Links for the week of September 4th, 2009

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Continue reading Links for the week of September 4th, 2009

Shared Links for Jun 15th

  • Being “Used To” Our Lifestyle Makes Change Seem Difficult – The range of lifestyles which people have been able to become accustomed to and enjoy throughout history and spread out over the globe, is immense. Some of them are sustainable; ours is not. The willingness to experiment and accept change, to be flexible at a societal level, is of paramount importance today, and has in the past meant the difference between survival and obliteration for countless other civilizations, as detailed in Jarod Diamond's book "Collapse". But change is hard, whether you drive an SUV and have managed to shave your lifestyle requirements down to 8 earths from 10, or whether you're the child of a prostitute in Calcutta. We are creatures of habit, quite literally. (tagged: sustainability film energy green stuff money )
  • The Need for Geoengineering – A WSJ op-ed advocating near term geoengineering, of the stratospheric sulfate aerosol variety. It would be fast acting, relatively easy to reverse, and of the options on the table today, is the least mysterious, since it's not so different from the effects of a large (historically speaking) volcanic eruption like Mt. Pinatubo. The author cautions that even at best, all this would do is give us time: we still need to get the atmosphere back to ~350ppm. What a fascinating modern age it is we live in! (tagged: climate technology geoengineering )
  • Early Reviews of NYC’s New High Line Park – A round up of several reviews of the High Line Park, which has just opened in NYC. (tagged: architecture urban design landscape garden parks nyc )
  • The High Line – An abandoned elevated freight rail line in Manhattan is reborn as a long linear park three stories above the streetscape. I love how the design incorporates the rails and the overgrown feeling that the old line had developed on its own. This and the closure of Broadway at Times Square makes me want to visit New York. Inspiring to see that this kind of change is possible. (tagged: urban design architecture green garden parks nyc )
  • Pedalpalooza 2009 – Wow, a two week long bicycle festival in Portland, spanning the summer solstice? Sounds like a wonderful way to start a bike tour! Hopefully it will still be going on next summer. (tagged: bicycle transportation oregon portland festival activism )

Shared Links for Apr 3rd

  • Stealing Commodities – Our infrastructure is (unwittingly) built around the assumption that the materials it is composed of are, and will remain, cheap, and not worth the trouble of stealing. If this assumption breaks down, copper power lines start disappearing from the desert, and iron manhole covers begin to vanish in the night. Problematically, the raw materials (even when valuable) are still only a small fraction of the value of the infrastructure, meaning replacement costs are high. If commodities were to remain "expensive" in the long run (i.e. worth stealing), how would we re-design our infrastructure systems? (tagged: sustainability economics security infrastructure commodities )
  • Dyson as Sociologist? Death Trains, Values, & Climate Action – Not sure I know quite what to make of Nisbet's take on Dyson. I agree that the catastrophe narrative is dangerous, and much prefer Richard Alley's precautionary point of view, but I really think Dyson is catastrophically wrong on this, and potentially dangerous as a figurehead, whether knowing or unknowing. (tagged: climate science policy propaganda politics )
  • Argentine economics and maker culture – An interesting and personal look at mass production vs. local/handmade goods based on currency strength and protectionist trade barriers. Where labor is cheap, the food and goods are often unique. Where it's expensive, you get mass production. Makes me want to bike S. America. Again. (tagged: economics argentina local money food )
  • China Out to Dominate in Electric Cars (and Why Not GM) – A short chronicle of GM's missteps toward electric vehicles, and China's long view of the same. Honestly, I don't care much who does the dominating, so long as somebody gets this market going. (tagged: cars transportation technology economics china )
  • Oregon’s mileage tax experiment – If you can imagine an America in which vehicle fuel economy increases with time (despite the fact that our national fleet today gets the same mileage as a Ford Model T), then eventually, funding road maintenance with a gas tax becomes a problem. Instead of taxing the fuel, you need to directly tax the road usage – miles driven, normalized by some kind of wear-and-tear factor for a given vehicle. Thus, the idea of a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax. Political suicide, you say, but it worked in this (politically insulated) trial in Oregon, and is going ahead gangbusters in the Netherlands and other nations, coupled with GPS enabled congestion charging, and time/location dependent parking fees, it could go a long way toward making personal transportation costs transparent and efficiently priced. (tagged: transportation privacy taxes vmt cars oregon policy )