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Thursday, January 26, 2006
 Global warming, what global warming? 
It's amazing that Pat Michaels, an environmental sciences professor at the Univ. of Virginia, still denies the existence of global warming, despite a consensus among the scientific community to the contrary. According to a new report from NASA,
The highest global surface temperature in more than a century of instrumental data was recorded in the 2005 calendar year.
The report went on to state that
Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases. Climate models show that the rate of warming is consistent with expectations (5). The observed rapid warming thus gives urgency to discussions about how to slow greenhouse gas emissions (6).

Michaels begs to differ. According to his web site,
The core issue over the next ten years will not be "How much will the climate warm?" but, rather, "Why did it warm so little?" My research also leads me to believe that the next decade will see the emergence of a paradigm of "robust earth," as opposed to the fashionable "fragility" concept.

He seems to have run out of journals that will publish his rants, as the latest citation is in 2001. I'm sure that his funding sources have nothing to do with the credibility of his research, but according to the ExxonSecrets Factsheet,
Known funding includes $49,000 from German Coal Mining Association, $15,000 from Edison Electric Institute and $40,000 from Cyprus Minerals Company, an early supporter of People for the West, a "wise use" group. He recieved $63,000 for research on global climate change from Western Fuels Association, above and beyond the undisclosed amount he is paid for the World Climate Report/Review [also funded by Western Fuels Association]. According to Harper's magazine, Michaels has recieved over $115,000 over the past four years from coal and oil interests.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
 Bike lists 
Bikelist.org contains a number of links to Internet mailing lists including InternetBOB, which was originially the Bridgestone Owner's Bunch, Rivendell Bicycle Works, and Classic Rendezvous, a list for "sharing of vintage lightweight bicycle information and lore". The information is online at the archive site, so that you don't need to join the list to view the content. It's also possible to search all of the lists at once at the same archive site. Best not to visit unless you've got a few hours to burn.

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 Lightweight laptops 
I've been looking for a lightweight, compact, laptop for a long time. The Dell Axim PDA worked for most of my needs for a while until I cracked the screen. I used a foldable keyboard and could take notes in meetings and write up notes on trips. It was small and portable, but not quite powerful enough for my needs. There was no usb port, no wireless connectivity without purchasing add-ons, so I never got the screen repaired.

I recently discovered the Lenovo Thinkpad X40. It weighs 2.7 lbs., has a full keyboard, and has a long battery life of 5 hours. Here's a review.

It's still too much computer at too high a price. Why hasn't someone produced a really lightweight laptop with basic abilities, possibly with Linux as the OS. It just seems that there is a sweet spot between a PDA and laptop that isn't been filled.

[postscript] The Fujitsu LifeBook S2110 Notebook is getting close to what I need. It weighs 3.6 lbs., has 512MB memory, has a CD/DVD drive, and has wireless LAN, all for $1200.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006
While googling for help using GIMP, I came across Wikitravel, which appears to be an offshoot of the popular Wikipedia that I reference often. Being I geography, I need to check out their page entitled How to draw a map using Sodipodi or Inkscape. I have a copy of Inkscape and this looks like a great use of that program.

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Friday, January 20, 2006
 Bicycle accidents 
Working in a bike shop, I see the carnage from the many unreported bicycle accidents that happen in our area. When I ask the cyclist if they reported their accident, 90% of the time the answer is no. It's unfortunate because the police need to know that there are many more bicycle/auto accidents occurring in our area than they realize, not that they care a great deal. When I discuss the problem of bicycle accidents with them, they often respond that there are not that many accidents. They need to see the bent wheels and frames that we see. There were two in the last week, both unreported.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration National Center for Statistics and Analysis recently published a report on bicycle crashes, Traffic Safety Facts 2004 Data [PDF]
In 2004, 725 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 41,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, and pedalcyclists made up 1 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

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 Virginia Bike Map 
According to BikeWalk Virginia, the Virginia Dept. of Transportation bicycle coordinator is putting together a state bike map. It will include interstate routes 76 and 1 along with major trails around the state. The new coordinator is an avid cyclist, so perhaps there is hope that cycling conditions will improve in the future. There is a brief mention of the map at the very bottom of the VDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program page.

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Monday, January 16, 2006
 The Wash Cycle 
There's a good, new bike blog about cycling in the DC area, The Wash Cycle. It's updated on a regular basis. Today's entries are about the new Metro chief, Dan Tangherlini, a bicycle commuter, and about the cost of cycling vs. driving. Cycling wins by $840/year, but difference would be much greater if the total cost of car ownership were included.

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Friday, January 06, 2006
 Let My People Go Surfing 
Reading an excellent book about Patagonia, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard.
I've been a businessman for almost fifty years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit being an alcoholic or a lawyer. I've never respected the profession. It's business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor giving to the rich, and for poisoning the earth with the effluent from its factories.

Yet business can produce food, cure disease, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives. And it can do these good things and make a profit without losing its soul. That's what this book is about.

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 Time for City to Stop Spinning its Wheels on Biking 
Good article on how to improve cycling conditions in New York.
Once the acceptance of bicycle transportation reaches a critical mass, private development can seize the opportunity. In Berlin and three other German cities, Deutsche Bahn, the national railway, has established an innovative form of bicycle rental program named Call-A-Bike. D.B. deployed several thousand bikes built to withstand the demands of city use, which can be found on many busy street corners. After establishing an account, a member can find a locked D.B. bike, send a text message to get an unlocking code, and pedal off around the city at a rate of 7 Euro cents per minute. Whenever you get to your destination, you lock up the bike for the next user and leave Call-A-Bike a voice message with the location of the bike for tracking purposes.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
 Top 10 Albums 
I'm a sucker for “best of” lists and here's a good one; Top 10 Albums of 2005 at The Morning News. I might have vaguely heard of one or two of the groups, so either I'm really out of it (likely), or this is a very obscure list. There are mp3 examples of each album, so see for yourself.

Discovered The Morning News on Kottke's 2005 Favorites list. There are consistently good links on his site and on Slashdot.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006
First ride of the year—We took a short New Year's Day ride today. We got home late after the New Year's Eve dance, so we got a late start. It was a decent, 45 or so degree day. We rode about 30 miles. There were quite a few other cyclist our on the trail.

Workman Cycles—These are great, inexpensive, simple, working bicycles made in New York. The starting price is just over $300.

Computer programmer turned bicycle messenger—This is an account of a programmer yearning for a less confining job who quit and became a bicycle messenger.

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