Tag Archives: linkage

Friday Linkage 6/15/2018

Like many people I will miss Anthony Bourdain’s perspective on the world.  Although he began his career as just a “food” writer he evolved into something much more without losing the common lens we share that is food.

However, at the end I just want everyone to take a moment and read the 1999 article that started it all.  Don’t order the fish on Mondays.

On to the links…

EPA Proposes Changes to How It Measures Costs and Benefits of Regulation—Let me give you an idea of how this is going to work in practice.  Pollution, despite being proven to cost lives, is not going to be regulated because it might cost a big business money and that would mean that Scott Pruitt would have less money for fancy lotion.

This Freaking Guy, Part Infinity—Speaking of lotion…

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Tapped Aide, Donors to Help Wife Land Job at Conservative Group—I am guessing that they Chick-fil-A franchise fell through.  Oh well, just use your position and influence to get your wife a cushy job on a think tank or PAC.

More and More Republicans are Turning on Scandal-Plagued Scott Pruitt—I do not care how weary no talent ass clowns like James Inhofe get because there is no action to get rid of the most ethically challenged cabinet secretary in modern history.

Why Trump Would Really, Really Rather not Fire Scott Pruitt—In Donald Trump’s mind Scott Pruitt is a “winner” and you do not fire winners unless they somehow manage to outshine the head cheese puff in the Oval Office.

Scott Pruitt Ate at the White House Mess So Often They Asked Him to Stop—The man is nothing more than a dime store grifter. He is the type of person who steals other people’s food from the refrigerator at work because he is too cheap to buy his own lunch.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Made at Least $82 Million in Outside Income Last Year While Serving in the White House—No one in this administration is serving the public in the traditional sense.  These people are using the trappings of public office to line their pockets.  Everything else is just secondary to looting America before America wises up.

DNC Quietly Adopts Ban On Fossil Fuel Company Donations—Everything is about messaging and perception.  Nonetheless, the messaging here is clear going forward.  Fossil fuels are the past and clean energy is the future.  If you want to be part of the future do not vote for anyone resembling a Republican.

FERC Commissioners Agree: No Grid Emergency Exists to Justify Coal, Nuclear Bailout—Trump’s plan to line coal barons’ pockets with our money is running into the reality that no one actually likes the plan.  Oh, and the emergency does not exist for them to use national security as an excuse.

Arizona Water Utility Chooses Solar Over Coal—This might be the final nail in the coffin for the notorious Navajo Generating Station, which is closer to retirement now than ever before.  The other issue here is that a water utility chose solar over coal, which is like your conservative Uncle Carl coming to Thanksgiving Dinner in a Nissan Leaf.

US Solar Tariffs Cost Billions In Cancelled Projects, But 2018 To Remain Flat In “Actually Good News”—The had cheese puff may be trying to strangle solar with tariffs, but the economics are strong with this one.

Uneconomic Coal Could Be Squeezed Out Of European Union Power Markets By 2030—Obviously a lot has to happen for this to actually occur and a little less than 12 years is a long time. However, check out Western Europe:

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The big blue blob of Germany in the middle makes me concerned.

It’s so Cheap to Drive Electric Even Trump’s Administration Can’t Ignore It—Maybe Uncle Carl will be coming to Thanksgiving in a Nissan Leaf.

Scotland Hits Annual GHG Emissions Target Third Year Running—It is not all bad news out there.

How America’s Hunting Culture Shaped Masculinity, Environmentalism, and the NRA—America used to have a hunting culture.  It does not have a hunting culture that is broadly based anymore.

Are These ‘Biodegradable’ Water Balloons Really Biodegradable?—These bunch of balloons are the bane of my existence in the summer.  I think that my yard is basically mulched in multi-color rubber.

What Can we Do?—Despite how bad things might seem when you turn on the news, just take a breath, and realize that there is a lot that we can do as individuals and small communities to improve the world.  We have the tools.

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Friday Linkage 6/8/2018

Can we begin to say the words “dictatorial” when speaking about Donald Trump?  He is not a dictator, but he sure would like to be one.  It’s not surprising given his personality, his history, or the sycophants who surround him.  The man believes that winning an election through the technicality of the Electoral College has given him the mandate to reshape America in his orange image.

However, every vote can be an opportunity to offer rebuke.  The midterm elections coming in November offer the best opportunity to gut punch the efforts to gut our democracy.  I may not like Nancy Pelosi, but can you imagine Trump having to deal with a woman on daily basis to get anything through Congress.  The steam is already coming out his ears and his thumbs are ready for a tweet.

On to the links…

New Disclosures Contradict Pruitt’s Claims about Lobbyist Connected to his Fancy Condo—Scott Pruitt is the whack-a-rat of political scandals and corruption.  He just keeps on popping up no matter how many times he gets smacked in his smug face.

Noted Competent Man Scott Pruitt’s Latest Scandal Involves Chick-fil-A—Nothing says “drain the swamp” like trying to use your position as Trump’s poisoner in chief to strong arm a religious extremist chicken chain into giving your wife a franchise despite her lack of experience in the industry.

How Does Scott Pruitt Survive?—I will give you one reason: his actions enrich corporate America at the expense of the American people.  It’s not too hard to figure out.

Rick Perry’s Premium Class Travel Cost Taxpayers $63,500 Last Year in First 7 Months Alone—This administration is giving out a master class in grift, if not outright theft.  The corruption is so pervasive that garden variety corruption just does not cut it as headline making news anymore.

Trump orders Department of Energy to look into propping up failing coal plants—This is the beach that the Trump administration wants to die on.  In an effort to line the pockets of coal barons who backed Trump early and often the administration is going to go against the advice of everyone except Rick Perry and the coal barons.  Good luck with this.

All Of US Could Be Powered By Solar Alone?—This does not even beg the question of do we need to produce as much power as we use today.  What if we used dramatically less power at home and at work?

Nevada Utility Is Putting $2 Billion into Solar Power and Storage—$2 billion is a lot of money.  The better part is that energy storage is part of the equation.  Nevada should be a great test case for solar plus storage because the state gets a good amount of sunshine, the population is relatively concentrated, and utilities finally seem ready to embrace the future.

How California is Bringing Solar Energy to Low-Income Renters—Unfortunately, solar photovoltaic systems are generally something deployed by the affluent on homes that they own.  Renters or low income households have not been able to take advantage.

What Does it Mean to be Frugal?—No word in our lexicon has a more troubled meaning than frugal.  Something that should be celebrated is generally regarded as a bad thing.  Frugal is more often than not associated with being cheap.  It is not, however, a synonym for cheap.

How to Use Less Plastic Without Fully Going “Zero Waste”—No one ever comes out and says the best way to make less waste is to buy less stuff?  Oh right, advertisers are not down with that message.

Bangkok’s Hidden Train Repair Yard Keeps Thailand on its Rails—The transformation of these rail cars from dilapidated to functional is amazing.  It makes me wonder how much usable life we leave in the things we junk.

In Our Overworked Society, Take Time to Do Nothing—We work too much and relax too little.  Is it a wonder that our brains are fried, our focus gone, and our sleep is troubled?

This Weed-Killing AI Robot can Tell Crops Apart—What if you could deploy a similar technology that does not use herbicides at all?  Imagine a solar powered robot running along the rows of plants with an armature using a pair of snips or cutting wheel to trim weeds.

Not Everyone Loves the Museum of Ice Cream and Its Instagram-Famous Sprinkle Pool—Who would have thought that having people frolic in a pool of plastic sprinkles would be a problem when those sprinkles inevitably ended up outside?  Oh wait, anyone with half a brain.  Do we really need a pool of faux ice cream sprinkles in a faux museum dedicated to ice cream that really only serves as a backdrop for people’s Instagram photos?

Friday Linkage 6/1/2018

June…where did spring and May go?

On to the links…

New Documents Show Why Scott Pruitt Wanted a “Campaign-Style” Media Operation—It would not be a week without some good ol’ Scott Pruitt corruption.

Solar Power To Become 4th Largest Electric Power Capacity In The World (Passing Up Wind)—There was a time when naysayers told us that solar power would never amount to more than a fraction of the world’s electrical generating capacity.  Of course, a lot of people also said that there was no way Donald Trump could actually become president.

US Offshore Wind Revolution Sets 5 Gigawatt Target In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, & New Jersey—Offshore wind in the United States might be nearing its snowball rolling downhill moment.  Once these projects are underway and the costs are booked a lot of people are going to realize that it is very economical to deploy these projects.

The Repowering Mission: Breathing New Life into Our Aging Wind Turbine Fleet—This is the untapped potential that no one is really talking about.  As old turbines hit the end of their usable and reliable life, say twenty years, new turbines can go up on these sites that make more power.

320 GW Of Non-Traditional, Untapped Rooftop Solar Potential In USA—A lot of roofs and other surfaces have not been exploited for solar photovoltaics.  Imagine if every warehouse, apartment building, and parking lot were covered with solar panels?

Europe is Building More Wind and Solar — Without any Subsidies—So the price is now competitive and future fuel is free.  That is going to be pretty tough to beat for coal going forward.

Oil-Rich Saudi Arabia is Turning to Another Resource to Power the Kingdom — Sunshine—The old saw is that X country will be the “Saudi Arabia of wind” or solar or whatever.  What is Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Arabia of solar?

The Oil Industry Is Finally Being Affected By Norway’s Electric Vehicle Adoption—This demand destruction is occurring with a relatively small number of EVs on the road and relatively low oil prices worldwide.  What would happen if gasoline goes to $5 a gallon in the U.S. and people start beating the street for Chevy Bolts?

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not—When we put our stuff in a bin for collection each week it is not recycling.  It is harvesting.  The actual recycling takes place somewhere else where the trash is either actually sent to be turned into something else or just thrown away.  It now looks like China is not taking our garbage anymore, so all of our harvesting is really just taking out the trash.

Commutes on Foot or Bike Tied to Lowered Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke—You mean to tell me that if people get out and move that the likely health outcomes are improved?  Stunning.

How to Rewild your Garden: Ditch Chemicals and Decorate the Concrete—What if we all took the time to make our yards and garden a little more wild?

Saving Africa’s Wildlife—We killed the animals, so it is only right that we try and repopulate the landscape.

Friday Linkage 5/25/2018

Free your Sundays.  As well as your Monday and Thursday nights.  Free yourself from the craven piss babies who are NFL owners and NFL “leadership” who have caved to the base elements of their fan base and Donald Trump.  Nothing says conscience of America quite like a thrice divorced, porn star spanking, man baby who likes to wrap himself in the viscera of patriotism despite his well-documented history of being physically incapable of serving in the military during the Vietnam War.

The entire issue around the anthem protests has been a dog whistle for extreme white wing.  Well compensated, majority African American males making a statement about well document injustice at the hands of police is just too much.

Well, this kowtowing to the Fox News and Alex Jones contingent of our society is too much.  I am done with the NFL.  Forever.

On to the links…

The Efficiency Myth—Along with trickle down economics I would love to forever banish the conservative edict that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector.  It is not true.

EPA Bans CNN, AP from Covering Summit on Chemicals, ‘Forcibly’ Removes Reporter—This is what transparency and “draining the swamp” looks like under Donald Trump.  It is a government run with the singular goal of enriching the plutocrats and screwing over anyone else.

Park Service Releases Complete Climate Change Report—Climate change is real.  Human beings are the primary driver.  It is going to mess up a lot of stuff.  Despite what Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt want you to believe this is the reality.

Recreation is Redefining the Value of Western Public Lands—The value of the lands of the United States are not just measured in the amount of oil, gas, and minerals that can be extracted.  This runs counter to the narrative of clowns like Ryan Zinke, but the facts—oh those pesky facts—show a reality that people do enjoy these lands for the recreational value is available.

This Could Be A Clever Fix For The Biggest Climate Problem—Refrigeration and the energy use it requires is a big problem in any climate change mitigation scenario.  To combat climate change we need to reduce the energy needed to cool ourselves and our food.

Northeastern States Band Together, Develop a Unified EV Charge Network—Take a densely populated area, add an EV charging network that uses the same technology across the geographic area, and…BAM!…you have the recipe for increasing the adoption rate of EVs in the Northeastern United States.

A 100% Renewable Grid Isn’t Just Feasible, It’s Already Happening—At first they said that the grid could not handle 5% renewables and then it became 10%.  Every year that number has to get revised upward because the grid can handle it.

The Netherlands Announces Ban On Coal, Plans To Close 2 Power Plants By 2024—Every day there is at least some good news.

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster—If there was one thing that I wish we would do en masse in the United States it would be to rip out the acres and acres of lawn that cover our landscape.  This is a landscape that provides little to no visual interest.  It provides little to no habitat for wildlife.  It is a suck for time, energy, and chemicals.  Most people do not actually like mowing the lawn.  Remind me again why we have lawns?

Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders—This is what a $1.4 TRILLION tax cut gets you.  Harley Davidson may be in a lot of trouble as its core customers begin to age out of pretending to be bad ass biker guys.  That has not stopped the company from increasing its dividend and buying back stock.  It’s all about maximizing shareholder value and screwing over anyone who gets in the way of profiteering.

How Much Will West Coast Snowfall Decrease In The Next 80 Years?—If you love snow you are screwed:

BLOGS18APR-20-1

Friday Linkage 5/18/2018

I had contemplated making this a special “Scott Pruitt Destroys the World” edition of Friday Linkage, but thought better of it when I realized that might just depress people even more.

The question I have now that the primaries for the 2018 mid-terms are mostly done is how can Republicans defend their record?  Seriously, on what issue is the country a better place unless you are really rich?  If I am Democrat running for Congress I am hammering home that point over and over again.

On to the links…

EPA Hides Scott Pruitt’s Appearance at Mining Industry Group Meeting—I am beginning to think that Trump keeps Pruitt around because he is the only person who is in the headlines for bad stuff more than him and Trump does not care about the environment anyway.  So what is the loss?

EPA Hid Scott Pruitt’s Dinner With Climate Denier Accused Of Child Sex Abuse—How many more times are we going to have to read articles that start with “EPA hid Scott Pruitt’s…”?

Letters Reveal how Pruitt Hired an Unqualified Lobbyist to Head one of EPA’s Most Important Offices—But, what about the job creators?

Pruitt’s EPA Apparently Blocked ‘Nightmare’ Study About Water Contamination—And the hits just keep on coming.

Sulfur Dioxide Damages Lungs, and Scott Pruitt Is Letting More of It in Our Air—It does not matter how bad this schmuck behaves because he is doing the bidding of the people who are lining the Trump administration’s pockets.

Minnesota’s Top Health, Environment Officials Blast EPA Science Rule—“The proposed rule was clearly designed to undermine and disparage the important epidemiological studies that support public health protection from all pollutants, be they in the air, water, or soil.”  Well there is that.

GOP Senators Want to Exempt Giant Solar Farm Panels From Tariffs—Another genius Trump move that even the hard liners in his own party do not like for various reasons.

How to Save the Failing Nuclear Power Plants that Generate Half of America’s Clean Electricity—Natural gas is not the bridge to a clean energy future, nuclear power is the bridge.  We need to figure out a way—zero emissions credits (ZECs) just might be the ticket—to keep the existing fleet of nuclear plants in operation until rapidly deploying renewables can truly replace carbon spewing fossil fuels.

The Scientist still Fighting for the Clean Fuel the World Forgot—In an era of cheap gas—although the price is going up as I type—we have forgotten the fervor over second generation biofuels that seemed to grip the nation during the presidency of George W. Bush.  There are still some people out there trying to figure out a way to make these biofuels economical.

California will Require Solar Panels on all New Homes. That’s not Necessarily a Good Thing.—It might be better to take a more integrated approach to deploying renewables, but I do not want to argue with more solar.

California is Turning Farms into Carbon-Sucking Factories—The soil might be able to save us.

A Revolution in Hydropower makes Waves in Rural Colorado—What is great about this concept is that it is using existing manmade infrastructure to generate clean power.  No one is damning rivers or streams.

Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found—Amphibians have been dying at spectacular rates for decades now and a source of this massacre may finally have been found.

This is the Worst Way to Become Vegetarian—This is the first time I have heard anything about the Lone Star tick or the possibility that it spreads an allergy to certain types of meat.  Is this the harbinger of our climate change dystopia?

Democracy Dies in Materialism and the U.S. is at Risk—I do not agree with everything that the author of this opinion piece said, but I do agree with the general premise that our society’s current focus on material wealth as a marker of success or fulfillment is dangerous.

Your Stoke Won’t Save Us—What if we are part of the problem and not part of the solution?

5/11/2018 Friday Linkage

The world is full of bad news.  However, a beacon of hope was shining this week when it was announced the Wyld Stallyns would be returning for a third installment of most excellent adventures.

San Dimas high school football rules!

On to the links…

What Genuine, No-Bullshit Ambition on Climate Change would Look Like—Here is the deal: We have the tools necessary to make a serious effort to combat the causes of climate change.  We understand the risks of climate change and we can estimate the costs.  We have no excuses.

Winter Athletes Aren’t Going to Let Snow Vanish Without a Fight—I am a member of Protect Our Winters, but if you are a skier or a snowboarder or anyone who just likes winter you should be a supporter.

695,000 Winter Sports Jobs at Risk Due to Climate Change—Those million dollar houses are not going to be worth very much when the ski slopes are abandoned for lack of snow:

BLOGS18APR-3-NEW

EPA Clamping Down on Public Records Requests Related to Scott Pruitt—Take a moment to remember that Donald Trump was the political outsider who was going to “drain the swamp.” Too bad he just found the worst creatures to repopulate his swamp.

Passengers ‘Lashing Out’ At Scott Pruitt Justify First-Class Travel, New EPA Memo Says—People were going to be mean to Scott Pruitt so he had to fly first class.  That is the logic of these people.  It is also just corruption and thievery.

EPA “Head” Scott Pruitt Discounts The Value Of Human Life—This is dynamic scoring for the pollution set.  Your health and well-being does not matter one bit compared to the profits to be gained by soiling the air, ground, and water.  This is the world of Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt.

Rick Perry Suggests Using ‘National Security’ to Override Opposition to Pipelines—If “national security” were really the goal, would it not be a better solution to produce power as locally as possible so it was not reliant on an exposed infrastructure?

Sun And Solar Power Cut Electricity Demand From New England Grid To Lowest Ever—Demand for baseload power dropped to a level lower than when the sun is not shining.  Solar works.

For First Time Ever, Solar Dominates UK Power Supply—This is the United Kingdom, famous for its notoriously gray weather, not Spain, famous for its sun.

US Wind Development Surges As Pipeline Exceeds 30 Gigawatts—The pipeline is critical because these are the projects that will keep the industry humming along until we can vote out the fossil fuel soaked members of Congress and the sitting President.

U.S. Added 2,000 Wind Turbines in 2017—AI Would Add 2,200 More Today—It’s not about adding more wind turbines, but wringing more power out of the wind turbines that we have already installed.  Combined with replacing the oldest and least efficient wind turbines there is a huge opportunity to expand power production.

The Puerto Rican Families Who’ve Gone Off the Grid—Puerto Rico is the unintentional laboratory for renewable energy and resilient microgrids.  What this community has learned the hard way will be good lessons in our rapidly changing climate.

The Miracle of Finland: What a Tiny Northern Minnesota Town can Teach America—In a less industrialized and less carbon intensive world I think that things will begin to look a lot more like Finland, Minnesota.

Cheap Tires Are Costing You Money and Probably Also Killing the Planet—I have a car enthusiast friend who always says, “People will spend five bucks a day on a cup of coffee, but want to save a few dollars on tires which are the only thing between you and the road.”  I have the same feeling about bicycle tires as well.

5/4/2018 Friday Linkage

May the Fourth…you get it right?  Somewhere along the line May 4th became a Star Wars related day as if we lacked for moments when Star Wars did not saturate our cultural landscape.  Seriously, between Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, and Star Wars the Walt Disney corporation probably controls a plurality of our cultural touchstones for anyone under the age of fifteen or over the age of forty.

On to the links…

Two Top Officials Close to Pruitt Resign in EPA ‘Exodus’—The level of corruption and stink coming from Scott Pruitt’s office is so high that I could post several entries a week just about the comings and goings of America’s top pollution enabler.  Instead, I will just lead with more evidence of the chaos of the Trump administration.

Pruitt is Facing at Least 10 Ethics Investigations as EPA Watchdog Announces New Probe—Will there ever be a more ethically compromised presidency?  People thought that it would be hard to top the likes of Warren G. Harding, but Trump’s people are really giving it a go.

The EPA Is Acting Like Big Tobacco—This is what you get when you put someone in charge of an agency that they had spent a career trying to damage.  It’s like Rick Perry in charge of the Department of Energy or Mick Mulvaney in charge of anything.

EPA Chief Pruitt Overrules Staff, Gives Wisconsin’s Walker, Foxconn Big Break on Smog—I have to imagine that this is heading for court.  The deal for the Foxconn plant is just turning out to be one of the biggest corporate giveaways and inside deals ever.  Nothing says Republican governance quite like giving away the store in return for the promise of a few crumbs.

Proof that the Clean Power Plan’s Strategy for Cutting Carbon Pollution is the Industry Standard—The Clean Power Plan is probably dead, but that does not mean the Clean Power Plan cannot live again.  It is a market based approach that lets individual states decide how best to meet targets.  It is essentially an old school Republican ideal that has somehow become a bugaboo for today’s Tea Party right wing whackos.

It’s Time to Think Seriously about Cutting off the Supply of Fossil Fuels—If we can come at this problem from both the demand and the supply side progress will be much quicker.

A Zero-Carbon Economy is Within Reach, Thanks to Strong Public Policy—It will not necessarily be easy or cheap, but it is possible and that is they key.  We have the solutions, we know how to deploy them, and there is a general acceptance of the urgency.

California Sets New Solar & Renewable Records At End Of April—The amount of energy generated is one thing, but the more critical part of this story is that the power authority is getting better at regulating the supply of renewables and the demands from consumers.  This disparity has always been the great bugaboo when it comes to renewable energy.

A Renewable Energy Future In Hawaii, Faster Than We Thought—The time has come for Hawaii to embrace renewables even more so than in the past because the cost of doing so is now cheaper than the cost of doing nothing further.   Imagine 84% renewable energy in 2030?  Talk about living aloha!

The Stunningly Lopsided Growth of Wind Power in the US, in 4 Maps—Is anyone surprised that the southeast has very little wind power?  Sure, the wind resources—excluding offshore wind—are not ideal but I have a feeling something else is going on.

Brooklyn SolarWorks can Turn Almost any Rooftop into a Sun-Powered Oasis—I like the idea of putting these over rooftop patios so that hipsters can have a shade generating solar canopy.  However, imagine this type of system being placed on the top floor of every parking garage in the United States.  Just in my mid-sized town there are acres of top floors of parking garages that could be generating amazing solar photovoltaic electricity.

Building on the Promise of Solar+EV Charging—The technology is not quite there yet, but as we deploy more and more solar along with more and more EVs there is an opportunity to combine the two into a powerhouse solution to intermittency.  An EV is really just a portable battery that sits idle a lot of the time.  Plugging that into a grid that can decide when to charge based on power availability and demand would be huge.  Yuge!

Costco Sold a Million “Bleeding” Vegan Burgers in 60 Days—I knew about the Impossible burger and the Beyond burger, but I have never heard of Don Lee Farms or their version of a “bleeding vegan” plant based burger.  Too bad it does not look like something that will be in a Costco near me.

Budweiser’s New Beer is Based on George Washington’s Hand-Written Recipe—Why did they not just call it ‘Merica and put this picture on the label:

Merica.jpg