Monday, August 31, 2015

Debate drinking game rules for Carly Fiorina

Paul W. at You Might Notice a Trend has posted Update: GOP Debate Drinking Game for 2016 But For the September 2015 Foofaraw In Particular.  That means it's time for me to update the drinks for the candidates I recommended in Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates, Proof of drinking game concept on Kasich, and Drinks for the candidates in tonight's debate, then compiled in GOP debate drinking game with drinks for each candidate at Daily Kos.  Here's what I told Paul when he told me he was updating the drinking game in a comment.
Thanks for the head's up.  I'm keeping the same drinks for the same candidates. About the only change I foresee is adding a drink recipe or two for Carly Fiorina, who has an outside chance of bumping Chris Christie or John Kasich out of tenth place. I'll just add them to your new rules.
Over at his blog, I added that "I've already found a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing beer (an IPA) so that's taken care of."  Paul approved of my suggestion.  To understand why, watch this video nicknamed "Demon Sheep" from iCarly's 2010 run for U.S. Senate.

Skip to 2:20 for the demon sheep.

That's probably why there is another beer suggestion for iCarly on a similar theme.

Follow over the jump for two more drink ideas plus Paul's rules for the GOP's only woman running for President.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

OMG, Spam Shoes!

As I wrote in Rainbow unicorn farts in your general direction, I'm in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood today, but it isn't a good mood, either.  It's because I've been running into too much spam lately, both here and at Michigan Liberal.  So for today's Entertainment Sunday entry, I'm posting a video that I should have used to punctuate Blast from the past: Sarah Palin's Naughty Monkey Shoes and Green shoes in more ways than one, Shoes by Liam Sullivan.

I feel better already.  Follow over the jump for more images of Spam shoes that I used to comment on some spam diaries about shoes over at Michigan Liberal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Accuweather remembers Hurricane Katrina ten years later

For today's tenth anniversary of the second landfall of Hurricane Katrina, I'm sharing Accuweather's Remembering Katrina: An In-Depth Look at Hurricane Katrina Then and Now.

From the timeline of the storm to the devastating aftermath; AccuWeather takes an in-depth look at Hurricane Katrina including visiting the Lower Ninth Ward, the levees and the Superdome in New Orleans.
The big storm on this blog has been Hurricane Sandy, so much so that the one time I mentioned Katrina in a title, it shared billing wiith Sandy.  That doesn't make Katrina any less important.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Monthly Meta for July 2015

I first told my readers to "stay tuned for the monthly meta" at the end of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards.  That was almost two weeks ago.  Since today is the last Flashback Friday of the month, it's well past time to follow through, beginning with the goals I set for myself in Monthly Meta for June 2015.
July 2014 saw 12,764 page views, so the minimum goal is for 412 page views per day for a total of 12,772.  The medium goal is 13,184 to finish a day ahead and 13,402 for a five percent increase, each of which will require 425.3 and 432.3 page views per day respectively.  I'm trying to do that while posting no more than 44 entries during the month.  So far, I'm meeting all these goals.  Wish me luck on doing so for the rest of the month.
The blog ended up with 13,378 page views for July 2015, making it the fifth consecutive month with more than 13,000 page views.  It earned 431.55 page views per day.  Both were a bit short of the high goals for the month, but I'm not too upset about it, as I easily beat the minimum and low goals and came close enough to the high goal.  Besides, I had an excuse; I only posted 34 entries last month, ten less than my self-imposed maximum.  Consequently, I achieved an average of 393.47 page views per post, which appears to be a record, exceeding April 2015's 374.74 page views per entry.  While I usually care more about page views per day, I'll take the record in views per entry.  Besides, readership is still up over last year, so I'm pleased.

As for comments, I'll let what I wrote last month speak for itself.
While I don't make goals for comments, as any efforts I make to prompt more are less effective and predictable than what I can do to increase page views, last month was another good one for people responding to my posts at my blog.  Readers left 36 comments last month, the highest since February 2014 with 42 comments.  This is also the most per month so far this year.  I'd be pleasantly surprised if I could do that again this month, but I have no expectations.
I was right to have no expectations, as readers and spammers left only 17 comments during July.  This month is already much better, as 39 comments have been left, including one entry with 10 comments.  The month is not yet over, so I'm optimistic for more.

Speaking of comments, the first entry I'm sharing in this month's retrospective is the one with the most comments left during July, Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews, posted July 3, 2015, with 3 comments.  It was also the tenth most read entry posted last month with 97 page views according to the raw counter, a double honor.  It got its readership through being shared on Facebook.

Follow over the jump for the rest of July's most read entries.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trash to energy: Student sustainability video festival 46

As I promised in China's gender imbalance: Student sustainability video festival 45, here is another video from the talks the students voted as their favorites, Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden.

Everyone produces waste, and the Swedes are no different. It’s what they do with it that is unusual. Sweden recycles and sorts its waste so efficiently that less than 1 percent ends up in landfills. But perhaps even more interesting, and somewhat controversial, is that Sweden burns about as much household waste as it recycles, over 2 million tons, and converts this to energy. But even with this amount of domestic waste, the country’s 32 waste-to energy (WTE) incineration plants can handle even more. And when Sweden runs out of its own garbage, it offers a service to the rest of garbage-bloated Europe: importing excess waste from other countries.
I don't recall addressing incineration of trash to produce energy directly before, although I came close with both University of Cincinnati explores energy from waste and Paean to the power of poop, a Squirrel Case entry.  Once again, I thank my students for directing my attention to this subject.

Stay tuned for more of the videos from the talks students voted as their favorites along with the monthly meta.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

China's gender imbalance: Student sustainability video festival 45

I told my readers to "stay tuned for more videos in this series" at the end of Colony collapse disorder: Student sustainability video festival 44.  Here's the next, which received a vote for favorite talk from my students: Gender imbalance (Third Angle Insight).

In modern China does a preference for boys still exist and how has the preference for males affected the countries social structure?
This entry revisits a topic I first examined in Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good and again in China's top six environmental problems.  Thanks to my students for getting me to look at it again.

Stay tuned for more of the videos from the talks students voted as their favorites along with the monthly meta.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Colony collapse disorder: Student sustainability video festival 44

It's time to resume where I left off in Bottled water: Student sustainability video festival 43 with the next installment in this series, two videos about honeybees and colony collapse disorder.  First, TIME Explains: Why Bees Are Going Extinct.

The bees are dying and we're to blame. TIME's Bryan Walsh explains colony collapse disorder, and why bees are on the verge of extinction.
Next, TomoNews US reported Neonicotinoids banned in EU: How they harm bees.

The EU has voted to ban the use of three of the most widely used neonicotinoid pesticides over fears they are linked to a decrease in bee populations across the continent.

Neonicotinoids are a popular type of insecticide, because they are highly effective against many kinds of insects, but thought to be harmless to other animals. It was previously thought that bees were not affected by neonicotinoids.

Seed is treated with neonicotinoid pesticide, then coated with talc. The pesticide persists in the environment and in the plants, including the pollen, which bees carry back to the hive. Neonicotinoids bind irreversibly to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of an insect's central nervous system. It is claimed that once exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides, bees have trouble finding their hives and suffer a range of other detrimental effects, eventually resulting in the collapse of the hive.

The EU pesticide ban will only cover three kinds of neonicotinoids used on flowering crops that are attractive to bees and will last for a period of two years.
I have shared two videos from my students about colony collapse disorder, Student sustainability video festival 19: Singing Honey Bees and Disappearing bees and Doctor Who: student sustainability video festival 33.  These videos put the topic right up there with bottled water, nuclear disasters, and the Pacific Garbage Patch as popular subjects for talks with good videos.

Stay tuned for more videos in this series along with the monthly meta.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Driving update for August 2015: Pearl

I promised a driving update at the end of Bottled water: Student sustainability video festival 43 and a driving update my readers shall receive.

Yesterday, my Prius passed 22,000 miles.  That means it's been exactly 30 days since I said Farewell Ruby, hello Prius!  The car, which I'm calling Pearl on the advice of not only my wife, but the plurality of readers leaving comments both at this blog and on my Facebook page, had 21,577 miles when we bought it, so I've driven it 14.1 miles per day or 430.1 miles per standard month since then.  That's on the low side of how much I had been driving Ruby.  I'm not surprised, as I'm only driving to one work location--no second teaching site and no meetings during the summer.  However, my gas consumption has improved, as Ruby consumed 25 miles per gallon, while Pearl ranges between 48 and 51 miles per gallon.  I used half as much gas now than I did before.  That makes me happy.

On that note, I'm sharing this video that my wife found as her response to my request for names, the Prius Family Hum Super Bowl Commercial.

I finally got around to my promise to blog about "commercials with science fiction, fantasy, or sustainability themes" from that year beyond just a Sodastream spot.  It only took me a year and a half.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bottled water: Student sustainability video festival 43

For Entertainment Sunday, I'm taking a break from awards shows, alignment charts, and zombies to share these two funny videos a student found about bottled water.

First, Jim Gaffigan on bottled water.

Next, Andy Rooney on bottled water.

I hope you all had a couple of good laughs at a serious environmental issue.

Stay tuned for more in this continuing series along with the monthly meta (finally!) and a driving update.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Three Mile Island: Student sustainability video festival 42

My students have managed to hit all three civilian nuclear reactor disasters in consecutive semesters.  Last December, a student produced her own video for Fukushima: student sustainability video festival 28.  This past May, Radioactive wolves: student sustainability video festival 35 looked back at Chernobyl.  Earlier this week, Three Mile Island Accident made an appearance.

Stay tuned for more in this continuing series.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Overfishing: Student sustainability video festival 41

The next installment in this series features Ending Overfishing.

Join the campaign to end EU overfishing, - this animation was first launched in May 2012, some of it is out of date, but not the part about citizens responsibility to support decision-makers ... you can help end overfishing.
Stay tuned for more in this continuing series.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What is deforestation? Student sustainability video festival 40

Yesterday, I gave my last lecture and my first two finals, which means it's time to resume where I left off at Bio Urns: student sustainability video festival 39 with new videos that my students included in their presentations this semester.  Today's installment consists of two videos both titled "What is deforestation?"

We are students from Malayan Colleges Laguna and this video is for our general biology (BIO011) course.
This is a quick answer to "what is deforestation?". Also, this video shows how the U.S. compares to the rest of the world in paper use. Out of the many global issues that exist today, deforestation is one issue we may be able to resolve through a few simple acts mentioned in the video. Created for a class at Brigham Young University.
Stay tuned for more installments in this series over the coming week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trump's supporters display their poor writing skills

I'm not through with The Penguin Donald this week.  I stumbled across this item from The Moderate Voice found via Crooks and Liars that demonstrates how one can tell a lot about candidates through their supporters.
Why are we not surprised that Carly Fiorina’s fans have the best grammar, spelling and punctuation among the Republican presidential candidates and Donald Trump’s have the worst?

That’s based on an analysis from Grammarly, an automated proofreading company, which evaluated the supporters of the GOP candidates. Fiorina’s fans had 6.3 errors per hundred words in their Facebook comments, while Trump’s backers had 12.6 errors per 100 words. Only comments of 15 words or more were analyzed, and Grammarly ignored common slang words and stylistic variations (for instance, the use of serial commas, using numerals instead of spelling out numbers, using contractions). In total, roughly 9,000 words were evaluated for each candidate.

In ascending order of misteaks . . . er, mistakes per 100 words, Ben Carson’s supporters were second with 6.6, Lindsay Graham and George Pataki with 7.2 each, Ted Cruz 7.7, John Kasich 7.7, Jeb Bush 7.9, Mike Huckabee 8.0, Bobby Jindal 8.2, Chris Christie 8.3, Rand Paul 8.4, Marco Rubio 8.8, Scott Walker 10.6, Ric Santorum 11.5, and Rick Perry second-to-last with 12.5.
Follow over the jump for a graphic from USA Today showing these findings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Melissa Gilbert running for Congress, a story that got away

While I was busy writing about Trump and O'Malley for, another political story was happening just over the county line to the north.  Former movie actress and current Howell resident Melissa Gilbert declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in Michigan's 8th Congressional District.  WXYZ has the story in How can Gilbert win Congressional seat.

We talk with the voters and the experts on what it will take for Melissa Gilbert to win a seat in Congress.
I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I left as a comment at Michigan Liberal.
Here's a link from the Free Press and the Daily Kos write-up: Tax issue dogs Melissa Gilbert in new bid for Congress.

That headline is both too cute and very carefully phrased.  To understand why, read this summary from Daily Kos.
MI-08: Actress Melissa Gilbert, who is best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on the hit show "Little House on the Prairie," announced on Monday that she'd run against GOP Rep. Mike Bishop as a Democrat. Gilbert doesn't have any campaign experience, but she did serve two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 2001 to 2005. Michigan's 8th District has been pretty inhospitable for Democrats, but Mitt Romney only carried the seat by a 51-48 margin, and Bishop won it last year with 54 percent of the vote, which isn't exactly monster given the GOP wave.

Gilbert, however, has some baggage. In recent years, she was hit with a pair of six-figure tax liens, which she ascribed to the economic downturn and says she's been paying off through a settlement. Many politicians have successfully deflected questions about these kinds of financial difficulties in this way (ex-Rep. Allen West did so back in 2010, for instance), but Bishop was quick to point out that Gilbert went on Good Morning America last year to show off her French bulldog, whom she said wears a Louis Vuitton collar and has her own stylist. With that sort of pedigree, it's a little harder to argue the recession hit you like it did everyone else.
The headline writer knew exactly what they were doing.
The above does not mean I'm opposed to Gilbert running.  As both a journalist and a Democrat, I'm in favor of it.  She'll make good copy and will be a competitive candidate.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Science Fiction and Fantasy at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards

One of the reasons I dedicated Sundays to entertainment is because entertainment awards shows are usually held on the first day of the week, and I'm a sucker for awards shows.  Today is no exception, as the Teen Choice Awards are being presented tonight.  Follow over the jump for this year's nominees in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Adventure movies and television, courtesy of the International Business Times.

'Star Wars' alignment charts

I'm working on an involved analysis for this evening's entry, but I want to post something now for Entertainment Sunday.  So in the spirit of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart, I present these "Star Wars" alignment charts.

This is probably the best available, but there are more famous characters that could have been used for both true neutral and lawful neutral.  Follow over the jump for charts that include them, but have other flaws.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gas price spike prompts outrage and analysis

The rise in gas prices I reported in Prices spike in time for Dream Cruise continues to spark outrage and analysis.  Both WXYZ and WOOD-TV have examined the issue, but I'll let WXYZ tell the story first in Digging for answers on gas price spike.

We're digging for answers on what caused the big spike in gas prices.
That's a good explanation of how the closure of the Whiting refinery is causing BP to buy gas on the spot market, driving up wholesale costs for everyone.  As for Schuette on Duty, I've seen him warn retailiers like this before, first in 2012 and again in 2013.  Both times, I've pointed out that he was grandstanding.  He's not alone in that regard.  Follow over the jump for another Republican politician who is taking advantage of the situation to get attention.

Friday, August 14, 2015 article on Martin O'Malley in Ann Arbor

Martin O'Malley stopped in Ann Arbor for a fund raiser on his way to campaign in Iowa, where he is seen here at the Iowa State Fair.
Martin O'Malley stops in Ann Arbor on way to Iowa
Donald Trump was not alone in visiting Michigan this week.  One day after Trump spoke at a Republican event in Birch Run, Democratic contender Martin O'Malley paused in Ann Arbor for a fundraising event Wednesday evening.

O'Malley, a former Governor of Maryland, held his fundraiser at the Ann Arbor Brewing Company.  On his way in, he spoke to reporters about what he hoped to be able to do in Iowa.

“The history of our presidential primary shows us that usually there is an inevitable (early) front-runner, but only up until the very first contest. And then, especially in the Democratic Party, usually a candidate emerges who represents the voice of a new generation of Americans." O'Malley told the Detroit News.
Click on the link in the headline for more O'Malley quotes, remarks Debbie Dingell about Donald Trump at the event, and a video of O'Malley saying that Trump should campaign for the nomination of the Know-Nothing Party.  Even the Democrats can't stop talking about Donald Trump!

Thursday at the 2015 Dream Cruise from WXYZ

While the Woodward Dream Cruise officially kicks off tonight, pre-cruise activities have been going on for more than a week, as I described in WXYZ prepares for 2015 Dream Cruise.  Yesterday was no exception, as WXYZ shows in Thursday before the Dream Cruise.

People are already enjoying the cars on Woodward for the Dream Cruise.
I have more, especially about the Indy 500 pace cars, after the jump.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Prices spike in time for Dream Cruise

A year ago tomorrow, the subject line read Fear premium stalls out in time for Dream Cruise.  Two weeks ago, the gas price news was Limbo Kitty returns as oil and gas fall more to close July.  This week of this year, the news is exactly the opposite of both headlines, as WXYZ reports in yesterday's Prices jump at the pump.

Drivers are feeling the pinch as gas prices have jumped to almost $3 a gallon.
There's a double irony in the cause of this price spike.  First, crude oil futures have continued to fall. Oil-Price.Net lists yesterday's closings for WTI as $43.30 and Brent as $49.66, only slightly above their lows for the quarter.  Second, the closing of the refinery is one of the factors causing oil prices to drop, as one of the major customers for oil isn't buying.  Reuters reports in Indiana refinery outage escalates fears Cushing will top out.
Concerns among oil traders are escalating that a combination of surprisingly resilient U.S. shale production and lower autumn refinery demand will cause storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma, to fill to the brim with surplus crude as early as October.

The biggest U.S. refinery in the Midwest is suffering through an unexpected outage that may take months to resolve. The shutdown may free up enough crude to top off Cushing in just 2 months, a month earlier than the market expected as recently as last week, sparking a sell-off of oil futures spreads.

"Looks like Cushing is going to be full in October now," said one oil trader. "That's very bearish."
The good news for drivers is that gas prices will fall when both the refinery re-opens and summer driving season ends.  That won't be for a few weeks.

In the meantime, metro Detroit motorists will have to contend with the high prices reported by WXYZ.  A colleague told me yesterday that the cheapest station in my old neighborhood had reached a low of $2.41 this week before raising its price.  It's not currently listed on Gas Buddy, but I expect it's selling at about $2.69, a dime below nearby stations and more than a dime below the current Detroit average of $2.86.  That's quite a jump from three days ago, when the average was $2.51. It's times like that I'm glad I drive a Prius.  At least the cruisers can take comfort in gas still being cheaper than it was at this time last year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trump gets a Michigan welcome, good and bad

I told my readers to "stay tuned for more on Donald Trump visiting Michigan."  To follow through, I present Donald Trump speaks at Birch Run event.

Donald Trump was in Michigan for a campaign event in Birch Run.
Looks like the event was a success, at least as far as Trump, the Michigan GOP, and Trump himself are concerned.  Just the same, not everyone was thrilled.  Follow over the jump for two reports showing people objecting to Trump's visit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Detroit flooding one year later

It's been one year since the historic downpour and flooding that I described first in This was my drive home tonight and again in Detroit's flooding made national headlines, and finally in A billion dollar trash day.  It fit a pattern that's emerged since I began keeping this blog.
[C]limate change...[is] expressing itself as increased precipitation, including 2013 being the wettest year in Michigan history, 2013-2014 being the snowiest year in Detroit's history, or 2011 being the rainiest year in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Toledo.
In addition, this month's flood resulted from the second highest single-day rainfall in Detroit history.  Welcome to four precipitation records in four years.
Since then, another precipitation record has been set, as I mentioned in Snowfall of the century for Detroit on Groundhog Day.
The third-biggest snowstorm in metro Detroit's recorded history has plows humming among tall snow piles on roadways across southeastern Michigan this morning.
With 16.7 inches of snow since the storm arrived early Sunday, it's the most to fall since Dec. 1 and 2 in 1974, when 19.3 inches fell, as recorded at Detroit Metro Airport. The snowiest was April 6, 1886, when 24.5 inches were reported...
Add the snowiest month in Detroit history and that's now six precipitation records in four years.  As I wrote in the first entry I wrote about the storm, welcome to weather weirding in the 400 ppm world.

Enough of my looking back.  WXYZ has its own retrospective in One year anniversary of historic flooding.

We're looking back at what happened since historic flooding hammered our area one year ago.
We're still recovering one year later and will be repairing the damage for another year.  That's impressive and not in a good way.

Stay tuned for more on Donald Trump visiting Michigan and the 2015 Dream Cruise.

WXYZ on Trump visiting Michigan

As if Donald Trump's possible problems with Michigan's sore loser law wasn't enough, The Penguin The Donald is visiting Michigan itself today.  As the man makes for great TV, just like he does great copy,* WXYZ has devoted a lot of air time to him and his candidacy yesterday and today.  The coverage began with INTERVIEW: Analyzing Donald Trump.

I made quite clear in WXYZ previews marijuana legalization for the 2016 ballot that I have little respect for Rocky Raczkowski, but I have to give him credit here about the eventual fate of Trump's campaign, although I think his prediction that Trump's supporters may end up voting for Ted Cruz strikes me as a bit of wishful thinking.  Yes, Cruz and Trump have the same anti-Establishment message, but those people could just as easily go to Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina, as Cruz.  As for the Kiska, that's a more reasonable suggestion, but I doubt reason has much to do with Trump's popularity.  Emotion drives it, and Scott Walker doesn't seem to generate much of that except among union members, who hate his guts.

Enough analysis.  Follow over the jump for two reports on today's visit to Birch Run, Michigan.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New 'Fear the Walking Dead' promo

I was wrong when I wrote that WXYZ prepares for 2015 Dream Cruise would conclude Entertainment Sunday.  I have one more item before Sunday disappears from the planet, A Look at the Series: Fear the Walking Dead.

Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew and find out what to expect from AMC’s new original series Fear the Walking Dead. Don't miss the premiere, Sunday, August 23 at 9/8c, only on AMC.
This is an even more elaborate and prolonged trailer than the one I featured at the end of 'The Walking Dead' at Comic-Con, the Emmys, and the Saturn Awards.  I like the idea of exploring how the urban infrastructure becomes a trap and how people react to things they've taken for granted disappearing.  Both of those apply to just about any apocalyptic scenario, not just the zombie apocalypse.  I also enjoyed this trailer, which my wife and I watched on TV yesterday.  It ran as part of a marathon of "The Walking Dead" on AMC that resulted in a lot of hits for D&D alignment charts for 'The Walking Dead'.  I decided to return the favor by posting the promo.  My wife and I will be watching the premiere, but this trailer made us want to watch it even more.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

WXYZ prepares for 2015 Dream Cruise

"Stay tuned for a preview of Dream Cruise, as the other half of Entertainment Sunday"--so ended Green Cruise for 2015.  It's time to follow through with what WXYZ has already posted on the event, beginning with EDITORIAL: Woodward Dream Cruise.

WXYZ is a big booster of the Dream Cruise which I've called an example of dopamine returned on gasoline invested, as an example of how tourism is good for the local economy.

Cruisers have already arrived on Woodward and are driving up and down the boulevard, as WXYZ reports in Countdown to the cruise.

Cruisers are already getting ready for the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise.
Follow over the jump for more examples from WXYZ of participants preparing themselves and their cars for this year's Dream Cruise.

Green Cruise for 2015

Yesterday was the Ferndale Green Cruise, the environmentally friendly answer to the Dream Cruise.  The Detroit News has the story in Green Cruisers celebrate pedal power, fight pollution.
Just one week away from the largest one-day car cruise in the world, some Metro Detroiters embarked Saturday on a different kind of cruise.

Bicyclists from across the region are rolling down Woodward — and plenty of other roads during the 11th annual Sierra Club Green Cruise.

The event celebrates the various forms of human-powered transit that can help to cut down the use of fossil fuels. It also illustrates the growing popularity of bicycling in Metro Detroit and spotlights efforts to reduce air and water pollution.

“The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness about the fight against climate pollution,” said Jerry Hasspacher, Green Cruise chairman. “We want to cut down the emission of greenhouses gases.”
C&G Newspapers explain more about the event in Ferndale’s Green Cruise promotes bicycling, walking.
“Part of the reason the Green Cruise was originally started and continues to be one week ahead of the Dream Cruise is, certainly, to be looked at as an anti-Dream Cruise,” Co-Chair Tom Dusky said. “This is an alternative to those people who celebrate vintage car travel the following week with providing several bike rides all around the area.”

The Green Cruise was organized for the first time by Royal Oak resident Shirley Bavonese when she became frustrated with the noise and pollution of the Dream Cruise. Along with her children and friends, Bavonese started riding her bike up and down the street, and the next year, the Green Cruise began with the backing of the Sierra Club.
“A lot of this has to do with your health and the health of the planet, really,” he said. “The world has really gotten overpopulated now, and the stresses pollution and mankind put on the planet is now beginning to be quite noticeable, with the effects of global warming and the weather patterns, that changing your mode of transportation is a fairly easy change to do, and it makes for a much healthier you.”
So far, there seems to be no video of this year's event, but the Detroit News has a slideshow of the Sierra Club's Green Cruise.  When a video becomes available, I'll post it.  It will be as close as I get to attending, as I missed the event again.  I blame Donald Trump.

Stay tuned for a preview of Dream Cruise as the other half of Entertainment Sunday.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 article on Trump and Michigan's sore loser law

At the first Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump refused to take a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and did not rule out an independent run for President.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Trump could run afoul of Michigan's sore loser law
Donald Trump's answer to the first question of Thursday night's debate, that he would not pledge to support the Republican nominee and would not rule out an independent run for President.  If Trump ran as an independent, he would have to make a decision by December of this year, two months before the first votes are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Otherwise, the current leader in the polls for the Republican nomination might end up without his name on Michigan's ballot in November 2016.

The reason Trump's name might be absent from next year's general election ballot if he runs as an independent is Michigan's "sore loser law."  This provision of Michigan's election law prevents the loser in one party's primary election from running as an independent or a nominee of another party in the general election.  Unlike most other states' version of this law, Michigan's also applies to presidential candidates.

According to, Trump's name is likely to be placed on the primary ballot by the Secretary of State as one "of the individuals generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates for each party's nomination."  If his name is not listed, then his campaign has until Friday, December 11, 2015 to file to get on the ballot for the March 8, 2016 primary.  Normally, candidates have three business days to withdraw their names after the deadline, which would make the final deadline to decide on appearing on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate Wednesday, December 16.  After that date, Trump's name will remain on the ballot for the primary, making him subject to the "sore loser law."
The story of Gary Johnson, the last presidential candidate to end up on the wrong side of Michigan's sore loser law, at the link.  It updates what I wrote in Michigan Secretary of State attempts to screw over Libertarians three years ago, which I crossposted to Michigan Liberal.  Also, click on the link for a video about Trump refusing to rule out an independent candidacy.  It's not this one from Wochit: Trump-inspired Debate Drama Highlights Unsettled GOP Field .

It took just one question for chaos to erupt in Cleveland. "Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person," asked Fox News' Bret Baier to kick off the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign for president. Only one hand went up, and with it, billionaire businessman Donald Trump sparked fresh waves of anxiety within the GOP as he went on to headline a debate that at times felt more like a circus than a forum for those who aspire to the White House.
As I've written several times already, Donald Trump is both good copy and great entertainment, as I expected he would be. article on independent candidates for Ann Arbor City Council

Sally Hart Petersen, seen here submitting completed nominating petitions, is facing Jane Lumm in the only contested Ann Arbor City Council race in the general election.
Courtesy of Sally Hart Petersen for City Council with permission.
Only one independent running for Ann Arbor City Council
Tuesday's primary election may have determined the Democratic nominees for Ann Arbor City Council, but the final line-up wasn't determined until Thursday.  That's when the signatures on nominating petitions submitted by the 5 P.M. Wednesday deadline were checked to see if enough valid signatures had been collected.

Only one independent made the November ballot, Jane Lumm.  Lumm, who represents Ward 2, is currently the only sitting member of City Council who is not a Democrat.  She is facing a challenge from Sally Hart Petersen, a Democrat who had represented Ward 2 alongside Lumm from 2012-2014.

Another independent submitted signatures to the City Clerk, but failed to get on the ballot.  The Ann Arbor News reported late Thursday afternoon that Kevin Leeser submitted 104 signatures, but only 92 were of registered voters in Ward 5.  Leeser thus fell eight short of the 100 minimum required.
More details at the link, including someone trying and failing to circumvent Michigan's "sore loser law" and another potential candidate who failed to submit his petitions on time.  Who says municipal elections are boring?  Not me.

Consider the above a follow-up to article on Democratic nominees for Ann Arbor City Council.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hiroshima 70 years later

With all the attention I gave to the GOP debate yesterday, I neglected an event that has more direct bearing on the theme of this blog, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  For a blog about the collapse of civilization to ignore the beginning of the time when nuclear weapons were feared and expected to be the most likely cause of the end of civilization would be a shameful act of neglect.  Under the guise of "better late than never," I'm avoiding this dereliction of my duty as a doomer blogger by commemorating the anniversary a day later.

I begin with Test Tube News explaining the history behind Why The U.S. Dropped A Nuclear Bomb On Japan.

It has been 70 years since the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. What was the reasoning behind this devastating act of war?
That was the beginning of a nuclear-armed world.  What's it like nearly a lifetime later?  Follow over the jump for the answers.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Drinks for the candidates in tonight's debate

I concluded Proof of drinking game concept on Kasich with "Two candidates down, eight to go.  Stay tuned."  I took care of drinks for Kasich and Trump, now it's time for the rest of the candidates.  Follow over the jump for the rest of the drinking game at You Might Notice A Trend along with drinks for the remaining eight candidates.

Proof of drinking game concept on Kasich

P M Carpenter posted the following C-SPAN video of John Kasich at Voters First Forum in John Kasich's rank simplicity on parade with the commentary "The clip is only four minutes long. You can do this. It's a hard but necessary viewing."

I decided to test the last drinking game I included in Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates in a comment to the entry.
Let's see how he did against the General and Kasich-specific cues for the drinking game at You Might Notice A Trend.
•If any candidate tries to out-pander Trump, take a drink. This also applies to Trump, who is allowed within the rules to pander as much as inhumanly possible.

(One drink--eliminating "Sanctuary Cities")
•If Kasich is even on the stage, take two drinks right off the bat because it probably means Christie got arrested beforehand and there was an opening.

(N/A, as it's for the Fox News debate; besides, it's Perry who won't be on stage, not Christie)

•If Kasich talks about immigration reform, take a drink.

(Yes, one drink)

•If Kasich defends his time working for Lehman Brothers, throw bottle at screen.
•If Kasich mentions how he was with the bipartisan team that got a balanced budget going in Congress back in the 1990s, take a drink and pity the poor guy because he just used the word 'bipartisan' in front of a GOP primary crowd that considers it a trigger word.

(Two drinks, as he mentioned it twice)

That's four drinks in four minutes. Good thing my glass was full of Crystal Lite.
It worked!  Now for an appropriate drink.  How about a Columbus Cocktail after Kasich's home town of Columbus, Ohio?
1 1/2 oz gold rum
3/4 oz apricot brandy
1 oz lime juice

Shake briefly with a glassful of crushed ice, and strain into a double-cocktail glass. Add a slice of lime and serve.

Looks good.  Two candidates down, eight to go.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 article on Democratic nominees for Ann Arbor City Council

Jack Eaton was the only incumbent Ann Arbor City Council member to win against a challenger supported by Mayor Chris Taylor.
Eaton For Council, with permission.
Challengers and incumbents split primary victories for Ann Arbor City Council
Ann Arbor City Council will see two new members this fall, as two incumbents fell in Tuesday's Democratic primary.  Zachary Ackerman edged out sitting council member Stephen Kunselman as the Democratic nominee for Ward 3, while Chip Smith handily unseated Mike Anglin in Ward 5.

Two other incumbents held on to their seats.  Sabra Briere easily fended off a challenge from Will Leaf in a quest to retain her seat in Ward 1.  Council member Jack Eaton had nearly as impressive a victory over challenger Jaime Magliera in Ward 4.
Ward 2 did not hold a primary, but it may add to the number of incumbents turned out of office this year.  Former council member Sally Hart Peterson is running as a Democrat against her former colleague and current incumbent Jane Lumm, who is running as an independent in the general election.  Lumm used to be a Republican in a city that now has no elected Republican officials.  Peterson lost her seat last fall when she ran unsuccessfully for Mayor.
Details of all four contests at the link.

As for the relationship between this entry and this month's theme, let's just say I know Michigan politics, including that of what counts as my former home town in Michigan.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Asking advice on naming my Prius

Today, I'm tackling another of this month's prompts, "Do you prefer to take advice from strangers or from people close to you?"  The answer is that I prefer to take advice from the people close to me.  I know where they're coming from and how much I can trust them.  That written, I'm going to ask both friends and strangers about what to name my Prius.

Follow over the jump for the names I want my readers' advice on.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Three areas of expertise

I foreshadowed today's entry near the end of NABLOPOMO for August: KNOW.
I may even use the prompts.  Monday's prompt, write about three things I know, has me thinking already.  Check back to see if I use it.
I woke up early this morning and lay awake in bed mulling what to write, so I decided to get up and follow through.  As the proverb says, you can't plow a field by turning it over in your head.

This theme reminded me of three prompts I used for the fresh theme in April 2013: Which environmental cause is closest to your heart and why; Which natural resource do you worry about the most; and How do you interpret the words "live simply?"  My responses to those questions led from one to the next.
As for the answer to the first prompt's question, my favorite causes used to be biodiversity and air pollution, but that was before I committed myself to Detroit. Now it would some combination of energy, food, and water, three topics I emphasize in my teaching. If I had to pick one out of those three, it would be energy, particular[ly] green energy. The one thing that connects my old and new environmental interests is climate change, which lies at the intersection of energy and air pollution.
That might work as an answer, but I'm not an expert in food; I just care about it as an issue.  That leads directly to the answer to the next prompt.
One answer would be to simply repeat what I wrote on April 1st...  However, that's fudging it.  Fortunately, I have a way of counting how many times I've used those labels, along with some others.

197 energy
118 food
113 climate
 96 biodiversity
 86 oil
 19 water

Energy wins in a landslide!
I later used those numbers to fit the 7:4:1 ratio of energy to food to water to the list of suggestions in The Sustainability Dozen: how to live more simply.  I then used the categories in my blog to reorganize the slide I showed my students--blogging as professional development!

The above still doesn't answer the question, though.  I may teach about energy, food, and water, but I'm not really an expert in all three.  Instead, the top three excluding food from list above--energy, climate, and biodiversity--better describes what I really know well.  I teach three classes, Geology, Environmental Science, and Introductory Biology II, and I lecture about all three topics in all three classes.  In fact, the subtitle for Introductory Biology II is Biodiversity, Evolution, and Ecology.  Biodiversity is right there in the name!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates

Welcome to more of entertainment Sunday.  For the "more thoughtful entry" I promised in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart, I've decided to have some fun with Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates, especially the ones participating in this week's debate.  Trump has so completely blended show business and politics that I may as well treat him as entertainment.  After all, the Huffington Post does.

I begin with the item that inspired me to write this entry, Tipsy Bartender's The Donald Trump Cocktail.

Finally a drink based on DONALD TRUMP! It's green for his money with a flaming orange top for his hair!
1/2 oz. (15ml) Hennessy
1/2 oz. (15ml) Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. (15ml) Vodka
1/2 oz. (15ml) Peach Schnapps
1/2 oz. (15ml) Blue Curacao
1/2 oz. (15ml) Sweet & Sour
Orange Half
Bacardi 151
Even Skyy knows that Trump isn't getting the nomination.  He also knows why John McCain's history as a POw matters, but that's a subject for another entry.

In the meantime, I want to point out that there are other drinks with Trump's name attached to them. Tipsy Bartender's wasn't the first!  Follow over the jump for more drink recipes and several drinking games inspired by Trump and the other GOP candidates.

'Pirates of the Caribbean' alignment chart

Welcome to entertainment Sunday.  I might get around to a more thoughtful entry later, but in case I don't, I'm sharing this entry in the spirit of the four Game of Thrones alignment chart entries and D&D alignment charts for 'The Walking Dead' by sharing something I should have posted on a Talk Like A Pirate Day entry already, a "Pirates of the Caribbean" alignment chart.

It took all four movies, but the result was something I agree with.  Here's to hoping that the fifth movie lives up to the first three; the fourth is another matter.

No alignment chart post of mine would be complete without the appropriate music, so here's He's a Pirate (Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Theme) Violin Cover - Taylor Davis.

Original song "He's a Pirate" by Klaus Badelt

In case my readers are worrying that I've already used up my material for Talk Like A Pirate Day, don't worry.  I already have something else planned.  If that doesn't work out, I have backup plans.  Besides, I'm an environmentalist; I can always recycle.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


It's a new month so it's time for a new theme.  From the email.
.August's NaBloPoMo Theme: KNOW!

What do you know, and how well do you know it? I'm willing to bet that you're an expert on something, and thankfully, it's not the same old things that everyone seems to declare themselves an expert for.
So this month, we're pooling our knowledge. We're telling people what we know. We're listening to other people's thoughts. And we're learning something in the process.

You can read more about the new NaBloPoMo theme on our opening post.
More from the website.
Knowing what you know, what you really really know, is important because those skills become what you can teach. It's what you can pass along to another human being and make your mark on this world. Yes, we all have things that we know that we can pass along to others. I'm willing to bet that you do it every week through your blog whether you've thought about it like that or not.

So this month's theme is celebrating what you know. Pop over to #BlogHerU to learn more about experts. Back to school means reflecting on what you learned as a child. And maybe it's time to learn something new. To start a new project, learn a new language, take that cooking class.

To just know more.
This theme looks very promising.  In fact, this is right up my alley.  I love learning new things and love even more to pass along what I know.  Both of those, as well as dealing my feelings about collapse and living in Detroit, which "collapsed first and avoided the rush," are the reasons I keep this blog.  I hardly need an invitation to write about what I know, but I'll take it anyway.  I may even use the prompts.  Monday's prompt, write about three things I know, has me thinking already.  Check back to see if I use it.
Sign up for August's NaBloPoMo and tell us what you know.
I did the day the page was posted and am now sixteenth on the blogroll.  Yes, I'm that eager.