earth day or whatever

I guess Earth Day is still a good idea- raising awareness, building commitment and all that. But it’s also an excuse for corporate greenwashing and for token actions that don’t mean much without the other 364 days of the year. Maybe it’s time to start promoting Earth Night again:

Joosse is convinced the attacks are being carried out by someone who lives in the area, but said it’s difficult to say whether it’s a single individual or a “small tightly knit group.”

“Even if it is an individual,” said Joosse, “there are other people who know about this person and are complicit in helping, if only through their silence.”

Residents blocked oil and gas vehicles on a road running through the community of Kelly Lake last summer, an event Joosse said was a precursor to the explosions.

Joosse said the blockade was an illustration of “widespread community support for civil disobedience, and a widespread sentiment of frustration” by locals angry over what they see as the destruction of their land.

This one makes a little less sense. I can understand the poetic justice of attacking a polluter with pollution, but I can’t see a lot of activist types actually doing it. Not to mention that dumping 1200 pounds of waste seems like a big enough task to make security difficult. Curiously, I seem to remember a similar story from the Connecticut area in the last couple of months. I’m going to look around for that again.

The search for contaminants began Tuesday, when DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy got a letter claiming to be from the group of environmental activists called Earth First. The letter, which also had been mailed to Plainfield Renewable Energy and the Norwich Bulletin newspaper, claimed that Earth First dumped substances at the site of PRE’s planned plant near Norwich, Mill Brook and Tarbox roads.

Saying PRE is “guilty of plotting to commit crimes against the environment,” the letter-writer stated that they dumped 1,200 pounds of substances in six locations on the 27-acre property — “the same pollution that PRE intends to dump on their neighbors.” The letter lists the following chemicals: “Lead Mercury Asbestos Toluene Benzene Perchloroethylene and Creosote.”

Here are a couple of less-intense things we could do. This is a pretty decent argument for cities like Portland to reconsider their attraction to streetcars and light rail, and build a bus system that works better than what we have now and is more flexible than the rail we want (by way of Jack Bog):

And here’s a notion of how to make bikes more attractive to Americans:

This may all seem a bit much compared to the bicycles we’re used to, but consider the North American equivalent to the city bike: the private automobile. Just think of how silly it would be if you had to carry your groceries on your back when you used a car to get somewhere. Or if you wanted to go out at night, but your lights had run out of batteries. Would you buy a car that didn’t come eqiupped with lights to begin with, requiring you to buy separate lights that you had to attach yourself? What if a car rusted into uselessness if parked outside in the winter? Cars, like city bikes, are designed for practical transportation.

And some dismal science from the sea:

(picture and link by way of Treehugger)

bikes and mayhem

Let’s start with an update on this guy:

Better to be in an Iraqi prison with the whole world knowing you’re the shoe-thrower than in as just some guy. But still, better to be on a beach somewhere.

OK, on to bikes and not-bikes. The first one is applicable to lots of places other than Portland:

And this one is just dumb. Note to GM and Segway: there’s already a two-wheeled vehicle out there that’s cheaper and doesn’t require any energy source you weren’t born with. Also, people who use them tend to develop hot-looking asses. I’m just sayin.

I promised you a zombie the other day, and it’s not even an Easter joke:

It was believed Ntsente had been shot dead in 2001 during taxi-related violence between the Ncedo and Border taxi associations.

Ntsente claims the gunmen were in white minibus taxi – and that he saw it all happening. “During the shooting I saw myself standing on another side watching a person who resembled me being shot in the forehead, right knee stomach and spine.”

Ntsente said his badly injured “duplicate” was taken to St Barnabas Hospital in Libode . “I witnessed this person dying. The body was taken to the hospital’s mortuary where (it was) cut open to remove internal organs before it was kept in a fridge.”

Ntsente claims he even witnessed his night vigil and funeral and was then taken by “four female witches” to a dark forest where he met “lots of other abducted people”.

“We mostly drank blood and ate izinsipa (used sorghum) and wild berries. I was released after witches said I was too powerful for them to make me do evil things,” he said.

Assorted other mayhem:

A MAN who had just had his hand severed with a samurai sword punched his attacker in the face with the stump, a court heard yesterday.

And two more cases of robbery fail:

politics, crime, collapse and space

This story hasn’t gotten much play. It may fizzle, it may explode, but it’s bound to be interesting either way. Maybe it’ll even work. It’s certainly going to be closely watched by many people, although not the American media:

Worried about the collapse of civilization? Concerned that Kyoto is too little, too late? Overwhelmed by feelings of doom and gloom? Here’s a new take on the standard story of humans consuming themselves to death:

“Societies don’t just go into a tailspin and self-destruct,” says Stevenson, an archaeologist at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “They can and do adapt, and they emerge in new ways. The key is to put more back into the system than is taken out.”

While evidence suggests the Rapa Nui people cut down 6,000,000 trees in 300 years, for example, they were also developing new technological and agricultural practices along the way—such as fertilization techniques to restore the health of the soil and rock gardens to protect the plants. As a result, every rock on Easter Island has probably been moved three or four times, Stevenson said.

What they don’t say is that it’s any fun to live through this sort of adjustment. I wouldn’t take it as an excuse to let things go to shit.

Here’s someone with some political courage. It’ll be interesting to see who attacks him for this:

How does all this stimulus money affect things I care about?

Tales of crime:

Things that fall from the sky:

And things that go up into the sky:


I spent some time today familiarizing myself with Icebike.

I only rode a little distance today. I fell down once, in slow motion. My groceries took more damage than I did.

Hoping for a snowday tomorrow.

news and nudes

I have to admit- I would never stay on top of this story without the Fortean Times:
Sixth severed foot washes up on B.C. shore

Not as cool as the Ganesha that grew up through the sidewalk, but it’ll do:
Monks see Buddha in wasp nest

Judge clears nude bicyclist in Portland
Seattle Parks seeking to ban nudity
Resort plans nude “anything goes” party

The usual post-Soviet stuff, starting in the Balkans:
Postwar Bosnia’s surprising export: peacekeepers
Kosovo rejects deal on deployment of EU mission
EULEX: UN appeals to Kosovo for flexibility

Tag reform! I used to tag stories about South Ossetia and Abkhazia with “Georgia,” just to keep the tags under control. But that’s kind of old school by now, so from this point forward, there’s a new tag called “Ossetia.” Not like you care, but I do.

Police attack raises tension in South Ossetia
S.Ossetia to report EU monitoring failure

The first two Ukraine headlines describe basically the same event, and yet their spin is almost totally opposite:
NATO reaffirms close ties with Ukraine
NATO Raises Concerns About Ukraine Reforms, Alliance Membership
Ukraine MPs sack presidential associate as speaker

news news news

Starting with the mayhem, of course:
Jilted lover accidentally blows up building
Man allegedly steals communion wafers from priest

The Stuart News reported that Ricci was being held down by six or seven offended parishioners when deputies arrived at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Jensen Beach. Police say two parishioners, ages 82 and 61, received minor injuries in the scuffle.

Enviro-ish stuff:

Faced with rising sea levels, the Maldives seek new homeland

Were these countries to be evacuated, the legal status of the global warming diaspora would be unclear. The same goes for that of a submerged country’s sovereignty. No nation in recorded history has peacefully relocated its entire population and remained intact, and, as National Geographic pointed out in 2005, environmental refugees are not recognized by international law.

Not So Green: Voters Nix Most Environmental State Ballot Measures
Critical Mass Transit: Major mass-transit initiatives did well in U.S. election

IEA stokes doubts over world’s climate fight
Peak Oil: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide From Higher Oil Prices

Wood War Bike
Metro, BTA support bike tax concept

And what’s a day without pirates? Things are heating up off of Somalia:
Royal Navy in firefight with Somali pirates

Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles.

In the ensuing gunfight, two Somali pirates in a Yemeni-registered fishing dhow were killed, and a third pirate, believed to be a Yemeni, suffered injuries and subsequently died. It was the first time the Royal Navy had been engaged in a fatal shoot-out on the high seas in living memory.

By the time the Royal Marines boarded the pirates’ vessel, the enemy had lost the will to fight and surrendered quietly. The Royal Navy described the boarding as “compliant”.

And here are three pirate stories from other parts of the world:
Pirates release 10 hostages kidnapped near Cameroon
Pirates Attack Sailboat in Venezuela
Pirates target slow barges (Singapore)

metal, drugs, bikes and treehuggers

Nothing else matters: Iraqi heavy metal returns

“I’ll see you die at my feet! Eternally I smash your face! Facial bones collapse as I crack your skull in half!” he roared.

Two years ago, these kinds of threats in Iraq typically came from members of al-Qaeda, or violent sectarian militias. Saturday night, they were directed at 250 Iraqi fans of heavy metal music who fearlessly donned eye shadow, anarchist pendants and black T-shirts and came out of hiding to attend Iraq’s first metal concert in five years.

Traces of hallucinogens found in mummy hair

Portland bike traffic up 28% over last year
Data Confirms Cycling On the Rise in New York City
Urban Cyclists: Stick Together, Don’t Inhale?

Michigan State arsonist sentenced to 9 years
Eau Claire man pleads to reduced federal charge
Eight months after arson, Street of Dreams is a ghost town

Bureau Proposes Opening Up Utah Wilderness to Drilling

One of the areas set to be auctioned off is Upper Desolation Canyon, which was named by explorer John Wesley Powell in 1869 while he traveled down the Green River, which traverses the canyon, to the Grand Canyon.

In a 1999 assessment, bureau officials wrote that Desolation Canyon “is a place where a visitor can experience true solitude — where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful, rugged landscape,” and heralded the area’s “cultural, scenic, geologic, botanical, and wildlife values.”

“What makes this action by the Interior Department so deplorable is that BLM itself determined these areas to be wilderness-quality lands,” said Stephen Bloch, conservation director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocacy group, in a statement. “Nonetheless, BLM is condemning these lands to a future of oil rigs and gas pipelines and almost certain disqualification from future wilderness designation.”

return of the news

I’m dipping my toes back in the water tonight, so just a quickie.

Starting with something local for my bike people:
Portland bike light enforcement starts soon

Portland Police have been giving out warnings and bike lights for the past week to those cyclists they catch without a front white light – but they’re about to run out, and when that happens, they’ll start giving out tickets instead.

Stone Age man took drugs, say scientists

They found ceramic bowls, as well as tubes for inhaling drug fumes or powders, which appear to have originated in South America between 100BC and 400BC and were then carried 400 miles to the islands.

They consider that drugs were being used to induce spiritual or trance-like states by people who had religious beliefs.

Britain releases UFO files, dispels some mysteries
U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO

And finally, it’s long been known that defending against zombies has been an essential element of homeland security. It’s good to see, then, that alert citizens are on the lookout:
Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding

“My story is based on fiction,” said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. “It’s a fake story. I made it up. I’ve been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies.”

(by way of Green Is The New Red, thanks to Katie Monster)

news headlines

It just keeps getting busier on the piracy front. Too bad no one’s getting any good pictures.
French troops save 2 hostages from Somali pirates
Hong Kong ship with 22 crew seized near Somalia
Panama-flagged Oil tanker escapes Somali pirate attack

Here’s some all-purpose mayhem for you:
Knifed 666 times each and eaten

Police believe the teenagers were cooked in the flames before their flesh was devoured…. Their private parts had also been cut off in the sickening ritual in a rural area of Russia.

Nigerian militants launch new attacks in “oil war”
Peak Oil, or Just Peak Oil Prices?

So the question is—what does $90 oil do to all the revolutionary changes that were so urgent when oil was flirting with $150? Has the gasoline-fueled, air-conditioned American way of life that was under siege two months ago gotten an eleventh-hour reprieve? Or, like those quiet few minutes in the middle of a hurricane, is the recent oil-price tumble just the calm before the rest of the storm hits?

Receding Waters Leave Toxic Mix
Bear vs. Bike: Cyclist Hits 300-Pound Black Bear

The Future of America’s Space Corps
NASA PAO Wants Everyone To Know Who Pays The Bills Back Home
Nasa selects Mars climate mission
NASA awards $485M Mars project delayed by conflict

The price of the probe increased by $10 million, its launch was postponed by two years, and the science-gathering mission will be cut in half to one year, an official said. NASA chose the University of Colorado’s proposal to study the Martian atmosphere from 20 other ideas to study Mars that were trimmed to just two before a conflict of interest was declared.

UFO sightings connected to Large Hadron Collider experiment?
UFO link to orange lights
UFO mystery in Mill End

This one’s for the incomparable Trevor Blake, so he knows that people are still paying attention:
Quote of the Day: Bucky Fuller on How We Live

“Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time.
Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time.
Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time.
It’s time we gave this some thought.”

Hackers block Qaeda’s 9/11 terror on tape

Georgia Offers Fresh Evidence on War’s Start
DID SAAKASHVILI LIE? The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader

And finally, one more post-Soviet hotspot to keep an eye on:
Russian fleet kicks off exercises in Baltic Sea
Wikipedia: Kaliningrad Oblast

news about pirates and space

I wish I could bring you news about pirates in space, but that might be a few years off.

Pirates fire rockets at French boat far off Somalia
Iran denies agreement on vessel ransom
Somali pirates wreak havoc with maritime traffic

MESSENGER Ready For Its Second Look At Mercury
Experiment Boosts Hopes for Space Solar Power

A former NASA scientist has used radio waves to transmit solar power a distance of 92 miles (148 km) between two Hawaiian islands, an achievement that he says proves the technology exists to beam solar power from satellites back to Earth.

Report: NASA Chief Warns of Waning U.S. Dominance in Space
White House and NASA: Time to Call in a Therapist

Why is the White House afraid to let Griffin speak publicly? Why is Griffin afraid/unable to do so? Oh yes, Griffin has often been told by the White House to stay out of the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. But wait: leaked memos, “senior NASA officials” speaking under conditions of anonymity? Hmm, that’s the same inside the beltway code language and games that the White House usually uses to float trial balloons and instill a growing sense of dissent – while denying any active participation. Everyone is talking past everyone else. No one takes an open stance any more.

How much more dysfunctional can this whole situation become?

A Q&A on the shuttle’s future
Weldon Says Russian Waiver Means Pink Slips for KSC

Today, Congressman Dave Weldon (FL-15) denounced the efforts by Senator Bill Nelson and others to obtain a waiver of the Iran Nonproliferation Act for NASA. This waiver would allow the U.S. to purchase the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft and force the U.S. to rely on Russia over the next five to seven years to transport American astronauts in space to reach the U.S.-led International Space Station.

Portland band takes on West Coast tour by bike

I posted the other day about Marie Mason, the latest Earth Liberation Front activist to go down. Thanks to Katie Monster, I got  you a little more info. Check it out: she got narked out by her husband.
Non Cooperating Green Scare Defendant Marie Mason Plea details
Marie Mason Plea Agreement
Make sure you check out the comment in the Infoshop article by Lauren Regan from the Civil Liberties Defense Center. She’s been involved in these cases since the grand juries started five or six years ago, so this is basically making it official that even though Mason implicated her former husband, she’s not really giving up any info he didn’t admit himself, and therefore she’s a non-cooperator. Not a lot of these folks can say that.

I state with unequivocal confidence and knowledge that Marie has been absolutely stalwart in her commitment to not cooperate with the government, and to do no act that would damage the larger environmental movement in any way. She is an amazingly strong woman and I wish I had met her before her legal troubles began. Her plea agreement and negotiations do not require her to provide any information at all, other than to admit her own crimes in open court. The feds wanted their boy Ambrose to also be listed in the crimes that Marie is pleading to and to which Ambrose not only admitted, but gave up info on anything and everything he could think of. She has never confirmed or denied his role in any crime, but based upon the feds insistence that he be named in her plea counts, she will agree in court that if the feds say he did it, and Ambrose himself has sung like a canary, then so be it. Ambrose made his own bed long ago (see below). Like the other noncooperating defendants, the government could subpoena her to a grand jury or trial in the future. It would be her choice at that point whether to cooperate or not. Based upon the fact that she was willing to go to trial and face the rest of her life in prison if she was not offered a pure non-cooperation deal, I think we can speculate as to her decision if she was merely facing a contempt charge. Hopefully that will not happen.

Stay alert. Trust no one. Keep your laser handy.