Two things on my radar this morning. First, CISPA, which just got through the House and still has all the problems about privacy it did before. The president has threatened a veto, but I'd rather it didn't get through the Senate.
Also, today is the last day to put in comments about the XL pipeline to the US State Department. Here's the one I sent them. You can send your comment to email@example.com.
I'm a children's librarian, and have been for twenty-five years. As such, I've been exposed to, and have read, many books about climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, etc., written for children going back through the decades. I've also found in my collections books which were written more than half a century ago which describe -- at no more than fifth grade level -- the consequences of continuing to burn carbon for our atmosphere. I grant you that the books from the fifties want us to go to nuclear fuel, but the warning about the greenhouse effect is still there.
There was -- and I've been trying to find the reference without success or I'd link it -- a series of posters by the UN in the late fifties/early sixties which also, in simple language, explained what could happen if we continued to burn carbon. That poster series made the mistaken assumption that the oceans could absorb the carbon dioxide without acidifying, but again, the science of planetwide warming due to human activity was -- and has always been -- so clear that even non-scientists could understand it.
It has taken a huge campaign of misinformation to obscure the truth. We know that we have to stop using carbon based fuels if we want to continue to have a planet which can support our civilizations. Any assessment that says that using the tar sands which lie beneath the boreal forests of Canada is "inevitable" is simply false. The inevitability here is that we must, and will, turn to renewable sources of energy if we want to survive.
There are other reasons to deny this specific project. The recent spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, and the earlier spill near Kalamazoo have been real life demonstrations of the difficulty which arises in trying to clean up spills of diluted bitumen. The Mayflower spill has also exposed the legalistic and linguistic maneuvering which the oil companies have undertaken to avoid paying into funds to help clean up those spills. Credible sources have said that bitumen is more corrosive to the pipelines than other forms of oil -- a contention supported by the Mayflower spill, since that pipeline safely conveyed other materials for decades before being asked to convey diluted bitumen. Bitumen, if it is to be used at all, should be refined near where it is mined. A refined product might then be more safely transmitted by pipeline, but the current method of moving the stuff is simply unsafe.
Again, if bitumen is going to be used, it should be mined in a way that does not remove large swaths of plant life. The Canadian boreal forests are a "carbon sink" that cannot easily be replaced, nor can the activity of mining so close to the arctic tundra be good for the trapped gases in the permafrost.
We know that without the XL pipeline, the financial incentive to exploit the Canadian tar sands will be reduced -- hopefully to the point where the costs exceed the profits. We also know that the pipeline would create very few permanent jobs here in the US. We know that the refineries in Texas which are the target of the pipeline export the majority of their products. Any arguments to the contrary are whistling in the wind.
We also know that the United States is losing credibility in the world because of our obstruction to the necessary changes which must be made in our energy consumption. We are seen as slaves to the corporations, and fools who would risk the safety of everyone for the sake of the profit of a few. We cannot continue wearing blinders, going along without regard to long-term consequences. We should be leading the way into the future, not dragging our feet, staring at the past.
As a final consideration, switching over to renewable sources will pay dividends into our economy -- dividends which will be delayed unnecessarily if we continue to approve and subsidize carbon fuels. Even the giant energy grid companies know that the model of energy delivery which they embody must change. In Germany, where solar cells are common, energy consumption has dropped and the economy is doing fine. In America, where we get more sun, we'd do even better. We should be looking at lots and lots of small scale microgrid energy production, which would be, by it's very redundancy, more robust in the face of disasters, and be hunting for ways to use geothermal, solar, and wind to keep every household warm in the winter, comfortable in the summer, and capable of keeping food and medicine at safe temperatures whether or not a blizzard, hurricane, or other disaster has been to call.
This letter is getting long, but I hope that you don't mind. Weight the risks more heavily; look at the promises of reward with skepticism. Our economy, our food supply, our water, and our children, depend on the right decision.
The trouble with the internet is that if you google to find out if something that's bugging you is worth worrying about, you'll find out that it is, even if it isn't.
I feel genuinely rotten today. And while having the holiday meant I didn't need to go to work today, I'm not looking forward to tomorrow with anything approaching glee.
He couldn't even open it to get out and shovel. Of course, having done that, I gave up on finishing the other half of my sidewalk. (And my sidewalk is only twenty feet long...)
I'll go out again later. Time to sit back with hot chocolate and watch the webcast of the television station reporters looking beset with woes.
When you're watching the weather report and they're telling you what time you'll probably lose power you know it's not good. I better do my cooking now.
On Saturday I got treated to the worst round of excuses not to get a flu shot it has been my misfortune to listen to. One person, just one, had the legitimate excuse of being allergic to eggs.
Everyone else was "It's too much hassle", or, "I hate needles", or "Oh, I never get sick!" Sometimes just before wiping their nose with the back of one hand.
AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! Yes, and Typhoid Mary never got sick either!
VACCINES SAVE LIVES. They take you from 'get into a car accident' odds of being horribly ill with potentially fatal complications to 'win the lottery' odds of a bad reaction to the vaccine. Not that flu vaccines have a perfect rate of immunization anyway. There are multiple strains out there. It takes two weeks for the immunity to be established. You're only improving your odds to begin with, but when you do YOU IMPROVE THE ODDS FOR EVERYONE YOU MEET AND EVERYONE THEY MEET AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. It's called Herd Immunity and it's the reason why you think it's a tragedy when someone has to bury their baby! Herd immunity is a vital condition of the population for the safety of people who can't get the vaccine. The ones that are allergic, or are too young, or who have compromised immune systems.
And if you're going to tell me that "experts disagree" try to pick an expert who has an actual degree in medicine, 'kay?
Warner Brothers is doing a sale -- which happens every so often. I've got a lot of the things, like Girl from UNCLE etc.
But this time they're offering Night of the Lepus!
I mean, giant killer rabbits! What else can you ask for?
Wandered out to see the fireworks. It was a big crowd on my side of the harbor, too - I'm estimating a hundred folks, all standing in the wind and the cold. (According to the weather service it's just above freezing. According to my ears, it's well below.)
Good fireworks, nice start to the year, I'm hoping.
This last few months have been not as good as they could be, but I've been writing, and as it's the first in a good half the world, I'm going to go ahead and admit to various fics behind the cut.( Read more...Collapse )
These are just some of the stories I've enjoyed at yuletide this year. Oo-de-lally Slash
(106 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Robin Hood (Disney 1973)
end up singing this, you know. But maybe not at work, yes? Attack Chickens, Children, and Other Hazards of Suburban Life
(1361 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Calvin & Hobbes
, Hobbes and Bacon
I think it was the mention of attack chickens that hooked me… Or was it the zombie princess? Joy from a fandom I didn’t even know existed until recently.Moomintroll in Autumn
(3873 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Mumintroll | Moomins Series - Tove Jansson
, Winnie-the-Pooh - A. A. Milne
A loving, gentle crossover that I can easily imagine reading to children who love either world.Any Other Way
(1607 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Tortall - Tamora PierceThree Times is a Trend
(1023 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Protector of the Small - Tamora Pierce
Two stories about Kel and the people around her in the future, both of which take my favorite character and only add more to love.Harp and Soup
(1737 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Chronicles of Prydain - Lloyd Alexander
It’s Flewddur Fflam! What more do you need to know!Blueprint
(3305 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Invisible Bridge - Julie Orringer
Having been the writer with the fewest hits at Yuletide myself, I try to make a point of going to read the story at the bottom of the list. This year I was rewarded with a lyrical character study (illustrated yet!) that guarantees I’ll be looking for the source canon now.
And I have got the most glorious of gifts.A Candle in the Fog
(10228 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Candleshoe (1977)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Casey (Candleshoe), Priory (Candleshoe), Lady St. Edmund
Lady St. Edmund’s lawyers had decided the safest way to forestall any awkward questions about one Casey Brown’s legal status was to pretend no such girl had ever existed – essentially, carrying on the deception Harry Bundage had begun. But for Casey, no other girl had ever existed....