I have been failing to fulfill my responsibility to provide my non-nonsensical thoughts to my 4 or so readers and the 10 anonymous people who for some reason refuse to let me know who they are.
This is primarily because I haven’t had time (from work, spending time with my wife, and video games).
When I have posted, its been the sucky unoriginal kind where I just summarize a news story or post a link I found interesting.
Unfortunately, this is going to be another of those.
On the plus side, I have 5 original ideas lined up, which I am sure I will get to relatively soon. The subjects are written down so I won’t forget, and the content has been enhanced and refined by countless raving conversations with people in the real world.
In the meantime…
You should avoid flying altogether: although planes are the cause of a relatively small percentage of GHG emissions, this is largely because of the sheer volume of driving we do. Takes a lot of energy just to keep something that weighs 485 tons in the air, never mind traveling at hundreds of miles per hour.
Not that driving to NY is much better (its actually slightly worse if you make the drive solo). If you have to travel long distance, its best to take the train.
But we all know we’re gonna fly at least occasionally.
I think Virgin has earned our business. Plus, their is innuendo in the brand, which is another plus.
A bill has just passed congress, and is expected to pass the senate soon, which focuses on stopping domestic terrorism (that is, acts done by US citizens and permanent residents) not only before they happen, but before they are even planned. It goes beyond conspiracy to commit a crime to simply holding an ideology which may tend to lead eventually to a crime.
While that is not an arrestable offense, it sets up a government agency tasked with tracking and surveillance on individuals which have undergone or are undergoing ” ‘violent radicalization’ [which] means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.”
Look carefully at the syntax of that sentence (a quote from the bill).
It is not based on an actual attempt, plan, or even necessarily even a specific thought of violence, but just having an “extremist belief system” which facilitates violence.
It explicitly includes political or social change.
There is no definition of what constitutes “extreme”.
Protests have at times included breaking windows, flipping over unoccupied cars, and resisting arrest, all of which can be considered violence. As such, simply adopting any belief system which is dissatisfied with anything politically or socially could conceivably fall under this new agencies jurisdiction.
By this standard, my blog might be enough to draw attention.
Of 435 members of congress, exactly 6 voted against this bill. Among them were presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.
In the US, the car with the highest mileage (the Prius) gets about 45mpg in real world driving.
The EU is close behind, with standards at about 43, and is set to go above 50 in the next 4 years.
Many US car companies have been advertising cars that get 35 as though this were good mileage.
Some Americans like to point out the rate at which China is catching up to the US in petroleum use and pollution (although this is in total for the country, no one comes close per capita) – yet even China averages 35 for all passenger vehicles.
The US, with all its resources, money, and technology, comes in dead last among all first world countries. Our current 25.3 is actually lower than our average from 20 years ago (25.9)
Technology isn’t going to help, because a lack of technology was never the problem.
Just read that a company (in India) has started selling a (4 door) car which gets 50mpg which retails for $2,500 (American dollars). It’s called the Nano.
Virgin Airlines has decided to put 100% of its profits over the next 10 years into developing a non-food crop based renewable bio-fuel to replace petroleum based jet-fuel.
This is lower than the average of the entire fleet of passenger cars (including light trucks, vans, and SUVs) in Japan, which has the highest mileage standards in the world at around 47.