The UN recently published a report that we have 12 years to avert drastic climate change. While individual action helps a bit, we’re going to need to address the problem as a civilization. And that means voting.
As a first step, that means voting for people who are willing to acknowledge the problem in the first place. If the media weren’t bending over backwards in pursuit of a false “balance” in response to accusations of left-wing bias from right-wing ideologues, the headlines would read “Republicans deny & ignore the greatest threat to humanity’s future”. The realistic view is that we’re going to need a mass international mobilization at a level last seen in World War II, and that begins with admitting that we have a problem.
Beyond that, we need to pick the candidates who have the best long-term thinking.
We know what unchecked growth looks like: the most profitable developments happen, jobs boom, housing prices and rents go up. Gridlock ensues because people have to commute long distances to their jobs, and lower-income people are gradually forced out of their homes.
We know what slow growth looks like: your neighborhood turns into a bedroom community for the places where the jobs are booming. Housing prices go up, and either rent goes up or rent control is enacted and eventually people get turfed out of their apartments when the building gets sold, and they either have to move a long way away or become homeless, because they can’t afford housing locally.
The solution is smart growth: growing the economy, housing, and infrastructure in a way that keeps our quality of life. I’ve lived in Sunnyvale for 20 years, and am hoping to do so for another 50, and this is what will be needed to keep it thriving through the coming changes.
At the state level, we should be building water infrastructure and modernizing our electrical grid to be resilient and better at working with distributed power generation. (It also needs to be hardened against the next time the Sun sneezes in Earth’s face, like it did in 1859.) In the long run, it may mean some big projects. If we don’t want to lose places like Alviso (elevation –13’), Foster City (elevation 7’), and Stockton (elevation 13’) to rising seas, it may mean anything from sea walls to a tidal gate or locks across the Golden Gate. If we want to be able to afford big projects, we’ll need a big economy.
At the local level, we should be building new housing on major thoroughfares— both market-rate, for the people with lucrative tech jobs, and affordable, for the people holding the 4.3 new jobs created for every tech job. It means creating better infrastructure for bicycling and public transit, such as physically separated bike lanes and dedicated mass transit lanes on those major thoroughfares, so the people who move into that new housing don’t contribute to automobile gridlock. Here in Silicon Valley, it means turning a lot of the one-story places along El Camino Real into multistory developments with shops on the ground floor, a floor or two of offices above that, and a few floors of residences above that. It means building a lot more pocket parks in residential neighborhoods to cool off during hot summers, increasing street tree cover, and using white asphalt every time we resurface our roads.
(Rezoning all the residential neighborhoods for high density doesn’t make sense. New housing needs to be near mass transit and local shops, so people can get by without cars.)
Smart growth is about a can-do attitude that is ready to engage with new challenges rather than push them away. It grows the economy, and that makes it possible to deal with the bigger challenges that are coming our way soon. Right now the challenge is growing jobs and housing; in the future, it will be to build water infrastructure (like desalination plants) when the Sierra Nevada can no longer hold onto its snowpack, and to build vertical farms when the Central Valley can no longer support agriculture, whether it’s caused by drought, by a superstorm like the one in 1861 that turned it into a lake, or by saltwater intrusion into the aquifers. (The Midwest is also imperiled.) When there are climate refugees from Arizona, Florida, and Louisiana, we’ll want to be among the places that can welcome them and help them land on their feet, not the ones building walls and saying “No room! No room!”
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Top Two is a terrible primary system )
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Measures submitted to the voters )
- President and Vice President of the United States
Thanks to our electoral system, there are only two viable choices for President, protest votes are ineffectual, and often regretted. How many Nader voters are happy with their choice in 2000, after George W. Bush got us into a $3tn war in a country that posed no threat to us? If you want more than two choices, I commend your attention to FairVote, who support electoral reform that would give us more possibilities. If you want to make a stand, demand of your representatives that they commit to reform that will make more parties viable, so we can have more than two choices. And if you’re tired of the concept of “swing states” altogether, check out the National Popular Vote compact.
No matter what you see in the polls, the election belongs to the people who show up to vote; in the UK, people got complacent and wound up with a vote for Brexit that is inflicting ongoing damage to their economy. Please be sure to vote.( Just in case you haven’t already made up your mind... )
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Political information cut to spare your sanity )
obsessivewoman suggested we try a beef tenderloin this year, so I reserved a couple of 7 pound roasts at Safeway and picked them up on the 23rd. We spent a while on the America’s Test Kitchen web site reviewing different recipes (which vary wildly) and eventually distilled it down to this:
The night before the party:
- Remove the silverskin, but not the chain; recipes also suggest that one can simply segment the silverskin to avoid it shortening during cooking and curling the meat, much like cooking calamari.
- Tie the roast with twine every 1½–2 inches, folding the tails over to achieve uniform thickness and trying for as cylindrical a profile as possible.
- Set it on foil and cover it in kosher salt (about 1½ tbsp).
- Close the foil and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
On the day of the party:
- Two hours before cooking, remove a stick of unsalted butter from the refrigerator to soften.
- 20 minutes before cooking, heat oven to 300°F.
- Remove roast from refrigerator and blot dry with paper towels, removing any remaining salt.
- Rub butter all over the roast (¼ stick should be enough) and then cover in low-salt Montreal steak seasoning. (Every recipe we saw for tenderloin managed to cover it in either butter or olive oil.)
- Place the roast diagonally on a baking rack on a cookie sheet; it’s too long to fit in a prime rib roasting rack.
- Insert meat thermometer and begin roasting.
- At 105°F, remove the roast, flip it over, and replace it in the oven.
- At 120°F, pour olive oil in a saucepan and begin heating on medium high.
- At 125°F, remove the roast from the oven and immediately bisect it. Sear each half in the olive oil, 1 minute on each side.
- Let the halves stand, tented in foil, for ¼ hour.
- When carving, remove the chain first and slice that onto a separate platter in 1–1½” segments. It requires more attention when eating to get around the gristle, but it’s very flavorful.
- Now that the chain is removed, slice the rest of the roast in ¼–½” medallions.
Tenderloin cooks fast compared to a prime rib; it’s ready to serve in a couple of hours. The result is very flavorful, and tender enough to cut easily with a butter knife.
Future avenues of investigation:
- A guest mentioned that there are waste-not-want-not recipes for silverskin. See if I can track one down.
- One recipe I saw used a rub of 4½ tsp of kosher salt, 1½ tsp of sugar, and ¼ tsp of baking soda to make the surface tacky (in that case to make an olive oil-peppercorn mixture stick to it); that might also get more butter to stick to the roast.
We’ve long observed that Cleo was a survivor, ready to hunt for herself in case this “human civilization” thing doesn’t pan out, while Yeti has bet everything on humans by going back for extra helpings of cute instead of picking up survival instincts. And survive she did: she beat thyroid cancer in 2012, thanks to a radioactive-iodine treatment at RadioCat. She thought diabetes was the best scam ever because it meant she got fresh wet food, twice a day, every day, for the tiny annoyance of an insulin injection in the scruff of her neck. When she came down with a spindle-cell sarcoma in her jaw, she handled radiation treatment (at SAGE) very well; her tumor stayed small and stable afterward. She was always sweet-tempered, even at the vet’s, where she charmed all the staff.
Three weeks ago, we took her in for some routine bloodwork that turned up some suspicious values from her liver, so we took her down to SAGE for further investigation, which involved an ultrasound and needle biopsy. It turned out she had also had a lymphoma on her liver and spleen, of a type that normally responds fairly well to chemotherapy. The odds were good that she would get 6–9 months of remission from a course of Saturday visits to SAGE, so we started that course last Saturday and she weathered it very well, continuing to demand treats and lap time from her humans. We were confident she would make it to January to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, and thought there was a possibility she would see seventeen.
On Tuesday afternoon, she manifested some scary symptoms of an ulcer, and her red blood cell count declined on Wednesday morning and further this morning. We took her in to SAGE for a blood transfusion and further investigation of the problem; it turned out to be a perforated intestine, which was due to very shortly turn into a fast and unpleasant decline, and we decided to spare her the suffering.
Cleo had a good Wednesday night, purring on my lap and enjoying her favorite foods; she went out peacefully this afternoon, purring and being adored by her humans. Here is a picture of her snuggled on the bed with us, just a couple of nights ago:
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache. It’s a midterm election without even a senator on the ballot. That means you especially need to vote, because a lot of people won’t be bothering.( Political information cut to spare your sanity )
Once we can print protein circuitry, it should be possible to create semi-living mouse-shaped cat treats that have fewer ganglia than a flatworm, as their only purpose in existence would be to be taken out of hibernation, set on the floor, and turned loose for cats to chase. They would, of course, be made to be nutritionally balanced for cats, and come with a program for your future-Roomba to track down where your cat devoured the animatreat and made the inevitable mess. (Less of a mess than a mouse would be; it would be able to operate with an anaerobic metabolism on energy stored in the cells before they were printed, so no need for a circulatory system.)
As usual, I’ve written up my research notes for the coming election so you can all crib from my work. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite everyone to come to their own. Even if we disagree on everything, I’m still happy if this collection of links saved you a headache.( Offices and local measures )
As usual, I’ve written up my research notes for the coming election so you can all crib from my work. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite everyone to come to their own. Even if we disagree on everything, I’m still happy if this collection of links saved you a headache.( State Propositions )