A reader tipped us off to this. WE like the idea
of direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy. However, the state-of-the-art today is hopelessly impractical. You need look only as far as the little garden lights that have become so popular recently (because they're now affordable).
They charge all day to provide cold, feeble light for a few hours after sunset. Whooptie-bang! We realize that they aren't using cutting edge components, but they do illustrate that when you need robust, reliable power to last the night (especially for computers, routers, wi-fi, televisions, DVDs, cable boxes, game consoles, dishwashers, laundry machines, CPAP machines, etc.), solar just doesn't cut it. It's supplemental at best. Whatever the reality, sustainability is so dreamy... W
hatcom for an increase in pitches just like this here, in the least-sunny corner
of the country.SEATTLEHENGE
posted by Stefan Sheransky, at Sound Politics
December 23, 2011
Seattle City Light mailed me a letter inviting me to "help build Community Solar today!"
"Community Solar" is Seattle's Sustainable Energy Future (today!) City Light has partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation to build three new picnic shelters with roofs made of solar electric panels.
For only $600 you can purchase one of 1,500 solar units, each of which will generate 50kWh a year (sustainably! today!)
I know you're thinking, chuckling, perhaps: "Does Solar Energy Work in Seattle?" Yes, it does! City Light reassures us: Seattle City Light customers are installing solar equipment on their homes and businesses - and in greater numbers every year. While we are known for our cloudy skies, Seattle receives more sunlight than Germany, the world's leading solar market.So silly skeptical spoiler me to point out that City Light's current residential marginal rate (its highest) is $0.0956 / kWh. Your $600 solar unit generates $4.78 worth of electricity a year (probably less, assuming that city parks get a volume discount off residential). Your $600 solar unit will pay for itself in only 125 years (sustainably! today!)
This isn't "sustainable" under any non-delusional meaning of the word. It's a temple to the sun god, a modern-day Stonehenge.
City Light also wants to sell you solar units for your Mossback home. And never mind the cost, it's a good investment! Its lifetime per-kWh cost is only 3 times what you currently pay for electricity. But to save you the trouble of doing the math to understand how it's a good investment, I'll tell you that because it's a such good investment multiple government agencies will offer you incentives to invest your money this way. And you know that government agencies are savvy investors.
[I'll add as an aside that this isn't a sweeping damnation of solar technology itself. The cost is coming down and there are economically viable uses for solar today -- in places with more sunlight and less installed infrastructure. This particular project is far from that category.]
- the comments are priceless
Would you want your government to spend $7.5 million per pound each year to help remove phosphorus from the Lake Whatcom watershed? Here’s hoping they don’t pick that option, but the City of Bellingham has contracted CH2M Hill to perform a cost-benefit study of Lake Whatcom, published November 3, 2011. The report summarizes, As part of the City of Bellingham Project EW-180 related to mitigating impacts of filter-clogging algae in Lake Whatcom, the project team evaluated lake and watershed management. As part of addressing lake and watershed management, the project team estimated the phosphorus reduction and associated costs of specific in-watershed activities identified by City staff from the Lake Whatcom Reservoir Management Program 2010-2014 Work Plan.
The summary specifically mentions filter-clogging algae. WE have a gut feeling that addressing problems with clogged filters could be managed much more directly and inexpensively, without the need for eliminating phosphorous from the watershed, even if it were practical.
The complete report is available here
, but for those of you who do not have time to take in the entire thing, we will summarize the highlights. For those of you who are really pressed for time, this is it, in one line: Environmental mitigation does not come cheap, in monetary or libertarian terms
. The authors do not analyze whether the work is necessary and proper (and the city did not ask them to – that’s the city’s job).
Here is the list of activities that a working group consisting of staff from the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County, based upon the Lake Whatcom Reservoir Management Program 2010-2014 produced, and CH2MHILL, the City, and the County collaboratively refined:
- Reducing development potential / developable land
- Restoration of natural functions on acquisition properties
- Bio-filtration: vegetated swales
- Bioretention: rain gardens
- Bio-filtration: street trees
- Lawn replacement & landscaping: retrofit to provide bioretention
- Infiltration: dry wells
- Infiltration: trenches
- Infiltration: pervious pavement
- Infiltration: basin
- Rainwater reuse
- Onsite dispersion
- Media filters
- Sizing culverts to eliminate erosion
- Street sweeping
- Controlling erosion through streambank stabilization or restoring stream buffer vegetation
- Regulations: Phosphorus fertilizer ban
- Education: Watershed signs
- Education: Mass mailings
- Education: Online information
- Education: Newspaper ads
- Education: Video presentations
- Education: Community events (public meetings)
- Education: Onsite training/workshops
- Education: Resident contact
- Education: Project consultation
- Transition from Ecology Water Quality Assurances of Forest Practices to pre-development conditions
- Design standards for new and retrofitted roads
- Reconfigure roadside ditches
- Reconfigure streets
- Vehicle trips - reduce and redirect
- Recreational facility design and use (Improving existing facilities)
- Watershed-wide enforcement
- Animal waste: wildlife (goose)
- Septic system transition to sewer connection
Exhibit 4 – Education, Incentives and Enforcement Matrix
, is especially interesting. Here is how this project would be implemented:
Since We the People probably do not understand the problem, we need education:
- Watershed interpretive signs
- Mass mailings
- Online information (website)
- Newspaper ads
- Video presentations (or TV ads)
- Community events (public meetings)
- Resident contact (home visit)
- Onsite training/workshops
- Technical assistance
Lucrative non-profits and NGOs acting as agents of the state will provide helpful site visits (to your home) and produce materials using government grants, provided by you, the taxpayer.
Realizing that you might not be anxious to do this (all else being equal) they will sweeten the deal with incentives:
- Convenient disposal
- Store coupons
- Yard waste pickup
- Rain barrel
- Food waste pickup
- Compost bin
Finally, enforcement: if you weigh the knowledge and the incentives and you decide the costs outweigh the benefit for your individual situation, lawsuits and duress kicks in.
So, what does it all cost? The report breaks it down by dollars per pound of phosphorus removed from the Lake Whatcom watershed per year
. Some of the mitigation involves cost per acre as well. Please refer to the report
for details. The report does not say how many pounds require removal, but at $6.00 per pound, we can develop (the developable land) in accordance with city ordinance. Then there’s “Transition from Ecology Water Quality Assurances of Forest Practices to predevelopment conditions” (re-wilding). That goes for $81.00 per pound per acre. You can keep developable land un
developed for $561.00 per pound. Residential lot consolidation is $14,420.00 per pound. It starts going up fast, now: Building new roads from “pervious” materials (that water can seep through) costs $1,111,000.00 per pound. Retrofitting existing roads will cost $2,000,000.00. Skipping ahead, we find retrofitting lawns and landscaping will cost $5,000,000.00 and vegetated swales and re-configuring roadside ditches will both cost $6,000,000.00. Capping it all off, bioretention rain gardens would cost $7,500,000.00 per pound of phosphorus removed from the watershed per year
. We can hope the city planners would heed this cost-benefit analysis, and use only the remedies that have the biggest bang for the buck. They did reject the idea of controlling the goose droppings in the area. Humans are probably easier for the government to control than geese.
Did anybody consult you, taxpayer or landowner, at any time during the development of this project? Will they allow you to vote or have a voice in how much of this you want to participate in, or pay for, or how much it will affect your property value or its usability? As a citizen, where do you prioritize environmental issues with all of the other human needs and wants? An environmental extremist would put the environment at the very top of the list. A conservationist might consider a reasonable balance between a pristine environment and other human needs and wants, including our civil liberties. How much government would you
purchase if you had the freedom to choose?
Hard to call these items "fun" reading. But there's enlightenment for inquiring minds in the items and articles below. Grab some milk and cookies (maybe a strong drink), and follow the underlined links.1. For those who think the USA isn't headed toward global governance, that this is loony "conspiracy theory," take a look through:
Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, United States of America
2. Read about England's push-back against the European Union:
Cameron to Eurozone - Drop Dead, The Weekly Standard
(Excellent follow-up video, Daniel Hannan M.P., "The New Road to Serfdom")
3. A cogent history of communal and anarchy movements in the United States:
Anarchy in the U.S.A. - The Roots of American Disorder, The Weekly Standard
4. Wondered why you're not hearing much about embryonic stem cell research?
All The News That's Fit To Forget, The Weekly Standard
5. Read the latest exposure of dirty tricks and bad climate "science":
Climategate (Part II), The Weekly Standard
6. The SEIU is hiring activists to occupy banks and conduct ACORN-like "community organizing"? Looks like it:
Wanted: Well-Paid Thug. Apply: SEIU, Freedom Foundation
7. Well worth reading if you haven't seen this yet:
You're the 99%? What's the Problem?, Rage Against the Kakistocracy
8. Last but not least, on the misguided efforts against Wall Street:
Corporate Collaborators , Mark Steyn, National Review Online
No matter what people do, "environmentalists" find fault with it. How long will it be before “green bags” come under the fire they deserve? Studies have revealed that they’re composed of mighty nasty stuff. And if they’re not washed between uses they’re not particularly sanitary for hauling those organic groceries home. NBC recently aired an expose video about “gross-ery” bags - click here
to see it (sorry, you’ll have to tolerate an ad along the way).
So these supposedly eco friendly “dirt bags” need to be washed between uses. But our stormwater police say wash water is “process water.” Bleach and soap – OMG folks, those are pollutants.
How do we win, dancing on the head of a pin that gets smaller and smaller? Wikipedia
reports eye-popping information about “green bag” eco-issues and food safety problems: Reusable shopping bags require more energy to produce than common plastic shopping bags. One reusable bag requires the same amount of energy as an estimated 28 traditional plastic shopping bags or eight paper bags. An unpublished report from the UK's Environment Agency found that when compared to a traditional plastic bag, a canvas or cotton reusable bag would have to be reused a total of 171 times to offset the higher carbon emissions. The same study found however that the average cotton bag is used only 51 times before being thrown away.
Dredging revealed months ago that the EPA rates common lightweight (and recyclable) plastic grocery bags low on the pecking order of waste disposal problems. See this EPA published report
saying that plastic shopping bags are not a significant contributor to the nation’s litter stream.
But in characteristic fervor, whatever the truth of the matter, Bellingham city council passed its oppressive “bag ban” in July
that not only denies merchants the freedom to select whatever packaging they feel is appropriate, but also commands them to charge us whatever price this omnipotent body believes should be charged for a “recycled paper bag." By this ordinance
the city not only assumed vast authority to oversee the free market, it can raise the price for a bag or alter any other condition of this intrusion anytime.
This escapade is so wrong on so many levels WE’re appalled that the public has bumbled along without raising a stir about lost liberty.
Oh well; maybe we're conditioned. Here in Whatcom County what’s a little more creeping oppression based on junk science and dramatic excess? Just another example of more government regulation to fix a problem caused by government for something most people didn't want in the first place - another "kakistocracy" case in point.
WE find that plastic bag bans everywhere are based on falsehoods, half-truths and emotion. Did you catch this absurd show just put on by activist-proponents in Seattle? And Bellingham's proud
of the ball it got rolling through the state. Alas.
Time for some serious ...Rage Against The Kakistocracy
(Government by the least qualified or least principled citizens)The Watermelons Are Onto the Fact That We're Onto Them
December 18, 2011
by Karl Uppiano I know you think, you think you know, but I think you don't.
~ Zaphod Beeblebrox
are onto us. Lloyd Alter
, at treehugger (a discovery company)
, writes,This past summer I think about twelve people read my post Agenda 21: The United Nations Threat To Control Our Lightbulbs, Our Lifestyles and Our Lives, where I wrote about how historic preservation, formerly the preserve of conservative types, has morphed into socialist control of private property, a tool of Agenda 21. I called it a Tea Party Theory of Everything:
It ties it all together into one neat package, making climate change, light bulbs, transit, smart growth, fuel economy, everything a plot...It is a spreading conspiracy theory that is becoming the underlying ideology of the crazy right and that has serious legs. It is no joke.
(Continue reading Agenda 21 Wackos On The Move to Stop Smart Growth
Lloyd concludes with,Almost every battle over historic preservation is now becoming a property rights battle, and almost every property rights battle now has an Agenda 21 tint to it. We really have to wake up to this threat.
No, Lloyd, Americans have to wake up to this threat
to their natural rights. It might not be a conspiracy, but it certainly is an agenda. Agenda 21
uses environmental bait-and-switch to up-sell its illiberal collectivist schemes.
This is no idle threat: We've had multiple executive orders, from George H. W. Bush, William H. Clinton and now Barack H. Obama (constitutional illiterates all, apparently), invoking federal agencies such as the EPA and BLM to implement key elements of the Rio Earth Summit
and Kyoto Protocol
(even though Congress refused to ratify it). It's called "soft law". Then, flying in below the constitutional radar, ICLEI
organizes local governments to implement Agenda 21. Warm fuzzy euphemisms such as Smart Growth
and Sustainable Development
mislead otherwise skeptical community leaders, businessmen and citizens who ask, essentially, "where do I line up to surrender my civil liberties and right to self-determination?" "Non profit", non-government organizations (NGOs) with names like Sustainable Connections
, and FutureWise
, take government grants (your tax dollars) to "educate" you in the ways of sustainability, and sue you if you don't get in line. You're paying for your own oppression.
Don't just take my word for it, go to their websites and explore for yourself what they have planned for us. I provided the links. Remember, these websites are selling their agenda in glowing terms. You might need some translation
. "Smart Growth" is already being implemented in your cities, counties and towns, probably without your awareness or consent -- this is intentional. In the halls of government for Bellingham and Whatcom County where I live, the saying goes, "if it isn't permitted
, it isn't permitted". Meaning that if you don't have a permit, you can't do it. Say what?!
Hello, commissioner! Government derives its just power from the consent of the governed, not the other way around! These very expensive permits are required to ensure that any development or construction complies with very expensive requirements to satisfy environmental extremist and scientifically unverified measures to protect watershed, airshed (!), habitat and whatever other arbitrary barriers may be erected by planning and zoning ordinances to control normal human activities.
Don't think it's not happening in your town: After you've familiarized yourself with Agenda 21 and ICLEI, a.k.a., Sustainable Development or Smart Growth, start attending your city and county council meetings, and planning and zoning commission meetings. Read the ordinances. Listen for the buzzwords
-- they're all over the place. Then, start asking yourself, and others, these questions:
- What does Agenda 21 say, exactly?
- What do Smart Growth and Sustainable Development actually mean?
- What is ICLEI really trying to implement?
- What are the EPA, BLM, parks and recreation, planning and zoning, etc., trying to implement?
- Do you notice any similarities?
- Do you think they're a just a coincidence?
- Does the logical outcome have anything significant to do with the environment?
- Wouldn't it be preferable to protect our natural resources without forfeiting our natural rights?
And then ask,
- Have you ever tried remodeling a place you were renting?
- How much permission and input did your landlord require?
- Have you tried remodeling your own property lately?
- How much permission and input did your government require?
- Do you want to be a mere tenant on your own property?
- Have you ever wanted to own your own property?
- Why invest most of your life's work to purchase something that you have few rights to use for your own purposes?
Now that they know we're onto them, the watermelons are going to start squalling like hammered cats, calling us conspiracy theorists, paranoid nut jobs, and whatever else they can think of. They'll start renaming things -- picking new words to describe their tired old designs. Don't be deterred, because this is important: It is preferable to preserve our natural resources without forfeiting our natural rights!
They'll tell you capitalism, free enterprise, self-determination cannot be trusted to save the planet. What they're saying, in essence, is that government has to force us to go where free people would not go voluntarily. Is that not the definition
of tyranny and oppression? I think we can do better than that.
Renowned social psychologist, Diederik Stapel of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, was proved to be a fraud. An investigative committee concluded that Stapel had falsified data in at least "several dozen" of the nearly 150 papers he had published in his extremely prolific career. (Continue reading
Just calling something a science does not make it so. Social science? Give me a break. To be a science, you have to create testable hypotheses (sometimes called falsifiable
), and then verify that what they predict actually happens with enough regularity to be called a law, and researchers must be willing to revise their hypotheses when conflicting data arises. That is rare, if not impossible in the "social sciences".
One severe flaw in the methodology used by Stapel in his experiment about racism and homophobia was that he did not do any double blind testing, nor did he reverse the race-roles. Why did he not put a single white man at the end of the rows of chairs, and recruit a bunch of black people to fill out the questionnaire? I suspect, doing that might run the risk of exposing crypto-racism and crypto-homophobia in blacks, thereby falsifying the hypothesis that only Caucasians have this problem. It would have made a better experiment though.
Can you imagine the catastrophe, had we approached the development of nuclear energy in the same way we approach the "social sciences" and "climate change"? Egad. Maybe, like the Climategate "scientists", Mr. Stapel thought he was supposed to falsify his experimental results.
WE see that the video of Tom DeWeese's entire Agenda 21 program presented to Northwest Business Club on November 9th in Bellingham has been posted to YouTube. This is an excellent synopsis of the real agenda for "sustainabile development." It's a real eye opener, well worth your time. Here's the first segment (a link to the rest is below). Watch this and ask yourself, "Sound like what's going on in Bellingham and Whatcom County?" WE sure think so. Heads up.
To continue to the complete five-segment playlist, click here
Here's recent news from two true Olympians doing homeric duty. They have a lot to say that you won't find in the papers around here. First, a video from our local Representative Jason Overstreet, then a legislative update from Jim McCune.
December 9, 2011 Loaded with links. He describes the OWS protests in Olympia and more (click on "more" at the bottom).Dear Friends,
We have completed “Week Two” of an expensive and drawn-out special session. I would love to report the mission to solve a projected $2 billion shortfall was accomplished, but that wouldn’t be truthful. There is little progress and a there seems to be a lack of urgency by the majority party to address the shortfall.
On Sept. 22, the governor announced she would be calling for the special session to begin on Nov. 28, so budget writers and party leaders would have more than two months to prepare and work on solutions. The news this week isn’t about what is being accomplished, but when the Legislature may adjourn, rather than closing the shortfall and how to make the spending adjustments. The Seattle Times article published earlier this week, “Governor’s office asks Legislature to hurry up,” explains the longer we wait, the more difficult the problem. Many of the governor’s proposed savings have implementation dates of January. Within the last day we are seeing reports in the media about putting the budget off until the 2012 session and leaving town. You can read: Legislature leaning to make cuts next year in The Seattle Times, and More foot-dragging in The Columbian.
An agreement may be reached on some smaller or less controversial budget issues (Budget negotiators aim for partial solution), but as this article points out, everything seems to be controversial.
On our side of the aisle, House Republicans are working through a lengthy and detailed process called “Priorities of Government (POG).” We using this approach to outline our priorities in the budget: education, public safety and protecting our most vulnerable. This process also allows us to look at the role of government and whether or not we are funding programs and services outside of its core functions.
WE don't share many videos here, but this one is priceless.
Time for some serious ...Rage Against The Kakistocracy
(Government by the least qualified or least principled citizens)
Climategate I and II
December 3, 2011
by Karl Uppiano
Evidence continues to accumulate, that global warming (or the more recently adopted non-falsifiable and self-fulfilling moniker "climate change") is an outright fraud.
Jim Lacey writing in National Review Online states in his article Scientists Behaving Badly
, Last week over 5,000 new e-mails, already dubbed Climategate 2, were released. Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” Silly me, how many years have I wasted believing that the very point of science was to pursue the truth in the face of all obstacles. On the basis of this evidence the scientific method must be rewritten so as to state: “Science must be as objective as possible, unless it offends your friends.”
...) One by one, scientists are beginning to speak up. Karin McQuillan writes in Scientists in Revolt against Global Warming over at American Thinker
, More and more scientists are revolting against the global warming consensus enforced by government funding, the academic establishment, and media misrepresentation. They are saying that solar cycles and the complex systems of cloud formation have much more influence on our climate, and account for historical periods of warming and cooling much more accurately that a straight line graph of industrialization, CO2, and rising temperatures. They also point out that the rising temperatures that set off the global warming panic ended in 1998.
It takes a lot of courage. Scientists who report findings that contradict man-made global warming find their sources of funding cut, their jobs terminated, their careers stunted, and their reports blocked from important journals, and they are victimized by personal attacks. This is a consensus one associates with a Stalinist system, not science in the free world.
...) But, there is a real possibility that if humans ever are legitimately linked to global warming or climate change -- anything -- that real scientists and principled public servants will have a much harder row to hoe in order to convince people to take the necessary steps to reverse it.
WE couldn't have said it better ourselves.