Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't Forget To Smile.

Last Tuesday on my way home from my new office I was feeling a little down. My sessions had gone pretty well, I thought. But I was feeling unusually low. I chalked it up to low blood sugar and ate an early dinner as soon as I could.
But I didn't feel better. By bedtime I knew I was falling.
Eden had been pretty ill for a few days. I didn't expect to catch it, but I did. I spent the next four days flat on my back in a sleeping bag on Eden's bed, too ill to even read or watch a video. The fever just went on and on and I hurt all over. Ugh. The fever broke just as the cough began. One night I found myself on the floor, on my hands and knees, wracked with coughing and unable to draw enough breath. I was terrified. My fever came back and I spent the night shaking again. And another whole day laying as still as possible in my good ol' sleeping bag, drifting in and out of uneasy fever dreams.
Now it's been over a week. I've still got the damned cough, but my energy is back up to maybe 60% of normal. I've been able to do small tasks and read. I'm back in my own bed and I can actually imagine being well again.
But tonight I've been feeling a little blue again. It feels the same as last Tuesday when I was going down. I think I'm meeting that feeling again on the way up!
I'm not really sure why I'm bothering you with all this, except to say: be very careful of your health! Avoid sugar and stress. Wash your hands. This thing is going around and believe me, you don't want to get it!
And if you are healthy right now, be happy! It's easy to take it for granted, but what a wonderful thing to have abundant energy, to breathe freely, to have a good appetite. If you have all these great things today, well do me a favor and smile. Smile right now for me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Playpumps in Africa

I'd heard about this years ago. It's the kind of thing that gives me hope. Here's a link if you feel inspired to make a donation. Their goal is 4000 installed by 2010. I can't help thinking that our own sad US government could fund that tomorrow with loose change under the Pentagon couch cushions. Hell, we could fund 10,000 more with what we're spending this week to make Iraq safe for democracy.
Maybe once Obama takes office we'll change priorities a bit.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Giant Solar Electricity Balloons!

This just in from Green Tech Gazette:

Cool Earth Solar has just received $21 million in funding from private investors to develop their solar concentrator balloons. The Livermore, California company will be manufacturing these metalized plastic balloons, which will concentrate the sun’s energy upon photovoltaic cells in order to generate electricity.

Since the solar balloons are made of plastic, the manufacturing costs are cheap, bringing the total cost of electrical generation to a point that is lower than that of natural gas power plants.

The Cool Earth Solar balloons can withstand a 125 mph wind, are water-cooled and can be scaled up globally. The high-tech balloon firm is now negotiating to sell electricity to utility companies from their solar balloon farms. The company has no plans to sell their solar balloons, however, to residents as they are utility-scale systems only.

My note: One added benefit is that these monsters make windfarms seem much more aesthetically appealing! Maybe this'll shut up all those anti-wind fanatics. I think Cape Cod would be an excellent test site.
Seriously though, there are vast areas of California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, not to mention Mexico, where thousands of these big guys could be set up very discreetly.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Ugly Side of Biodiesel and the Promise of Algae

I have a big white sticker on my rear window that reads "Powered By Biodiesel". I was so happy and proud to put it on and to have kicked the petroleum habit. But that was four years ago and today I almost feel like scraping it off!
Only a tiny fraction of biodiesel is being made from recycled restaurant grease. The powerful soybean lobby is driving the biodiesel agenda now in the US. And for the EU things are even worse. I came across an article in the Guardian this morning, here is an excerpt:

EU politicians should reject targets for expanding the use of biofuels because the demand for palm oil is leading to human rights abuses in Indonesia, a coalition of international environmental groups claimed today.

A new report, published by Friends of the Earth and indigenous rights groups LifeMosaic and Sawit Watch, said that increasing demands for palm oil for food and biofuels was causing millions of hectares of forests to be cleared for plantations and destroying the livelihoods of indigenous peoples.

The report, Losing Ground, said many of the 60-90 million people in Indonesia who depend on the forests are losing their land to the palm oil companies.

Pollution from pesticides, fertilisers and the pressing process is also leaving some villages without clean water.

"The unsustainable expansion of Indonesia's palm oil industry is leaving many indigenous communities without land, water or adequate livelihoods. Previously self-sufficient communities find themselves in debt or struggling to afford education and food. Traditional customs and culture are being damaged alongside Indonesia's forests and wildlife," the report reads.

It doesn't need to be this way. Biodiesel can be made from algae grown on wastewater. I've seen photos of prototype factories with vertical panels where the water trickles down the sides and as the algae matures it sloughs off into collecting trays at the bottom. No agricultural land is needed and no pure water.

This should be a national and international priority, establishing 'algae-diesel' plants everywhere. The technology is relatively simple, the cost to the environment low. We have a great solution here, all we need is the political will.

On Edit: I found this quote from a press release a few months back. It sounds promising.

From a Valcent/Vorticom press release (Dec 2007):

During a 90 day continual production test, algae was being harvested at an average of one gram (dry weight) per liter. This equates to algae bio mass production of 276 tons of algae per acre per year. Achieving the same biomass production rate with an algal species having 50% lipids (oil) content would therefore deliver approximately 33,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year.

…As a comparative, food crop such as soy bean will typically produce some 48 gallons oil per acre per year and palm will produce approximately 630 gallons oil per acre per year. In addition, the Vertigro Bio Reactor System is a closed loop continuous production system that uses little water and may be built on non arable lands.

Photograph: Tengku Bahar/AFP/Getty

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Beatles - Get Back!

I don't know how long this will stay up on the web. I'm sure someone owns the copyrite and won't be pleased. But I was sure glad to see it (for the first time). Ironically, we just watched Across The Universe, a musical using all Beatles songs, and they copied this rooftop performance.

the beatles

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I'm trying to stay positive.

This morning I got up and did some EFT around stolen elections, electronic voting machines and fraud. I've got a backlog of deep anger, frustration and rage over Bush stealing the presidency. Twice. And my loss of trust in our elections and hence our democracy. Ugh.

EFT helps. I was motivated this morning because I'm affirming that Obama will win. I see him winning. And so I need to get rid of any negative affirmations that the Hillary/McCain machine is going to prevail. You know, law of attraction stuff.

I'm affirming that there are just too many people paying attention to the election process, too many people voting for Obama for them to get away with another fraud. The cheaters all get frightened they'll get caught and quit.

I'm affirming that Obama wins by a landslide, bringing in with him a solid progressive majority in the congress.

And this majority will enable a major shift away from petroleum/coal dependence. It will enable a shift towards universal health care (just like all those other Western nations!). It will mean massive investment in solar and wind power, algae based biodiesel, and massive conservation efforts. It will lead to a determined program to reverse global warming.

I cant imagine any of this happening if Hillary Clinton wins (or steals) the nomination. Quite the opposite. I would expect four more years of corporate consolidation of power, deepening economic woes, continued military-industrial spending with its required foreign adventuring. Further divisiveness in the electorate. Ugh.

Okay, I understand that she's a woman. She has female genitalia and boobs. That's great.
I just can't see how that makes up for her pro-war record. She was on the board of directors of WallMart for god's sake! She's so far into her lizard brain, she's barely a mammal at this point.

So it's Obama. Truth to tell, I was much more enthusiastic about John Edwards campaign. But now that he's out, it has to be Obama. So that's my affirmation. Obama by a landslide.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Andy

Siblings, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Today is my sister's birthday. She just recently passed the first test for her MFT (marriage and family therapist) license. Which is a big deal, since only 30% of the good folks who take the thing actually pass.
She's spent years working toward this goal and just has one more test to go, then she's licensed and ready to make a huge career change.
Actually, she's already doing the therapy career. She just needs to drop her day job.
Anyhow, she's an awesome person and Redding, California is damn lucky to have had her so long.

ps. pretty much everybody else calls her Andrea.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

THX for the Eyes

Like Attracts Like

Like Attracts Like, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Yesterday we braved the awful rainy weather and drove to San Francisco to little Zai Velvet's fourth birthday party.
We've known Zai's mom, Kelly, since Eugene days, but hardly ever see her anymore. She works for the SF Women's Building, whose amazing murals are a sight to see.
Unfortunately the room the party was in had terrible lighting for photos. I didn't get a decent shot of Zai, or anyone else for that matter.
Afterwards Kelly took us to the Cafe Gratitude for some kick ass raw food. I'd been hearing about that place and wanting to check it out. Worth a visit for sure, even if you aren't a raw foodie.


Steve, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Last Sunday we ventured out to see my old pal Steve's band 'Elders' downtown at the Russian River Brewing Company. It was great! They had nine members performing that night, in this tiny little place. They always improvise, so every performance is unique.
I've known Steve for twenty five years! He played guitar and sang at our wedding.
It was a real treat to hear him play and I'm sure we'll be seeking them out in the future.