Posts Tagged 'penguins'

Various Links of High Interest

BusinessWeek calls into question the administration’s efficacy in ridding the roads of low-milage vehicles in the Cash for Clunkers program.  Since we poured another 2 billion into it, we’ll have to wait a while to get the full information on how much more fuel efficient the cars purchased were.  I am deeply ambivalent about this program to begin with- still sore from bailing out the auto industry the first two or three times, feel we could use the money elsewhere, pretty sure limits on new car purchases aren’t limited enough- so I look forward to having my suspicions confirmed or allayed.

Interesting and ultimately terrifying article presenting pro arguments for climate engineering.  The two biggest pros:

a) ‘The idea of even testing such a system scares many people, and some scientists argue that climate-engineering research should remain theoretical. But Dr. Caldeira says that small-scale testing — perhaps an experiment intended to slightly cool the Arctic — could be safer than the alternative.

“The worst-case scenario,” he says, “is one in which you have an untested system that you need to deploy quickly at large scale in a desperate attempt to ward off some sort of climate crisis. It could be much better to start testing soon at small scale and to observe what happens as the system is deployed.”’

b) ‘If rich European countries with strong green constituencies cannot live up to their own promises to cut carbon, how much hope is there of permanently enforcing tough restrictions in the United States, much less in poor countries like India and China? If even a few nations demur or cheat, the whole system can break down.

By contrast, climate engineering does not require unanimous agreement or steadfast enforcement throughout the world.’

Ok, a makes sense to me briefly- I do like tested methods- until I start wondering how climate engineering can ever ever ever be done on a ‘small’ scale.  Like there’s a sandbox world hovering in a lab somewhere and folks in labcoats and goggles are watching it closely with clipboards, and one is ready to step in with a fire extinguisher at any time.  We live in this lab.  How are we going to get close to 7 billion people to sign a waiver to be experiment subjects?  Is there even a way to decide that things are desperate enough to muck more up on the one planet we can live on without a consensus?  Which brings me to how terrifying b is.  Unilateral experimental strikes on the climate?  I’m pretty sure that if anyone who is not the USA tried that, we’d consider it an act of terrorism.

Leads me smack up against a new report on climate change and national security: prognosis, uh-oh.

Oh dear, oh dear.  I watched this video of baby penguins waddling around to try and calm down after all this bad news, but just ended up getting really jealous when people got to pet them!  People who are not me!  Sigh.  One day.

Busy Week and Vegetarian Insight

I’m planning and building a tiny kitchen for a class assigment this Saturday.  Also, V’s apartment is soaked with very gross stuff and they’ve knocked out a couple of his walls to find out where it came from, so add that to the hectic.  So pardon the slow posting while I draw and help V move stuff around- and ust know that my kitchen has a built-in compost pile, greenhouse, and herb gaden, so I am with you all in spirit.  Maybe I’ll post some pictures when I’m done with the model?

And yes, I realize I am leaving you hanging, without a monthly goal, but right now the goal is to survive the week.  Plus I was all excted about gardening then it got cold again, so I’m just being stubborn and not wanting to do anything but that this month.  I’ve overwatered my houseplants to compensate.

As for the vegetarian hook- I was exclaiming with a vegetarian friend over the bizarreness of this report on how scientists at the Antarctic research station no longer eat penguin breasts for dinner.  No longer!  Thank goodness that madness has stopped!  Seriously, how do you look at a penguin and think for even a second that they could be tasty!  They’re so adorable and squawky, how can you not be so amused and happy with them that you have no chance to consider them with a nice mustard sauce?

My wise friend then pointed out that, as a moral vegetarian, she looks at every animal and thinks that.  This gave me pause, because only penguins evoke this reaction in me.  Not that I love meat entirely and wholly, but at some point, I’m going to look at an animal and wonder how it tastes, and if it’s offered in a legal or at least safe fashion, I’ll have a try.  But not penguins.  Now, why are we wired so differently?  Her comment was a big insight for me into how different my world view would have to be for me to be a happy vegetarian.

Nonetheless, I am considering some sort of flying bargain- I get to fly, guilt-free with offsets, if I eat vegetarian for some specified amount.  I’m not saying this negates my carbon from flying or absolves me from planetal destruction, but it’s a way to leverage my guilt to make one good change.  Hum.  Maybe.

P.S. Argh so sad.

Bawwwww, and Whaaa?

Seriously, this is so adorable my head hurts.

As long as we’re dwelling in the realm of hard-to-swallow, I should mention that Bush just designated huge tracts of ocean as protected areas, marking the largest sea preservation effort ever made.  Well well.  Keep in mind everything else the man’s done to destroy the environment, yes, but thank him for this.

Good News, Everyone!

They saved almost 400 of the penguins in Brazil!  And Make It Right‘s first green homes are ready for displaced people in New Orleans!

Whew, let’s concentrate on that and forget the rest of the week.  Have a good evening.

Mostly Rotten Monday

Today was a pretty lame day, especially after I found this article in my newsfeed:

More than 400 penguins, most of them young, have been found dead on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro state over the past two months, according to Eduardo Pimenta, superintendent for the state coastal protection and environment agency in the resort city of Cabo Frio.

While it is common here to find some penguins – both dead and alive – swept by strong ocean currents from the Strait of Magellan, Pimenta said there have been more this year than at any time in recent memory.

Poor little guys, as if sea lions and being really cold and having to eat regurgitated raw fish weren’t enough.  I wish that on bad days I could set a “good news” filter on the RSS feed.  Spend the morning reading about neat scientific experiments and maybe a few stories on underprivileged kids getting college scholarships, then switch back to “full reality” after lunch.

On the upside, I have discovered how to take shorter showers, and I’m down to under five minutes in the morning.  This is big for me, since I used to average 10-12 minutes in there.  I’m a lingerer- plus, I had long hair, and that required at least five minutes of proper attention by itself.  Getting it all wet, shampoo, conditioner, leaving in the conditioner so it will really condition, getting it all out afterwards…

Had long hair, though.  I got a fairly drastic cut, like long-enoughto-donate drastic.  I’d been growing it out for a couple years to see what happened (it got longer and I just wore it in a bun all the time).  So yes, I’ll be mailing someone my disembodied ponytail, which feels like a bad practical joke, but it does some good, so there we go.  And I realized that I need a small fraction of the shampoo and conditioner I used to, and that it takes me about a minute and a half to wash it all nicely.  Progress!  Plus, now I look adorable in hats.

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