CleanTechies – A way to live off the land now

It’s Jam Band Friday –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omq6fOeFycQ

I usually post this on CES’ Bulletin Board  for them but it dawned on me when this came in this morning, that many people are already working with the the goodness of the Earth in mind. That includes all of the Earth advocates in groups like Clean Techies and the Nature Conservancy.

http://cleantechjobs.cleantechies.com/a/jobs/find-jobs

Ceylan Thomson sent a message to the members of CleanTechies.

——————–

:} ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJqhScdbo8I )

Subject: View New Job Openings – Win Free Event Tickets!

Dear fellow CleanTechies,

I would like to highlight a few promising events that are coming up. CleanTechies is proud to be official media partner for all these events and offers you the chance to win free tickets. Read on to find more details.

If you are hiring right now, it would be great if you wanted to share your openings with the CleanTechies community. We have one of the most active job boards in the industry, and you can post your jobs for FREE by using discount code “free09”. Post your jobs at: http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechjobs.cleantechies.com

JOBS
Some of the latest openings on CleanTechies:

* Director of Business Development – OPOWER
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/w1l

* Lab Technician – Potter Drilling
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/vj9

* Lead Power Supply Engineer, Energy Harvesting & Storage – Insiders’ Connection
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/s8m

* Alternative Energy Sales & Marketing – Pleasant Valley Energy
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/t5j

* Senior Software Engineer, Scaling Specialist – OPOWER
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/u91

* Sales reps & distributors – EZ Energy Savings
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/cay

Find more jobs at: http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechjobs.cleantechies.com
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Subscribe to our FREE job news feed:
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/subscriptions
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:} ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJqhScdbo8I )

BLOG
Some of the latest CleanTechies blog posts:

* Environmental Change: If I Were the New CEO of Chevron…
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/zzt

* Green Building: Air Leaking, Utility Bills and a Caulk Gun
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/4jc

* Water Filtration: Safe Drinking Water from Thin Air?
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/wq8

* Could America Tax Gasoline More (And Fund Clean Tech)?
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/xk6

* Train in Vain: Epilogue on High-Speed Rail Series
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/j7b

For more insights, visit: http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;blog.cleantechies.com
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Subscribe to our FREE news feed:
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;cleantechies.com/subscriptions
– – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – — – – – – – – –
:} ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQFeuAbLHro )

Warm regards,

Ceylan Thomson
Chief Marketing Officer
http://www.facebook.com/l/846e8;CleanTechies.com

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While we are in a commerce frame of mind, if you are in the mood for a hurricane proof house in Florida try these folks:

http://www.royalconcreteconcepts.com/

I know it is jam band FRIDAY but I wanted to do a couple of long ones:

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvIO11uKjLI )

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No Impact Man Slips A Little But That Is To Be Expected – It’s like losing weight

I know at first this story won’t seem to have much to do with the post that follows, but I wanted to lose weight one day. I did not need to. I am 6’3″ and 180 pounds. (blush on my drivers license it says 165) So I cut back on ye old intake. All I really wanted to do was drop 5 lbs. to 175 because my pants were getting a little tight in the waste (sorry waist). In a couple of weeks I got down to 176 lbs. I got distracted. An environmental issue got hot and I just lost track. When I got back to thinking about how much I weighed, I got on the scales and I weighed 180.5 lbs. In a week even though I cut down some I was at 182! In was then that I became very aware of the theory of “set points” and what happens when you disturb them…

Anyway you must remember the No Impact Guy…I did a post on him last year:

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

Join No Impact Week video discussions here!

Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com, is participating in No Impact week, starting October 18, and he wrote on the Huffington Post:

Instead of edicts – depriving you of your car or forbidding drinking your latte from a paper cup – the No-Impact week brought to you by Colin Beavan and Huff Po is instead the opportunity to try out lifestyle strategies that just may be more fun than you thought.

With the shape of the earth and our complex society, we need lots of people coming up with lots of approaches.

I look at No-Impact week as carbon-cleansing experiment in which I get to see which of my lifestyle choices actually contribute to my happiness.

He’s right of course!  So join in!

Meanwhile, we’ll be having online video conversations every night of the week starting on Sunday at 5 PM EST, so tune in below. Sunday’s chat will be with Wood Turner of Climate’s Count on the topic of consumption and Monday’s (at 9PM EST) will be with Bill McKibben of 350 and Betsy Taylor of 1Sky on the topic of trash.

Hope to see you there.

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He had his own blog and organization that the Huffington Post helped start:

What is No Impact Project?

The No Impact Project is an international, environmental, nonprofit project, founded  in the spring of 2009. It was inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog.

Mission

To empower citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact through lifestyle change, community action, and participation in environmental politics.

The No Impact Project was conceived by Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, following the success of his blog, book, and film, which chronicle his family’s year-long experiment living a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City. Central to his thesis is the notion that deep-seated individual behavior change leads to both cultural change and political engagement. Living low-impact provides a clear entry point into the environmental movement. This thesis is the bedrock of the No Impact Project.

Goals

  • Promote behavioral change
  • Enable the public to experience their own No Impact Experiment
  • Engage people who are not already tree-hugging, bicycle-riding, canvas-bag-toting, eco-warriors

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He Got a documentary out of it

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1280011/

No Impact Man: The Documentary

MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Directors:

Laura Gabbert
Justin Schein

Contact:

View company contact information for No Impact Man: The Documentary on IMDbPro.

Genre:

Documentary

Tagline:

Saving the world, one family at a time.

Plot:

Follow the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact. | add synopsis

NewsDesk:

Oscilloscope Laboratories plans on Making an ‘Impact’
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Then a book.. or was it the book then the documentary?

http://festival.sundance.org/2009/film_events/films/no_impact_man

NO IMPACT MAN

Then Colin turns things upside down. For his next book, he announces he’s becoming No Impact Man, testing whether making zero environmental impact adversely affects happiness. The hitch is he needs his wife, Michelle—an espresso-guzzling, Prada-worshipping Business Week writer—and their toddler to join the experiment.A year without electricity, cars, toilet paper, and nonlocal food isn’t going to be a walk in the park

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Then he got phat:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33357744/ns/us_news-environment/

After year without, family finds middle ground

No TV? Toilet paper? Perceived sacrifices end up being nothing of the sort

Letting go
When the year was over, Conlin and Beavan didn’t want to set any more rules for themselves. After all the restrictions, they wanted to finally let it all go and see what felt right.

Mostly, they stuck to buying their food at the farmer’s market. But if they were short on groceries after a late night at work, they would stop at the supermarket — despite the packaging on the food on the shelves, despite the distance it had traveled.

While the amount of garbage they produced increased from a single quart every four days to five gallons, this was a far cry from the 90 gallons they produced before the experiment. Their refrigerator is back on, but their freezer is gone.

They started buying olive oil and some seasonings, even though they’re not made nearby. They began saying yes when friends invited them out to dinner. And they started using toilet paper again — but now it was made from recycled paper.

Neither of them wanted to bring back their giant, 46-inch TV. But once a week or so, if they’re in the mood, they’ll watch a drama on a laptop.

It was an obvious choice to keep the rickshaw bikes they’d come to love — three-wheelers with space for groceries and a seat for Isabella. But now, when it rains, they sometimes take the subway.

The air conditioners once seemed like a necessity. But take them away, and the heat and the lack of electronic entertainment drove the family outside, where they spent most evenings at the fountain at Washington Square Park. They cooled off in the mist of the fountain, looked around at the virtual circus of performers who have made the public plaza their stage. They talked with neighbors.

No longer hunkered down in their family’s lonely bubble, they were out in the city. They loved

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So there are HUGE journalist temptations here. MSNBC take the “regaining there balance” approach like they were some extremists and now they have come more to the middle of the road. There are other approaches…like to “laugh and say they were destined to fail”. Or like they do with Ed Begley jr. and twitter like his wife, “isn’t he just the oddest sort”

But fresh off my bout with weight loss I say “way to go” on a tough test, and congratulations on not rebounding too far.

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The Northwest Passage Is Open For Business – How come the world is not outraged

 It’s Jam Band Friday ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ-aJ1bWGLw  )

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/53899,news,the-northeast-passage-could-enable-russia-to-blackmail-europe

Two German cargo ships navigate the Northeast Passage

 

Climate change could open up the Northeast Passage and link European consumers to booming Asian markets. It could also give Russia the means to blackmail the West

By Roger Howard

FIRST POSTED SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

If climate change can have a silver lining, then some optimists might argue that it probably lies in the Northeast Passage. Last week two German cargo ships sailed part of its course, making their way along Russia’s Arctic coast from South Korea to Siberia, passing through the Bering Strait, with an ease that would have been unthinkable before local sea ice began to feel the heat of global warming.

Already speculation is rife that this heralds the advent of a major new shipping route, running through waters that are expected to eventually become ice-free for much of the year round. This route, it is said, will link Europe with booming Asian markets, slashing distances and journey times through the Suez and Panama Canals by as much as a third. Shippers could then pass their savings onto customers, who would benefit from lower prices in the high street.

Russia could block ships that belong to states that don’t toe the Moscow lineThe political price of an active Northeast Passage, however, may not be quite so attractive. For what no one has noticed is that it would effectively become a maritime, commercial pipeline – and the story of how the Kremlin views and uses its pipelines elsewhere is by now a highly familiar one.

Moscow would benefit from this commercial pipeline in the Arctic Ocean in two distinct ways. On the one hand it could potentially charge exorbitant transit revenues – thinly disguised as ‘icebreaker fees’, even when such escort is unnecessary – on ships that move through what it regards as its own ‘national waters’. Earlier this year, Russia was levying an extortionate $16 fee on every ton of oil cargo, compared with the meagre $1 that Finland charged Baltic shipping.

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( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMXqn42AykM  )

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK3ehJ22qOU&feature=related  )

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DWcV9b5K-o )

I remember when they were together…not the continents… Theresa and Anders

Do Not Mess With Powerlines – I have not done enough about safety

I do not care whether it is gasoline, oil, coal, natural gas, or electricity. Power can be dangerous and our motto is it’s Jam Band Friday ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIY45rqzmNQ ).

NO – Safety First!

www.plu.edu/~safety/safety-training/home.html

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq2vl99iIEc&feature=related )

There is a show that  is put on at the Illinois State Fair by the folks at Safe Electricity Org

sfair3.jpg

http://www.safeelectricity.org/

It amazes me after living in 2 hurrican prone areas…Tampa and New Orleans… that anyone would mess around with downed powerlines or purposely come int0 contact with high power electrical equipment. But they do every year.

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( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab6lr2b66Ig )

live.psu.edu/album/1170

Do not drive over, touch or otherwise disturb downed powerline. They will fry your limbs off your body.

:}

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1IyJOc-l4s )

Shawn Miller lost an arm when he touched a downed line:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q-mLyqXndA

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( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuwxZSIS__4 )
Shawn’s case was a lack of education and thoughtlessness. Some people do it on purpose.

http://205.243.100.155/frames/longarc.htm

long spark!

 

The cylindrical object on the left houses a multi-million volt (MV) high voltage impulse generator (called a Marx Generator) at the Siberian Power Research Institute  (SIBNIIE) high voltage testing facility in Novosibirsk, Siberia. The rate of rise of the voltage pulse from the Marx Generator was adjusted to maximize the “efficiency” of long spark propagation. Although first reports of huge 100+ meter sparks were initially met with skepticism by scientists and high voltage engineers, a number of power engineers and scientists have subsequently witnessed similar events at this facility. Sometimes these errant bolts hit the top of street lamps in the adjacent parking lot!  At this facility, sparks up to 200 meters long have been created using a (comparatively low) potential of 5.2 MV.  In order to gain a feel for scale in the above photo, the cylindrical building is 28 meters (~92 feet) high, and it houses a 28-stage Marx generator that’s capable of generating positive or negative output pulses of up to 7 million volts.

In late 2005, a member of the Tesla Coil Mailing List (
Dmitry, a Tesla Coiling enthusiast who lives near the facility) was able to schedule a visit with members of their staff. Dmitry subsequently shared details about this facility in a series of email messages to the other members on the list, and the excellent pictures he took can be seen on our mirror of Terry Fritz’s old Hot-Streamer web site :}

They are insane.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xXIeD8HGoU )

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Energy and the Illinois State Fair – Dancing inbetween the rain drops

Cathy

sfair.jpg

and I went to  the Illinois State Fair

sfair1.jpg

To see the Butter Cow.

sfair2.jpg

This year’s fair was really weird weather wise. It rained when Cathy and I normally go on Monday and Tuesday – Senior’s Day and Agriculture Day respectively. So by the time we made it on Friday most everything was gone. Embarrassingly we did not make it to Conservation World where all the cool kids and our friends hang out. We did make it to the Expo Building where home efficiency seemed to be the order of the day:

sfair4.jpg

We met this nice man from Energy Doctor. A business that offers to tighten your envelop and use other measures as a package to reduce your energy consumption. They started in Iowa but have 5 offices now. Please visit them at:

http://www.energydoctorinc.com/index.html

Then we saw the purdy little girl at the Anderson Windows booth:

sfair8.jpg

http://www.andersenwindows.com/

And we saw the people from Peoria Siding:

sfair5.jpg

http://www.peoriasiding.com/pages/siding.php

And  the Four Seasons solar space:

sfair6.jpg

http://www.fourseasons.com/?source=gaw09cxbrS13&kw=4+seasons&KW_ID=P161761933&creative=2879208154&type=search&keyword=4%20seasons&adid=2879208154&placement=&gclid=CMWmhMOxv5wCFQ7xDAodjGQnnw

OH I mean this Four Seasons:

http://www.fourseasonssunrooms.com/

Having exhausted ourselves we went across the street to Mehan’s food stand and got a corn dog and a lemon shake up. They are celebrating 75 years at the Illinois State Fair…Congratulations

sfair7.jpg

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Barack Obama And Stupid – The situation just got out of hand

The public DEMANDS that the police investigate just about everything. The police DEMAND respect. College Professors always DEMAND respect. There was an awful lot of DEMANDING going on in the situation. The thing is I can sympathize with everyone involved. See before there was driving while BLACK, there was driving while HIPPIE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPd4FmlpVxI

Anytime the police saw long hair, they presumed that there was drugs involved. My girlfriend had a nickname for me. She called me PC and it did not stand for politically correct. It stood for Probable Cause.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGhcECnWRGM

At that time I had a brother who rode around with me a lot. He did not like the police – he called them PIGS. So when I got pulled over and he was along he would start making PIG noises.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU8LBnOJNxk

So I wanted to “kill” them both because the situation was so stupid. I believe that is what Obama meant but did not say, that the situation was STUPID not the people involved because see when you call people stupid they go getting all there back up and stuff. So in that spirit the next several posts will look at things in the environment and energy world that I think are stupid. A list follows:

The phrase Global Warming

Burning things

Cars

Windows

Apples in Illinois in the Winter

Illegal drugs

My mother

Eating meat

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Since I owe Dan Piraro for letting me post his cartoons and I share his concerns, Let us start with the last one first. If we are going to admit that Burning Things is Stupid (more on that later) then we have to admit that there are only several sources of legitimate power. These are geothermal, tidal, wind and solar. Just to keep things simple while this is a lot of power it is still finite. ALL food is solar power. No Sun no food. So when we become rational and we may be in the process of doing that, would we eat meat? The answer is probably not. Here is Dan and the Washington Post’s take on it:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prius vs. Prime Rib

If you are a person concerned with what you can do to help mitigate climate change, read this short article from the Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/28/AR2009072800390.html:}

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The Washington Post opines:

Gut Check

The Meat of the Problem

By Ezra Klein

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The debate over climate change has reached a rarefied level of policy abstraction in recent months. Carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Upstream or downstream? Should we auction permits? Head-scratching is, at this point, permitted. But at base, these policies aim to do a simple thing, in a simple way: persuade us to undertake fewer activities that are bad for the atmosphere by making those activities more expensive. Driving an SUV would become pricier. So would heating a giant house with coal and buying electricity from an inefficient power plant. But there’s one activity that’s not on the list and should be: eating a hamburger.

If it’s any consolation, I didn’t like writing that sentence any more than you liked reading it. But the evidence is strong. It’s not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming; it’s that it is a huge contributor. Larger, by a significant margin, than the global transportation sector.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat’s contribution to climate change is intuitive. It’s more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people. Some of the contribution is gross. “Manure lagoons,” for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas — interestingly, it’s mainly burps, not farts — is a real player.

But the result isn’t funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius (PDF). A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. That prompted Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to recommend that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere. The response was quick and vicious. “How convenient for him,” was the inexplicable reply from a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “He’s a vegetarian.”

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Did you get the half hearted humor – gut check?

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Have Humans Destroyed The Oceans – If we have what will be the cost

Dan Piraro’s cartoons are relentlessly funny, but honestly his blog is even funnier. I forgot to put this up yesterday but:

http://bizarrocomic.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eating Ourselves

(To make the cartoon big, click on the seagull’s left knee)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Geriatric Mouse Voice.

Judging by the emails I got last week, this cartoon was very popular with environmentally conscious readers. Destruction of ocean life is far worse than most people realize because it is hidden under the surface. It’s hard to get good photos of all that is missing from the sea. Most experts estimate that 90% of all large ocean life has been decimated in the past 100 years. Red Lobster All-You-Can-Eat night, anyone?

And judging by some emails I’ve gotten recently, there are a number of readers who think I hate fat people and think they are fair game for ridicule. My point is not that fat people are “funny” or “bad,” but that human selfishness is ruining the planet, with Americans firmly in the lead. I know it is hard to resist food, I’ve battled it myself, we all have. And we’re not the only species prone to this, we’ve all seen what happens to dogs when too much food is made available. For millions of years, humans couldn’t be certain when their next meal would be, so our genes evolved to tell us to eat all that is available, especially the fatty stuff.

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If you want to see more of Dan just Google him. He is literally the first 10 entries. But this is my favorite Dan thingy…his live show:

http://fora.tv/2008/12/05/Dan_Piraro_Bizarro_Buccaneers

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Dan Piraro – A very funny man and an environmentalist with impeccable credentials

I do not run Dan’s stuff because he is funny, or relevant…I post his stuff cause he lets me..

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gladness

This special Prodigal Son Edition of Bizarro is brought to

you by Omnipotent Shipping.
For now, here is a tasty little morsel of cartooning that I hope you enjoy. This isn’t one of my preachy environmental cartoons, it’s just an amusing visual about what what will happen to all those tiny islands we cartoonists draw in those stranded-on-a-desert-island cartoons we are so fond of, if indeed the sea level rises.

This is a scientifically researched and accurate representation of such a scenario; tiny islands would disappear beneath the surface of the sea. Trees would pierce the surface in many instances, appearing to float. Caption balloons, being attached to their orator by the laws of graphics, would be at least partially obscured.

?

:}
The funniest comment on this particular post –

http://bizarrocomic.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-07-03T09%3A39%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7

was “wouldn’t the balloon float”. Some people just can’t suspend belief:

http://www.jir.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRhqh6ZXokc

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Dan Piraro, Jason Love And Matthew Difee Go Live – What do 3 pretty funny guys have to do with energy

Or even the environment or residential energy conservation? Well Actually nothing but Dan lets me post a cartoon of his periodically here when I am completely out of ideas or when he is particularly brilliant which ever comes first. So when he asked his blog readers to reach out to media moguls and poobas to see if they might air a version of it like on Showtime or HBO I could not resist but first the toon:

http://bizarrocomic.blogspot.com/

bz-earthday-04-22-09wb.jpg

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Now the Pitch:

COMEDY SHOW!!!

(Click the image for largerer viewage.)

A RARE COMEDY EVENT COMING TO YOUR TOWN!!!
(If your town is New York City.)

I’m doing one of my increasingly rare comedy shows in NYC for an ENTIRE WEEK next month and I can’t bear the thought of going on unless you’re going to be there. Please don’t break my already fragile heart by saying, “I can’t afford to fly all the way to New York From Seattle,” or “I wish I could be there but I’m in prison until 2019.” What is more important to you? Your precious money or my flimsy ego? (Before you answer that, consider that I will give you an autograph when you come to the show, which you can then sell on eBay to offset $3-$4 of your airfare and hotel costs.)

Seriously, this is a big show for me. I do a talk or a short set now and then, most often on the West Coast, but I’m doing fewer of these long-form comedy shows all the time and this is a full week of performances off-Broadway in NYC, so there are a lot of seats to fill. Please come. If you can’t come, send someone you know in NYC to the show and tell them to tell me you said “hi.”

After the show, you’ll be able to meet me, Jason, and Matthew as we hang out in the lobby selling books, signing breasts, and pooping out witty ripostes like a member of the Algonquin Round Table. If you’re lucky, you might even meet CHNW!

Ticket info here. Hope to see you there!

:}

So if you are the Chief Executive Officer of a cable channel like say:

Matt Blank

at Showtime

or

Bill Nelson

at HBO

or

Doug Herzog

at Comedy Central

or even

John Odoner

at JTV

Give these poor guys a break and send someone to their show. Thanks again Dan!
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Peak Oil I Love YOU…Leanan does an amazing job

It is rare well at least medium rare that I give credit where credit is due but the Peak Oil folks and Leanan in particular deserve so much credit. Day in and Day out..NO MATTER what the price of oil or gasoline…they still believe that we are running out of the stuff. That is great because WE ARE:

http://www.peakoil.com/

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From the paranoid:

http://www.peakoil.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=47647

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0415/p13s01-wmgn.html

Economic slump provides

tinder for global conflicts

With more people pushed into poverty,

the probability of armed rebellions increases around the world.

The new director of the National Intelligence Agency caused something of a stir last month when he warned Congress: “The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications.”

On that theme, Hampshire College professor Michael Klare sees the world economic meltdown as already prompting “economic brush fires” around the world and worries whether these could prove “too virulent to contain.”

It seems as if the lyrics “trouble, trouble, trouble” from Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” have become too real in today’s world.

Last November Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank Group, noted that the global financial crisis would hit hardest the “poorest and most vulnerable” in the developing world. At that time, Mr. Zoellick calculated another 100 million people around the world had been driven into poverty as a result of soaring food and oil prices. These prices have eased. Nonetheless, hundreds of millions in poor nations must try to balance household budgets on incomes of $2 a day or less.

Now he’s forecasting the world economy will shrink by 1 to 2 percent this year, with difficulties possibly extending into next year. That’s much worse than the bank group’s forecast last year. It will be the first time world output has actually declined since World War II. And each 1 percent decline

in developing-country growth rates pushes an additional 20 million people into poverty, Zoellick reckons.

“The political ramifications [of rising poverty] will be great … though hard to predict,” says John Sewell, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington. Before the election last fall, he assembled a group of experts who urged the incoming president to streamline the nation’s development tools. These are now spread among 12 government departments, 25 government agencies, and almost 60 government offices. “No one is in charge,” the group held.

Powerful droughts around the world could cause food shortages, reversing a dramatic drop in global poverty that the economic crisis recently halted, worries Mr. Klare, an expert on peace and world security.

In Africa and in East Asia, population growth also adds to economic pressures.

As for brush fires, the driest tinder lies in eastern European states such as Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria, he says. There, the people in fragile democracies had the notion that rising prosperity in the 1990s and up to 2006 would continue forever. Now the money from the West has dried up and gone home, leading to an economic bust.

“That is what is driving them to rage,” says Klare. “The promises have been taken away.”

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To the paradoxical:

 http://www.peakoil.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=47644

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30240000/

Renewable energy’s environmental paradox

Wind and solar projects may carry costs for wildlife

Image: Sandhill cranes

Sandy Seth, via Friends of the Bosque del Apache via AP

Sandhill Cranes fly in formation into the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, N.M., last year. Environmentalists have raised concerns that the birds’ habitats could be affected by a planned sun and wind power transmission line.

WASHINGTON – The SunZia transmission line that would link sun and wind power from central New Mexico with cities in Arizona is just the sort of energy project an environmentalist could love — or hate. And it is just the sort of line the Interior Department has been tasked with promoting — or guarding against.

If built, the 460-mile line would carry about 3,000 megawatts of power, enough to avoid the need for a handful of coal-fired plants and to help utilities meet mandated targets for use of renewable fuel. “We have to connect the sun of the deserts and the winds of the plains to places where people live,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said recently.

But the line would also cross grasslands, skirt two national wildlife refuges and traverse the Rio Grande, all habitat areas rich in wildlife. The graceful sandhill crane, for example, makes its winter home in the wetlands of New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, right next to the path of the proposed power line. And much of the area falls under the protection of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

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To the pusillanimously positive:

http://www.peakoil.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=47643

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/04/action-plan-for-50-how-solar-thermal-can-supply-europes-energy

April 15, 2009

Action Plan for 50%:

How Solar Thermal Can Supply Europe’s Energy

The solar thermal sector’s strategy to reach a 50% contribution

to Europe’s space and water heating requirements by 2050.

by David Appleyard, Associate Editor

London, UK [Renewable Energy World Magazine]

The research efforts and infrastructure needed to supply 50% of the energy for space and water heating and cooling across Europe using solar thermal energy has been set out under the aegis of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP). Published in late December 2008, more than 100 experts developed the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), which includes a deployment roadmap showing the non-technological framework conditions that will enable this ambitious goal to be reached by 2050.

A strategy for achieving a vision of widespread low-temperature solar thermal installations was first explored by ESTTP in 2006, but since then the SRA has identified key areas for rapid growth. These focus points include

the development of active solar buildings, active solar renovation, solar heat for industrial processes and solar heat for district heating and cooling. Meanwhile, amongst the main research challenges is the development of compact long-term efficient heat storage technology. Once available, they would make it possible to store heat from the summer for use in winter in a cost-effective way.

The ESTTP’s main objective is to create the right conditions in order to fully exploit solar thermal’s potential for heating and cooling in Europe and worldwide.

As a first step for the development of the deployment roadmap and of the Strategic Research Agenda, ESTTP developed a vision for solar thermal in 2030. Its key elements are to establish the Active Solar Building – covering 100% of their heating and cooling demand with solar energy – as a standard for new buildings by 2030; establish the Active Solar Renovation as a standard for the refurbishment of existing buildings by 2030 (Active Solar renovated buildings cover at least 50% of their heating and cooling demand with solar thermal energy); supply a substantial share of the industrial process heat demand up to 250°C, including heating and cooling, desalination and water treatment; and achieve broad use of solar energy in district heating and cooling.

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They got it covered. My hat’s off to you.

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