Nov 6 2012

Will Texas be a climate/podcar leader?

Kal @ 17:54

From The Alcalde

13. Create a futuristic transit system.

Texas’ capital city ranks among the country’s most gridlocked, 2012 could be the costliest year ever at the pump, and our carbon footprint grows ever larger.

The chairman of UT’s Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department, Tad Patzek, proposes a solution: podcars.

Podcars are driverless vehicles that run on electricity-powered guideways suspended over existing highways. The concept may seem futuristic, but such cars have already been launched in countries like Sweden and England.

“Podcars cost 10 times less to operate and are 11 times more energy-efficient than today’s vehicles,” Patzek points out. “Also, photovoltaic panels can be installed on the guideways to augment power supply.”

Patzek is moving the concept forward in the U.S. by collaborating with Ron Swenson, one of the scientists leading the charge on podcar development. They both serve on the board of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, which examines the issues around fossil fuel production.

Podcars are already transporting people at one of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow in London. Given that, Patzek says, “there is no reason why they couldn’t move people between the main UT campus in Austin and the Pickle campus 10 miles north. This would be a convincing demonstration project for the city.” Katharine Grieve

Tags:

Category: Climate Change | PRT | Peak Oil | Sustainability

Nov 6 2012

Its later than you think!

Kal @ 17:38

From Climate Progress:

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers finds humanity has its foot on the accelerator as we head toward a cliff. The only hope is very rapid deployment of  carbon-free technology starting ASAP.

If Romney wins we appear to be done for. If Obama wins the chances are somewhat better, but I would not go so far as to call them good.

Tags:

Category: Accounting | Climate Change | Sustainability

Nov 4 2012

Why Mitt Romney Lies

Kal @ 14:03

According to The Baffler Newsletter it is how Mitt gets them to see him as one of them. It is a somewhat long and interesting read. Thanks to Dan Gillmor for bringing this to attention.

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In part the New York Times had it right, for as much as it’s worth: Romney’s prevarications are evidence of simple political hucksterism—“short, utterly false sound bites,” repeated“so often that millions of Americans believe them to be the truth.” But the Times misses the bigger picture. Each constituent lie is an instance pointing to a larger, elaborately constructed “truth,” the one central to the right-wing appeal for generations: that liberalism is a species of madness—an esoteric cult of out-of-touch, Europe-besotted ivory tower elites—and conservatism is the creed of regular Americans and vouchsafes the eternal prosperity, security, and moral excellence of God’s chosen nation, which was doing just fine before Bolsheviks started gumming up the works.

A Romney lie in this vein is a pure Ronald Reagan imitation—as in this utterance from 2007: “In France,” Romney announced on the campaign trail, “I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up.” And just as Reagan was found to be reciting film dialogue and jump-cutting anecdotes from his on-screen career into his pseudobiographical reminiscences on the stump, so it turns out that Romney picked up the marriage canard from the Homecoming Saga, a science fiction series written by Mormon author Orson Scott Card. (Another reason for students of Romney’s intellectual development to queasily recall that he told interviewers during that same 2008 presidential run that his favorite work of fiction was Battlefield Earth, the sci-fi opus by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a consummate shakedown artist in his own right.)

Closing the sale, after all, is mainly a question of riding out the lie: showing that you have the skill and the stones to just brazen it out, and the savvy to ratchet up the stakes higher and higher. Sneering at, or ignoring, your earnest high-minded mandarin gatekeepers—“we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,”as one Romney aide put it—is another part of closing the deal. For years now, the story in the mainstream political press has been Romney’s difficulty in convincing conservatives, finally, that he is truly one of them. For these elites, his lying—so dismaying to the opinion-makers at the New York Times, who act like this is something new—is how he has pulled it off once and for all. And at the grassroots, his fluidity with their preferred fables helps them forget why they never trusted the guy in the first place.

Tags:

Category: Politics | misinformation | wingnuttery

Nov 3 2012

Are you better off now?

Kal @ 13:48

David Brin had a number of important points in this piece:  Last Minute "Big Picture" Political Snips & Snarks

== Abandoning a Sinking Ship ==


David Stockman – yes, Ronald Reagan’s budget director and top economic advisor, who now helps lead a rising movement to take back conservatism from the monstrous path it has been taken by Rupert Murdoch, shows how – from an entirely conservative perspectivePaul Ryan’s so-called budget-balancing plan, that has the backing of the entire GOP, is loopy to the point of jibbering incoherence.

I don’t agree with all of Stockman’s counter recommendations… he is, after all, a Reagan Conservative and I would argue with him over many of his proposals.

But I acknowledge them to be sane conservative proposals worth discussion by adults. Of the sort that Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley might have made. Back when top conservatives believed in intellect, in science and facts. And negotiating like adults.

Tags:

Category: Politics | misinformation