Friday Linkage 5/10/2013

The blooms are out on the crabapples and flowering quince…the rains have been coming at a regular pace…the temperatures have been just about perfect…it almost feels like a normal spring here in Eastern Iowa.  I wonder how long this idyll will last?

On to the links…

Large Scale Solar Projects now Cost Comparable in Oregon—Every day, there is another story about how solar has reached cost parity with traditional fuel sources like coal and natural gas.  The tipping point is here baby!

Four Must See Charts on Why Renewables are Disruptive…in a Good Way—Again, we are coming close to the tipping point where it makes no sense to invest in non-renewable power unless you have a vested monetary interest in maintaining the old regime.  Like Congress.

Even a Moderate Carbon Price has a Big Impact on Emissions—I do not think I will live to see the day when a functioning market for carbon exists in the U.S.  Too bad, because it looks like such a system could have a big impact on what we emit in this country.  Play with the scenarios for a moment.  It’s fun and distracting to imagine what could happen.

What if We Never Run Out of Oil—It’s not Daniel Yergin level prose on the history and future of oil as a commodity, but the piece does bring up some interesting ideas.

Big Oil Profits and Tax Breaks Remain High Despite Sequestration—So, Head Start and SNAP get eviscerated.  Air traffic control is a victim until some senator has to wait an additional fifteen minutes for his flight.  But the tax breaks for the most profitable companies on Earth continue unabated.  We know where Congress’ priorities lie.

White House Seeks to Change International Food Aid—It is great that the U.S. delivers food aid around the world.  However, when we dump commodities produced by U.S. farmers into developing markets it tends to devastate the local farmers because prices become depressed quite quickly.  Farmers exit the business and the struggle to maintain food independence spirals downward.

7 Dodgy Food Practices Banned in Europe but Okay in U.S.—Our food safety system is a joke because it favors industry profits over consumer safety.  It should be renamed Industrial Food Profit Preservation Regime.

NRA Leader Warns of Rising Cost of U.S. Senators—I always knew that politicians were in the pocket of well-financed special interest groups, but little did I know that it was getting more expensive to keep these guys under foot.  Pity the poor NRA when it has to shovel more blood money to further its violent agenda.

Where do Old Cell Phones go to Die?—E-waste is a big problem.  The nasty nature of e-waste combined with our ever increasing desire to “upgrade” has led to a tsunami of bad shit scuttling around the globe.

9 Spots in Your Kitchen that Could Use a Good Scrub—It’s spring, so it’s time to clean.  I am pretty good about cleaning my kitchen, but I have never thought to clean the knife block.  Needless to say, I am looking for ways of getting rid of my knife block and going to a storage concept that is easier to clean.

Interview with Kevin McCloud—This is an interesting and short interview with Kevin McCloud.  I particularly loved the quote about housing:

“What happened in 2008 stopped people in their tracks. People stopped looking at their homes simply as commodities to exploit and starting thinking about how they might personalise that space and make them less bland and more autobiographical and that’s healthy I think.”

Spot on.

Starving Sea Lion Pups Get Helping Hand—A while back I linked to an article detailing the rash of sea lion pups washing up onshore in starvation state.  Here is a slideshow showing the rescue efforts in California.  Why can’t we find more money for programs like this that are run on small dollar amounts?  We do give tax breaks to the world’s most profitable corporations after all.

Student Documentary Shows Threat to Sea Turtles—Man, this stuff is just sad.

Studios Donating Film Set Materials to Habitat for Humanity—I doubt that anyone outside of Hollywood has ever thought about the amount of waste that is generated by movies.  It’s good to see it being used by someone.

Art for Advocacy: 13 Posters for Sustainable Social Change—A nice little aside.  Take a spin through these enjoyable graphic representations of social change sentiment.

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