We live in interesting times, but everyone seems to be watching TV. Actors Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine recently died. Each man proved himself in serious roles, Griffith in A Face in the Crowd and Borgnine in Marty, but they were far better known for long-running comedic roles on television. Don Grady died, too. He was only 68, and was known for playing Robbie on My Three Sons, but apparently he was a serious and devoted musician.
I wonder how many of us will be better-known for our long-running comedic lives?
With bike share programs blooming, and so many people biking to work and even enjoying it, articles about automobiles vs cyclists vs pedestrians abound right now. The basic problem is that people are just about as law-abiding on bikes as they are in cars or on foot, and the foolhardy ones get all the attention. In the comment sections are the usual crude threats against cyclists by territorial drivers. I just defriended someone after reading that sort of comment on Facebook.
After years of hoping to be part of the solution, peak oil believers like Luis de Sousa are feeling ignored. After attending an ASPO conference in Europe, De Sousa wrote The Last Peak Oil Conference about his discouragement with trying to manage the downward slope of oil production so that people don't suffer. The problem is that to most people, Peak Oil looks more like Hard Times than The Road, and the downward slope is already being managed to the benefit of those that can manage it.
Climate change appears in our back yards, but the weatherpersons still urge us to stay indoors and run the AC. I went running last Thursday after work. I hadn't gone twenty yards before a fellow leaned out of his pickup window and told me it was too hot to run. It was hot, but I planned my route around shady roads.
There are lots of articles reporting that you can drive a Leaf in reverse very fast. While USA Today observes that U.S. drivers are slow to embrace all-electric vehicles, Triple Pundit notes that Nissan is trying to mass market their EV to "green and tech-minded consumers." My Nissan Leaf has a thread called Marketing Suggestions for Nissan: Let's Get Serious with suggestions from owners, dealers and the occasional Prius owner that was thinking about getting a Leaf.
But the battery depletion conversation on My Nissan Leaf continues and the list of Arizona drivers losing charge bars grows longer. Posters seem devoted to the concept of the electric vehicle, but while Nissan is supposed to add some sort of temperature management in years to come, early adopters are getting more and more ticked off that Nissan won't acknowledge their problem. Let's hope that Nissan isn't driving the company in reverse.
Maybe we should be driving plywood cars. Or bamboo bikes.
A former GM employee named Ozzie Zehner has written a book called Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism, in which he attacks many of the technological solutions that are supposed to keep us in American middle class splendor despite declines in fossil fuel production. Wired's Autopia presents a sort of point-counterpoint on his EV arguments with other EV pundits. Commenters started a lively discussion on the vagaries of wind power, which Zehner also questions.
In a similar vein, Pierre Desrochers and Shimizu Hiroku, husband and wife academics from the University of Toronto, wrote The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet, which questions Michael Pollan's contention that eating local is better than shipping salad from overseas. Desrochers and Shimizu claim the long train ride to deliver your arugula is more efficient than driving your Volvo home from Whole Foods, that long supply lines make urbanization possible and that if Peak Oil occurs, we'll just go back to coal. While there are cogent arguments against strict locavorism, Alternet finds their arguments bogus.
Speaking of which, we won't hear Tom or Ray calling "bogus" on each other's diagnoses much longer. The Car Talk radio show is ending soon.