Saturday, April 23, 2011


Work has been demanding for the past week, so I have been taking a break. Posts will begin again this coming Monday (5/16).

I appreciate your patience, and as a reward, here is a picture of the most awesome dog ever.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

High-Speed Rail Is NOT Dead After Budget Fart

Twitter is great for a lot of things:
  • Kim Kardashian non-sequiturs.
  • Helping assholes make money even after everyone knows they are assholes (Charlie Sheen).
  • Spam.
  • Limited writing space.
  • A false sense of community.
Did I say great? My bad. Twitter is terrible.

I guess this is why it comes as no surprise that it is not a great source for accurate information about real-world issues. The most recent panic that Twitter has caused is through inaccurate reporting of what has been killed by the most recent Federal Budget nonsense.

Contrary to popular Tweets, highspeed rail is not dead in the water. In fact, the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) will soon be dealing out a cool $2 billion in federal HSR grants for projects around the nation.

So the money is definitely still there. The trick is making sure that local politicians don't go screwing the pooch and not pursuing the money in a cheap political ploy to give the illusion that they are pursuing other avenues of job creation, which is totally misguided, short-term thinking.

Lets not forget that fuel prices are going to continue to rise at a quicker pace in the coming years, and alternative forms of transportation will be necessary.

If all of my rambling above hasn't convinced you that high-speed rail is alive and necessary, then you leave me no choice but to pursuade you with a picture of Thomas the Train.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Texas Cities Get More Electric Vehicle Charging

NRG Energy (editors note: I get it!) has announced that they are going to be installing 70 EV charging stations in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area and 50 more in Houston by the end of next year, which is exciting considering Texas's traditional focus on oil.

NRG has holdings in wind, solar, and nuclear energy which is good considering one of the complaints about electric vehicles is that a majority of the electricity that will be used to power these vehicles is coming from dirty sources such as coal.

Yes, I realize that nuclear isn't completely clean and has risks which have become painfully apparent with the happenings in Japan, but I still maintain that it is a better technology than coal which essentially poisons everything it touches.

The only lame part of this story is the fact that NRG is planning on calling these stations "freedom stations." Nothing against freedom, but seriously? So weak.

In any event, the EV's success is going to be initially determined by the southern and western states which all have ideal climates for EV operation (warm, dryish, not too many hills). Because of this, it is good to see that cities are getting ahead of the curve and providing a charging infrastructure for the initial adopters of these vehicles.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Comics

Not quite a comic today, but this is my blog and I still found this comical, so deal with it, nerds.

For only $800 you could be the proud owner of a bike that is guaranteed to have hipsters everywhere telling you "I knew of this before you did."

Aside from the initial ridiculous look and about a 80% kill-rate when you hit a pothole, I kind of want one.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Finer Things: Solar-Powered Backpack

I spend a good amount of time talking about how renewable initiatives and sustainable lifestyles will ultimately save money, mainly because that is the only way that these things are going to take hold in mainstream America/R.O.W.

However, lets face it, I'm high maintenance and I like the finer things in life. Those of you that know me totally know this is true seeing that I dine exclusively at Subway and wear my ripped jeans whenever I can get away with it.

So OBVIOUSLY this new item that is hitting the market caught my eye:

Ralph Lauren solar-powered backpack.
For only $800 dollars, this little ditty can be yours. Finally, I can promote clean energy and my cutting edge fashion-sense all in one move.

What's that, you say? You are wondering how much power this provides? Enough for your iPad 2, suckah!
The bag zaps up a 3.45-watt current, which charges a small device in two to three hours when the sun is at full strength.
Did I say iPad? I meant iPhone, but Google's webcrawler doesn't pay as much attention to old products, and I like attracting all sorts of misguided webtraffic.

In all seriousness, having solar panels on your backpack, briefcase, or whatever is a cool idea and someday will definitely be a reality, but until panels are more efficient at extracting energy from the sun's rays, these things are pretty much worthless.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best And Worst Of Each State

Lately I have been doing a lot of research on single-use bag reform and various renewable energy initiatives for work. I love trying to be an overachiever, so I have been doing a lot of work outside of the office, but an unintended result of that is I have been finding it difficult to find the time to really dive into a blog post.

Luckily, one of my readers submitted a link to me last night and I figured that this would be a fantastic opportunity for me to not do any outside research OR write original material!

A round of applause for procrastination, please.

The charts below come from the Mother Nature Network and outline each states most positive environmental statistic along with its most negative. You can click each picture to make them bigger, but I personally find the Texas statistics the most hilarious.

There is something ironic about a state having both the largest presence of clean wind power along with the most carbon dioxide emissions, but it is what it is.

It is probably safe to say that you shouldn't write any term papers on the correlations between these two charts, but if you do, pick Utah and title your paper "Breast Feeding Is Destroying Green Jobs."

You'll get an A just for creativity.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Post: A Step Forward For Electric Cars?

Recently during my spring break I have been doing a lot of mindless browsing on the internet since contributing to society is so mainstream. Even though mostly what I was browsing through involved sports and websites that remind me that I still have the humor of a 13 year old, I stumbled upon something that prompted me to write another article for Sustainabili-City. BMW recently launched a program named BMW i that is focusing on designing and producing electric vehicles in the future. After spending twenty minutes reading through their website and watching their videos, they really caught my attention.

For the most part, what I read didn’t seem vastly different from other companies that are entering the electric car market. They promise to produce cars that are sustainable in every possible aspect. They promise to invest time and money to advance current sustainable technology and discover new ways to engineer their electric vehicles. They even have sexy, well-edited videos that make me wonder why my life doesn’t look as awesome as they portray it to be. What has my attention is frankly quite simple.

They’re BMW.

Now before I go any further, I can honestly say that I barely know anything about cars. You put some form of energy in and you drive to your desired destination. You can’t explain that. But what I do know is that BMW is a widely respected company that produces cars that people want. A major problem with electric cars right now is most people don’t desire to own them. As great as the Toyota Prius is, a lot of people are turned off by it’s physical appearance. I would know since my family owns a Prius. When I drove the Prius to tennis practice my friends made fun of our car by calling it ‘a box with wheels.’ I personally don’t mind how the Prius looks, but if BMW or some other well known company made a sexy electric car that was just as good or better than what is out now, then it would be hard to disagree with my friends.

Fact is people want to drive a car that they are proud to own and be seen in. With BMW planning to enter the market, I am fairly excited to see what the future holds for electric cars. It seems pretty reasonable why when thinking about it in economic terms: if people demand something then it will be supplied. In the past, electric cars have been seen almost as a downgrade when compared with the ordinary gas powered car. It’s exciting now that BMW can prove this false as long as they carry through with their plans and provide us with something such as the i8 or the i3.

But this isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. One problem that is most likely going to happen is the price range of these new vehicles. Even though it’s great that BMW, Lexus, and Chevy are coming out with electric cars, they are more likely going to be tailored for those whom are willing to write a hefty check for their products. But as we have seen in the past, there is typically an inverse relationship between the amount of time that passes by and the price of newly introduced products. It will be interesting to follow BMW i and see what happens in the coming years. You can learn more about BMW i at

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Comics

A little late in the day (9:30 PM is still counted as the daytime, right?), but here is your Sunday Comic!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Obama's Renewed Focus On Clean Energy: Why Did We Stop Again?

A few days ago, President Obama rekindled his focus on domestically produced clean energy.

My reaction: Why did we stop hammering this point in the first place?

Clean energy provides solutions to our current political issues:
  • Job Creation
  • Market Volatility
  • International Relations
  • Sexiness
President Obama has wanted a large reduction by 2035 since he was first elected, but you wouldn't know it considering that there has been little to no actual legislation helping this become a reality. However, there is still hope that this issue will be revived again:
Obama will veer into domestic issues today, when he will announce new goals to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil while increasing homegrown energy supplies, including cleaner electricity
"Tomorrow's speech will mark a transition in our public communications," a senior White House official told reporters yesterday, referring to Obama's energy speech today and others. "You will see a concerted focus on energy." 
The White House's role in developing the electricity standard is reassuring to supporters, some of whom criticized the president's casual effort to pass climate legislation last summer. Key experts in the administration, including economist Nat Keohane, special assistant to the president, and Dan Utech, senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, are working on the standard, according to sources.
Once this becomes a political issue, I believe that it will be hard for any politician to deny clean energy's need for growth. The NY Times makes a great point by saying "Republicans might suffer on Election Day if they're perceived as old-fashioned politicians supporting oil and gas companies while opposing alternative energies."

One can hope that things play out this way.