Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Article Finds Me, Final Train Report, a Stray Thought

When my mom showed up, she brought a copy of MIT Technology Review from August, 2006.
Essentially, most of the issue is a special report titled "It's Not Too Late" and subtitled "The energy technologies that might forestall global warming already exist." Almost all of it is available online. Worth reading.
It also gives me another global warming hero to add - Jim Hansen, of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Mark Bowen wrote the article about Hansen, and the Hansen quote he begins his last paragraph with is fabulous: "No court of justice or court of international opinion will forgive us for what we are doing now, because now we know the problem and we're just pretending we don't understand it."

And we can do something different. An earlier quote from the article says ""Green" building codes, combined with energy-efficient lighting and appliances, would be sufficient to hold electrical needs -- and the number of power plants -- constant for many years."

The train ride back was great - although we got in a half hour late. We had a LOT more fun than driving, didn't have to feel guilty for traveling, walked more than usual on a trip (around our destination city, Portland). Amtrak security is not as personally intrusive as the airlines, and so it also seemed somehow very civil.
The downside? The train was too wobbly for easy reading or typing.

My stray thought for the day? We're talking about rebuilding a major road in Seattle - the Seattle Viaduct. It has be done, or scrapped, and it carries a LOT of traffic. So the discussion is build a tunnel (think big dig) and get the ugly road below our waterfront, giving us a chance to do nice things with the waterfront, or rebuild what we have. Both choices are expensive; the tunnel is more expensive. So I was thinking that maybe we wanted to do the tunnel anyway, since the Seattle waterfront is deplorably ugly for such a pretty city. But I can't help but wonder, if we get a sea-level rise from global warming, which seems likely, is the tunnel going to flood or the above ground viaduct going to be undercut by the waters of Puget Sound? Have we accounted for sea level rise in the engineering? It seems like we should.

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