Sweden shuts down their last coal-fired power plant

Just days after Austria shut its last coal power plant, Sweden has followed suit with the closure of Stockholm Exergi AB’s Värtaverket plant, two years ahead of schedule. Belgium shut down its last coal power station in 2016…

“The closure of KVV6 means that all planned use of coal will cease and thus Stockholm Exergi’s CO2 emissions will be reduced by about half…Our goal is for all our production to come from renewable or recycled energy. This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time. Today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan.”

They won’t miss it. More important, their children and grandchildren will thank them.

Cute, Minimal, Economic in every way


Will Americans “Get It?”

The new MOTIV city car from Gordon Murray Design is red on top, white on the bottom, and can only hold one passenger at a time. It’s an autonomous electric pod that contains its occupant when in transit, and pops open to release them when it’s time to go to work…

The single-seater street car is designed to provide a method of travel for the people who often commute solo (most of the world) which has as little impact on the environment and traffic patterns as possible. It’s just 64 inches tall, 100 inches long, and 51 inches wide, meaning it’ll take up less room on the road, and perhaps most importantly less room in parking situations…

The point of this thing is to reduce carbon emissions for commuting through busy cities, aiming to replace emissions-heavy single occupancy in a large combustion engine vehicle with this little electric pod. That said, it is configurable to allow two passengers…can be adapted for wheelchair transport, and can be emptied out completely for 39 cubic feet of goods delivery…

Crucially, the MOTIV has not been developed with the autonomous software installed, but it has the high-voltage wiring harness and processing power built in to adapt any company’s stand-alone autonomous digital architecture. This wouldn’t be a bad way to start implementing geofenced autonomy, if you ask me. I’d consider taking a ride across town in a Poké Ball shared mobility pod thing. It has most of the convenience and eco-friendliness of taking an electric scooter, but with a roof to keep you out of the weather. Why not?

In the 46 years I worked fulltime, one job or another, here and there in the GOUSA, there was less than 1 year I can recall where this wouldn’t have been practical for me. And that was because of a commute to and from work a tad over 45 miles one-way. Otherwise, like most folks, I never shared that drive with anyone else. Critter would have saved me a whole lotta nines!

Do yourself some good – get a flu shot!

Dr. Thomas Bollyky, Director Global Health Program
Council on Foreign Relations

Essentially, the Doctor says – if you’re sincerely concerned about health, get a flu shot. On average, about 30,000 Americans die every year from flu strains – and we do a mediocre job of getting our families vaccinated.

No surprises. Just common sense from a knowledgeable source.

These guineafowl have tiny brains and elaborate social networks — Sound familiar?


James Klarevas

❝ A new study published this week in the journal Current Biology about an East African bird species with a pretty small brain reveals that animals may not necessarily necessarily need to be smart to be social…

❝ Farine and his colleagues decided to study the gorgeous blue-feathered, turkey-like species in depth…They found that the local population was divided into 18 distinct social groups numbering between 18 and 65 birds each…

The groups were remarkably stable, anchored by several breeding pairs. They also found that certain groups liked hanging out with one another, meeting up at certain times of the day and around certain features in the landscape. Some groups would also spend most of the day off on their own, then meet up with another pack of bird friends to roost at night. In other words, they exhibit the same type of multilevel society as big-brained mammals…

❝ Farine (says)…these particular birds aren’t particularly intelligent.

“They don’t only have small brains relative to mammals,” he says. “They also have quite small brains relative to other birds.”

Social networking may be more of an elemental survival skill than something requiring smarts. RTFA. Reflect on critters who dash around trying to be recognized as members of the “correct” group.

Waste not, want not – in Oakland

❝ The red plum’s presence confounds the third grader. She didn’t want the fruit in the first place, yet there it is. She doesn’t want to eat it, but she knows that tossing it into the garbage at Oakland’s Hoover Elementary School is wrong. Standing before containers for trash, recyclables, compostables, and unopened entrees, milk cartons, and whole fruit, the girl’s decision-making matches her Disney-movie hijab — Frozen.

Fortunately, Nancy Deming, the school district’s sustainability manager for custodial and nutritional services, is supervising the sorting line today. “If you’ve started eating your fruit, it goes in the compost,” she reminds the girl with a smile. “If you haven’t taken a bite, it goes to Food Share.” The girl glances at the plum, then carefully places it in the clear bin, from which students can take whatever unopened or unbitten foods they please. Anything left will either be offered the next day or donated to a local hunger-relief organization.

❝ For decades, students here and there have made use of designated tables in school lunch rooms to leave or pick up unwanted whole fruit, packaged foods, or other meal items. Although rare in most school districts, Deming has standardized the practice and made it mandatory for schools serving some 37,000 students in Oakland. As the only school employee in the country whose sole responsibility is fighting food waste, Deming has transformed the Oakland Unified School District — and somewhat reluctantly herself — into a national leader. With her help, the district has arguably done more than any other in the country to minimize excess food, redistribute edible leftovers to people in need, and compost the inevitable inedibles.

Always nice to see someone in a craft often practiced casually – managed by cheapass bureaucrats – build sensible frugality into successful management.

Taking a knee — Republican Style

Pretty much everyone in the family of my father’s generation worked in some part or other of the gun industry for a spell. Part of growing up in the Arsenal of America. We worked every category from machinist to prototype gunsmith, secretary to plant manager. The industry didn’t rely then on the death and destruction of American citizens. The NRA existed to provide safe hunting, safe shooting. Not like today — as a lobbyist for paranoid households and individuals armed to the teeth to “protect” themselves against damned near every other kind of American out there in the dark.

Launch officers sign letter: “Trump should not have his finger on the button”

❝ Ten former nuclear launch control officers who once held the keys needed to fire on the president’s order have signed an open letter saying they think Donald Trump should not be entrusted with the nation’s nuclear codes.

The letter, issued Thursday, says the decision to use nuclear weapons requires “composure, judgment, restraint and diplomatic skill” — all qualities that the former Air Force officers who signed it said Trump lacks.

“On the contrary, he has shown himself time and again to be easily baited and quick to lash out, dismissive of expert consultation and ill-informed of even basic military and international affairs — including, most especially, nuclear weapons,” the letter says. “Donald Trump should not be the nation’s commander-in-chief. He should not be entrusted with the nuclear launch codes. He should not have his finger on the button.”

You can read the full letter here.

❝ The former missileers who signed Thursday’s letter served at the nation’s four underground launch centers in the Great Plains from as long ago as the 1960s to, most recently, 2013. They do not endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, or even mention her name, in the letter.

“No one who signed the letter wanted to disclose a position who they would vote for,” said Bruce Blair, who organized the letter and said he is a Democrat who will vote for Clinton but has no idea which candidate the others support. “The letter is focused entirely on Trump.”

The most positive aspect of letters like this one is — I’m pleased to see military officers with a background in mission critical understanding demonstrate a great deal more common sense than I fear American voters may have.