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A Few Events in the Global Climate Conversation

by gmoke Mon Jun 29th, 2020 at 08:35:19 PM EST

I've been publishing a free weekly listing of Energy (and Other) Events around Cambridge, MA for more than a decade as a listserv and a webpage (http://hubevents.blogspot.com).  It covers public events in the community and in the local universities.  I generally look at Harvard, MIT, BU, Northeastern, and Tufts, all of which have events to which the public is invited although they rarely know it.

Since, in these days of quarantine, everything has migrated online, I've been finding online events from far beyond the Boston/Cambridge area.  Over the next weeks, you can attend a discussion of a new book on the future of energy in Africa, hear from the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Dr. Fatih Birol, economists Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern together, climate scientist Dr Michael Mann, and energy expert Mark Z Jacobson.  The events from London Climate Action Week (https://www.londonclimateactionweek.org/events) on July 1 - 3 alone could provide a wealth of information.

How much of this online and thus global networking will continue and change the nature of international conversations after the quarantine ceases?  We'll find out.  Right now, I'm just collecting and distributing as much of these international possibilities as this one person can.  I thought, when I began my weekly listings service, that it would evolve into a public listing of all the public events at all the local colleges and universities, which in the Boston area is significant.  

Unfortunately, I've not found anyone interested in that possibility.  Now I think about a global online event listing for climate and energy and environmental issues.  Judging from the past, I doubt anyone else is interested in that possibility either but I'll put it out there anyway and continue to do what I do anyway.

Stay safe, be well.

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The Most Important Jigsaw Puzzle

by gmoke Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 03:39:28 AM EST

The most important jigsaw puzzle right now is how the CoV-2 spike, a 3 part structure, attaches to the human ACE2 protein through which it enters the cells of our bodies.  That is the microscopic gap in our defenses.

When we understand that, we can figure out how to stop this pandemic.  Right at the source.

Here are some explanations of the infection process:

A more detailed animation of the spike/receptor interaction

FoldIt (https:/fold.it), the citizen science crowdsourcing protein folding site which has been around for over a decade, is currently hosting a series of CoV-2 protein folding puzzles.  

Here's their latest report

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City Agriculture - May 30, 2020

by gmoke Sat May 30th, 2020 at 06:13:34 PM EST

"Tree-like" vertical farms for Brooklyn?
www.core77.com/posts/94000/Could-These-Tree-Like-Vertical-Farms-Be-the-Future-of-Urban-Farmi ng

Underground parking lot to organic mushroom farm in Paris (the ONLY organic farm in the city - so far)
medium.com/fab-city-grand-paris/our-maker-farmers-visit-the-mushroom-urban-farm-in-paris-c65 3e87c026e

How urban trees and hedges help cut air pollution
https:/www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/18/plantwatch-how-urban-trees-and-hedges-help-cut-air-p ollution

Can local food feed an urban world?

Green Concept House - a zero-waste, 100% self-sustaining home, including growing food

Safezone Shelter - air pollution protection using plants in a shelter in Bangkok
https:/inhabitat.com/futuristic-safezone-shelter-battles-air-pollution-in-thailand-with-a-green-oas is

Vertical Oasis - concept for a green solar-powered skyscraper

12 "agrihoods"
https:/charterforcompassion.org/shareable-community-ideas/12-agrihoods-taking-farm-to-table-living- mainstream

Link City - proposed self-sustainable city-forest, using an urban operating system with an AI (Artificial Intelligence)

City farms underground
https:/www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/the-massive-farms-emerging-beneath-our-cities.htm l

Green wall made from clay tiles also provides natural cooling

Which trees reduce air pollution best

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COVID19 and Energy: What McKinsey Thinks

by gmoke Tue May 5th, 2020 at 02:39:01 AM EST

 On Tuesday, April 28, I attended an online seminar on (USA) Energy and COVID19 organized by the Harvard Undergraduate Clean Energy Group (https:/www.huceg.org) with Scott S. Nyquist and Luciano Di Fiori both of the consulting firm McKinsey and Company.  I've heard Scott Nyquist speak on energy a few times over the years, usually at MIT, and have found him to be informative even though our perspectives are very different.

The COVID19 scenaria McKinsey is examining now include
Virus contained --  based upon China's 6-8 week shutdown  
Vaccine --  12 - 18 months away plus the time it takes to innoculate the world population (at least another 12 - 18 months), similar to the expectation author Laurie Garrett reported to Frank Bruni in the NYTimes over the last few days
Waves -- there will almost certainly be a second wave of COVID19 and possibly multiple waves until we have a vaccine.

In terms of energy, liquid fuels demand will take 2 -- 4 years to recover;  gasoline use is estimated to decrease 60% under lockdown;  natural gas is down 5-10%.  There will be excess supply and dropping prices which means that fracking will become even less economic (a conclusion I draw which Nyquist and Di Fiori did not offer).  Global oil products demand will be down 6.7 -13.0 million barrels per day pushing refinery levels and margins to historically low levels and LNG [liquid natural gas] may take 5-7 years to come back to stable prices, lower with occasional flare ups of higher prices as things equalize.  McKinsey expects no long-term consequences to demand, but is monitoring for changes.   I don't agree with McKinsey about no long-term changes in demand.  

Electric power demand is down 3-5% and peak load down by 18-24%.  Electricity peak times and amounts have changed due to more people staying at home, primarily from increased air conditioning.

The airline business is down to 20% of its former business and will take a long time to come back.  Cruise lines are in an even worse position with worse projections for the future.

GDP growth is going to be negative for about 2 years and then come back but to 2019 levels, at best.  

There may be a very cautious consumer culture, as after the Depression, coming out of the pandemic.  The frugality imposed by the Great Depression affected all the generations that lived through it for decades afterwards.

Economic growth may be much slower after this.  Companies will be less likely to hold debt and become very cash conscious.  

Nyquist believes that governments will be much better prepared for the next pandemic but "we have to pay for this" and  government debt will be much higher.  I do not have as much confidence as Nyquist does in the future preparations of any government in the USA but will be happy to be proved wrong.

Comments >> (18 comments)

COVID19: Iceland

by gmoke Wed Apr 8th, 2020 at 03:42:38 AM EST

Iceland has been testing its population for COVID19 probably more than any other country:

"The latest [April 6, 2020] figures on covid.is (https:/www.covid.is) show that a total of 1,486 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Iceland, while 428 people have recovered [5 deaths, 38 patients in hospital]. A total of 25,394 samples have been analyzed [6.97% in a population of 364,134]."
Source:  https:

deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen, is doing the testing of those in the general population who volunteer while the Icelandic health system is testing those who present symptoms.

In the general population, deCODE has found about 0.9% tested positive for COVID19.  They have also sequenced every single positive case of the virus in Iceland. "What is interesting is that there is a string of mutations that is fairly specific for Austria, another for Italy, a third for England, a fourth for the west coast of the United States. Because we are sequencing the virus from everyone who tests positive in Iceland, we can basically determine the geographic origin of the virus in everyone who gets infected. And that is of help when it comes to tracking the infection, when you want to figure out how it moves through society, because you can determine whether people have gotten infected from the same individual by just sequencing the virus, and in that way place it in the context of how the mutation moves," said deCODE CEO Dr. Kári Stefánsson (https:/www.icelandreview.com/sci-tech/icelands-coronavirus-testing-global-pandemic-response).

Stefánsson continued, "If you think about it, this epidemic is probably the biggest threat mankind has faced in a very long time. You have a virus that is spreading very rapidly all over the world, and because it has spread so widely, there is an enormous accumulation of mutations, in spite of having a lower mutation rate than many other viruses. And these mutations can potentially end up creating a virus that is even more lethal than the one we have now. So it is incredibly important to contain the epidemic as soon as possible to diminish the probability that this will happen."

"There is also another thing: every year there is a new flu vaccine developed because the influenza virus is mutating and is getting around the immunity of the year before. The same thing could happen with this virus. There are so many ways in which this story could end, and it's very important for us as a species to try to have an influence on the way in which it ends. So I think we should do everything in our power to contain it, to understand it, and try to prevent it from coming again,"

More than two-thirds of the adult population of Iceland was already participating in the deCODE's research efforts as of 2019 so the company will be able to screen people's reaction to COVID19 coronavirus based upon their genetics.  "Those data could prove crucial to the very survival of our species, says Kári."

That's testing.  Iceland is also working hard on contact tracing, to identify the transmission chain from person to person.  They have just released a new app, Rakning C-19, and as of midnight Saturday, April 4, 2020, 108,000 people had already downloaded it.

Iceland, I suspect, will be very important in the coming months.

Comments >> (3 comments)

COVID19: Food and Agriculture Resources

by gmoke Mon Apr 6th, 2020 at 02:31:40 AM EST


Northeast Regional Agriculture and COVID19
Wednesday, April 8
1:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
RSVP at https:/zoom.us/meeting/register/uJ0tcuihrT8ouZJuXnaDemygSBJUTBFyFQ

Maine Farmland Trust and NESAWG will be hosting a zoom conversation next Wednesday, April 8th, at 1 PM to discuss state-level best practices from around the northeast region and to share strategies for policy responses to COVID-19.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Indicate in the 'questions and comments' field if you have a particular area of state policy you'd like to dive into for this conversation. We will be breaking out into topical breakout groups during the call.

Northeast COVID&Ag State Policy resources



COVID-19 Municipal food access policies

...the Healthy Food Policy Project's COVID-19 municipal food access policy index (https:healthyfoodpolicyproject.org/resources/index-of-local-government-policies-for-to-support-foo d-access-during-the-covid-19-pandemic)... provides examples of policy solutions that keep communities fed and nourished during the pandemic. I hope you find it useful, and encourage you to share it widely.

We will continue to build out the index over the next few weeks. If you have examples of other municipal emergency food access policies (ordinances, resolutions, codified laws, and administrative policies passed by city and county governments) that the Healthy Food Policy Project team should consider including, please submit them through the "suggest a policy" button on the page linked above.

The Healthy Food Policy Project (https:/healthyfoodpolicyproject.org) is a collaborative effort by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. The Project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Molly McDonough (mollyhmcd@gmail.com)
Environmental Communications Specialist
Center for Agriculture and Food Systems
Vermont Law School, 164 Chelsea Street, South Royalton, VT
T: 802-831-1304 | Office: Debevoise 209


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Open Sourcing Solutions to COVID19: Mutual Aid, Citizen Scientists, Makers, Gardeners, Artists.....

by gmoke Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 12:32:30 AM EST

"You could say that civil society is what unimpaired mutual aid creates;  or that civil society is the condition and mutual aid the activity that produces it." - Rebecca Solnit, from A Paradise Built in Hell
[my notes at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/07/notes-on-rebecca-solnits-paradise-built.html


Mutual Aid Networks

Mutual Aid & Social Capital: The Power of Communities, Networks from Howard Rheingold, based upon the syllabus of a course he used to teach at Stanford on social media and including recent links to mutual aid networks forming to deal with Covid19 (which he will update)

More national links

Intellihelp group from Facebook - only ask and give posts

Autonomous Groups Mobilizing Mutual Aid Initiatives
https:/itsgoingdown.org/autonomous-groups-are-mobilizing-mutual-aid-initiatives-to-combat-the-coron avirus

docs.google.com/document/d/1j8ADhLEuKNDZ1a_opmzudywJPKMXcNKu01V1xY2MiIA/edit - how to neighborhood pod
docs.google.com/document/d/1-QfMn1DE6ymhKZMpXN1LQvD6Sy_HSnnCK6gTO7ZLFrE/mobilebasic - pod mapping for mutual aid

While at Home - Stay up to date on tools, resources, and supports made necessary during this time. #WhileAtHome is a clearinghouse for credible information and action steps.  Bobak Emamian, DeRay Mckesson, William Donahoe, Chris Meyers, Nicky Chulo, Pawel Piekarski, Frank Chi, Nicholas Fulstra & Maestra.


"Foldit is a revolutionary crowdsourcing computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research" through playing through the possibilities of protein folding.  

Here are some of the current Coronavirus puzzles interested citizens can help scientists solve:

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Report from Taiwan: Friends Return to the USA to Compare & Contrast

by gmoke Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 06:13:46 PM EST

My friends and former co-workers, Marc and Sally, love to travel the world and this year spent some of February and March in Taiwan.

This is their account of the response of Taiwan to COVID19, the letter they sent to friends after they arrived back home on March 19, 2020:

As the Deads so eloquently sang, "What a long, strange trip it's been!"

Frontpaged with minor edit - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (10 comments, 1341 words in story)

Hacking COVID19: Open Source Global Brainstorms and Mutual Aid

by gmoke Fri Mar 27th, 2020 at 02:41:32 AM EST

MIT COVID19 Challenge - Beat the Pandemic
Friday, April 3 at 6:00pm - Sunday, April 5
RSVP at https:/covid19challenge.mit.edu
We invite you to attend the MIT COVID-19 Challenge event, Beat the Pandemic, a series of virtual hackathons. The next event is April 3-5, 2020. In this 48-hour virtual event, we will help tackle the most critical unmet needs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Participants will form teams on Friday, April 3rd to hone down on the problems, generate solutions, including proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution. On Sunday, April 5th, teams will reconvene to present their work. After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.

For more information and to apply as a participant, please check out our website:  https:covid19challenge.mit.edu

The MIT COVID-19 Challenge is proud to be supported by organizations including the MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, MIT Hacking Medicine, MIT Innovation Initiative, MIT Sloan Healthcare Club, Digital Medicine Society, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Netherlands Innovation Network, MassBio, and many more.
We hope to see you (virtually) at the event!


Conserving Supply of Personal Protective Equipment--A Call for Ideas

The editors of JAMA recognize the challenges, concerns, and frustration about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is affecting the care of patients and safety of health care workers in the US and around the world. We seek creative immediate solutions for how to maximize the use of PPE, to conserve the supply of PPE, and to identify new sources of PPE. We are interested in suggestions, recommendations, and potential actions from individuals who have relevant experience, especially from physicians, other health care professionals, and administrators in hospitals and other clinical settings. JAMA is inviting immediate suggestions, which can be added as online comments to this article.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD (howard.bauchner@jamanetwork.org).


I read through the more than 50 entries to the JAMA Call for Ideas on Saturday, March 21.  As I write now on Thursday, March 26, there are over 250.  You can read what I found at Crowd Sourcing Solutions to COVID19 (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/22/1930022-Crowd-Sourcing-Solutions-to-COVID19)


Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies

Mask Force:  DIY mask production  


There are many, many DIY mask and PPE initiatives now with many, many different designs.  Probably one or more in your area and, if not, start one yourself.


Mutual Aid Networks are springing up all over the place (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/15/1927820-Mutual-Aid-Networks)
Mutual Aid & Social Capital: The Power of Communities, Networks from Howard Rheingold, based upon the syllabus of a course he used to teach at Stanford on social media and including recent links to mutual aid networks forming to deal with Covid19 (which he will update)
Mutual Aid Networks article from NYTimes

Spreadsheet of mutual aid networks

Mutual Aid Initiatives to Combat the Coronavirus
itsgoingdown.org/autonomous-groups-are-mobilizing-mutual-aid-initiatives-to-combat-the-coron avirus
Intellihelp Facebook group - only ask and give posts


"You could say that civil society is what unimpaired mutual aid creates;  or that civil society is the condition and mutual aid the activity that produces it." - Rebecca Solnit, from A Paradise Built in Hell (http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/07/notes-on-rebecca-solnits-paradise-built.html)

The sooner we organize to help each other the better off we all will be.

Once we start exercising our freedom to build mutual aid networks that support and empower each of us individually and collectively we will have reclaimed some of our own liberty and power (swaraj - self-rule).  Mutual aid networks are part of what Gandhi called swadeshi, local production, the heart of satyagraha, nonviolence, and a lifelong daily practice of community (sarvodaya) (http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/04/sarvodaya-swaraj-and-swadeshi.html), all who are for the benefit of all, as the ethicist Milt Raymond, author of Social Reason (https://www.amazon.com/Social-Reason-Milton-Raymond/dp/0557086043) would say.

"Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."  R Buckminster Fuller

Crowd Sourcing Solutions to COVID19

by gmoke Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 07:04:17 PM EST


The editors of JAMA recognize the challenges, concerns, and frustration about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is affecting the care of patients and safety of health care workers in the US and around the world. We seek creative immediate solutions for how to maximize the use of PPE, to conserve the supply of PPE, and to identify new sources of PPE. We are interested in suggestions, recommendations, and potential actions from individuals who have relevant experience, especially from physicians, other health care professionals, and administrators in hospitals and other clinical settings. JAMA is inviting immediate suggestions, which can be added as online comments to this article.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD (howard.bauchner@jamanetwork.org).

I read through the more than 50 submissions at the JAMA site on March 20, 2020 and will attempt to summarize them along with some other resources I've come across:
A Belgium nonprofit worked with their government to design a DIY face mask:
Korean DIY mask  

An emergency mask from a T shirt:

Home-Made Face Masks
https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/17/1928552-Home-Made-Face-Masks [three different versions of improvised face masks, including directions for 1918 Spanish flu design]
Use mask covers (surgical mask sleeves)
How to Make n95 Mask Covers
Mask Sewing Crowd Source on FB: https:/www.facebook.com/groups/1596375590537476

The Million Mask Challenge

Swedish/St. Joseph's Providence is making homemade PPE [face shields]
https:/komonews.com/news/coronavirus/volunteers-making-homemade-equipment-to-combat-shortages-cause d-by-covid-19

3-d printed face shield

DIY substitute for N95 respirators, "create your own reusable respirator using only a face mask, an in-line ventilator filter, and two elastic straps. All for less than 3 dollars!  Find instructions, details, and video at
www.childrenshospital.org/research/departments-divisions-programs/departments/surgery/surgic al-innovation-fellowship"

We need quantities of Personal Protection Equipment [PPE] within the next week or two until the factories ramp up,  Could a significant proportion of that need be supplied by a crowd-sourced production method?  Can people in quarantine do whatever they can do from home in order to help the effort to "bend the curve" (make sure fewer people die) now and in the near future? Can they be paid in $$$, kind, or services to tide things over?  (It would also be helpful to have utility and rent payment moratoriums as in France and, I've read, El Salvador. That would alleviate some worry, I suspect.)  

It seems some form of short-term "universal basic income" [UBI] is going into legislation but what if it were combined with a possibility of universal service as well in this particular?  What if we were thinking of this the way Churchill thought about Dunkirk and called out everyone who can help to help?  What if we mobilized our own "little ship navy" to get all hands on deck to deal with this crisis?

Here are some more ideas from JAMA:

There is a 1975 study indicating that the material used in masks matters less than the fit.  See Br J Surg. 1975 Dec;62(12):936-40. The efficiency of surgical masks of varying design and composition. Quesnel LB.
(And other studies suggest that any mask is better than none, down to a bandana across the nose and mouth.)

"On any surface, the virus dies off over time anyhow, so merely storing used masks for a week might adequately decontaminate them."  I suspect exposing them to sunlight's UV radiation would be good too.

Sanitization for re-use:
Data from WHO suggests heat at 56°C kills the SARS coronavirus at around 10000 units per 15 min (quick reduction)
disinfect with alcohol and then dry at 60ºC of higher
gamma or e-beam radiation decontamination
SARS-coronavirus can be effectively eliminated at 56-65 deg C for 30-90 minutes.  Heat PPE at 65 deg C in an oven for 90 minutes before reusing  
(According to the CDC, flu viruses are killed by heat above 167º F
ultraviolet decontamination for reuse although this needs testing as UV may degrade mask quality
ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization for n95 and all PPE

Reusable gowns for patients in contact isolation have already been deployed at large medical centers (https:practicegreenhealth.org/tools-and-resources/ronald-reagan-ucla-medical-center-reusable-isola tion-gowns), with the primary motivation being an overall reduction in waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of one time use gowns.  [Margin note:  there's going to be a lot of waste with all these one use items.  Already there are reports of littering with used face masks in areas where many are used.]

categorize patients and have batch examinations so caregiver can use one set of PPE
schedule batch medication administration times so nurses can use just one set of PPE instead of multiples for patient care
wash gloves while still wearing them with alcohol hand sanitizer
use of telemedicine services such as https:
World's smallest cheapest ventilator
www.electronicsforu.com/india-corner/innovations-innovators/world-cheapest-smallest-ventilat or-made-india
Mass-bio list of materials & supplies currently needed in MA
www.massbio.org/news/blog/calling-on-all-life-sciences-and-healthcare-organizations-to-donat e-supplies-to-fight-covid-19-151858

Novel Coronavirus Fighting Products

So that is JAMA's crowd sourcing ideas (and crowd sourcing home production) for dealing with this health emergency with some addition I found along the way.  It looks like a good start.

Oh, and washing your face as well as your hands is a good idea.

Here is another example of crowd sourcing:
"There is a call for scientist volunteers by Dr. Michael Wells at the Broad [Institute]. pls see this Google form below and sign up if you are interested and are able to.
Broad Institute is part of the testing effort in MA as well as a leading biomedical research institution based in Kendall Square, near MIT.

I'm sure there is an overwhelming amount of research work that needs to be done in order to find possible treatments and possibly a vaccine for Covid19.  Again, if people who can help with this work can apply their enforced leisure to these efforts, would we be able to use that help?

For instance, could students be brought up to useful speed through such events as this study group?

Learning Circle: COVID-19, Tackling the Novel Coronavirus (Week 1)
Tuesday, March 31
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Every week on Tuesday until April 14, 2020
Online Meeting

THIS MEETING WILL HAPPEN ONLINE AT https:meet.jit.si/covid19-learning-circle

Learning circles are free, facilitated study groups for learners who want to take online courses. More information about learning circles can be found on the P2PU website: https:www.p2pu.org/en.

Starting on March 31st and for 3 weeks, BosLab will host a learning circle to help participants study the FutureLearn course "COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus" from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (https:/www.futurelearn.com/courses/covid19-novel-coronavirus).

More of this will and should be happening.  A lot of people stuck at home have plenty of time to study this virus and crowd-source solutions to our current health crisis.
If as many of us as possible spend the next two weeks or so of quarantine or shelter in place or social distancing devoting as much time as we normally devote to our favorite sports team(s) or the Presidential campaign, could we maybe crowd source the sh!t out of this m*therf^cker?  Already?

Comments >> (3 comments)

Mutual Aid Networks

by gmoke Mon Mar 16th, 2020 at 02:51:03 AM EST

Mutual aid networks are being formed in the neighborhoods in Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, and other communities.

My Nextdoor account (https:/nextdoor.com) is filling up with people offering help to others as MA goes into shut down.  Pause.....  and reset.

My notes on Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell:  The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, which shows how people often respond to emergency and disaster through mutual aid and community support but that "elite panic" is a term of art in disaster studies, are available at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/07/notes-on-rebecca-solnits-paradise-built.html

Cambridge Mutual Aid Network
Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS) network
Food for Free (for Cambridge and Somerville) volunteers

from State Rep Denise Provost
"Help Feed Others: These three Somerville organizations need volunteers to help distribute food during this emergency. All three food service organizations are practicing COVID-19 safety, which requires more volunteers than usual:
Contact: Lisa Brukilacchio at lbrukilacchio@challiance.org 
Food For Free ( https:
foodforfree.org ) is mobilizing a volunteer team via the google form below. They will be in touch with interested folks regarding opportunities as they arise:
Project Soup ( https:
www.somervillehomelesscoalition.org/food-security ) is looking for volunteers to help at its community food center, and its food bank. It could also use assistance with toiletry drives, including diapers. Please contact: Ben at bwyner@shcinc.org or djacobs@shcinc.org or phone 617-776-7687."

These mutual aid networks are probably happening around your neighborhood too.  

Comments >> (17 comments)

What I Read in the Green New Deal for Public Housing Bill

by gmoke Sun Dec 22nd, 2019 at 11:15:55 PM EST

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act  (these comments come from the draft https:/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/files/OCASNY_053_xml.pdf but the actual bill has now been filed at https:/www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5185/text) (thanks to DocGonzo for the clarification) is the first binding legislation drafted.  It will reconstruct "the entire public housing stock of the United States, as swiftly and seamlessly as possible," into zero-carbon homes, "a highly energy-efficient home that produces on-site, or procures, enough carbon-free renewable energy to meet the total annual energy consumption of the home" within a decade.

Public housing stock will be eligible for deep energy retrofits, including

energy-efficient windows;

super insulation of roofs and exterior walls, including the addition of new cladding to buildings and the rerouting of plumbing and electricity;

electrification of water heating and building heating systems using electric heat pumps;

and electric heat pumps to provide air conditioning, where feasible;

materials and technology to increase airtightness of the building envelope, including air sealant paints; the acquisition and installation of heat-recovery ventilation systems;

and energy monitoring devices including smart meters and smart thermostats.  

There will be grants "to build and expand community energy generation in public housing, including

the construction of and ongoing costs associated with renewable energy rooftops;

renewable energy generation;

photovoltaic glass windows;

the bulk purchase of clean energy supply from energy utilities;

and community-scale energy storage."

What the bill is calling a zero carbon home is also known as zero net energy housing or, more commonly, net zero energy buildings, structures which produce as much energy as they consume and such buildings have been built in just about every Earthly climate, from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole;  at single family and skyscraper scales;  at low, moderate, and luxury prices.  I've been collecting examples of Zero Net Energy buildings and technologies for years at http://solarray.blogspot.com if you want to see what is operating now, is being built, and some of the design visions for the future.  CA is already transitioning to a net zero energy building standard for all low-rise residential buildings now (2020) and the EU is moving to a "near net zero" standard now too.  Both will have a net or near net zero building standard for all buildings, including rehab, by 2030.

There are positive net energy buildings as well (see http://solarray.blogspot.com).

In 1979 Jimmy Carter's energy plan called for insulating 90% of American homes and all new buildings and use solar energy in more than 2.5 million homes by 1985. There were 1.3 million solar installations in the USA in 2017 by one count and may be 1.9 million in 2019 by another.  The DOE is predicting there will be 3.8 million solar homes by 2020.

Carter also wanted "20% of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000."  Renewables, wind, solar and hydro, are at just about that level now, 20 years behind his schedule.

Carter was thinking in terms of his next four years in office. Extinction Rebellion is demanding that "Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."  The Green New Deal has a 10 year timeframe.

Jimmy Carter in 1979 was more ambitious than we are now.

Read more... (25 comments, 1719 words in story)

Impeachment Was Inevitable No Matter Who Won in 2016

by gmoke Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 07:50:14 PM EST

The first time I realized that the Republicans were going to impeach Bill Clinton was about 46 minutes into his first address to a Joint Session of Congress, also referred to as the 1993 State of the Union, on February 17, 1993.  When the Republicans in the audience laughed at him for saying that the Congressional Budget Office had reported that his proposed budget would provide a "real spending cut, a real revenue increase, a real deficit reduction" according to the CBO numbers, I was shocked.  It was the first time I'd ever heard the President laughed at in Congress and it shook me.
Video:  https:/youtu.be/840MahAgJh0
Text:  https:

Consequently, I was not surprised when Clinton was impeached in his second term.  (And what an overweening fool Bill Clinton was to give them that opportunity.)

These examples are part of the reason why I believe that a significant proportion of  today's Republican Party does not, by and large, consider Democratic legislators to be legitimately elected or that Democratic voters actually have a right to vote.  Only Republicans are full citizens.  At least, that's how they tend to act and what those actions indicate they believe.  Only Republicans should vote.  Only Republicans should hold office.  Only Republicans are "real Americans" as opposed to those "cultured, cosmopolitan, goat's milk latte-drinking, avocado toast-eating insider's elite" that Phi Beta Kappa key owning, Oxford University educated, Order of the Coif inductee, $12 million or so millionaire Senator John Neely Kennedy recently decried.

Given that background, it appears to me that if Hillary Clinton had won the Electoral College as she won the popular vote and was sworn in as President, she would have faced impeachment just as her husband did.  But don't take my word for it.  Here are some of the statements prominent Republicans made before the 2016 election that make it explicit

from https:www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/republicans-are-already-talking-about-impeaching-clinton
"'There's been nothing like this where you can have potential criminal charges,' New York Rep. Peter King said in a radio interview Tuesday. 'You really could have a constitutional crisis here,' he added, echoing a similar charge by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

"Other Republicans are already using the `I' word.  'Assuming she wins, and the investigation goes forward, and it looks like an indictment is pending, at that point in time, under the Constitution, the House of Representatives would engage in an impeachment trial,' Texas Rep. Michael McCaul said on Fox News.  'They would go to the Senate and impeachment proceedings and removal would take place.'  Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson declared that Clinton could be impeached for 'high crimes or misdemeanor.'

...."'Even before we get to Day One, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up,' Utah Rep Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said last week.  'She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good.'"

President Obama also saw the writing on the wall.
from https:
www.politico.com/story/2016/11/obama-republicans-impeachment-burr-23065011/02/2016 05:07 PM EDT
"President Barack Obama accused Republicans of fostering a 'new normal' within their party in a blistering speech on Wednesday, blaming North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and his colleagues for gridlock in Washington and for even suggesting that they might try to impeach Hillary Clinton.

"'You've got some Republicans in Congress who are already suggesting they will impeach Hillary,' Obama added, his voice rising.  'She hasn't even been elected yet. And it doesn't matter what evidence they just -- they'll find something. That's what they're saying already.'"

Why Democrats don't play back these quotes to the Republicans who say, over and over again, that the Democrats have been trying to impeach Trmp since the 2016 election is beyond me.  Yes, the Democrats have wanted to impeach Trmp since the moment it became clear he would be President but the Republicans were already planning to impeach Hillary Clinton, and said so, before the vote was counted.  Gander meet goose.

Impeachment was inevitable no matter who won in 2016 and I fear impeachment will always be inevitable as long as we have a Party of True Belief (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2005/10/21/158586-), which the Republican Party has become, as one of the only two viable national parties these United (?) States allow ourselves.

City Agriculture - November 7, 2019

by gmoke Fri Nov 8th, 2019 at 03:28:25 AM EST

Net Zero plant-filled Singapore pavilion for Dubai's 2020 World Expo

Forest planted in an Austrian stadium as an art piece:  For Forest - the Unending Attraction of Nature

Curator getting death threats from far right because of it

Self-charging solar electric vehicle with air purifying moss interior
inhabitat.com/sono-motors-self-charging-solar-electric-car-will-feature-an-air-purifying-mos s-interior

UK's WWII Dig for Victory campaign, by 1943, most households had their own garden plot, with businesses and public parks also giving land to food growing
Editorial Comment:  The USA Victory Garden campaign produced up to 40% of the fruits and vegetables consumed on the Home Front by the end of just three growing seasons.

Brisbane, Australia growing the largest urban farm network in the world
www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-29/growing-a-vision-of-australias-largest-urban-farm-network/115 53622

Living Pavilion in Annecy, France

ReGen Village - a real estate developer planning to build food and energy self-reliant communities

Editorial Comment:  Davis, CA Village Homes completed in 1982 is an earlier example of a similar idea

Mobile Food Lab in a refurbished bus
www.core77.com/posts/90221/Mobile-Food-Lab-Is-a-Refurbished-Bus-Designed-to-Educate-Students -on-Healthy-and-Sustainable-Eating-Habits

Cities and Circular Economy for Food

Algae wall for water purification
www.indiatimes.com/technology/news/indian-architect-has-created-an-algae-wall-to-purify-poll uted-water-without-harmful-chemicals-377848.html

MIT Media Lab Open Agricultural Initiative closed
Editorial Comment:  MIT should be ashamed of itself for this fraud which may sully the reputation of genuine advanced agricultural research

Saving one of Manila's last urban fields through collective farming
globalvoices.org/2019/11/03/will-collective-farming-by-artists-save-one-of-manilas-remaining -urban-fields

What To Do After the Climate Strike

by gmoke Thu Sep 26th, 2019 at 04:45:01 PM EST

Fridays for the Future (https:/www.fridaysforfuture.org) - the Friday Climate Strikes continue
October 2 there will be a Global Solar Yatra (https:
www.ggsy.in) with 1 million students in over 70 countries building their own solar lights for studying
October 7 Extinction Rebellion (https:
xrmass.org/action/nyc-kickoff-global-rebellion) will be doing actions around the world
Sunrise Movement (https:/www.sunrisemovement.org) is planning actions in support of the Green New Deal up to and after the Inauguration of the next President in January 2020

September 20 was a great show of strength but what are we going to do tomorrow and the day after that?  Is there a daily climate practice that can do what we need to get done in the time available?  I know someone who used to write a letter to the editor to some publication around the world on climate issues every day.  Now he does stand outs most mornings during rush hour traffic with his climate signs.  Another is standing up in the train to talk about climate on the commute home.  ("How did Solidarity start?" someone once asked Lech Walesa who answered, "By speaking loud at the bus stops.")  I have a solar swadeshi myself: http://solarray.blogspot.com/2005/05/solar-swadeshi-hand-made-electricity.html
and have been practicing Solar IS Civil Defense for 20 years:

If the children can devote one day a week to climate issues, the adults should too.  Climate strikes can evolve into climate teach-ins, brainstorms, hackathons, and barnraisings, especially if we have a daily climate action plan on international, national, regional, state, county, municipal, neighborhood, family, and individual scales with benchmarks and targets.

Greta Thunberg at the UN mentioned that we are on track to burn through our carbon budget, the amount of greenouse gases we can put into the sky and still stay within that "magic" 1.5º F heating range, within 8 years.  That's one benchmark.  The idea that "we have a little more than a decade" to turn around climate comes from a 2017 paper from Christiana Figueres, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Gail Whiteman, Johan Rockström, Anthony Hobley & Stefan Rahmstorf.  What gets mentioned less is their six-point plan with specific targets for turning the tide of the world's carbon dioxide by 2020:  https:/www.nature.com/news/three-years-to-safeguard-our-climate-1.22201

However, China may reach its greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2022, far ahead of its 2030 schedule announced at the 2015 Paris climate meeting:
www.reuters.com/article/us-china-carbon/china-co2-emissions-to-peak-in-2022-ahead-of-schedul e-government-researcher-idUSKCN1VQ1K0
and Norway, Iceland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Paraguay are all countries which get almost all their electricity from renewable energy now: https:
Costa Rica plans to be a carbon neutral nation by 2021:

Job One for Humanity (https:/www.joboneforhumanity.org/plan) has a four point plan for climate action starting from emergency preparation and working on up to mass political and social change.  Many of their ideas are not only adaptation to the weather emergencies they believe are now inevitable but also best practices which will also mitigate any more climate damage and improve individual, family, and local resilience.

Lots to do and lots we can do.  

If anyone is interested, My Approach to Climate Change is available at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2018/12/my-approach-to-climate-change.html

Agrophotovoltaics, Agriphotovoltaics, Solar Sharing

by gmoke Tue Sep 17th, 2019 at 08:13:46 PM EST

Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has been doing "agrophotovoltaics" studies for the last few years, the concept of producing both crops and solar power on the same land.  Their 2018 study results are available here: https:/www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/press-releases/2019/agrophotovoltaics-hight-harvesting- yield-in-hot-summer-of-2018.html

"The results from 2017 showed a land use efficiency of 160 percent, as confirmed by the project consortium under the direction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. The performance of the agrophotovoltaic system in the very hot summer of 2018 greatly exceeded this value."

Fraunhofer is also doing tests of solar panels over shrimp ponds in Vietnam:

https:www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/news/2019/aqua-pv-project-shrimps-combines-aquaculture- and-photovoltaics.html

They show similar results there, too, possibly even better as the solar shading is more conducive to shrimp growth.  If there are any applicable aquaculture facilities in your state, there might be some solar opportunities available there too.

What Fraunhofer calls agrophotovoltaics the Japanese call  "solar sharing" and have been doing since at least 2004:

https:www.renewableenergyworld.com/2013/10/10/japan-next-generation-farmers-cultivate-agriculture- and-solar-energy

"The concept was originally developed by Akira Nagashima in 2004, who was a retired agricultural machinery engineer who later studied biology and learned the "light saturation point." The rate of photosynthesis increases as the irradiance level is increased; however at one point, any further increase in the amount of light that strikes the plant does not cause any increase to the rate of photosynthesis....

"Based on the tests conducted at his solar testing sites in Chiba Prefecture, he recommends about 32% shading rate for a farmland space to reach adequate growth of crops. In other words, there is twice as much empty space for each PV module installed."

UMass Amherst is working on this concept as well with outreach to farmers through a state program:


Mother Jones article on this idea:

https:www.motherjones.com/food/2019/09/the-best-place-for-harvesting-solar-energy-is-not-where-i-e xpected-it-to-be

Paper from Nature Sustainability the article references


There should be no competition between active farmland and solar development.  When done correctly, solar can become a lucrative second "crop" for farmers while maintaining and, in some cases, increasing agricultural productivity.

Comments >> (10 comments)

City Agriculture - September 8, 2019

by gmoke Sun Sep 8th, 2019 at 07:53:26 PM EST

How urban farms could solve future food problems

Tenth of an acre permaculture garden
returntonow.net/2017/12/23/urban-garden-produces-7000-pounds-food-per-year-tenth-acre-withou t-synthetic-fertilizer
Editorial Comment:  I remember that New Alchemy Institute once produced a study that showed you could grow enough vegetables for a person for a year on about a thirteenth of an acre but my memory may be faulty and it was back in the 1970s.

Floating dairy farm in the Netherlands

Utrecht's bus stops have green roofs for bees and other ecosystem services
https:/www.facebook.com/EcoWatch/videos/686362638492157/UzpfSTE1MTEyODQ5NjY6MTAyMTQzMDYxOTc0MzgwOTc /

The Coral: Home Algae Farming

Green city street furniture purifies air with moss

Artificial water purification, air freshening, and energy producing "trees" for Ho Chi Minh City park
https:/inhabitat.com/sustainable-central-park-with-energy-producing-trees-unveiled-for-ho-chi-minh- city

Charles River Floating Wetland
Editorial Comment:  John Todd's Healing Earth is a great introduction to ecology systems building:
My review of the book:  https:/solarray.blogspot.com/2019/03/healing-earth-through-waters.html

Vertical forest building for Cairo Science Center
inhabitat.com/vertical-forest-buildings-designed-by-stefano-boeri-set-to-center-new-cairo-ad ministrative-district

Aquaculture and solar production - Aqua-PV
https:/www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/news/2019/aqua-pv-project-shrimps-combines-aquaculture- and-photovoltaics.html

Paris to open world's largest rooftop urban farm
https:/www.facebook.com/EcoWatch/videos/944372802568104/UzpfSTE1MTEyODQ5NjY6MTAyMTQ2NTQ5MzUxOTYzMjM /

"A Greenhouse Large Enough to Feed the Eastern Seaboard" - or The Attack of the Giant Greenhouses!!!

Comments >> (7 comments)

1 Million Solar Lights for 1 Millions Students to Commemorate Gandhi's 150th Birthday

by gmoke Sat Aug 24th, 2019 at 11:54:00 PM EST

On October 2, 2019 the Global Solar Yatra plans on organizing 1 million students to build 1 million solar study lights to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi's birth in 70 countries around the world.  More information at http://www.ggsy.in

Gandhi believed swadeshi, local production, was the heart of satyagraha, truth force, the power behind political nonviolence, the daily practice at non-exploitative economy. Using these small-scale solar devices, I believe, is a solar swadeshi because solar energy is eminently local.  I also see it as a kind of positive protest and an example of the change we have to become.

This event would be a practical follow-up to the global climate actions of September 20 - 27 and I've been doing my best to let groups like Fight for the Future, Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, and others know about it.  If this appeals to you, please pass it on.

Personally, I have been using such devices in my own daily activities for the past 15 years with solar lights over my bed in my rental apartment and a solar light and charger on my backpack which I use as a bike light.

My solar light and charger was $10 rather than $15 and it came direct from China rather than Amazon when I bought it but is now available at
https:/www.amazon.com/LETOUR-Rechargeable-Lighting-Headlight-Waterproof/dp/B07RDQF49L/ref=asc_df_B0 7RDQF49L

This hand cranked model was about $10 when I bought it from China two years ago and is now $5 from Walmart:
https:/www.walmart.com/ip/Camping-Portable-LED-Light-Foldable-Collapsible-Lantern-Flashlight-Outdoo r-Lamp-Hiking-Lantern/240002611

A friend  has been using this inflatable solar light for about the last year:
/www.skrten.com/products/skrten-outdoor-inflatable-collapsible-water-resistant-led-solar-lant ern-5

At one time, I suggested that Cambridge, MA USA could do a bulk buy of solar lights and chargers, enough for a light and to charge a cell phone or batteries for a radio, and offer it to the citizens as part of an emergency preparedness or civil defense program, possibly with a buy one give one program in conjunction with our sister cities like San José Las Flores, El Salvador, Yerevan, Armenia, Les Cayes, Haiti,  and others.  Could still be done.

I've been saying Solar IS Civil Defense for about 20 years now. People haven't really been much interested in the concept.  However, the necessity for personal and collective climate emergency preparation is becoming more and more obvious.  Whatever you believe about climate change, we know some kind of weather emergency is going to happen here, probably within a year or two and possibly more frequently than that.  Strange weather seems to be cropping up more often these days.

And it's good to be prepared, especially at these prices.

The Current Cost of Solar Electricity

by gmoke Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 06:02:05 PM EST

"The Portuguese energy secretariat has secured 1.15 GW of solar development at an average cost of €20.33 ($22.53 per megawatt-hour), representing an investment of about €800 million or $887 million."

That's solar electricity at 2.253¢ per kWh

"One of the bids was made at €14.76/MWh ($16.44/MWh), which was declared a new world record for low solar bidding, according to Portugal's Journal Económico. The secretariat had placed a €45/kWh ceiling on bidding."

That's 1.644¢ per kWh for solar


But, please, correct me if my math is wrong.

Comments >> (1 comment)

Zero Net Energy - July 18, 2019

by gmoke Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 02:13:33 AM EST

Zero-energy demonstration project in Beijing made from pre-fab timber components

Energy blockchain for 55,000 rooftops in Japan planned, 100 rooftops now
Power Ledger - Australian company behind the project

Singapore’s first net zero energy building - 6 story building at the National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment

"S2A Modular in Southern California is building a factory to manufacture modular net-zero-energy private homes, condominiums, apartment complexes, and commercial buildings."

Renovated office building in Amsterdam is net positive energy with BREEAM outstanding rating

Net zero energy church in Iowa

In the EU all new buildings will be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020 and all new public buildings have been nearly zero-energy since 2018.

Eco-Capsule - self-sustainable micro-home
in Times Square NYC

Net positive house in Lincoln, MA produces 67% more energy than it consumes with -6.3kBtu/sf/yr

Carbon Drawdown Now: Turning Buildings into Carbon Sinks

Zero carbon retrofit for Paris 2024 Olympics

Norwich, UK’s 100 unit Passivhaus council house development

Comments >> (4 comments)
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