Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When You'll Do Anything To Avoid The Problem

Somehow the problem just keeps getting worse. Because we are unwilling to face a future without cars--in fact, we seem to be quite willing to sacrifice the world on the altar of the car--we seem willing to do anything to keep the cars rolling. Biofuels are one such approach; sequester carbon in plants, then convert the plants to usable fuel, and burn the fuel to keep the cars rolling while re-emitting the same carbon. The thinking is that this is, if not a zero-sum game, at least a significant reduction in the amount of carbon being added to the atmosphere. And it's a great way to subsidize farmers (something all governments try to do) and an opportunity for big capital to open up a brand new market (with significant government subsidy. Without which, big capital doesn't do shit). But, of course, things aren't as simple as they seem. Thus this article in the 25 March 2008 Guardian:

Using plant-based materials for fuel in cars and trucks was until
recently heralded as the answer to the need to reduce carbon emissions
from petrol and diesel fuels.

But the alarm expressed yesterday
by Professor Robert Watson, the government's highest-ranking
environment scientist, that the headlong pursuit of biofuels could
accelerate climate change, is the latest in a series of comments from
senior figures that have shaken Whitehall.

Both Watson and the
former chief scientific officer, Sir David King, have joined the chorus
of those calling for a key "sustainability" clause to be introduced to
ensure biofuels do not compound the problem by competing for land with
staple food crops and speeding up deforestation.

Speaking on
Radio 4's Today programme, Watson said: "It would obviously be insane
if we had a policy to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through
the use of biofuels that's actually leading to an increase in the
greenhouse gases from biofuels.
"

The rest of the article is here.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Earth Hour

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcHz6Jv4l-g

What Was Once Obvious Is Now Foresight

There is a corruption at the heart of the system, that much has been clear forever. But with Amerikans growing a new historical hymen every 8-12 years, there is nothing but hopeless optimism to counter the foul beating of the heart of Wall Street. From today's Guardian, one of the best articles I've seen in the press in a long time. I recommend reading it--the conclusions matter to us all (particularly here in Canada). Then go off and read this article about becoming less cool from The Tyee.

[From the Guardian article]
"Ultimately, though, action will be taken because there will be
political pressure for it. Indeed, it is somewhat surprising that there
is not already rioting in the streets, given the gigantic fraud
perpetrated by the financial elite at the expense of ordinary Americans.

The US has just had its weakest period of expansion since the 1950s.
Consumption growth has been poor. Investment growth has been modest.
Exports have been sluggish. But if you are at the top of the tree, the
years since the last recession in 2001 has been a veritable golden age.
Salaries for executives have rocketed and profits have soared, because
the productivity gains from a growing economy have been
disproportionately skewed towards capital."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unions

Ooh, ooh, I like this one!

What have Unions ever given us.

Personal Genotyping

Check out this blog by Mike Spear as he begins the process of having his genome read. He compares three different company's services in providing data based on his DNA sample. Fascinating and scary -- genome kits in Best Buy! But in addition to the social issues Spear intends to raise (e.g., can insurance companies base your premiums on what your DNA says you may be predisposed to get?), there is the larger issue of allowing our DNA to be read by American service providers, who may (under the Patriot Act) have to open their files to government security agencies. Makes me nervous, and I'm too old to be a revolutionary.

What Kills Religion?

Humour. It's deadly.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm Not Sure How I Feel About Knowing This

Sure I knew that the meaning of "innovation" in Corporate Amerika means buying up anyone who comes up with a good idea and then stifling competition, but, like interlocking corporate boards of directors, sometimes it's not until you see the picture (this one apparently from goodmagazine.com) that you really get the whole picture.


Garfield Minus Garfield

This is insanely funny!
Someone has created a website using old Garfield cartoons but with all traces of Garfield removed. What's left? An "even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life."
Click here for Garfield Minus Garfield.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CNN Needs a Proof Reader


You'd think that for a $1,000 an hour he could get some fresh call girls...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Many Are You Reading?

From the Guardian:

The world's 50 most powerful blogs



From
Prince Harry in Afghanistan to Tom Cruise ranting about Scientology and
footage from the Burmese uprising, blogging has never been bigger. It
can help elect presidents and take down attorney generals while
simultaneously celebrating the minutiae of our everyday obsessions.
Here are the 50 best reasons to log on.

Why Dawn! How...Canadian of you!



Turns out that Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island) has a middle name--Elberta. Oh, and she got busted back on the 18th of October for really bad driving. Turns out she was seriously burnt on some good weed. TMZ has the story, and pictures, about my favourite 69-year-old ex-sitcom-star getting busted.....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Batshit Crazy

...that's the Texas legislature. It is, you know, illegal for a person to purchase a dildo in Texas. Well, unless it is for scientific or educational purchases. If you're a safe sex educator, go wild. Well, not too wild, as possession of six or more is a felony--possession with intent to distribute-- but, if you have five or fewer, you are just a hobbyist.
This is another example of how these crazy bastards go insane when it comes to female sexuality. The video that goes along with this article has the incomparable Molly Ivins talking about just how bugfuck these Texas looners (the elected officials of the great state of...) really are. And make no mistake, these guys (and they are all guys) are batshit crazy. Scared to death of women's sexuality, paranoid about consenting relationships between any two adults, the human race wouldn't miss these guys if they vanished tomorrow (well, except maybe the humour value).
What the hell is this dementia on the Right? Intellectual dishonesty, pure, everyday I'm-a-lying-sack-of-shit dishonesty, homosexual panic, heterosexual panic, the desire for death, destruction, and Armageddon. WTF? I suspect that it's the result of eating a Western diet with too much Texas beef in it. Any time I think that there might be some value in a Rightist argument, you see where these slippery slopes lead. And make no mistake, I think the Harper (and provincial Right wing) government(s) want to do exactly the same thing as these Texas legislators. And given half a chance, they will.
Be afraid. Then be very very active....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Tippling Point; Wine in the New World Order

Are you ready for Finnish merlot? Check out this Guardian article on how global climate change is driving vineyards out of France--but may make it possible to grow wine grapes in very different soils.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's Karaoke Time!

video

Thanks to the ECC we can all sing along!