scharrison's blog

Conspicuous Consumption vs Environmental Stewardship

Rain. Blessed rain. There's nothing like a serious drought to make one appreciate the bounty that falls from the sky. I actually stood out in the rain today when it was coming down fairly hard, reveling in the cool wetness of it. Granted, I really don't have enough sense to not do that, but that's beside the point. ;)

I've been planning on posting this (or something like it) for some time now, but I wanted to wait until we had a good rain so I could drive home a few points. Points which are just as important during "wet" times as they are when we are bone dry.

Cap and Trade: Will It Work?

As the arguments against the reality of global warming become less vociferous under the barrage of scientific data, and the certainty of carbon emissions being the main culprit is grudgingly accepted by even the most outspoken deniers, policy makers are (finally) gearing up to begin taking steps.

Seemingly across the board, experts and legislators alike are warming to the idea of adapting the same type of approach to reducing carbon emissions that became the core of the Kyoto Protocols, that being a system of Cap and Trade.

On Creative Misdirection and Pyrrhic Victories

Our system of government is based upon majority rule, with numerous checks and balances to ensure the will of the people guides the hands and minds of those who would separate themselves from the whole to become our leaders.

Unfortunately, there are minority special interests that work vigorously behind closed doors to affect policy decisions that are not in the interests of the majority. When these elements are successful, especially when the general populace is unaware of these machinations, our system becomes...something else entirely.

After speaking briefly with Larry on this subject last night, I decided it was time to revisit the unfortunate decisions the N.C. Utilities Commission has made to address net metering, and the way these decisions can/will serve to stifle the growth of residential Solar power collection.

Use Less, Pay Less, Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

I'm sure most of you consider yourselves at least somewhat diligent in the conservation of electricity in your homes. You know, turn off a few lights here and there, try to avoid messing with your thermostat (unless somebody else already messed with it, and it needs correcting).

But we've also all been conditioned to accept our monthly light bill as a necessary evil, and write our checks to the power company with mostly stoicism with a dash of regret, with possibly some vague determination to "be more conservative" in our daily switch-flicking.

Unilateral Approach To Multilateralism?

Do you remember back in high school when someone had painstakingly planned a social get-together, only to have some debutante decide at the last minute that she wanted to also have a party on the same night? Of course it was petty, selfish and narcissistic, but everything's fair in love, war and popularity contests, right?

While it doesn't surprise me that our silver spoon-fed Executive would think along these petty lines, especially in light of the exclusivity he and his administration have operated under from day one, there are some get-togethers that need to be attended by all, and not watered down in one-upmanship.

Follow me down below the digital fold for a minute. You can go to the other party later.

Cross-posted from dailykos

Does Mother Nature Hold The Key To Harnessing The Sun's Energy?

My nephew is about to enter his Senior year at the University of Florida, where he is (somehow) managing a double-major in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering (apparently it skips around in my family).

For the last few years I've been trying to nudge him into nanotechnology, partially because I believe it will have applications in all areas of science, but also because of the potential for more effective Solar technology as well as energy efficiency. He says he's been thinking about it, which in nephew-speak means, "I wish you'd quit bugging me about this, Uncle Steve." ;)

Statute Of Limitations On Genocide?

A few years ago I stumbled across the fact that two indicted war criminals from the former Yugoslavia were still at large, that being Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. The reason I say, "stumbled across" is because the mainstream media has apparently decided to wait until they are actually arrested before they devote any ink/air time to this story, aside from the occasional blip.

In case you haven't been following this, these two darlings are primarily responsible for a series of "ethnic cleansing" operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina that claimed the lives of thousands of (mostly) Muslims, most notably in Srebrenica, even while it was a declared "Safe Zone" of the United Nations.

*cross-posted from dailykos*, where I fear it has already been forgotten.

In Which I (Once Again) Belabor The Obvious.

What do the technical hubs of Silicon Valley, Austin Texas and Research Triangle Park have in common? Many things, I'm sure, but I'm going to focus on: a whole bunch of smart people doing dumb things. Specifically, solo occupancy vehicle commuting.

I know you probably know someone who works at UNC or Duke who carpools(or vanpools), because these folks love to bring it up when you're grousing about having to put a timing belt on a three year-old car. But why don't we all engage in some form of ridesharing?


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