The World’s Most Fuel-Efficient Couple: Or, Beat Gas Prices By Being Smooth…


From MIKE DRONKERS
Lost Coast Outpost

84 mpg in a standard VW Passat TDI…

It can be done, as John and Helen Taylor have recently proven. And you can do it, too. More on that in a moment.

Humboldt’s gas prices are high, but last week’s North Coast Journal cover story doesn’t suggest relief anytime soon, if ever. And a quick scan of used cars on Humboldt Craigslist shows that people are holding on to their high-mpg cars. So it’s on us to figure this out.

Back to that Passat. New York Times:

“To simulate real-world driving conditions, the Taylors brought along 120 pounds of luggage and limited their driving to daylight hours. “We wanted the drive to be realistic…inspiring Americans to save on their upcoming summer driving holidays,” Mr. Taylor said.”

How did they do it?

Hypermiling is the habit of driving as efficiently as possible. Some people are able to push a Prius up to over 100 mpg, but it’ll work on any old car.

GOP Tyrants run wild…


From DAVID ATKINS
digby

Remember how Republican states were certain to accept the Medicaid money because hospitals would insist on it? And how establishment Democrats in D.C. were certain the states would accept the bargain? Well, the biggest Republican state isn’t having any of it:

Texas turned down an expansion of Medicaid coverage and said it will not create a state-run healthcare insurance exchange, joining the chorus of states that are rejecting two key proposals of the Obama administration’s healthcare overhaul measure.

In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released on Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose bid for the GOP presidential nomination fell flat this year, rejected both healthcare proposals. The move, which had been widely expected, echoes similar pronouncements by other conservative Republican governors as well as the GOP’s overall opposition to the heathcare law.

“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” Perry stated.

14 Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Be Using To Spy On You…


From MICHAEL SNYDER
Activist Post

Most of us don’t think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history. The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of.Previous generations never had to deal with “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above. Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them.

Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you. We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore. Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you. The world is changing

Hope Is For The Lazy: The Challenge Of Our Dead World…


From ROBERT JENSEN
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Via Organic Consumers

In 2005, I preached on the ecological crisis in a sermon I titled “Hope is for the Weak: The Challenge of a Broken World.” Looking back, I realize that I had been far too upbeat and optimistic, probably trying too hard to be liked. Today I want to correct that.

Hence, my updated title: “Hope is for the Lazy: The Challenge of Our Dead World.” Let’s start with two of the three important changes.

First, to be a hope-monger or a hope-peddler today is not just a sign of weakness but also of laziness, and sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. Don’t forget that, as good Christians, we try to avoid those.

Second, our world is not broken, it is dead. We are alive, if we choose to be, but the hierarchical systems of exploitation that structure the world in which we live — patriarchy, capitalism, nationalism, white supremacy, and the industrial model — all are dead. It’s not just that they cannot be reformed, but that they cannot, and should not, be revived. The death-worship at the heart of those ideologies

Transition: Regarding George Monbiot’s announcement that ‘we were wrong on peak oil’


From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

George Monbiot announced in the Guardian on Monday “We were wrong on peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all“, an article which concluded “peak oil hasn’t happened, and it’s unlikely to happen for a very long time”.  Several people have written, and even stopped me while I’ve been out shopping, to ask for my take on his piece, so here it is.  It has been a tricky thing to write, as in the time it took me to compose it, so many other interesting analyses of it have been posted, many of which I have tried to reference here.  In a nutshell, I think Monbiot’s piece swallows an over-optimistic take on peak oil, and there are things in his piece that I disagree with and things that I agree with, although I don’t for a moment consider myself a peak oil expert.  What he does prompt is a rethink in terms of how we present peak oil.  Let’s start with the things I disagree with.

Firstly I would question the idea that it is somehow news to anyone that there are a huge amount of as-yet-unexploited hydrocarbons in the world.  I first became interested in peak oil in 2004 when I met Dr. Colin Campbell

Dear Climate Change Deniers: ‘This Is Just the Beginning’…


From WORLD VIEW OF GLOBAL WARMING

Huge areas of drought spread across the United States, while heat and wildfires add to climate woes.

More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…

“You know, as time goes on, we always expect to set new records, but there should be an equal number of highs and lows. And in the 1950s and the ’60s and ’70s, that was the case. But by the time we got to the 2000s, the ratios of highs to lows was about two-to-one and this year so far it’s running at about a ratio of ten-to-one. And so clearly this is just not natural variability anymore.”

More than three quarters of the area of the lower 48 states is in drought and dry conditions, apparently the most since weekly detailed drought mapping began in 2000. The National Drought Monitor map and analysis as of July 3, by the National Drought Mitigation Center, shows areas suffering “exceptional drought”

The City Dark…


Stargazing in Times SquareStargazing in Times Square

From AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV
Is darkness becoming extinct? When filmmaker Ian Cheney moves from rural Maine to New York City and discovers streets awash in light and skies devoid of stars, he embarks on a journey to America’s brightest and darkest corners, asking astronomers, cancer researchers and ecologists what is lost in the glare of city lights. Blending a humorous, searching narrative with poetic footage of the night sky, The City Dark provides a fascinating introduction to the science of the dark and an exploration of our relationship to the stars.
Watch the film free online here until August 5th, 2012

The town in rural Maine where Ian Cheney spent much of his childhood has about 4,000 residents. Waldoboro had electric lights, but on a cloudless and moonless night, it was impossible not to be struck by the incredible array of stars visible above. Cheney became deeply curious about the stars, as humans have been for millennia. He followed his passion into amateur astronomy, fashioning his own homemade telescope, and then into astrophotography to capture the wondrous scenes that revealed themselves at night.

William Edelen: Vision Quest…


20120708-091157.jpg

From WILLIAM EDELEN
Toward The Mystery

Due to my current involvement with cataract surgery, my thoughts have been meditating on the broad range of “vision” implications and reflections, both outward and inward.

Interesting that I am writing this for the July 8 issue, and tomorrow on July 9th I have my conference with Dr. Shaaf about my left eye. He completed my right eye and has been waiting for total healing before doing the left eye. I have found Dr. Shaaf to be truly outstanding. My right eye is now being used without any correction glasses and the colors that are now visible to me are brilliant and pure, beauty that has been unknown to me for many years.

This experience has kept me in a reflective mood about the entire range and profound considerations of that beautiful word, “VISION.”

There are so many wonderful and perfect definitions in the dictionary that refer to the mystical, insight, intuition, awareness of the supernatural, and more.

For The Time of Necessary Decision…


From JOHN O’DONOHUE
To Bless the Space Between Us

The mind of time is hard to read.
We can never predict what it will bring,
Nor even from all that is already gone
Can we say what form it finally takes;
For time gathers its moments secretly.
Often we only know it’s time to change
When a force has built inside the heart
That leaves us uneasy as we are.

Perhaps the work we do has lost its soul
Or the love where we once belonged
Calls nothing alive in us anymore.

We drift through this gray, increasing nowhere
Until we stand before a threshold we know
We have to cross to come alive once more.

May we have the courage to take the step
Into the unknown that beckons us;
Trust that a richer life awaits us there,
That we will lose nothing
But what has already died;
Feel the deeper knowing in us sure
Of all that is about to be born beyond
The pale frames where we stayed confined,
Not realizing how such vacant endurance
Was bleaching our soul’s desire.
~~

Todd Walton: Apes


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.” Francis Bacon

Sometimes it helps me to remember we are apes. Before the advent of clothing and tools and weapons and religion and cars and nuclear power and nations and money and vast social and economic inequities, we were naked apes looking for sustenance, shelter, safety, and love. We foraged for food, made nests for sleeping, and hung out in groups large enough to dissuade leopards. We had mates and children, we changed locations when our favorite foods grew scarce, and we socialized with family and friends every day. We did not, I think, have long term goals. We lived wholly in the moment because we didn’t have anything other than the moment to live in. We had nothing to carry, nothing to hide, nothing besides each other.

Okay, so that is a gross oversimplification of ape reality

Dave Smith: ‘Neighbors Reading’ Meets Every First Friday Mulligan Books 6pm


 

From DAVE SMITH
Mendo Free Skool

Neighbors Reading at Mulligan Books
208 S State Street, Ukiah

Bring one of your favorite books and we will take turns reading and discussing brief passages from them. Preferred are general topics around Neighbors, Community, Transition and Resilience, but not confined to them. This class is for those who care for our community’s future.

The readings will be videotaped for showing on Mendocino Access Television leading to live remote broadcasts in the future.

First Fridays, 6-7 p.m.


From GUY McPHERSON
Nature Bats Last

Words To Give By…

I’m fussy about the words I use. Words matter, after all. For example, anarchy is not chaos, though you’d never be able to distinguish the two based on anything presented by the mainstream media.

William Edelen: Thomas Jefferson and The 4th of July…


From WILLIAM EDELEN
Toward The Mystery
Thanks to Mark Scaramella, TheAVA

On the 4th of July, 1826, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of her Independence. John Adams, the second President of the United States, died on that day at the age of 90. His last words were: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” But on that same day, Jefferson too died. There was something mystical about the relationship between Adams and Jefferson. It was these two giants who, with James Madison, set the direction and the philosophy of this great nation.

What are we celebrating on this 4th of July? It is the Declaration of Independence. With only a very few word changes, that magnificent document was written by one man, Thomas Jefferson. When John Kennedy was President he hosted a banquet without precedent. He invited every living American Nobel Prize winner. When the guests were seated Kennedy stood and said he wanted to offer a toast. He said this: “Never has so much talent, so much genius, been assembled in one room — since Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

I have one bust in my study. It is of Jefferson. On the base are these words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every tyranny over the mind of man.” (He uses the word “God” as a Deist, not as a Christian. A vast difference) He made this scathing statement aimed at the tyranny of the Christian church.

Being Radical…



~

From GUY McPHERSON
Nature Bats Last

You probably recognize this symbol, though you might have forgotten its name: √

When I write the symbol on the whiteboard in a class, and ask what it is, the response is invariable: “The square root.”

I respond, “Yes, its function is to take the root, including the square root or any other root. But what is it called?”

Extended silence ensues, followed by, “The square-root symbol.”

I lead the abundant laughter.

“Really? Nobody took math in junior high?”

Nervous laughter.

“I’ve insulted everybody here within the first minute of our meeting,” I say. “Now that that’s out of the way, we can proceed.”

Long pause before I give away the answer: “It’s called a radical.” Another long pause before I reveal the point of this exercise. “It’s called a radical because it gets at the root. That, by the way, is the definition of radical: of or going to the root or origin.”

I use this anecdote to introduce myself to the class. I’m a radical, I point out. And, whereas this culture has convinced most people that a radical is a bad thing, similarly to anarchy, it’s actually not a bad thing, and it’s different than most people believe.

Herb Ruhs: Comments on recent Ukiah Blog posts…


From HERB RUHS
Boonville

Peak Denial

From the time that “scientific” (in quotes because science abhors lying) propaganda came on to the scene, ushered in by the book Propaganda by Edward L. Bernays, the entire species has progressively inundated by well crafted lies, denials and fantasies. This has resulted in mass mental illness. Our systems seem to tolerate some level of deceit, but when trusted sources disappear, when the burden of lies incorporated into peoples world view, reaches a threshold then individuals, then whole societies, sink into a condition of cognitive dissonance that leads to serious mental illness. Truth is important.

In R. D. Lanig’s book The Politics of the Family (can’t find my copy to check for sure, it may be in another of his books) he describes a Polynesian custom for dealing with mental illness. Their approach is to bring the whole extended family down to the beach and have them share their secrets and admit their lies. If the ill person remains symptomatic then someone is holding out and nobody gets to go home. Honesty cures. Dishonesty sickens. The whole world is now mentally ill with no beach to go to to sort it out.

Mental houses of cards, whether they are those of delusional individuals

Unequal Protection — Chapter 14: Unequal Protection From Risk


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

When corporations gained the protections that had been written for persons in the United States, a substantial shift began in who bears what risk, resulting in an imbalance that now affects virtually all parts of the world. Most companies handle risk responsibly, but many corporations are legally allowed to avoid responsibility in ways that would never be permitted for an individual.

Risk is a matter of who suffers when something goes wrong. Corporations and their shareholders may risk loss of income or even loss of their investment, but that pales in comparison with the risks that humans share as a result of a corporate activity—such as degradation of the environment, higher rates of cancer and other diseases, job-related disfigurement or death, community and family breakdown after a factory is closed and jobs are shipped overseas, and even a life with no income or health insurance if we choose not to affiliate with a corporation.

Large companies rarely risk anything nearly that serious. They rarely undergo corporate death (charter revocation) or disfigurement. The burden of risk is unequal, and one source of this inequality is the changes in laws and regulations that happened after companies gained access to the law-making process when they were declared to share the same rights as persons.

Peak Denial…


Ostrich & oil donkey

From RICHARD HEINBERG
Post Carbon Institute

There is nothing but “Sad News for Peak Oil Disciples” these days, according to the Financial Post.

The latest example: Leonardo Maugeri, a fellow in the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs—and a long-time critic of Peak Oil analysis—has just published a new report, “Oil: The Next Revolution,” in which he forecasts a sharp increase in world oil production capacity and the risk of an oil price collapse. His report has triggered a spate of press articles with titles like “No Peak Oil In Sight”, “Potential U.S. Oil Boom shakes Up Energy Politics,” and “Peak Oil Is Simply Not a Threat Anymore.”

These follow on the heels of a string of other articles touting increasing production of oil from “tight” shale deposits in the US—pieces with titles like “Has Peak Oil Peaked?” and “Is ‘Peak Oil’ Idea Dead?” And those in turn ride the slipstream of Daniel Yergin’s widely feted book The Quest, which provided last year’s fodder for an anti-Peak Oil media frenzy.

The recent deluge of cornucopian triumphalism has provoked a few thoughtful responses, including, “Has Peak Oil Idea . . . Peaked?” and “Is Peak Oil Dead?”, both of which carefully sift the evidence and conclude that world oil production is better understood when viewed

The Great Food Crisis Emerges…


tunisia.jpg

From LESTER BROWN
Ecological Buddism
Thanks to John Lovejoy

No norm to return to:
It’s real, and it’s not going away anytime soon

As last year, 2011, began, the price of wheat set an all-time high in the United Kingdom. Food riots spread across Algeria. Russia imported grain to sustain its cattle herds. India wrestled with an 18% annual food inflation rate. China looked abroad for potentially massive quantities of wheat and corn. The Mexican government bought corn futures to avoid unmanageable tortilla price rises. The U.N. Food and Agricultural organization announced that its food price index had hit an all-time high.

Weather has always caused spikes in commodities prices, but now trends on both sides of the food supply/demand equation are driving up prices. On the demand side, the culprits are population growth, rising affluence, and the use of grain to fuel cars. On the supply side: soil erosion, aquifer depletion, the loss of cropland to non-farm uses, diversion of irrigation water to cities, the plateauing of crop yields in agriculturally advanced countries, and — due to climate change — crop-withering heat waves and melting mountain glaciers and ice sheets. These climate-related trends are destined to take a far greater toll in the future.

Republicans so dazed and confused now they can’t think straight…


From digby

One unexpected upside of the health care decision is the fact that the Republicans are so shocked and unbalanced that they can’t think straight:

[T]he GOP leader in the U.S. Senate gave a surprising answer on “Fox News Sunday” when asked how Republicans would provide health care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans.

“That is not the issue,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “The question is how to go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world.”

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace interrupted, “You don’t think 30 million uninsured is an issue?”

“We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a western European system,” McConnell said. “That’s exactly what is at the heart of Obamacare. They want to … have the federal government take over all American health care. The federal government can’t handle Medicare or Medicaid.”

I’m sure McConnell isn’t quite this stupid so he must be playing to Murrican throwbacks who think that Western Europe is some hellscape