Guardian.UK: Royal Mail to phase out post bikes completely in 2014.
“Royal Mail says the removal of bikes reflects the changing nature of mail: thanks in part to our growing love of online shopping; with more packages and fewer letters modern mailbags are bulkier and heavier. Royal Mail will now mostly deliver on foot using trolleys which, it says, are more efficient than bicycles.” My italics. Responding to the realities on the ground. I expect a bike/trailer combo would be too dangerous/unwieldy.
AZStarNet: Feds stymied probe into fire deaths.
“The probe determined state fire officials put protection of property ahead of firefighter safety, even though they knew the area couldn’t be defended. The report found commanders lacked key personnel at critical times, including officers focused only on safety, and that they knew a thunderstorm was brewing that likely would push the fire toward crews.” As everyone suspected.
Inspirationist: Wattman 200-Horsepower Electric Motorcycle by Voxan.
Lordy, look at that rake angle. Electric weighs a ton, too. Pretty, but this sure ain’t no buzz-around-the-city bike. Designed for a highway. But with 100+ mile range, where are you going to go?
Guardian.UK: UN’s 2C target will fail to avoid a climate disaster, scientists warn.
Youtube: NMELC/NM Copper Rule Video.
Hey, I know a lot o’ these people. Some backstory here, courtesy of the SF New Mexican. Debate the ‘logic’ of allowing groundwater pollution in a state that is still experiencing record-setting drought … if you can. Lined pits should be the law, at the very least. As we’ve seen with industries in the past, it’s too easy to set up a shell corporation and then bankrupt it before the expensive cleanup is required, dumping it on taxpayers. It’s a very common ‘rerun’ we’ve lived through many times before. It would be nice if our politicians would get on our side, for once. At this rate, ‘slippery slope’ is very likely. Donate if you can. NMELC does a fantastic job opposing these kinds of things, but they need $$ to do so.
Appropriate Disclosure: NMELC is a client of mine; however I get no compensation for agreeing with their actions. Only for occasional codesmithing.
Yahoo News: US spewing 50% more methane than EPA says.
“While burps and flatulence are part of the methane emission from cattle, University of California Santa Barbara professor Ira Leifer said a bigger factor is manure. ‘If you shovel it into an artificial lagoon you are creating the perfect production for methane, but it cuts down on the smell and your neighbors complain less.’” Many times I’ve related my experiences of driving through the Lubbock area of Texas, the nose-assault of the feedlots. Your next hamburger, standing on 12’ high mounds of biodegrading manure.
EDN: That 60W-equivalent LED - What you don’t know, and what no one will tell you.
They need airspace around the sockets to keep the innards cool and within spec. Didn’t know that.
The Nation: Fracking Industry Underwrites Friendly Promotion.
SF New Mexican: More oil and gas drillers turn to water recycling.
Ironic, of course, after all the screaming over ‘closed loop’ systems that would ‘put the costs of drilling over the top.’
PS Mag: We’re Buying Fewer Cars, Driving Fewer Miles … and Buying Less Gas.
I wonder about online shopping. I tend to just order things now, after contemplating the cost of gas to and from some particular stores. But I also live in a rural/suburban area … long distances (comparatively) to shops.
RealClimate: Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half.
You know, I wonder. If some other cause - say, the Sun getting hotter - were to blame, would Mankind be any more motivated to change their polluting habits?
Mashable: Google Invests $80 Million to Open 6 Solar Energy Plants.
Rather than having hundreds of private solar farms, I’d prefer to see utilities walk away from coal and oil in a bigger way. Hundreds of square miles of New Mexico available for such things, with little environmental impact (would a cow or a cactus react badly to some welcome shade?).
Collectors Weekly: Rise of the Machines - Tractors and the End of Rural America.
Just about everything you want to know about farm tractors. In one article.
In These Times: Kaua’i Says No to GMOs.
Misleading title. Disclosure, not ‘no.’ And it’s a special case - “GM behemoths” (their terminology) use the island for year-round tests, and have clearance from the EPA for special pesticide use. If pesticides are truly dusting people’s homes, then this needs more action than just disclosure. I expect sprawl is happening, homes are encroaching on formerly distant fields.
PS Mag: The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century.
“It’s difficult to look at the Soviet story and see anything other than a remarkable anomaly, one that seems wildly unlikely to occur again. But in a way, this is the point: If the same international regime that exists today allowed 180,000 whales to vanish without a trace, how can anyone reasonably expect it to notice two or three thousand missing whales tomorrow?”
Bloomberg/Businessweek: The First Car You Can Build Yourself … in an Hour.
Fun. I’m still waiting for modular household appliances. No reason at all why, for instance, a dryer couldn’t be made from modular components, easily replaceable/recyclable.
Later: Must-have add-on headlight eyelashes.
Guardian.UK: Aerial view of gas wells in Texas.
East of Waco. Fracking hell.
SciAm: Cosmic Rays Not Causing Climate Change.
“Their findings indicated that, overall, the contribution of changing solar activity, either directly or through cosmic rays, was even less and cannot have contributed more than 10 percent to global warming in the 20th century.” Given the recent record-setting solar minimum, I would have indeed been surprised if they’d found otherwise.
SF New Mexican: Governor’s bipartisan portrayal riles some state Democrats.
Bwah-hah-hah-hah. “Works well with Democrats.” Great joke. It was a joke, right? Look at any environmental issue in NM, for examples.
The Coolist: 2014 Zero SR Electric Motorcycle.
“In common conditions, riders can expect a range of about 130 miles, but city-only drivers can experience up to 170 miles per charge.” A local joint has these in stock, and despite ‘top speed’ and ‘acceleration’ … to me it’s all about range. And these have enough range to do what I need to do in an average day. A definite consideration, despite the slightly steep price.
Guardian.UK: Grand Canyon uranium mine placed on hold.
“A uranium-mining company that was due to open its mine on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon is suspending work, citing falling uranium prices and the expense of ongoing litigation.” Whew. Reprieved, for a bit.
Guardian.UK: Rainwater harvesting—dismissed by Texas voters but embraced by business.
“Rainwater collection played a key role in getting several Australian cities through their recent ‘millennium drought’. But the practice routinely gets overlooked in the United States, as underlined by the Texas plan.”
SciAm: Researchers Seek Scapegoat for Lyme Disease’s Startling Prevalence.
Looks like you East Coasters now have reason to dislike mice as much as we Westerners do. Ours have hantavirus, yours have Lyme. Ours is quite a bit more deadly, however, so we take it a deal more seriously.
Guardian.UK: North Dakota recorded 300 oil spills in two years without notifying the public.
“What you don’t know, nobody is going to tell you.” Until it’s too late. Outrageous.
New Mexico Mercury: KOAT picks up our Glyphosate story.
A couple of local news agencies quoting the infamous rat study. There are serious, serious doubts about this study … anyone quoting it at this date should be excluded from your RSS reading unless they point out the controversiality of the study. It’s not just pro-GMO folks who proverbially ‘smell a rat’ over this bit of research, but sustainable agriculture scientists as well.