Unemployment Rate Plummets!

U.S. unemployment rate is at an all-time low! I mean, just look at the data! Oh, wait. Blue line = Obama inauguration, red line = Trump inauguration.

May as well look at the Down Jones while we’re at it (the stock market):

Notice a trend?

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Eight Million

Visualize eight million of something, anything. Now visualize a metric ton. Now visualize eight million metric tons. That’s how much plastic enters our oceans every year. Mind boggling.

After posting last week about how just nine rivers in the world account for most of the plastics in the world’s oceans, I heard from a group called Sustainable Asia about a podcast series they’ve produced about ocean plastics, the challenges of plastics recycling, the conundrum of incineration (waste-to-energy), and the programs China is undertaking to address its role in the crisis. I listened to it over the course of a week and it was so good I’m starting over. Super recommend (though it takes a bit to really ramp up).

May Contain Dinosaurs

When people say “fossil fuels” they think of fossils, which makes them think of dinosaurs, which makes them think fossil fuels are made of dinosaurs. But that is far from truth. Actual dinosaurs make up a teeny, tiny percentage of fossil fuels, which really represent the carbon leftovers of ancient moss and other plant matter. Think of how much biomass you get when you rake leaves a few times a year. Multiply by the earth’s surface, and that by millions of years. If a few lizards found their way into the pile, fine. “May contain dinosaurs.”

Truly Socialist / Truly Capitalist

There are no truly socialist countries in the world, if you’re going by strict definitions. Neither are there any truly capitalist countries in the world. All countries have some regulations to protect the less fortunate, and all countries have some regulations to prevent the effects of runaway capitalism. There is a spectrum of regulation and a spectrum of social safety nets. “Socialist” usually just means “More socialistic than my country” and vice versa for “capitalist.” The only question is where you want your country to exist on these spectrums. Great answer at Quora.

10 Rivers Responsible for 95% of Ocean Plastics

95% of ocean plastics enter the water via rivers in China, India, and Africa. As important as it is to find ways to reduce our own plastic consumption/waste, and to continue finding ways to clean up the existing gyres, we need to focus on ways to help other countries improve their waste management, and to help them install massive filtration systems at the outlets of these rivers. Starting with the Yangtze.

Trash rivers: these 10 rivers are responsible for most plastic that flows out to the seas

Trash rivers: these 10 rivers are responsible for most plastic that flows out to the seas

Just ten rivers are responsible for up to 95% of all river-borne plastic trash that ends up in the sea. Silver lining: cleaning them up would have a huge positive impact.

Source: bigthink.com/strange-maps/these-10-rivers-carry-95-of-all-plastic-into-the-ocean

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Super-enjoyed seeing David Byrne’s “American Utopia” tour at The Fox last night – minimalist but energetic. A dozen musicians on stage in gray suits, barefoot. No drum stand. No amps. No wires. Nothing but empty space for them to move in. Mostly quirky choreography, but some of it free-form. Body patterns, shadow dances, energy and sweat. Byrne still a force of nature, traces of the Stop Making Sense film. Have to confess I don’t love all of the new material, but half a dozen or so older Talking Heads tracks woven in – I Zimbra, Naive Melody, The Great Curve, Once In A Lifetime, Born Under Punches, Burning Down the House (ecstatic!). And resurrection of the protest song (there aren’t enough of these anymore, what happened?). Great night out.

Photo credit: Phoenix New Times

Crappy Mobile Photo Uploads to Facebook is the Default

Just discovered that if you upload a photo to Facebook from your phone, then upload the exact same image to the same post from desktop, the quality difference is huge. FB compresses the crap out of phone uploads.

Here’s proof — I uploaded these images from phone, didn’t give it much thought. Then later that day viewed the post on desktop/web and realized they looked like crap. My normal workflow is to do all posting from desktop, so I don’t typically see this effect, but this time, it was dramatic. I then added the same images to the post from desktop and arranged them side-by-side for easy comparison. FB doesn’t just compress a little from the phone, they compress like crazy.

Enough to get a feller running back to Flickr… but then I thought this must be an option or a setting. Went digging and sure enough… On the phone, go into Settings | Videos and Photos | Upload HD  to force the mobile app to upload your actual photos rather than compressed versions.

 

PG&E Home Energy Stats

Our energy provider is PG&E, though we opt-in to the MCE Deep Green program to ensure that 100% of the energy we use is sourced from wind and solar (it’s like having solar panels without having to own your own inverters). Went looking on PG&E’s web site last night to see how owning an EV has changed our electricity consumption over the past 1.5 years and was blown away by the quality of the data access and visualizations they provide. You can download billing and consumption data in CSV or XML for any date range, for import into spreadsheets or so you can build your own web app. But why bother? They offer a huge range of ways to view your usage data over time, to compare your usage to similar homes, to view electric, gas, or combined. They overlay weather data and plot-lines to help explain usage spikes. Super well done. You can fine-tune your home’s characteristics for better reporting accuracy.

The answer to my original question? Pretty much zero. Driving an EV has had negligible impact on our electricity consumption, which means I’m basically driving for free (though granted I sometimes take advantage of the charger in the work parking garage). Shown: How our natural gas usage increases in the winter months.

Truth, Fiction, Analysis, Dogma, Opinion, Stupidity

I have a relative whose mind has been twisted and warped, seemingly beyond the point of return, by the toxic excrement of Infowars and Breitbart. I get why tech companies are so reluctant to make the sometimes-hard judgment call on what constitutes hate speech or is in violation of ToS, and to just let the public sort it out, but it’s painfully clear that much of the public can’t sort out truth from fiction, analysis from dogma, opinion from idiocy. As primary information conduits of modern civ, YouTube and others have a moral responsibility to draw the line somewhere and start removing this arsenic from the soup we’re all swimming in.

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies delete content from Alex Jones

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies delete content from Alex Jones

Major technology companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube deleted years of content from conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars platforms over allegations of hate speech.

Source: www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-apple-alex-jones-20180806-story.html