Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

The Atrocity Election: A Ballardian Forecast

by gmoke Tue Sep 27th, 2016 at 12:36:49 AM EST

I've always liked JG Ballard.  Some know him as the author of the novel about being a British child in an intermit camp in Shanghai during WWII, Empire of the Sun, the source of the Spielberg movie which gave us Christian Bale.  Others know his more quintessentially Ballardian books of "dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments."

I took the DVD version of the recent movie of Ballard's novel High-Rise with Tom HIddleston and Sienna Miller out of the library the other day.  I had read the book long ago and originally wanted to see the movie in the theater but it came and went too fast.  Watching the film, it reminded me of the other novels of Ballard which followed the same theme of the balance between modernity and savagery from high rise apartment blocks like High-Rise to a Spanish resort community (Cocaine Nights) to the all-in-one business park of Eden-Olympia (Super-Cannes) to an environmental conservation project in the South Pacific that goes terribly wrong (Rushing to Paradise) to middle class rebellion in a gated community (MIllennium People).

Kingdom Come (NY:  Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2006  ISBN 978-0-87140-403-9), the last novel Ballard published during his lifetime, is about the confluence of consumerism and fascism. Digging into my archives, I came across my notes from when I read the book a few years ago.  Looking over the quotes, I found it to be quite an apt commentary on the current political climate, not just in the United States of America but all around the world (see this article on the relationship between Brexit, Trump, and authoritarian movements in Europe and other countries (http://www.vox.com/2016/9/19/12933072/far-right-white-riot-trump-brexit).  Don't tell anybody but there's an Asian contingent too with Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, and Shinzo Abe's moves toward the re-militarization of Japan.  

The links between consumerism and fascism are becoming commonplace with late stage capitalism in a world ecosystem collapsing under the thoughtless appetites of the human population as we see political violence and 24/7/365 mediated lone wolf and small group criminally insane terrorism.  In this book Ballard combines the mall with mob politics.  He does not really provide any answers but JG Ballard does have a detailed definition of the problem.

Read more... (9 comments, 2095 words in story)

City Agriculture - September 25, 2016

by gmoke Sun Sep 25th, 2016 at 11:44:00 PM EST

NYC Farm condo for the High Line?
https:/www.cityrealty.com/nyc/market-insight/features/the-new-skyline/could-this-farm-condo-gallery -hybrid-be-coming-rem-koolhaas-high-line-parcel/5122

NYC World's Fair NY State Pavilion reimagined as greenhouse bubble
http://therealdeal.com/2016/08/05/winning-design-reimagines-worlds-fair-site-in-flushing-as-giant-gr eenhouse-bubble

LEED for vertical farms

Tulsa, OK's urban farming to reduce food deserts
www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/25/tulsa-oklahoma-community-garden-urban-farming-oasis-f ood-desert

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Planning for Parks and Urban Forests in Los Angeles County
hat tip Gil Friend
Editorial Comment:  My observation from years of listening to major journalists talk at Harvard's Shorenstein is that sometimes there are also people who can't see the forest for the leaves.

Mobile green living room touring Europe

3 "forests" for London Design Festival

Fruit walls and urban farming in the 1600s

Proposal for Brussels Botanic Center renovation as plant-covered and smog fighting building

Spherical Growroom to demonstrate urban farming in Copenhagen
www.space10.io/journal/growing-sphere-exploring-how-cities-can-feed-themselves-through-advan ced-urban-farming

Agro Food Park for the "Silicon Valley of Agriculture" in Aarhus, Denmark

The Hanging Gardens now being built in Copenhagen will allow residents to grow, buy, and sell their own vegetables without leaving the building
http://inhabitat.com/hanging-gardens-tower-will-allow-residents-to-grow-and-sell-their-own-vegetable s-on-site


Editorial Comment:  Do these three links mean an eyewitness report from Denmark is necessary?

Williamsburg Brooklyn's 15,000-square-foot public rooftop park atop the new William Vale Hotel.
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/enjoy-sweeping-city-views-from-this-new-public-rooftop-garden-atop-the-will iam-vale-hotel/

Local food can go too far

The Politics of PT Barnum

by gmoke Sun Sep 11th, 2016 at 02:16:12 AM EST

Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum was not only a show business producer and early mass marketeer but also a politician.  He was elected to two terms in the Connecticut state legislature (1865 and 1866) representing the town of Fairfield as a member of the Republican Party.  A decade later, he was elected by acclamation as mayor of Bridgeport, CT.  His political career was very different from the candidate he is being compared to this 2016 Presidential season.

At the end of the Civil War, Barnum ran for the state legislature expressly to ratify the 14th Amendment to the USA Constitution and extend Connecticut state voting rights to African-American men as he stated in his speech to the legislature on May 26, 1865:

Mr. Speaker: I am no politician, I came to this Legislature simply because I wished to have the honor of voting for the two constitutional amendments--one for driving slavery entirely out of the country; the other to allow men of education and good moral character to vote, regardless of the color of their skins. To give my voice for these two philanthropic, just, and Christian measures is all the glory I ask legislativewise. I care nothing whatever for any sect or party under heaven, as such. I have no axes to grind, no logs to roll, no favors to ask. All I desire is to do what is right, and prevent what is wrong. I believe in no "expediency" that is not predicated of justice, for in all things--politics, as well as everything else -- "I know that honesty is the best policy." A retributive Providence will unerringly and speedily search out all wrong doing; hence, right is always the best in the long run. Certainly, in the light of the great American spirit of liberty and equal rights which is sweeping over this country, and making the thrones of tyrants totter in the old world, no party can afford to carry slavery, either of body or of mind. Take down the blinds from his intellect, and let in the light of education and Christian culture. When this is done you have developed a man. Give him the responsibility of a man and the self-respect of a man, by granting him the right of suffrage. Let universal education, and the universal franchise be the motto of free America, and the toiling millions of Europe, who are watching you with such intense interest, will hail us as their saviors. Let us loyally sink "party" on this question, and go for "God and our Country." Let no man attach an eternal stigma to his name by shutting his eyes to the great lesson of the hour, and voting against permitting the people to express their opinion on this important subject. Let us unanimously grant this truly democratic boon. Then, when our laws of franchise are settled on a just basis, let future parties divide where they honestly differ on State or national questions which do not trench upon the claims of manhood or American citizenship.
Source:  http://lostmuseum.cuny.edu/archive/p-t-barnums-speech-on-negro-suffrage-may-26-1

Barnum was also instrumental during that session in keeping the "railroad ring" from selecting the Speaker of the Connecticut House and appointing the head of the railroad commission, fighting against Commodore Vanderbilt who had raised the price of tickets on the Hudson River and Harlem railroads from 200 - 400% and was about to do the same with the New York and New Haven road in which he was also a major stockholder.  The fight lasted all through the legislative session and was so bitter that the railroad interests' main proponent on the commission took to his bed "sick" ten days before the close of session and stayed there until the legislature adjourned.

"Through Barnum's efforts a law was passed that no person in the employ of any railroad in the State, should serve as railroad commissioner."
Source:  http://www.electricscotland.com/history/barnum/chap36.htm

"In March, 1875, the nomination for Mayor of Bridgeport was offered Barnum, but he refused it, until assured that the nomination was intended as a compliment, and that both parties would sustain it."   The city of Bridgeport usually voted Democratic but Barnum ran on the Republican ticket and was easily elected.  He campaigned against public intoxication, closed the bars on Sunday, and crusaded to lower utility rates, improve water supplies, and eliminate the city's houses of prostitution.

During 1875, he was also on the lecture circuit with a talk titled "The World and How to Live in It," that he gave 30 times around the eastern United States and traveled to Niagara Falls and Akron, OH to visit his Hippodrome which was on tour as far east as Thomaston, Maine and west to Leavenworth, Kansas that season.

When he was 81, he grew ill.  At his request, the New York Evening Sun newspaper published his obituary in advance so he could enjoy it.   Two weeks later, April 7, 1891, PT Barnum was dead.

There seems to have been a lot more to Phineas Taylor Barnum than we usually remember.

Comments >> (2 comments)

Zero Net Energy - August 5, 2016

by gmoke Fri Aug 5th, 2016 at 09:52:46 PM EST

I'm noticing a cross-over now between zero net energy building and city agriculture, two subjects I follow and publish links lists on.  The archive of the city agriculture links list is at cityag.blogspot.com

Net Zero Plus
The NetZero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI), opened recently in Los Angeles, and is the largest net-zero plus commercial building retrofit in USA which "will function as a living laboratory, educational facility and demonstration center for advanced and emerging clean energy technologies."

http://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-el ectricity/
I've built a version of this for myself and it seems to work although mine is just a small test model

All terrain off the grid survival vehicle
http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/survival-van-conversion-off-grid-all-terrain-john-mcelhiney.ht ml

New home construction moving towards net zero
http://cleantechnica.com/2016/06/23/new-construction-homes-moving-towards-net-zero-california-leads- way

Retrofit home in Whatcom County, Washington produces twice the energy it now consumes (in an area with solar insolation of 3.5 - 3.0 kWh/square meter/day)
http://sustainableconnections.org/news/sc-press-releases/100-powered-by-sunshine-first-home-in-whatc om-county-to-receive-net-zero-energy-certification

Virginia Beach,VA 10,500-square-foot Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water, produces 83% more energy than it uses
http://inhabitat.com/incredible-net-zero-energy-brock-environmental-center-turns-rainwater-into-drin king-water/

Net Zero Energy Vermont - blog focusing on making Vermont the first zero energy state
Net zero energy feasibility study for Vermont buildings (and beyond)
Net zero downtown Montpelier design competition

Siemens new Munich headquarters, using 90% less electricity and 75% less water than the building it replaced

http://www.henninglarsen.com/news/archive/2016/06/one-of-europe's-most-sustainable-buildings-inaugur ated.aspx
http://inhabitat.com/renovated-siemens-headquarters-in-munich-now-consumes-90-less-energy-and-75-les s-water/

Los Angeles net zero solar powered  20 unit apartment building:  Hanover Olympic

Nanjing China zero net energy Green Light House
http://inhabitat.com/zero-carbon-nanjing-green-lighthouse-is-a-beacon-for-sustainable-design-in-chin a/

Net Zero community in Salt Lake City

Telus Gardens in Vancouver, LEED Platinum with indoor gardens
http://inhabitat.com/vancouvers-greenest-office-building-envisions-a-new-kind-of-office-space-with-t elus-garden/

LIAR Living Architecture
"This project will develop blocks able to extract resources from sunlight, waste water and air. The bricks are able to fit together and create `bioreactor walls' which could then be incorporated in housing, public buildings and office spaces."

Floating House - 100 sqm residential unit, 12 m in diameter and 4 m high, made entirely of recycled laminated timber on a recycled aluminium hull.

Solar Electric Power to the People

by gmoke Fri Jul 29th, 2016 at 03:20:13 AM EST

I like direct action, positive protest that has immediate, practical, social and economic use.

That's why I say, Solar IS Civil Defense - light, phone, battery can be supplied by a few square inches of solar electric panel.  The solar bike lights on my backpack over the last decade have proven the concept to my satisfaction (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/30/352476/-).

Light, phone, battery are also entry level electricity for the 1.4 billion or so of us around the world who don't yet have access to reliable electric power.  Emergency preparedness at home, entry level solar power to the people who've never had it is essentially the same thing.

Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is technically and practically feasible now.

It is rapidly becoming affordable too.  

I know of one company that is reaching the price point of $1 per unit production costs for solar rechargeable lights (http://www.thriveenergy.co.in) and believe that there are others that are doing the same or better.  That's $1.4 in production costs (or less, given economies of scale) to supply everyone among the presently powerless or $200 million if we start with one solar lighting system per family at a global average of 7 people per family.

How much more for delivery and setting up the infrastructure?  The Dominican Light Project (http://www.esencialessrl.com) is beginning to provide solar lights for every family in the Dominican Republic at a proposed cost of $5 each to the customer's door.  They raised some of their money through crowdfunding (https:/www.indiegogo.com/projects/dominican-light-project-by-esenciales-j-s-srl--2#)

Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is not only technically feasible but also affordable and practical now.

in 2015, the world's military forces spent $1,676.0 billion or $4.59 billion per day
Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

2016 USA Presidential election spending to July 22, 2016:
Amount raised by candidates:  $904 million
Amount raised by Super PACS supporting them:  $492
Source:  http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/

Just for reference.

Conceivably, there could be an ad hoc popular movement for crowd funding the end of electrical energy poverty within the next 3 to 5 years.  A day of what we spend on warfare or a US Presidential campaign could give everybody who needed a light, light.  

This is solar electric power to the people.

Now, add a bicycle or a hand-crank and you have two reliable sources of electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.  
See http://solarray.blogspot.com/2004/12/three-solar-projects.html

Read more... (8 comments, 462 words in story)

Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman

by gmoke Thu Jul 28th, 2016 at 03:22:51 AM EST

Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
NY:  The Library of America, 1990
ISBN 0-940450-65-8

Sherman went to West Point in 1836 and graduated in 1840, 4th in his class academically. He served in Florida, South Carolina, and California, and was at Sutter's Mill as the Gold Rush began. He resigned his commission in 1853 and became a banker in San Francisco and later a lawyer in St Louis before teaching engineering at the Louisiana Seminary of Learning and Military Academy in 1860, from which he resigned in January 1861 to accept a commission in the US Army in May. After his memoirs were first published, he included a long appendix in the second edition consisting of letters from interested parties correcting mistakes and offering different recollections of the events he covered. The first time he was in battle was the first Bull Run and he remembered
"...the whole scene of the affair at Blackburn's Ford, when for the first time in my life I saw cannonballs strike men and crash through the trees and saplings above and around us, and realized the always sickening confusion as one approaches a fight from the rear;  then the night-march from Centreville, on the Warrenton road, standing for hours wondering what was meant;  the deployment along the edge of the field that sloped down to Bull Run, and waiting for Hunter's approach on the other side from the direction of Sudley Springs, away off to our right;  the terrible scare of a poor negro who was caught between our lines;  the crossing of Bull Run, and the fear lest we shoudl be fired on by our own men;  the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, which occurred in plain sight;  and the first scenes of a field strewed with dead men and horses."
General Sherman knew that "Generally war is destruction and nothing else."

His letter to the mayor of Atlanta is remarkable and may be read at

Along with all my other notes from the book.

Comments >> (2 comments)

When Do We Practice Peace?

by gmoke Fri Jul 15th, 2016 at 09:54:31 PM EST

We have all these wars and conflicts happening now.  When do we practice peace?

As the great bluesman Willy Dixon, a conscientious objector in WWII, sings
It Don't Make Sense If You Can't Make Peace

List of Ongoing Conflicts Around the World as of July 3, 2016
67 countries at war
715 groups involved

A map of current world conflict with "impact on U.S Interests" from USA Council on Foreign Relations

(29 Countries and 209 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Central African Republic (often there are armed clashes between muslims and christians), Democrati Republic of Congo (war against rebel groups), Egypt (war against islamic militants of Islamic State branch), Libya (civil war), Mali (clashes between army and rebel groups), Mozambique (clashes with RENAMO rebels) Nigeria (war against islamist militants), Somalia (war against al-Shabaab islamist militants), Sudan (war against rebel groups in Darfur), South Sudan (clashes with rebel groups)

(16 Countries and 165 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Afghanistan (war against islamist militants), Burma-Myanmar (war against rebel groups), Pakistan (war against islamist militants), Philippines (war against islamist militants), Thailand (coup d'etat by army May 2014)

(10 Countries and 80 between militias-guerrillas, separatist groups and anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Chechnya (war against islamist militants), Dagestan (war against islamist militants), Ukraine (Secession of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic), Nagorno-Karabakh (clashes between Azerbaijan army against Armenian army and Nagorno-Karabakh army)

(7 Countries and 236 between militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Iraq (war against Islamic State islamist militants), Israel (war against islamist militants in Gaza Strip), Syria (civil war), Yemen (war against and between islamist militants)

(5 Countries and 25 between drug cartels, terrorist-separatist-anarchic groups involved)
Hot Spots: Colombia (war against rebel groups), Mexico (war against narcotraffic groups)

Comments >> (4 comments)

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be

by gmoke Wed Jun 15th, 2016 at 12:03:26 AM EST

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be by Simone Signoret
NY: Penguin Books, 1978
ISBN 0-14-00.5181-3

(31)  At about that time [1933-34], she noticed one day that a toothbrush she had just bought herself said "made in Japan."  We returned to the store and there faced the owner, who wore a Basque beret and was probably a Croix de Feu militant [French neo-fascist movement].  Very politely, my mother said, "I would like to exchange this toothbrush.  You see, it's made in Japan."  "So?"  "Well, you see, monsieur, the Japanese have just signed an agreement with the Germans and Italians so any Japanese merchandise, even a little toothbrush, becomes armaments for Japan, Italy, and Germany.  Fascist countries."  I wished the ground would open and swallow me up.  The man replied, "So you want a French toothbrush, is that it?"  "No, I'm not a chauvinist.  No, all I want is a toothbrush that is not German, Italian or Japanese.'  We went home with a toothbrush that was made in England.  My mother considered her day to have been well spent, and today I agree with her.  But at twelve or thirteen one gets terribly embarrassed.

(94)  So that was the end of that. It has taken a long time to tell it all, 1940-44.  It seemed like twenty years.

That was the end of it for us.  But it wasn't finished for those who were in the camps.  And it wasn't finished for the soldiers.  And it was just beginning for the collaborators.  And it had been finished a long time for those who had died.

Read more... (5 comments, 1020 words in story)

City Agriculture - May 23, 2016

by gmoke Mon May 23rd, 2016 at 11:54:44 PM EST

City Agriculture - May 23, 2016
Skyfarm - modular vertical grow structure

AccorHotels, which includes Sofitel, Novotel and Motel 6, plans 1000 hotel vegetable gardens by 2020
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/apr/13/accorhotels-to-grow-its-own-vegetables-in-push-to-cut- food-waste

Renderings versus reality for tree-covered skyscrapers

Tokyo green tower Toranomon project

Floating food forest for NYC

Urban cricket farm

Farm from a Box - shipping container kit for 2 acre farm
Freight Farms does an enclosed system shipping container food production system
Prairie Urban Farms "Farm on Wheels" shipping container both farm and class room
http://www.edmontonexaminer.com/2016/03/16/local-group-hopes-to-create-agricultural-and-educational- centre-in-a-shipping-container

Planton Movil - a walking forest that peacefully claims its place and respect in the city by linking art and social change. Since 2010 in Lima, Peru, people from different disciplines and backgrounds have come together to help create and maintain sustainable public green areas

Current Extent and Future Capacity of Urban Gardening
http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2016/03/11/current-extent-and-future-capacity-of-urban-ga rdening

Parisian vertical farm

Urban tree farms for six cities
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/state_news/vacant-lots-in-cities-to-become-tree-farms-agricul ture-plots/article_af911178-3abb-54f0-8e68-ecd9634f7cdd.html

Archives for City Agriculture at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Nicholas Stern on The New Climate Economy

by gmoke Sun May 15th, 2016 at 11:15:58 AM EST

On May 2, 2016, Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics spoke at Harvard:

The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change
Monday, May 2
4:15 pm
Harvard, CGIS-S020, Belfer Case Study Room, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge

The Energy History Project hosts Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics, who will discuss "The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change."

These are some of the numbers for the greenhouse gas context he laid out:

We are at 450 CO2 equivalent [CO2e] now [400 ppm CO2 and another 50ppm equivalent in warming potential in other greenhouse gases like methane]

The rate of increase is increasing.  It was
.5 ppm per year from 1930-1950
1 ppm per year from 1950-1970
2 ppm per year from 1970-1990
and is 2.5 ppm per year increase now.

We are at the edge of the temperature range in our present geologic era, the Holocene, with about 1º C of heat cooked into the atmosphere from our industrial greenhouse gas emissions already.  The 2015 Paris agreement is designed to keep the globe below 2º C, and 1.5 º if possible.  Paris anticipates and tries to avert a looming catastrophe.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (18 comments, 723 words in story)

Alinsky's Tactical: Rules for Radicals

by gmoke Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 10:57:32 PM EST

I read Saul Alinsky's  Rules for Radicals (published 1971) in the 1990s and wanted to remind myself of what my thought was then of what Alinsky wrote long before his name became a conservative slur.  

Alinsky was a successful organizer and a seasoned tactician.  Alinsky, however, was not a strategist.  The difference between strategy and tactics is often confused:  Tactics are the means used to gain an objective and strategy is the general campaign plan or goal.

Here are some of the tactically radical rules of Saul Alinsky that I noted then and now note again:

Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Never go outside the experience of your people.
Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Keep the pressure on.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.  
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  
Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The real action is in the enemy's reaction.
The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction is your major strength.
Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.

For a different take on community organizing, my notes on Grace Lee Bogg's The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century​ are at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-next-american-revolution.html

Comments >> (7 comments)

City Agriculture - April 2016

by gmoke Mon Apr 11th, 2016 at 06:39:36 PM EST

Stockholm's new City Districts Environmental and Planning Offices will be a greenhouse
http://media.wix.com/ugd/7d0599_10f53d9ef61a46ad842cbad7c40fd708.pdf - full proposal (in Swedish but the pictures tell a story)

Plug-in ecology urban farm pod

Nursery Fields Forever - farming for preschoolers

Hong Kong food growing arcology towers
http://www.dezeen.com/2016/03/07/weston-williamson-arcology-skyscraper-kissing-towers-hong-kong-vict oria-harbour

http://inhabitat.com/self-sustaining-arcology-tower-would-bring-urban-agriculture-to-the-heart-of-ho ng-kong/

OxyGen green roofed garden building for Paris business district

Floating Fields - a factory recycled into a multi-ecology growing system
http://www.archdaily.com/783314/floating-fields-wins-shenzhen-uabb-award-and-is-set-to-continue-thro ugh-2016

Infarm - modular vertical grow spaces for supermarkets and homes

Farm Follows Function - a comic book on transforming NYC's MetLife Building into a vertical farm
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nycs-iconic-metlife-building-becomes-a-vertical-farm-in-quirky-architecture -comic

Ikea indoor garden

Ecoqube desktop aquaponics device

Energaia - growing spirulina algae on a Bangkok rooftop

Augury of Two Towers

by gmoke Tue Mar 29th, 2016 at 01:40:59 PM EST

Found this while going through my archives and thought that it stood the test of time and, unfortunately, might be useful again after Paris and Brussels and Baghdad and Lahore, especially evil with its targeting of children and women, and on and on and on and....

Augury of Two Towers

Now I know what we must do.

We must be as united in our humanity
as we were when we watched
our brothers and sisters falling, dying, burning,
recognizing our own mortality and the Hell
at the heart of those who would do such a thing.

We must be as stern and courageous as the firemen were
in those first moments, running up the stairs
to get the people out before the towers fell.

We must be as gentle with each other
as we were in our first grief and unbelief,
strangers sharing sorrow and tears
until we were strangers no longer.

We must not forget
We must not forget
We must not forget that we are all together.

Now we are united in horror at the terror
a few have wreaked upon us.
They used their own deaths as the fuse
to our destruction.

We must be at least as smart as they were.
We must be at least as determined as they were.
We must never be what they were,
                                                   in love with
hate and death.

September 26, 2001

Energy Model of Boston

by gmoke Fri Feb 26th, 2016 at 01:35:08 PM EST

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O46GkHSYvYE

The Sustainable Design Lab at MIT has built a model which estimates the gas and electricity demand of every building in Boston for every hour of every day of the year, nearly 100,000 buildings in total.

Next the MIT team will be validating the model against actual energy consumption data.  "We'll do this using any building-level energy dataset that we can get our hands on, so the models become more and more accurate," Professor Christoph Reinhart explained. "Ultimately, our goal is for every city in the world to rely on a citywide energy model to meaningfully manage its future energy supply and carbon emissions."  As Boston has an energy reporting and disclosure ordinance, Prof Reinhart and his team should have a lot of data to work with.

More at http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-researchers-create-citywide-building-energy-model-boston-0222

The Boston city government will also be using the energy model in its energy planning process and MIT's Sustainable Design Lab is now working on energy models for Lisbon, Portugal and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Christoph Reinhart and his team had previously built a solar map which shows the solar electric potential of every roof in the city:  http://web.mit.edu/SustainableDesignLab/projects/CambridgeSolarMap/

Disclaimer:  I know Christoph and like him.  He is doing some great work.  

Comments >> (6 comments)

City Agriculture: February 7, 2016

by gmoke Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 12:58:21 PM EST

Cooling towers into green communities
http://www.archdaily.com/780109/this-conceptual-design-reinvents-power-plants-as-mixed-use-megastruc tures

Aker - snap together kits for urban ag
One of the POC [Proof of Concept] ideas from COP 21

Agritecture:  "Your source for vertical farming and urban agriculture news, business, and design."

Local Roots Farms - local produce anywhere

Bell Book and Candle - NYC farm to table restaurant, rated as one of the best in the country.  "SOME ITEMS WE PRODUCE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR FROM OUR AEROPONIC ROOFTOP GARDEN LISTED BELOW:  Sage, Chive, Chervil, Cilantro, Dill, Genovese Basil, Opal Basil, Italian and Flat Leaf Parsley, Spearmint, Rosemary, 4 varieties of Nasturtium, Cheddar Cauliflower, Purple Tomatillo, Tomatillo, Japanese and Kermit Eggplant, 2 varieties of Arugula, 4 varieties of Cherry Tomato, Great White Tomato, Bibb Lettuce, Red Oak Leaf, Red Romaine, Green Romaine, Lola Rosa, Frisee, Green Crisp, Poblano Pepper, and Fennel."

SPREAD, a Japanese company, will open the world's first robot-controlled farm in Fall 2017, producing 11 million heads of lettuce each year

Pilgrim's Market to grow its own produce in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
http://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/-pilgrims-market-to-grow-its-own-produce/#sthash.WKFT1S9a.d puf

Risk of lead poisoning from urban gardening is low, new study finds
http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/02/02/risk-of-lead-poisoning-from-urban-gardening-is-low-new-stu dy-finds/

Bright Agrotech - Zip Farms, Farm Walls, and more

Urban Agriculture? Only 1 Percent Of Seattle Residents Could Eat Locally Even With All Viable Space In Use
http://www.science20.com/news_articles/urban_agriculture_only_1_percent_of_seattle_residents_could_e at_locally_even_with_all_viable_space_in_use-163422

Year round growing in Alaska

Southeast Asia's largest green development with extensive green roofs and terraces
http://www.archdaily.com/781247/sasakis-forest-city-master-plan-in-iskandar-malaysia-stretches-acros s-4-islands

World Game Notes: MOOCs, Global Displays, and Existing Technological Opportunities

by gmoke Wed Jan 20th, 2016 at 03:46:09 PM EST

"Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."  R Buckminster Fuller

MOOC [Massive Open Online Course]: Power Agriculture: Sustainable Energy for Food
Feb 1st - March 27, 2016
"Details: Around one third of the energy used worldwide goes into the production and processing of food from field to table. Given the current energy system mix, the agrifood industry sector is however heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for production, transport, processing and distribution, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With a continuously growing world population the need for food and for energy to produce it is increasing. At the same time millions of farmers and processors in developing countries and emerging economies lack access to clean energy technologies for irrigation, drying, cooling, storage and other processes. Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) seeks to identify and support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries."

There is now technology to show this and other MOOCs' proceedings on, among other things, a dynamic spherical screen like the iGlobe (www.iglobeinc.com/...).  Currently, MIT's Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is hosting a two foot diameter iGlobe.

"If you have data or interactive models you'd like to see visualized on the sphere... learn how it can be done and to figure out better ways and how to present information using the iGlobe.  Or try to make a compelling environmental movie using the sphere, an auxiliary screen, and sound.  Or come if you'd just like to experiment with the way things look projected on a spherical surface."

There are open sessions with the IGlobe display every Thursday in January 2016 from 11am to 12pm at MIT, Building 54-1827, 21 Ames Street, Cambridge, the Green Building, the tallest building on campus.  Glenn Flierl, Professor of Oceanography, is the host.

NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] also has a program called Science on a Sphere http://sos.noaa.gov/ ...,

"a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages."

These ongoing activities approach R Buckminster Fuller's idea of a World Game:  

The goal of the World Game is to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone." It's usually played on a large map of the Earth and was designed by R Buckminster Fuller.

Today, we have the technology to play the World Game online in real time with interactive maps and satellite images updated frequently.  Imagine World of Peacecraft or the Final Fantasy of a sustainable, restorative economy and ecology for everybody, all 100% of the human population with a significant number of that 100% participating as co-designers, for the benefit of all who will allow the benefit of all.

Read more... (1377 words in story)

Zero Net Energy - January 2016 edition

by gmoke Sat Jan 9th, 2016 at 10:35:03 PM EST

Greenbuild Unity Home - prefab, affordable net-zero home can be built in less than three days to LEED v4 Platinum and net zero-energy standards and with the largest collection of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products ever used in a residential project.

zHome:  the first net zero energy townhome complex in the United States (built in 2011 in Issaquah, WA) with benchmarks of net zero energy use, a 70% reduction in water use, a 90% construction recycling rate and the use of only low- and non-toxic materials among other specifications

Net Zero Energy Buildings Technical Reports

DOE's A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/09/f26/bto_common_definition_zero_energy_buildings_093015.pd f

Presentations from Building Carbon Zero California 2015

Net zero 1910 school to lofts conversion in Amsterdam

Architecture at Zero 2015 winners

Zero Net Energy Roadmap for local governments (California)

Zero net energy building controls report

Market Data:  Zero Net Energy Homes (paid access only it seems)

Zero net energy laboratories

Seattle region near net zero community (including one HERS -1 rated, net positive house)
http://www.gizmag.com/dwell-development-new-rainier-vista/40916/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&u tm_campaign=bae36ce106-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-bae36ce106-919902 61

From energy efficiency lighting expert Fred Davis:
http://www.netpositiveconference.org/ - February 18-19, 2016 in San Diego, CA

Sidmore Owings and Merrill build a net zero energy school in Staten Island, NYC's first

City Agriculture: December 24, 2015 - Happy Merry New and Bah Humbug Edition

by gmoke Thu Dec 24th, 2015 at 12:02:32 PM EST

Homefarm - a conceptual proposal for the next generation of urban retirement housing. It presents a living and farming typology for Singapore (or elsewhere) that combines apartments and facilities for seniors with vertical urban farming

Urban Algae Folly designed by ecoLogicStudio is an interactive pavilion integrating living micro-algal cultures, a built example of architecture's bio-digital future. Microalgae, in this instance Spirulina, are exceptional photosynthetic machines; they contain nutrients that are fundamental to the human body, such as minerals and vegetable proteins; microalgae also oxygenate the air and can absorb CO2 from the urban atmosphere ten times more effectively than large trees.

Tinyfield Roofhop Farm grows organic hops for craft breweries in Brooklyn, NY

Gangster gardeners in South LA
http://www.ryot.org/trailer-documentary-follows-gangster-gardeners-as-they-beautify-one-of-americas- most-dangerous-neighborhoods/945185

Washington DC building mobile urban farms

From Mumbai:  Urban Farming & Gardening Goes Online With `Ugaoo.com'

Flat pack pop up urban garden

Detroit urban ag startup growing insects

Urban farming data collection toolkit, now in use in over 40 cities

Renting chickens and bees
http://www.timescolonist.com/business/urban-farm-popularity-spawns-rentals-of-chickens-bee-hives-1.2 113841

UrbanFarmers' 14,000 square-foot urban rooftop farm in The Hague will be the largest in Europe
http://www.greenhousegrower.com/structures-equipment/europes-largest-rooftop-farm-underway-scheduled -to-open-in-january

American Society of Landscape Architects on The Edible City

Comments >> (5 comments)

Demonstrate Solar IS Civil Defense at the Boston Climate Defense Carnival

by gmoke Mon Nov 30th, 2015 at 12:25:34 AM EST

Update: This event has been cancelled as of November 30, 2015. 350 Maine, 350 Vermont, 350 Massachusetts, 350 New Hampshire & 350 Connecticut are organizing a Boston Climate Defense Carnival on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 3:30pm - 5:30pm at Fanieul Hall, 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA.

I'd like the Boston Climate Defense Carnival to demonstrate that
Solar IS Civil Defense
that by using simple Solar Principles
you can discover that
A South-facing Window Is Already a Solar Collector
and see at least six basic solar devices in a single plastic bottle

Zero Net Energy

by gmoke Wed Oct 21st, 2015 at 11:27:58 PM EST

Zero net energy is a growing body of practice in which buildings produce all the energy they consume.  It is the application of high efficiency construction in combination with renewable energy, usually solar or geothermal.  Sometimes it is also called net zero energy building.

I began to collect links to various zero net energy building projects around the world back in 2013 soon after, in the story I heard, Cambridge City Councillor Minka Van Beuzekom  proposed it as a building standard for a large development MIT is planning in East Cambridge.  That idea didn't fly (the development is part of an ecodistrict instead, as I understand it) but did lead to a task force which has prepared a path to zero net energy standards in the city.

The EU has adopted the building energy target of nearly zero and all new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018 with all new buildings, public or private, constructed to nearly zero-energy standards by the end of 2020.

CA has a 2020 zero net energy goal "focused on new residential construction, including single-family and low-rise multifamily (3 stories or less) buildings, as well as low and moderate income housing within these categories."

The knowledge and materials to build buildings that are comfortable without outside energy inputs through advances in energy efficiency and energy production on site have made zero net energy buildings practical and affordable.  They will only become more so as time goes on, examples accumulate, and experience grows.

Since we build about a million new residential units a year, nearly 1% of the units available, these changes in the way we shelter ourselves will have increasingly significant effects on our energy usage in the years and decades after 2020 in, at least, Cambridge, CA, and the EU.

Read more... (1 comment, 1731 words in story)
Next 20 >>

News and Views

 17 - 23 October 2016

by Bjinse - Oct 18, 30 comments

Your take on today's news media

 10 - 16 October 2016

by Bjinse - Oct 11, 73 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Open Thread 17-23 October

by Bjinse - Oct 18, 5 comments

Keep your friends close, but your threads closer

 Open Thread 10-16 October

by Bjinse - Oct 18,

Keep your friends close, but your threads closer

Occasional Series
Click for full list