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Total number of comments: 18 (since 2013-11-28 16:32:37)

gmoke

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  • NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies that had no Effect
    • Yes, march. Yes, lobby your representatives every chance you get. But yes, do something, anything to advance the issue every day. That can be changing lightbulbs, weatherstripping a window or door, writing a letter to the editor (musician Warren Senders has been writing a LtE every day for about the last three years). Daily activity towards a climate goal is a necessity, especially for a strategy of non-violence. We need a solar swadeshi, an analogue to the spinning wheel that Gandhi turned an hour each day to illustrate how swadeshi, local production, can deepen political commitment and help build a non-violent economy, his ultimate goal (and one that we've lost sight of).

  • Highway Patrol Officer aims Knockout Punches at Woman along Freeway
    • I took a martial arts class from a guy named Tony Vasquez, a retired police officer and hand to hand combat trainer, back in the Fall. He told me that the only training police get in unarmed compliance happens at the academy. The only continuing training that happens is the annual firearms review. There is no money, no time, and no interest in training police in the techniques of unarmed compliance let alone reasoned persuasion. The police don't know any better and the police chiefs are more interested in SWAT teams and armored vehicles than they are in making sure their officers know how to defuse dangerous situations with minimal force and fuss.

      This is part and parcel of the militarization of police forces in the USA and our continuing decline into an authoritarian state.

  • Solar Power for the Global Masses: The Next Revolution
    • I hope India has studied closely the work of such companies as Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh and the way they've provided, with great success, solar power and microgrids to the poorest people in that country.

      As we transition to renewable power, the economics of daily solar income should change the way we think about money and value. To my thinking, solar energy is an apt manifestation of Gandhi's foundation for political and economic non-violence, swadeshi or local production.

      Another example we all should be studying is Denmark which now gets about a third of its electricity from renewables, primarily wind, and is actively working toward 100% renewable energy by 2050.

  • Top 5 Reasons Solar Energy will Save the World
    • Grameen Shakti (Village Energy) of Bangladesh is on track to provide solar energy, biogas, and cleaner cookstoves to over 5 million households in Bangladesh by 2015. My notes on a book about their history and process are at link to hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com

      Architecture 2030 is working to make all new buildings carbon zero by that year, and the progress is encouraging. There are a number of net zero energy and even net positive energy buildings all around the world, some of them skyscrapers. Cambridge, MA is debating a net zero energy zoning requirement for new, large buildings and CA is planning on a net zero code by 2020 for all new buildings.

      The future is going to be highly efficient and renewably powered. If all buildings approach net zero energy, we will eliminate about a third of our energy load. We know how to do it, safely. The question is do we have the will and the willingness to spend the money to do so.

  • Bringing medieval Persian verse to the West: Dick Davis Interview
    • Not a Persian poet but I can't find a translation into English of the Arabic poet Almutanabbi, whom I learned about from Nassem Nicholas Taleb. Taleb says he's one of the best in that language which has also been called the best language for poetry.

  • Tagore's "The New Year" (Poem of the Day)
  • Climate Denialists Spending Billions in untraceable Dark Money to fool the Public
    • Dr Brulle is NOT suggesting that nearly $1 billion a year is spent on climate denial: "You may have seen the Guardian article on my paper: I have written to the newspaper complaining about this headline. I believe it is misleading. I have been very clear all along that my research addresses the total funding that these organizations have, not what they spent on climate activities. There is a quote in my paper that speaks directly to this: 'Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.' It is fair to say these organizations had a billion dollars at their disposal. But they do a lot of other things besides climate change activities, and so saying that they spent $1 Billion on climate change issues is just not true. I did not attempt to analyze the internal spending of these organizations, and so I can say nothing about the total amount spent on climate change activities. I hope that this clarifies the findings of my research. Best Bob Brulle"
      source link to twitlonger.com

  • Everything you wanted to Know About NSA Surveillance *but were afraid to ask (Stray)
    • Jay Leno interviewing Shia LeBoeuf about his new movie, "Eagle Eye" on the Tonight Show 9/17/08:

      Shia LeBoeuf: I remember we had an FBI consultant on the picture telling me that they can use your ADT security box microphone to get your stuff that is going on in your house. Or OnStar, they can shut your car down. And he told me that one in five phone calls that you make are recorded and logged and I laughed at him. And then he played back a phone conversation I had two years prior to joining the picture, the FBI consultant...

      Leno: They had a record of you from..

      Shia: Two years prior to me joining the picture...

      Leno: That seems creepy.

      Shia: Extremely creepy.

      link to dailykos.com

      The FBI consultant on the picture, Thomas Knowles, denies this happened.

      However, here's another part of the surveillance state story from historian Rick Pearlstein (link to thenation.com):

      "We have been here before.

      "In the fall of 1975, when a Senate select committee chaired by Frank Church and a House committee chaired by Otis Pike were investigating abuses of power by the CIA and FBI, Congresswoman Bella Abzug, the loaded pistol from New York (she had introduced a resolution to impeach Richard Nixon on her first day in office in 1971) dared turned her own House Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights to a new subject: the National Security Agency, and two twin government surveillance projects she had learned about codenamed “SHAMROCK” and “MINARET.” They had monitored both the phone calls and telegrams of American citizens for decades.

      "At the time, even political junkies did not know what the NSA was. “With a reputed budget of some $1.2 billion and a manpower roster far greater than the CIA,” the Associated Press explained, it had been “established in 1952 with a charter that is still classified as top secret.” (Is it still? I’d be interested to know.) President Ford had persuaded Frank Church not to hold hearings on the matter. (Ford had something in common with Obama: hypocrisy. “In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end,” he’d said in his inaugural address, the one where he proclaimed, “Our long national nightmare is over.”) So Abzug proceeded on her own. At first, when she subpoenaed the executives responsible for going along with the programs the White House tried to prevent their testimony by claiming the private companies were “an agent of the United States.” When they did appear, they admitted their companies had voluntarily been turning over their full records of phone and telegram traffic to the government at the end of every single day, by courier, for over forty years, full stop. The NSA said the programs had been discontinued. Abzug claimed they still survived, just under different names. And at that, Church changed his mind: the contempt for the law here was so flagrant, he decided, he would initiate NSA hearings, too."

      So, it seems that almost all communications have been monitored from the 1930s on, except for maybe a few minutes in the late 1970s when things got a little too hot and before Reagan's morning in America reinstalled the wiretaps.

  • Department of Justice Spying on AP Reporters' Telephone Contacts Threatens Democracy
    • The AP is only the tip of the iceberg. We know that back in the first GWBush term the Feds had installed their own router in the SF offices of ATT so that they could monitor phone calls, I must assume all the phone calls that went through that office. We've also known that the NSA is capturing all electronic communications and storing it for later use, if necessary.

      I've been answering my phone with "The NSA is still listening" for years now and added "so is Rupert Murdoch but maybe not for long" when the stories about NewsCorpse's hacking of phones in UK became pubic, what?, two years ago now.

      If you think your email and phone conversations are secure from government or corporate surveillance, you are fooling yourself.

  • Best Green Energy Responses to Climate Crisis: IC's 2012 Amun-Ra Award
    • In 2011, UNEP released their report on short-term climate forcers - black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane as a precursor to tropospheric ozone. These pollutants are in the atmosphere for about a month and their reduction has many ancillary benefits on human health and economics as well as the local and global climate. These reductions pay for themselves quickly and cut across the North/South debate on the costs of climate solutions. They have the potential to reduce climate change temperature rise in half by 2050.

      Here's a link to the report
      link to unep.org

      We should be pushing HARD on reducing short term climate forcers for the poorest first, most definitely, but also here in the so-called developed world in which Boston University recently found thousands of methane leaks throughout the city of Boston. Lots we could do that makes sense and saves money as well as energy and the climate.

  • Malala Yousufzai taken to UK for Treatment; and Pakistan's Education Shame
    • A few years ago I did a lot of reading about Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his work in education and non-violent political action. That reading led me believe that the Taliban learned from him. Like him, they established schools and after time built up a political and, for the Taliban, a military force. Khan started his first school around 1910, a school for girls as well as boys, and by 1930 was able to start the Khudai Khidmatgar, the Red Shirts or Servants of God, what some call the world's first non-violent army.

      Malala Yousufzai's call for female education also reminds me of Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

      I have wondered since learning about him why his example is not cited more often.

  • Half of All Solar Panels are in Germany (Video)
  • Downgraded US Credit Rating: What comes of Coddling the Super-Rich
    • S&P are frauds and thieves. Their downgrade of US credit is another scam to put money in the pockets of the Big Money Boyz. It will add to our debt by increasing the amount of interest we will have to pay on our debt. We are being played.

      S&P rated Lehman Bros triple A just before they tanked. They called mortgage backed securities solid just before they evaporated. Now they have the chutzpah and unadulterated gall to judge US securities? Yeah, somebody's scamming somebody.

      Follow the money on this one and you will see who's pulling the strings.

  • Is Murdoch's Media Empire a Cult?
    • News of the World and the Murdoch papers were not the only UK tabloids that were hacking phones and stealing private records. Murdoch seems to have been the worst but there is a rancid culture of journalism in the UK and ending Murdoch's empire will not end it.

  • Top Ten Green Energy Good News Stories
    • All the solar you are writing about is solar electricity, and predominantly utility scale. Small scale solar can be just if not more effective.

      Basic solar electricity is a few square inches of solar electric cell, a few rechargeable AA batteries, a cell phone, a radio. Add a hand crank or bicycle generator and you have a reliable source of electrical power, day or night, by exercise or sunlight. This level of primary and secondary solar power is available and affordable all around the world now. We just don't recognize it.

      In the OECD nations, this scale of solar energy system is emergency and disaster preparedness, a solar civil defense because Solar IS Civil Defense, and possibly camping trips. The next largest scale, one square foot and up, is one window/one room portable systems suitable for tenants.

      For the 1.5 billion or more people in the world who do not now have access to reliable electricity, this same scale could be affordable LED light and cell phone power. There are even buy one, give one programs that can team these two markets together.

      That's just solar electricity. What about solar thermal?

      Juan Cole's list doesn't mention solar thermal anywhere but solar heating and cooling is being used all around the world today and could be used much more. Solar thermal is simply
      light reflects
      dark gets hot
      clear keeps the wind out

      This can be as basic as solar disinfection of water with a clear plastic bottle. Simple solar cookers and desalinators can be made from trash. Clear and dark plastic or glass, aluminum foil, mylar or mirrors, white sheets, old umbrellas. Solar architecture has been in vernacular architecture for a long while for both heating and cooling. We just have to take advantage of it.

      Another aspect of solar that we also tend to ignore is agriculture, including landscaping and ecological systems design

      I boiled down all I know about simple solar into a half hour on youtube divided into eight segments:
      link to solarray.blogspot.com
      link to solarray.blogspot.com

      I wonder if anything on those videos could be useful to people in the Middle East and North Africe, among other places.

  • Dietrich: Energy and the Future of U.S. Diplomacy
    • At a panel on energy at the Alumni Week-End at Harvard Business School a couple of years ago (I snuck in), I asked a question about US energy policy prefaced by mentioning the decades of work the Brazilians put into bagasse ethanol, the French put into nuclear, and the Germans have put into renewables. I was trying to make the point that these countries had already turned the corner and aren't going back.

      What the panel, and I imagine the audience, heard was "industrial policy" and I was told most emphatically that "the USA does not do industrial policy."

      We should be pursuing a policy of zero emissions. Period. Full stop.

  • Germany Will Seek 100% of its Electricity from Renewables by 2050
    • Bill Moomaw of Tufts and a member of the IPCC spoke at the Boston Area Solar Energy Association last September and said that Germany had completed a year-long project to run one part of its grid only on renewables very successfully. I emailed him for further information but never heard back.

      Both Germany and Spain are running a significant portion of their electricity with wind turbines today. In some areas, up to 75% of the electricity is generated by wind.

  • The Orientalism of Israeli Troops Dancing

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