Sunday, March 26, 2006

Purple Thread

This is the purple thread.

120 comments:

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I'll pick purple because none of the other colors really matched A Trip to the Crater

deb said...

Awesome Christopher. What a surreal landscape. Hawaii is one of the places I would like to visit, but I know it will be at least a couple of years.

That silversword plant is beautiful. Thanks for the picture of you:)...but, it does burst my image of a giant, rotund native Hawaiian wearing grass clothes and *of course* carrying that pitchfork ready re-landscape DC.

dan said...

Christopher,
Thanks for sharing your weekend excursion with such beautiful photos. I admire the way you're able to keep such balance in your life. Your refusal to let the train-wreck in Washington interfere with your enjoyment of art and nature is a quality I need to emulate.

Marilynn M said...

Thank you Christopher. Beautiful pictures. You look pretty much like I pictured you minus the do-rag. Do you have a pony tail? If not why not? I expected you would. (teasing)Keep posting Hawaii pictures. I'll never get to go see it. If I ever got any extra money I'd move to Alaska and look for gold. If I found a bonanza then I'd go to Hawaii. I'm trash to the bone.

dan said...

Don't ignore the small things -- the kite flies because of its tail.
Hawaiian Proverb

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Thanks you guys. I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. It was an awesome trip and we managed to get in and out of the crater in a hole in the major rains we have been having for the last month.

Just so you know you can comment on my blog just like Marilynn's so we don't wander off topic too much here and take up space. It is fine with me either way though.

No ponytail, but since my grooming habits can be somewhat lethargic, when my hair starts getting in my eyes the do-rag makes life easier. A ponytail would be a hazard in my jungle taming line of work. It could get wrapped up in some plant or tool and be the end of me.

deb said...

I found reference to this in the SSB "slice above" list. It's the first time I had heard of the Stirling Engine. It sounds quite promising. Stirling Energy System Maybe it's the beginning of Light Beam Technology.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Something else to move this thread in a new direction. GM has done an internet contest that has also gone awry. Giving people a chance to make their own Commercial for a Chevy Tahoe and a chance to win a prize. Some more environmentally and energy aware contestants may have had some fun with this contest. There are six examples you can watch.

deb said...

Christopher, I thought those videos were very funny...but in a sad way. Good news is that Toyota will have hybrids available for every vehicle that they make by 2012. I wish they had said that they would also have enough batteries to run for 75 miles on electricity before the gas engine kicks in.

deb said...

Cute comic...had to share

Immigration

deb said...

Bill Maher's New Rules: My Pet Scapegoat

This should open to the Bill Maher video...if not go to crooksandliars.com and look for the April 2, Bill Maher article and click on the video link that best suits your pc.

It is comedy, but he hits the bullseye several times in his presentation.

dan said...

Lots of fun stuff...the Purple Thread seems to be getting an identity.

deb said...

Found this link about the AIR CAR It looks to be something that would work very well with the small vehicle corridors.

dan said...

Debbie, you must be wandering all over the net tonight. You're finding lots of interesting, disconnected items.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Bill Maher was as usual pointedly funny. I like his sense of humour. It helps to be able to laugh at the insanity. He is good at making these foibles be a part of the human condition and not so much an us and them theme. I can see my own insanity revealed in his comedy.

What strange and complex creatures we human beings are.

Judy B. said...

Deb.. thanks for the air car post... I have quite a selection of small cars in progress filling my favorites list. Don't know what i am going to do with them, but maybe, when
i have time I will use them in a white paper about SVC's.

I so wish i could get all of the links you all post. my slow dial up and old computer are no match for this new technology.

deb said...

Fiore: Migraphobia

Sorry Judy it's a comic video. It's tongue in cheek about immigration. PS...if any of us hits the lottery, we have to get Judy a new pc and high speed service.

dan said...

Commentary that entertains...thanks Deb.

deb said...

Just for fun...Become a Republican

dan said...

Good one Deb. It's frightening to realize how successful their recruitment campaign has been.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'm sooooo tired, but I have to do my federal and state taxes this evening -- I won't have another chance between tonight and Saturday. Since I don't have many deductions, it shouldn't take long, but when you're sleep deprived everything feels like an enormous task. One of our area post offices stays open till midnight on April 15th for last minute tax filers. Last year I got it postmarked right under the wire. Nothing like waiting till the last minute to get the adrenaline flowing...

It looks like our state's universal health coverage is a go... Both Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Ted Kennedy backed it. There was talk of hell freezing over.

Ever since employers stopped covering the whole premium, I've usually only taken the dental coverage. So I've been without health insurance coverage for most of the last several years now. I know it's a gamble, but I've been lucky enough not to have needed it so far. Knock on wood.

I suppose I should be happy about the new law, but I'm in that most precarious income bracket where I make too much to be eligible for free coverage, but little enough that even a small premium will be burdensome. But since it's mandatory, I'll just have to find a way.

dan said...

Christin,
NPR just did a segment on your state's new healh care plan. They made it sound like a lot of details are still being worked out. The law says the coverage must be "affordable" but the haven't defined that term yet. I hope it works out well for you. Hopefully, we'll get universal coverage nationally soon.

I hope you were able to stay awake and get your tax return done. If not, at least they may have free health care in tax-evader prison.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Dan,
I couldn't finish doing my taxes. My eyes were just too tired. Now, even the light from this computer screen is starting to hurt. I was on standby to work twelve-hour shifts last night and tonight. I didn't end up having to do it, but I still couldn't finish anyway. I'll get the returns done by Monday -- even if I have to do them in short little segments. We do have till the 17th this year, don't we?

deb said...

Happy Easter to all. I'm back in Alabama for the weekend visiting relatives. We went to a lovely sunrise service this morning and now I'm cooking and blogging. This army is such a hoot to cook for...we have a vegan, vegetarian that will eat eggs and cheese, 3 that stay away from red meat, and many that believe that Easter can't occur without a ham on the table.

Christin, Hope you finally caught up on your sleep. You do have til midnight Mon. for your taxes, BTW.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Deb. Yeah, I did finally catch up on my sleep. I feel wonderful and we had a beautiful Easter day here -- perfect springtime weather. I got the tax returns done, so I just have to get them to the post office tomorrow to make sure they're postmarked on time.

dan said...

Hi everyone. We returned yesterday from a Easter visit to my son's family in Rochester, NY. I could relate to Christin being sooooo tired....my 2 grandsons ( ages 2 & 5) wore out their Pa Pa Dan. It's fun to be around all that energy and to see pure joy on their faces.

Christin, I'm glad to hear you've gotten some rest and that you met the tax deadline.

Debbie, I laughed when you talked about the eating habits of the "army" you cooked for. We've prepared meals many times for a group with similar tastes, but I don't recall thinking of it as a "hoot".

It was nice tuning out of the news for a few days, but I jumped right back in this morning. I'm like a moth by a flame, I don't have enough sense not to dive right in.

deb said...

"I'm like a moth by a flame, I don't have enough sense not to dive right in." I love the analogy Dan.

I often feel like "to know or not to know...that is the question" and of course really *have* to know.

Sometimes when I talk to people who's greatest concern is voting for the American Idol, that gas went up and what to wear tomorrow; I wonder what I'd be doing if I didn't know. But, then again, I'm the type that has to know.

deb said...

It's a wonderful morning here in NC. Well, it's actually raining along with lightning and thunder..but my Inbox had this article from AlterNet...

Driving Toward Energy Independence

Cheryl V said...

Deb, I'm jealous. I don't remember the last time we had rain. Lately the weather just can't make it this far south. The grass is brown & everyone's allergies are running wild. We really need a good window rattler.

Judy B. said...

Rain... that is what makes the Pacific NorthWest one of the best places to live. It can get tiresome in the winter, but when spring comes, and everything buds out, it is marvelous...
The grass over our septic drain fiels is so lush that we should be growing food crops there...
The vegans and the vegetarians would probably go for some greens, eh Deb?/
I have been watching the weather paterns this spring for the Eastern half of the U>S> Lots of tornadoes, now hot temperatures in the 80' and 90's and eve over 100 in Texas.. How are you all holding up???

Dan... I have beeen much too busy to watch much news lately... that is probably a good thing..All the news that is fit to print (or report)seems to be things I do not want to hear... Some days it feels good to just stick my head in the sand, and play a little Texas Hold'em...

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

A bit of humour

CDC Warning The Center for Disease Control has issued
> a warning about a
>>new virulent strain of Sexually Transmitted Disease.

> The disease is contracted through dangerous and
high-risk behavior.

> The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim and pronounced
"gonna re-elect him."

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been
screwed for the past four years.

>>Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include:

> anti-social personality disorders, delusions of grandeur
with messianic overtones,
>>extreme cognitive dissonance, inability to
> incorporate new information,
>>pronounced xenophobia and paranoia, inability to
> accept responsibility
>>for own actions, cowardice masked by misplaced
> bravado, uncontrolled
>>facial smirking, ignorance of geography and history,
> tendencies towards evangelical theocracy, categorical
all-or-nothing behavior.

Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this
destructive disease originated only a few years ago
from a bush found in Texas.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Christopher,
When I checked your Maui News link today (4/23/06), I saw that Cindy Sheehan is going to be speaking there tonight following the Maui Film Festival’s screening of "Sir! No Sir." Are you planning to go and hear what she has to say? If you do attend, can you let us know what she said?

I'm writing this to you here since this blog is mostly about politics, and I don't want to fill your board with more off-topic stuff.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Should have gone but I didn't. To many other chores to attend to.

dan said...

Got Gas?

dan said...

Rock on!

deb said...

LOL Christopher and Dan! Rock On...I like Mick's style;)

dan said...

1800 Physicists say:
Dear Mr. President

deb said...

Dan, I hope that the letter will gain some media attention.

Top physicists discussing nuclear war is a non issue, but Tom Cruise shopping for baby clothes in Paris..wow...sure glad the media didn't let that one slip by;))

Cheryl V said...

This is one of the things that I love about Science Fiction. It can have a lot to say about our times. The following is quote from "Parable of the Talents" by Octavia Butler, written in the early 90's. I'm sorry to say that I haven't read the book yet.


"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery."

dan said...

Good quote Cheryl. I certainly hope we never elect a leader with those faults...the country could end up in a terrible mess.

deb said...

Awesome quote Cheryl, thanks.

A few quotes that seem appropriate to the illegal immigrant issue:

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. ~Charles de Gaulle


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. ~Albert Einstein

Our true nationality is mankind. ~H. G. Wells


There is a higher form of patriotism than nationalism, and that higher form is not limited by the boundaries of one's country; but by a duty to mankind to safeguard the trust of civilization. ~Oscar S. Strauss

Born in iniquity and conceived in sin, the spirit of nationalism has never ceased to bend human institutions to the service of dissension and distress. ~Thorstein Veblen

deb said...

Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill.
Richard Aldington

It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.
Arthur C. Clarke

In some states militant nationalism has gone to the lengths of dictatorship, the cult of the absolute or totalitarian state and the glorification of war.
Arthur Henderson

The drive toward economic nationalism is only part of the general revival of nationalism.
Arthur Henderson

Corporate nationalism to me is a little bit like what would have happened if Hitler had won. It's scary stuff. It's totalitarianism in a different from, under a different flavour.
Lance Henriksen

I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that's becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism.
Bell Hooks

deb said...

A solution?

Today's Immigration Battle Corporatists vs. Racists (and Labor is Left Behind)

excerpt: But wages would also go up, and even faster than housing or food prices. And CEO salaries, and corporate profits, might moderate back to the levels they were during the "golden age of the American middle class" between the 1940s and Reagan's declaration of war on the middle class in the 1980s.

dan said...

I'm glad you posted that article Debbie. The imigration issue has been a tough one for me and hearing a little history helped clarify it.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

The immigration issue has been a tough one for me also, as I am working with many Central and South American immigrants every day. I have wondered, though, why they never protested in their own countries the way they are doing here. I wouldn't feel comfortable bringing up these issues with anyone at work, so I don't know what they would have faced if they had protested back home.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I found this very surprising:
No. 1 employers of day laborers? Homeowners

Cheryl V said...

This made my morning. I saw all of these bumper stickers on a car.

W circle with slash

A PBS mind in a FOX news world

Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam

And this was in the suburbs, not in the "older" part of town. I was tempted to follow them home & thank them.

deb said...

WOO HOO Cheryl! And that coming from a redder than red part of AL!!! My faith in my fellow citizens is being restored...YAY!

deb said...

The greedy oil companies are still trying to push legislation through Congress to drill in ANWR.

This is a clip from the e I recieved today from Robert Redford:

"We can stop these pro-oil bills, but we've got to reach millions of Americans
with the truth: that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would save consumers only
one cent per gallon at the pump -- and that's 20 years from now!"

To sign the petition go to: Tell your Senators and Representative to oppose oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge!

Richard Yarnell said...

It drives me nuts: almost everyone in favor of alternative fuels, or conservation, even responsible people who should know better, lead with "cutting the cost of gasoline."

The best way to cut energy costs is to use less of it. Short term fuel cost spikes are unduly hard on people who have long commutes, whose businesses depend on mobility.

We need to dwell not on reducing the cost of a gallon of oil, I firmly believe that the demand/supply equations and the entry of very large competitors for the remaining liquid fossil fuels have rendered us unable to influence the price that much. Rather, we need to take some long range decisions and begin lobbying for them.

1) Change the way we do urban planning so that we concentrate population and jobs in close proximity. Not only are commutes reduced but those concentrated population centers become much better places to put urban mass transit systems.

2) Connect these urban centers with efficient long-haul rail.

3) Encourage the use of electronic meetings so that people become confident of the effect that video conference meetings can have. We have models of their effectiveness. We don't need face to face meetings to get things done and will probably become more effective as we learn to use the technology.

4) Immediately increase the CAFE standard. I think 10 years is too far out. We can test the waters by having interim requirements. If 40 mpg is the fleet goal in 2015, then lets require 30 mpg in 2010.

5) And lets give people who cannot take advantage of mass transit because they're tied to where they live due to business - farming comes to mind. But we should be very strict about who qualifies.

6) Let's start building as though we believe we can conserve energy in our homes and businesses. Make it part of the code to require use of passive design and the application of active alternatives, Solar PV and DHW; heat pumps and the like.

7) And finally, let's not only quit talking about lower gas prices, lets raise them by taxing portable liquid fuel and using the proceeds to upgrade the mass transit infrastructure.

ry

deb said...

Al Gore's film on Global Warming is opening in theatres May 24.

An Inconvenient Truth

dan said...

Richard, while I agree with all your points, I think no.7, raising gas prices with taxes, is the most fundametal. Throughout Europe where fuel prices have been kept very high, you see mostly tiny cars, public transportation, less urban sprall and cities loaded with pedestrians. In the U.S., people usually just presume high prices are temporary, so they don't change their habits.

deb said...

You are totally right Richard. Oil IS the problem. Good ideas.

On another note. I have been thinking about the "buying up and burying" of patents. I believe that a patent that benefits mankind should not be able to be taken out of play so that the competition can continue to sell us their inferior product.

I am asking if you and Susan would be interested in writing a bill to that effect. I believe that we could maybe get SKIDS to make a web page (perhaps at Common Cause or other site) where we could get enough signatures needed to get our elected officials attention.

Our group could make sure that their Reps and Senators see this, and also put links to the "signature" page around the web. We could encourage the top blogs to have an article on it, and we could send copies to progressive journalists. We could manage the timing for after the election when Congress will be blue.

I believe that this can be done. What do you think?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

We are trying our best to do our part here. My landlord has been looking at all our options for alternative heating systems. So far, he's leaning toward installing a solar thermal system. He's a mechanical engineer, and he says he has always been very interested in renewable energy technologies. He volunteers with two alternative transportation events -- AltWheels and the Tour de Sol (an annual event which is taking place next week in Saratoga Springs, NY). But for some reason, he doesn't follow politics at all.

He's a pretty cool landlord in general. He has given me the option of reduced rent in exchange for working on some of his properties. I get to make my own hours and he reduces my rent by the equivalent of $25.00 per hour, which is more than I can make doing warehouse work. He says he's pretty sure that makes me an indentured servant, but it's a win/win situation for both of us. With my income, I could never afford an apartment like this in this suburb. And since contractors in this state charge a fortune, he'd have to pay a much higher wage for the same work.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Regarding urban planning: I've often heard it said that our suburbs (here in Massachusetts) are more "business friendly" than our cities. I'm not sure what that is referring to, though. Would it have something to do with the tax structure?

Richard Yarnell said...

Buying patents won't work, even if it is a good idea.

Patents expire in a relatively short time. After that, anyone is free to make use of them.

And then, who would choose what patents are a bad idea?

I can think of a truckload of patents that have a good and a bad side. I can think of some that would be rejected on religious grounds (the pill) that have done a lot to keep people out of the poor house.

You add to the list.

ry

deb said...

Richard, I was particularly thinking of the windmill that your friend invented that is superior to other windmills and the patent has been bought and buried. If this product would produce energy at a more effective rate, then whoever owns the patent should either make and sell the product or someones else (such as yourself) should be able to.

I hear rumors that alternative energy patents are taken out of play when they could be helping solve the energy problem. How long until you could make and sell your friends' windmill? Or even do a prototype that could be given to organizations such as Habitat World?

deb said...

Christin, GeoExchange may be of interest to your landlord. It is available now. The energy use (or lack thereof) is amazing.

Richard Yarnell said...

It turns out that that patent has expired and former ownership is no longer an issue.

I'm debating about whether to try to develop it - money and a site are at issue. I'll probably refine my model some. I have a few extra years of experience to draw on now.

ry

Judy B. said...

I am glad to see all the discussion about energy, urban/surburban planning, gas pricing ect. I submitted several proposals to SSB on these ideas. One idea was to Ration Gas. It wasn't recieved very well during the contest but has been getting some votes on the SSB site lately... Maybe the high price of gas has finally got people thinking about the fact that we are running out of oil and we need to conserve more now as we move towards a more friendly and sustainable technology. Another way to conserve is by driving at 60 mph... My Suv gets 22 mpg at that sped vs about 16 at higher speeds. That is quite a difference. Maybe we should go back to slower speed limits...

Richard Yarnell said...

Try 55mph and find another 5-10% depending on how fast you accelerate or hard you brake.

ry

Richard Yarnell said...

The question on another list was whether anyone had noticed that fewer people seem to be driving.

I don't drive enough to know whether there's less traffic now, but on
my weekly errands trip yesterday, I did notice that people seemed to
be content to drive at lower speeds.

I'm a strict speed limit driver unless I'm in one of those places that doesn't have one. I rarely, even on long trips, go past 60.

On the I-205 through Portland and Clackamas, the posted 55 was largely
ignored a month ago. Yesterday, the only people who passed me were
truckers.

Do the "mileage tips" work? You bet!

1) Slow down: evidently, most cars get maximum mileage at around 55mph.
It goes downhill from there. But wait! There's more!

2) Drive at a constant speed if you can. Except on hills, use cruise
control if you've got it. Keep in mind that most cruise control
systems first priority is to maintain speed. That means it will
accelerate quickly to the set speed. So disengage it if you have to
change speeds frequently and never use it to accelerate to speed.
(See #3)

3) Avoid aggressive driving. The difference between accelerating from
0 to cruising speed in 20 seconds vs 8 seconds can be as much as 40%
in overall mileage.

4) Take all the extra cargo out of our vehicle that you can. Don't
remove your emergency kit, though. And use the smallest car you've
got that will do the job you have to do. My F250 pickup is used very
sparingly; but the 4wd tracker can't haul a ton of hay.

5) Keep your windows up and sunroof closed and use the ventilation
system for cooling. But, if it gets too hot to use just fresh air,
use AC instead of opening the windows. Set it to cool the interior
just enough to be comfortable.

6) If you can avoid driving in the city or in heavy, stop and go,
freeway traffic, do. One strategy that works in Portland is to drive
to one of the Park and Ride lots (free, here) and take light rail or
the bus into town. Idling or moving slowly, eats the fuel it takes to
run the engine without much, if any, travel. The gas/electric hybrids
gain a lot of city driving advantage by just turning off the engine.

(I looked at several sources and found these to have been tested in
various "driving conditions tests." Savings and effects were stated
in many ways. One way to look at it, some of the most important
changes in driving habits resulted in the effective cost of gas
($3/gallon) dropping by over $1 per gallon. Put all of them together
and you're talking about real money.)

And yes, I know that time is money too. Set the radio to your local
NPR station or snag some of the audio books that you can play on your DVD.
---
From "How Things Work:" (notice that velocity is a factor related to
every one of the constants and that when you cube the speed ... need
we say more?)

"The power to push a car down the road varies with the speed the car
is traveling. The power required follows an equation of the following
form:

road load power = av + bv^2 + cv^3

The letter v represents the velocity of the car, and the letters a, b
and c represent three different constants:

* The a component comes mostly from the rolling resistance of the
tires, and friction in the car's components, like drag from the brake
pads, or friction in the wheel bearings.
* The b component also comes from friction in components, and from
the rolling resistance in the tires. But it also comes from the power
used by the various pumps in the car.
* The c component comes mostly from things that affect aerodynamic
drag like the frontal area, drag coefficient and density of the air.

These constants will be different for every car. But the bottom line
is, if you double your speed, this equation says that you will
increase the power required by much more than double."

Judy B. said...

Thanks richard.. i knew there was science behind it that i don't understand, but the logic is there. Drive at 55mph and get better gas milage..plus it is more pleasant.

dan said...

Thanks Richard. I wish your tips could reach every American. My driving habits are much like yours and I try never to be in a hurry. If people would just leave 5 min. earlier for their commute, they'd be more relaxed, save fuel and be far less likely to get in an collision.

deb said...

Richard, Would you mind if I copied and pasted your post on other blogs that I frequent?

Oh, and you've all convinced me...I'll leave earlier and slow down;)

Richard Yarnell said...

By all means: it's a derivative post. Be sure to leave the kudo to "How Things Work."

ry

dan said...

Once again Pres. Bush has been caught lying about the scope of NSA's domestic spying. From the USA Today:

"In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States."

Spying and Lying

Richard Yarnell said...

Go here now and do all five things.

http://www.savetheinternet.com/

Cheryl V said...

Of all the things this administration is doing, keeping the internet open may be the most important. If it goes, we will lose our access to accurate information, and the ability to discuss what we like.

If nothing else, people should worry about losing access to weird news, and their favorite hobbies.
Get the internet gamers going on this. It's one thing that right, left, and upside-down should agree on.

Judy B. said...

"Make The Pie Higher"
by George W. Bush

This is a poem made up entirely of actual quotes from George W. Bush. The quotes have been arranged only for aesthetic purposes, by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson.

MAKE THE PIE HIGHER
by George W. Bush

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.

I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope, where
our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize Society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

Cheryl V said...

Judy,
I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

I used to think he was a fool, but he's finally convinced me that he's evil.

dan said...

"Make The Pie Higher"
by George W. Bush

How about:
"Set The Bar Higher"
by the Amer. Voter

Richard Yarnell said...

Andy at SEIU is at it again:

If you got his note about his appearance on 60 minutes this Sunday, or even if you didn't, consider sending them an early note (today) letting them know that the "contest" was a sham. Details at your discretion.

ry

dan said...

Re: Domestic spying.
To quote Ben Franklin, a real American patriot who truly understood the Constitution, "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

dan said...

For those of you with broadband, a SNL spoof has Al Gore addressing the nation 6 yrs after his election in 2000.

Pres. Gore speaks to the nation

dan said...

Here's a trailer of Al Gore's new movie about global warming:

An Inconvienient Truth

deb said...

Willie Nelson is promoting farm grown biodiesel fuel. I am wondering that if all eighteen wheel diesel trucks started using biodiesel what the environmental impact would be?

This is a short promo film.

deb said...

Interesting article on biogas. excerpt: Compared to India's 2.9 million family-type biogas digesters in 2000, there are probably less than 100 such units in the Philippines.

dan said...

Interesting links...thanks Debbie.

deb said...

Richard, There seems to be quite a bit of national discussion on ethanol as being a big part of the saving grace to our dependence on foreign oil. I have read that it takes 1 1/2 times as much energy to make it as it will produce. So, in my mind I had discounted it as a major player. However, some states seem determined to build processing facilities.

The platforms of all of the politicians that I have been volunteering for include alternative liquid fuels, but which ones should I support?

christin m p in massachusetts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Yarnell said...

A lot of this is opinion, but I think it's supported by "fact."

I made a sweeping statement to one of our Oregon Reps the other day when I told him that producing ethanol required more energy that was extracted. Well, yes and no.

It depends on many factors, not the least of which is the source of organic matter used.

What the Ag industry is so jealously protecting are the corn and soybean subsidies - hence they're pushing the continued use of field corn. If you include all the costs of converting just the seed (fruit) into ethanol in processes almost identical to making hooch in the family still, there appears, with current technology, to be a slight deficit. However, if you recover the surplus heat, if you site plants close to source and market, the equation improves. I haven't been able to learn whether anyone is using alchohol to fuel their process. While that would not address fertilizing the fields or building the plants themselves, it would otherwise make the process self-sustaining until the land gives out - a factor I have yet to find in anyone's calculation. We give oil producers a "depletion allowance" on their oil fields. Should we grant farmers the same allowance? It would discourage, I think, any attempt to preserve the land which will be put under even more pressure than ever. Alcohol production removes organic matter from the land that might otherwise be tilled back into the soil.

I understand that the energy equations are much more favorable for cane, beets, potatoes, and non-edible crops in which the entire plant (cellulose) is converted. But this process removes even more of the organic matter from the soil and the life of our farms has already been reduced drastically by modern, mono-crop practices. The really healthy farms are those that mix crops, animal and plant, putting waste in the form of manure and crop residue back into the soil.

As always, the process is most efficient when it is combined with other applications. Co-generation, waste processing, etc. It is only recently that small dairies are digesting milking barn manure in methane generators akin to those described in India and the PI. When that gas is collected and used to heat the barns, fuel the pastuerizers, heat the farmer's house, all on site, it can be efficient. The manure has to be dealt with anyway so digesting it first and then spreading the remaining slurry onto pasture land as fertilizer saves money all around. The best maintained pasture I've ever seen (about 150 acres) does just what I've described. The farmer even manages to get a cutting of hay off the land in addition to two or three rotations of his herd on this beautifully tended grass. So far as I can tell (even though he's in the precint to which I've been elected "captain," he's a Republican and I've never met him) the only additional expense was sealing the digester so the gas could be collected, and the cost of a compressor and storage tank. Even that last would not be an additional expense if gas of any kind were used to operate milk handling equipment. Instead of manure spreaders, he uses a tank truck to spread the slurry on his pasture and those of his neighbors.

Our problem, I think, is that we look at one possible solution at a time and then approach them believing we need to make them really big. When I proposed the Columbia River solar project, I did so looking at its benefits to river and fish management and the river's ability to provide "back-up." Almost at the same time, I proposed small roof-top solar installations that rely on the established grid for success. Systems instead of stand alone applications.

Back to ethanol: the dollar costs of fuel will go up. Some sources will go up more than others. But we're rapidly nearing the end of the one cocktail satisfies all demands. The distinction between "portable" fuels and those used in place will become more important. Ethanol is a portable fuel. Methane can be, but it may be more efficiently used in place.

ry

dan said...

Richard, you explain things very well. I wish we had your expertise at the Detroit Free Press blog. One thread is called "Farm-fueled cars". If you want to amuse yourself with an amateur debate, we'd love to have your input.

Detroit Free Press Blog

Richard Yarnell said...

Actually, the early part of the debate was well behaved and, I thought, fairly accurate. At your suggestion, I cross-posted my last contribution here. However, you vastly over-estimate my expertise.

ry

dan said...

On behalf of the residents of Michigan, thanks Richard for your contribution to our debate.

Judy B. said...

As an alternative fuel, biodeisel seems to make more sense to me than ethanol.
I too, worry much about the depleation of our farm land, using it for non food reasons..
I believe that the growing of hemp, which has many uses and can grow on marginal land where food crops can't, would make more sense. What to you think richard.?

Richard Yarnell said...

Somewhere I have a photostat of USDA circular #25 (if memory serves) that details how to grow industrial hemp. It is absolutely ridiculous for the Feds to keep that useful plant out of production. And, you're right, it will grow on marginal land but it does require irrigation. Hemp can be used for other products too, so there's security for the farmer who grows it: the fiber makes cloth, paper, and rope that doesn't stretch like nylon does.

Marginal land can be improved. It can also be made into a wasteland if it's not handled well.

No matter what crop we use to make fuel, and I agree it should be part of the future mix - think of it as another solar application - we need to think carefully about how we do it.

As for the choice between bio-diesel and ethanol: each has a use.

ry

dan said...

Re: Memorial Day
From the Veterans for Peace website:

Veterans For Peace National Executive Director Michael McPhearson stated, “It is not enough to simply remember and mourn. If we are able, we must also act. As we remember and mourn, we should use this occasion to motivate ourselves to work towards ending the madness and horror of war. We have a responsibility to educate the public on the human cost of war, the lives shattered, broken and lost. We stand as witnesses to this terrible cost and we say to our fellow citizens that there is a better way. Join us as we walk the path of peace.”

deb said...

This is a link to the current Iraq weather forcast.

This link lists averages for Baghdad.

That is quite a bit of difference.

Air conditioning is practically nonexistant in the country. The damamged infrastructure provides sporatic electricity, thereby making it difficult to even use a fan.

dan said...

Moveon.org has sent out ballots to all it's members to vote for what they think should be the top 3 issues out of a list of 10. I found it very interesting to click on the "comments" next to every issue. Move on members make a stong case for their favorites. I found it refreshing to read the views of some very sincere people (like we have here at Breadcrusts).

Moveon's Top Ten

Cheryl V said...

Something optimistic for today. Ava Lowrey is a 15 year old peace activist from Alabama. Her website is www.peacetakescourage.com.

She's made a number of animations. I've only had a chance to watch a few. "WWJD" is a very simple, yet powerful experience. "The 32%" is her answer to a number of the responses she got for "WWJD". "Is Bush Gay?" is good for a smile.

deb said...

Cheryl, Thank you so much for the link to Ava's site. You are right, it is uplifting to see such a young person take up the fight to educate the nation as to the atrocities of the current administration.

For those of you who have never lived in the deep south this interview with Ava tells of some of the typical situations we are exposed to.

Oh, and it is just as easy to copy and paste the urls...please continue to post link addresses. As you all know Dan and I spent quite a bit of time learning the link thingy...but, I (for one) haven't become a link thingy snob...and I am just about positive that Dan isn't either...so post those great links as addresses and don't even think about the other way;)

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb and Cheryl, does it seem like the majority of people in the Deep South are still in favor of the war -- or is it a very vocal minority? I'm curious about this because I know that ideologies from one region of the U.S. to another can be worlds apart.

When I think of the people who are responsible for invading other countries this way, they seem to be a different species from the rest of us -- not just a different breed, but non-human. It's as if they have electronic parts inside them -- that they and their unquestioning Stepford wives have no souls.

Richard Yarnell said...

The MoveOn 3:

I ended up not voting because I couldn't bring myself to exclude some of the "candidates." I know it was the coward's way out, but how do you exclude education in favor of the Bill of Rights, or Environmental concerns in favor of making competent diplomacy our chief foreign policy mechanism?

The clear difference between SEIU and MoveOn is that MoveOn is equipped to use the results. I've been associated with MoveOn since the Impeachment process that got them started. (I lament the loss of access to its leadership and have tried and tried to get them to change to a more tractable discussion forum format).

Rest assured, MoveOn will find ways to push their agenda. For those of us who are active politically in a party organization: involvement with MoveOn becomes a problem. Current rules require that we make a choice. In my view, MoveOn is more effective than either of the parties. OTOH, MoveOn made it very difficult here in Oregon. Much of their work duplicated what we were trying to do and we could not even attempt to coordinate with them. They blanketed the metro region of Oregon with callers and canvassers to the point that our own ran into resistance since the message was much the same.

Cheryl V said...

The majority of the people in the South are very pro-Bush. You are assumed to be republican. It is very rare to find myself in traffic with no "W" stickers in site.

They also think that Fox news is the most accurate news source around. They honestly think that we are helping the Iraqis.

They're not stupid or unfeeling, they are just not informed. Some can get very defensive if you challenge their reality. The educational system here probably has a lot to do with it too.

They are good people that want to do right. On non-political subjects, they are great to be around. They just tend to confuse patriotism with "my country right or wrong".

A lot of them, like my sister, are also single issue voters. No matter what I say, the response is always, "Well at least they are against abortion."

dan said...

I want to confirm that Deb was correct when she stated that she didn't think I was a "link thingy snob". Copy and paste only takes a few seconds and I love all the great sites you guys post.

I'm watching some basketball tonight. At the half my Detroit Pistons are getting beat by Miami. Rats!

Cheryl, I loved the "peacetakescourage" web site. Ava is a remarkable young lady, and she handled the interview like an old pro. Your post profiling some Southern thinking was very interesting also. I've forgotten what state you're from?

Christin, you're getting to be a very colorful writer:
"When I think of the people who are responsible for invading other countries this way, they seem to be a different species from the rest of us -- not just a different breed, but non-human. It's as if they have electronic parts inside them -- that they and their unquestioning Stepford wives have no souls." Maybe your right, that would explain a lot.

Richard, I agree that the MoveOn vote was very tough. My top 3 were more diplomacy, public funding of elections and renewable energy but a strong case could be made for many others issues.

christin m p in massachusetts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
christin m p in massachusetts said...
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Cheryl V said...

Dan,
I'm kind of a Southern sampler. I was born in Texas, grew up in Louisiana, lived in North Carolina for a few years, and the past couple of years in Alabama. New Orleans is home, but I'm in no rush to move back.

Like Ava said, the know-it-all Yankees don't come over very well here. You have to approach people a little more side-ways & hope to start a little crack.

dan said...

Cheryl, so your also from the south along with Debbie, Marilyn, young Ava, and of coarse Molly Ivans. I dont see any Stepford Wives in that group.

dan said...

Tom Tommorrow's ink blot test

deb said...

Molly on flag burning, gay marriage and God being appointed head of the Republican Party.

deb said...

And another piece on the estate Tax

deb said...

Family values in the North and South;)

dan said...

Repealing the estate tax:
Let's see a $71B tax break divided up amoung 18 families...why that's slightly less than $4,000,000,000.00 per family.

GOP campaign slogan: We take from the needy and give to the greedy!

dan said...

Pandering/Round 2

deb said...

I heard that there hasn't been a case of intentional flag burning for political purposes in over 30 years within the US.

What a serious issue...lol.

What a waste of time for Congress!

deb said...

Recap of the current administration:

"Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." And no administration in U.S. history has spoken louder, or as often, of its honor.

So let us count our spoons."

Who's Counting Bush's Mistakes?

dan said...

That's a very long, time consuming list to read. Why not just list all Bush's accomplisments...it would save lots of time and wouldn't use any ink at all.

dan said...

"...amoung top U.S. policymakers, rational arguments can easily be trumped by ideology, willed ignorance, and self delusion..."
Robert Jenson

Attack Iran?

Cheryl V said...

Dan,
That's a good summary of our history in the Middle East. It makes our activities in Mexico & South America even more scary.

Bush has demonized Hugo Chavez for being a populist. I've heard that Bush's temporary work policy is an attempt to intefere in Mexico's politics. They're afraid a progresive might become president & nationalize the oil fields.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

In that case, Bush will achieve two objectives at once: He'll be able to provide more low wage workers for his friends who run large corporations AND interfere with Mexico's politics. I'm guessing there are a few more hidden benefits rolled into the deal too.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I want what's best for both the immigrants and working U.S. citizens, but why do I get the feeling the only ones who'll make out well are the profiteers?

I'm so sick to death of all the people who are only out to "score" -- it makes me just want to fold up. What's the use?

Judy B. said...

Christin... don't give up!!
You seem to have found out much about yourself and the world in your recent blogging...
Take what you have found and grow with it...
Sometimes all seems hopeless when you look at the large picture... but there is so much tpo be done with the little picture.. Stay active, find that ONE overriding issue that you think needs the most effort and channel your work there...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Judy, if it weren't for all the honest, decent people out there, I wouldn't even have cared if a comet were heading straight for our planet.

The one overriding issue that I think needs solving, is that most of us aren't afforded a reasonable amount of time to spend with our loved ones. Instead, we're just wasting our lives working long, tedious hours to fund things like new sports cars for useless Paris Hilton and her ilk, while we ourselves barely get the essentials. At least the ones like Bill and Melinda Gates seem to have some human decency (besides, Bill Gates is first generation wealth, not inherited). But the majority of them need to be made to work for their own food, shelter, clothing, transportation,... They also need to be made to feel what it's like to have their precious time owned by an employer, something that the rest of us -- both blue and white collar workers -- know all to well.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Presently, the most critical thing I need to do is to get this baby bird I found to a wildlife specialist. I know it's older than a hatchling, because it has down and some feathers -- I'm guessing it's probably a nestling.

Right after I got out of work, just before dusk, I drove around a bird that was sitting in the road. When I looked back in my side view mirror, I saw that it hadn't flown away. I was worried that it might be injured, and would get run over by a car or by one of the Fed-Ex trucks that cuts through there, so I turned around and went back to investigate. It was an uninjured infant bird (you can tell the infants by the downy feathers and by the way they open their beaks up toward the sky for their mothers to drop food in for them). Anyway, it didn't even know how to fly yet, but it hopped over (a little bit wobbly) toward the brush at the side of the road. I got back in my car and proceeded forward intending to find a place to turn back around and be on my way. But then I saw another baby bird in the road several yards away from where the first one had been. It looked just like the first one, and also didn't appear to be injured, but this one didn't hop around. It just kept opening its mouth up to the sky and chirping for food. I could only assume they were orphaned or somehow displaced, so I scooped up the one that didn't hop, to take it home with me. It's at that point I noticed that it didn't even know how to peck for food or defend itself. That made me feel really sad for the one that hopped into the brush. I probably should have gone back to look for it, but it was starting to get dark and I couldn't remember exactly how far back down the road he had been.

I don't know what species this bird is, and since I'm not a wildlife specialist, I don't want to risk taking improper care of it. So far we've made a nest for it with grass that we dehydrated. We found some worms under rocks near the perimeter of our yard -- It's so adorable the way he opens his beak really wide and chirps when he sees a worm in front of him. He usually wants either two or three worms in a row (they're very small ones), and then he's all set for about an hour. Then he starts letting us know he's hungry again...

I've got to call Tufts Veterinary Clinic in the morning, because I don't think I'll be able to find enough worms for hourly feedings. Thank goodness he's sleeping now -- I probably kept him up too late anyway. Plus I think baby birds are supposed to be fed bugs too, and I'm definitely not going to go bug hunting.

When I called Tufts Wildlife Clinic, the after-hours recorded message said that they don't accept healthy baby birds or healthy baby mammals at their clinic, but to keep it in a warm and quiet environment overnight, then call them during their regular operating hours to get the name and number of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. So I'm going to call them later today (Saturday), and hopefully get the bird to someone who knows what they're doing.

Richard Yarnell said...

There are a number of explanations:

Too many nestlings as they grow which means the weakest got pushed out; a parasite laid its egg in the nest and the single, much larger nestling is doing the same thing, pushing its step brothers out of the nest; a heavy wind storm; a sick nestling that the mother kicked out of the nest.

If it doesn't have feathers, just down, the likelihood of being able to save it is almost nil, especially if you don't know what species it is.

Seed eating birds regurgitate seeds to feed their young. So not all youngsters do well on worms. If you're sure it's an insectivore, feed it anything soft bodied. Moths are good but you should remove the wings.

Good luck, but it's not our fault if it doesn't survive.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Rich, I think the bird (I don't know if it's a he, but I named him Nino anyway) is going to be okay. I took him to Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton, Mass. this morning to have him checked out. They said he looks like a fledgling Robin. He doesn't try to fly at all, but right after the first time I fed him, he started to walk around. They told me he's in good health -- uninjured, not dehydrated, and is vocalizing well (necessary for helping his parents locate him, I was told). They said if I knew which tree his nest was in, that the best thing would be to return him close to the base of that tree, so his parents could find him. But both baby birds were located rather far apart from one another, and in the middle of the road. Plus all the trees and brush just blended in together, so it would be tough for me to figure out right where his nest would have been. Besides that, how do I know if his parents are even still alive? I didn't see them anywhere nearby.

The interns at Tufts gave me the names and phone numbers of two wildlife rehabilitation specialists. I left a message for one woman in the town of Wayland, which is not far from me, but I missed her return call. She said she was only on a break, but would try to reach me again when she got home. She also said in the message that, in the interim, I could feed the bird blueberries and/or a mush of water-moistened dry cat food -- beef, chicken, or turkey only. He seems to like anything we feed him, and he seems to be hungry almost every minute of the day today.

I guess I need to use more common sense, as it didn't occur to me at first that I would need to crush each blueberry first. I thought a bird could crush a blueberry with its beak. So I had the scare of my life. I fed him two whole blueberries in a row before I noticed he couldn't make any sounds. I felt his throat with my index finger, and sure enough, the blueberries were stuck in his throat, still whole. Thank goodness I was able to work them back out by gently running my finger upward from underneath the blueberries along the outside of his throat. I was so happy when he chirped again.

The woman I contacted did say in her pre-recorded message that she has openings for a couple of baby birds right now. I thought it was interesting that the message also said she had an opening for an owl and, if I heard correctly, a hawk too. Anyway, hopefully she'll be taking over tonight. He's awfully cute, but I hardly got any sleep today, because I have a circadian rhythm disorder which makes me sleep more soundly during the day than at night, hence the afternoon/evening/night shift work. I kept Nino in his makeshift nest in my bedroom, and early this morning, he was standing by my bed chirping up at me. If I don't get enough sleep, I can't function efficiently. Besides that, since I'm not a licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialist, it's illegal for me to raise him as a pet.

Richard Yarnell said...

Yup, a mother bird's life is hell.

For the robin, insects and worms are fine. If it's already looking to you to be fed, keep it up. If it's walking around, I suspect you could have it eating out of a dish in no time. Then you could release it at your house and have a companion, at least until it's time to migrate.

Homecoming next year would be a treat.

ry

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Well, I only got to be the bird's mother for about 24 hours. I did get him to the wildlife specialist's house safe and sound. She confirmed that the Robin is a he -- I think she said a male's head is darker than a female's. She also confirmed that he's in good health, with nothing broken. She told me that he's more a nestling than a fledgling -- around two weeks old. I'm guessing that, since she has a lot more experience, she probably knows more about wild birds than the young kids interning at Tufts. She said he did have a couple of displaced feathers on one of his wings, but that it was nothing to worry about, as it would only take him about an extra week to molt (I think that was the word) new feathers.

It was a peaceful, scenic drive out to her house in the town of Wayland. The towns I drove through to get there -- Stow and Sudbury -- have a lot of pristine land, including the Assabet River Wildlife Sanctuary and some preserved wetlands.

Before I got there and met the specialist, whose name is Alison, I had some preconceived notions. Because Wayland is one of our wealthiest communities, I had this picture in my head of a woman who lives a life of leisure, and I assumed that this would be the reason she was able to devote so much time to taking care of wildlife. I obviously knew she was a kind, caring woman, but I still found myself wishing that I could have the luxury of so much free time, as I thought she probably had.

It turns out she's a manual laborer just like me, except she has higher level skills. She's a self-employed carpenter (she used to be a vet technician), and she said she works seven days a week. That's why even on a weekend day, she couldn't get back to me again until she got home in the evening. She takes the birds with her in her work truck to the work sites. She said she's a single mom, so she needs to work that much to afford expenses. Self-employed carpenters do make a pretty penny around these parts, but not enough to afford to live in Wayland (at least not on one income, anyway), unless they work almost non-stop like she does. Even if her house is paid off, the property taxes alone would empty out most blue collar workers' bank accounts. She said she wanted to get her son all the way through the school system, before she would sell her house and move to a more affordable part of the country, like so many of our other residents have already done over the past few years. She said he just graduated high school, so now she can make a move. I don't blame her for waiting, as the public school systems in those towns meet the same standards as some of the best private schools.

She gave me some nice things to take home. At their town landfill, they have one of those little take it or leave it stores. She said that although it sometimes bothers her that people in those towns buy so much stuff they don't use, it also benefits her, because they leave a lot of beautiful, never-used (tags still attached), pricy things that she and others who do need them, can take home. She asked me if there's anything in particular that I need, as she gets stuff there for other people she knows too. I told her the kinds of things I could use, so she's going to call me if she comes across any of them.

Some writer should travel around the U.S. just to interview all the people who are broke, and find out all the different, sometimes very creative, ways we find to get by. I would find it interesting to read how other people manage too. And maybe I could get some valuable pointers from them.

Alison (I'm not sure if that's how she spells her name) had two other baby birds there when I arrived. They were both much tinier species than my bird -- one of them looked like it was still a hatchling, as it had only a light fuzzy down on it; the other looked to be close to the same age as mine, judging by the feathers. She said when each bird is ready to be released, she calls the people who brought them in to her, so they can come out to see it. She said my bird would have been ready in about two weeks, but he's going to need around three, in order to give him enough time to molt those new feathers where the displaced ones are. She said she releases them at one of the wildlife sanctuaries that I passed on my way there. I only saw the sign for one of them -- the Assabet River Wildlife Sanctuary, that I mentioned earlier, but that wasn't the one she named, and I can't remember which one she did say. No matter, I'm looking forward to seeing him ready to be released. I think it's going to be very cool.