Thursday, December 18, 2008
Couldn't stop looking for a poem.
by Amy Lowell
Why do you subdue yourself in golds and purples?
Why do you dim yourself with folded silks?
Do you not see that I can buy brocades in any draper’s shop,
And that I am choked in the twilight of all these colours.
How pale you would be, and startling,
But your curves would spring upward
Like a clear jet of flung water,
You would quiver like a shot-up spray of water,
You would waver, and relapse, and tremble.
And I too should tremble,
Murex-dyes and tinsel—
And yet I think I could bear your beauty unshaded.
Amy Lowell, “The Artist” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright © 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © renewed 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Brinton P. Roberts, and G. D'Andelot, Esquire. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Poetry (September 1919).
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I think that to learn about water is to begin to understand discrepancy.
I think that to learn about water is to begin to understand privilege and waste and luxury and comparison.
Sometimes when I am stressed out I take a long hot shower, even if I have taken one in the morning... I think my hot water tank holds 40 gallons of water...
8th Annual Year in Ideas
By ALICE RAWSTHORN
Published: December 12, 2008
Irene van Peer is a Dutch designer who, with a group of colleagues, has devised a clever method for turning empty plastic beverage bottles into hand-washing devices to help prevent the spread of disease in Africa. Van Peer realized the need for such a device while working on sanitation projects in South African townships; many of the township residents have difficulty washing their hands because they lack easy access to water. Van Peer and her colleagues began by having conversations about the idea with people, mostly women, in the townships. “For me it was important to listen to their problems and to come back with a solution they could make themselves,” she says.
Eventually, van Peer and her colleagues hit upon an ingenious design. It involves converting the cap of an empty bottle into a homemade tap. The cap is pierced and then a long, skinny cone made from a readily available material like cork is inserted. One end of a length of wire is pushed through the cone, and the other is wound around a weight, like a stone, to nestle in the palm of the hand. The bottle is held above the hand facing downward, and when the weight is pushed up, the water is released and trickles down the wire toward the weight. Used carefully, a one-liter bottle can perform up to 60 hand-washes.
After showing people in the townships how to use it, van Peer also left instructions to be passed on from person to person. She named it the Mahlangu after Johanna Mahlangu, a woman who told her she planned to make the hand-washers for her day care center for disabled children.
Monday, December 15, 2008
In Praise of Tap Water
On the streets of New York or Denver or San Mateo this summer, it seems the telltale cap of a water bottle is sticking out of every other satchel. Americans are increasingly thirsty for what is billed as the healthiest, and often most expensive, water on the grocery shelf. But this country has some of the best public water supplies in the world. Instead of consuming four billion gallons of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet’s health.
Here are the hard, dry facts: Yes, drinking water is a good thing, far better than buying soft drinks, or liquid candy, as nutritionists like to call it. And almost all municipal water in America is so good that nobody needs to import a single bottle from Italy or France or the Fiji Islands. Meanwhile, if you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.
Next, there’s the environment. Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing.
Tap water may now be the equal of bottled water, but that could change. The more the wealthy opt out of drinking tap water, the less political support there will be for investing in maintaining America’s public water supply. That would be a serious loss. Access to cheap, clean water is basic to the nation’s health.
Some local governments have begun to fight back. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited his city’s departments and agencies from buying bottled water, noting that San Francisco water is “some of the most pristine on the planet.” Salt Lake City has issued a similar decree, and New York City recently began an advertising campaign that touted its water as “clean,” “zero sugar” and even “stain free.”
The real change, though, will come when millions of ordinary consumers realize that they can save money, and save the planet, by turning in their water bottles and turning on the tap.
Friday, December 12, 2008
But it's here -- too -- always.
I canceled class today because of water.
It was pouring -- there are ice warnings -- it was optional and at 8:30 -- and I couldn't bear the thought of my finals-weary students out there in it...
Last night I went to the theater -- I saw Rock and Roll. It was great. Which lead to my search of the Times this morning for water and art...
Doesn't art feel like water -- the way it soothes and nourishes and how, when we go without it we begin to dry up -- without noticing -- become corser...
An Elusive Water Sprite Flits By, Skirting the Depths
By ROSLYN SULCAS
Published: December 5, 2008
LONDON — In 1958 Frederick Ashton choreographed his last full-length ballet, “Ondine,” as a vehicle for the 39-year-old Margot Fonteyn. “Ondine” has had long absences from the Royal Ballet repertory, perhaps because Fonteyn was so strongly identified with the role of the water sprite who enchants a mortal man, perhaps because its dense score by Hans Werner Henze was regarded as problematic.
“Ondine” was revived in 1988 after 22 years, and it was performed again in 1999 and 2005. This season the Royal Ballet has brought the work back for a few pre-Christmas performances (with a handful more in the spring), and on Wednesday night I saw it for the first time with Tamara Rojo as Ondine and Edward Watson as Palemon, the man who loves and betrays her.
“Ondine” is curiously poised between the past and the present. It is based on an 1811 story by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, and like “La Sylphide,” “Giselle” or “Swan Lake,” it speaks of the Romantic longing for the unattainable, perhaps even the artist’s elusive vision of the creative spirit in the form of a muse. Its designs, by Lila de Nobili, have a dusty Gothic quality that evokes the 19th-century stage, and its lovely, gauzy costumes for Ondine and her fellow sprites are a perfect Romantic fantasy.
But Ashton chose to commission a score from a contemporary composer precisely to avoid creating an imitation period ballet, and the music (written by Mr. Henze at just 34) has a darkness and discordance that often work in odd tension with what is happening onstage.
Instead of offering clearly delineated variations and ensembles, Ashton’s choreography is mostly as seamless and liquid as the watery element that he conjures up throughout the ballet. The dances for Ondine, particularly the “shadow” solo (a tribute to Fanny Cerrito’s pas de l’ombre, a famous highlight of Jules Perrot’s 1843 “Ondine”) and her pas de deux with Palemon, are full of rippling arms and tiny, capricious steps on point, wonderfully inventive lifts full of swimming imagery and a repeated motif of the palms brought together overhead to form a fish-shaped arch.
“Ondine” is, in short, an abstract ballet imprisoned in a 19th-century framework, a poem rather than a tale, and it’s at its most successful when it’s not trying to tell a story but rather to evoke mood and emotion. For that, the ballet is almost entirely dependent on its ballerina, and Ms. Rojo accomplishes a great deal without conveying the full magic of the piece.
Her dancing is beautiful, full of quicksilver precision and fluid lyricism, and she successfully conveys Ondine’s childlike innocence, her ignorance of human custom and form. In Act II, with its long pas de deux on the boat, whose rocking motion is brilliantly conveyed by de Nobili’s rising and falling backdrops of waves, and Ashton’s swaying sailors, Ms. Rojo and Mr. Watson are wonderfully touching in their expression of a love not fully understood by either character.
But Ms. Rojo didn’t evoke the deeper mysteries of Ondine: the idea of her essentially soulless nature (suggested by Mr. Henze’s recurring, eerie harp and wind sounds), and the inherent tragedy of the unattainable that she represents in the tale.
With his long-limbed elegance, Mr. Watson (who has developed into an unobtrusively excellent partner) did suggest that tragedy in the final pas de deux of Act III, showing a resignation to — even a desire for — the death that he knows Ondine’s kiss will bring.
The principal supporting roles — Tirrenio, the Lord of the Mediterranean Sea, and Berta, whom Palemon marries after losing Ondine in the shipwreck of Act II — were well danced by Ricardo Cervera and Genesia Rosato, although (with all due respect to the attractive Ms. Rosato) this Berta was clearly a great deal older than her Palemon.
And a word for the dynamic principal pair (Mara Galeazzi and José Martin) in the Neapolitan divertissements of Act III, a long, pure-dance section I had frequently heard criticized but found enchanting in its odd juxtaposition of the commedia dell’arte aesthetic and Mr. Henze’s jazz-infused rhythms. Here, as elsewhere, Ashton demonstrates how he could transform the conventions of a three-act ballet. “Ondine” may not fully succeed, but it shows the hand of a master.
“Ondine” will be performed on Saturday at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London; roh.org.uk.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I read the article in the Times a few days ago. I will be so glad to really dig into this project -- next week the semester is over.
By THOMAS FULLER
Published: December 4, 2008
BARAY, Cambodia — The dry season has taken hold here, but water is everywhere. It pours out of sluice gates with the roar of an alpine torrent. Children do backflips into the ubiquitous canals and then pull their friends in with them. Fishermen cast their nets for minnows, and villagers wash their Chinese-made motorcycles.
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The regime built 70 percent of the 800-plus canal networks
“It’s never dry here,” said Chan Mo, a 36-year-old rice farmer standing on top of a dike.
The Khmer Rouge canals have come back to life.
By the time the brutal government of Pol Pot was toppled three decades ago, 1.7 million Cambodians were dead from overwork, starvation and disease, and the country was a ruin.
But the forced labor of millions of Cambodians left behind something useful — or that is how the current government here sees it.
[[[I just keep thinking about PTSD. How the older people must hear the water, see the children jumping to and playing in the water ... and be moved the dead.]]]
Mr. Loh Thoeun hopes the canals he built will help double or triple his rice output.
“I always recall the past to my children,” Mr. Loh Thoeun said. “I say, ‘We have water from this canal that was built by the people. And many of them died.’ ”
Among the current workers on Baray’s canal system is Sim Vy, 48. As a teenager she was also enlisted by the Khmer Rouge to help build the canals here, carrying dirt away on baskets tied to bamboo poles.
She was told she was working for national glory but received only watery gruel as recompense.
Now she is paid $55 a month.
“I prefer working this way,” she said.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
by Stevie Smith
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
by Louise Glück
Brutal to love,
more brutal to die.
And brutal beyond the reaches of justice
to die of love.
In the end, Dido
summoned her ladies in waiting
that they might see
the harsh destiny inscribed for her by the Fates.
She said, “Aeneas
came to me over the shimmering water;
I asked the Fates
to permit him to return my passion,
even for a short time. What difference
between that and a lifetime: in truth, in such moments,
they are the same, they are both eternity.
I was given a great gift
which I attempted to increase, to prolong.
Aeneas came to me over the water: the beginning
Now the Queen of Carthage
will accept suffering as she accepted favor:
to be noticed by the Fates
is some distinction after all.
Or should one say, to have honored hunger,
since the Fates go by that name also.”
"The Queen of Carthage" by Louise Glück, from Vita Nova. Copyright © 1999 by Louise Glück. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, www.harpercollins.com
Friday, December 5, 2008
By ROBERT PEAR and FELICITY BARRINGER
Published: December 2, 2008
WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.
The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush’s last weeks in office.
The proposal that would give more leeway to coal-burning power plants, to increase their emissions when they make repairs and renovations, was on the original wish list of the energy task force convened by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001.
In 2006, a federal appeals court struck down an effort by the Bush administration to loosen the rules on such coal-burning plants.
I'm starting very very slowly...
Isn't it amazing, though, to imagine that Dick Cheney really wrote a wish list of environmental havoc?!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Over 400 people died last week in Jos, Nigeria in a what the NYTimes called, "angry Christian and Muslim mobs protested what they said were rigged local election results ... Archbishop Kaigama said the soldiers might have overreacted. “Soldiers were given shoot on sight orders,” he said, “so many of those killed certainly could have been shot by soldiers.”"
It occurs to me that much of what I have already read and much of what I am going to read intersect... that was the point, of course, but it becomes striking just a few days in as I begin to feel my way in the dark.
"SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― A federal jury on Monday cleared Chevron Corp. of responsibility for any human rights abuses during a violent protest on a company oil platform in Nigeria a decade ago."
The Government, The Oil Companies... they are hard to distinguish in many areas of the world...
Monday, December 1, 2008
by Jane Kenyon
Rebuked, she turned and ran
uphill to the barn. Anger, the inner
arsonist, held a match to her brain.
She observed her life: against her will
it survived the unwavering flame.
The barn was empty of animals.
Only a swallow tilted
near the beams, and bats
hung from the rafters
the roof sagged between.
Her breath became steady
where, years past, the farmer cooled
the big tin amphoræ of milk.
The stone trough was still
filled with water: she watched it
and received its calm.
So it is when we retreat in anger:
we think we burn alone
and there is no balm.
Then water enters, though it makes
Jane Kenyon, “Portrait of a Figure Near Water” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon
Sunday, November 30, 2008
# binary compound that occurs at room temperature as a clear colorless odorless tasteless liquid; freezes into ice below 0 degrees centigrade and ...
# body of water: the part of the earth's surface covered with water (such as a river or lake or ocean); "they invaded our territorial waters"; "they were sitting by the water's edge"
# supply with water, as with channels or ditches or streams; "Water the fields"
# once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)
# water system: a facility that provides a source of water; "the town debated the purification of the water supply"; "first you have to cut off the water"
# provide with water; "We watered the buffalo"
# urine: liquid excretory product; "there was blood in his urine"; "the child had to make water"
# secrete or form water, as tears or saliva; "My mouth watered at the prospect of a good dinner"; "His eyes watered"
# a liquid necessary for the life of most animals and plants; "he asked for a drink of water"
# fill with tears; "His eyes were watering"
Saturday, November 29, 2008
My cousins just got back from their honeymoon there.
Adam said it's a shame in a way -- because they have such cheap green energy they are attracting all sorts of very environmentally unfriendly businesses -- businesses that use an extraordinary amount of resources. It's good, because of course they would be using coal somewhere else. Still they have this beautiful, pristine place...
Julia said, the water gets hot really really fast.
She also said that the water was so fresh at first it tasted a little like fish.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm thankful for the dishwasher...
This comes from a blog on the site "One Green Generation."
Posted by Melinda on Friday, September 5th, 2008
In 2006, Waterwise studied the amount of water used in hand washing versus machine washing. According to their website, “Waterwise is a UK NGO focused on decreasing water consumption in the UK by 2010 and building the evidence base for large scale water efficiency. We are the leading authority on water efficiency in the UK.”
I could not find the study online, but according to several places it was quoted, the study found the average dishwasher uses between 12 and 16 litres (3-4.25 gallons) of water, while washing dishes by hand uses as much as 63 litres (16.5 gallons).
But the study failed to address the energy efficiency between the two methods…
The University of Bonn also conducted a study of 113 people from 7 European countries (PDF), comparing their water usage with a dishwasher and without.
Interestingly, they categorized the different hand washers as “super dishwashers” (people who preclean, soap clean, and rinse), “dishwashing economizers” (people who squirt detergent on the sponge and try to use as little water as possible), and “care-free dishwashers” (people who used as much water and detergent as they wanted to without thinking about it). But noted that economizers didn’t always end up using less than the other two groups.
Each person washed 12 place settings. On average, hand washing used 27 gallons (103 liters) of water, and 2.5 kWh of water-heating energy. The human time it took to wash, rinse, dry, and put away was approximately 80 minutes.
The dishwasher used approximately 4 gallons (15 liters) of water, consumed 1-2 kWh of total energy, and required 15 minutes of human time (loading and unloading the dishwasher). All in all, the dishwashers got the dishes cleaner, in less human time, using less water and energy.
The study recommended these tips for maximum efficiency:
- Remove large food scraps from the dishes with a spoon or fork.
- If hand washing, wash right away before the food sticks. If washing by machine, the machines can clean dishes that have been stored without cleaning or rinsing for several days, so no need to pre-rinse.
- Do not pre-rinse the dishes under running tap water, whether washing them by hand or in a machine.
- Manual dishwashing is best in two sinks: one with hot water and detergent, the other with cold water for rinse. (The study noted that those who were “economizers” tended to use a LOT more detergent, which counteracted their low water usage.)
- Use the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you can afford a machine, use one - preferably a new one that is the most energy-efficient.
The information provided by the EPA is in line with the previous study’s findings. It is unclear where the EPA received their information, but I do hope they’ve done their own research! Here’s what they say:
Washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save you annually 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time.
Note also that the average Energy Star dishwasher uses 4 gallons of water, where the average non-Energy Star dishwasher uses 6 gallons.
The EPA recommends these tips to maximize your dishwasher’s energy efficiency:
- Run your dishwasher with a full load. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher goes to heat water. Since you can’t decrease the amount of water used per cycle, fill your dishwasher to get the most from the energy used to run it.
- Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features. Instead use your dishwasher’s air-dry option.
- Scrape don’t rinse: just scrape food off the dishes and load. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers and today’s detergents are designed to do the cleaning so you don’t have to pre-rinse. If your dirty dishes are going to sit overnight, use your dishwasher’s rinse feature. **Pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher can use up to 20 gallons of water, where the pre-rinse cycle on a machine uses just 1-2 gallons.**
- Using a dishwasher that is made in the past few years (or at least after 1994), and one that uses a booster heater (ie, it heats the water on demand vs using your water heater), you can save even more water and energy.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In the beginning of learning about oil I had to back way up. I really don't know that much. My five-year-old son said the other day, "there's more water than earth," which isn't quite right...
My students have been using How Stuff Works as a source lately -- I wanted to see what it was like.
I think it's not as bad as Wikipedia -- but really, anything un-bylined...
There's a whole lot of water on Earth! Something like 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (326 million trillion gallons) of the stuff (roughly 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters) can be found on our planet. This water is in a constant cycle -- it evaporates from the ocean, travels through the air, rains down on the land and then flows back to the ocean.
The oceans are huge. About 70 percent of the planet is covered in ocean, and the average depth of the ocean is several thousand feet (about 1,000 meters). Ninety-eight percent of the water on the planet is in the oceans, and therefore is unusable for drinking because of the salt. About 2 percent of the planet's water is fresh, but 1.6 percent of the planet's water is locked up in the polar ice caps and glaciers. Another 0.36 percent is found underground in aquifers and wells. Only about 0.036 percent of the planet's total water supply is found in lakes and rivers. That's still thousands of trillions of gallons, but it's a very small amount compared to all the water available.The rest of the water on the planet is either floating in the air as clouds and water vapor, or is locked up in plants and animals (your body is 65 percent water, so if you weigh 100 pounds, 65 pounds of you is water!).
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
there was treasure and intrigue -- a feather...
This from the NYTimes today...
"JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — A hijacked Saudi-owned supertanker carrying more than $100 million worth of crude oil is approaching Somali waters where it is expected to anchor so that negotiations can begin on the release of the vessel and its 25 crew, United States Navy officials said Tuesday.
The vessel, the 1,080-foot Sirius Star, is the largest ship ever seized by pirates — three times the size of an aircraft carrier, by American estimates — and was captured off the coast of Kenya.
“At this time we believe the ship is just off the Somali coast,” said Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain. “We don’t have a specific indication that the ship is at anchor, but if it follows the pattern of previous attacks, that’s what will happen and negotiations will begin between the pirates and the owners of ship.”
Although the supertanker’s exact location near the Somali coast is not clear, in the past most pirates have brought hijacked vessels to a stretch of coastline between Eyl in the north to the Harradera region to the south, Commander Campbell said in a telephone interview.
The hijacking follows a string of increasingly brazen attacks by Somali pirates in recent months, but this appeared to be the first time that pirates have seized a loaded oil tanker."
I didn't know anyone was still called a pirate... flags? Peglegs?
This is, of course, very awful for a lot of people.
More by way of language...
Terrorist or Pirate.
Hijacking, kidnapping, environmental blackmail...
"Only a few years ago, the average ransom was in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now payments can range from $500,000 to $2 million.The pirates’ profits are set to reach a record $50 million in 2008, Somali officials say. Shipping firms are usually prepared to pay, because the sums are low compared with the value of the ships."
Monday, November 17, 2008
Someday I would like the NYTimes to call a poet Mighty.
Last year, Exxon, which is based in Irving, Tex., celebrated its 125th anniversary, marking a straight line that connects it to John D. Rockefeller’s original Standard Oil Trust before the government broke up the enterprise. While other oil companies try to paint themselves greener, Exxon’s executives believe their venerable model has been battle-tested. The company’s mantra is unwavering: brutal honesty about the need for oil and gas to power economies for decades to come.
“Over the years, there have been many predictions that our industry was in its twilight years, only to be proven wrong,” says Mr. Tillerson. “As Mark Twain said, the news of our demise has been greatly exaggerated.”
I'm going to keep going with this blog for a few more days -- a week or so -- I'm too busy to end it the way I would like to -- which is to say, with anything more than a minute.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The issues of light rail and rail -- of public transportation -- I have always found them really interesting. My former father-in-law helped develop the Accella -- he's an economist, but he was also involved in the tests to see how fast a body could go before puking.
I have a friend in city planning who's been talking about the issues of our faulty system for years.
Interesting to think of how important the train could become -- if air fare does, as it was said last summer, truly become out of reach...
I'm taking the Accella to Brooklyn today.
A $260.91 Drive From Miami
Posted by The Interloafer on May 24, 2006 - 7:50am in The Oil Drum: Local
Tags: amtrak, gas prices, rail, transportation [list all tags]
Lore Croghan, a Daily News reporter, flew down to Miami recently to pick her daughter, Antonia, up from college. The two drove back to the city in a VW New Beetle. The 1,323-mile road trip cost them $260.91, including lodging and meals. Lore also had to fly down to Miami, which cost another $124, for a total of $384.91.
With a few days notice, Amtrak tickets for two from Miami cost $212 or $274 aboard the Silver Star or the Silver Meteor. You still need to factor in meals aboard Amtrak, which will raise that ticket price a bit. But the two prices seem roughly comparable for a party of two. But are they really?
The price breakdown ignores the fixed costs of owning a car (depreciation, vehicle maintenance, insurance, parking, etc.), and the related $124 that that Lore had to spend on her flight. Half of the purpose of the trip, after all, was to retrieve the car as well as the daughter. (Once you buy a car, you have to keep track of it.)
Of course, the increasing cost of energy is affecting rail travel as well as commercial aviation and private automobile use, but it is affecting rail a lot less than the other two. So as the price continues to increase, as we Peak Oilers expect it will, there will come a point where rail travel is unequivocally less expensive than driving. When that happens, I think we can expect "the markets" to start directing some money to the long-underinvested rail system.
Ignoring the fixed costs and overhead of owning a car, even on a per-trip basis for an individual, the economics are beginning to favor rail. A single adult ticket one way from Miami to New York costs $106 or $137 on Amtrak, half the price of two riders. Would one person driving along cost exactly half the price of two people? No. The cost of gasoline would be exactly the same. That is why it always makes sense to pack the car up with people and split the cost. We New Yorkers grapple with this question every time we're in a group trying to decide whether it makes sense to take a cab or the subway: The more people you have to fill up a cab, the cheaper the cost is per rider.
Friday, November 14, 2008
U.S. takes first step toward new offshore oil drilling
The federal government begins the process that could open up the Virginia coast. A long-standing ban on new energy exploration off much of the U.S. coast expired last month.
By Cynthia Dizikes
November 13, 2008
Reporting from Washington -- The federal government announced Wednesday that it would be taking the first major step to expand offshore oil drilling after a long-standing ban on new energy exploration off much of the U.S. coast expired last month.
Officials with the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which oversees oil and gas development in federal waters, said that starting today it would begin the process that could lead to leases at a potential site at least 50 miles off the coast of Virginia, an area that has not had offshore drilling.
And so we are moving forward.
And with as much promise and hope as could be in store, the damage that has been done is still here -- is still in progress.
I have four more days of this blog -- I wish I could say that I have something great to do between now and then -- but at least I'm not George Bush.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"I want to be viable," she said.
Here's a clip from 1938. Jimmy Stuart looking for energy in leaves...
"Just one little discovery and we'd walk on air for days..."
and a moonlit night...
Of course Stuart and his friend gave up on their research -- went into auto sales and banking... glad their not there now.
The Democratic party is seeking relief for the auto companies...
I for one want to marry Jimmy Stuart -- more hope in that.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
May the soldiers be happy, may the soldiers be healthy, may the soldiers be safe, may the soldiers live in ease.
The Associated Press
As of Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, at least 4,193 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The figure includes eight military civilians killed in action. At least 3,388 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
POWER TRANSFER: Iraqi army prepares to pay Sunni fighter groups
FEMALE VETS: 15% tell of sexual trauma
The AP count is the same as the Defense Department's tally, last updated Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.
The British military has reported 176 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia and Georgia, three each; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand and Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and South Korea, one death each.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 30,774 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department's weekly tally.
BAGHDAD: Bombs kill at least 31, wound 71
• Staff Sgt. Timothy H. Walker, 38, Franklin, Tenn.; died in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle; assigned to the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
• Pfc. Theron V. Hobbs, 22, Albany, Ga.; died in a motor vehicle accident in Kirkuk; assigned to the 572nd Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.
• Army Spc. Adam M. Wenger, 27, Waterford, Mich.; died in Tunnis, Iraq, in a noncombat incident; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sometimes you just get stuck somewhere...
By PAUL ELIAS Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 11/07/2008 04:35:28 PM PST
SAN FRANCISCO—A federal magistrate judge ruled Friday that two crewmen of the Cosco Busan cargo ship can finally go home in a few weeks to China after involuntarily spending a year detained in San Francisco as witnesses to the massive San Francisco Bay oil spill.
Four other crew members, including the captain, will remain detained as "material witnesses" for at least the next several weeks.
The six have been stuck here since the Cosco Busan on Nov. 7, 2007 struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, gashing its hull and releasing 50,000 gallons of oil that killed thousands of birds and fouled beaches.
They are not charged with any crimes and continue to draw their salaries while living in a furnished apartment paid for by their employer. Each also receives $1,200 per month in witness fees.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
By FELICITY BARRINGER
Published: November 7, 2008
The Bureau of Land Management has expanded its oil and gas lease program in eastern Utah to include tens of thousands of acres on or near the boundaries of three national parks, according to revised maps published this week.
National Park Service officials say that the decision to open lands close to Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument and within eyeshot of Canyonlands National Park was made without the kind of consultation that had previously been routine.
The inclusion of the new lease tracts angered environmental groups, which were already critical of the bureau’s original lease proposal, made public this fall, because they said it could lead to industrial activity in empty areas of the state, some prized for their sweeping vistas, like Desolation Canyon, and others for their ancient petroglyphs, like Nine Mile Canyon.
The bureau’s new maps, made public on Election Day, show not just those empty areas but 40 to 45 new areas where leasing will also be allowed.
They say within eyesight. I wonder if the vibrations will be strong enough to begin to collapse...
They are beautiful parks.
Amazing isn't it -- how much damage a person can do on their way out. It's the most selfish time -- the what can I grab, who can I get back at, how mad am I and don't forget my power time...
May President Bush be happy may he be healthy may he be safe may he live in ease.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
It's strange to think about a year -- I've always thought that.
A year after the Cosco Busan spill
San Francisco Gate
Sejal Choksi,David Gordon
Friday, November 7, 2008
One year ago today, the Cosco Busan container ship hit the Bay Bridge, spilling more than 50,000 gallons and causing San Francisco Bay's largest vessel-related oil spill in over a decade. The spill galvanized local leaders to improve California's oil spill response policy. Despite this progress, the high frequency of oil spills worldwide and the international nature of the shipping industry require new federal legislation to improve shipping practices to prevent oil spills before they happen.
Oil prices last October closed around $85. Just at the upturn...
One Year ago—jots what?
by EMILY DICKINSON
One Year ago—jots what?
God—spell the word! I—can't—
Was't Grace? Not that—
Was't Glory? That—will do—
Such Anniversary shall be—
Sometimes—not often—in Eternity—
When farther Parted, than the Common Woe—
Look—feed upon each other's faces—so—
In doubtful meal, if it be possible
Their Banquet's true—
I did not know the Wine
Came once a World—Did you?
Oh, had you told me so—
This Thirst would blister—easier—now—
You said it hurt you—most—
Mine—was an Acorn's Breast—
And could not know how fondness grew
In Shaggier Vest—
But, had you looked in—
A Giant—eye to eye with you, had been—
So—Twelve months ago—
Then dropped the Air—
Which bore it best?
Was this—the patientest—
Because it was a Child, you know—
And could not value—Air?
If to be "Elder"—mean most pain—
I'm old enough, today, I'm certain—then—
As old as thee—how soon?
One—Birthday more—or Ten?
Ah, Sir, None!
SANLIURFA, Turkey, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A pipeline explosion caused by pressure problems left a large oil slick along the Turkey-Iraq border, Turkish officials say.
Friday, November 07, 2008 10:53 AM
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)trackingBIRDS wintering on a Fermanagh lake are under threat after hundreds of litres of oil poured into the water.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency said it had taken measures to contain the spill but some oil had still found its way into Racecourse Lough, one of Fermanagh's best fishing lakes. However, it promised the remaining oil would be cleaned up in the next few days.
A history of spills
(from the San Francisco Gate article above)
The Cosco Busan incident was not an anomaly. Oil spills are all too common, and there is a dire need to improve shipping standards. Within one month of the Cosco Busan tragedy, we saw devastating oil spills in Korea and the Black Sea. Here on the West Coast, the Selendang Ayu spilled 330,000 gallons of oil near Alaska's Aleutian Islands in 2004, closing down fisheries in the heart of one of America's most productive fishing regions. In 1999, the New Carissa spilled 70,000 gallons of fuel along the Oregon coast.
And let's not forget the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the devastating impacts of that spill still plague local residents. The Exxon Valdez oil spill compelled lawmakers to improve safety standards for oil tankers - but excluded cargo ships. Since then, cargo ships have increased in size and carry huge amounts of fuel, escalating the risk of significant oil spills from cargo ships.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
November 5, 2008, 2:43 pm
Energy Thinkers Ponder The FutureBy The New York Times
Senator Barack Obama has said that energy issues will be near the top of his presidential agenda, and he will have plenty to wrestle with — foreign oil, climate change, renewable energy and green jobs, to name a few.
In the wake of Mr. Obama’s decisive victory on Tuesday night, Green Inc. contacted experts from a variety of fields with four questions relating to the energy priorities and pitfalls facing the new administration. Their e-mailed responses were a mix of high expectations and sober realism.
Vaclav Smil, a professor at the University of Manitoba who has authored numerous books on global energy issues, told us informally that anyone expecting Mr. Obama to “transform the world” will be quickly disabused of the idea — particularly when it comes to energy policy. “The degree of disappointment that must follow such a gross naivete will be phenomenal,” Mr. Smil wrote.
“There will be precious little of any rapid change,” he added, “as energy systems are inherently inertial and as energy transitions take decades to accomplish. Besides, he will preside over a bankrupt nation.”
Also participating in our Q&A:
We’d like to thank all of them for participating. The questions, and their responses, follow.
a) The first priority needs to be truth-telling and public education. The fundamental shift needed in energy and climate policy will not be possible if presented to a public whose freshest memories are the devolved and simplistic rhetoric on energy that was the focus of the campaign prior to the economic meltdown. Our overwhelming and inefficient dependence on petroleum is an economic, security and environmental cancer, but oil – not just foreign oil – is the problem and the American people need “straight talk” about the realities of the world oil market and the realities of geology. “Drill, baby, drill” is not a solution to these challenges.
b) Climate policy and energy policy must be locked at the hip and the falsehood that good climate policy and good energy policy are in conflict needs to be debunked. Policies that invest in and increase energy efficiency should be among the first policies out the door – this allows a discussion about both reducing energy costs and reducing greenhouse gases as one and the same. A national goal and a concrete plan to increase our efficiency across the board should be job one.
c) Next would be a roadmap for both transitioning to cleaner fossil fuel and substitution of low and zero-carbon energy sources (of all types) for our old and inefficient fossil resources.
Explain to the nation that the Americans, who consume twice as much energy per capita as rich Europeans (and have nothing to show for it, as they are not richer, do not live longer, are not better educated and do not work less) should embark on a long road of trying to live within some sensible limits, which means less and not more. Everything else is quite secondary.
a) Promote transportation alternatives that can help ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. A leading candidate is the widespread development and deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which can travel 40 miles on an electric charge before using any gasoline.
b) Accelerate the research and development of low-carbon energy technologies.
c) Promote policies that will help spur the siting and construction of badly needed new transmission facilities in the United States, along with policies that will help accelerate the development of a more efficient “smart grid” with advanced metering infrastructure.
Daniel J. Weiss
The most immediate priorities should include: 1) Enactment of an economic stimulus package that includes clean energy measures that will increase jobs, while decreasing energy use and bills. This would include funds for weatherization of schools and low-income homes, pending transit projects and other similar efficiency programs. 2) Approval of California’s petition to set greenhouse gas limits for motor vehicles, which 16 other states will also adopt. 3) Approval of an “endangerment finding” under the Clean Air Act, which would enable E.P.A. to begin to control greenhouse gases from power plants and other sources. The Supreme Court set this in motion with the decision in Massachusetts v. E.P.A.
Maintain current energy-related jobs, create new energy-related jobs and ensure energy-intensive industries don’t shed jobs because of volatile energy prices. In other words — jobs, jobs, jobs.
Voters’ economic fears drove the election. The White House and the Congress will make the economy their top priority or pay the consequences.
As a strategic matter, the first thing to do is to make clear that America is serious about a new energy future, and that the days of delay and stonewalling by Big Carbon are over. The new President should do this by reversing the two worst Bush executive actions — the refusal to grant the California Clean Car Waiver, and the refusal to treat carbon dioxide as an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
The second step is to begin serious investments in high-performance energy productivity improvements — in particular those which create huge numbers of immediate jobs. Public and private building retrofits, mass transit improvements, and grid modernization should be part of any economic recovery package. The remaining necessary steps to 100 percent renewable energy should come immediately afterwards.
And the third is to prepare the United States to rejoin the world effort to stop global warming by getting Congress to commit to a diminishing cap that will ensure that U.S. carbon emissions decline by 80 percent by mid-century — and using the revenues from auctioning carbon permits issued under that cap to finance the energy investments in future years when restoring fiscal sanity, not economic stimulus, will be the priority.
The combination of linking climate and energy policy, along with an industrial policy (yes, we need to say this) aimed at creating green industry in the United States will mean a much larger role for renewable energy. But we can’t ask renewables to do it all, which is why a truly transformational energy policy will mean more renewables AND an emphasis on efficiency, more efficient fossil fuel use and nuclear.
Who knows? Renewables will require enormous subsidies and the country has $60 trillion debt.
Our industry strongly supports further integration of renewable electricity sources, which clearly will be front-and-center in the new administration and Congress. This also is the fastest-growing electricity generation sector. Congress took an important step in October by extending for one year the federal Production Tax Credit, which helps support renewable sources like wind, solar and biomass. But more can be done, including a longer-term extension of the P.T.C. Moreover, new transmission facilities will be needed to move larger amounts of renewable electricity generation from remote locations to large population centers where it is consumed.
Daniel J. Weiss
President-elect Obama and new senators and representatives campaigned on an agenda of economic stimulus, recovery and growth driven by investments in renewable energy and efficiency. Their election should speed the adoption of these policies.
We need a diverse energy portfolio that includes coal, oil and gas, nuclear and renewables. However, the public seems to be in no mood to pay a premium for its energy choices. Everyone will have to be competitive.
They are a stunning signal from the American people that they understand that a new energy future is the key to economic recovery and middle-class jobs. “New Energy for America” trumped “Drill, baby, drill” in race after race. When the best news for Big Carbon is that James Inhofe did win reelection in Oklahoma, things are very bright for a low-carbon, clean future. A U.S. Senate with two Udalls in it is huge for a different energy future.
Unlikely, but that’s O.K. While we work toward cap-and-trade, the measures and investments we can make to turn low-carbon energy and energy efficiency into a vibrant and growing economic engine will set the stage for passage of a cap-and-trade bill – a stage that is not yet set.
If it passes it will only further cripple America’s industries (but that is apparently fine with the New Messiah, who said three days ago that he wants to destroy the U.S. coal industry) – while China will make up any difference in emissions in about two months. No limits make any sense without China and India, the biosphere responds to marginal additions of the gas, no matter where it comes from.
Accomplishing that in a single year would be a very ambitious timetable, given the complexity of the issue. Our industry supports enactment of federal climate change legislation with a timetable aligned with the availability of existing technology and the development and deployment of new technologies needed to do the job, e.g., advanced clean coal with carbon capture and storage.
Daniel J. Weiss
With leadership from President-elect Obama, and new senators and representatives, the 111th Congress will pass a cap-and-trade program that reduces green house gases and invests in clean energy.
“It’s the economy, stupid.” It won’t be enough to say we are creating new green energy jobs when you and your neighbor are losing the good jobs you already have.
The president and Congress will only be able to pass a climate bill if they can find ways to substantially mitigate the costs of proposals that are currently on the table — not impossible, but very difficult. The Senate balked last year on a climate bill largely because it ran the numbers and didn’t like the results.
The pencils are really going to be sharpened in the current economic environment. The National Mining Association has worked hard to develop proposals that would address climate while holding down the costs to consumers and preserving jobs.
Very likely, although it is possible that what will pass this year will be the structure and outlines of such a bill, with the details to be filled in after Copenhagen. The key is that the public already understands that launching the clean energy revolution is the key BOTH to restoring the economy and to protecting the climate — the carbon lobby will try to pitch this as a trade-off, but that dog no longer hunts. Congress may not get it at first, but Obama has the mandate to see that the public will is respected.
That’s the wrong question. The test should be that after four years our dependence on oil as the lifeblood of our transportation system has been decreased. A shift away from oil is the only way to “sever our dependence on foreign oil.” Just buying the same amount of oil from countries other than Venezuela, Russia and the Persian Gulf will not in any way limit the global strategic influence of these producers and it will do nothing to reduce GHGs.
Only if there is a deep and lasting economic recession that cuts the demand. If some more or less normal situation returns, then the U.S. will be as dependent (cutting the dependence utmost by a few percent) as before. No real hope on that score, unless the economy collapses.
Oil comprises just two percent of our industry’s electricity generation portfolio — but innovations like the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (P.H.E.V.), once it has achieved widespread adoption, can begin to make a serious dent in oil imports. The P.H.E.V. also can help significantly decrease carbon emissions.
Daniel J. Weiss
The Obama administration will reduce U.S. oil consumption due to the prompt implementation of new fuel economy standards under the Energy Independence Act of 2007. Investments in energy efficiency should also reduce U.S. oil dependency.
Consumers may do it themselves by driving less and using more fuel-efficient cars. In four years, there’s not much Congress or the president can do to substantially move the needle absent making imported oil more expensive, and that’s not a step anyone is going to be prepared to take.
Wrong question. Closer absolutely. The test is whether in four years we can confidently project the date when that dependence is going to be ended — if so, that event will be reflected in the world price of oil. The danger is that Congress will try to take small steps, when what we need is game changers.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tree fungus could provide green transport fuel
Organism discovered in the Patagonian rainforest produces mixture of chemicals similar to diesel
* Alok Jha, green technology correspondent
* Tuesday November 04 2008 00.01 GMT
* Article history
A tree fungus could provide green fuel that can be pumped directly into tanks, scientists say. The organism, found in the Patagonian rainforest, naturally produces a mixture of chemicals that is remarkably similar to diesel.
"This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," said Gary Strobel, a plant scientist from Montana State University who led the work. "We were totally surprised to learn that it was making a plethora of hydrocarbons."
Monday, November 3, 2008
There's an article about how falling gas prices are causing turmoil in the middle east.
There's an article about another kidnapping -- the company insists the attack was provoked.
My students are writing articles on the candidates positions on oil -- which seems a non-issue now, now that our financial collapse has stabilized prices...
I am beginning to wonder -- a year after this project is over -- will I remember any of it at all...
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I recall -- I was just coming into Halloween at that scary razor blade time -- somehow I never quite recovered...
Be careful out there..
WASHINGTON, DC - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Kaadan, Inc., of Lancaster, PA announced today that it is voluntarily recalling its "Li'l Lite" Halloween Pumpkin Oil Lamps. The product contains a high grade petroleum hydrocarbon which is combustible and if ingested by a child can get into the lungs causing chemical pneumonia which can be fatal. The product does not meet the requirements for child- resistant packaging and fails to state on its label that it is "Combustible," making it illegal for sale to consumers. The Commission is aware of one reported incident involving a child drinking the contents of the container at a retail store. The child was not injured.
These oil lamps consist of a small plastic cylindrical reservoir containing several ounces of oil with a lamp wick protruding through the center of the reservoir's top. The fuel reservoir is orange in color and decorated with Halloween graphics and labeled in part "***Kaadan, Ltd., Lancaster, PA***". The wick is covered by a plastic cap which must be removed before the lamp is lit. Because these oil lamps are brightly colored and display a Halloween motif, they are attractive to young children. Approximately 75,000 lamps were sold nationwide for approximately $1.00 each.
Consumers should immediately remove these lamps from children's reach and return them to the retail store where purchased for a full refund of the purchase price. Consumers with questions may contact the firm by calling (717) 299-4818.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I think she actually voted for Andersen.
Today, I was very proud of her. She voted a viable candidate.
She said she was ashamed of herself. She said Nader said to vote conscience -- if you are in a landslide state, vote conscious.
NO. The whole world, I argued, needs to see us vote a landslide!
So -- listen to Nader... on the issues. Don't vote for him -- Bush is his fault.
A Real World Environmental Policy
The epidemic of silent environmental violence continues. Whether it is the 65,000 Americans who die every year from air pollution, or the 80,000 estimated annual fatalities from hospital malpractice, or the 100,000 Americans whose demise comes from occupational toxic exposures, or the cruel environmental racism where the poor and their often asthmatic children live in pollution sinks located near toxic hot spots (that are never situated in shrubbered suburbs), preventable, harmful, situations abound.
Now, as the evidence of global warming mounts, it is evident that we threaten the global environment with tremendous economic threats facing humanity, including bankrupting the reinsurance industry, the spread of infectious tropical diseases, massive ecological disruption and increased severe and unpredictable weather, all of which will significantly impact commerce, agriculture, and communities across America. Toxic standards need to be strengthened. Currently toxic standards are designed for adults, not for more vulnerable children. This should be reversed. We need to make environmental protection a priority for our energy, trade, industrial, agricultural, transportation, development, and land use policies. Indeed, protecting the environment must be weaved throughout our governance.
End Mountaintop Removal Mining
Mountain-top removal, as it is aptly named, is a form of surface mining in which explosives are used to remove up to 1,000 feet of mountaintop in order to reach the coal deposits lying within the mountain.
Forests are first clear-cut, destroying ecosystems and displacing or eliminating any resident wildlife. The now-bald top of the mountain is then exploded and excavated. Soil and the remaining rock are pushed out of the way into adjacent valleys or streams, a tactic which earns this vicious practice the additional name of Valley-fill Mining. Over 1, 200 miles of Appalachian headwater streams have been filled in.
The harms of this mercenary practice are both short and long-term. The process destructively rips out forests, carves away soil and rock, and destroys neighboring streams and valleys. The adjacent areas are often endangered by both the solid waste dumps in streams and wetlands, and the liquid slurry waste which is stored in silos. These toxic slurry dams house the run-off from the coal processing, a “blackwater” laden with carcinogens and heavy metals.
Not only harmful to the environment when they are intact, the slurry dams are much more dangerous if they fail; when they fail. In 1972, 125 people were killed, 1,121 injured, and 4,000 left homeless when The Buffalo Creek Dam gave way.
At the behest of the Clinton administration and carried to fruition under the Bush administration, the May 2002 rule change to the 1977 Clean Water Act allowed mining spoils to be included as “fill material,” and sanctioned the burial of hundreds of miles of streams by the coal companies.
In The Good Fight, Ralph Nader said, “Trashing the environment for short-term profit amounts to a radical assault on freedom perpetrated by corporations who have bought our state and federal politicians.” The coal companies assault local people with massive explosions, debris, rain, flooding and fouled water supplies and leave them with flattened land, fewer jobs, and in poverty, while they increase mechanization and shareholder profits.
That’s why, at the request of Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental advocacy group, Mr. Nader was the first presidential candidate to sign a letter stating: "If elected President, I will ban mountain-top removal mining by appropriate executive authority and by signing the Clean Water Protection Act when it reaches my desk." http://www.votenader.org/media/2008/08/14/MountaintopRemoval/
It is tragic and ironic that Ralph Nader is once again at the forefront of protecting the environment, here speaking out against a destructive change to the very water protection act that he helped bring about. Now, as then, Ralph Nader stands with those who would seek to preserve our biological resources for ourselves and future generations.
Oppose Offshore Drilling
Offshore Drilling is fool’s black gold
Ralph Nader criticizes Obama and McCain for not standing strong against offshore drilling
15 Sep 2008
As we begin to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ike, which forced the shutdown of this country’s oil industry and sent adrift two oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, our members of Congress are poised to vote on legislation this week that would undermine a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling.
Offshore drilling is severely damaging to the environment, and dangerously vulnerable to turbulent weather and hurricanes. For 27 years, beginning under an initiative signed by Ronald Reagan, our country has managed to protect sensitive parts of our ocean coastlines from the ravages of offshore drilling — a commendable feat considering the many pristine areas of our public lands and ecosystems that have been violated by extractive activities. After initially indicating his intent to uphold the 1981 ban on offshore drilling, Barack Obama, following the example of his Republican rival John McCain, flipped on the issue. This reversal by Obama and McCain could open the door for one of the last remaining vestiges of our country’s natural beauty to be trampled upon by commercial forces.
The case against offshore drilling has been made time and time again, illustrated by the numerous incidents in which oil rigs have led to ecological destruction and severe contamination of waters. In 2001, for example, an explosion on board the world’s largest oil rig helped sink it to the ocean floor off the coast of Brazil, killing 11 workers and spewing 316,000 gallons of diesel into the Atlantic. These types of spills will no doubt escalate with the increased frequency of violent hurricanes, fueled by global warming.
As for rigs that do manage to stay afloat, the Rainforest Action Network estimates that a single oil rig, in its lifetime, dumps more than 90,000 metric tons of drilling fluid and metal cuttings into the ocean, and may drill up to 100 wells, each dumping 25,000 pounds of toxic metals including lead, chromium, and mercury.
Our country’s coastal wetlands, bays, and beaches — and the many creatures that live in them — are not just in danger from potential big spills, but under threat from the business-as-usual streams of pollution flowing from offshore rigs. If the ban on offshore drilling were reversed, the potential for harm would soon increase significantly.
The biggest strike against offshore drilling this election year is that, contrary to what some candidates would have you believe, it will not reduce gas prices anytime soon, or at all.
If we are really serious about bringing down gas prices, we should implement long-overdue increases to fuel-efficiency requirements. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign calls for increasing the average efficiency of our gas guzzlers from about 20 miles per gallon to more than 40 mpg over the next five years. That would save us 5 million barrels of oil a day — barrels that do not have to be produced or imported.
On offshore drilling, McCain and Obama differ in a most peculiar way. Obama acknowledges the futility of drilling to reduce gas prices but supports it anyway out of political expediency, in part as a bargaining chip if needed to get a comprehensive energy deal, and in part to take a populist arrow out of McCain’s quiver. McCain, who also once opposed offshore drilling and acknowledged its futility in reducing gas prices, now chooses to ignore what most analysts say concerning offshore drilling: that because of the time it would take oil companies to secure permits, obtain and set up equipment, and conduct research required to extract oil, we won’t start to receive oil shipments or feel the relief of lower gas prices for 10 years. Nor does McCain mention a widely cited report from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration that predicts peak production of offshore drilling would not be reached until 2030, and would still produce too little oil to affect world oil prices.
The House Committee on Natural Resources released a telling report in June appropriately titled The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits. In it, the committee points out that there has been a sharp increase in the number of drilling permits issued to oil companies starting in the 1990s and concludes that "there is simply no correlation" between the number of drilling permits issued and the price of gas. Moreover, the report shows that of the 91.5 million acres of federal land being leased to oil companies, nearly 68 million acres are not being worked.
Rather than exposing McCain’s categorical falsehoods and misrepresentations about the issue, Obama — who has thus far in his presidential campaign accepted more than $450,000 from executives and other employees of oil and gas companies (McCain has taken $1.6 million) — instead chooses to ride along with the Republicans and the oil companies. By capitulating to the Republicans, as he has on other matters, he surrenders moral authority on struggles concerning the health, safety, and well-being of individuals and the environment. Obama is not only selling out our environment, but displaying political behavior that does not stand its ground.
The Nader campaign endorses The Defenders of Wildlife’s Wildlife Conservation Agenda for the Next Administration. The agenda calls on the next administration to:
* End the political manipulation of science
* Responsibly manage America's federal lands
* Safeguard America's rarest plants and wildlife
* Make America a leader in addressing global warming and its impacts
* Restore America's role as a global leader in wildlife conservation
* Restore our connection to nature through education adn stewardship of our federal lands
* Encourage private landownders, states, and tribes to conserve wildlife and habitat
For more information, visit http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/policy_and_legislation/wildlife_conservation_agenda_for_the_next_administration.php
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's a DK Eyewitness Book.
It has clip art and a million tidbits perfect for learning a thing a day! Now I'll be done too soon! Furthermore, I'm glad I didn't find this earlier -- I never would have known about anything!
Clip art, I tell you! Which I can't figure out how to get on here at this moment -- but I will, rest assured.
I did not know that when Saddam invated Kuwait it was based on the claim that they were drilling into Iraqi oil fields.
On the facing page is a photo of Osama bin Laden -- I have to say I think he looks a little like Jesus in this picture -- with the title, "Arch Terrorist."
(I got this photo off Google -- but it's very similar)
Arch Terrorist. Now, believe me, I'm no fan -- and honestly, I thought they had WMD and that we had to go in... but "Arch Terrorist."
I tell my students all the time that they can achieve more impact with subtler words because who the hell would believe a propagandist?
It worries me because I buy these Eyewitness books for my kids all the time -- it never occurred to me they would be propaganda. And propaganda for who? Is it really our society's general principle to use rhetoric to turn our country into believers??
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Gunmen hijack oil ship in Nigerian oil region
LAGOS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Unidentified gunmen on Saturday in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta area attacked two oil vessels and briefly hijacked an oil ship belonging to Canada's Addax Petroleum, local media reported.
Lagos-based Channels TV reports said in its website that a group of oil workers including seven French citizens and ten Nigerians were seized, but soon regained freedom unharmed.
I haven't talked about language in a while...
people "were seized, but soon regained freedom unharmed."
I'm fascinated by language.
The people -- the hostages -- the French and Nigerians -- are the subject of this sentence. They remain the subjects -- but look at what's missing because of that... They regained freedom. Huh? Did they fight back? Did the sneak out? Were they released? Were they never the subject to begin with?
When we choose our subjects in English, we choose the doer of the action. When we choose our subjects in a story, we show our view of import...
A lot of hostages regain freedom in Nigeria, it seems to me. Does this mean the militia are really trying to avoid killing? Does it mean that they are really trying to wage war on the machinery? That they are trying to stay true to the moral that people must be taken better care of in Nigeria?
In other news, the government canceled a big soccer game. They said that sports weren't their biggest priority right now... yuh.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Over the weekend, OPEC said it would cut oil production by at least 1.5 million barrels a day.
Now, I think oil prices should be high. I think we need to divorce ourselves from oil entirely...
But really, don't we know the type?
Will you help me?
You need me to be ok...
Ok; I'll figure it out. I'll be okay. Even if it's through desperation and complete (market)(emotional) collapse.
time pass signification
How are you?
Damned; guess I have to work harder.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Irving among companies fined in 2006 Massachusetts oil spill
4 days ago
BOSTON — Three companies allegedly responsible for spilling about 68,000 litres of fuel oil into the Chelsea River and Mill Creek in Revere, Mass., have agreed to pay US$312,500 to an environmental restoration fund.
The oil was released in 2006 from a pipeline that was under repair on a fuel loading dock that is jointly owned and operated by Irving Oil Corp., Irving Oil Terminals and Global Petroleum Corp.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement agreement Tuesday, in which the companies will pay the money to the Natural Resource Damages Trust.
Coakley said the spill could have been avoided if the companies had communicated with each other before the repair work and closed valves that would have restricted oil flow through the open pipeline.
Greg Poitras, director of corporate affairs for New Hampshire-based Irving Oil, said that since the incident, the company has made changes to the operating procedures at the dock where the spill occurred to prevent something similar from happening.
"We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, as demonstrated by our quick response to the spill and the tireless efforts of our employees, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Revere Fire Department, to minimize the spill's impact," Poitras said.
I'm interested in this -- I'm interested in the fact that this is a Boston story I know nothing about and am reading it from the Canadian Press. I won't be taking my kids swimming in Revere any time soon ... not that I would have.
But I love the line: " the spill could have been avoided if the companies had communicated with each other ..."
Indeed. And what in my life. What company...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
By Alaa Shahine
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese security forces were struggling through rain and harsh terrain to try to rescue nine Chinese oil workers kidnapped in central Sudan two days ago, the government said on Monday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig said there were no indications the captors had harmed the men whom they snatched on Saturday from a field in South Kordofan state.
"Despite the many handicaps such as the rain and forests, the mission of the law enforcement agencies is to find those who were kidnapped and secure their safety," Sadig said.
The government and state-run media on Sunday blamed the attack on Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Diplomats, however, said the kidnappers were probably disaffected local tribesmen from the same group that abducted four Indian oil workers and a Sudanese driver in May.
Monday, October 20, 2008
This is good news, because until recently it looked like the law suits would all die soon.
People are dying in Ecuador. Now. Because of this -- this memo -- my lifetime ago.
© 2003 Amazon Watch
Sunday, October 19, 2008
DA NANG — Local authorities and rescue forces are striving to contain an oil spill in Da Nang Bay after a landslide smashed an aviation company’s warehouse on Thurday, spilling large amounts of jet fuel into the ocean.
The landslide caused by heavy rains on Wednesday night collapsed a 30m long wall of the embankment protecting the company’s warehouse on a hill by the sea, and cracked two container tanks open, according to the Central Region Aviation Fuel Company. Company officials have yet to identify the actual amount of oil spilled, only estimating that it would be more than 2000cu.m.
Roughly 1,600cu.m. of oil and petrol have been drained directly from the broken tanks to another storage, the Da Nang City Department of Natural Resources and Environment said.
Mike Gleason, Staff Writer, Bennington Banner
The spill, which occurred in the middle of September, was caused by high winds and a faulty blade, according to Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Dottie Schnure.
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, October 16, 2008
According to the spill report by Environment and Natural Resources, an incident involving spilled fuel was not reported by the party responsible.
ENR officer Ian Ellsworth said he got a call on Saturday afternoon about a reported oil spill at the Allen Services lot.
Ellsworth said he got the call from a concerned resident who knew of the incident.
"I received the complaint and went to check it out," he said.
When he got to the scene, Ellsworth said he was met by members of the company responsible for the mess, who were trying to burn off the excess oil that covered the snow.
Hans J Marter, The Shetland News
AN INVESTIGATION is under way in Shetland after up to 2,000 litres of waste oil spilled from a tank at a depot in Scalloway polluting an area of land nearby and some of the oil reaching the sea.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said yesterday (Friday) that a clean up operation near the former bus depot, at Scord, was well under way.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Hearing propaganda come out of the mouths of politicians -- it's different, of course. We know the money angle -- we know that politics are complicated and that there are reasons for one policy or another that have to do with law or larger scale... even if we don't agree...
But kids believe. And they believe that it's simple. When I was a kid my father did a little stint as an insurance salesman in rural Kentucky. One summer I went door to door with him -- I went to all the meetings. Each week at 7 a.m. one salesman would recite the pitch. One week I recited the pitch. Everyone cheered and I felt really cool. But it must have finally been more than my dad could take... when I looked at him that afternoon, after visiting the old man with no screen door, he told me that they didn't need the insurance. They didn't need it, they couldn't afford it and he sold it to them anyway.