You have to be OK with a lot of awful stuff to vote for Donald Trump

You don’t have to believe everything Donald Trump does to vote for him, but you do have to be OK with everything he believes and everything he’s done.

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You don’t have to be a liar to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with lying.

You don’t have to be a hypocrite to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with hypocrisy.

You don’t have to enjoy mocking the disabled to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with other people mocking the disabled.

You don’t have to be a narcissist to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with narcissism.

You don’t have to be an adulterer to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with adultery.

You don’t have to be a misogynist to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with misogyny.

You don’t have to be a sexual assaulter to vote for Donald Trump, you just have to be ok with sexual assault. Continue reading

Looking forward to more electrics on the road – Renewable Journal for 2/17/2014

For more posts in this series, please click here.

In the next several years we’re going to start seeing a lot more fully electric vehicles on the roads than we do today. The price of oil isn’t going to stay low forever, and car companies will soon be producing vehicles that are more versatile than the few electrics on the road today. Ranges will increase, charging times will drop, and van, crossover, and SUV models with four-wheel drive will be designed and brought to market. Continue reading

Why I chose the Leaf over the Jetta TDI – Renewable Journal for 7/4/2014

Tax credits and rebates, low cost of operation, and reduced air pollution all made the Leaf the better choice for my family.

[MotorTrend]For more posts in this series, please click here.

I know I’m going to get asked why I spent over 30k (before all the crazy tax rebates) on a car that only goes 80 miles. My father especially will ask at some point, and he’s already called it a “toy” car.

He’s not entirely wrong, either. I’m in my 40s now, and it’s actually quite a bit of fun to drive around in a car that can go from 0 to 60 in just a tad over 6 seconds. I’ve never had a car that has this kind of acceleration. Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #111: Mmmmm… Beeeeeer

Sorry for the long absence. Let’s carry on, shall we? “If you listen to the guys up in the stands, pretty soon you’ll be up there sitting with them.” Who said it? Continue reading

Oh Noes!!11! Glacirs not meltin. Mak IPCC bad!

In case you haven’t heard, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is dead, done in by the nefarious failure to check a single reference in a 3000 page report. Or rather, that’s what climate disruption deniers want you to think. Here’s what’s really going on.

Back in 2007, Working Group 2 (WG2) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) put together a large list of what climate disruption was likely to impact around the world. One of the impacts was reduced availability of fresh water due to rapidly melting glaciers around the world, and especially in the Himalayas. One of the specific claims was that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035, an amazingly and likely unrealistically fast rate of melting. After an Indian government minister questioned this claim, scientists looked into it and found that the date was incorrect and that internal procedures for vetting references weren’t followed in this particular case. As as result, the IPCC has issued a formal statement of apology for the error.

And if this were about any other topic except climate disruption, that would be the end of it. Continue reading

Nota Bene #96: Saturn's Hexagon and the Bulava Spiral

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #93: Linksgiving

Welcome to my home Continue reading

Waste not want not (Blog Action Day)

I have no doubt that the climate is changing, nor that it will continue to change.  It seems reasonably well established that  the Earth has gone through extreme climate swings in the past; on the basis of that i predict that it will do so again. Maybe humans are not responsible for climate change, and the planet would be warming in any case as it sheds the final remnants of the last ice age. Maybe it is entirely our fault. The truth usually falls between the two extremes. I do not believe that humans have the power to destroy the Earth or life. Suggesting that we do strikes me as the height of egocentricity: both preceded us by unimaginable lengths of time and will survive us for just as long. We do, however, have the power to destroy ourselves and most of the forms of life we know.

Continue reading

The greening of a high alpine lake

Earlier this week, for the first time in at least eight years, I revisited one of my favorite places on the Earth that I’ve yet experienced. It’s a snowmelt-filled, glacier-carved alpine lake just below treeline in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s surrounded by tall cliffs and you have to scramble over boulders to get to it (something that my wife didn’t exactly appreciate when I tried to show it to her). Sure, it’s close to one of the favorite places for tourists in the park, but most of the time I don’t mind a few other people so long as they’re being polite and not too noisy, and the people eating lunch around the lake were generally OK.

This lake and I go way back, back to when I abandoned my Catholicism in favor of a neo-paganism of my own creation. It helped me find myself and a new spirituality in a period of my life when so many things were changing that it felt like the best I could do is hang on. And I feel that it was this lake that saved my life one very, very strange night in a strange town in central Pennsylvania.

I feel a spiritual connection to this lake, like I can feel its presence with me when I concentrate.

When I arrived at the lake, though, I discovered something that saddens me. Eight years ago the lake looked like liquid glass it was so pristine and clear. But yesterday it was green. Continue reading

Planes, trains, or automobiles? Green transportation choices are not clear cut

carsbusWhen studies look at the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by transportation, the focus is nearly always on the emissions created in fuel combustion – gasoline and diesel for cars and trucks, bunker fuels for maritime vessels, jet fuel for aircraft, and so on. One excellent example of this kind of study is the Getting There Greener study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The UCS study shows that travel by bus emits the least carbon at all distances traveled and for one, two, or four travelers. Similarly, the study found that flying first class was almost always the worst option, with driving a typical SUV any appreciable distance coming in a close second.

But what most studies lack is a detailed analysis of the overall cradle-to-grave lifecycle of the transportation modes being compared. A new study by two University of California-Berkeley researchers has attempted to analyze the bulk of the lifecycle of multiple types of passenger vehicles, including fuel production, manufacturing and maintenance of the vehicles themselves, infrastructure construction and repair costs, all in addition to the basic fuel consumption. And the study also looks at three commonly regulated pollutants in addition to energy consumption and greenhouse gas (mostly carbon dioxide) emissions.

And the results are quite a bit different from purely fuel consumption-based analyses. Continue reading

Coal waste dumps: ticking toxic time bombs

Tom Yulsman of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado ran the following post on the toxic nature of coal combustion byproducts at the CEJ’s blog, CEJournal. Tom has been kind enough to permit S&R to crosspost his work here. This is Tom’s second guest post: his first (on a very different topic) can be found here, and the original of this post can be found here.

A truly frightening video from ground zero of the coal ash catastrophe

The New York Times reports today that the coal sludge that surged out of a breached Tennessee Valley Authority impoundment in Roane County was actually three times larger than previously estimated. The updated total is 5.4 million cubic yards, “or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep,” Times reporter Shaila Dewan reports.

The discrepancy casts doubt on the credibility of assurances from the Tennessee Valley Authority that the coal combustion waste from its Kingston Fossil Plant poses little risk to residents of the area. (Several days ago, one TVA official told the Associated Press that the waste “consists of inert material not harmful to the environment.”)

In fact, evidence has been gathering for years that the waste dumps pose a very serious risk to human health and the environment. Continue reading

Tennessee coal ash slide, Day 3

UPDATE: Greenpeace sent a photographer to the area, and while the photographer was prevented from getting close, he got some good shots here. Also, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News devoted primetime to this “sludgeslide” (below the cut). And finally, frontpage NYTimes tomorrow AM will have this article on the ashslide: Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its Hazards.

The Kingston Steam Plant ashslide is already being called the southeast’s worst environmental disaster by some environmentalists and journalists. It appears that some of the national media outlets are finally picking up the story, although this disaster remains woefully undercovered.

CNN has finally picked up the story (last updated around 6 AM MST) with interviews of two Appalachian environmentalists, Chandra Taylor of the Southern Environmental Law Center and Dave Cooper of the Mountaintop Removal Road Show.

Although video from the scene shows dead fish on the banks of the tributary, he said that “in terms of toxicity, until an analysis comes in, you can’t call it toxic.”

[Chandra Taylor] called that statement “irresponsible.” Continue reading

"Clean" coal ash flood may make new Superfund site (Update #4)

Latest link updates are at the bottom of the page.
Update #2 & 3: New links added.
Update #1: New information included below the cut and some corrections below.

A major environmental disaster occurred yesterday, but few news outlets outside Tennessee appear to be covering it: 2.6 million cubic yards (about 525 million gallons) of fly ash sludge poured out from behind an earthen embankment at the Kingston coal plant (source: The Tennessean). S&R’s Wendy Redal blogged about the October, 2000 Massey Energy coal slurry flood earlier this month – this ashslide is bigger, and while it’s more solid, it still covers 400 acres in up to 6 feet of toxic coal ash.

To put this into scale with the Exxon Valdez spill, this coal ash release is presently estimated to be 48 times larger (in volume) and as dangerous. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: new site calls out "clean coal" boosters


That coal is dirty is hardly a surprise to anyone who’s read about coal. Mining coal destroys mountaintops and towns as surely as it does the lives of the miners themselves. Burning coal emits more radioactivity than nuclear reactors do even when they have unexpected coolant releases. And the sulfur, mercury, and nitrogen oxides that exit the smokestacks of coal plants cause acid rain and heavy metal toxicity downwind of every coal plant that exists. And yet the coal mining industry and utilities are engaged in a public relations campaign to convince the world that coal can be clean. Last week I was pointed to two new sites that call out “clean coal” boosters: Coal is Clean and Coal is Dirty. Continue reading

Millions of Americans are drinking water tainted with drugs


By Martin Bosworth

If you were grossed out by the generally reasonable idea of drinking recycled sewer water to preserve supplies, you’ll love this–as many as 41 million Americans have been drinking water tainted with trace elements of pharmaceuticals of all shapes, sizes, and effects:

Continue reading