Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We have a peak oil date...

When I first started this blog, I had recently seen The End of Suburbia, and I was commuting daily on a bike through Canada's auto-manufacturing heartland, and when you add these plus some other things together, you end up with a guy who couldn't help but blog endlessly about peak oil. Some of these old posts can be found here and here and here and here.

Oh yeah, and if you haven't heard the phrase "peak oil" before, try this site for some background.

So I was blogging and blogging about peak oil and except for that blip when oil prices rose for stock market reasons (as opposed to resource depletion reasons), nothing really happened. In fact... for a while now I've been wondering if advances in technology (hybrid engines for example), the recession lowering demand for oil, and general environmental awareness, would succeed in pushing back the peak oil date for many decades.

But now, in the Dec. 12-18 issue of http://www.economist.com/The Economist, Fatih Birol (chief economist of the International Energy Agency), says the date is 2020.
The reasons are not hard to find. After analysing the historical production trends of 800 individual oilfields in 2008, the IEA came to the conclusion that the decline in annual output from fields that are past their prime could average 8.6% in 2030. “Even if oil demand were to remain flat, the world would need to find more than 40m barrels per day of gross new capacity—equal to four new Saudi Arabias—just to offset this decline,” says Mr Birol.

So even if China and India DON'T acquire the North American appetite for cars (which they will), the world will need to find 4 new Saudi Arabias by 2030 just to offset the decline in production from existing oil fields.

What does this tie into? Canada's absolutely atrocious reputation at the Copenhagen Climate Talks of course! Because conventional oil is fast running out, the economic worth of Alberta's tar sands is about to skyrocket. Unfortunately getting oil from the tar sands is one of the most polluting and carbon intensive industries on earth. So, to protect the economic value of the tar sands in an era of green activism, here's what you do (if you're the federal conservative government):

a) Create a smokescreen: say that you're committed to reducing Canadian carbon emissions 20% below their 2006 levels by 2020. Sounds great until you realize that the rest of the world is talking about reducing carbon emissions by at least 20% below their 1990 levels by 2020.

b) Just say screw it and throw away most carbon reduction targets for the oil sands.

So - the age of skyrocketing oil prices is only ten years away, and Canada is moving to cash in on this phenomenon, at the cost of its international reputation and (with only a little bit of hyperbole here), the planet.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Norco Monterey SL

My wife hosted a charity garage sale at our house last weekend. That sounds innocent enough, but I discovered that hosting a garage sale means that everybody and their uncle comes by your house with crap they no longer want and you end up with your backyard and garage full of knickknacks and trinkets to try and assign prices to.



The good news is that three bikes were donated, and at the end of the day - for $20.00 - one remained with me. I now own a Norco Monterey SL. I can't really find a date for it, but it seems like it was probably made in the 1980s. If anyone can give a good date estimate for this bike, I'd be curious to hear it.



When I first spotted the bike in our garage, my first thought was "should be a singlespeed". Now that I own it and have ridden it to work twice, I've realized that the gears actually work perfectly, so I think I'll leave them alone. The wheels are also pretty good, and the bottom bracket seems pretty smooth, so all in all it is a pretty solid bike. I am going to make a few changes though.



I've ordered a new seat for the bike, and I'm going to put on some knobby cross tires. I'm going to cut and flip the handlebars as well, creating that bullhorn look. I've also ordered two new sets of pedals, and after swapping some pedals around on different bikes in the household, this Norco will eventually have the basic pedals from my Kona Dew Deluxe.

The pedals that came on this Norco were Japanese made KKT Pro Vic II. This is the second time I've had a pair of these pedals in my life - the first time when they came on an old Fleetwing bike that a Toronto cyclist named Geoffrey gave to me.

Who the hell designed these pedals? And why did companies like Norco think it was a good idea to equip their bikes with them? Wow do they ever suck. On neither side do you get a flat surface under your foot. They bulge in the middle on one side, so the ball of your foot feels like it is kind of balancing on an egg shaped marble, and on the other the edges are higher than the middle so your foot makes contact on the edges but no contact in the middle.



Anyway - I'm mostly going to leave this bike alone, but some other guys have done really cool things with Norco Montereys that they've picked up.

At some point in the future maybe I'll do something like this, or this.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Looping around Tudhope Park

It starts snowing in Orillia in early November. Heavy wet snow that is designed to break your back when you are shovelling every single morning.

I'll probably look back on this ride pretty fondly in a few months.




P.S. - the cuss word near the end wasn't uttered by me - it was the annoyed cyclist coming towards me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The places your Jamis will go

I was recently told about a trail that runs from the end of Carlyon Line (which is north of Orillia) up to the Trent Severn waterway. Thinking it'd be fun to explore, I took a ride up it this morning with my Jamis Nova cross bike.



For any Orillia area cyclists who think they might want to try this, the above map shows where you're going. It was fine on a cross bike, but it'd be better on a mountain bike. It's about 20 km one way to the Trent-Severn waterway (from the end of Carlyon Line).

And before I get to the photos, here's a short video taken on the trail:



From the beginning to the end of the ride, here are some photos from the day's ride (if you click on the photos, you'll be taken to enlarged versions over on Flickr):

river

A river wandering through farmland on my journey north out of town.

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Looking south and taking a picture of Carlyon Line.

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Marsh about halfway up the trail to the waterway.

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Liftlock on the Trent Severn - also the end of my trip. This is looking west... low water.

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Looking east(ish) from the Liftlock - high water.

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Part of the dusty trail - with a poor man's switchbacks.

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Most of the way back down Carlyon Line heading towards Orillia - horses in the shade. Really only stopped to take the photo cause I was fighting a headwind and needed a breather. : 0

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This is called the Uhthoff Trail - it always feels like it is within the city limits (this stretch is only 3km from my house) but it is just barely outside of Orillia. Still... when I've reached this point I'm pedalling easy knowing I'm almost home.

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Jamis is in the backyard and I'm just about to walk into the shower with all my clothes on.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Orillia Bike Rally 2.0

Orillia's Trails for Life Committee organized its second Bike to Work Day and Bicycle Rally yesterday.

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The turnout was smaller this year. I think there was a lot of excitement last year because it was the first one, and the local cycling community was so surprised that some cycling activism was happening, that they made sure to come out and support the cause. This year it seemed a bit harder to recreate that enthusiasm. Next year we'll have to get Bruce Springsteen to show up or something.

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The point of all this is to try and get some momentum building in town which will lead to improved active transportation infrastructure. The cycling community in Orillia has rarely ever been political before. I always remember a story about Glen Murray, the former mayor of Winnipeg, and his advice to cycling activists: Basically he said that cyclists need to make life hell for municipal politicians until they get what they want. In Winnipeg it must have worked - in 2005 they had $300 000 budgeted for Active Transportation initiatives, and then it went all the way up to $3 million in 2008. The City is also planning to 450kms of "active transportation infrastructure" (not sure quite what that means) to the 190kms they already have.

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Anyway - onward and upward. And let's do it for the little guys, like this five year old who powered pretty happily through the whole 10km route!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

What I drew from the water by the pond-side

So yesterday was road bikes and Oakley sunglasses, and today was single-speed commuter bikes and a camera dangling around my neck.

You can click on these photos to jump over to Flickr and try to see enlarged versions.

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These shots were all taken on Orillia's Millenium Trail, which runs mostly north-south along the western shore of Lake Couchiching. It's a great great trail for easy recreational riding, but if you're a commuter who wants to get to and from work/shopping etc, it is completely useless, and there aren't any other bike trails to help you commute through this city (but we're working on it!)

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This is the old workhorse - a Kona Hahanna (circa 2001) which is now a single-speed with Mavic wheels (though two different models of their wheels).

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I took several shots of trees drinking from the lake, this is the one I liked most.

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I bought a new camera recently because our previous one broke. The old one really was old, and had only 2 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom. The new one is a Canon PowerShot S5 IS which I snapped up when Future Shop here in Canada sold a bunch off at a pretty cheap price. The new camera isn't amazing or anything, but it is all that we need, and it's a massive jump in quality from our old one - this one is 8 megapixels with a 12x optical zoom.

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The guy in this photo? He's also in the one above.... way way way off in the distance in the above photo. New cameras with powerful zoom capabilities are great!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

First road ride of the year

A post or two ago I mentioned the big snowfall we got in Orillia about two weeks ago. The weather then turned nice, but I didn't get out for a real ride until this morning when the local bike shop had their first large group ride of the season.

Almost as soon as we took off, I thought "yeah, I've missed this." Group road rides are so much fun - the sound of shoes clipping into pedals, Car Back!, trying not to look like you're trying to beat everyone up a hill, but not being able to resist and going ahead and trying to beat everyone up a hill - so awesome.

I rode the Trek 5000 that I picked up last summer for around $1200.00 Canadian, and maybe everything is going to be okay with this bike. I've never really been a Trek fan, and I don't love this bike, but it's fine and it works for me, plus I doubt I'll ever do the road mileage that I did a few years ago again, so there isn't much pressure to upgrade.



Not being a Trek purist I also don't really care about the big OLCV vs TCT debate that this bike stirs up in people. For the uninitiated, Trek was famous for making high-end carbon bikes IN AMERICA, when so many other companies were having their manufacturing done in Asia. The Trek TCT 5000, which is what I have, was Trek's attempt to sell bikes to people who wanted carbon but weren't willing to pay full price for it. However - and this is the problem - it meant having the bikes made more cheaply in Asia.

Yeah, that's a shame. But from my perspective, I got a carbon frame and an Ultegra / 105 mix (now an Ultegra, Dura-Ace, 105 mix) for the price that heavier aluminum bikes with a Tiagra / Sora mix sell at. I'm happy enough - plus, I have a mortgage to pay.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

party like it's 1969

Something I just read in Bill McKibben's Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future got me thinking about a post I did nearly three years ago (wow! have I really been doing this blog that long?).

The old post was called Working Less = Living More. In that post I was basically agreeing with the British Columbia Work Less Party that the human species works too hard to produce goods that last a year and then end up in landfills. In the process... in the hurly-burly day to day grind which allows us to keep our jobs, we sacrifice things like family time, exercise, and healthy eating. At the same time, we force the planet to cough up its natural resources to make these products (and then, when they've become garbage, make the planet hide the mess for us).


What's the answer? A four day work week! Think about it... we work less and have more quality time for ourselves... meanwhile we have less money to buy non-essential extras, therefore fewer of these things get made, we conserve energy and natural resources, contribute less to climate change, spend less of our time idling in traffic jams on yucky highways, and on it goes...

Here's a (lengthy) excerpt from Bill McKibben's book - and what's the moral of the story? The human species should spend more time at the beach - and we should let the economy chill out. Maybe the financial crisis is actually realigning things in this direction anyway.

Bonus points if you can connect the dots between 1969 and the Joplin photo and the picture of the earth taken from the moon.

---------

The results of all this work, given what we now know about the deeper economy, are predictable. The more hours you work, the less satisfied you become with your life, even though you make more money. The amount of time that parents spend with their children has steadily decreased, a trend “reliably linked to lower levels of average happiness and life satisfaction” for kids, says Layard. Indeed, children in affluent suburbs are more likely to be depressed even than those living in inner-city poverty.

The more hours you work, the bigger your ecological footprint, too. That's because you're spending more money and spending it carelessly: with no time to go to the farmer's market, let alone cook what you buy there, you drive through the drive-through instead. The numbers are substantial: an American working twenty to forty hours a week requires about twenty-three acres of the earth to support him, someone working more than forty hours requires nearly twenty-eight acres.

Now try the following thought experiment, which Schor suggests. Between 1969 and 2000, she reports, overall labor productivity increased about 80 percent, so that the average worker in 2000 could produce nearly twice as much per hour as the average worker in 1969. “Had we used that productivity dividend to reduce hours of work,” Schor points out, “the average American could be working only a little more than twenty hours a week.” The math isn't that linear of course, but it gives some sense of scale.

And there are those of us yet alive who can actually remember the year 1969 and so can testify that it was not a dark era of unrelieved poverty. True, we drove smaller cars and lived in smaller houses and ate out less. On the other hand, we ate together more. And we were working forty-hour weeks then. If those hours had been substantially reduced, there would now be more time for almost everything, from talking to your spouse, to sleeping in, to volunteering at the local hospital. You could grow more of your own food and have time to cook it. You would have less money, but also less need for child care, for work clothes, for the expense of commuting.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

snowstorm - before & after

Spring seemed to be coming. Saturday up here in central Ontario was a bit rough, but Sunday was gorgeous and my wife was cleaning up the yard and starting to develop gardening plans.

We had the cats out in the backyard and I took some photographs... unfortunately none that show the backyard in full. This one will at least give you an idea of how all the snow was starting to leave.

(P.S. if you click on the pictures you'll be taken over to Flickr, where you can see larger versions).
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And - yes - my cat is on a leash. We're kind of geeky about our cats, and we're hesitant to let them wander all over town... but at the same time feel bad keeping them inside all the time. So, since we have quite a long backyard with a clothesline that runs the whole way down the yard, we tie the boys to the clothesline with a leash, and let them play back there.

Anyway - on Monday the snow came, and this is what the backyard looked like this morning.
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The forecast was for 15 to 25cm of snow yesterday. We got the 15 easily, though I don't think we got more than 20cm. My wife and I had to shovel the driveway last night, and I had to do it again this morning. Man - I hope we're getting close to the end of this craziness - I'm starting to get cycling fever.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who needs a bait shop?

I grew up in a small town in central Ontario, but we never had live bait vending machines in my hometown. I guess this kind of thing is what makes Orillia special.



I remember being surprised when I was an ESL teacher in Japan that they had these beer vending machines all over the place. As far as I could tell, there was nothing that would prevent a five year old with some coins from getting a beer out of one of these things.



The other good vending machine in Japan were these ones that sold coffee in cans. In summer the unit was set to "cool" so the coffee came out cold, and in the winter the unit was set to "warm" so they came out warm. They were great.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Orillia millennium trail

In Orillia we have the Millenium Trail which runs for about 10km along the shore of Lake Couchiching.



One annoying quirk of the trail is that right about where the 3 is in the above map, the trail is dissected by a boat launch. In the photo below, which is looking west to east towards the lake, the launch is just out of sight behind the clump of trees on the right, and behind the little monkeybars / playarea that you can kind of see behind the trees.

couch_4

The photo below shows.. on the right side... Centennial Drive, which is the road that runs north/south along part of the lake... currently the Millennium Trail is further to the right of Centennial Drive, along the lake. There is now a proposal to move the bike trail in this area away from the lake and put it (i.e with a marked bike lane) right on Centennial Drive... getting cyclists away from the boat launch.

trail_2

What you're also seeing in the picture above - the wide dirt strip in the center/left - is the railbed for the trainlines that used to go through the area. Now it is used for nothing except parking for all the fishermen who leave their pickup trucks and boat trailers here when they're out on the lake with their boats. There is also a proposal to take over this railbed for the use of a "fast track" bike trail, to get cyclists through this problem area quickly.

trail_w_snow2

And this last photo is the Millennium Trail as it leaves the lake and starts cutting north through town. Still too much snow for your road bike.

Friday, March 27, 2009

declare the pennies on your eyes

The provincial Ontario government just released the provincial budget for the coming fiscal year. The main change is the inroduction of a harmonized gas tax. Previously we'd been paying two separate taxes - an 8% provincial tax, and a 5% federal tax. Now, they're lumping them together and we'll be paying a 13% harmonized tax.


Image above is from Marc Engblom's Comic Coverage blog. The post covers an issue of Superman where the Taxman tries to get Supes to pay billions of dollars in backtaxes.


So the harmonized tax sounds simple - but there is a catch (which I like). The provincial tax was primarily on goods not services, and so many things were exempt from the 8% PST. Now they won't be. Apparently this includes gasoline, which I don't really understand, because my understanding was that the provincial government collected tax on gas, and then gave a cut of it to municipalities in order to supplement public transit funding.

In the Globe and Mail, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath states that the new harmonized tax that would boost daily costs for consumers.

"Make no mistake, behind the veil of so-called rebates and credits, families will be paying more. They're going to be paying more for home essentials, like home heating and gas for the car, not to mention that morning coffee and doughnut," she said.

Buyers don't pay PST on gasoline now. Ms. Horwath estimated the new harmonized tax on gas would cost families $150 per year per vehicle.


I've written before that I find gasoline taxes & prices in N. America to be ridiculously low.



With gas so cheap here, no one has any incentive to change their driving habits, and the car companies have had little reason to produce really fuel-efficient cars (which is obviously changing these days). Anyway - thank God gas is going to be costing more. I think that is long overdue, and I just hope that the province gives a hefty chunk of the gas tax revenue to munipalities to allow them to actually run a public transit service which is so good that your neighbour with three vehicles actually decides to ride transit once in a while.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the republic of active transportation

Me Likey!!!



So many bikes, so little time. I have no business owning another bicycle, but these Republic Bikes out of Florida look awesome - especially after a long snowy winter in central Ontario.



Although a small-town newspaper story about a city council meeting isn't usually the most interesting news in the world, it is this time.

City Staff are urging Council to officially hire a consultant to devise and write an Active Transportation Plan for the City of Orillia.

From the article:


Recognizing a provincial shift toward encouraging and creating active transportation in municipalities and following up on a deputation from Orillia's Trails for Life Committee, city staff are recommending council look at creating an Active Transportation Plan.

The recommendation that council committee will discuss tonight is for staff to prepare a capital budget request for the 2010 budget process to hire a consultant to develop a standalone active transportation plan for the city.

Active transportation includes initiatives like creating pedestrian linkages and establishing bike lanes, making it easy for residents who choose to use other modes of transportation than vehicles to move across the city.

The three departments involved in preparing the report -- planning and development, parks and recreation and public works -- identified a number of logistical questions for councillors to consider before moving ahead with one of two options. Those options were continuing to address active transportation on an ad-hoc basis, as the city does now or preparing and implementing an active transportation plan that would guide all future decisions on developments and projects.

"An Active Transportation Plan would provide the city with a unified vision with respect to the creation of a multi-modal and safe transportation system," states the report. "Preparation of a plan would also likely involve a concerted review of the city's design standards."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Battlestar is over



Battlestar Galactica is all done.

In an article called The Way We Were - Newsweek magazine called it the best TV show to represent arts and culture over the last 8 years.

TELEVISION
Battlestar Galactica
By Joshua Alston

An orchestrated terrorist attack. An inexorable march to war. An enemy capable of disappearing among its targets, armed with an indifference to its own mortality. It sounds like a PBS special on Al Qaeda. In fact, it's a synopsis of the Sci Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica," which—for anyone who manages to get past the goofy name—captures better than any other TV drama of the past eight years the fear, uncertainty and moral ambiguity of the post-9/11 world. Yes, even better than "24," with its neocon fantasies of terrorists who get chatty if Jack Bauer pokes the right pressure point. Of the two shows, "Battlestar" has been more honest about the psychological toll of the war on terror. It confronts the thorny issues that crop up in a society's battle to preserve its way of life: the efficacy of torture, the curtailing of personal rights, the meaning of patriotism in a nation under siege. It also doesn't flinch from one question that "24" wouldn't dare raise: is our way of life even worth saving?

"Battlestar Galactica" always finds ways to challenge the audience's beliefs—it is no more an ode to pacifism than "24" is to "bring 'em on" warmongering. In the pilot, humanity is nearly eradicated by the Cylons, a race of robots that revolt against their human creators. The only survivors are stationed on a spacecraft called Battlestar Galactica; they're spared because the ship's commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), had refused to relax any wartime restrictions. Adama is a hard-liner, willing to sacrifice personal freedoms in order to provide safety from an abstract threat. And he was right: the moment the human race let its guard down, the Cylons attacked. As the show unfolds, though, the survivors must constantly reflect on the price of keeping their enemies at bay, and whether it's worth paying. The show's futuristic setting—hushed and grimy, not the metallic cool of stereotypical sci-fi—helps ground the writers' ruminations in a nail-biting drama series. "Battlestar Galactica" achieves the ultimate in sci-fi: it presents a world that looks nothing like our own, and yet evokes it with chilling accuracy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Black sheep of the family

At the bottom of the post below, I more or less promised to shoot a series of videos about converting your bike to a single speed. I really wasn't happy about the quality of video I was putting up though (shot in hi-definition, I was converting the file a million times to get it uploaded onto youtube). I was also getting impatient and wanted to finish the job, so the series has had to be postponed.

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You can click on any of these photos to go over to Flickr and see bigger images. It's amazing how much cleaner bikes look when you take more and more parts off them.

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The drivetrain (44 x 16) involved a new bottom bracket, cranks that I got off a friend in a trade, spacers, cog and chain tensioner from a nashbar single speed kit, a chainring from the local bike shop, and single speed chainring bolts. I also put on new brakes, and if you look closely you'll notice a wheelset (mavic rim with deore hubs) that is probably worth more than this whole bike was when it was bought. You really can't beat good wheels though - upgrading wheels makes you suddenly feel like Hushovd.

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And strangely, an immensely satisfying part of the conversion process is looking down at the bucket of junk that you took off your bike. If you put it all in a plastic bag and lift it up, you get a sense of how heavy all that crap was, and what a weight it was on your bike.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hear my motor purr

Every once in a while my thinking comes back to taxes on gasoline.

North America has the lowest gasoline tax rates in the world - and the historically cheap price of gas here is why we also have sprawlurbia and mostly ignored public transit systems. Everyone knows that North American reliance on the automobile has caused a litany of different problems, including killer air pollution. So why do we not raise the tax on gasoline?

Ironically, the Americans (even Republicans) are talking about this more and more often. Meanwhile, here in Canada, there is no discussion of this at all. In fact, when oil and gas prices were high this past summer, a southern Ontario group was getting tons of TV coverage by lobbying for a reduction in the gas tax ("Mr Prime Minister, please help the poor struggling families" kind of thing).

My thought is that the gasoline tax should be raised - gradually but steadily, with nearly all of the money going straight into public transit.

By doing this, you wean people away from the automobile and all its various problems, and build bigger, better, faster public transit systems - transit systems which are so good that people will actually give up their car and rely on the bus.

Of all the opposing arguments, the two strongest ones are a) increasing the gas tax hurts rural Canadians who have no access to public transit, and b) raising the gas tax primarily hurts low-income Canadians.

Fine - if you're in a rural area with no public transit, you get a break on your income taxes. The same applies for low income earners. Everyone else though, pays perhaps 2cents / litre (at the beginning) to improve the public transit system in their city.

I really don't understand why this is such an accursed idea in Canada. The federal Conservative government took a step in this direction their very first year in office when they decided to encourage the use of public transit by giving transit users the right to claim money back for their monthly bus pass at tax time. Is it really such a jump to go from rewarding public transit use to penalizing automobile use?

P.S. I'm hoping to shoot a series of youtube videos about converting your bike to a freewheel singlespeed. The series will be aimed at complete beginners, and so far I've done one introductory episode. I actually shot it in high definition with a very good camcorder, but I had to keep converting and degrading the file to get it onto youtube, and now the quality is so bad that I'll probably have to reshoot this one. It's a start anyway.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bush and his legacy

If you go to google news and type in something like george bush (legacy OR "place in history") you'll find tons of articles that are trying to assess how Bush will go down in history.

The anti-Bush writers point to Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, torture, Guantanamo Bay, wire-tapping and the Patriot Act etc as the best examples of Bush's failures.

The pro-Bush writers don't have much to commend him for - but the key one is that after the 2001 New York attack, Bush the Strongman didn't allow any other terrorist attacks to happen on American soil.

Apparently trying to fix his environmental legacy a little bit, Bush has also done something that actually is tremendously valuable and important - he created several massive marine protection zones which can be thought of as oceanic equivalents of National parks where marine eco-systems will be protected.

If you haven't read about the catastrophic state of the oceans by the way, check a special report by the Economist magazine called Troubled Waters - it isn't too big a stretch to say that there should be an immediate end to all human fishing in the oceans:
The fish that once seemed an inexhaustible source of food are now almost everywhere in decline: 90% of large predatory fish (the big ones such as tuna, swordfish and sharks) have gone, according to some scientists. In estuaries and coastal waters, 85% of the large whales have disappeared, and nearly 60% of the small ones. Many of the smaller fish are also in decline. Indeed, most familiar sea creatures, from albatrosses to walruses, from seals to oysters, have suffered huge losses.

Anyway - yes Iraq and Katrina (and possibly stealing the 2000 election by disenfranchising blacks in Florida) are enough to ruin Bush's legacy, but here are two more reasons that you won't see discussed much, but which have always really angered me:

A) Under George Bush, the U.S. administration censored scientific reports on climate change to lessen the importance of the studies, and minimize climate change as a problem. The Bush years also saw republican climate change deniers Joe Barton and James Inhofe in charge of different energy and environmental committees. Joe Barton was such a blood-thirsty demon that if you were a scientist about to release a "yes we're causing climate change" report, he'd launch an IRS audit on you.

B) With the appointment of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, the Bush administration began a Stalinist culling of democratic attorney generals, replacing them with republican cronies who would help support the wire-tapping of Americans, the erosion of the rights of Guantanamo detainees, and the right to torture.

Good riddance George - even if America says it was faulty intelligence rather than outright lies that started the Iraq War, there are plenty of other reasons for you to go down in history as the worst president ever.

On a completely different note, watch this - especially if you play guitar.