Monday, December 27, 2021

Crisis Response Teams better than police responses for mental health issues


In the eight years since the program launched in Hamilton, there has been a marked reduction in taking people in mental health crisis into custody.

Before the mobile team, Hamilton police apprehended three out of every four people they were called to assist. Their latest figures show a 70 per cent reduction to fewer than one in five.

"You'll see a full range. It might be as horrible as somebody up on a bridge threatening to jump," Burtenshaw told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of White Coat Black Art.

"It might be somebody saying, 'Listen, I'm really worried about my mom. She's not answering the door. Can you do a wellness check?'"


* * * * *

Police tend to not know how to de-escalate an encounter with someone with mental health issues.  Professionals who do know save lives.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Salton Sea a hopeful source of lithium


“Extraction of lithium from geothermal brines is expected to be particularly challenging,” the lab explains. “The brine is extremely hot when it comes out of the subsurface, and it contains a rich stew of many dissolved minerals in addition to lithium.”

To visualize how complex and delicate the extraction process is, imagine you are flipping for baseball cards, except all of your cards are stuck together and they are on fire.

* * * * *

Still, it's very tempting to try to get at this ready source of lithium with a power source at hand as well.  At this time, lithium is needed for electric vehicles for their batteries.


Sunday, December 5, 2021

electric cars use much less material in their lives than ICE vehicles


"The study by Transport and Environment reveals that traditionally fuelled cars use a significantly higher amount of resources to be produced and maintained, from production to eventual scrappage.

Only 30kg of raw material will be lost over the lifecycle of a lithium-ion battery used in electric cars. By comparison, over 17,000 litres of oil is used in a fossil fuelled engine over the same amount of time...

 Battery cars are predicted to use 58% less energy than petrol cars over their lifetimes and emit 64% less carbon dioxide, according to the study.

* * * * *

The only legitimate argument I've heard against electric vehicles is that they are just switching the fossil fuel burning from the car engine to the coal burning plant.  But if electric vehicles use less material through their lives, and require less energy, just that is a powerful claim.  And once coal-fired plants are replaced with renewable energy sources, then we're finally on our way to cleaning up the air.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

We're drowning in plastic waste


"Plastic waste has increased sharply in the US since 1960, with the country now generating about 42m metric tons of plastic waste a year, amounting to about 130kg of waste for every person in America. This total is more than all European Union member countries combined. The overall amount of municipal waste created in the US is also two to eight times greater than comparable countries around the world, the report found.

Recycling infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the huge growth in American plastic production. Littering, dumping and inefficient waste disposal in landfills has caused up to 2.2m tons of plastic – including everything from plastic bottles and straws to packaging – to 'leak' into the environment each year. The total waste may be even greater than this due to data gaps in tracking it.

Much of this plastic ends up, via rivers and streams, in the world’s oceans."

* * * * *


NPR this morning stated that 10 million tons of plastic wind up in the ocean every year.  Aquatic animals eat it, get stuck in it, and die. My solution would be to REPLACE plastic with something biodegradable, such as mushroom-based packaging.  Recycling does not work.  Only 9% of what you put in a recycling bin actually gets recycled.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Work on methane before Co2 for climate repair


The collaboration has proved fruitful. In data gathered over the first two years of Tropomi's operations, scientists discovered major leaks of methane in the oil and gas fields of Turkmenistan, most of which were completely preventable.

Oil and gas fields must build flare installations that prevent methane from leaking into the atmosphere, and Aben said that these leaks suggest those installations are not being used properly.

"These emissions actually relate to flare installations that are not being flared in the oil and gas industry," said Aben. "Flaring is meant to get rid of the methane gases by burning them. It would obviously be better to capture the gas, but they are not even burning it. It's just methane pouring out, and that is not normal operations."

The Tropomi measurements revealed thousands of kilograms (in some cases even tens of thousands of kilograms) of methane leaking from 29 plants every hour. 

* * * * *

There is a way now to find such leaks and fix them.  This is more important than Co2 as methane is a greater danger to the environment.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

small town grocery stores try innovating


Main Street Market is not Amazon Go by any stretch. But it follows the same principles of offering convenient access and self-service.

The lower-tech approach is also much less costly to operate. Instead of computer-vision cameras, the store lets shoppers scan items and pay with their phones, or use a self-checkout terminal. Main Street Market offers a selection of mostly conventional goods, including soda, frozen pizza, cold cuts, snacks and sports drinks.  

One obvious potential problem is theft. The store has security cameras in place to monitor the aisles, but owner Alex Ostenson said the business mostly relies on the honor system to ensure customers pay for all the items they select. He said he has the ability to disable an account from his phone at any time.

“If people buy a year membership for $75, would they really risk losing it by stealing?” he told the Enterprise. “We know who is coming and going as each person has a unique access code.”

* * * * *

 I was just in North Dakota and listened to public radio discuss another new concept in the northeast part of the state.  It would not be a store per se but a storage locker for individual orders that are brought in all at once.  Each order would be put in a storage locker for the purchaser to pick up at their convenience.  The only town name I remember is Hoople, but I think it was 3 towns in that area planning to try this.

It's impossible at some population point for a town to have a profitable grocery store, so these innovative ideas will be worth watching to help out our rural areas.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

Where can you pee in public during a pandemic?


As with so many other aspects of American life, Covid-19 exposed and exacerbated the American bathroom gap: While the affluent purchased increasingly ornate fixtures for their homes, delivery drivers and other essential workers struggled with ever-more-limited options. In cities with high rates of homelessness, efforts to install temporary hygiene facilities during lockdowns often met resistance from community members and city officials, even as frustrated local businesses locked their restrooms to prevent use from unhoused individuals.


Toilet co-editor Harvey Molotch, an emeritus professor of social and cultural analysis and sociology at New York University, also sees the pandemic as an opportunity to reconsider how public restrooms are built — particular with regards to airflow. Modern heating and ventilation systems and electric lighting made this less of a priority in 20th century public restroom design, which was typically windowless; Molotch hopes to see a reversal of that trend, by adding windows, skylights and other openings. 


* * * * *

I noticed this during the pandemic, that all the public restrooms in my city were locked and marked closed due to potential virus spreading.  But people still have to pee.  Homeless people have no place to choose from.  It's very strange that the US seems to ignore this issue.



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

solar panel recycling is a problem


Part of the problem is that solar panels are complicated to recycle. They’re made of many materials, some hazardous, and assembled with adhesives and sealants that make breaking them apart challenging.

"The longevity of these panels, the way they’re put together and how they make them make it inherently difficult to, to use a term, de-manufacture," said Mark Robards, director of special projects for ECS Refining, one of the largest electronics recyclers in the U.S. The panels are torn apart mechanically and broken down with acids to separate out the crystalline silicon, the semiconducting material used by most photovoltaic manufacturers. Heat systems are used to burn up the adhesives that bind them to their armatures, and acidic hydro-metallurgical systems are used to separate precious metals.

* * * * *

Oh boy.  Nothing is as easy as it seems.  For a long time I thought solar panels lasted basically forever.  Nope.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Farmers can sell carbon credits if they do it right


"Carbon farming, on the other hand, seeks to capture emissions, not create them. The challenge has been to make this form of regenerative farming financially viable, paying landowners to rejuvenate degraded soils by turning their fields into vast CO2 sponges.

Achieving this requires a range of regenerative techniques. Cover cropping is particularly popular – fields blanketed with grasses, cereals, legumes and other plant life that pull carbon from the air during photosynthesis, then store it in the soil below. After a couple of years and some meticulous measurements to show the changing carbon content of the soil, the sequestered carbon is certified and transferred into credits, before being sold.

For its proponents, carbon farming promises a bold new agricultural business model – one that tackles climate change, creates jobs and saves farms that might otherwise be unprofitable."


* * * * *

I'm not sold on the idea of carbon credits, but this looks like a win-win for farmers.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Get the grid ready for its new job!


"Converting the nation’s fleet of automobiles and trucks to electric power is a critical piece of the battle against climate change. The Biden administration wants to see them account for half of all sales by 2030, and New York state has enacted a ban on the sale of internal combustion cars and trucks starting in 2035.

But making America’s cars go electric is no longer primarily a story about building the cars. Against this ambitious backdrop, America’s electric grid will be sorely challenged by the need to deliver clean power to those cars. Today, though, it barely functions in times of ordinary stress, and fails altogether too often for comfort, as widespread blackouts in California, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere have shown."

* * * * *

Didn't anybody notice this problem?  Are we screwing ourselves with eyes wide open?

Monday, September 20, 2021

How the US can save $1.2 trillion!!!


Modernizing the nation’s Cold War-era capacity to deliver nuclear weapons by air, land and sea -- the so-called nuclear triad -- remains a key Pentagon priority under the Biden administration after it was jumpstarted by President Barack Obama and continued by President Donald Trump. The effort is expected to cost as much as $1.2 trillion through 2046 for development, purchase and long-term support, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2018.

 * * * * *

I can't understand why we need more than 2 nukes.  Seriously.  So here's a place to save a lot of money!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Do homeless calls take up 65% of police resources?


The police chief agrees.

“We are not going to be able to arrest our way out of homelessness,” says Hedrick

Hedrick says that for a long time the criminal justice system has been called upon to solve low-level things like substance abuse, alcoholism and mental health issues.

“As a police agency,” Hedrick says, “we’re not going to be able to address those issues effectively.”

 He says they just end up ferrying folks to jail, often times repeat offenders, and not providing any real solutions.

* * * * *

Is this how it is in your community?  Wouldn't it make more sense to let professional social workers handle the homeless, and provide them with actual help?  Could it help reduce the actual cost of police and other services in your community?

Sunday, August 8, 2021

where will we plug in our electric cars?


First spotted by photovoltaics industry trade journal PV Magazine, the program calls for installation of 240-volt Level 2 charging stations integrated with streetlight poles at locations throughout the Missouri city.

The program began its design phase in 2018, then ran through a feasibility analysis, which ended in 2020. The MEC is now conducting community outreach and beginning charging-station installations, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Charging at these stations will cost the same $0.22 per kilowatt-hour as at existing Kansas City public charging stations...

* * * * *

This is one of the biggest problems for switching everybody to electric.  Also, are there plans with how to de-commission all the gasoline stations?  




Friday, August 6, 2021

How to help the poor? Give them a small income.


Participants used the money on essentials like food and medication and transportation. One person used it to adopt a service dog to help prevent seizures. Another helped his daughter pay for college tuition. Sixty-four percent of participants said that the money helped reduced their stress and worry about finances. And despite the relatively small amount of assistance, more than a third of the participants were able to move into housing.

* * * * *

Try things out, see what works, do that.  This seems to work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Amazon to cut waster after expose


The so-called Fulfilment by Amazon programs, announced in a blog post on Wednesday, will help to build a circular economy, the company said.

It comes less than two months after British broadcaster ITV reported that Amazon was destroying millions of items of unsold stock at one of its 24 U.K. warehouses every year, including smart TVs, laptops, drones and hairdryers.

The online giant was sharply criticized by U.K. lawmakers and environmental campaigners at the time and Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to look into the allegations. In a blog post on June 28, Greenpeace said ITV’s investigation showed it was clear Amazon “works with within a business model built on greed and speed.” The group also described the environmental and human cost of Amazon’s wastefulness as “staggering.”

* * * * *

This is good news.  Waste can be dealt with more easily than other environmental problems if we have the will.  Amazon had the will to do things in the cheapest way, not the best way.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Is democracy in danger?


A statement signed by more than 100 scholars on Tuesday warns that as a result of Republican-led states proposing or implementing “radical changes” to election laws, the voting procedures in several states are being transformed into “political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.” The statement includes this dire prediction: “our entire democracy is now at risk”

* * * * *

The Big Lie is another danger to democracy.  If a legitimate vote can be overturned by a persistent lie, then democracy is truly in danger.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A win-win source for lithium?


"The integration of direct lithium extraction with renewable geothermal energy offers the highest sustainability credentials available today. CTR's closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process utilizes renewable power and steam—significantly reducing the time to produce battery-grade lithium products and eliminating the need for overseas processing. CTR's operations will have a minimal physical footprint and a near-zero carbon footprint. The brine, after lithium extraction, is returned to the geothermal reservoir deep within the earth."

* * * * *

I've been to the Salton Sea.  It's stinky.  anything that could be done to clean that accidental lake would be great.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

China dumps on the world

Raw sewage discharged from more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels around the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea is causing extensive damage to coral reefs, Simularity, a US satellite imagery analysis firm, said Monday.

"The sewage from the anchored ships in the Spratlys is damaging the reefs, and we can see this from space," Simularity founder and CEO Liz Derr said during a digital forum hosted by the Manila think tank Stratbase ADR Institute.

* * * * * 

I assume there is an international law that you can't throw your waste wherever you want.  


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Don't send the cops when a therapist is needed!


In six months, the STAR program has responded to 1,300 calls and never needed to ask for backup from a police officer.

“Just being able to think on your feet and creatively solve those problems and, you know, being non-judgmental and friendly and supplying people with a bottle of water goes a long way,” said Carleigh Sailon, STAR operations manager.

Jones was surprised how well it works to free up first responders for other calls and how much STAR employees enjoy their work. She said she learned Denver’s other emergency responders - police, fire, EMS - were in favor of the program as well.


* * * * *

Plus, I don't think there is such a thing as suicide-by-therapist.


Repurposing old coal mines in the UK


With the help of a few geothermal experts from Iceland, Black sunk a borehole into the murky depths of the old High Main coal seam in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. Warmed by natural geological processes, the water they pumped to the surface was a pleasant 15C (59F).

With a little supplemental warmth from an electrical heat pump – "a bit like a fridge in reverse" – it was perfect for keeping the company's warehouse, and the millions of wine bottles within, at the right temperature. (Watch: how geothermal heat has been harnessed for centuries)  

"Nowadays we're heating a couple of warehouses, a distribution depot, a local bakery, and soon a nearby car showroom too," says Black.


* * * * *

Great idea to use energy already present!  Of course, it's not a new idea, just a new thought to utilize the old coal mines.  Lovely to see.


Friday, July 9, 2021

Helping solve the Heat Island Effect in cities


Pavement Technology, Inc has spent nearly a decade creating a titanium dioxide-based treatment, dubbed a “road rejuvenator.” (Its official name is A.R.A.-1 Ti but is known as Plus Ti).

Asphalt is the residue of distilled crude oil bound with coarser substances such as crushed rock, sand or gravel. Of America’s 2.6 million miles of paved roads, more than 94 per cent are surfaced with asphalt.

All asphalt has two molecular structures in common - maltenes which more or less “glues” the road together and asphaltenes which give the road its black colour and firmness. Over time, maltenes break down, causing the road to crack and become brittle. A.R.A.-1 Ti works by replacing maltenes to give asphalt back its original pep. 

* * * * *


DEFINITELY! something worth working on.  Black absorbs sunlight energy, white disperses it.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Plastic waste a no-go in Europe now


Ten single-use plastic (SUP) products that for years have blighted Europe's beaches will be largely banned from July 3 as the EU's Single-Use Plastics Directive of 2019 comes into force.

Plastic cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, balloon sticks and polystyrene drink and food vessels cannot be sold as of Saturday. Also getting binned are oxo-degradable plastic bags that are marketed as biodegradable but which, according to the EU, break down into microplastics that long remain in the environment.   

These disposable plastics make up around 70% of marine litter in Europe. Cafes and restaurants will now be forced to stock cups and straws made of bamboo, cellulose or other biodegradable materials.


* * * *


This is a great start!  I think the best solution, however, is to have the creator of any object (pop bottle, refrigerator, car) be responsible for the recycling of the entire product.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

solar panels over canals; win-win!


Their feasibility study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, finds that if applied statewide, the panels would save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating each year. At the same time, solar panels across California’s exposed canals would provide 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually, about half of the new capacity the state needs to meet its decarbonization goals by the year 2030.


* * * *

You save water, don't use any extra land, and have a stretched-out source of electricity!  Win-win-win!



Is Amazon the most wasteful company in the world?


"In one week in April, a leaked document from inside the Dunfermline warehouse showed more than 124,000 items marked 'destroy'. To repeat, that's just for seven days. In contrast, just 28,000 items in the same period were labelled 'donate'. The same manager admitted to us that in some weeks, as many as 200,000 items could be marked 'destroy'."


* * * *

Is Amazon the most inefficient distributor in the world?  Needs more investigating.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Oakland homeless get tired of waiting, make their own place


Tucked under a highway overpass in West Oakland, just beyond a graveyard of charred cars and dumped debris, lies an unexpected refuge.

There’s a collection of beautiful, small structures built from foraged materials. There’s a hot shower, a fully stocked kitchen and health clinic. There’s a free “store” offering donated items including clothes and books, and a composting toilet. There are stone and gravel paths lined with flowers and vegetable gardens. There’s even an outdoor pizza oven.

The so-called “Cob on Wood” center has arisen in recent months to provide amenities for those living in a nearby homeless encampment, one of the largest in the city. But most importantly, it’s fostering a sense of community and dignity, according to the unhoused and housed residents who came together to build it. They hope their innovative approach will lead to big changes in how the city addresses its growing homeless population.


* * * *

this is pretty cool.  I hope the cops don't come and tear it down.


Friday, May 21, 2021

Ford F-150 goes electric. And it's great!


This truck starts at just $39,974, not including a still-unknown destination charge, which makes it more affordable than a similarly equipped F-150 XL -- the gas model's entry-level trim. The jaw-dropper is that that price is before any applicable state or federal incentives -- that includes the $7,500 federal tax credit that the vehicle will be eligible for. All of this is a rather miraculous accomplishment given that EVs have, up until now, always been costlier than their gas equivalents -- often significantly so.  ..

Every example will feature a dual-motor setup that provides standard full-time four-wheel drive. For those keeping score at home, that means that a base Lightning's equivalent gas F-150 would be a 3.3-liter V6-powered XL SuperCrew 4x4 with a 5.5-foot bed.  


* * * * *

 As always, though, the sticker with electrics is how far you can go on a charge.  I think this is supposed to go 300 miles, but that's not towing or hauling any big weight.  Still, it looks amazing.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Why US cops are so quick to shoot? Training


Grossman does not address the social construction of crime and criminality, or the historically racist coding of “tough on crime” policies and rhetoric, or the political origins of this country’s endless drug war, or any other factors that might complicate his Manichean thesis. He sees no oppression in the sight of warrior cops forever riding roughshod through “bad” neighborhoods like members of an occupying army. He does not stop to consider that treating the “war on crime” like an actual war tacitly encourages cops to take less care with the lives of their “enemies”—nor does he acknowledge that those disposable lives are all too often Black ones.

 * * * * * *

 I fear that we train cops to be on a hair trigger, assuming that every person they come into contact with is ready to harm them.  No wonder there are so many shootings that are inappropriate for the situation.  Has your community police department hired this guy?

You wanna know why this generation doesn't want to work?


Kroger grocery company CEO Rodney McMullen cut COVID-19 hazard pay for food workers last year just months into the pandemic — then scooped up a record $22.4 million in compensation for himself, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

McMullen’s pay package was revealed Thursday in a regulatory filing. His compensation rose almost 6% from the prior year, padded by a bigger bonus, a salary hike and stock awards, Bloomberg noted. That was McMullen’s biggest take ever since he became CEO in 2013. 

* * * *

The minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour.  You couldn't live on 2 full-time jobs at that rate.  Why go to work when you're just digging the hole deeper?  Meanwhile, the big-shots take huge bonuses, and for what?  

I'm glad this generation is standing up to the lousy wages.  Don't work for scraps.  Demand a living wage.


finally a way to recycle plastic?


Once this high-pressure system is depressurised and the waste exits the reactors, the majority of liquid flashes off as vapour. This vapour is cooled in a distillation column and the condensed liquids are separated on a boiling range to produce four hydrocarbon liquids and oils: naphtha, distillate gas oil, heavy gas oil and heavy wax residue, akin to bitumen. These products are then shipped to the petrochemical industry.

As with other feedstock techniques, there is no down-cycling as the polymer bonds can be formed anew, meaning the plastics can be infinitely recycled. With a conversion rate of more than 99%, nearly all the plastic turns into a useful product.


* * * * *

FINALLY!  This sounds like it uses a lot of energy, but that's better than having the world drown in plastic.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Battery breakthrough?


“The cycling performance of the lithium metal anode paired with a LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2 cathode is very stable, with an 82 per cent capacity retention after 10,000 cycles at a 20C rate and 81.3 per cent capacity retention after 2,000 cycles at a 1.5C rate,” the academics emphasized. “Our design also enables a specific power of 110.6 kilowatts per kilogram and specific energy up to 631.1 watt hours per kilogram at the micrometre-sized cathode material level.”

The battery, according to the academics, also has self-healing properties, as it should be able to backfill holes created by the dendrites. Its creators claim it has the potential to recharge electric vehicles within 10 to 20 minutes.


* * * * *

Once we get a good battery, electric cars will be the norm.






Thursday, April 22, 2021

New concrete exhales 50% less CO2


"UCLA’s CarbonBuilt team, led by Professor Gaurav Sant, is the first university team to win the global competition’s grand prize for their creation of CO2NCRETE, a building material composed of hydrated lime that can absorb carbon dioxide quickly, according to UCLA officials. CO2NCRETE was demonstrated to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete by more than 50%, while being just as strong and durable as traditional forms of cement."


* * * *

That's a lot of carbon saved from going into the atmosphere!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

L.A. to test universal basic income


The $24m LA program, introduced as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s budget proposal, released on Tuesday, would provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 families for a year if passed by the city council. Like most other UBI plans, those given the funds can use the money however they please.

 “We’re betting that one small but steady investment for Angeleno households will pay large dividends for health and stability across our city and light a fire across our nation,” Garcetti tweeted on Monday, announcing the new plan with a nod to Dr Martin Luther King who, as part of the civil rights movement, called for guaranteed income programs that would work to eradicate poverty. “We’re showing what it takes to fulfill Dr King’s call for a basic income once and for all.”


* * * * * *

 Money given to the poor circulates.  Money given to the rich takes a vacation in the Bahamas.

Friday, March 26, 2021

turning the desert into a forest


"When the rains arrive, his pits pit collect more water that feeds down to the seeds, increasing crop yields by up to 500%, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

The adoption of zai and similar soil and water conservation methods across the West African nation over the past 30 years has improved food security, groundwater levels, tree cover and biodiversity, according to a 2018 study in the journal Sustainability."


* * * * * 


I believe China is also working on this idea.  Let's hope it works in many places.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

better cow food and jet fuel to help fix climate change


"According to a new study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, the addition of scant amounts of seaweed to the diet of beef cattle reduced methane emissions by more than 80 percent. "


"Food waste often ends up in landfills, where it emits methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after it’s released. The paper sets out a method of producing fuel with this waste in a way that avoids methane emissions and instead transforms it into “volatile fatty acids,” which can then be made into jet fuel. 


The fuel can just be used in planes’ engines without modification, according to the study, and it’s compatible with existing energy infrastructure."

 * * * * *

Some hopefully good news!  I would think the seaweed supplement could be started immediately, while the jet fuel project will still take a while.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

There goes the neighborhood; rain forests take a beating


"Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34 per cent of the world's original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30 per cent leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.

More than half of the destruction since 2002 has been in South America's Amazon and bordering rainforests."

 * * * * 

We can build electric cars and windmills, but we can't build rain forests.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

California test results for Universal Basic Income


"After receiving $500 per month for two years without rules on how to spend it, 125 people in California paid off debt, got full-time jobs and had “statistically significant improvements” in emotional health, according to a study released Wednesday.

The program was the nation’s highest-profile experiment in decades of universal basic income (UBI), an idea that gained national attention when it became a major part of Andrew Yang’s 2020 campaign for president."


* * * *

The fear has always been that a UBI would create lazy people, but that isn't what happens.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

law requires that products be fixable and last 10 years


The change comes as a result of legislation from the European Parliament, which recently voted in favour of establishing stronger “right to repair” rules. These rules should help reduce electrical waste, which has been increasing due to greater manufacturing.

While the UK has left the European Union, the UK’s manufacturing standards will necessarily have to match those of the 27 nation bloc, in order for any trade to continue. The rule comes into effect today.

* * * *

I've been hoping for this for years.  Some products, for example, have batteries built-in in such a way that it would be difficult for a DIY person to replace.  This is a win-win for consumers, the environment, and everybody.


Monday, March 1, 2021

How's about we just ban cars from cities?


Mr. Würzner, who drives an experimental hydrogen-powered Mercedes, acknowledged that not every city could afford to do all the things that had made Heidelberg a showcase for environmentally friendly planning. The University of Heidelberg, one of Germany’s most prestigious universities, has spawned numerous research institutes that provide a solid tax base. The residents tend to be well educated and affluent.

“It’s true the city is in a quite good financial situation,” Mr. Würzner said.

But he said he often heard from mayors in Europe, the United States and Asia who wanted to emulate Heidelberg’s strategy.

“We all know we have to go in this direction,” he said. “It’s just a question of how fast.”


* * * * *

The problem in the US is cities, like say Phoenix, were designed around the automobile.  You pretty much have to drive to work, to the grocery store, etc.  It will take quite a bit to re-arrange everything so pedestrians and bikes reign.  But Phoenix has also built a rail system and is expanding it.  So there is effort in the right direction.


trickle down economics does not work, says 50 years of data


But the analysis discovered one major change: The incomes of the rich grew much faster in countries where tax rates were lowered. Instead of trickling down to the middle class, tax cuts for the rich may not accomplish much more than help the rich keep more of their riches and exacerbate income inequality, the research indicates.

"Based on our research, we would argue that the economic rationale for keeping taxes on the rich low is weak," Julian Limberg, a co-author of the study and a lecturer in public policy at King's College London, said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "In fact, if we look back into history, the period with the highest taxes on the rich — the postwar period — was also a period with high economic growth and low unemployment."


* * * * *

"The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands."

 Will Rogers


Sunday, February 28, 2021

you've worked so hard to save electricity, then...


"The cryptocurrency’s value has dipped recently after passing a high of $50,000 but the energy used to create it has continued to soar during its epic rise, climbing to the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a tool from researchers at Cambridge University that measures the currency’s energy use."


* * * *

This pisses me off because of all the ways people try to save electricity to avoid global warming, then these dudes set up a system that essentially adds another country to the electric grid.  SMH

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

changing police forces around the U.S.; an example from Ithaca, NY


In a nearly 100-page report obtained by GQ, Mayor Svante Myrick will propose replacing the city’s current 63-officer, $12.5 million a year department with a “Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety” which would include armed “public safety workers” and unarmed “community solution workers,” all of whom will report to a civilian director of public safety instead of a police chief. Under the proposal, all current officers would have to re-apply for a position with the new department.


* * * *


This will be important to watch,  I would think the police today would be happy to let social workers handle drunks anyway, so they could concentrate on crimes. 

Orlando, Florida, is doing something similar;

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

locust swarm? Eat the locusts!


"African regenerative agriculture company The Bug Picture is helping communities in Kenya turn the problem on its head. Specialising in insect-based protein that is environmentally sustainable to farm, it has come up with a way of turning desert locusts into animal feed and fertiliser.  Affected communities are encouraged to harvest live locusts and receive immediate payment through a mobile platform."


Also, humans can eat some types of locusts directly.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

plastics that can be recycled more easily

 A new type of plastic is potentially more easily broken down, and thus more easily recycled.  But there is criticism that research still needs to handle that the process is energy intensive and may have a hazardous chemical byproduct.  Still, it's good to see research going on!

some nice ideas for making your city more liveable


"When it comes to making life easier, the first thing you might think of is some snazzy little gadget. Well, what if the city's design itself was the gadget? Here we will look at the brilliant designs that make life easier in the city for anyone lucky enough to live there! Whether it's nature that picks your fancy or you prefer a more technological route, explore them with us here!"


* * * *

Of course, free phone charging stations are always welcome.  Lots of nice stuff here.

Friday, February 5, 2021

dividing police duties with healthcare professionals is working!


"Since June 1, 2020, a mental health clinician and a paramedic have traveled around the city in a white van handling low-level incidents, like trespassing and mental health episodes, that would have otherwise fallen to patrol officers with badges and guns. In its first six months, the Support Team Assisted Response program, or STAR, has responded to 748 incidents. None required police or led to arrests or jail time."


* * * 

It's working!  The police can now concentrate on crime.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

turn plastic waste into construction blocks


In 2017, Matee opened a factory in Nairobi called Gjenge Makers, where workers take plastic waste, mix it with sand, and heat it up, with the resulting brick being five to seven times stronger than concrete. The factory accepts waste that other facilities "cannot process anymore, they cannot recycle," Matee told Reuters. "That is what we get."

The bricks are made of plastic that was originally used for milk and shampoo bottles, cereal and sandwich bags, buckets, and ropes. Every day, Gjenge Makers produces about 1,500 bricks, in different sizes and colors. 


* * * *

 This solves a few problems at once!  Jobs, recycling, cheaper construction costs.