The Boom With the Bomb Train Boom

CBC is a funny beast now. Along with their story parroting what the latest Canadian Energy Research Initiative report says, is RBC/tarsands shill Amanda Lang staring at you from the sidebar. Also we learn about “Dollarama’s winning formula” of selling Chinese mass produced garbage to Canadians, a “retail success story”, and again with “Amanda Lang takes you inside the world of business.”

Back to the oil train story. Outpacing oil trains apparently are wheat and coal. Coal shouldn’t even be burned anymore, now that we know how deadly and damaging it is. The report makes no mention of the unsafe DOT-111 cars used to ship petroleum. It doesn’t mention climate change, instead calling it “climate concerns”.

Coal currently is the most commonly moved commodity across Canada, accounting for nearly a quarter of rail traffic in some parts of the country, but that number is likely to fall as coal falls out of use because of climate concerns.

Anyway, oil-by-rain shipments are not “set to boom”, they already have boomed (and exploded too), and will continue to according to the CETI report.

The Inexpensive Computer Comes With Expensive Shipping Option Only

When I read about the $9 computer on Crash Bang Labs’ Facebook page, I was ready to help kick start that CHIP. But I got to the payment screen when the shipping amount came up. How much could it cost I’d thought to ship a computer smaller than a couple of AA batteries? I braced myself for an exorbitant $5. If I was American, I’d have that somewhat greedy option. No, the over-popular CHIP computer (shipping next year) comes to Canada and most of the world for $20US (19% more than CAD right now)! It’s literally twice as expensive to ship a damn computer you could fit into your mouth, or into a tiny bubble wrapped envelope, than the cost of the damn computer.

Considering I can get “free” shipping from China for a $5 item on Amazon, the $5 to ship this within the USA is a bit much already, nevermind the 4 times too costly $20 to here.

Yes, CHIP looks really cool, and would work for all sorts of projects and not suck power. It’s basically the next version of the OLPC One Laptop Per Child computer for which I spent $400, years ago to get one, and give one to a child in Mongolia. So why did I baulk at paying $29 for CHIP now? Because I’m cheap? Because I dislike consumerism and buying things just because they are trendy and cool? Because I have a smaller computer inside me already? I don’t know.

American and Canadian Food Waste Both Staggering

Here’s a very interesting and instructive blog post about American food waste.

As my last blog entry on food waste, Rob Greenfield brought the previous link to my attention. Canada’s $31,000,000,000.00/year of wasted food has to change, as does America’s “food waste fiasco“.

Regina lost one of its few grocery stores without a food wasting compactor, a couple years ago. A pickup truck’s worth of unwanted food could be going to food banks in Regina every day from each grocery store here. As long as the food isn’t spoiled, they are protected in law.

Saskatoon Riding the Coattails of History

Acknowledging that an important feature in Saskatoon was constructed by the government, then bragging that construction of a future valued feature (a wind turbine) was avoided by the government instead of an opportunity seized upon, is a repugnant attitude. People like Sandra are not leaving a better world for our children, and Stephen Harper’s grand-daughter.

Baird Gold

It’s not easy for a long-time politician to leave public life, even if they have a golden parachute.

Saskatchewan Needs a Real Change of Destination

Greg is making a good point in his latest column, but I had to throw in a Green campaign slogan into the title in good fun. The bottom line really is that the Sask Party is propping up the dying fossil fuels industry, while calls to divest from it are coming from around the world. There’s no stopping this change (for the better).

While the Saskatchewan Party remains bent on thinking small, any reasonable look at the world around us suggests it’s long past time for a big change in direction. And if if this year’s budget again fails on that front, then we should seriously reconsider who’s choosing our destination.

“study finds that the main barrier to achieving those goals is a matter of politics rather than technology or economic limitations.”

“We have the tools to transition to a clean energy economy; all that’s lacking is the leadership to put them to use.”
Greg is bang on, and I’m not saying so simply because I’ve been saying the same thing for years.

Given that there are about 410,000 households in Saskatchewan, we’d need about 3 Ivanpah style solar power plants to provide electricity to every home in the province. We can do it, and we should.

That’s me last year providing a real-world example of technology we could build in Saskatchewan to give every household renewable energy at a price we can afford. We can probably not afford to fail to build such a new system.


ADDED: Prebble and others show that Saskatchewan must turn to renewable energy to succeed in reforming our economy.