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Archive for December 2010

Have a sustainable, renewable New Year

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This is the time of year when writers, journalists, bloggers or whatever we scribblers have become in an age where communication and connection occurs mostly in 140-word snippets or less take a look back and ahead. Top Ten lists abound; crystal ball thumb-sucking dots the landscape and cyberspace.

I’ll leave that listing and prediction stuff (mostly) to the experts, or at least to those who have managed to stay gainfully and reliably employed over the last 12 months. They must have greater insight, or skills or something.

I do have some observations, for what they are worth:

- The usual word to describe the recovery is fragile but I prefer chimerical. Corporate profits are rebounding, Wall Street’s escape act was hugely successful and Republicans proved once again that America’s short-term memory disorder is firmly entrenched and that lies, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, denials, polarization and fear-mongering is a winning strategy. Well, winning for them – for many the economic recovery is mostly non-existent: unemployment hovers stubbornly around 10 percent; wages continue their decline; the housing market remains in the toilet; energy costs are increasing; the stranglehold of Big Oil and Big Coal continues unabated.

- Whatever the emerging ‘new normal’ is, it’s not much fun – it’s really pretty raw, stressful and uncertain.

- On a personal note: Freelancing should never be construed as working for free! OK? Are we clear?

- Environmentally-speaking, when electric vehicles hit the market in a major and consumer-friendly way—and one, the Chevy Volt, wins Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award—that is stunning and hopeful progress.

- Environmentally-speaking, when a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon occurs and little to nothing occurs to change our dependence on fossil fuel, or regulation of Big Oil, that is stunning and disturbing progress of an entirely different sort.

So ‘here’s to the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Here’s to the New Year, same as the Old Year.

This just in: FAA certifies Santa’s NextGen-equipped sleigh

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspectors at the North Pole certified Santa One, the reindeer-powered sleigh piloted by Santa Claus, for its Christmas Eve round-the-world delivery mission.

Santa One, led by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is outfitted with new satellite-based NextGen technology, which will allow Santa to deliver more toys to more children with improved safety and efficiency.

“Children around the world will get their gifts on time, regardless of the weather, thanks to NextGen,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We’re proud to say NextGen is bringing Santa Claus to town.”

Rudolph’s red nose has been outfitted with avionics that will broadcast Santa One’s position via satellites to air traffic controllers around the world with improved accuracy, integrity and reliability.

“Santa’s cockpit display will help improve his situational awareness by showing him and his reindeer flight crew their precise location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “NextGen will help make this an extra-safe Christmas Eve.”

The sleigh’s onboard systems have been upgraded with state-of-the-art, NextGen technology that will allow Santa One to maintain cruising altitude for as long as possible before making a continuous descent into cities and towns around the world. While maneuvering on rooftops, an advanced, onboard runway safety system will help reduce the risk of incursions between the sleigh and chimneys.

Santa’s reindeer-powered sleigh is already energy-efficient, but the NextGen technologies will further reduce Santa One’s carbon hoofprint. The shorter, faster routings means that Rudolph and the other reindeer will consume less hay, resulting in fewer greenhouse gases.

Unlike any other pilot, Santa has special permission from the FAA to fly thousands of domestic and international short-haul and long-range flights in one night. In keeping with the FAA’s science-based proposal to give pilots more rest, Santa will arrange his flight plan based on his circadian rhythm. Mrs. Claus also assured FAA safety inspectors that she’ll make sure he gets plenty of rest before the flight on Christmas Eve.

Follow Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve at the NORAD Tracks Santa website: www.noradsanta.org

See how NextGen is going to improve the safety and efficiency of Santa’s rooftop descents.

Have a Happy and Sustainable Holiday Season!

Written by William DiBenedetto

December 24, 2010 at 2:15 am

Posted in alternative energy

Seattle port budget stresses economic and environmental sustainability

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The Port of Seattle’s preliminary budget and finance plan for 2011 pegs nearly $500 million in capital projects while maintaining the the port’s tax levy at $73.5 million.

The budget also invests over $9 million in transportation infrastructure and $11.6 million in environmental projects.

“Generating jobs, protecting our environment, and holding taxes flat – those are our priorities and they are reflected in this budget,” said Commission President Bill Bryant.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

December 10, 2010 at 2:00 am

Posted in alternative energy

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