Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the grid’s demise on account of more plug-in vehicles are greatly exaggerated. And, while time is money, when it comes to electric-vehicle charging, more money means less time. At least, less time during peak demand.
Plug-in vehicle owners in a cluster of Austin, Texas homes were used as a charging-behavior test group, and the early returns say that those households didn’t put much of a stress on the local power grid. And that’s even during peak-use summer afternoons when air conditioning units in central Texas tend to be set to full blast…citing a report from Pecan Street Research Institute.
The test included 21 Chevrolet Volts, nine Nissan Leafs and a solitary Tesla Model S. Of course, make ‘em all Teslas and we might have a different story.
Additionally, half of those 30 vehicle owners were also part of a test in which the electricity price was adjusted to reflect peak demand times. Not surprisingly, those car owners were about half as likely (~12%) to plug-in during peak hours as the ones whose prices weren’t being adjusted (~22%). Regardless, the average cost of electricity used by those vehicles per month came out to $23.56, or the equivalent to about half a tank of gas. Yee-haw, indeed.
As the economies of scale kick in, I expect more and more folks to convert to straight-up electric vehicles. After all, the average American commute is 40 miles round trip. No range anxiety there unless you’re using a small electric bicycle. Even without a charging station at work, you should be able to make it to work and back to home – and charge overnight easily.
Making sense ain’t bad – especially when you end up saving money.
Judge Key made his points pretty clearly. Any commentary I can make would echo what he’s said.
Regular readers know I hold no brief for the 2-party system we’re saddled with or the history of both parties doing everything they can to inhibit truly independent political action. Still, when someone stands up against bigotry, sophistry and hypocrisy while running for office in the United States – and, notably, in Texas – he deserves the applause of all progressive Americans. And votes from Texans.
Steven Jensen’s wheat field
When a North Dakota pipeline ruptured and sent over 20,000 barrels of crude oil gushing across a wheat field, it took officials nearly two weeks to inform the public about it.
The spill — the biggest in the state since it became a major producer — comes at a time when concerns are growing over the safety of the U.S. pipeline network, which is pumping more oil than ever to bring shale oil and Canadian crude to U.S. refineries.
State officials said they believed the spill to be much smaller than it actually was and said that was one of the reasons no public announcement was made for 11 days – and then only after The Associated Press asked about it.
Critics, however, said this is typical of the state.
“It shows an attitude of our current state government and what they think of the public,” said Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group. “It’s definitely worrisome. There is a pattern in current state government not to involve the public.”
This is not only typical of North Dakota – a state controlled by 19th Century minds with added incentives from the Oil Patch Boys – the secretive, anti-democratic mindset is common to fossil fuel energy colonies.
- this is what you get.
In September the Texas Department of State Health blitzed the radio and TV with ads for a new teen abstinence website that will cost $1.2 million over the next year.
Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, and the new website aims to address the issue by promoting strict abstinence before marriage.
The website, ourtown4teens.org, is paid for with federal money from a program called the Title V State Abstinence Education Grant Program.
As such, there is no mention anywhere on the site of contraception. Title V recipients must use the money to support abstinence, and teach that sex outside marriage could have harmful psychological and physical effects.
Russell Anglin/AGN Media
Four people were injured in a three-train collision about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 60 and Farm-to-Market Road 1912 east of Amarillo, the Potter County Sheriff’s Office said.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway spokesman Joe Faust said a stopped train heading east was stopped on the tracks when another train also traveling east rear-ended it. The collision caused about 20 to 30 trailers traveling with the trains to become derailed. Shortly after, a westbound train hit some of the derailed cars from the first accident.
Sandy Strickland, 46, a driver for PBX Trucking, was nearby when the accident occurred.
“It sounded like thunder … we didn’t know what was happening,” she said.
Four people were taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, said senior trooper Chris Ray, Department of Public Safety spokesman.
Power lines were reported down near the wreck and Xcel Energy crews are repairing the damage, according to media reports.
If you click through to the article in the Amarillo newspaper, they’ve updated the headline to say there was hazardous material carried on some of the rail cars. That can be scary in that neck of the prairie – because there a few plants in the region dealing with some pretty dangerous stuff.
I suppose I shouldn’t include the Tyson Fresh Meats plant on that list, eh?
A Houston man said he was shocked to find a dead snake coiled around a bottle in a case of beer but his friends found the discovery “entertaining.”
Marcus Forson said he opened an 18-pack of Bud Light last week and immediately noticed the expired reptile wrapped around a bottle…
“When I first opened the box, his head was like this and his head was in between my fingers, and I didn’t know what it was at first,” Forson said. “Then I realized now what it was.”
Forson said he initially thought the snake might be a rubber fake placed in the case as a prank, but he knew it was real when he caught a whiff of its odor.
“There’s no way I was going to drink the beer. It stunk bad,” Forson said. “The snake was dead. The snake was ice cold. It’s kind of shrunk up and the eyes are missing out of it…”
“Luckily, it didn’t come out of the box and bite anybody,” he said. “But it was dead, so we basically — it was entertaining. We had a good time.”
Forson said the makers of Bud Light have agreed to send him a refund.
They’d have to send me fresh underwear for a month. Woo-hoo!
A Texas Tech student became the first American to win one significant battle for religious freedom.
“Once she allowed me to I put the pasta strainer on my head, I took the biggest, cheesiest smile I probably ever took,” said Eddie Castillo, of the moment he took his ID photo at a Department of Public Safety office.
For Castillo, the pasta strainer is “religious” garb. Castillo is a Pastafarian, a religious order founded by an atheist in 2005 to protest the Kansas School Board’s effort to implement the teaching of intelligent design in classrooms.
Pastafarians worship the made-up Flying Spaghetti monster — hence the pasta strainer — and the “only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.”
“It was created as a form of satire, but it shouldn’t be taken in a sense that discriminates or disassociates other religions and it should be looked at as a political symbol for the separation of church and state,” Castillo said…
A New Jersey man put up a fight in February when he refused to remove his strainer, although he eventually agreed to take it off when he was told he could appeal to the state. And in Illinois, a Pastafarian has been petitioning the state since May to wear his headgear.
As for Castillo, he just hopes he has set a better standard for freedom of religion, and even freedom from religion.
“I don’t want to say its poking fun at religious headwear in other people’s faiths,” Castillo said. “I would like to think that it actually opens the doors for new-age religion, and just it kind of symbolizes acceptance and kind of celebrates, in a sense, that we are a melting pot of a country.”
Now that I’ve reached the old fart level where I get a free drivers license – and I get a new photo every year – I’ve got to try this next spring.
In fact, I own a colander almost as old as I am. It was made from war surplus aluminum just at the end of WW2.
“The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,” Beverly McGuire said, blinking back tears. “I went: ‘dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind.”
Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.
Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.
In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart’s case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking…
Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, argues fracking is not the only reason Texas is going dry – and nor is the drought. The latest shocks to the water system come after decades of overuse by ranchers, cotton farmers, and fast-growing thirsty cities.
“We have large urban centres sucking water out of west Texas to put on their lands. We have a huge agricultural community, and now we have fracking which is also using water,” she said. And then there is climate change.
West Texas has a long history of recurring drought, but under climate change, the south-west has been experiencing record-breaking heatwaves, further drying out the soil and speeding the evaporation of water in lakes and reservoirs. Underground aquifers failed to regenerate. “What happens is that climate change comes on top and in many cases it can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back, but the camel is already overloaded,” said Hayhoe.
RTFA for examples of the greed and ignorance you would expect to be leading the way to destruction of historic ways of life in Texas. Most of that current is well-established and already self-destructive. Time is simply catching up with extractive industries – and that includes most Texas-style ranching.
Politicians elected to state and federal office in Texas use every traditional populist lie to gain and maintain power for whichever club of profiteers is paying their way. Generally the Oil Patch Boys. Everything from straight-up bible-thumping to hating furriners – which extends from hating folks across landed borders to folks on the other side of the state. Fear and hatred is all you really need to maintain yourself on the conservative ledger.
Just in case plain old hating Messicans wasn’t enough reason to oppose immigration reform, Texas wingnut extraordinaire Cathie Adams, the former state GOP chair and current president of Texas
Schlafly RangersEagle Forum, has found a new reason: on something called “End Times Radio” last week, she explained that the Senate’s immigration bill legislates the Mark of the Beast, and will bring about the End Times.
Leaving aside the question of why that’s something Christianists want to delay — after all, it will get Jebus back here sooner — it feels like wingnuts are finding impending signs of the Apocalypse about as often as the House votes to kill Obamacare (which may or may not require you to have an RFID chip implanted in your butt, too).
So far, Adams has been a minor-league wingnut, but she’s got big dreams, and big ideas. There was her warning last December that smoking the marijuana will fry your brain and turn you into Barack Obama, and her more recent endorsement of the theory that Grover Norquist is a sekrit Muslim, and now we have her discovery of Devil Marks in immigration reform, because the Senate bill includes a requirement for “biometric scanning”:
“And, of course, we know in biblical prophecy that that is the End Times,” Adams said of the initiative. “That is going to be the brand either on our foreheads or on the back of our hands. That is demonic through and through. That is End Times prophecy. There is no question about that…”
In a further explosion of derp, Adams also worried that the Senate’s immigration bill would promote “sharia law” by flooding America with scary refugees…
We aren’t sure whether to run screaming or adopt her as a mascot.
I guess I’ve known an average American number of Christians over this atheist lifespan. Most represented themselves as folks who believed in love thy neighbor and similar commie ideology.
Now, that True Believers are rebooting themselves to battle the non-white anti-Christ hiding under their polyester mattresses – the idjit vote has become really important. The central task of every Christian voter in the Neo-Confederacy and beyond is to elect incompetents to public office instead of giving them a sheltered workshop wherein to toil and spin without endangering anyone else.