Monday, October 2, 2017

The Purpose of Art

We should always have art around us! It’s good for us, it lifts our spirits and inspires us to be a better person! Furthermore, ugly, square brick houses are built on purpose to suppress us. Modern architecture teaches and funds only those projects that are square. These buildings push us inwards into the space, in order to keep our energy down. Instead circular, curvy, rounded buildings made of wood, with high ceilings, domes and spirals would be much better, since they are powerful energy enhancers that raise our consciousness.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dirty Banks

As fossil fuel cronies and an anti-science agenda erode our federal government, it's clear we need to flex our consumer power in the fight for climate justice.
Big banks like Wells Fargo fund the companies behind dangerous pipelines -- like Keystone XL, Line 3, and Dakota Access -- that threaten Indigenous rights, our climate, and our communities.
Keystone XL poses a grave and immediate threat to our climate and to every community it cuts through. It would carry 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil -- tar sands -- every day from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It would be responsible for annual greenhouse gas emissions each year equal to 37.7 million cars -- a disaster for our climate.
The pipeline would cut directly through Sioux treaty lands and near several other tribal reservations and the Ponca Trail of Tears, yet Tribal Nations in Nebraska and South Dakota have not been properly consulted.
But the movement of citizens and stakeholders calling on big banks like Wells Fargo to divest from pipelines is growing and working.
Earlier this year the city of Seattle became the first major city to divest from Wells Fargo because of the company's involvement with pipelines. After public pressure, U.S. Bank formally excluded gas and oil pipelines from their project financing. And it's becoming clear that Keystone XL is a risky investment, as companies like Shell and Exxon sell off their tar sands instead of making plans to ship them through the pipeline.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Being taken to the cleaners

We see many examples of the negative effects of monopoly power with little effective oversight, the Equifax debacle just to cite one. Even worse, however, is monopoly power that has captured the regulatory oversight that monitors it. That appears to be the case in Florida with Florida Power and Light (FPL).
A Miami New Times article points out the billions in dollars that FPL gained through rate increases in order to be more prepared for hurricanes was apparently totally ineffective, as 90% of FPL’s customers lost power when Irma hit. That includes areas on the east coast of the state where winds only reached the strength of a Category 1 hurricane. Despite supposedly spending $2 billion to reinforce more than 500 critical power lines and trimming trees near power lines, a major cause of power loss, the damage to the power grid was substantially more extensive than the Category 2 hurricane, Wilma, that struck the state in 2005. Now, obviously, there were differences between the two hurricanes, especially as Irma’s more destructive side hit Florida. But the billions of dollars spent by FPL preparing for a storm just like this does not seem to have had much effect.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Lessons to be learned

Thoughts to consider in Florida:
The cycles of storms and droughts are an inevitable fact of life in Texas. But as he will also tell you — even if you could make the case that climate played no role whatsoever in Hurricane Harvey’s fury or that we weren’t to blame at least in part for the severity of the last drought or the next — those storms and droughts are still more destructive than they ever were before, simply because there is more to destroy.
In the 16 years since Tropical Storm Allison deluged Houston, that city, which famously balks at any kind of zoning regulation, and the surrounding region, which encompasses all or parts of 15 counties, have undergone a period of explosive growth, from 4.8 million people in 2000 to more than 7 million today. Harris County alone, which includes the city of Houston, has grown to 4.6 million, up from 3.4 million.
You can almost feel it, that wave of development, of strip malls and gated communities, of big-box stores with bigger parking lots, rising up from the outskirts of faraway Austin, ebbing toward Houston and gaining strength as it rolls south toward that very spot.
A century’s worth of unchecked growth, has brought prosperity to many. But it also has altered the landscape in ways that have made both the droughts and the floods more destructive and made that prosperity fleeting. Much of the region sits atop the overtaxed Gulf Coast Aquifer, and though efforts have made over the last 40 years to limit withdrawals from it, enough water has been sucked out of it that the ground still subsides in some places, altering runoff patterns and allowing flood waters to gather.
What’s more, those more than 2 million newcomers to the region are living in houses and driving on roads and shopping in stores built atop what once was prairie that could have absorbed at least some of the fury of this flood and the next. What once was land that might have softened the storm’s blow is now, in many cases, collateral damage in what could turn out to be a $40 billion disaster.
It will take months before the full weight of Hurricane Harvey’s ruinous rampage along the Gulf is realized, and it will be years before a full recovery. And in the space between those two points, there might just be a moment to consider how best to rebuild, to pause and rethink how and where we build, to reflect not just on whether we’re altering the weather, but whether there is a way to make ourselves less vulnerable to it. Perhaps we could build differently, or set aside land that would both help recharge the dwindling water supplies in times of drought and slow the floods when they come.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Picture this

Let your imagination take you here:

The Rochelle School was built in 1885, and is located off of Hwy. 234 in Rochelle, in eastern Alachua County.  The school was added to the National Register in 1973, as building # 763000565.  The school was originally called the Martha Perry Institute, to honor the wife of Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry, a prosperous Alachua planter from Rochelle who became Florida’s fourth Governor.  The large two-story school operated from 1885 to 1935.  The building is interesting because of its architecture and because of its use as an educational institution.  The building appears to be in good condition, but it should be confirmed that the roof is not leaking.  The building is in private ownership.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

19 is the new 60

When it comes to physical activity, 19 is the new 60. That’s according to a study published in June, which examined data from 12,500 people who wore tracking devices for a week. “Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low,” said the study’s senior author, Johns Hopkins Prof. Vadim Zipunnikov, “and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds.”
In elementary school, a quarter of the boys and half the girls weren’t getting even a single hour of “moderate-to-vigorous activity” each day. By ages 12 to 19, those figures were even worse. American kids reach their Geritol years before they’re old enough to drink.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Healthcare

When you give Americans the details of single payer, such as the degree of tax increases and government provisioning required, the policy’s popularity collapses. Recent proposals for statewide single payer systems in Vermont, California, and Colorado were overwhelmingly rejected by voters for being far too expensive. Claiming victory because Americans support a label but not its details is just as dishonest as when the GOP crows about Americans hating Obamacare while polls show them supporting its individual components. Such dishonesty is largely harmless in the context of an intraparty policy debate, but would quickly be met with devastating reality if the party ever tried to woo moderates and conservatives with single payer.