Tag Archives: regulation

Friday Linkage 4/19/2019

Easter is such a strange holiday in the United States.  It is, ostensibly, a religious holiday for Christians but it is also a non-denominational consumption opportunity.  There is nothing Christian about dying eggs, eating candy, and buying pastel colored crap.

And what is up with having a family dinner centered on ham for Easter?

On to the links…

A Shocking Discovery Shows Just How Far Wind Can Carry Microplastics—The planet is our wastebasket for plastic.  It is everywhere.

This Scientist Thinks She has the Key to Curb Climate Change: Super Plants—This may be our only hope and at the same time it may be our undoing.

Lack of Demand Hasn’t Stopped Trump from Opening Tons of Land to Oil and Gas Drilling—Fossil fuel interests are treating the Trump administration like the last orgy before everyone finds religion.  It does not matter what the oil and gas interests want, Trump will give it to them.

How a Single Sentence in a Colorado Bill Could Pump the Brakes on the Fracking Boom—Imagine governments being told to regulate rather than foster oil and gas development.  As if there was any other purpose to government besides making money for fossil fuel companies.

Global Economy Would Save up to $160 trillion by Shifting to Renewables, Electric Cars—Here is a punch line for everyone to remember: Invest a dollar in renewables, get seven in return.

California’s Solar Power Record Setting Season is Here—This chart is amazing:


That is a whole lot of solar.  What surprises me is solar’s “shoulders” in terms of its ability to generate a lot of power.  It does not peak and decline.  It peaks and stays.  This is the future.

How Coal-Killing Solar Panels Can Help US Farmers—Let’s have a real discussion here.  Besides coal, who does not benefit from more deployment of solar?  This is why, even with the most rabid anti-renewable energy administration in the White House, people are still installing solar.  It just makes sense.

Republicans Push Anti-Wind Bills in Several States as Renewables Grow Increasingly Popular—This is your modern day Republican party fighting against stuff that a majority of people like because a small coterie of wealthy donors and a reactionary base are what fuels its policy decisions.

Plummeting Battery Prices to Make Electric Cars Cheaper than Gas Cars in 3 Years—Like solar before it, the cost of electrical vehicles is dropping by a lot.  Now parity with gas cars is three years away.

US Electric Car Registrations Doubled Between 2017 and 2018—Most of the increase was in California, but a doubling is still a big deal.  I think the bigger problem for states not named California is that dealers are reluctant to embrace electric vehicles.  Trust me, when I bought a used Nissan Leaf it was like pulling teeth at the dealership.

Amazon says it’s a Leader on Fighting Climate Change. 5,000 Employees Disagree.—No business that sends a single order of five things to your house in five boxes can be a leader on climate change.  Amazon is part of the problem, not the solution.

The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed—Hudson Yards is an architectural monstrosity that was constructed for the lowest price per square foot.  Even worse is that it was financed by the lies of the EB5 visa program.

Hormel Admits Natural Choice Meats Aren’t Very Natural—The term “natural” means jack shit nothing when it comes to food labeling.

A 30-year Harvard Study Reveals the 5 Simple Habits that May Prolong Your Life by 10 Years or More—Are we really shocked to learn that these habits will help us live longer?

Breckenridge Tourist Walking Dog Injured After 10 Minute Standoff With A Moose—I may get a chuckle out of the signs warning skiers about moose on the trails, but these giants are no laughing matter.

Friday Linkage 2/1/2019

It is February, it is freaking cold, and nothing seems to be going right anywhere.  Oh wait, the long awaited third entry in the Bill & Ted cycle may be coming to theaters before the end of the year.  Most excellent.  It would be a not heinous way to end 2019.

Wyld Stallyns may be forced to face the music, so we can hope that other people in our world—fictional or otherwise—will have to answer for their misdeeds in 2019.

Be excellent to each other!  Party on dudes!

On to the links…

The Trump Administration has Lost More than 90 Percent of its Court Battles Over Reregulation—For all the sound and fury of the Trump administration over the past two years—has it really been that long—most of the deregulation efforts have failed to pass legal muster.

Democrats Want Answers about the Interior Department’s Decisions During the Shutdown—Wow, another scandal at the Department of the Interior.  This is my surprised face:

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US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: December 2018—Check out the market share:

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Last year and the year before it could not crack 2% total market share.  This year total EV sales went above 3% in the latter part of the year.  When does the tipping point occur?

The Biggest Returns—Imagine if there was a way to produce a dollar of economic activity without damaging the planet.  Oh wait, we call it energy efficiency.  The greenest source of energy is the energy you never need to produce.

Texas Grid Is Now 30% Carbon-Free, Led By Wind—Big red state Texas, actually increasingly purplish, is also a big time state for renewables.

Report says Offshore Wind could Beat Onshore Wind on Cost—Imagine the Atlantic seaboard getting on board with offshore wind.  Or the Gulf of Mexico, with an already established industry of offshore specialists, deploying offshore wind rather than drilling for oil. Now, imagine that offshore wind energy is cheap.

Supermarket Cuts Emissions 53%, Offsets Rest—Grocery stores seem like such an easy target for energy efficiency.  Just imagine the average dairy section in an average American grocery store.  What do you see?  I am guessing that it has refrigerated cases open to the ambient air.  Why?  Just one example of how we can do so much better without really sacrificing our way of life.

Are Cargo Bikes the Future for Urban Deliveries?—The future?  In some places this is the present.  Bikes are the best solution for delivery of the last mile in denser environments.  Let’s see…no pollution, no noise, small footprint…yeah, pretty much awesome.

The Zero-Waste Movement is Coming for your Garbage—Zero waste is a good goal.  Here is the better goal: Buy less stuff.  Just a reminder, if a company is telling you how green their packaging is it probably means that they are trying to assuage your green guilt and encourage you to buy more.

Eco-Friendly Options for Decluttering Waste—Decluttering is a thing right now.  Blame Netflix and Marie Kondo.  It was popular when she had a book, but now that people can binge watch a show it is a cultural phenomenon.  I just hope that we are finding appropriate places for all of this stuff being tossed out of homes.

Friday Linkage 5/26/2017

Melania Trump may be my new hero.  Okay, maybe hero is a strong word but her refusal to even consent to contact with the flaccid cantaloupe masquerading as the President of the United States is something to behold:


Damn girl.  What are you feeding the president?

On to the links…

Factory Farming Threatens Public Health—There it is.  The single most important headline I have read in the past few weeks.  No explanation needed.

The “License to Kill” Bill Is As Terrifying As It Sounds—Republicans are going about an orgy of legislation that is designed to make the world a better place for companies that do not mind injuring, sickening, or straight up killing you.  You are worth less than corporate profits in the eyes of Republicans.

Be Compassionate, But Never, Ever, Pity The American Male—After the election of Donald Trump, I still shudder just saying that, the press was filled with reports about how he was fueled by a disaffected group of white males.  Never has a group that has been given so much privilege, squandered so much potential, and been so angry about their own failings gotten so much attention for the fact.  Can we please stop the pity parade?

The Markets Frustrate OPEC’s Efforts to Push up Oil Prices—The market is kicking oil’s ass.  If it is not shale oil production, it’s demand.  If it is not demand, it is something else.

Shale Is Just a Scapegoat for Weaker Oil Prices—It’s the demand, baby.

`Gas Apocalypse’ Looms Amid Power Plant Construction Boom—Why exactly are there any power plants still burning coal in this region?

North Sea Wind Power Hub: A Giant Wind Farm to Power all of North Europe—Imagine power for 80 million Europeans coming from offshore wind.  Wow.

We are the Bicycle Lobby. We are Coming for Your Parking.—The grumpy old men who want to park in acres of free parking after having driven to the parking lot at seventy miles an hour are just going to have to deal with people on bicycles.  They will bitch and they will moan, but they are the past and we are the future.

America’s Cars Are Suddenly Getting Faster and More Efficient—Cars are going faster but doing it using less gas.  If someone tells you that government regulation is stifling innovation they have not been paying attention when they fire up their car.

How a Remote California Tribe Set Out to Save its River and Stop a Suicide Epidemic—When we lose our connection to our past and to our land we lose a lot of what it means to be human.  In a world where forces are trying to privatize all land so that only the rich truly have access and the rest is polluted by industry we need to remember the value of the land in our identity.

Replacing Beef with Beans Would Dramatically Slash Greenhouse Gasses—Rather than put solar panels on our houses, commute by bicycle, or elect politicians who gave a damn the best thing you could do for the planet tomorrow would be to stop eating meat.  Eat beans, pulses, kale, tofu, whatever in place of meat.

Friday Linkage 1/13/2012

It’s Friday the 13th and we get the first real snowstorm of the year.  The temperature also dipped about twenty five degrees over night.  Nothing makes it feel like winter quite like a cold snap with a few inches of the white stuff.  On to the links…

Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy–If we really want to think about how to save the world then we are going to have to understand how the world functions economically.  System D is a pathway to progress.

Cash Mobs Support Local Business, but Can they Create Change?–I was unfamiliar with the concept of a cash mob until I read this article.  I do not know if this is anymore fundamentally society altering than crop mobs or whatever else social media can do.  Time will tell.

Pond Scum to the Rescue–Biofuels are an avenue to future fossil fuel independence if people like Craig Venter can get it right.  The promise of liquid biofuels with great lifecycle costs in terms of money and energy are the Holy Grail.

Renewable Energy in California Parks Sits Unused–Articles like this piss me off because it gives ammunition to people like Mitt Romney to talk about the failure of government.  Really?  How about just calling this a failure of sense?  Is it really any different than when a business makes a boneheaded move and gets grilled on CNBC?  Not really.

Richardson Bay Island is Now a Nature Preserve–On the other hand, good things can happen when people get together and think about forward looking solutions.  What was essentially an island of waste in Richardson Bay near Marin is now a thriving natural park.

American Air Before Regulation--For anyone who has doubts about the good government can do just look at these pictures.  The air we breathe is so much better because of government intervention.

Meatless in the Midwest–I hate articles like these because they portray the states in between New York and California as wastelands when it comes to enlightened foodies.  Really?  In my little section of Iowa there are several excellent restaurants dedicated to vegetarian cuisine, a whole culture of sustainable food production, and a lot of people who did not need to relearn how to garden when it became trendy.  I invite the author to look beyond the easy story and actually see what is going on in places other than New York City.

Greeks go Back to the Land–Maybe it’s because I live in a place where people are not so far removed from farming to think it a strange occupation.  But in Greece the hard economic times have forced people to reexamine the nature of work and making a living.

Cure Your Takeout Addiction--Tamar Adler has some really good advice about paring down your pantry and still being able to produce great food at home day in and day out.  Her advice about fancy salt is so right.  I have seen too many people poring over the various salts in specialty shops.  Spend your money elsewhere.

Friday Linkage 1/6/2012

The Iowa caucuses are now over.  Thank god–though not in the way that Rick Perry thanks god because those ads are just too funny.  Now I can open my paper and not see an ad for Mitt Romney.  Now I can turn on my television and not see an ad attacking Newt Gingrich, though none of it was paid for by Mitt Romney.  It was just an organization staffed by former Romney associates and paid for by Romney supporters.  I never thought I could actually feel bad for Newt.  Now I can answer my phone without fear of a robocall.  Finally, I can finally stop worrying about someone Googling “santorum” at work.  Whew!

One thing that tires me about the caucuses and the coverage of the event is the generalities that commentators paint Iowa with.  60% of Republican caucus goers were evangelical Christians. Listen to the most of the pundits and you would think that 60% of Iowans were evangelical Christian.  No, 60% of the 122,000 people who attended the Republican caucus were evangelical Christians.  At least the pundits were not as bad as this jackass.

Top 10 Anti-Environmental Things Congress did in 2011–As if we needed a reminder of how lame our elected government can be and the near victory of Rick Santorum proves this out.

The Rhetoric of Fossil Fuel Independence is Dead–The U.S. is now a net exporter of refined fuel products.  We are part of the global system whether twits like Palin or Boehner want to believe.  Ironically, renewables allow the U.S. to actually be energy independent.  Thank god–not in the way Santorum thanks god–I do not have to hear “Drill baby drill” anymore.  It did not make sense four years ago and it makes no sense now.

EPA Regulations will Create More Jobs than Keystone XL Pipeline–As if the claims about the Keystone XL pipeline’s job creation ability were not overblown enough, it looks like the “job killing” regulations to restore the Chesapeake Bay may actually create jobs.  Of course, this is like listening to people receiving government salaries from government jobs telling people that the government cannot create jobs.

Republicans Don’t Want to Talk About Infrastructure–Just like they will not admit that the government can be effective at creating jobs, Republicans are adhering to a policy of not talking about spending money on infrastructure which is something that only the government is effective at accomplishing.  Clowns.

Difference Between Resilient and Sustainable–Okay, using a zombie apocalypse is probably not the standard fare for describing the difference between sustainable and resilient but it works.  We need to make sure our systems are both resilient and sustainable.  The best systems are paragons of both concepts and the only path forward that makes sense.

Greasy to Gourmet–The parade of stories about schools improving lunch programs is encouraging.  It is also one of those moments that I have at the grocery store all the time.  Go into the grocery store and get excited about the produce and the organic section and what not.  Next, go to the aisle with Hamburger Helper and realize how much of that crap is still on the shelf and how many people are buying it.  Ugh!

Walmart is Taking over Our Food System–As if the Hamburger Helper scenario is bad enough, just start thinking about the impact that Walmart has on our food system.  Aside from the macro level problems associated with so much control exerted by so few entities, really pay attention to the value that Walmart puts on an excellent produce section.  Compare that to my local full service grocery store–in this case Hy-Vee–that has people dedicated to produce and the same people work in those jobs for years.

Another Reason to Eat Locally–As if the thought of Walmart taking over the food system does not make you shudder enough, the spectre of big organic should as well.  Just because it is organic does not mean it is good.  You can produce organic milk in a feedlot and you can have an organic industrial tomato.  It’s just a label that specifies a certain number of practices, it does not represent an equitable regime.

Slab City–I remember reading about this place in John Krakauer’s Into the Wild about Christopher McCandless.  The place always seemed like a weird nowhere out there in the wide open space of the American southwest.  The desert does weird things to your mind.

Salvage Creativity–I wish I could be as creative as some people are with salvaged materials.  I am never able to see a pile of old door knobs and say, “Wouldn’t those make a great surface for a patio?”  Wait a second, that sounds like a Portlandia skit.