Tag Archives: New York City

Friday Linkage 8/11/2017

Heading out on vacation in a few hours because nothing says relaxing like Orlando in August with your extended family.  There is absolutely nothing quite like late summer Florida heat and humidity to really bring people together.  At least there will be Dole Whip.

On to the links…

Utah Commission: Keep “Negro Bill Canyon” the Same—Between the zealots who cannot stop fighting the Civil War by idiotically flying what they assume is the flag of the Confederacy—when in truth it is bastardization of a battle flag flown by either the Army of Northern Virginia or the Army of Tennessee—to maintaining symbols of hate like this we will never grow as a nation.

How Midwestern Farmers Could Help Save the Gulf of Mexico—It will never happen with the current White House and most of the governors being Republicans, but there should be a national program to pay farmers to deploy cover crops.  No single action would be better for the health of the Gulf of Mexico and our nation’s water quality.  It is a proven solution.

How Fossil Fuel Money Made Climate Change Denial the Word of God—Be wary of the man who claims to be godly, but spends his time talking about earthly matters.  It usually means that he is hiding an agenda and using a veneer of piety as a shield against criticism.  As I tell people all the time, “I do not remember a single passage in the bible where Jesus talks about the rights of oil companies to drill on public lands.”

Americans Are Using Less Electricity Today Than A Decade Ago—The key caveat here is per capita.  There are more people, but we are using less electricity per each person.

Thanks To Co-op, Small Iowa Town Goes Big On Solar—I went to a wedding this summer just outside of Kalona and the solar panels were all over the place.  Ground mount arrays were at almost every farm that was not owned by an older order Amish or Mennonite family.  If everyone could embrace solar like the customers of Farmers Electric Cooperative the world would be a better place.

Dirty Energy’s Quiet War on Solar Panels—They can try and stem the tide but solar panels will win in the end.  The guys who put the panels on my house this week were booked solid with jobs for the rest of the summer and fall.  Solar power is real and it is here.

To Solve ‘Duck Curve,’ Missouri Utility to Pay Bonus for West-Facing Solar Panels—It’s not just about south facing roofs anymore.  As someone who has installed a west facing array—270 degree azimuth baby—I cannot wait to see how my peak production lines up with the duck curve.

Shell Oil CEO Stunner: ‘My Next Car will be Electric’—The worm has turned.

More New Yorkers Opting for Life in the Bike Lane—Bikes are amazing and can be a major component of the mobility solutions puzzle we, as a nation and species, are trying to solve.  Seriously, if people are willing to bike in New York City you should be willing to bike in Cedar Rapids.

A Perfect Illustration of the Spatial Inefficiency of the Automobile—Remember, if you work in a cubicle your parking space is bigger than your office.  What do we truly value?

Pedal Power: How Denver Bike Crews are Rescuing Food from Landfills One Ride at a Time—I love this business model.  Collect scraps—for a fee—with a no-emissions bicycle and create wonderful compost to nourish the soil.

Here’s Proof the Average U.S. Household Isn’t the ‘Dumb Money’—I spent twenty one months in business school listening to the icons of “smart money” tell aspiring investment bankers how they were the masters of the universe and what not.  The financial crisis in 2008 was a total nut punch to these guys, but it obviously did not make them humble.

Papa John’s has Made a Gluten-Free Pizza that Gluten-Intolerant Diners can’t Eat—Here is proof that the gluten free trend is not about people with celiac disease and more about marketing.

Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech—Soy leghemoglobin may be an allergen, but I love the government’s concern.  I also find it stunning that the FDA has acted so quickly when other problems in our food system are persistent and pernicious going on for years and decades without any government intervention.  Do you think big meat is behind this?  Oh yeah…

Friday Linkage 8/28/2015

I encountered one of the most disheartening sounds in the world this week. On an aborted bike ride my tire made the noise of a full on blow out. This is not the gentle hiss of a pinch flat or a small puncture, but the full throated blast of air and the realization that you are walking home. Why walking? Because the tread area on my well-worn Kenda Kwicks was torn through. Whatever I ran across was bad news.

On to the links…

Here’s What Happens When you Try to Replicate Climate Contrarian Papers—Let me spoil the punch line: you can’t replicate the results.

Shocking: Prominent Climate Denier gets Money from Big Coal—Shocking? Not so much. Christopher Horner is a paid shill of the fossil fuel industry. Anything that comes out of his mouth is little more than coal stained propaganda.

The Incredible Shrinking Mineral: How It Went from King Coal to Coal Kills—If I was confident I would start playing “Taps.” Coal is not dead yet, but with continued pressure and an unfavorable market the dirty fuel may be in its final death spiral.

NYC Rooftops Could Host 11 GW of High-Yield Solar ProjectsMapdwell’s work on modelling what solar could do in eastern cities is some pretty amazing work. Think about 11 GW of solar power in America’s largest city. Now multiply that across other major cities in the U.S. like Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and so on.

California’s 40 Years Of Energy Efficiency Efforts Have Saved $90 Billion In Utility Costs—California has been a leader in trying to get people to use less electricity and it has worked. Furthermore, those efforts have trickled out—not trickle down because I do not believe in voodoo environmentalism—to the rest of the nation due to California’s sheer market heft.

Here’s Where The Rubber Hits The Road (Natural Guayule Rubber — Updated)—Apparently, rubber is a big import for the United States and we have been looking for a domestic alternative since before World War II. It also looks like guayule—a shrub that is drought and pest tolerant—could provide a significant offset to our imported rubber habit. Interesting.

New Study Finds Horse and Beaver in Grocery Store Ground Meat—As if you needed another reason to stay away from the case of ground beef at your local grocery store—pink slime anyone?—along comes the knowledge that we may actually be eating horse or beaver. Freaking beaver?

Salad Seems Really Virtuous, Right? It’s Not.—Salad, it turns out, is really just leafy green water. By the time we pick a few leaves out of that plastic clamshell most of the nutrition is gone. Never mind the fact that people end up throwing away tons of salad greens every year. Just go with the frozen peas.

Butter In Your Coffee and Other Cons: Stories From a Fitness Insider—I am really glad that people are calling bullshit on the people behind so-called Bulletproof coffee and food fads. If someone is trying to sell you something it is high time to get a move on. It’s probably bullshit.

28 Historic Photos of Yosemite to Celebrate its 125th Anniversary—Sometimes we forget to appreciate the amazing places we can visit right here in the U.S. Take a moment and appreciate the sheer awesomeness of Yosemite.

Friday Linkage 8/1/2014

August. Damn. Where did June and July go? It sure does not feel like the “dog days” with night time temperatures in the 50s, which I am digging because I have not had my AC on in weeks. It also makes me very anxious for football to start. Yes, I am that breed of American male that really looks forward to the football season. ‘Murrica!

On to the links…

Brewers Association Reports 18% Production Growth for U.S. Craft Brewers in First Half—Let’s start with some good news. Craft beer is kicking ass:

Brewers-Association-Mid-2014-Craft-Volume

10 Reasons to be Hopeful that We will Overcome Climate Change—Maybe, just maybe, there is hope that we can figure out a way to combat the coming climate change in a way that is not akin to sticking out head in the sand. I am cautiously hopeful as I see the deployment of renewables, the retirement of coal power plants, and the increasing efficiency of automobiles. It might not be enough, but it is a start.

Delaying Climate Policies Could Cost U.S. Economy $150 Billion Each Year, Report Shows—The big bugaboo with climate skeptics and outright deniers is that the cost of doing something is super high. What is the cost of doing nothing and seeing what happens? Really freakin’ high.

How to Power California with Wind, Water and Sun—People act like it is a fantasy that we could deploy renewable energy in such a way that could power entire states or countries. Blueprints exist people!

Danish Wind Power to Be Half The Price of Coal and Natural Gas by 2016—Go Denmark!

As U.S. gets Greener, it is Sending Dirty Coal Abroad—So, we now are exporting our dirty fuel instead of keeping it in the ground. Ugh.

Midwestern Waters Are Full of Bee-Killing Pesticides—We have laced the environment with a toxic legacy that will take a long time to figure out. Why can’t we just stop using these chemicals that are obviously so dangerous?

Feds Consider Ban On Bluefin Tuna Fishing As Population Dips 95 Percent—Our voracious appetite for this amazing fish is going to cause the species to go extinct. Stop eating Bluefin tuna people!

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price—I applaud these efforts because it might mean the survival of the species in the wild, but we need to question the wisdom of raising such a voracious predator for wide consumption. Maybe we are the problem.

Be a Patriot, Eat Less Beef—Cows are horrible for the environment, especially when raised in feedlot conditions, and too much red meat is bad for our health. We just need to eat less meat, beef or otherwise.

Produce from School Gardens Increasingly Ends up in School Cafeterias—It’s so cool to see programs where kids grow vegetables for consumption on premise. Too many people do not understand how food is grown or raised. Ask them where a tomato comes from and you will get told, “the grocery store.”

Heard on the Street: E-I-E-I-O—If New York City can adapt and adopt backyard agriculture, well any place can probably do it. Although I am thinking that New Yorkers will somehow find a way to claim that they came up with the idea of urban agriculture first, that they do it better than anyone else, and that you are stupid for thinking otherwise.

Your Giant American Refrigerator Is Making You Fat And Poor—Refrigerators in the U.S. are huge and a lot of people have more than one and a deep freeze in the garage. What the hell are we doing with so much space? Take a minute and really look at all the old food in your refrigerator. It’s probably disgusting.

Friday Linkage 5/16/2014

So, every time you hear a proponent of Keystone XL talk about the safety of oil pipelines witness the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. In the wee hours of Thursday morning a pipeline burst sending tens of thousands of crude into the city streets. Yep, great safety record for those pipelines.

On to the links…

America’s Oil And Gas Industry Averaged At Least 20 Spills Per Day In 2013—Think about that average for a moment. It is stunning. There is no such thing as truly safe oil and gas drilling and transportation. It is inherently susceptible to spills and accidents.

This Is Your Country With 10 Feet Of Sea Level Rise—It looks like I am safe in eastern Iowa, but large portions of very populous cities in the U.S. are not so lucky.

Slow Exit of the Midwest’s Winter Buries Gardens in a Deep Freeze—The past winter was brutal and as those of us in the Midwest take stock in the spring it is not any prettier. At the moment I am down two trees, three butterfly bushes, and a shrub. Plus, the plants that did survive are slow to leaf out and bloom.

The Toxic Brew in Our Yards—It is a spring and summer ritual where I live to see the chemical trucks spraying lawns and leaving little signs that might as well say, “Toxic waste dump. Stay off the grass!”

How Large-Scale Solar Power Can Reduce Pressure On Farm Land—Just some interesting ideas about how to marry large scale solar with other land use. Anything that moves solar PV forward is a good thing in my book.

Pakistan’s First Solar Project Is One Of The World’s Largest—Damn, this is a big solar project. When a country like Pakistan is getting on board with solar you know that things are happening for the technology.

Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Power Needs From Renewable Energy—Hot damn that is impressive. Just take a moment and think about what that would mean if every country were as committed to large scale renewables. Pretty sight indeed.

A Whale And A Cruise Ship Collided In New York Harbor—I kind of wondered about this possibility the one time I took a cruise. These boats are massive and there is no way for these boats to avoid whales if they cross paths. Ugh.

Friday Linkage 11/29/2013

I hope that everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving Day holiday and is spending today with family as opposed to braving the post-apocalyptic training ground that is Black Friday shopping.  Seriously, if there is ever a zombie outbreak I am going to ally myself with the people who swarm WalMart for $99 flat screen televisions.  Those people are straight up loco.

On to the links…

Your Shopping Guide To Stores That Won’t Ruin Their Workers’ Thanksgivings—I hope that people respected Thanksgiving and stayed home rather than look for that one great deal.  Moving forward, I hope that people punish these companies for opening on the holiday:

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Why We Don’t Eat Beef for Thanksgiving—For those of you wondering, there is a seasonality to animals just as there is a season for fruits and vegetables.

Amid Canned Food Drives, U.S. Food Banks Take Up Farming—The lowly can of corn or green beans is a symbol of the food drive here in the Midwest.  Children dutifully pack cans onto a table in their classrooms before piling everything onto pallets for donation.  Maybe everyone should just pick up a hoe and get dirty.  Wait a second, that sounded wrong.

Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them—Bagging up your leaves and having someone cart them away is like giving away your soil’s fertility.  For years I have just mowed over them with a standard mulching mower to no ill effect on my yard.  Granted, I do not have towering trees dumping piles of leaves yet.

Tackling the Climate Crisis With the Reality of Renewable Energy—For every person who does not think that renewable energy can be a viable source of baseload power, I give you the state of Iowa.  Currently, we generate approximately 25% of our total power from wind.  This is expected to rise to nearly 35% in the next few years as some massive projects come on line.  If we can do it…

Wind Energy In Iowa Cuts 8.4 Million Tons Of Carbon Pollution Per Year—Oh wait, here’s some numbers on the massive size of Iowa’s wind energy.  Dig it.

A Norwegian Oil Company Will Build Largest Floating Wind Farm Off The Coast Of Scotland—I am really interested to see how this whole floating wind turbine thing plays out.  There is a big test underway off the coast of Fukushima, Japan—yes, the same place with all the nuke troubles—and Europe is really pushing the envelope as well.  As usual, the U.S. is lagging behind but maybe we will get a second mover advantage as the technology matures.

Your New House In Texas Could Come With Free Solar Panels—Now, solar PV is part of the OEM or builder market.  Has solar reached a mainstream tipping point in the U.S.?  Did I mention that these homes are being built in Rick Perry’s Texas?

World’s Largest Landfill Will Soon Be NYC’s Biggest Solar Plant—Forget building giant plants out in the desert, what about all of the brownfields and industrial rooftops in the U.S. that could accommodate solar?  In this case, it’s a freaking landfill that is being turned into a park and solar generating park.  Awesome.

Emissions of Methane in U.S. Exceed Estimates, Study Finds—All was not rosy this week as a study found we may be underestimating our level of methane emissions.  This is bad because methane is about twenty time worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Happy holidays!

Toxic Flame Retardants may be on the Way Out—Soon, thanks to the efforts of tireless reporters and California’s legislators, your couch may no longer be a soup of toxic nightmares.  Seriously, why did we let this farce about safety continue?

Maui Signs Agreement With Monsanto Regarding Pesticide Use—It’s amazing the resistance that GMOs and the attendant pesticide use is getting on the islands of Hawaii.  Most people are stunned to learn how much GMO testing is done on Hawaii to begin with—just spend some time on the southern shore of Kauai—so this is coming as a shock to those of us on the mainland not familiar with the islands.

Wisconsin has Grown into Hotbed of Organic Farming—On the way to the Wisconsin Dells to meet my brother for our annual pilgrimage to an indoor water park in the depths of winter we drive through the Driftless Region.  Until you actually drive through here you do not get a sense of the pervasiveness of organic farming and its associated social norms.

Peecycling will Fertilize Green Roofs in Amsterdam—Does Amsterdam have some of the best public urinals in the world?  I remember seeing one in the middle of an intersection of about five streets and a pair of streetcar lines.  Talk about stage fright.

Friday Linkage 4/26/2013

I hate Earth Day.  Not the actual day itself or the activities that people get involved in because anything that raises awareness is probably a good thing.  No such thing as bad publicity, right?

What I hate about Earth Day is that it begets Earth week or some company claims it is green by changing its logo for a few days and putting some preachy PSAs on the airwaves.  Big freakin’ deal.  Not to get too negative, but the problems we face are about more than recycling or changing a light bulb.  It’s about trying to reorient our way of life to something that is more sustainable.

It would mean something if I saw a PSA that said eating meat is one of the most environmentally destructive choices that an individual makes in a day.  Too bad the beef and pork producers would be all over the network that airs that little tidbit.  Money talks and conscience walks.

On to the links…

Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Released from Prison—Has there been a person more railroaded by the justice system than Tim DeChristopher?  If an oil company bid on leases and failed to pay no one would go to jail.  But because DeChristopher was unrepentant at trial the judge decided to put him away as an example.  An example of what?  How the system protects the interest of the oil companies over all others?  Pretty much accomplished that your honor.

13 Reasons to be Glad George W. Bush is not President Anymore—I wonder why the good folks at Think Progress stopped at thirteen.  This could have become one of those running memes, like Chuck Norris jokes, that evolves into entire websites.  I also think that they forgot to mention one critical reason I am glad W. is no longer president…we no longer have to hear the “leader of the free world” mispronounce the world nuclear.

What The House GOP Doesn’t Want You To Know About Wind Vs. Oil Tax Credits—Why we subsidize the most profitable industry in the history of the world is beyond me.  Sorry, I cannot figure it out.

Fast-Growing U.S. Solar Industry Now Employs Over 119,000—When does the realization that the solar economy is real hit people?  When someone in your neighborhood puts panels on their home?  When someone in your neighborhood is employed by a solar company?

Could an Artificial Leaf Power Your Car?—It sounds like the Holy Grail of biofuel—an organism that secretes the raw ingredients of biofuel—but researchers appear to be on the right track to developing or isolating organisms that do just that.

Electric Taxi Experiment to Begin in New York City—I cannot think of a more brutal proving ground for a vehicle than being a taxi in a major metropolitan area.  Okay, maybe being owned by a high school kid who is the only person with a license in their circle of friends is also a brutal proving ground.  The experiment may not be totally successful, but the lessons learned will be invaluable.

Europe’s Carbon Market is Sputtering as Prices Dive—I think the drive to establish complicated markets to trade carbon is a dead movement.  It’s much easier to tax carbon at the fuel level and let the economics work themselves out without complicated schemes.  Plus, given the insanity in securities markets I have no faith in the same people to do anything good with carbon markets.  Trust Goldman Sachs?  Sure…

Confused Koala Discovers His Home has been Cut Down—The pictures in this article just made me really sad because this little guy seems to be emoting.  Why do we still allow clear cutting when it has been established that healthy forest ecosystems can be maintained with selective logging?  It seems insane.

Giant Animal Invasions—What is it about Florida and invasive species?  If there is some nasty invasive species, chances are that will be prevalent in Florida or start in Florida or be Florida’s state creature.  That state really is Satan’s hemorrhoid.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Make a Comeback—Here was a fish that people thought was extinct that is making a comeback.  If we are to preserve our natural world, humans need to take an active role in actually restoring what we have destroyed.  A passive approach will not work.

Colorado Program gets Dirty Autos Off the Road—This seems like a great program that could be replicated nationwide.  Granted, here in a state that gets snow and, therefore, uses salt on the roads rust tends to claim vehicles before they become rolling relics of a different era.

Natural Gas Use in Long Haul Trucks Expected to Rise—This is a great example of an appropriate technology being used in a targeted way.  It’s insane to think about recapitalizing all private automobiles and fueling stations to a new paradigm, but commercial trucks can make the conversion because the routes are more constrained, the purchasers more concentrated, and the economic imperative more immediate.

Chris Bianco Talks Pizza and His New Place in Tucson—Chris Bianco is the man!  I have been to his pizzeria in Phoenix once—it was worth the wait—and enjoyed every pie that we ordered.  Now with a sandwhich shop and outlet in Tucson his reach can be extended.  Purveyors of great food should get lauded every chance we get.

The New Modern Garden: Edibles, Chickens, and Creativity—It’s so awesome to see gardens moving beyond the sterile, tilled rows of my childhood.  There is something intrinsically beautiful about these gardens that embrace organic lines and chaotic structures.  Plus, chickens are kind of cool.

Friday Linkage 2/8/2013

This was an interesting week.  More cabinet positions in the Obama adminastration opened up, but one spot–Secretary of the Interior–was filled, pending confirmation.  I think it was considered a surprise that Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoor outfitter REI, was chosen.  I think it was a somewhat inspired choice because she brings environmental street cred, business experience, and some history with the oil and gas industry.  I am sure that Republican jack asses will find something to hold up the confirmation with, but that is what jack asses do.

On to the links…

U.S. Carbon Emissions Drop to 1994 Levels–It looks like the drop in carbon emissions in the U.S. is not just a reflection of the recession but a more permanent change in the state of affairs.  Sweet.

New Mexico Utility Agrees to Buy Solar Power at a Price Cheaper than Coal–You know that solar has reached a tipping point when commercial contracts for supplying power are priced lower than dirty ol’ coal.  This is really good news.

Wind Farms in Spain Break Energy Record–Since November 1, 2012 electricity generated from wind has been the number 1 source.  Not the number 1 renewable, but the number 1 source among all generation types.  In total wind equals approximately 25% of the total electricity for Spain.  We can take the carbon out of our infrastructure.

We Pay More for Gas than Every Before–In the U.S. the average household spends $2,912 on gas or 4% of the average household pre-tax income.  WTF?  So, even though we are consuming fewer gallons of gas we are paying more for each gallon.

Planting Trees may not Reverse Climate Change, but it Will Help Locally–Damn, and I thought that all of those tree planting schemes were the answer to climate change.  But, it is good to see that there is a chance that planting trees can help reduce the impacts of climate change in a local micro-climate.

On Decimated Shores, A Second Chance for Christmas Trees–It looks like Christmas trees can have other uses besides being mulched.  In Minnesota, I remember trees being sunk in the Mississippi River to provide spawning grounds for fish because driftwood got stuck behind all of the dams.

For Marginalized Urban Recyclers, a Non-Profit with a Can Do Attitude–Canners, or the people you see picking up cans and bottles for the redemption, are one of those urban underbelly populations that people do not even consider.  I am glad to see that someone is trying to make life easier for people who live on the margins.

 World’s First Electric Car Ferry Recharges in 10 Minutes–This boat is wicked cool.  The technology just seems like something that makes sense.  If only we could find a way to replace the S.S. Badger’s dirty engines with something awesome like this Norwegian beauty.

The Cosmestics Wars–Why do we allow companies to use chemicals that are unknown to be safe or not?  Why is the standard not to prove harm but to prove safety?

Trade Group Lawsuit Challenges Olive Oil Labeling–I thought the situation was bad for trying to figure out the country of origin when it came to live oil.  It appears that there is a whole other level subterfuge. Great.

Europe Announces Sweeping Changes to Fisheries Policy–It’s a step in the right direction.  The fact that we thrown away nearly as much fish as we keep for processing is insane when you consider the pressure that the oceans are under.  Maybe there is hope for us after all.

Two Bills Propose Zero Tolerance for Bison–It is ridiculous the way that bison are treated in Montana because of misconceptions.  Never mind the destruction and disease spread by cattle.  Ridiculous.

Why People are Eatig their Own Trash–If you thought the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans was something to worry about when you are at the beach you would be mistaken:

TrashOceansInfographic_e_01