Blogs, environment, politics, technology and the kitchen link, often all in one post!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Green Party of Canada joins Pigou Club

The Green Party of Canada has joined the Pigou Club, according to the Toronto Star:
Canadians should pay a carbon tax on gasoline and other fossil fuels in return for lower income and other personal taxes, the Green party says.

The shift in the tax burden — designed to ensure federal revenues don't increase — would cut consumption of fuels that cause climate change and help Canada to achieve its Kyoto Protocol target, Green Leader Elizabeth May said yesterday.

Even conservative economists have concluded "a carbon tax ... is the single most effective way" to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote a strong economy, May told reporters.

The heaviest tax would be imposed on fuel with the highest carbon content — coal. The levy would be lower on cleaner fuels, such as natural gas. It wouldn't be punitive: "It's not intended to change driving habits," she said. It might raise the cost of gasoline and heating fuels by cents a litre.
I don't get the not intended to change driving habits part, but good for the Greens.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Well this is a little sad. I don't know if Adobe is taking the right approach with Flash 9 for Linux, but they sure are moving slowly. But what else do you expect? Linux still has a tiny share of the desktop market. Why should Adobe care?

All the Linux advocates carping at Adobe need to just pony up (money or time) for Gnash development, which is moving along.

All the news on global warming points in one direction...

Is the Sky Really Falling? A Review of Recent Global Warming Scare Stories makes one interesting point:
It is highly improbable, in a statistical sense, that new information added to any existing forecast is almost always “bad” or “good”; rather, each new finding has an equal probability of making a forecast worse or better. Consequently, the preponderance of bad news almost certainly means that something is missing, both in the process of science itself and in the reporting of science.
That rings true in a general sense. I would not be surprised if much of the "bad" news about global warming coming out every day is false, or at least hype. But the rub is that global warming is essentially true and probably was underhyped for a long time.

And even if global warming was false, the good policies and innovation that are needed to combat it are generally beneficial policies anyway, so they ought to be pursued, i.e., pollution tax and new energy technologies -- they're more efficient (at taxing and creating energy) and wean us off fossil fuels.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Heterosexual divorce proves my point

Same-sex marriage foes say divorces prove their point:
"The separation of Julie and Hillary Goodridge is tragic not only for their daughter," the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition said in a statement released the day after the couple confirmed the separation. "But ... they have clearly shown just how little they value the institution of marriage and provide a chilling look into what our nation faces if homosexual marriage is legalized elsewhere."
What, that homosexual marriages sometimes end in divorce, just like breeder marriages?

51 ways to make a difference

The Clinton Global Initiative lists 52 ways to make a difference. 51 are things that one can do individually in the home, workplace or community. One just doesn't belong:
Deploy MBAs in developing countries to build local health management.
Huh? How the heck am I supposed to "deploy MBAs"?

Now healthcare does need serious reegineering...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Second blogroll addition: Greg Mankiw

I first got interested in Greg Mankiw's blog due to his Pigou Club (carbon tax supporters). I'm subscribing for Pigou updates and an ongoing stream of interesting posts. Apparently Greg was an economic advisor to George W. Bush. That sounds like a hopeless position, as GWB doesn't seem to take advice from anyone but the tooth fairy.

My first blogroll addition was Jon's Radio.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Orlando is DEAD

I don't plan to post much if at all about the housing bubblebust but this is too much, from CNN Money, Help! Home for Sale:

"We're planning on starting a family someday," says the 30-year-old Young, who builds simulation software for a defense contractor. "We wanted a bigger home - with a pool."

The new house cost $562,000 so they were really counting on profits from the old place to help. They had paid $167,000 for their current four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2,861 square foot contemporary that they bought new, on the last day of 2002.

Young had improved the place over the years, putting in tile floors, chair rails, crown moldings and other amenities. The house has formal living and dining rooms and Young also installed a lovely Koi pond in the backyard with a rustic Japanese bridge.

Believing that the house would sell itself, Young decided to list it through Flat Rate Realty, a for-sale-by-owner operation that will place a property on the multiple listing service for a fee of $99. He priced it at $402,000.

The only calls he was getting were from realtors, who wanted to act as his agent.


They re-priced the house, lowering it to $369,000 and then to $349,000. They've had open houses that nobody attended; run advertisements that elicited no responses; and sent out flyers that were totally ignored.

In all its months on the market, the house has drawn only two lookers.

"One sounded like he was just doing research. He may not have been a legitimate buyer," says Young. And the other couple just walked away.


The number of homes on the market in Orange and Seminole Counties has skyrocketed, from 4,473 in July 2005 to 19,827 in July 2006, according to raw data drawn from Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service Hotsheet reports.

To know the problem is no consolation to the couple, who are increasingly feeling the stress. They have to make a decision soon about whether to go ahead with the purchase and hope they'll sell the old house, or give up the new place and lose their $28,000 deposit.

They are so out $28,000. Why the heck do they want an even bigger house? Four bedrooms and 2,861 square feet is huge. Are they Mormons?

Dangerous conflation of global warming and peak oil

Clinton to Start $1 Billion Renewable Energy Fund, quote from WaPo:
"The Earth is warming at an alarming rate, we are running out of fossil fuels, and it is long past time for us to take action to correct these problems," Clinton said.
I applaud these efforts, but ain't the symmetry ... ironic, dreamlike, unlikely, ??? Actually there is no symmetry and the above is a gross oversimplification -- we're nowhere near to running out of coal or low quality oil sources (tar sands and shale), each of which is worse for the environment and global warming in particular than high grade crude that we are slowly running out of. So yes, efforts like Clinton's and Branson's are desperately needed, but they undersell the case!

WaPo closes (Bill) Clinton's quote:
"This is also a tremendous opportunity and there are countless good new jobs to be created in the field of green energy."
Ever the politician.

Friday, September 22, 2006

One Web Day

It seems kind of corny, but I agree online life is worth celebrating and protecting. The motto seems to be "one web, one world, one wish." The first two seem clear, but what wish?

Mine would have to be that people learn about the importance of open data to one web.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tax waste not work

Wow, apparently Al Gore wants to replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax. If he runs for president and makes this a centerpiece of his campaign ... I am going all-out for Gore! This is the best thing that could possibly be done for the environment and the economy.

Everyone else, jump on this bandwagon. Read about the Pigou Club.

Billion Biofuel Branson

Bully for Branson. The article reads like most of the expected $3 billion (highly unknown, based on future Virgin profits) will be spent on developing biofuels. That sounds unexciting, but looks like they're going for big improvements.
The first investment was made in Cilion, a new California company building ethanol refineries that Virgin officials said burn far less fossil fuel than conventional biofuel operations.
However I think people are confusing not using fossil fuels and not producing greenhouse gasses:
“But the only way global warming is going to be beaten is to invest in new fuels that can actually replace fossil fuels.”
Uh, biofuels still produce greenhouse gasses. That's why I'm more excited by solar, windpower and other zero-emission technologies.

But airplanes aren't going to fly on electricity anytime soon, so Branson can be forgiven for being conservative. IATA has some cool figures on airplane fuel efficiency:
  • New aircraft are 70% more fuel efficient than 40 years ago and 20% better than 10 years ago.
  • The industry is aiming for a further 50% fuel efficiency improvement by 2020.
  • Modern aircraft achieve fuel efficiencies of 3.5 litres per 100 passenger km.
  • The A380 and B787 are aiming for 3 litres per 100 passenger km – better than a compact car!
I had no idea airplanes had improved so much. Sounds like another good investment would be to retire old planes ASAP. Maybe big airlines will lobby to force retirement, as new airlines using old planes are cutting into big airlines' profits.

Giant offshore windpower

Gizmag and Science Blog write about a really cool idea: giant floating wind turbines located offshore. Advantages:
  • Bigger is much better for wind power, and these can be huge.
  • More wind is much better for wind power, and there's lots more wind on open sea than on land.
  • They are not fixed, so can be towed to where power is needed.
  • They would be far enough offshore that nobody can see them from shore.
  • All of the usual wind power benefits (relatively cheap, no pollution, no greenhouse gas, no peak oilfossil fuel, not controlled by klepetro-states...)
This idea needs to be implemented ... full force!

Carnage against DRM

Important post from Mircrosoft employee Dare Obasanjo AKA Carnage4Life on DRM and Vendor Lock-in:
A number of recent events in the digital music space has made me start coming around to Cory Doctorow's way of thinking on DRM.
I now have to make music purchasing decisions based on whether I think iPod/iTunes or Zune/Zune Marketplace will be around in 5 years. That sucks.

I'm definitely not buying DRMed music anymore. Ripping from CDs is the way to go.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Zombies kill pirates.

No more talking like a pirate. No more talking!


Let's see what blogger does with that title.

Beta blogger

Just switched to the beta version of blogger before I put up too much content.

It seems great! Template editing can mostly be done via a semi-drag-and-drop application. Much more non-technical user friendly.

I suspect some of the problems with publishing are corrected too, we'll find out shortly... YES!

(And of course there are tagslabels.)

Patent lawyer!?

So I'm not going to only link to Slashdot, but this from University of Virginia Student Graduates in One Year (quoting a WaPo story) is too much:
He says he may eventually pursue law school as a part-time student in hopes of becoming a patent lawyer.
Argh! What commenter brejc8 says:
This guy has some real potential, he could change the world, he could discover some fantastic advancements for the good of human kind, but no. He wants to be a lawyer.

In other news software patents are not that harmful and alternatives.

And read rethinking healthcare ... completely at TechDirt ... very relevant to the rest of this post.

OpenOffice rewrite!?

Slashdot relays that OpenOffice (which I use heavily) is going to get Mozilla Firefox-like extensions and ship with Mozilla's Thunderbird mail reader and one of Mozilla's still-crappy calendar projects. The first part is really cool, it has been too hard to develop for OO.o, this should open up the ecosystem. The second part is probably good to, or OO.o would have eventually and wastefully developed its own mail reader (every program eventually can read mail).

Anyone wondering why not Evolution (an excellent mail reader and calendar client) should consider that OO.o is headed by Sun and Evolution has strong ties to Mono (free implementation of Microsoft's .NET) which competes with Sun's Java.

The post /. referred to says something interesting about OO.o 3.0:

The only objective of the 3.0 will be to make it much more modular and running on tops of frameworks such as Eclipse, Netbeans or Mozilla's XUL.

Uh, do I hear total rewrite? OO.o 3.0 before 2010?

Download OpenOffice 2 now!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

First blogroll addition: Jon's Radio

Added a blogroll include to the (for now) right. First addition is Jon Udell, who is a year or so ahead on all things computing and that comes with an astute sense of how computing interacts with individual autonomy and freedom.

About every fourth post on Jon's Radio is a must-read. Check out his ongoing discussion of data translucency and selective disclosure. This will impact you and society, whether you're ever aware of it or not.

hAtom blogger template?


I want a(n?) Blogger template.

Help me with my grammar too.

Please. Frankly I feel a little safer if my data is in a standardesque format. That way I have to rely less on Blogger formally supporting any kind of export.

If you don't get this, uh, learn.

Link and share is the rule in this kitchen

That button (currently) to the right?

These posts are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, which means you can do whatever you like with them, so long as you give credit (link) to Everything and the kitchen link and share whatever it is you've done under the same terms.

Learn if you don't know about this.

If the Kitchen Linker ever takes on co-bloggers they'll have to agree to publish under the same terms or KL won't take them on!

Linkers, stinkers, thinkers

Hello blogdom and spamorrah!

Twas years' late to the party, fashionably so.

This would be called 'linkers, stinkers, thinkers' (blogs, politics, technology) but that concept has been used already and the kitchen sink is such a cliche that it doesn't matter. Plus 'everything and the kitchen link' gives more latitude.

What's your intuition for set theory?