decided to sue the Canadian government of the day for allowing the RCMP investigation of the relationship between himself and KS
  • The government folded and ended up paying out $2.1 million to Lyin' Brian
  • Some time later, Lyin' Brian declared the money he had received from KS to Revenue Canada--fearing them more than the RCMP it would seem...
  • and really, that's about it
Everything since then has really just been restatements of these facts, with embellishments. The question really boils down to "what can be proven" and "who do you believe more?" Because on the one hand you have a known liar and lowlife with connections to the rich and powerful and on the other you have Karlheinz Schrieber. After all, there were reasons that Brian Mulroney had an approval rating under 18% when he left office, and as much as he's tried in the intervening years, there hasn't really been any rehabilitation of his reputation. The man is still a liar. But is he more of a liar than Karlheinz?
And honestly, Brian is known to talk regularly with Stephen Harper. So is it reasonable to believe that he never mentioned Schrieber to him? Really? Not saying the current PM had anything to do with anything, just saying that it really sounds like Brian is up to his old lyin' ways again.
So will we ever find out where the truth lies? i mean, I have plenty of reasons to despise the former Prime Minister of Canada, I really don't need a false one too. But if it is true, it will really confirm much of what I already suspected about the man, and I wouldn't want to miss out on that. And seeing brian behind bars? Priceless.....

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Folly and Madness

It is madness, absolute folly and madness.
Strictly economically speaking, it makes no sense for Canada to continue to support a fossil-fuel economy and not embrace a so-called "green" economy irregardless of what the Bush junta in America does. Canada will transform to a green economy because we have no other choice. We will either embrace and welcome it, or fight it kicking and screaming, but it will happen. The economic benefits of making that transition sooner rather than later far outweigh what the Bush approach of denial will benefit the United States. If Bush wants to speed up the fall of the American Empire with his Neanderthal antics, that's his choice; our choice should be to get on with the business of reducing our footprint on the planet. If we don't, there won't be any economy to worry about.
But this idiotic notion that our Environment Minister is spewing in Bali that we can't do anything without the United Stated signing on is vile sputum. Why the government is tying its fortunes to the policies of an increasingly irresponsible and reprehensible fool with delusions of demagoguery is unfathomable to me. It didn't work so well for John Howard or Tony Blair. Why does Harper think it will work for him?
Of course, it would be best for the United States and other major polluters to be on side. But we can't wait for these pig-heaed obstructionists to get their way. The latest estimates are that summer polar sea ice will completely melt in five years and new estimates of sea-level rise are two to three times what they used to be. We don't have a lot of time.
The irony is of course that America will have to transition to a green economy too -- they won't have a choice if they wish to stay competitive in the future global reality.
Canada used to have its own voice in the international arena. It grieves and saddens me that we are now perceived as Bush's boot lickers.

Another Warm Year

According to this BBC report, 2007 is the seventh-warmest year on record, and the second-warmest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.
The eleven warmest years ever have all occurred within the last thirteen years.

The Top Ten:
1998 - 0.52C (above the 1961-1990 average)
2005 - 0.48C
2003 - 0.46C
2002 - 0.46C
2004 - 0.43C
2006 - 0.42C
2007 (provisional) - 0.41C
2001 - 0.40C
1997 - 0.36C
1995 - 0.28C

This Was Pretty Clear

but the current meeting in Bali has shown just how complicit our current PM is in the battle to encourage global warming.
Representative Henry Waxman has chaired a committee that's just released their report. From the intro:
"This report presents the findings of the Committee’s investigation. The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming."

The EU is pretty pissed at the heel-dragging going on in North America. So is Al Gore:
"Gore said the U.S. is "principally responsible" for the stalemate at the Bali talks over emission controls. He also heaped scorn on the idea that the world can only have an effective climate treaty if the U.S. signs on — the exact position articulated by Canada"(from The Guardian Online). John Baird, our environment minister, is also taking some heat in Bali. Not just Canada:
"There is a wrecking crew here in Bali led by the Bush administration and its minions," [Jennifer Morgan of the Climate Action Network ] told CBC News. "Those minions continue to be the governments of Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and others." (
But yes, we're a "minion" now. But why? Well, look at Harper's home riding, and where the Reform Party started and drew so much of it's strength--Amerikan owned and operated Alberta. From the CBC:
"Canada is already the top exporter of oil to the American market, exporting the equivalent of one million barrels a day — the exact amount that the oilsands industry in Alberta currently produces."
Considering that there isn't really much other oil left in Alberta--according to this report (pdf) from the Alberta government there is only about 1.6 billion barrels of conventional oil left in the province, but 173.7 billion in the oil sands--is it any wonder that the Alberta government is doing anything possible to speed production in the tarsands? It's not doing the rest of us any good though--all that production is headed to the US (and under NAFTA, that's pretty much a guarantee for life). Oil production from the sands costs about $36/barrel and is currently fetching close to $100 per, leaving a daily net profit of some 50+ million dollars each and every day of the year. That kind of money makes people insane. And pays for more lobbying than all the environmental groups in the world can afford.
But the real costs are much higher. The oilsands use enough natural gas to heat 300,000 homes to free the bitumen trapped in the sand and clay. And while it may be better than coal, burning natural gas releases plenty of CO2 --as much or more CO2 is released in Fort MacMurray as is released by all the cars in Canada, making it the biggest source of new greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
That million barrels a day in conventional oil is then shipped south of the border to be burned--releasing the rest of the sequestered CO2. And production is slated to ramp up five-fold--to five million barrels a day. This really is nuts--but 250 million dollars per day in profits means that the Harper government will do nothing to stop this. in fact, this government will go out of its way to help--like gutting their own legislation to ensure it won't impact the sands.
There's a lot more at the CBC alone--none of this is being hidden. Just not discussed openly by our ruling "elite" (one of whom is answering questions today about the three one hundred thousand dollar cash payments he took from Karlheinz Schrieber).

What I Believe

Well, not me, you understand. But current GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney does. This little video explores the Mormon faith.

Humans are still evolving - and it's happening faster than ever

According to the Guardian:
"Humans are evolving more quickly than at any time in history, researchers say. In the past 5,000 years, humans have evolved up to 100 times more quickly than any time since the split with the ancestors of modern chimpanzees 6m years ago, a team from the University of Wisconsin found."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surf Moose Jaw

Props to Louise for sending this one along....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The The Impotence of Proofreading

A Good Canadian Girl, Eh?

Check out Naomi Klein (the good Klein, not that Ralph one...) being interviewed by Keith Olberman on Countdown. Yeah, you could call a "corporate takeover with guns" "looting".

Amerika Flies Against the Rotation of the Earth order to turn back time (thanks, Superman!).
As this post from GottaLaff points out, Amerika is headed backwards in time as fast as possible. Pre-Enlightenment if possible.
A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
You know, unity in the face of lunacy just might work....