Archive for the ‘public transportation’ Category

Be careful what you wish for

I make no bones about it: I hate cars.

I far prefer public transport to cars, but I currently live between two homes (the secret to a happy marriage–live separately).  I have too much crap to take on the train: toss in they are now getting crowded. Loads of other whining.

Likewise, public transportation has the same problem: especially with two dogs. Even when they in bags since you take up way more space than is acceptable. Slightly more acceptable with that much crap on a train, but not when the train is packed out.

I’m happy as heck that driving is being discouraged, but there are now too many issues to car ownership to make it worthwhile (I’ve taken up leasing the past few years for a bunch of reasons).  There’s congestion tax, parking, traffic, etc.

I live in a city which was not designed for automobile traffic and it shows. The average speed over a century ago was about 8 mph.  My new car tells me my average speed and it’s 12 mph in the city! Of course, that’s due to traffic and traffic controls.  Not to mention streets which were meant for horses, not cars.

Seriously, a trip of about 16 miles takes me an hour!

Anyway, I am currently mulling over getting rid of the car (again) for Zipcar since that takes care of most of the issues other than slow speed.

I should be happy that car ownership is being discouraged. Not to mention I’ve done pretty everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint.

But I’m not for the time being.


Market Forces for Change

Or as Lenin is supposed to have said, “When we hang the capitalists, they will have sold us the rope.”

One of the things the right and Libertarians like to push is the free market system, which they don’t really like. They like it as long as they can control the rules making it into a game of Monopoly: where they win.

On the other hand, they run scared when their market share is threatened.

The real problem is that there isn’t really a “free market system” out there.  Governmental decisions can act as market forces even if they aren’t set forth as being economically based. For example, building highways rather than public transportation has effected US society in ways which have been detrimental to its interests (or “Detroit: the city that committed suicide by favouring one industry with a very limited lifespan”).

The reason I tossed gun control in here is if the trend for fewer people to want to own guns keeps up, we will have de facto gun control.  The NRA can loosen up laws all it wants, but that may end up backfiring for it as people begin to realise that there was a reason the NRA blocked the research showing gun ownership was detrimental.

The right can continue to try to use emotion to sway people to vote against their interests, but that cannot go on for very long once people realise they have been had. Once that happens not only will people’s economic decisions change, but so will their voting decisions.

If yanks are too stupid to do anything about guns…

then you can bet they will do fuck all about their addiction to oil: let alone the fucked up economy. Which is kind of why I haven’t been posting lately

I had finally gotten around to watching the Panorama show BP: In deep Water that I mentioned in this blog post. And you can see here:

Nevermind the Beeb has come out with yet another show about the Deepwater Horizon shit storm since then.

Add in the rather cynical line that BP stands for “Beyond Petroleum”.

I imagine that the US will get around to handling its Oil addiction when they are done with shooting each other. Gun rights are far more important than: education, health care, housing, the economy.

Arm the unemployed!

I’ve been wanting to mention public transit and how it is yet another thing where the US is crap. Not that the US needs to be so far behind the rest of the world. This article at the Huffington post gets into how the US’s PT infrastructure was trashed by the automobile interests. The amusing bit is that the highway infrastructure is now falling apart as part of the means for keeping petrol cheap. There is another interesting twist to this in that infrastructure repair is one of the methods for economic stimulus.

I find it hard to say the US is good at much of anything, other than firearms ownership, when it can’t provide decent health care, education, housing, public transportation, and other quality of living rights. The cities in the US don’t provide for decent nutrition for urban dwellers (think of all the brilliant excuses for this happening).

It’s really pathetic how easily distracted US citizens are from issues of real importance by wedge issues.

It’s not easy being green!

Just in time for the Copenhagen Summit.

Let’s start with my carbon footprint. I have no effing idea what exactly the number is! I assume it’s low since Ilive an environmntally friendly lifestyle. It was small when I estimated it.

I no longer have a car. I’d love to say it was due to various green reasons. In reality, I did that after it was broken into in an allegedly secure garage. Although, various other green reasons (convenience of public transportation, cost of running the thing, the fact that I usually walk, and so on) did factor in to the decision.

I recycle so much that my house feels a bit like Alice’s Restaurant where they “didn’t have to take out their garbage for a long time”. Well, I have to, but I am recycling all this paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and whatever else can be recycled.

I haven’t flown in ages, preferring trains to planes. High speed trains are the thing anyway!

I am amazed that people can be scammed about Global Warming:

In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.

Anyway, it seems that James Hansen, who heads the earth sciences division of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, is critical of so-called “cap and trade” plans that would allow industries to continue burning fossil fuel as long as they offset their excesses by purchasing credits that would go to reducing carbon emissions elsewhere. He says that wouldn’t do the trick. What needs to be done is a shift in the sources of energy production from carbon based (coal and petroleum) to renewable sources. “Energy isn’t the problem, carbon is the problem.”

The science behind climate change isn’t a fad and it isn’t new. You might be surprised that it started back with Joseph Fourier. Of course, some people doubt evolution as well: “It’s just a theory”.

This video is super, but you need to watch it all the way through.

Hey, I’ve supported the Centre for Alternative Technology for nearly 30 years! I am sorry thet The Earth Centre in Doncaster is no longer fucntioning as a similar site. The Earth Centre’s most famous bit was that it appeared in the remade version of the BBC television series Survivors (2008 & 2009). I wish that alternative and ecology education centres were much more common.

Anyway, it seems that a lot of people are dragging their feet on the environmental movement because they are being conned by a highly charged right wing media machine. Contrarians employ such rhetorical devices such as arguing that the “science is settled” (what science is ever settled?). They are pushing public policy solutions that ignore the unsettled parts of the science namely all the uncertainties around the scope and net impact of AGW and downplay the tremendous costs and risks associated with such policies and the highly debatable long term benefits of keeping the environmental status quo.

Anyway, I haven’t been too impressed with the US leadership, in particular, Barack Obama. The British government has been slightly better. For some reason, the right wing fringe elements are not as powerful in the UK as they are in the US (Lord Monckton aside. But the whole world needs to get on board here as the future of the planet is at stake.