Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My most recent bike trip to Vancouver, BC

Image taken near Gastown as I was passing through.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Should arts organizations accept donations from BP Oil?

I heard about this controversy on the BBC.

Some arts patrons still drive.

First I'd think, take the money, arts needs money, but then I think maybe all of BP's extra money should go to fixing the problems at the gulf. Can they afford all the cleanup costs? Would people in arts organizations feel guilty using some of that money which could be going toward gulf cleanup?

It's not humanly possible to be worth what many corporate executives are paid

BP CEO Tony Hayward's controversial day sailing on yacht raises rather than devoting 24/7 to the oil spill problem.

Humans still have to take breaks and do things that maintain their sanity from time to time. Assuming they have sanity. Humans still take time out to go to the bathroom and sleep. They still make mistakes. Even when paid a lot of money, humans can't stop being human. Maybe some humans are paid too much. If folks are paid less, there can be less pressure to be super human.

Joe Biden's frozen custard remark

After Biden asked what he owed for his tasty frozen treat, Kopp's Frozen Custard manager Scott Borkin quipped, "Don't worry, it's on the house. ... Lower our taxes and we'll call it even."

Biden initially brushed off Borkin's comment — but then circled back to the manager and asked, "Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smarta-- all the time?"

Biden should have said, "it's easier to pay $5 for a custard than cut taxes, or government spending."

Biden was in Wisconsin, but I've bought things here in Washington State where the shopkeeper tallies up with a frown and the remark "and 20 cents for the governor."

My comeback has been, "20 cents to help keep Western Washington University open." WWU is an important employer in Bellingham's local economy that relies to a large extent on state taxes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hello sunshine

We are finally getting some of it. This painting is on the wall of a new eatery called Man Pies. Soon to be finished in downtown Bellingham.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Naked carbon

World Naked Bike Ride happened in Bellingham again for 2010 protesting dependency on fossil fuels. Coincidence brought this coal train through town as the riders were leaving Boulevard Park.

Looks like a heavy load of carbon headed to the atmosphere, but it's just less covered than oil dressed in a pipeline.

At least we still have lots of domestic coal here in USA. Some have called us the Saudi Arabia of coal. I hear these trains export coal through a port in Canada. Coal bound for Asia.

Ideally, world economies should strive toward less fossil fuel dependence. Bicycling is one of many fun alternatives that can reduce oil dependence. See my image set of Bellingham's World Naked Bike Rides. 2009 to most recent.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My brother's going solar

Part of rooftop array that my brother is installing on his house. One of his first tasks since installing the collectors is using the sun to run his lawnmower.

He now (2014) says he gets around 1/2 his energy needs from solar. This includes his car that runs on electricity and he charges it at home as well as at some charging stations along the road. It gets up to 60 miles on a charge. For some longer trips, he still has a gas powered hybrid. Solar power provides much of his electrical needs and he still buys some of his power from the power company. When he has extra solar power, he sells power back to the grid which helps offset the cost of power he uses from the grid during times of low, or no sun. Overall his solar collectors cut energy costs in half for his family's fairly middle class lifestyle.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cartoon idea about Obama and gulf oil spill

I can't draw so here's the description.

"Obama's hands are tied" is the caption showing Obama at the gulf with his hands stuck in a sticky oil like substance.

Most likely, this idea is already out there in some cartoon, I just haven't seen it yet, but how many papers do I read? Not that many.

No, I don't think there's much the President can do. It's a deeper cultural problem of economies based on cheap oil.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hoping Earth got struck by an asteroid today

Tiny particles from an asteroid aboard Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft. A return capsule just landed today in the Australian desert. Successful landing, but is there dust on board? The world should know after several weeks of analysis in the lab.

If there is enough dust for a sample, we'll find out more about asteroids and the origins of our solar system.

Launched from Japan's Kagoshima Space Center in 2003, Hayabusa (which means "falcon" in Japanese) visited asteroid Itokawa in 2005. A lot was learned, from photos and other readings about the asteroid. It's quite a bit different than expected. Rather than solid rock, it's more like a rubble pile.

Beset with some malfunctions, the spacecraft may have not been able to scoop up any sample. Hoping it got some at least. Amazing, after what it's been through that it still worked and at least the sample return capsule has landed safely on Earth.

Congratulations, Dust Has been found.
Update added Nov. 2012.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bicycling Point Whitehorn Road

Yes, much of the world is associating BP Oil and danger, but here it's just unstable cliffs they don't want you to scramble down.

From beside the road, this view at the top of those cliffs.

Point Whitehorn is a beautiful segment of road. Blocked off to motorized travel, but used for hikers, bicyclists and some dog walkers.

Highlight of the bike ride from Blaine to Bellingham that I took last Saturday.

Goes through buffer lands near BP's Cherry Point Refinery, yet it's still a break from the hubbub of traffic.

Mount Baker was visible that day.

Bike racks on the front of a WTA bus got my vehicle to Blaine and then I bicycled back.

Some of the roads I took were Drayton Harbor, Harberview and Birch Bay Drive to Point Whitehorn.

After crossing Grandview, there's a yellow gate where the car free section begins from the north. Soon the road turns a corner and becomes Aldergrove. Light traffic resumes after (I think) Gulf Road. Eventually I followed Kickerville, Rainbow, Mountainview and Lake Terrell Roads back to the south and east. Douglas got me to Ferndale with Labounty and Pacific Highway taking me back to Bellingham.

Thanks to co-operation of local industries and Whatcom County For the availability of Point Whitehorn Road.

More pictures from Point Whitehorn Road.

Historic Depot in Blaine

Last Saturday was a somewhat rare sunny day for June in Bellingham. I took a WTA bus up to Blaine and then bicycled back to Bellingham.

I've been reading about efforts to preserve the old railroad depot in Blaine. There were plans to move it to Blaine Harbor and use it as a ferry terminal, but those efforts have run into a few snags. Just leaving it where it is looks reasonable to me, except I read that BNSF Railroad wants to expand their tracks where it's at and has plans to tear it down.

I'm wondering if they could expand the track to the west, rather than through where the depot is now? Preserve the depot where it's at?

Peace Portal Drive is the main drag through town, right behind where the depot is now. They've done a good job developing plazas along the street. Couldn't a walkway connect the old depot area to businesses along Peace Portal which are right behind it? Couldn't some use be found where it's at? Seems like a lot of trouble to move the depot.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Window display about oil spill

Seen through the window of Mindport Museum of science and art in downtown Bellingham.