Tag Archives: New York City

Friday Linkage 1/25/2013

I have been really slow to post anything the past couple of weeks.  No excuses, just nothing to say really.  Do you ever have one of those stretches of time where you look back on the past couple of weeks and wonder what the heck you accomplished?  If it was anything at all?  Yep, that has been the past couple of weeks for me.

On to the links…

Japan to Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm near Fukushima—Maybe there is a transition underway that comes out of the disaster at the nuclear plant in Fukushima.  I do not know, but this is a step.

LEDs Emerge as Popular Green Lighting—It looks like we have finally reached the inflection point where LEDs are going to be the dominant form of lighting technology.  This is a good thing.

Solar Panel Prices Continue to Slide—The story is not about the price of solar panels anymore.  It’s about the balance of system costs.  The U.S. needs to work on reducing the balance of system costs to speed adoption of distributed solar generation.

Today’s Seafood Special: Pig Manure, Antibiotics, and Diarrhea Bugs—Shrimp never sounded so good?  Our food safety system is a joke because the foxes are running the hen house.  The only way to guarantee a measure of safety is to know as much as possible about the supply chain of your food and strive to keep it as short as possible.  Yeah, it’s hard but this is the food we put in our bodies.

Popular Antibiotic Tainting Minnesota Lakes—Triclosan is just bad crap.  It’s not really effective as an antibiotic and now it is polluting our waterways because people are so afraid of germs that they expect the stuff to be in every product.  It should be banned.  Now.

Why is Coffee So Expensive?—I tend to fall onto the other side of this question and wonder why coffee is so cheap?  If you ever visit a coffee farm—I have visited several on the Big Island and Kauai—the first thing that will be striking is how labor intensive the effort can be.  Sure, a lot of coffee is harvested mechanically but high quality is coffee is picked manually.  Than you see how much of the weight is lost as the coffee bean is separated from the pulpy exterior.  Never mind transit, roasting, etc.  Now you get my point.

Not Just Another Brookylnite with Chickens—It’s easy to pillory the people with backyard chickens or fancy vegetable gardens as elitists, but growing or raising your own food with whatever resources are available to you has always been a fact of life for people lower down the economic ladder from your average hipster urban farmer.

New Pubs Send Profits to Charity—Why not, right?  Like any of these “schemes” however, I wish people would just donate $20 to their charity of choice directly rather than depend on an intermediary who takes a cut.

Saving Tasmanian Devils from Extinction—I have been following the story of the Tasmanian devils for years as the species looks at extinction from a virulent and contagious face cancer.  It’s a wild story.

New Belgium Brewery’s Kim Jordan Chats with the Denver Post—New Belgium Brewery is important in the beer world because it has helped spread the gospel of good beer.  For me, growing up in the Midwest, New Belgium and Summit in St. Paul. Minnesota were the breweries that produced beer that opened my eyes.  It’s always interesting to hear what people at the head of that movement have to say.

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Friday Linkage 11/9/2012

I am back from Orlando,  Barack Obama won reelection, Mitt Romney is unemployed, Joe Walsh is still a dick but at least he’s also looking at the unemployment line, and weed is legal in two more states.  What a week.

On to the links…

The Great Transition—Lester Brown has written a thought provoking series of commentaries about the potential for a “great transition” away from fossil fuels.  Check out part one and part two.

How the EPA Does and Does not Test Fuel Economy—The recent case of Hyundai, including the Kia brand which it owns, of having to reimburse customers for misleading or false mileage claims brought to light a lot of odd practices with regard to the testing of a car’s mileage.

How NYU Stayed Partly Warm and Lighted—I am hoping that the current disaster in the northeast United States a result of post tropical cyclone Sandy and the subsequent northeaster start a conversation about utility resilience.  I thought the same thing might happen after Hurricane Katrina with regard to coastal infrastructure, but I see where that went.

Geothermal Advocates Hope Sandy Gives them a Second Look—Apparently, the advocates of geothermal heating and cooling think the recent disaster is going to be a boon for business.  Again, I think we will choose the cheap and easy solution rather than really thinking about the resiliency of our systems.

Bicycles are Transportation’s Cockroaches—I have always hated scenes in post-apocalyptic scenarios where everyone is suddenly a horse lord.  Why?  Because no one really knows how to ride a horse and there are really not enough horses, but there are a lot of bicycles.  Cheap, reliable, and powered by the rider it is the ultimate option for when the stuff hits the fan.  Imagine what fleets of longtail and cargo bikes could do in the wake of a disaster?

Climate Change May Lead to Wild Arabica Bean Extinction—Climate change and its attendant consequences are usually not at the forefront of people’s minds, but threaten their morning coffee and you will get people’s attention.  Just let them taste a few cups of Robusta coffee and you will have climate change warriors on your hands.

Solving Hawaii’s Fresh Vegetable Problem—You would think that Hawaii would be a wonderland for fresh vegetables.  Visit one of the excellent farmer’s markets and you would agree, but the reality is that there is an access problem for a lot of the people on the islands.  What this speaks to is that the problem with our food system is often not growing enough but being able to distribute that bounty equitably.

Make Your Own Leaf Mold—Leaf mold is one of those things that every person should be making in their garden to improve soil health.  It should be a government mandate.

Friday Linkage 10/12/2012

A good and productive week here at the house.  I installed a blower unit on my fireplace, put two batches of beer into carboys, and managed to stay out of trouble at work.  A roaring success.

On to the links…

Activist Tim DeChristopher Released—Tim DeChristopher, the activist who slowed down the leasing of public lands to fossil fuel companies, was released from prison following his sentencing for that very act.  In reality, he was imprisoned because he bid on the leases with no intention of paying and was unrepentant.  Normally, when a corporation cannot pay or chooses not to pay for the bid upon lease rights there is no criminal penalty.  I guess corporations are people too my friend.

Recessions Cannot Save Us from Climate Change—One of the surprising stories to come out of the Great Recession was that carbon emissions fell because people, in general, consumed less stuff.  Too bad that trend is over and carbon emissions are back on the way up.

Antarctic Sea Ice Loss Animated—In case you needed an animated example of why we are cooked.

How Wind Power Helps Lower Electricity Prices—This is not something that you are going to see Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan talk about on the stump when railing against wind power tax credits or brining up Solyndra for the millionth time.  Wind power is a good thing.  End of story.

The Future of Oil and Gas—If you have some time on a cold day, sit down and read this report cover to cover.  It is filled with useful insight into the future of the oil and gas industry as seen from one viewpoint.  I think it also illustrates the cracks and lever points for renewables to exploit going forward.

Chicago Pushes the Limits on Sustainable Streets—Streets are such a huge part of the built environment that reimagining what these landscapes can be is a critical component of creating a better urban environment.

Walking the High Line’s Incomplete Third Section—The High Line in New York City is one of those projects that just seems to get endless press.  I can see why, it’s just such a cool project.  Now every city is going to try and figure out what industrial relic they can turn into a bucolic attraction. Good luck.

Coyotes Next Door—Apparently, coyotes are the pioneer species of larger carnivores to move into human dominated environments.  I always found coyotes more annoying than anything when I lived in rural Minnesota.

Farming the Urban Sea—I just love how this article shows how much potential there is in revitalizing the ocean habitats near our urban centers and what benefits that we can accrue from that process.

If You Want to Feed the World, Stop the Land Grabs—Oxfam and other international agencies just seem like agents for Big Ag and Big Food.  The answers are always the same to the problem of feeding the people.  Just grow more export commodities and then use the money to feed the people.  Wait a second.  Why not use the land to grow food to feed the people and not lose anything in the conversion to hard currency?  Just saying.

Five Acre Farms in New York—I love the idea of a co-op forming to market local foods to a large urban area.  It seems to solve the major problem of local producers integrating into larger supply chains because they do not sell in the volume required to be a supplier.

Video Inside of a McDonald’s Beef Processing Plant—Sure, it’s a Canadian plant doing the process, but you get the idea about how the process works in turning ground beef into burgers for your dollar menu extravaganza.

Twelve Great Posters from When Turning Down the Thermostat was Patriotic—  Man, I love me some propaganda from World War II.  Nothing like being Chilly Willy for the troops:

Friday Linkage 7/27/2012

Some storms moved through the area on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and the temperatures went from above 100 degrees to a manageable 85 or so by Friday.  It is amazing how people’s mood changes when the temperature drops from the triple digits.  Everyone is a little less edgy right now.

On to the links…

Veganism by the Numbers—Let’s start the ball rolling with a good ol’ infographic:

Any Shoe Can be Clipless—Retrofitz has developed a system to seemingly turn any show into a clipless compatible shoe.  All right!  Maybe now I can finally fulfill my vision of SPD Chacos.

What to Buy for $5.63 in a New York Bodega—Anyone who has ever spent any time in New York City has run across the peculiar institution of the bodega.  A cross between a meeting place, restaurant, grocery store, and whatever else the owner can cram into an impossibly small place the bodega is also a place where one can indulge in junk food fantasies.

The Hidden Cost of Cheap Lobster—Looks like climate change is affecting the lobster catch in several ways.  Maybe Mitt Romney will finally get concerned when his lobster dinner is imperiled.  Probably not.

Good Eggs is the Etsy for Local Foodies—I like the concept, but I feel this is one of those ideas that will not scale beyond its hipster roots.  I do not know, I probably said the same thing about Etsy as well.

Norway Cuts Palm Oil Use 64%–Why is cutting palm oil use so important?  Because the rain forests in southeast Asia are being clear cut for palm plantations to feed to modern world’s voracious appetite for this particular fat.

Quebec City Orders Front Yard Garden Removed—Is this not one of the best looking gardens you have seen in a long time:

Why would any city official want it torn out and replaced with a monoculture of grass?

One of Denmark’s Oldest Eco Villages—Why does Treehugger taunt me with slideshows of these communities that I would so like to live in?  It’s a cruel world.

How to Rebuild the Mississippi Delta—The destruction of the Mississippi Delta is one of the late-20th Century’s environmental catastrophes that no one ever seems to talk about.  It looks like a strategic rethinking of how the entire system operates could recover some of what has been lost.

Will Falling Renewable Energy Prices do in Fracking?—This is one of those “I hope so” type of moments.  The tipping point for renewables—where the installed cost per watt is low enough to compete with cheaper forms of subsidized fossil fuels—has been rumored to be on the horizon for years.  I think we have finally seen enough installations of all types to show that the numbers now back up this belief.

Strong Storms Threaten Ozone over the U.S.—It looks like the news just keeps getting better and better with regard to climate change’s effects.  First it’s a mega drought.  Now, the ozone layer is under threat.

Fuel Economy in U.S. Hits New High in First Half of 2012—It looks like, on average, Americans are finally purchasing more fuel efficient cars and trucks.  It’s a long way from real victory when I consider how many full size trucks I see in the parking lot at work, but it’s a start.

And by the way, Herman Cain is still an ass.

Friday Linkage 7/13/2012

It’s Friday the 13th…and that means absolutely nothing to me.  Except for the memories of movies where Jason Voorhies would terrorize stupid teenagers at camp.  I digress.  On to the links…

Less Sitting More Living—Basically, if you sit less and watch less television you will live longer.  While this comes as no surprise it is nice to see that there is finally peer reviewed science that tells us to get of our asses and move!

Burtynsky’s Oil Photos Ported to the iPad—If you ever want to see the majesty and sheer destruction that our global thirst for oil has done to the planet, you must see Edward Burtynsky’s Oil photos in person.  The large prints will sort of blow your mind.  The next best thing is seeing the photos on the iPad.  It’s $10 well spent.

Rising Demand is Giving Biogas a Big Lift—I have always thought that biogas seemed like one of the few “win-wins” to exist in the modern world.  You take a notional waste product—usually a waste product that is dangerous in the case of biogas facilities that use animal manure—and turn it into easily burnt gas.  The technology exists, the technology to exploit the gas exists, and the country has more than enough waste produce to use as feedstock.  Why is this not a bigger deal?

1GW of Solar PV in California—California now has over 1GW of customer installed solar photovoltaic on the grid.  There are a lot of interesting stats and tables in the report.  Check it out.

Humane Society Files Lawsuits Against 51 Hog Operations—This story is receiving a lot of press here in Iowa—surprisingly neutral thus far—because we have most of the facilities named in the lawsuit.  Hopefully this lawsuit sparks a discussion and backlash against the way that CAFOs are allowed to operate in the state, which is to say above or outside the laws established to protect the health of the planet, people, and animals.

In Rooftop Farming, New York City Emerges as a Leader—The growth of urban farming operations on rooftops is amazing.  This is not something I imagined would have gained any traction a decade ago, but here we are discussing operations that are estimated to produce up to 1 million—yes that’s a million—pounds of produce per year.  Wow!

5 Surprising Ingredients Allowed in Organic Food—I remember one of the debates about the government’s creation of organic labeling standards was that it would allow for the creation of “big organic” that subverted the values of the organic food movement.  That is to say, organic food was always about more than simply producing organic food.  It was about a healthy, sustainable, and inherently honest system of food production.  Obviously that sentiment was lost in the chase to establish a government sanctioned standard.

What are Pullet Eggs?—I have run across signs for these at the farmers market, but I have never asked.  Now I know.

Kebab Flowchart—If it’s summer than a grilled kebab can never be more than a few nights away.  A trusty quick dinner, the kebab is an underrated companion to America’s favorite grilling champions of hamburgers, bratwurst, and beer can chicken:

8 Water Saving Tips—As drought grips more of the country saving water should be at the forefront of our home front efforts.

Friday Linkage 8/5/2011

The weather was warm, but there was abundant sun and blue skies.  What did I do?  Spent the week trying to recover from some kind of cold and allergy mix that put me down for the count.  Barely able to get through a day of work without coming home and passing out face first into bed.  To top it off, I had to worry about passing whatever nasty bug I caught to my wife, daughter, and eight week old son.  Good times.  On to the links…

Coal Generation Drops to 30-Year Low—The percentage of electricity generated in the United States from coal dropped to its lowest level in 30 years for the first quarter of 2011.  I will be curious to see if this a trend that continues through 2011 and beyond, but it seems like a rare success story.

Plastic Bag Use on the Rise in Britain—From 2006 through 2009, plastic bag use in Britain was down by 40%.  However, in 2010 usage crept up.  Whether it is a result of consumer fatigue, anti-green sentiment, or just a statistical anomaly the trend must be considered a loss.

Permaculture Emerges from the Underground—Maybe for a writer at the New York Times, but permaculture has been a growing movement for years.  Heck, a lot of long time gardeners that I know in the Midwest have been practicing a lot of the tenants of permaculture for decades.  And I do not know of anyone who describes themselves as a “permie.”

A Sunflower…Two…200,000—Sunflowers are one of those plants, like coneflowers, that any naturalized or purposefully shabby landscape cannot have enough of.  Just watching hundreds of golden heads track the sun daily is to be in awe of nature’s perfect design.

A Rancid Canal Runs Through It—With apologies to Robert Redford, the Gowanus Canal will never be considered an idyllic fly fishing destination.  But for New Yorkers deprived of other outdoor spaces the designated Superfund site is a draw nonetheless.  When it gets hot in the city what is a person to do?

Iowa Eclipses Canada in Grain Production—Iowa produces more grain tonnage than the entire nation of Canada and is approaching the level of China’s soybean harvest.  Go Iowa!  Granted, almost all of this “food” is grown in an industrial manner and destined for livestock or processed food or bad biofuels.  However, this does give a person some sense of the productive capacity of the American farm economy.