Buy nothing day.

22 November, 2008

buynothing

November 28, 2008.

Some cute things.

12 July, 2008

This is cute.

This is cuter.

And this is so cute you’ll puke.

Annals of the Insipid.

11 July, 2008

I try to avoid reading stupid things. Sometimes, I cannot resist.

Take this Op-Ed, on the Hummer, by one Matthew DeBord, who, as far as I can tell, is best known for his writings on wine.

The last two paragraphs:

And here is where its symbolic fortitude is most threatened: For American life to work, the illusion of endless abundance must be maintained. Sure, we must adapt to a future of less-abundant natural resources. Our vehicles will need to become radically more efficient. But we require vestiges of the old dream to sustain our national optimism, which in turn nourishes our national character.

This is what GM owes us, and what the company owes itself — a ridiculous machine crammed with emotional content, the sort of contraption that Detroit has always done well but increasingly seems to have decided it is incapable of ever doing well again. What GM must remember is that, as much as competitors have altered they way we think about what we drive, it’s depressing to contemplate a future filled with dreary transportation appliances. Here and there, the grandiose legacy of a country in love with freedom of movement must be celebrated, even as we figure out new and more efficient ways to get around. Now, more than ever, we need Hummer, in all its defiant, obnoxious, thoroughly American glory.

UPDATE: See also.

The more things change…

30 June, 2008

One might have hoped that I spent my time off cultivating a highbrow sense of humor.
Tant pis.

“There is no kitsch or obscenity, it is a successful work of art,” Alexander Kharchenko told The Associated Press. “An enema is almost a symbol of our region.”

Via.

Bottled Water.

29 June, 2008

The Washington Post has an article today about bottled water.

An excerpt summarizing the absurdity of the situation:

On its face, the bottled-water trade makes selling snow to Eskimos sound like a reasonable business proposition: Tons of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere each year to produce and transport a product thousands of miles from Place A to Place B, when an identical product is already available in Place B in a form that is typically much cheaper, rigorously tested and sometimes safer. And afterward, millions of plastic bottles end up in landfills.

There are plenty of entertaining/annoying anecdotes in the article, so give it a read.

My blogging muscles have atrophied, so I’m having trouble saying what I want. The bottled water industry symbolizes so many things that I think are wrong. Conspicuous consumption, environmental degradation, repeat.
How much longer until Fiji will have to import it’s own water?

I ran across this article awhile ago. Maybe it’s time to give it another read.

Inappropriate!

27 June, 2008

Click the link, but only if you enjoy onanistic humor.

Seriously inappropriate.

Death of a legend.

27 June, 2008

I’m a couple of days late on this, but we will miss you.

Biking is sexy.

7 May, 2008

I can bike for hours at a time. Several times in a row.

Via.

Prankt.

5 May, 2008

Bernie und Ert.

4 May, 2008

Since I just (well, several days ago) posted a video in French, it seems only natural that I would follow up with a video in German. Of course, I don’t understand spoken German (though I think I would have an easier time understanding it than spoken French). But this video makes me wish that I did.

Of course, I have no idea of just how dirty this is.

Une autre vidéo de musique

1 May, 2008

Meaningless Traffic!(!)

1 May, 2008

Accompanying article:

Traffic that grinds to a halt and then restarts for no apparent reason is one of the biggest causes of frustration for drivers. Now a team of Japanese researchers has recreated the phenomenon on a test-track for the first time.

Whales!

30 April, 2008

I was reading about giant squids today, which reminded me of sperm whales, which reminded me of Star Trek IV: The One About the Whales.

Also, blue whales are pretty neat.

Anyway, I get home, and what do I see but this:

The latest contribution to good government from Vice President Dick Cheney: preventing the implementation of rules to protect the endangered right whale.

[…]

While I appreciate the value of vigorous scientific debate, I question why White House economic advisors are apparently conducting their own research on right whales and why the Vice President’s staff is challenging the conclusions of the government’s scientific experts. The appearance is that the White House rejects the conclusions of its own scientists and peer-reviewed scientific studies because it does not like the policy implications of the data. This is not how the review process is supposed to work.

Again with the seafood.

29 April, 2008

Sometime foe obadiahstarbuck comes through with something useful for once (well, this was is will forever be awesome).

He has done a great service in pointing me towards this interview at Salon (note that you will probably have to spend a few seconds staring at an add before you can get to the article) on eating seafood for the environmentally aware.

Excerpts:

You should probably stay away from fish at the top end of the oceanic food chain right now. Big fish like tuna, swordfish, shark — these are traditionally middle-of-the-plate proteins in the world’s best restaurants, and they’re actually a lot of the riskiest ones in terms of having things like mercury and, in the case of salmon, persistent organic pollutants. If you really want to do some good for the oceans, start exploring the pelagic fish — whiting, for example; the schooling fish like sardines and anchovies; things that we don’t even really cook right now but are quite popular in other countries.

Oysters, pollock — it’s got a terrible name, but that’s the stuff that goes into [McDonald’s] Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. It’s very abundant. There’s trout, which isn’t a bad fish. Sablefish and Arctic char are currently quite abundant. I love herring, and there’s herring off the Pacific Coast as well.

Avoid big predator fish — shark, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, tuna, with the exception of skipjack, which is pretty abundant light tuna. Avoid farmed carnivorous species like shrimp, salmon and bluefin tuna. Avoid imported farmed seafood because domestic standards are a lot higher. The exception to that is [domestically farmed] salmon, which is terrible.

Salmon from these farms tends to be full of persistent organic pollutants, [some of which] are highly carcinogenic. Salmon farmers grind up smaller fish like anchovies, sardines and anchoveta to make the pellets — all of which should be going to feed humans, not making deluxe fish, especially in the context of food riots — and salmon farms have been proven to spread disease and parasites like sea lice to wild fish populations, among them sea trout in Ireland and wild salmon in British Columbia.

Some farmed fish aren’t so bad: trout and Arctic char, which are raised inland so there’s no risk of spreading parasites to wild fish; tilapia and carp, which are herbivorous species; and of course oysters and mussels, which actually help clean the oceans of their excess plankton.

If you want to make a canned salmon sandwich or something like that, look for any can that has Alaska stamped on it. They should be all over. It’s fantastic for you, and it’s really clean protein. Don’t buy Atlantic salmon. That’s definitely farmed, because Atlantic salmon is commercially extinct right now. [emphasis added] Those that appear in streams and rivers are actually escaped fish from salmon farms. Chinook and certain runs of salmon in California and Oregon are doing really badly this year. Nobody’s quite sure what’s going on — it could be dams, fertilizer, ocean conditions. In British Columbia, they’re not doing as well either, but Alaskan stocks are pretty good. And there’s organic farmed salmon. I want to give those guys some credit. If you go to a restaurant and the menu says “organic farmed salmon,” then the fish was raised under higher standards and it’s probably better for you. The question is whether the fish are still spreading parasites to other fish. You can eat that in sort of “half-conscience.” It’s important to realize that right now about 45 percent of the seafood we get is farmed. And this is having a huge impact on the livelihood and well-being of people in other cultures. In the book I talk about how salmon farms affect native people in British Columbia and people who are affected by shrimp farms in India.

I’m probably going to buy his book.

In the interview, he points towards the Seafood WATCH website, which has a complete listing of which fishies to eat and which to avoid.

Naming rights.

28 April, 2008

Stephen Schwarzman, seen here, is having his name engraved in five places on the outside of the main New York Public Library building, in return for a cool $100M donation.

I don’t have a cogent opinion on the subject matter of anonymous versus public giving (by people or by corporations), except that I’m not a fan, generally. Ideally, the government would just tax the shit out of them and spend the money where it is needed. And this doesn’t even touch the question of anonymity.

Where will it end?