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Harry Potter's birthday


Since I posted July's saved comments yesterday, I have today free to do something not related to my blogging and commenting life elsewhere. WXYZ provided me that something yesterday with On Harry Potter's birthday, a reminder: Daniel Radcliffe is a Red Wings fan.


After 28 years of living here, I've learned that Detroit media will celebrate any connection with Detroit.
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Examiner.com: 2013 wettest year in Michigan history
It's official. Last year was the wettest year on record for Michigan.

According to NOAA's national overview for 2013, which was released on January 21, 2014, the average precipitation in Michigan was the highest in 119 years of record-keeping. Michigan had 40.12 inches of precipitation, 8.9 inches above average. This beat the previous record wet year of 1985 by 0.64 inch.

Other states setting weather records last year were North Dakota, which also had its wettest year on record, and California, where Governor Jerry Brown recently declared a drought state of emergency after the Golden State's driest year ever.
Examiner.com: Record broken for January snowfall in Detroit
Detroit broke another weather record for precipitation today.

As if 2013 being the wettest year in Michigan history was not enough, Accuweather reports that last night's snowfall brought the total for January so far to 31.3 inches, while the Detroit Free Press is reporting 31.5 inches so far. Either total beats the previous record for the month of 29.6 inches set in January 1978 almost two inches. To add more perspective, the snowfall for this month is about a foot-and-one-half above the January average of 12.5 inches.

Don't get too attached to the current snowfall total. There are six more days left in the month and the National Weather Service predicts another weather system will bring one to two inches to the area on Sunday.
Official word on both records came this week.
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I had a second snow day today, which I didn't expect, but it was enough to make me tired of blogging about the storm and its aftereffects. Instead, I decided to post about the intersection between science and sports, climate, and the latest developments in Detroit.
That should get my desire for a change of pace out of my system, so I might write about the weather after midnight. If not, I have some more D&D war stories to share.
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NaBloPoMo July 2012


Follow up to Nablopomo for July: Kids Week 3.

Here's the blurb I wrote to promote my blog in the comments to James Howard Kunstler's site.  This week's entry isn't up yet, so my flist here at Dreamwidth and LJ get to read it first.
As for the future of the Olympics, I'm sure they'll last until at least 2020 and maybe decades longer. After all, it took the Roman Emperor Theodosius banning the games to stop the original after more than 1000 years, and world wars to interrupt the modern version. They'll definitely have more longevity than the activity I described in last week's "Christmas in July," the videos for which have already been taken down from YouTube for copyright violation. I knew that would happen; I just didn't think it would occur that soon. After all, people in the First World, particularly Americans, are quite clear about their screwed up priorities. They want their entertainment to continue. Bread and circuses, everyone!

Over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, I haven't blogged about the Olympics yet, although I have a post or two about the science of the games planned. Instead, I have a retrospective of one of my posts from last year that I did compose with the readers of this blog in mind, about how a group of artists and designers completely avoided the real problems of surburbia. Their solutions were quite impractical, but they did become an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that is showing for another three weeks. By their standards, that would count as a success. I also posted some videos about sustainable agriculture I showed to my students, including one about the MetroFoodPlus project Michigan State University is planning in Detroit. I also continued my series about science crime scenes, space news, endorsements for the upcoming Michigan primary, and climate news. Finally, I razzed the best man from my first wedding, who trolled my blog asking for Jell-O recipes. I found a good one for him.
Now, the links to the posts.

The top post of the bunch was Christmas in July. Too bad the videos for it have been taken down.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I completely missed reposting any of my posts from Crazy Eddie's Motie News for March on the Nablopomo theme of Whether. Bad dog, no biscuits. I'll get around to organizing and posting linkspams from last month eventually. In the meantime, I'll resume my regular weekly summaries of the Nablopomo posts for April. This month, the theme is poetry. Here's what I wrote on April Fools Day.


From Nablopomo on BlogHer:
So what is the NaBloPoMo theme of the month?
POEM

In honour of National Poetry Month in April, we've made the theme POEM -- which can go in a multitude of directions. First and foremost, you can try your hand at writing some poetry. We'll be presenting a few fixed forms as well as prompts for free forms. Make a personal goal to write a haiku-a-day, write an entire post in rhymed couplets, or argue the merits of Pinterest... in sestina form.

We'll be writing about our reactions to poems -- which poems have come up at important moments in your life? Which poems do you return to again and again? Which poems have changed your mood, given you comfort, or made you want to be a poet yourself?

We'll spend the month looking at reflections of poetry in nature and social situations. And we'll be featuring YOUR poetry weekly. So get your poem on.
When I first read the theme and description, I considered not participating, as I'm not big on poetry. I especially had a hard time squaring the theme with a blog about sustainability, science, and politics, although "poetry in nature" might work. Then I realized that there were some forms of poetry that I liked, limericks and song verses. Most limericks wouldn't be fit for a family blog, but I can always find a good song for my posts. So, I'm participating again this month.
The songs that I've featured so far are:
There will be more next week, as I already have another post up.

Happy reading and happy listening!
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)



From Nablopomo on BlogHer.

So what is the NaBloPoMo theme of the month?
BEGINNINGS

January 1st is a blank slate, and you can make the year anything you want it to be? Leave your job and embark on a new career. Open that blank document and start that novel you always wanted to write. Join that online dating site, signup for a new class, or close your eyes and point to a place on a globe to plan your next vacation.

Beginnings can be scary, but as the adage by Lao-tzu goes, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." You can take a single step, right? And after that, it's just putting foot before foot, taking your new journey slowly and letting it unfold at its own pace. Along the way, blog about your experience, not only so readers can follow along, but so that you have a record of how far you've come any time you feel yourself falter.
...
So what are you beginning this year? If you can name at least five things, it means you have at least five blog posts inside of you. And if you can do five posts, you can certainly expand that and do an extra 25 or so.
I have no problem popping off a post a day, as blogging about sustainability and politics in Detroit means never running out of material, so I've signed up again. I'm one of only two politics bloggers there, and the other one has already missed the goal of posting every day. Is this it? skipped the 3rd, 4th, and 6th. Yay, me.

On that note, here are the posts with the beginnings tag from this week.

Nablopomo for January 2012: Beginnings
This one has two versions of Chicago's "Beginnings" one from Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire, and the other from the 27th Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps.

Occupy the Rose Parade, plus an astronaut on gardening in space
I love the Rose Parade, space exploration, and Occupy. I couldn't resist all three in one place.

2012: The Mayan Apocalypse? Yeah, right
Prepare for a year of DOOM!

Last night was the beginning of the primary/caucus season for 2012
And a year of politics, too.

WXYZ begins its North American International Auto Show coverage
This is a Detroit blog, after all.

Governor Snyder sued twice this week
Good going, Nerd.

New beginnings for two Metro Detroit transit projects
21st Century mass transit is "not dead yet!"

And that's it for this week.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I've been writing about how Tea Partiers are screwing up efforts at sustainable development both nationally and here in Michigan over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, my sustainability blog on Blogspot. Here are the posts on this topic for the last month.

More paranoia about Agenda 21

The Atlantic on Tea Partiers disrupting planning commissions because of Agenda 21

Rachel Maddow on the Emergency Manager Law

Troy's City Council votes down transit center

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels shows how to be vulnerable to a scandal

Mayor Daniels, founder of the Troy Tea Party, is someone well worth watching and my friend Sharon at Keep Troy Strong is doing that full time. I highly recommend you check out her continuing coverage.

Above originally posted as Blogging about the Tea Party at [community profile] teabagger_watch  on Dreamwidth.

Bonus post: Tea Party Patriots founder Mark Meckler arrested
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Tonight, that isn't just a catchphrase from "The Wizard of Oz," it's also who's playing. In fact, the Lions and Bears are playing each other on Monday Night Football in addition to the Tigers playing the Rangers earlier in the day. No wonder the library at school was completely empty on a night when it should have been at least half full. It's also why downtown Royal Oak looked dead. It's not that no one's out; it's that everyone's inside the bars and restaurants watching the games.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Now I find out about this!



Detroit Free Press: Sierra Club's Green Cruise draws cyclists, health enthusiasts to Ferndale
August 14, 2011
Hundreds of people turned out for the Sierra Club's Green Cruise in downtown Ferndale on Saturday, the precursor to next weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise.

The seventh annual event included a human-powered parade on West 9 Mile from Woodward to Planavon -- a parade renowned for its unabashed geek value, with its horde of cyclists on every conceivable style of two- and three-wheeler.
...
Dozens of displays were set up at the event to highlight organic foods, climate change, wind power and more.
...
Virtually everything was free -- even food, beverages and bike maps.
I'm sorry that I missed this event; it looks like exactly the kind of thing someone like me, who is interested in sustainable actions in Metro Detroit, and who really likes Fabulous Ferndale (I was just there this evening), should be attending. Besides, it will make me feel less guilty about enjoying the Woodward Dream Cruise as a spectator.

For two videos and more commentary, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
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People are talking about their Dream Cruise dream cars as we ramp up the preparations for Saturday's Woodward Dream Cruise.
As you can see, this has become a major cultural event, even if it's one that celebrates a pre-sustainability ideal. I'm not going to burn any extra fossil fuel as part of the celebration of automobiles, as Woodward Dream Cruise passes within walking distance of where I live. I should know; I walked to it last year. I'll be walking to it again.

Two more videos with commentary at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
More on an event I can walk to.


GM Woodward Dream Cruise
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I'll be able to walk to see this.



Chevy is preparing to celebrate their centennial at the Dream Cruise.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

After a record-breaking week, things were bound to slow down and they did. I posted 12 entries, readers made five comments, and the blog received 783 page views, down from 14 posts, 13 comments, and 1577 page views last week. Even so, I count it as a good week, as it was on par with the week before with eleven posts, five comments, and 832 page views of the week before. If nothing else, page views remained well above the average of 560 per week for all of May and June. Besides, Saturday saw the 10,000th page view in this history of this blog and on July 20th the number of monthly page views exceeded 3,000 for the first time ever. People are reading me, so I'm happy.

GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


Most of my posts counted as Swim posts this week, although they weren't quite the ones I had in mind this time last week. To begin with, I counted Weekly Roundup for July 10th through 16th, 2011 as a Swim post, as a good chunk of the opening described my swimming against the stream of spam that flows into any blog with traffic. Bloody Vikings! I continued pursuing the Swim angle in my followup to Silly Sustainability Saturday: Carmageddon, Tea Partiers against manatees, and Butterbeer, Cyclists, subway rider, and rollerblader all beat jet during Carmageddon involved the advocates of sustainable transportation as well as a blogger about California Highways swimming against the stream of conventional wisdom about traffic. I also included the peaceful yet entertaining cosplaying protesters of In Chile, superheroes dance against austerity as people swimming against the tide of austerity sweeping the planet.

In a way, the local stories I covered could also be considered swimming against the tide, sometimes unsuccessfully. The demise of Borders Books, which I wrote about in Borders Books 1971-2011 and The funeral for Borders Books begins chronicled the end of my favorite booksellers to remain in business after two decades of swimming against the tide of their competitors and their own poor business decisions. The same could be said about my coverage of the heat wave in both Hot enough for you? and Still hot enough for you?, which described how people, animals, and the power grid were trying to beat the heat and sometimes failing. Some attempts actually involved swimming pools, turning Swim from metaphor to reality.

Finally, even my compilations of sustainability news items could be considered Swim posts. I explicitly labeled Sustainability news from Michigan's research universities for the week ending July 16, 2011 and Sustainability news from midwestern research universities for the week ending July 16, 2011 as such because I was too tired to comment on each item and it was an effort even to post them. I didn't make that claim for Sustainability in unexpected places: archeology 2, but I didn't comment on the individual items there, either. The heat was getting to me, too.

On the other hand, I was able to make comments on both Science and society for the week ending July 16, 2011 and Silly Sustainability Saturday: Boobs and Haboobs. In the first, I voiced my frustration with people making pro-austerity and anti-sustainability decisions; I was the one swimming against the stream there. In the second, I pointed out how the people who are frustrating me are themselves swimming against reality. I have confidence that reality will win, eventually.

That's it for last week. As for this week, I already have at least one post a day planned. There are three nearly completed linkspams already saved to another file, as well as the notes for the same four Swim posts that I had on tap last week, along with an article about Detroit a reader posted on my Facebook wall that I've already promised to cover. That doesn't even cover anything else I might write about, such as Julie Bass's court date on Tuesday. As I keep writing, I don't have to worry about finding something to write about the rest of the month. Blogging about sustainability in metro Detroit means never running out of material!

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

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First, Next Media Animation for the global perspective.



The US is going through a prolonged heatwave that has blanketed the eastern half of the country. Although the heatwave hit the South and Mid-west the hardest, the hot weather is moving towards the East Coast in the coming days.

As people in the affected areas turn on their air conditioners, the nation's power grid is coming under strain. This summer is a hot one not just for the US, but also in other corners of the globe.

Beijing recently hit 105F, nearing records. A Stanford study says heatwaves could become common in the US in the next 30 years due to global warming.

But more and more Americans are becoming skeptical.
Now the local one from WXYZ-TV.



Today's forecast.


More, including how the blackout in Ferndale resulted in my driving to Troy for dinner, at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the previous installment, I described how Oak Park's "War on Veggies" went viral. The resulting brouhaha had the effect it intended--the prosecution against Julie Bass for her raised garden beds in her front yard--but Oak Park has found another way to continue waging war against her for daring to fight city hall. The video won't embed here, but it did embed at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, where it is larger than the version embedded at Oak Park Drops Charges Against Julie Bass and Her Vegetable Garden: MyFoxDETROIT.com. You can also read the Detroit Free Press article, Oak Park woman faces dog trouble after veggie case is dropped. Then come back here.

So the good news is that Julie Bass is no longer facing charges. All of you who raised a stink by reporting and blogging on the issue, commenting on blog and news posts, signing the petition, and sending in letters and emails to the city of Oak Park can pat yourselves on the back. Your efforts succeeded.

The bad news is that the way the story is being reported, not only in the Fox 2 Detroit clip above, but also in the Detroit News article and on Julie's own blog, indicates that the city dropped the charge by asking for it to be dismissed without prejudice. That means that that the city could reinstate the charge any time before the statute of limitations ran out. Note the coda of the report was that the city prosecutor was going to re-examine the language of the statute. If he figures out a defensible reading of the statute that allows him to go after Julie, he can file those charges again. As Julie herself describes it, it feels like her own Sword of Damocles hanging over her.

The ugly news is the city resuming their prosecution of Julie for her dogs. The sequence of events makes it look like the city is being, as Julie wrote in her most recent post, "malicious." Julie's lawyer Solomon Radner elaborated in this quote from the Detroit News, "This is really nothing other than a personal vendetta against the Basses either because somebody doesn't like them, or because they had the nerve to fight this unjust prosecution." I think the answer is mostly the latter.

Since I believe in closing circles, I think the good news is that Julie and her lawyer will appear in court on July 26th, present the proof that the dogs are licensed, and those charges will be dismissed. Even so, this entire affair has made the city of Oak Park look even worse in my eyes than it already did.
When my wife and I were looking for places to live in Oakland County, my co-workers who lived in Oak Park tried to convince me to move there. Unfortunately, when my wife and I looked at houses in the city, we were less than impressed. We got a very conformist, unfriendly, and not-at-all fun vibe from the place, so we decided to look in Ferndale and Royal Oak, which were more to our liking.
When I played the Fox 2 Detroit clip to my wife, she said that we were never going to live in Oak Park. She didn't care if we found the ideal house there at a perfect price in a great neighborhood, we won't move there. I completely agree.

Finally, stay tuned. This isn't over yet.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.



neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

I know I promised more on the Kroger in Royal Oak, but there's another current news item about the sustainability of Detroit from a Business as Usual perspective going on right now--Transformation Detroit. What is it? As this article on MLive puts it:
This is the story Detroit wants the world to hear. Jonathan Oosting of MLive.com is one of more than 50 journalists participating in Transformation Detroit, a three-day media briefing facilitated by the Detroit Regional News Hub that aims to highlight innovative revitalization efforts in the city.
For a sampling of the stories Detroit wants the world to know, read the Detroit Regional News Hub's news blog, or you can watch these two videos from WXYZ on the event.





I'm glad the powers that be are interested in sustainability, but I much prefer Model D's perspective of "Optimism, but not Business as Usual."

Above post originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News here.



neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Meta note: I chose the following post to promote on Kunstler's blog this past Monday. There, I made the following editorial note.
I figured that you would write about President Obama, along with the rest of the International Energy Agency, releasing oil from their reserves. If I had written a Karnak predicts post, both of those topics would have been in it, but I didn't. However, I did write about that topic and predicted that you'd have something snarky to say about it, and I was right. Unfortunately, I buried the lede and made the title about falling gas prices in Detroit, when the story really was about Obama trying to stimulate the economy to help his re-election while at the same time kicking the oil companies and commodities speculators while the price goes down. So far, it's working.
It worked until yesterday, when the price for West Texas Intermediate went up $5/barrel. As a consequence, unleaded regular at the corner gas station from $3.49 to $3.58 as of yesterday. This morning, it rocketed up to $3.85. By this evening, it had dropped back to $3.79. Can you say overshoot? I knew you could.

Last week, I posted two entries about falling gas prices. From the second post.
If that price holds, AAA Michigan and the Detroit Free Press will have another price drop to report next week.
I'm sure they will, as the price of oil dropped 4% yesterday.
Not only did the price of gas drop this week, it will drop next week as well. On Monday, the price of North Sea oil (Brent Crude) fell because of worries about Greece (West Texas Intermediate had fallen earlier, but went up slightly). On Tuesday, the same two things happened, this time because of fears about Spain. West Texas Intermediate then fell on after-hours trading. As I keep repeating, a price drop like this is not entirely good news; it's a response to bad economic news elsewhere. This is true even for what happened yesterday.

Oil dives to 4-month low as emergency stocks unleashed )

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

On Monday, I wrote:

[Optimism] seems to be the theme for nearly all the articles from Model D Media's Buzz page. Of course, one should expect that from a publication whose Twitter profile states:
We love Detroit. We write about Detroit. We photograph Detroit. We film Detroit. We want you to love Detroit, too.
...And whose attitude I characterized as "Optimism but not business as usual." They're certainly living up to both my billing and their own.
Yesterday, I saw that the latest edition of Model D had been posted, with enough sustainablity stories to make up for the magazine skipping last week for the Memorial Day weekend. This prompted me to look for videos on YouTube about Model D Media. I found the following, which is a talk by one of the founders of Model D about the philosophy behind their online magazine.




As you can see, the co-founder had several driving ideas for the publication. First, instead of reporting what the co-founder called "stories about loss," the publication's emphasis is reporting the good news and reward worthwhile behavior. Second, the magazine wants to protray the reality on the ground instead of sticking to the set narrative, hence the kind of stories from Model D, either their original reporting or what they've found reported elsewhere, which shows the grassroots revitalization of the city, not the "Detroit is a disaster zone" reporting typical for the place. Finally, they wanted to show the people in the front rows of change, not the same ten people who always get the press. No wonder I see their tone as "optimism, but not business as usual." That's what they had in mind!

Model D Media, fans of Detroit.

June2011NaBloPoMoSmallBadge


Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

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