Archive for September, 2006

Long article on California and carbon

Friday, September 15th, 2006

For your reading pleasure.

In Gamble, Calif. Tries to Curb Greenhouse Gases (NY Times)

Community Supported Energy

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Maybe this is an idea that’s been around for a while, but I’ve only learned of it recently, through the mansucript of Greg Pahl‘s latest book (tentatively titled The Energy Survival Plan: Local Solutions to a Global Crisis), that we’ll be publishing in March ’07. The more I read, the more I like. Here’s another guy on the subject.

Community Renewable Energy Is Just Around the Corner

by Ted Bernhard

September 11, 2006
For decades, the conventional wisdom about developing energy projects in the U.S. has been that “big” always meant cheaper, and therefore better, projects. This produced what has become our modern centralized electric power system fueled primarily by coal, natural gas and nuclear power.

One thing is for sure: when done right, investment in community renewables can be highly profitable for investors.

In the mid-to late 1990s, however, the electric power industry began to hear concerns, particularly from the environmental community, about the negative environmental consequences of a system based too heavily on these types of power. As a result, a second wave of thinking arose that called not just for producing the cheapest power at any cost, but also for finding ways to produce cleaner energy from renewable sources such as the wind, sun, biomass, water and geothermal heat — and to do so on a scale large enough to become a significant portion of utilities energy portfolios.

Although the shift toward large-scale renewable energy has already begun to make a positive difference, today the U.S. finds itself on the verge of another new wave of thinking that incorporates the lessons of the past, but goes beyond merely addressing cost and environmental concerns and seeking maximum output. This new model, which is gradually and quietly rolling into communities across the country, is the distributed “community renewables” model, in which new power projects are smaller and tightly integrated with local communities and local resources in a way that the economics become more favorable and communities are able to participate directly in some of the benefits.


How to steal an election

Friday, September 15th, 2006

This reminds me of a great line in a song by Dan Bern: “I would never be so dumb | To say they stole an election | They bought the damn thing fair and square | The emperor’s in his underwear”

Anyway, Jon-Mikel brought to my attention the blog of a friend of his, on which a Princeton computer crew’s video of vote stealing is viewable. Here’s the little video to mull over. And below, the old fashioned print version.

The main findings of our study are:

1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss. We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.

2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.

3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses � computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.

4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold’s software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines’ hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security.

Jeepers. So tell me, why is it that in America, “home of the free and the brave,” crap like Diebold can happen and the most any of us do about it is say snide things on our blogs, while in places like Brazil, when the people realize they are being screwed, they just up and unscrew? To quote the kids these days, “WTF?”

Sleeth tours Texas

Friday, September 15th, 2006

The good doctor is on the move. Not only is he trying to save the world (from a real problem), but I can say from personal experience that he’s an incredibly sweet guy. He’s now in Texas spreading the word here, here, and here (though, admittedly, this last one doesn’t have to do with Texas, and doesn’t really involve Sleeth that much even though it’s all about him).

Best movie review in a long time

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Yesterday’s Valley News includes the weekend’s “Entertainment Highlights” by Alex Hanson. One of his tidbits is hilarious:

I waited all summer for a drive-in double bill as wacky as this one: Material Girls, starring Hilary and Haylie Duff, and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Think of it as “why the radical Islamists hate us,” and “what they do about it.” I don’t really want to see either of these movies, but put them together and I’m charmed. Fairlee Drive-In, Route 5 in Fairlee, snack bar and gate open at 7, first film starts at 8 p.m.

Localization, Localization, Localization

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

This Jason guy is cool. This WELL thing is cool.

The Good News Is Local
Kelpie Wilson Interviews Jason Bradford
t r u t h o u t | Interview

Wednesday 13 September 2006

Jason Bradford is a PhD evolutionary biologist who studied the effects of climate change on cloud forests in the Andes under the auspices of the Missouri Botanical Garden and other institutions. But in 2004 he switched his focus from study to action by initiating a remarkable community organizing effort in his new home town of Willits, California, called Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL).

In a world where the global political, economic, and environmental trends are so negative and frightening, efforts like WELL really stand out. Jason is no slouch at spreading the word about WELL – he hosts a radio show called The Reality Report, is a correspondent for Global Public Media, and periodically contributes to his local newspaper – so I asked him to answer a few questions about the project for Truthout readers.

Kelpie Wilson: Jason, in a nutshell, what is the mission of WELL?

I like Keef

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

and his cartoons, so I’ll help him spread his word.


I never did trust that Greg Palast character

Monday, September 11th, 2006

And now I’ve been proven right… he’s a dangerous danger of the most dasterdly sort!

Palast Charged with Journalism in the First DegreeSeptember 11, 2006
by Greg Palast

It’s true. It’s weird. It’s nuts. The Department of Homeland Security, after a five-year hunt for Osama, has finally brought charges against… Greg Palast. I kid you not. Send your cakes with files to the Air America wing at Guantanamo.

Though not just yet. Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana.

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It’s been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW’s (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, “It is a prison set-up” — except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.


The most fun I ever had

Friday, September 8th, 2006

perhaps, was playing in a Balinese style (gong anklung) gamelan back in college. Oh so long ago, and when you fall in love with a musical style from the other side of the world involving 20ish instruments, it’s not very easy to just find a new gamelan to join. Lo and behold, a couple weeks ago I crossed paths with a Dartmouth prof, Jody Diamond, who just happens to be maybe the top expert on Balinese gamelan in the U.S. and who runs and who is no starting up a community gamelan to be based in Lebanon, NH. What are the odds?

Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Once an event has happened, odds don’t apply. But here’s my main point:


That very well means, well, you. Do you live in the upper valley? Do you want to bang on chunks of metal with a bamboo hammer? Do you want to make cool music filled with interlocking rhythms and suble harmonics? Do you want to have the most fun you’ve ever had–and it’s all legal? Then you want to join this gamelan. No musical experience needed, none whatsoever. (I didn’t have any when I started out in the college gamelan way back when.)

Interested? Go to and contact Jody. You’ll be glad you did.


Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Wat posted the following comment to an earlier blog:

A friend of mine is hypermiling his Non hybrid Saturn and has a best of 88mpg! NOT A TYPO.Gets 70+ on a regular basis. Car is undergoing modifications for further mileage, details can be found here:

This is what we love to hear. Wat, please encourage your friend to post some of his/her tips here at the grasshopper. Others are encouraged too.

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