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Friday, March 26, 2010
 This blog has moved 

This blog is now located at http://restondigital.blogspot.com/.
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Friday, February 19, 2010
 Booking cheap flights 
Booking a Flight the Frugal Way from the NYT.


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Friday, January 29, 2010
 11 minutes of football 
I've often wondered how much time is actually spent playing football during a regular 60 minute NFL game? 11 minutes. No wonder it's such a boring game, not unlike baseball. How much time is spent playing soccer in a 90 minute match? 90 minutes.


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 Organic Bikes 
We like the idea behind Organic Bikes:
We began Organicbikes.com to re-think the way that bicycles and cycling products are manufactured, used, and recycled. While we do not claim to be fully "green", or sustainable across the board—we think we have some great ideas and we are very excited to present them here! We hope that people will not only choose a bicycle over their car for transportation, but that they will consider Organic Bikes as a more sustainable choice in Bicycles!


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Saturday, January 23, 2010
 Gary Snyder's Mac 
My favorite poet, Gary Snyder, lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He built his first house from local materials with the help of friends, with no electricity or many other modern conveniences. Now he writes poetry on a Mac as discussed in the New York Times article Digital Muse for Beat Poet. The short article includes the following poem:

Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh

By Gary Snyder

Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,

Because it jumps like a skittish horse and sometimes throws me,

Because it is poky when cold,

Because plastic is a sad, strong material that is charming to rodents,

Because it is flighty,

Because my mind flies into it through my fingers,

Because it leaps forward and backward, is an endless sniffer and searcher,

Because its keys click like hail on a boulder,

And it winks when it goes out,

And puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;

And I lose them and find them,

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;

And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,

Because I have let it move in with me right inside the tent,

And it goes with me out every morning;

We fill up our baskets, get back home,

Feel rich, relax, I throw it a scrap and it hums.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
 Recumbent stuff 
The Recumbent Blog, which was abandoned when EcoVelo was started, was taken over by Penny and Rob Mackenzie of Alberta, Canada and now has regular postings. While perusing the latest info I happened across a couple of interesting videos:

2009 Australian International Pedal Prix – Round 3, a 24 hour human-powered endurance race:

and two videos of a talk in 1989 by Steve Roberts about his 16,000 mile journey by bike. He carried solar-powered computers and wrote extensively about this travels and the equipment he used. I recall hearing about him at the time. He now travels by boat and publishes the Nomadness blog among other things.

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Friday, January 08, 2010
 TransAm route in around 6 minutes 
It's been too long since my first cross county bike trip, the Southern Tier route back in 1999. One day I'd like to ride the Adventure Cycling TransAm route, which begins in Virginia and ends in Oregon. This short slideshow is a series of photos that give a good feel for the route (via Biking Bis):

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Monday, January 04, 2010
 Profile of John Mackey of Whole Foods 
Trying to find the time to read Food Fighter: Does Whole Foods' C.E.O. know what's best for you? by Nick Paumgarten

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 Are electric cars the solution? 
Some people think we can help solve the climate crisis by switching to electric cars. While it is certainly one part of the solution, an over reliance on fossil fuels, there are many other problems associated with depending too much on cars for transportation. What would happen if Seattle switched entirely to electric vehicles?
...the full electric conversion would cut Seattle’s road transportation emissions about in half, which would reduce the City’s total carbon footprint by about one fifth.

Of course, there are also many downsides left out of the above analysis:
  • There are significant GHG emissions resulting from car use in addition to those associated with simply propelling the car. For example, Toyota estimates that manufacture accounts for 30 percent of a Prius’ lifetime GHG emissions. In addition, the infrastructure required for cars is a source of GHG emissions—one study estimates that roadway construction and maintenance adds another 26 percent to the GHG emissions associated with operating a conventional car.

  • Rising fossil fuel costs and carbon pricing will inevitably result in rising demands on carbon-free electricity from all sectors, and electric vehicles may end up competing for energy needed to supply the basics, such as heating homes.

  • The Puget Sound region is projected to grow by 1.6 million people by 2040, an increase of more than 40 percent. If we do nothing other than convert our fleet, we can expect VMT to rise proportionally. And in this scenario, we’d have to choose between a massive amount of road building or total gridlock. Note that this this scenario would also mean a forty-plus percent increase in electricity consumed by electric vehicles.

  • Electric cars are expensive (it’s all about the batteries). A new $30k electric car for every Seattle household would cost about $9 billion—more than twice the City's total annual budget of $3.9 billion.

  • And lastly, electric cars, like conventional cars, inherently cause a host of negatives, including accidents, high cost of ownership, sedentary lifestyles, social isolation, land consumption, impervious pavement, and the proliferation of terrible urban design.
In the long term however, it is delusional to think that we can go on with car-centric business as usual if we simply switch to electric vehicles. Indeed, our future prosperity will be determined to a large degree by how successfully we reduce reliance on cars. And that means reshaping our urban areas such that (1) people can meet many of their daily needs with short trips that can be made on foot or bike, and (2) convenient public transit is available for longer trips. (Hint: some folks like to call such places transit-oriented communities.)

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