26 March 2007

Happy Make Up Your Own Holiday Day!


Go ahead, make up your own holiday.
March 26th is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day!

I think mine will be 'Raoul Bova in Spandex Day'!

Yay! What a great day!

22 March 2007

Flu blues, Green beer and Orange County


Last Friday was another work crew gathering to say farewell to a couple more co-workers that are jumping ship. We went to Melrose and proceeded to get out of control again, however I managed to slip out around 9:30pm and promptly go home to bed. I slept in on Saturday, skipping my running, workout and anything else productive. Jeff and Matt came by and picked me up at 6:30pm and we headed to Lisa's St. Patrick's Day party in Chestermere. Jeri-Anne and Doug showed up before us, and Rachel and Marowshka showed up soon after. Lots of laughs and lots of food ensued.
Oddly, the guy who was so sick this weekend couldn't even get up for the pictures, and now, a few days later, I'm the one suffering with a bout of viral nastiness???

I was feeling the need to have a mental break this weekend which I think was a pre-cursor to catching the flu on Tuesday. I've been in bed for about 34 hours straight and managed to crawl into work this morning to get a few loose ends tied up before leaving on vacation tomorrow. The accumulation of OutGames planning, Synergy beginning-of-season management, training and work concerns have been too much lately. I think my body's finally had enough and said, 'screw you, dude. You're getting the flu and sleeping for two days, end of story'. Of course, it's obligatory that three days before vacation I get sick anyways, but all of this has been a perfect storm of sorts. Let's just say that even though this trip isn't happening at the best time, I'm glad it's here and after April 8th, I'll be so relieved.

I got my first haircut in, oh, maybe three years today? I'm starting to feel quite attached to my beard and just didn't feel right going back to the overall hairless look, so the beard got to stay a little longer and I splurged for a trim. Go figure that the only thing I got out of bed for yesterday was my waxing appointment. Weird harriness/baldness existentialism ensues...

Now the flu symptoms are turning to sinus congestion. Maybe it was a cold afterall, and not the flu? It's possible, and would make be feel a bit better that I continued to resist getting a flu shot again this year.

We leave for Los Angeles tomorrow evening and land at our condo in Newport Beach (on the beach!) late in the evening. Craig's been the main planner of the trip (which is a godsend since he used to live down there) and Reid, Frank and myself are tagging along as well as Craig's wife Karen. The guys have a Food Park Race planned for Saturday morning. We have rides along the PCH, Glendora Mountain, Temecula to Palm Springs and 2 or 3 days of training at the ADT Center Velodrome planned for the week. We have a day off next Wednesday, and we're trying to figure out what we could do that would be distinctly Californian for the day. I think it's going to be a day at Disneyland, which will be a lot of fun. I'll try to take as many pics as possible and write an update when I get back, but of course OutGames will be looming by then so that report might be delayed by a week. Nah...screw OutGames. Buh-bye! Ta-ta for now!

19 March 2007

Uh-oh...is it time to pull out the big guns already?

Scientists eye odd climate fixes
Last Updated: Monday, March 19, 2007 | 9:44 AM ET
The Associated Press

When climate scientist Andrew Weaver considers the idea of tinkering with Earth's air, water or sunlight to fight global warming, he remembers the lessons of a favourite children's book.

In the book, a cheese-loving king's castle is infested with mice. So the king brings in cats to get rid of the mice. Then the castle's overrun with cats, so he brings in dogs to get rid of them, then lions to get rid of the dogs, elephants to get rid of the lions, and finally, mice to get rid of the elephants.

That scenario in The King, the Mice and the Cheese, by Nancy and Eric Gurney, should give scientists pause before taking extreme measures to mess with Mother Nature, says Weaver of the University of Victoria.

However, in recent months, several scientists are considering doing just that.

Desperate measures
They are exploring global warming solutions that sound wholly far-fetched, including giant artificial "trees" that would filter carbon dioxide out of the air, a bizarre "solar shade" created by a trillion flying saucers that lower Earth's temperature, and a scheme that mimics a volcano by spewing light-reflecting sulphates high in the sky.

These are costly projects of last resort — in case Earth's citizens don't cut back fast enough on greenhouse gas emissions and the worst of the climate predictions appear not too far away. Unfortunately, the solutions could cause problems of their own — beyond their exorbitant costs — including making the arid Middle East even drier and polluting the air enough to increase respiratory illnesses.

Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said mankind already has harmed Earth's climate inadvertently, so it's foolish to think that people can now fix it with a few drastic measures.

But at Trenberth's same Boulder, Colo., research centre, climate scientist Tom Wigley is exploring that mock volcano idea.

"It's the lesser of two evils here [the other being doing nothing]," Wigley said. "Whatever we do, there are bad consequences, but you have to judge the relative badness of all the consequences."

Studying the concept of how volcanic pollutants could lessen global warming — the Earth was slightly cooler after the eruption of a Philippine volcano 16 years ago — was brought to the forefront of scientific debate last summer by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen.

"It was meant to startle the policymakers," said Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. "If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end, we have to do experiments like this."

In the past, scientists and others have avoided talking publicly about these ideas, known as "geoengineering," even though the concept was first raised in 1965. They worried that the hope of a quick technological fix to global warming would prevent politicians and the public from making the real energy sacrifices that they say are necessary to slow climate change.

David Keith, a University of Calgary engineering professor and one of the world's experts in geoengineering, says that just because tinkering with the air, water and sunlight are possible, they should not be substitutes for cutting emissions just because "we've been politically weak-kneed."

Instead, he said, such options should be researched as an "insurance policy" in case global warming is even worse than forecast. And that prospect has caused climate scientists to talk about the issue more openly in recent months.

There is also a chance that discussion of such radical ideas as a volcano or sun shade could shock the world into acting to reduce fossil fuel emissions, Keith said.

However, White House science adviser Jack Marburger said spending money on geoengineering doesn't make sense. The U.S. federal government, which spends about $2 billion US on climate change science, invests nearly all of its research on energy sources that produce fewer or no greenhouse gas emissions.

"I don't think it's scientifically feasible at this time to consider a plan like that [geoengineering]," Marburger said. "The real urgency is to reduce carbon dioxide."

In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change looked at geoengineering as part of its report on how to lessen global warming.

It found some promise, worried about unexpected side effects, legal and ethical implications, and concluded that "unlike other strategies, geoengineering addresses the symptoms rather than the causes of climate change."

Even proponents of geoengineering research are wary.

"We are playing with fire here," Keith said. "Those of us suggesting we do something are suggesting it with real nervousness."

Last week at the Gwynne Dyer presentation, he said that he talked to James Lovelock quite regularly, and one of Lovelock's main concerns was that as humans continue to increase our dominance and control all of the ecosystems on the planet, we are inadvertently becoming 'global climate engineers' -- that at some point in order to keep the climate, the atmosphere and the ecosystem balanced and regulated against our influences, we will have no choice to start intervening with technology. After that point, there will be no going back. We will forever afterwards be monitoring, predicting and inventing new technologies to keep the planet habitable into the far future. Scary thoughts, but it already looks like it might be the less of two evils (as mentioned in the article above). The worse evil? Doing nothing.

16 March 2007

Yeah, I know. Another Blogthing.

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

From Sean.

Shopper, Repent!

The leader of the Church of Stop Shopping explains how consumerism corrupts us - and how "not-buying" is our salvation.

by Bill Talen, aka Reverend Billy

In our strange worship at the Church of Stop Shopping we recently took a shiny Sunbeam toaster and put it in the center of the altar.

A young man named Jonah walked up the aisle of the church for his exorcism. As he walked toward the Sunbeam his obvious admiration for it, competing with his faith in the potential of his own buylessness, was very clear. The congregation prayed that he would somehow not grab that sleek chrome bread heater (it resembled a Mercedes coupe and had computerized controls, including a woman's voice that purred "Your toast is done"). I placed my hand on the forehead of this shaking soul as he pleaded with us, "Oh, I don't need your help, I'm just browsing!" How could we possibly blame him for the bald lie? We had positioned the Sunbeam beautifully on a red velvet cloth.

As Jonah reached for the product we prayed hard. The choir hummed and the deacons moved forward to lay hands on the craven consumer as the devil pulled the young man's begging fingers toward the toaster. Jonah was pretty far gone. "Oh ... toast and butter ... toast and butter ... it's more than a smell ... Oh, my God! Black currant jam on the butter, oh, oh!" The cry was hideous.

But wait! Jonah's hand hesitated, and then pulling out of that force field, it flew back and wavered there in the air. Jonah stared, in shock, at his released fingers. Then he ran around the church as if proving to a Pentecostal TV audience that now he could walk. Held aloft by the preacher, his hand was shaking with new freedom, unburdened. The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir was swaying with the power of a receiptless God-Goddess that surpasseth all valuation. The object looked cheated, cuckolded. Finally the Sunbeam deluxe toaster was just fucking junk.

Not-buying is a brave thing to do. At first it may induce vertigo, identity weirdness, and a desire for an unwanted pregnancy, but most often a new believer will have an abnormal kitsch-acquisition fit. The first response to the break in buying may be a huge sucking sound in your hands - you want to buy something, anything. You are headed for a relapse, a spree. My pastoral advice is to steer clear of Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, or any other fashion designer who is trying to anticipate the not-buying revolution by copping a look of weatheredness, offhandedness, or lack of manufacture. Their sales departments think all day about your escape, admiring it and blocking it. They study you via surveillance feeds as they sit in their easy chairs, thoughtfully rubbing their chins.

When you lift your hand from the product and back away from it, a bright, unclaimed space opens up. Consumers think it is a vacuum. It is really only the unknown - full of suppressed ocean life, glitterati from Bosch, DNA twists, and childhood quotes that if remembered would burn down the Disney Store. Many Americans consider this withdrawing gesture a dark thing. Officially, it is absurd, an antigesture, like an American who didn't go west, who didn't go into space, who had sex without a car.

In the Church of Stop Shopping we believe that buying is not nearly as interesting as not-buying. When you back away from the purchase, the product may look up at you with wanton eyes, but it will slump quickly back onto the shelf and sit there trying to get a life. The product needs you more than you need it - remember that.

Now, if you try this - if you lift your hand from the product, pull that hand back into the aisle, back away from the product, and carefully move toward the door - you may feel turbulence deep in your muscles' memory. You may feel the old grab, the lift, the swipe of plastic, and finally the bagging for the road. The ex-consumer can easily lose his or her footing, buffeted by all those ghost gestures.

Like crack cocaine or membership in the National Rifle Association, shopping is an annihilating addiction that must be slowed down to be stopped. Or flooded with new and different light. But people, please - do something! Think of something quick. The research phase is over. How many times do we have to hear that seven percent of the world's population is taking a third of the world's resources? How many neighborhoods need to be malled? When will our foreign policy be violent enough to turn our heads? Recently a local Starbucks rang with shouts of "We are from the Church of the Necessary Interruption!" We try many strategies. Enacting a purchase in a formal church ritual on Sunday or acting out a comic version of being born again might help those parishioners when they are cornered in Temptation Mall. Sweatshops are truly shocking, and I've seen the sheer force of the information stop a shopper. We make dramas, we sing and shout, and chain ourselves to Mickey Mouse. We are desperate to access the bright and unclaimed space that the corporations must desperately hide.

In another time, long, long ago, maybe you could have gone ahead and had a life without shopping. But now life without shopping is something that takes years of practice, since shopping is so virulent and ubiquitous that mothers are bathing their wombs with sounds of Mozart so that their fetuses will score higher on their SATs. Now everything from the most intimate disease to daydreaming is a pretext for the avant-fascism of convenience, comfort, and closure.

We might call that unclaimed space "ordinary life". And how do we design that back in? How much of real life hasn't made it into our fully mediated consumption? Can we ever go home again? We have made thousands of purchases - thousands of times the doors have closed behind us as we walked farther into that big, big sale.

The bumper sticker says Birth, Shopping, Death. Well, birth and death are a part of ordinary life. And ordinary life is itself amazing; the intriguing mystery that precedes birth and follows death does not stop when we are alive. Perhaps the great con began when churches made us pay our own arrival and departure. Life itself has as much unknown in it as death; it is just as inexplicable. That's the thrill of the ride. We say, Put the ODD Back in God!

We shop because we fear life. We shop because we want to banish from life something we identify with death, the unknown. It waits for us in that bright, unclaimed space. Of course, we are trained to think of what we can't know as a bad thing. Actually, it is the source of the brightness; it is why this space has no owner.

I'm claiming that the rejection of living-by-products opens up a sensual and peopled life, and it also has in it an acceptance of the unknown, which is always waiting with the glorious indifference of the fires that float above us in the night sky. Is it a contradiction that accepting this unknown is what makes it possible for us to live together? Well, there is nothing more thoroughly mysterious than love, thank God. Those who organize defenses against the Unknown (such as religious fundamentalists and consumer fundamentalists) foment numbness, hatred, and war. Unfortunately, they have perfected their imitation of ordinary living, and that comes to us as the comforting ghost gesture of shopping.

Ordinary life will feel counterintuitive, to put it mildly. But what will happen to the American consumer when the consuming stops is about as fascinating a question as we can ask.
_____

Excerpted from What Should I Do if Reverend Billy is in My Store? by Bill Talen (The New Press, 2005). Reprinted with the author's permission.

Bill Talen is an actor and activist who, as the Reverend Billy, leads the Church of Stop Shopping, an anti-consumerist communion devoted to putting the "Odd into God". He lives and preaches in New York City, but has been feted and arrested in several countries. For further information, visit revbilly.com.

Copyright (c) 2007 SoMAreview, LLC. All Rights Reserved

15 March 2007

Sequestration considerations

Albertans 'willing to pay' to fight climate change

A plan to pipe and store massive amounts of carbon dioxide underground could cost as much as $5 billion, Environment Minister Rob Renner said Wednesday. The announcement came as Carbon sequestration is a major component of the government's plan to deal with the threat of climate change. PM Stephen Harper was in Edmonton last week to announce funding that would help pay for such a project. The multi-billion-dollar cost would cover more than an extensive pipeline network linking the province's carbon emitters to gas dumping grounds ranging from old oil wells to coal beds and deep saltwater aquifers. Much of the cost will be incurred in actually stripping the carbon dioxide from emissions. In many cases, that will mean expensive retrofits to coal-fired power plants, refineries, upgraders and chemical plants whose smokestacks currently belch the gases into the air. The innovations would help push the province towards "zero-emission coal" generation, which Premier Ed Stelmach's throne speech mused about last week.

Renner unveiled the government's plans to update its climate change blueprint in the coming months, but only after it seeks Albertans' input from 10 public consultation meetings across the province between late March and late April. The government's position that all Albertans, and not just large emitters, need to put a greener foot forward in the climate change fight garnered praise from the oil and gas industry. Environmental groups, meanwhile, charged the government is dragging its heels in crafting a true environment plan. Marlo Raynolds, executive director of the Alberta-based Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, questioned why the government is further delaying on its climate change plan. "I'm wondering how much of it is a recognition their (greenhouse gas) regulation is so weak that they need to build public confidence," Raynolds said. However, Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the province's public consultation is key to moving the conversation beyond just one involving government and industry. "If we're going to get to the heart of this, end-use (public) consumption has to be a bigger part of this debate," Alvarez said. "It's not just an industry issue. Every single Albertan is an energy consumer." Opposition parties immediately assailed the consultation as a "public relations exercise" designed to stall for time while the government determines what to do on climate change.

Renner said the government's newly introduced greenhouse gas legislation, which requires large industrial emitters to meet 12% emissions intensity reductions (carbon dioxide per barrel of oil), will drive up industry costs, which will ultimately be passed on to the taxpayer. The minister said he's seen a rough number of the additional costs and promised it to the media, but his staff later said those numbers haven't yet been calculated. Renner also revealed that plans to capture carbon dioxide and build a pipeline that would ship CO2 from Alberta's northern oilsands to the western sedimentary basin could cost as much as $5B -- far above earlier estimates of $1.5B. A final climate change plan will be released by the fall.
(Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal 070315)

Well, I imagine most of this $5 billion will come from us, the taxpayers, through government subsidies. I assume the corporations that run and build these plants will not have to pay a whole lot to retrofit their own technologies, since the government is their bitch. They'll justify raising rates to the consumers (taxpayers) because of the huge costs involved, when they are actually getting the upgrading all paid for by the taxpayers anyways. What a great scam that is?

Underground carbon storage backed

A panel of scientists yesterday urged the US to speed up efforts to store carbon gases underground to keep coal use viable in the face of growing concerns about global warming. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a report that coal, the dominant fuel for electricity in the US and China, will remain an attractive energy source if greenhouse emission issues can be resolved. The report, The Future of Coal: Options for a Carbon-Constrained World, assumes that some limits will eventually be imposed on carbon dioxide (CO2), most likely in the form of a cap or tax on emissions. Coal has been blamed by environmentalists as a major culprit in global warming because of its high level of CO2 emissions. But it supplies about half the electric power needs in the US and two-thirds of energy needs in China, since it costs less than most alternatives and both countries have ample domestic supplies. The study concluded there are no scientific obstacles to the use of "carbon capture and sequestration," or burying CO2 in underground geologic formations. The report maintained that the US government-funded "clean coal" programs are vastly underfunded, and called for three to five subsidized coal-fired plants that would capture and store all carbon emissions. Such technology will add about 50% to the wholesale cost of electricity and roughly 25% to the retail costs, the panel concluded. This would still allow coal to compete with other energy sources such as nuclear energy and natural gas, assuming that carbon emissions are limited or taxed.
(National Post 070315)

Despite the fact that sequestration would lessen the EROEI of coal power generation even further, technology to make the process more efficient might balance out the extra energy required for sequestration. At any rate, everyone is starting to look at the greenhouse gas problem very seriously, which is a very good thing. It's unfortunate that we have to continue to look at coal as a reliable energy source despite its shortcomings, but we really don't have any choice at this point in time.

14 March 2007

I Left My Heart.....


Yay! We all bought our flights to San Francisco this morning. $342 each! As soon as I got into the office, checked my email and saw the Air Canada Seat Sale message in my Inbox, I was on the horn with Jeff, Doug, Matt and Joe to get our tickets bought. The flurry of emails that followed was disturbing (I think Jeff found so much humour in it he's posting them on his blog tonight), yet in the hub-bub, I misunderstood what day we were flying to San Fran since we had earlier discussed not wanting to be there an entire week, but I think I missed out on the conversation Jeff had about our hotel booking at Hotel Fusion and that in order to get some discount on the rate we had to be there for 7 nights. Long story short, three are arriving on Wednesday, Joe and I are arriving on Thursday. Not a big deal, really.

What with my trip to Newport Beach coming up on the 23rd, San Francisco in June and Canadian Track and Road Nationals in Quebec in July, I think a day less travelling might be an okay thing on the pocketbook.

I'm so EXCITED! It will be great to finally check out this city (beyond the airport), plus meet all of the Bloggers. This will also be the first time a large chunk of the gang will be vacationing together, after the Vancouver debacle of August 2003 (I can't believe that happened almost four years ago already).

Let's Get Nuclear

Global warming: Province against province?

A get-tough strategy to combat global warming could produce multibillion-dollar transfers from coal-fired provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan to provinces like Quebec and Manitoba that rely on hydroelectric power, says a new study from CIBC World Markets. Jeffrey Rubin, chief economist with CIBC World Markets, said he expects Canada will have to adopt an effective emissions credit market that includes strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions and large fines for companies that exceed those limits. Rubin said yesterday that governments in Ottawa and Alberta are pursuing a minimalist policy that will actually lead to significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions. Eventually, he said, Canada will have to get tougher, prodded by a growing movement in the US to combat global warming. “There is more than enough at stake to get all the premiers' attention,” Rubin wrote. “The carbon wars promise to be anything but regionally neutral.” He said a Canadian-based cap-and-trade credit system would entail “very significant transfers” between oil- and coal-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan and provinces that rely less on fossil fuels. Alberta recently imposed new limits on greenhouse gas emissions based on so-called intensity targets. The government said it would fine companies that exceed their limits $15 for every tonne of additional CO2, a figure the former Liberal government and the current Conservative government have also embraced. But environmentalists complain that the $15-a-tonne penalty is simply too small to induce companies to invest in efforts to reduce emissions, and Rubin agrees, seeing $30 per tonne as the minimum level necessary to induce changes.

Alberta and Saskatchewan currently account for 40% of Canada greenhouse gas emissions, and represented 60% of the growth in those emissions between 1990 and 2004. While critics have focused on Alberta's oil sands as a potential source of major increases in greenhouse gas emissions, Rubin said the current interprovincial breakdown has as much to do with how the provinces generate their electricity. Those that rely heavily on coal would be major purchasers of emission credits under a cap-and-trade system, while those that depend on hydro and nuclear could be sellers of credits. Alberta gets 74% of its electricity from coal - the worst emitter of greenhouse gases among fossil fuels - while Saskatchewan relies on coal for 63% of its power, and Nova Scotia, 60%. On the other end of the spectrum, Manitoba generates 98% of its power from hydroelectric, Quebec 95% and Newfoundland 95%. And each of those provinces are planning major hydro expansions. Ontario has the greatest mix of sources, relying on nuclear for 49% of its electricity generation, hydro for 25%, coal for 18%, and natural gas for 7%. Rubin said Ontario would likely be a net seller of credits under a cap-and-trade system, particularly if it proceeds with plans to shutter its coal-fired plants.
(Globe and Mail 070314)

Whee! My native land of Manitoba could make out fairly well with the emissions credit market scheme. Alberta - time to start thinking about electrons.

Why greed is necessary to economic cycles

Rattled investors respond to woes of housing sector

Stock markets plunged yesterday as the deepening subprime mortgage crisis and a disappointing US retail sales report magnified fears that US consumers may finally have hit the wall. In the latest sign of trouble for the shaky housing market, the Mortgage Bankers Association said delinquencies among subprime borrowers - those with rocky or no credit histories - climbed to 13.33% in the fourth quarter from 12.56% in the previous three months. The report, which also showed foreclosures at a record 0.54% of all homes, came on the heels of an anemic 0.1% increase in February retail sales - half the gain that was expected. Excluding sales of cars and gasoline, retail sales fell 0.3%, the biggest drop in nearly three years. “We saw mortgage delinquencies were up and on top of that retail sales were light. When you put it together, the market starts to wonder about the strength of the consumer,” said Jay Susskind, director of trading at Ryan Beck in Florham Park, NJ. “There's real concern over . . . how strong the housing market is going to come back, if at all, and how much more trouble is out there that Wall Street hasn't seen yet.” If yesterday's rout on stock markets is any indication, the answer may be plenty. The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 242.66 points, or 2%, to 12,075.96 as all but one of its 30 members declined, underscoring the extent of investors' anxiety. With worries mounting about the staying power of the US economy, Canada's stock market also got hammered. The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index fell 255.55 points, or 2%, to 12,809.6. Chyanne Fickes, a portfolio manager with Stone Asset Management in Toronto thinks the US economy is probably a lot more vulnerable than people thought. She is less concerned about the Canadian economy, however, because mortgage lending - even of the subprime variety - is more conservative here. As well, Canada's strong resource sector, expanding trade with Asia and fiscal prudence - both on a government and personal level - should work in this country's favour, she said.
(Globe and Mail 070314)

A growing number of analysts and economists have been touting online that only the tip of the iceberg of the subprime mortgage debacle in the U.S. is visible today. Some predict this could get much, much worse, and possibly even trigger more economic woes later in 2007.

13 March 2007

Delusional Emissions

We'll never get to Kyoto by transit

Opinion - Wendell Cox, a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg, says there is a popular perception that transit is an important strategy for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, in the expectation that drivers will abandon their cars en mass. Thus, the Association of Canadian Municipalities and big city mayors have called for a national transit program. However, things are not that simple. Predominant views do not establish reality and the mayors' program is a prime example. If every car were to be retired, the nation would fall far short of achieving its Kyoto Accord greenhouse-gas reduction objectives. More importantly, there is little potential for transit to replace automobile travel. Automobiles increased affluence by increasing exponentially the jobs, shopping and other destinations that can be reached in a fixed period of time. The irony is that, in the modern, sprawling urban area, traffic congestion is less intense than in the more dense urban areas, because traffic is diluted. For example, in the New York area, the most sprawling urban area in the world, work-trip travel times are the shortest to jobs in the outer suburbs and the longest to jobs in the core, despite its being served by one of the best transit systems in the world. Remy Prud'homme and Chong Wong Lee of the University of Paris have shown the substantial economic growth gains that occur when people can reach more jobs in a fixed period of time.

To replace automobile travel with transit would require automobile-competitive transit systems -- service that is as fast and convenient as the car. Transit is automobile competitive for some trips to the largest downtown areas, such as Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and works very well in these locations. But large downtown areas are geographically small and generally represent less than 20% of metropolitan employment. For example, in the US, Bureau of the Census data indicates that nearly one-half of all transit commuting is to downtown areas, which represent less than 0.1% of the urban (developed) land area. Transit service is woefully slow and often not even available to other destinations. Transit travel takes too long. Statistics Canada data indicates that worktrip travel by transit is 80% longer than by car. This means people have less time and, indeed, were they to switch to transit, the economy would be less productive. It might be argued that the answer is more transit service. This is infeasible. In most urban areas, the required automobile-competitive systems would cost more annually than the gross income of the entire population.

It is thus not surprising that there are virtually no proposals (much less serious plans) anywhere in the world to establish the automobile-competitive transit systems that would be required to attract significant numbers of drivers from their cars. It is also why there have been no successes in attracting material numbers of drivers from their cars anywhere in the world. The reason is simple. For the most part, transit does not go to where people need to go from where their trips begin. And it cannot for a price that can be afforded. The mayors' national transit program would be costly and ineffective, because money from afar is simply not used as carefully as local taxes. European nations have devolved transit funding and programs back to the local level, principally for this reason. Again, the national transit program model is the United States, where costs have quadrupled relative inflation. Canada can expect the same result: a lot more expenditure and little more service. The first step in reducing greenhouse- gas emissions with transit would be less hot air and more reality from its naive advocates, with their hopeless proposals.
(National Post 070313)

Sure, the options aren't perfect, but it's almost like everyone is scared to talk about the big elephant in the room...that dealing with lowering CO2 emissions might just possibly require a hit to the economy. I know, b'gosh and b'gorrah - it might actually happen! Nobody said cleaning up this mess was going to be easy or pleasant. This still appears to be quite an unconscionable idea for The Powers That Be. Who'd want to be the messenger to deliver that good news to the sheepling public? The public has been coddled so long with happy thoughts and a challenge-less existence, this would be bordering on heresy.

"How dare they expect me to live with less? Those economists and politicians told us that everything would forever grow and be forever good! Off with their heads!"

I do believe that economic stimulation will be created by the implementation of alternative energies and control technologies, but we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. People can bitch and moan all they want that this solution or that solution won't work or will be a hit to the economy. They can't associate that the health and sustainability of our environment, atmosphere and resources IS the basis of our economy. The sooner we realize that you can't look at all these factors in isolation from each other, the sooner we'll realize that we most likely will have to make concessions for the sake of the planet.


$12 billion greenhouse gas emissions trading market in Canada: report

CIBC World Markets foresees an inter-provincial market in greenhouse gas emission credits that could be worth as much as $12 billion annually. The new study predicts that the economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick would be big buyers of emissions credits, with provinces that generate most of their electricity with hydro-electric power, such as British Columbia, being likely sellers. The report notes that BC has driven 10% of emissions growth in the country since 1990 but is the third lowest province in emissions per unit of real GDP. Saskatchewan and Alberta account for 60% of national GHG emissions growth while representing less than 15% of the country's population. Relative to GDP, the two provinces are the most emissions- intensive in the country. The report finds that electricity generation is often the single most important determinant of a province's potential exposure to carbon emission costs. Coal-fired generation is the chief offender, emitting roughly twice the GHG emissions per unit of power produced than gas-powered plants. Gas-plants themselves are relatively heavy emitters when compared to effectively emissions- free sources of electricity like hydro and nuclear. Given that BC and the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland & Labrador all rely heavily on emissions-free hydro power, they are less exposed to carbon costs. On the other end of the spectrum are Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia who rely on coal for at least 60% of their electricity needs.

The oil and gas industry is also a large contributor to GHG emissions. Since 1990, the growth in oil and gas emissions has exceeded 50%, easily twice as brisk as growth from remaining GHG sources combined. The carbon profile of Canada's oil industry will worsen materially in the next decade as oil sands production rapidly eclipses conventional oil production. Due mainly to heating requirements, producing a barrel of synthetic oil from the oil sands generates three times as much GHG emissions as an equivalent amount of conventional crude. Alberta already accounts for roughly two-thirds of direct emissions from fossil fuel industries, and that figure will rise meaningfully given the planned doubling or even tripling in oil sands production over the next decade. "The regional disparities in emissions growth could lead to some pretty hefty inter-provincial flows of emissions credits under any future cap and trade system established along the lines currently being implemented by a growing number of US states," notes the report. "It remains to be seen how a cap and trade system would be implemented in Canada - or how much of that $12 billion in emissions credits would be traded across provincial borders," adds the report. "But with an already-skewed distribution of GHG emissions looking to become even more unbalanced in coming years, it's easy to envision a healthy inter-provincial trade in carbon permits. "Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick could be the biggest buyers of emissions credits, with the Manitoba and Qu├ębec economies the most obvious sellers, given their already low emissions intensity and planned expansion of emission-free electricity generation."
(Canada News-Wire 070313)

I don't see emissions trading as solving much of anything since it only shifts the true costs of emissions from those that have the money to afford to buy the credits to those already-proven, lighter-emission energy generators, yet the high emitters might still be the biggest contributors and this program simply may not give them enough incentive to clean up their own acts quickly enough. It will keep the economists and politicians happier than if there weren't any of this sort of thing going on at all. WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO THE ECONOMISTS ANYWAYS? Despite the fact that they are wrong most of the time (foretelling the future? Puh-leaze...infinite growth in a finite system. Give me a break...), they're largely responsible for the plans and designs that got us into this fucking mess in the first place.

12 March 2007

What Will Your Famous Last Words Be?

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Look ma! No hands!"

08 March 2007

Take that!

Carbon tax would ease pollution

Bay Street is weighing in on how Canada should protect the environment, and one of its top economists believes a well-designed carbon tax is at the heart of a comprehensive solution. Reducing greenhouse gases will require radical changes in the way the economy works, says Don Drummond, chief economist of Toronto-Dominion Bank, but costs to the economy can be mitigated if governments use market-friendly solutions to control emissions. “Pollution must have a price tag,” says his report released yesterday, as Ottawa wrestles with the best way to approach global warming. “Currently it is too cheap to pollute, and too expensive not to.” He wants to see “a taxman dressed in green” - taxes levied not just on oil companies (in the traditional sense of a carbon tax), but on any firm or consumer that produces pollution. Such a tax system would mean that any industries that emit pollution during production would pay a tax, but so would people who drive cars or use refined oil to heat their homes. Such a tax system would go a long way toward putting a price on pollution, and would force companies and consumers alike to account for environmental degradation every time they make a spending decision, Drummond argues. The revenue gained from such tax measures should then be “shifted” to cutting taxes in other areas, or used as subsidies that help the environment.
(Globe and Mail 070308)

Finally, a good idea! It's been completely unfair that Eastern Canada has been wagging their finger at Alberta over their GHG emissions while they continue to suck the oil into their industries and vehicles as quickly as they can -- like being the producer of the product in demand is any worse than being the ultimate consumer. A tax structure like this will certainly help to get everyone culpable for the problem paying their fair share for what they contribute. I'd like to see them model a tax structure much the same way as Paul Hawken suggested in "The Ecology of Commerce".

07 March 2007

Umm...hello? Consequences?

Oilsands to supply 90% of nation's crude output

Alberta's oilsands projects are expected to account for 90% of Canada's total crude oil output by 2030, replacing the conventional sources which are already in terminal decline, a National Energy Board official said Tuesday. "Total oil output will increase to 4.6 million barrels per day and, of this, nearly 4.14 million will be from the oilsands," said John McCarthy, business leader for commodities, while unveiling preliminary results of the Canada Energy Futures project at the CERI 2007 Natural Gas conference. In 2005, Canada's total oil production was 2.509 million bpd, said a report prepared by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. This is the first time that such a forward-looking statement has been made of Alberta's total oilsands output. Until now, FirstEnergy Capital has released figures of 3.5 million bpd, while CAPP has estimated 3.9 million bpd from the mining and in-situ processes. Both projections are for 2020. By 2020, according to CAPP, conventional light and heavy oil output in Western Canada are projected to stand at 309,000 bpd and 263,000 bpd, respectively. Offshore East Coast oil production will be 160,000 bpd. The NEB announcement came amidst nationwide economic growth of an average 2.4% and a rise in energy demand of 1.65%. Put statistically, total demand for energy will be 12,000 to 17,000 petajoules. McCarthy said he considered various scenarios while making the projections, with long-term oil price estimates ranging from $35 to $85 per barrel. The results of the projections will be made public in October, he said.
(Calgary Herald 070307)

Alberta keeps emitting unabated

The province once again tops all others for industrial greenhouse gas emissions, new federal government figures show, as a countrywide poll reveals strong support for stricter controls in Alberta - even at a cost. In an inventory of 2005 emissions from 336 large facilities across Canada, Alberta accounted for about 39% of total industrial greenhouse gases, its figures largely unchanged from the year before. In fact, Alberta companies occupy seven of the top 10 spots, most of them involved in generating coal-fired electricity or mining the oilsands. While vehicles account for a large percentage of greenhouse gases in other provinces, industry dominates in Alberta, contributing nearly three-quarters of the province's emissions, which have increased 40% from 1990 levels. "We're not seeing any tangible action in Alberta," said Dan Woynillowicz, a senior policy analyst with the Alberta-based environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute. "Not only are we not seeing anything in the 2005 results to show that Alberta is on the right track to address global warming, but in the ensuing period we've had a lot of activity that's putting us even further behind the 8-ball."

The rapid pace of development and its impacts on global warming is worrying Canadians, an Ipsos Reid poll released Tuesday shows. When 1,000 people were recently asked whether Alberta should be subjected to stricter emission standards, even if it means a significant increase in the cost of producing oil and gas, 68% said yes. Support was highest in Quebec, at 86%, and lowest in Alberta, where 51% of people surveyed were in favour of more stringent controls. Pierre Alvarez of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers doesn't put much stock in the survey. If coming rules from both the provincial and federal governments are too tough too quickly, he said, Canadians will have to ask themselves how much more they're willing to pay to fuel their vehicles and homes. "We're prepared to act," Alvarez said. "We understand that there are going to be some costs associated with that." Those costs should crystallize in about a week when the Alberta government unveils its intensity-based greenhouse gas targets for industry, likely ahead of Ottawa's rules The provincial regulations is expected to take effect in July. Soon afterward, Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said the province will ask Albertans directly what else should be done about climate change.
(Calgary Herald 070307)

Why is no one challenging the potentially faulty and dangerous 'logic' that unabated development of the oilsands and emissions from the industry may not have, in the long-term, the intended results for Alberta? Why are we leaving this decision up to the small group of people who are most likely to benefit the most financially from this -- most of whom don't even live here? I guess it's like any other race to develop as quickly as possible -- we're poor planners, the consequences aren't fully thought out.

Why can't this development be done in a systematic, incremental way? Are we prepared to have a large chunk of this province (and everything downstream to Hudson Bay) left as an unfortunate ecologic wasteland by-product of this development just because we can't let go of our pathetic addiction to fossil fuel energy? Crap, that's bad, man.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

06 March 2007

Rage

Why have I been so angry lately? I think I've been disappointed by a lot of events, outcomes and people lately. I know that being angry about it or taking these things personally is not productive or healthy. I know better than this. I think it came to a head this weekend when I realized that the relationships I have with the people closest to me might be becoming compromised because of my outlook on life, society, my community, and myself lately, which have been 'less than' optimistic or inspirational. I should be taking time to look forward and plan for the changes about to come in my life in a positive, adaptive way, but instead I am overwhelmed by the tasks at hand and the despair I feel about the state of the world. I want so much for things to work out okay, and very recently there have been a few positive developments on the world stage but not enough to pull me out of this despondency.

It's like I said, the more I learn about what's really going on in the world, the more confused I get about the decisions I need to make regarding the long-term future and my security in the short, medium and long term. I know this is an exercise that everyone needs to undertake (well, at least those that plan ahead), but it seems more and more a futile exercise.

I have to stop taking things so personally. Very difficult. I have to stop looking at problems at such a macro level and focus on things that are within my locus of control to change. Also very difficult. I have to start treating the people I care about most better. They deserve so much better from me.

I just hope I can figure this all out before I succumb to hopelessness. I know I am strong and resilient enough, I just can't find the branch to grab onto to pull me out of the this chaos. I think that's what makes me angry.

A Gargantuan Task

Oil ceos launch green task force

Canada's top corporate executives have launched a national task force on climate change, looking at ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner technology. As the federal government prepares to release its emissions reduction blueprint, the Canadian Council on Chief Executives says it will seek "responsible solutions" to the country's climate change challenge. "We want to contribute to debate about options and costs that we think up until now has been paper thin," Thomas d'Aquino, the council's ceo said Monday. "We're going to have reduce greenhouse gas emissions on average of 30% a year - each year - from 2008 to 2012. When you ask people to try to translate what that means, very, very few people have really thought it through." The council has long argued the tough emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol would result in an economic slowdown and penalize companies that take the lead in developing new technologies. Canada has committed to reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1990 levels, but the Conservative government has said those targets are unreachable. Environment Minister John Baird is expected to introduce his own set of short-term regulations and targets in the coming weeks and months.

The 25-member task force will be co-chaired by d'Aquino, and Alcan ceo Richard Evans and Rick George, ceo of Suncor Energy. Members of the task force include the top executives some of Canada's largest oil and gas producers, including Petro-Canada's Ron Brenneman, Canadian Oil Sand's Marcel Coutu, Shell Canada's Clive Mather, Imperial Oil's Tim Hearn, Pengrowth Energy Trust's Jim Kinnear and Guy Turcotte, chairman of Western Oil Sands. Other participating ceos include Ron Mannix of Coril Holdings, CP's Fred Green, Steve Snyder of TransAlta and Mike Wilson of Agrium. It will also assisted by a group of experts in environmental sustainability. Environmental groups remained skeptical, however, pointing out that a third of the executives involved come from the fossil fuel industry and that the council has a history of opposition to government action against greenhouse emissions. "This is a long-overdue initiative for industry to finally take seriously the economic and environmental threats posed by climate change," said Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club of Canada. "Industry must accept hard caps, not fake intensity-based caps, which would allow emissions to rise."
(Calgary Herald, National Post 070306)

Long overdue, but definitely a positive step.

The jump begins


Last Friday was the first post-workday pub gathering for those leaving the company. Today, the exodus continues. The lead support person on the EUAS side is leaving on Friday to another position in the company, leaving support of his 13 apps and respective servers to our group. Our new guy just accepted a position with CHR and will be leaving in two weeks. Our manager has taken him off our team immediately to finish up another project being done by another guy on the team who is leaving tomorrow. Good for them, bad for us. I knew this scenario was coming, now I just gotta live through it.

05 March 2007

My first meme (in a long time, okay?)

From Tidbits O'Chunks via Tornwordo:

YOUR REAL NAME: Reid

YOUR GANGSTA NAME (1st 4 letters plus izzle): Reidizzle (that's original)

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (fave color + fave animal): Navy Crow

YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name + childhood street): Jonathan Ottawa

YOUR STAR WARS NAME (last 3 letters of your last name + first 2 letters of your first name + first 3 letters of Mom's maiden name): Dalrewal

YOUR SUPER HERO NAME (2nd fave color + fave drink): Black Water (?)

YOUR IRAQI NAME (2nd letter of your first name + 3rd letter of your last name + any letter of your middle name + 2nd letter of your Mom's maiden name + 3rd letter of your Dad's middle name + 1st letter of a sibling's first name + last letter of your Mom's middle name): Rloalor (I think my Star Wars name and Iraqi name are mixed up)

YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM NAME (Grandma/Grandpa's first name + Jones): William Jones

YOUR GOTH NAME (Black + name of one of your pets): Black Bandit

YOUR AMERICAN IDOL NAME (fav car and sea food) Eclipse Mackerel

NAME OF YOUR DREAM BAND (name of computer + printer): Cicero Canon

MOVIE STAR NAME (sibling's middle name + mother-in-law's maiden name): Marshall Arsenault

YOUR ALTER EGO NAME (name of one your childhood pets + popular brand of clothes when you were young): Boog Izod

YOUR LAWYER NAME (fav actor's last name + fav hard liquor): Law Gin (woah!)

YOUR HIP HOP NAME (fav candy + fruit): Chocolate Cherry

Po-mo Sideshow

Cosby Sweater Days and everything!

From their store - For the wannabe statement-maker, SUV-driver who has everything. I wanna get some of these!

Nothing says irony, like being literal. We would love it if you support us, the new magnetic ribbon industry. The purchase of this lovely doo-dad says that you're a smart and savvy person about the world. You know that the "Support Our Troops" ribbons are only selling so that some jerks can line their pockets. You also know that by pointing out the capitalistic undertones of the saber rattling jingoists, you might just wake up a few people that have child-like notions of mustachioed villains and courageous heroes vanquishing the villains with their moral superiority and candid prison photos.

Lets face it. Millions of people in America voted for Bush because he says he's a Christian.Why none of those people can tell the difference between a Christian and someone who is just paying lip service for a power grab is beyond me. If Jesus were alive today, I think that he would care less about Homosexual marriage, and more about teaching tolerance and telling US speachwriters not to use words like "Crusade" and "Liberate" because it tends to piss off the rest of the world. Sporting this ribbon means you're calling a spade a spade, and pointing out the lack of OG God in our leadership and sheeplike followers.

These are sold out. Yup! The bumper magnet is back.Although we here at the Postmodern Sideshow care about the loss of life of everyone in the Iraqi Invasion, it seems that those with hardons for WMD and "liberation" seem to care only for the American Soldiers. Show them a little lesson in mathematics and economics. (Which, when you think about it, 2000 dead isn't that much. I can drive all summer on a fingertip. You however, you are driving on their eyeballs, you sick mother-flower).

Changing the way we live


Think urban density, not mpg, in energy war

Column - Gwyn Morgan, the retired founding ceo of EnCana, sayas that a major cause of escalating energy use is dysfunctional urban design. Canadian and US cities sprawl ever outward and, as suburbia eats up land, more roads and freeways create a paved labyrinth. Twice a day, most suburbanites get into their vehicles and become part of a massive gridlock of idling emitters. And for suburbia's homemakers, there are no nearby shops - only the mall, a traffic-filled drive away. There is a better way, and a better life: enhanced urban density. The late Jane Jacobs was a true visionary on the need to transform our cities into denser but more livable spaces. The case for urban density was eloquently argued in a recent article by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, who said: “Instead of telling Canadians to simply check their tires, or put energy-efficient light bulbs in their suburban homes, we should be talking about how better urban planning and densification of our cities can significantly reduce our impact on the environment.” When we talk about reducing our environmental footprint, most people think it's all about making sacrifices, and we do need to make some. The good news about densification is that it actually offers a better quality of life. My wife and I have constantly been struck by how some of the most compact cities in the world are also the most livable. For most of our working lives, we lived within walking or cycling distance of the office. We loved our proximity to the numerous amenities within walking distance, such as shops, restaurants and arts centres. No spending hours each day in traffic gridlock. Our neighbourhood actually had character, although not quite as much as some of the great old high-density European cities like Stockholm or Prague. I am a passionate defender of free markets, but also believe that laissez-faire urban planning is not planning at all -rather, it is both an environmental and quality-of-life disaster. Instead of city fathers patting themselves on the back for buying wind-generated electricity to fuel City Hall, how about some real vision that would change our cities from polluted gridlocked frustration zones into wonderful places to live?
(Globe and Mail 070305)

There is no doubt that denser communities are more walkable, have smaller, more numerous retailers and merchants, allow for better mass transit service, move people and goods with less total energy required, and thus become more liveable. Having been an "almost purist" pedestrian for almost ten years and witnessing rush hour insanity daily from the pedestrian point of view, I can safely say that I would prefer a setup like older areas of Montreal, where every block has a depanneur (corner store) and everyone lives a reasonable distance from their place of work, than a model resembling newer areas of Calgary where going to get the most basic items from the closest offering requires a car ride and traffic navigation, or a very patient wait for transit. I've noticed especially during the storms of the past few weeks where pedestrian traffic is in the pecking order of priority for snow clearing -- pretty much right at the bottom. Pedestrians must climb over snow banks, dodge icesheets or jump over seas of slush created by the snow clearing done to open roads for cars. I recall this metaphor I once read that jokingly said (but more tongue in cheek) that if aliens ever came to Earth and needed to determine what the dominant 'lifeform' on the planet was today, they would have a hard time deciding whether it was humans or cars.

The idea of communities and the aspects of humanism in urban design have been mothballed for the sake of the convenience of car culture. This has been going on for a long time, and we've all been more than willing to let it happen for the sake of our bottom lines and our convenience. Convenience and low immediate costs are not consequence-free either.

Over the past ten years, car drivers have become even more dominant, aggressive and careless around pedestrians and cyclists while navigating more congested streets that it's no wonder drivers are stressed to the max and that pedestrians and cyclists fear for their lives while venturing out where they are theoretically supposed to. I've seen this at the extreme in south Texas, where most new sprawled-out areas don't even bother to put in sidewalks anymore. What's the point? Everything is built so far apart from each other it leaves any travel from point-to-point available only through more and more limited means. We need to change the way we live for our own sanity without even considering all the other good reasons.

04 March 2007

OutGames


As some of you may or may not know, Calgary is hosting the GLISA First North American OutGames from April 5-8, 2007. The Event comprises of Western Cup, being organized by Apollo, the annual sports tournament that has successfully run over the Easter long weekend in Calgary for the past 25 years (the oldest continuing GLBT sporting event in North America), Outfest, being organized by the FairyTales Film Festival, and OutRights, a human rights conference being organized by Aids Calgary.

I am the Race Director for the Running Event, a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon event being run the morning of April 7th. The work to get this event going has been formidable, and I feel sometimes that I am shouldering a lot of the work myself. However I am set on having a successful, memorable event and luckily I have some good people working with me that have pulled out some impressive sponsorship and marketing outcomes!

Our next challenge is to grow our registration numbers and get our volunteers lined up. If any of you would like to volunteer, please email us at running@calgary2007.com. If you have any leads on businesses that might be interested in a sponsorship or donating prizes or gift certificates, please email as well.

Thanks!

Weakened Again

Friday night was the first of most likely quite a few farewell parties for co-workers as we begin to go through the Outsourcing (ooh - sorry, Bestshoring) Initiative. This weekend was the goodbyes for Chad, one of the guys who started with our group only nine months ago, young and single, so he decided to bail early and head to Toronto to see what possibilities lie for him there. I really like Chad -- him and I have had a lot of good conversations about a lot of things, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

I got home around 9pm and proceeded to immediately crash on the couch. I'm not sure if it was the beers or the sleep deprivation I have had to endure this week due to the casinos, work, and the OutGames stress. Most likely it was a combination of both.

Got up Saturday and did my normal routine -- run, brunch, gym, groceries, nap, then got ready for the Mardi Gras party hosted by Different Strokes. We managed to get Calvin out with us which was nice since we haven't seen him in awhile. The party was fun, however we got there pretty late due to my typical underestimating of travel time. I figured it would be quick to walk to the Hall where the dance was held, however due to the chinook over the past few days, the sidewalks are oceans of ice and water. It was a shoe-messing trip and not everyone was happy.Thankfully we had some en-route items to help us through the crisis. We stayed at the dance until it had pretty much cleared out, and of course by then we weren't going to get a cab so we decided to hoof it back downtown on foot again. The trip back seemed to go much more quickly than the trip there, go figure.



Today I went with my friend Doug to watch the World Cup Speedskating at the Olympic Oval. Today was the last day of the Essent ISU World Cup Series and the Men's 1500m, Women's 3000m, and 100M Sprints were the events on the schedule for today. It was fun to watch and great to see male speedskating glutes again. For Canadians, Steven Elm, Denny Morrison, Francois Olivier Roberge, Clara Hughes, Kristina Groves and Cindy Klassen were all in action. I tell you, Doug and Jeff, sports are where the hot men really are! I'm referring to the soccer game we watched last night between Liverpool and Manchester United. I swear, they grow all those men in a genetics lab somewhere...

03 March 2007

March 3rd is 'What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day'!

(Click on the image to see the GIF in action!)
Gizmo and Bandit would not need us anymore....

01 March 2007

Oh, just you wait

Stay calm, Bernanke urges markets

Ben Bernanke urged investors yesterday to relax in the wake of a global stock market meltdown that erased more than $1-trillion of gains, insisting that the US economy remains sound. The US Federal Reserve Board chief insisted that nothing material has changed in the two weeks since he issued a clean bill of health for the US economy. Like many economists, the US Federal Reserve Board chief is convinced the economy is on track for a soft landing - marked by tame inflation, low unemployment and slower growth. But in the aftermath of Tuesday's global stock market meltdown, investors are casting a more skeptical eye on some of the nagging problems that until now seemed little more than a nuisance to the overall economy. There's the housing slump, mounting defaults in the subprime mortgage market, sluggish business spending, the travails of the Detroit Three auto makers and a possible slowdown in China. Testifying before a congressional committee yesterday, Bernanke said the Fed is closely monitoring financial markets. But he concluded there wasn't any obvious trigger for the selloff. “Taking all the new data into account, there is really no material change in our expectations for the US economy since I last reported to Congress a couple weeks ago,” Bernanke assured members of the House of Representatives' budget committee. Bernanke also told lawmakers that there's no evidence that problems in the market for subprime mortgages - higher-rate mortgages aimed at high-risk borrowers - are spreading to other areas of the lending industry. And unlike his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, who warned Monday that the US might be headed for recession later this year, Bernanke is optimistic about the rest of the year. “There is a reasonable possibility that we'll see some strengthening of the economy some time during the middle of the year,” he told the committee.
(Globe and Mail 070301)

Of course Bernanke isn't going to tell the truth. The power elites that have his balls in a vice aren't going to let the status quo go down anyday soon, as much as they have control over things. The Federal Reserve is so removed from reality anyways, since it is concerned with the fiat currency financial system, which is adept at creating wealth out of thin air. I believe the housing downturn and the subprime mortgage fiasco still have a long way to go down before things stabilize yet.