A Bowlful of Cherries

Celebrating Matty and Noah

Archive for April 2004

Who knew?

Earth Day was yesterday. During a big election year, there’s inevitably a flurry of talk about the environment and which candidate is better for it. President Bush touted his love of wetlands in Maine; in Texas, John Kerry ripped Bush’s environmental record. The League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, and Friends of the Earth Action unveiled a new Environmental Victory Project, which will try to use environmental issues to sway voters in swing states against Bush.

And much of the public doesn’t care: A recent Gallup poll found concern for the environment at a record low, coming in eighth place — behind terrorism, the economy, unemployment, illegal immigration — among issues the public worries “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about. Especially troubling are the results to the question that asks Americans whether environmental protection or economic growth should be given priority when the two interests conflict. In each of the past two years a record low proportion of Americans have chosen environmental protection.

But without the environment, there’s no economy.

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Written by Michael

23 Apr 2004 at 913am

Posted in Misc.

Baseball, the great uniter

This is the second entry I’ve read in the past few days about baseball bringing two people together. (The first is here.) I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Baseball Widow.

Donna didn’t follow baseball until we started going out over a year ago. Now that we’re married, it’s become a welcome part of our lives. We watch a lot of games together, and we try to make it to Camden Yards as often as we can. I love rambling on about various strategies and players, and she loves listening to me (I think). Like Alex’s Emily, Donna enjoys seeing how much I get into it.

Written by Michael

22 Apr 2004 at 339pm

Posted in Misc.

Walking, walking, walking

If the high price of gas has you concerned (not likely), you won’t be the first to consider buying a hybrid car. Sales of gas-electric hybrid cars are expected to nearly double this year, due to worries about nationwide increases in average gasolines costs and projected worldwide shortages in crude oil and the desire of some consumers to buy green products. But the increase will not clog roads with the most fuel-efficient cars. Hybrids may account for just one million of the 17 million new U.S. auto sales expected over the next 10 years. That’s definitely not mainstream. Fuel economy just isn’t a crucial factor for most people.

There are steps being taken to decrease our reliance upon gasoline. On Tuesday, the Governator followed through on a campaign pledge to sign an executive order committing California to building hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles along major highways by 2010. The “California Hydrogen Highway Network” will place nearly 200 hydrogen fueling stations along the state’s highways, each costing between $250,000 and $500,000.

(Now, if he could also follow through on his promise to refit one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen power.)

If you need better reasons to step down your reliance upon your car, how about: Long driving hours expose motorists to auto emissions that increase the risk of heart attacks, according to an EPA study published in the second April issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Scientists at EPA’s labs in Research Triangle Park, NC, studied North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers in 2001 and found a link between fine particulates from car engines and heart attacks. The results showed that elderly heart patients may be at a greater risk of heart attacks.

To be sure, walking alongside cars exposes you to the same particulates. But you look less silly when you’re walking with a gas mask than you do when you’re driving with one.

Written by Michael

22 Apr 2004 at 325pm

Posted in Misc.

Maternal Inferno

This journal (with fantastic illustrations) is one of the funniest I’ve read in a while. Who blogs when they’re delivering a baby?

(We just found out that the hospital has internet hook-ups. Hmm.)

Written by Michael

22 Apr 2004 at 953am

Posted in Misc.

Eventually you’ll hit the mark

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
   ~Linus Pauling

Written by Michael

22 Apr 2004 at 852am

Posted in Misc.

IP-Relay Scam

I first tried IP-Relay a while back and was delighted with the service. But this article points out the dangers of using the service, not for hard-of-hearing persons, but for people who accept the calls. Makes you realize that everything has a loophole.

But the system also offers that same free access to criminals looking to cheat U.S. merchants. The Internet-based relay system lets con artists call for free, even from far away places like Nigeria. It also helps disguise a caller’s broken English, which in some cases could be a scam tip-off, and adds an air of sympathy to the call that might make otherwise suspicious merchants drop their guard.

Written by Michael

21 Apr 2004 at 1208pm

Posted in Misc.

Will people care?

Kerry plans to make the environment a central issue for the upcoming election. (He’s married to Teresa Heinz, one of the most powerful environmental philanthropists in the country.) Kerry has Carol Browner, former Administrator for EPA, on his side.

Is the environment an issue that people care about? In the face of war and the economy, environmentalism has dropped considerably in the polls as a primary issue of public concern. It’s a valid question: How do we get this issue back on the map?

Remember that polls often don’t reflect people’s real feelings. Polls take a snapshot of your thinking during a moment in time, and their results can be strongly skewed by how questions are worded and asked. Think about this: “Domestic, renewable sources are urgently needed now because they are entirely under our control, no foreign government can embargo them, no terrorist can seize control of them, no cartel can play games with them, no American soldier will have to risk his or her life to protect them” — and how do you respond? You’d be in favor of raising the fuel economy of automobiles.

I like Kerry because he has the same message for autoworkers in Michigan as he does for card-carrying environmentalists in Portland: new, clean industries can energize the marketplace and save the environment at the same time. Wouldn’t you rather sell more American cars that are fuel-efficient than have people turn to foreign cars (full disclosure: Donna and I drive a Honda)? Right now, they are out-producing and out-selling American automakers in this area, while Big Three keep kvetching about expenses. It’s a tired old argument that you can’t have a clean environment if you want a strong economy.

UPDATE: Here’s a great interview with Kerry.

Written by Michael

21 Apr 2004 at 1034am

Posted in Misc.