Monday, December 12, 2011

Slow adoption rates will kill the hybrid car?

Alternative energy vehicles are the rage, in specific circles that is. For the normal consumer the appeal of 'Green' energy still doesn't displace the normal combustion engine. Some would chalk up the lack of willingness by car manufacturers to produce profitable hybrid cars in favour of the cheaper alternatives. Fact of the matter is manufacturers WILL support hybrid, their shareholders will keep them accountable to that, however, it deos have to make money. Gasoline guzzling engines will stop being produced on the assembly line as soon as a more profitable alternative is found (so there is an incentive to find that technology first). We the consumer also have to stop buying (voting with our purchases). In the meantime, the technology in the sub-industry will continue to expand, albeit at a slower pace ,one that mimics what the market dictates. I don't buy into the 'conspiracies' that companies are sitting on hybrid technology. If someone can make a cheap car that's reliable and doesn't use gas (or as much), then they'll win over the market in a big big way.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Distracted Drivers Bill 16 Hits the Streets

After a year of warning the Alberta Government's Bill 16 - the Distracted Drivers law, has come into full effect. From now on you can't so much as fart without the risk of getting a ticket. Although the research / correlation between this form of law and actual decreases in collisions is spotty, Alberta is the last among the provinces to introduce it. So what can you do or not do? Pretty much everything that has to do with electronics in your hand. Here's a PDF of what's included (and yes, cyclists are included). Also from a lawyer in calgary. I can't say that I'm agains the law, I suppose I'm not one to reject big government in all of my business, especially when it means the dumb kids (and adults) texting while driving will get a ticket (On the phone I can't quite understand, and makeup, come on, if I want to get dressed in my car.......)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hyrbid tech relies on battery tech

The advent and expansion of hybrid technology has forced some additional markets to do some soul searching (or innovation as it's commonly called :P).

In order to have the scale of hybrids expected to hit the streets we require a battery that will accommodate the push and pull of driving. There aren't too many options out there so you can expect that car manufacturers are going to (they most certainly are) work hard to come up with better and more efficient solutions.

Currently the nature of hybrid technology is getting lighter and smaller, they keep charges longer and have a greater capacity.

The most prominent resource, currently, for hybrid batteries (which would be the primary method of storing energy) is a mixture called Nickle metal hydride. However, there are alternatives, one such alternative is lithium. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to expand the capability of hybrid batteries, lithium may be one of the answers.

Demand in the lithium market is generally fixed to a handful of major industrial players. Car manufacturers have kicked the tires on lithium, but currently the demand and expectations for increased immediate demand hasn't shot up.

We can expect two things. Lithium will increase in price as demand increased and the mostly fixed supply dwindles. But you can expect additional technologies to emerge using different metals in hybrid batteries.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why So Batty over the Royals

So the Royals Kate and Will arrived and left Calgary after a brief stay. They're a beautiful couple with promise to upgrade the monarchy's profile from bad to so-so.

Why do Canadians care?

I don't think it has anything to do with the Monarchy. Sure some older folks may have strong ties and reasons to be gung-ho for the Queen. But when it comes down to it I strongly believe the reason is based on the fact Canadians have very few big name celebrities, and the ones we do have who are Canadian either don't visit often, and/or don't live here.

So when we have world renowned celebrities show up, well, we get really interested. Anything that walks, has popularity, and is charismatic, well, we'll line up for.

So no, there' sno resurgence to the Monarchy, although no real push to become a republic either IMO. But we do like to catch a glimpse of the people we dream of being (in our dreams).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Hybrids Really help the enviro?

The Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid sits at the bottom getting just 21 mpg in the process. The Touareg Hybrid emits not even 10 percent less global warming-related pollution when compared to its conventional counterpart.

Some hybrids increase power to the engine, whereas others will improve efficiency (reducing gas consumption). Right now technology hasn't improved to the point that a hybrid is heads and tails over the conventional counterparts. Not only that, you're probably not saving money in the long run with less gas if you have to face problems like repairs (which can be hard to complete if there are limited options for your unique car in your area).

Although we'll eventually see cars reach 60mpg owning a hybrid now is more of a luxury than a sound environmental decision that also makes good economic sense.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did you Get your bracelet?

For the Royal Arrival?!

Two ways to see them, limited bracelets available (and you can only get close with them).

In addition to the Stampede Parade, the public has two other limited opportunities to view Their Royal Highnesses: July 7, at the BMO Centre and July 8 at Calgary Rotary Challenger Park.

In both cases, wristbands will be distributed in advance to ensure access to the event sites. You must have a valid wristband to get in.

Wristbands will be distributed at Max Bell Arena (1001 Barlow Trail S.E.) on a first-come, first-served basis on Wednesday, July 6, beginning at 8 a.m.
Wristbands are free, with a limit of two (2) wristbands per person. Individuals have access to one (1) of the events only. Designated areas for people with disabilities will be available.
Wristbands will provide limited access, for 2,500 people, at the north end of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m. where an invitation-only Government of Canada reception will be held in the evening.
Wristbands will provide limited access, for 3,100, to Calgary Rotary Challenger Park from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for the send-off to the airport for Their Royal Highnesses. There is no parking at the site. Calgary Transit will provide free buses to the site from Westwinds CTrain station for customers with wristbands.
Their Royal Highnesses will attend other events during their visit, but access is limited or by invitation only.

They will be going in the opposite direction of the Stampede parade prior to the kick off. Here's their route.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Check out the local farmers markets

Summer means one thing apparently, rain.

But if you catch a break check out some of the local farmers markets rather than the beast 'Calgary farmers market' which is really a mall.

The other day I stopped in at the Hillhurst Sunnyside farmer's market. It's a small outfit with all the veggies you can find, local meats, treats, and other trinkets and spices.

Prices are all reasonable, sometimes cheaper than the store. How about that, organic apples for less than Safeway?

Oh yea, and I'm on a organic beef binge, but that's another post.

You can also try the Kingsland market, I hear the lamb is quite good.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bike Lanes or Bike Paths?

Bike lanes take out a portion of the road. Bike paths are shared with pedestrians.

What should Calgary do with a active, growing, and interested biking community? There are many options being explored, and you can enter into the discussion to shape upcoming civic policy on biking.

If your'e a biker and want to contribute that's a great place. This city may have a ton of bike paths that are great, but it still has a ways to go before we have an efficient route to get people into the downtown core without having to make 27 changes between roads, pathways, back streets, sidewalks, and the like.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Farmers Market in Calgary

First off, the parking is a nightmare. An absolute gong show.

Secondly, it still bemuses me how in all other places on this GLOBE, Farmer's markets are a place for people to get their food from local sources. Generally poor people go to the market where richies go and buy from the 'supermarket' for their spinach marked 'Spain'.

Not so here. In rich countries, mostly a North American phenomenom, the market is for foodies and the wealthy. Some really interesting gourmet snacks at the food court market, I mean farmer's market. But apart from the glorified food court and overpriced local berries, it's an overall disappointment.

This city could use a real market where real farmers show up without the intent on gouging customers at 200% mark up. It IS possible and a food revolution is well underway. We just need a system where the least among us aren't stuck buying up the latest in TV tray dinners and only the wealthiest can afford hot house bell peppers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hello Unnecessary Jails- Goodbye Environment

Canada's crime rate has fallen 17% in a decade, yet the Conservatives want to increase correctional services' budget 21% (500Million).. Oh and while they're at it, they're cutting Environment Canada's budget by $200 million... +2 points for Prison industrial complex, -2 points for the air we breath.. Way to go Canada, real good choice this last election. ( and (

And heres' the thing> i don't believe that because there's a Conservative majority that the majority of Canadians agree with the Republican style spending this govt will be doing. In fact, the majority of Canadians who voted did NOT vote for right-wing fear politics.

Let's not forget about the 6.5 Billion (of your money) Harper's spending on war toys which if not purchased could erase 1/5 of our deficit.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shame on You Husky Calgary

Just saw an employee at Husky who was checking the gas tanks underground take his test sample of about a litre of dirty oil/gas and dump it right down the drain.

Husky in Calgary near Westbrook. What a fail. They should be charged.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My How a Day Changes Things

Yesterday the country looked like this:

Today it looks like this.

If you're big on the environment, and you're big on say, social services, well you just pooped your pants a bit.

What's interesting, although we're not a two party system, if we were, the Conservatives would not hold power. THe popular vote went to the left-wing with about 50%.

Is a united left-wing on the horizon? If not the right will continue running away with victories.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boycott Shark Fin Soup

Shark finning only exists because people (Asians) demand shark fin soup. You can make a difference by making a direct impact on shark fin deman by not eating it.

Seems so simple.

If you know some people who are into the fin soup, then have a dialogue about the 'harvesting' of these fins.

Then check out this website for more info on restaurants near you that sell the 'good stuff'.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New energies?

In the wake of the devastating quake in Japan, and the subsequent problems with th enuclear reactor, the tree huggers (I assume) are back out in full force condemning nuclear power.

I for one think they're nuts. I'm a big environment fan, you know that, but I also follow the facts. Nuclear energy is safe, creates far less pollution than coal or oil, and produces more.

THe bad side is in the event of a problem the effects can be catastrophic. Doesn't happen often, but when it does it's news.

What about other energy sources?

Here is one, how trustworthy the data is I'm not sure, but interesting nonetheless:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Metering Not Out Yet

Remember my metering article?

We're not out the of woods yet, and if this story is any indication Canadians are about to get gouged.

We already pay the most out of anybody in the world pretty much for cel lphone use. If giant telecomes get their greedy way they'll do the same for internet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gonna have to check out food for people

I'm ashamed I've lived near this new store but have never ventured inside> i was dropping off the recycling the other day and I noticed the shop in a run down mini strip mall.

What a neat place, locally grown foods and breads.

Fantastic, will keep you posted on my adventure inside. This will really help any 100 mile diet ...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meat meat meat meat fast

There's a crazy for the paleolithic diet. Periods of fasting, and periods of gorging, mostly on meant.

But does it really work. Do we really need to return to our primitive ways in order to live longer? Or have our bodies adapted to a different form of diet? I think we're ok with not tracking down deer meat and eating it all in a few sittings.... thta's just me though.

Monday, March 7, 2011

DO it, Window Farm

Tough to find sustainable food sources, or rather live on the 100 mile diet, when you live smack in th emiddle of the city.

Well there are many innovative ways to grow some basic herbs and veggies in your window, even if you live in an apartment.

Check it out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Want lower tuition? Outsource it!

Seriously, I read this article from an economist and it made a bit of sense.

When we compare tshirts from 20 years ago and today we find we pay about the same (in fact less given inflation).

But tuition for universities has grown 7-20 fold depending where you go to school.

I'm not a fan.

But the question is why?!

Well part of it is outsourcing.

If you demand your walmart goods and cheap fast wait that's not it...... if you demand cheap goods like any product made in china, you want the lowest price.

The producers know this and they watn to deliver to make themselves competitive. That means lowest price points. Lowest price points means sending jobs/work to those who live with a lower standard of living (largest expense for any company is of course salary).

So pay the Chinese 2/hr vs. 18/hr in canada.

THen pass savings to you.

Universities need to maintain their quality teaching (let's assume quality) by paying their profs. Doesn't help they lose funding from government along the way.

So if it weren't for the globalization of all our products we'd be paying $50 bucks for a t shirt.............

I do'nt like where this is going....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sustainable Food Sources

Just watched Super Size me again last night.

Then this morning a great article from NY Times. ALL subsidies for food go to big fast food corporations. It's made Americans (and Canadians) dumb, fat, and unhealthy. It's also a waste of energy, a waste of resources, and inefficient.

We need to demand better from our politicians who regulate the food industry.

Take a read:

Some key elements mentioned:

* End government subsidies to processed food. We grow more corn for livestock and cars than for humans, and it’s subsidized by more than $3 billion annually; most of it is processed beyond recognition. The story is similar for other crops, including soy: 98 percent of soybean meal becomes livestock feed, while most soybean oil is used in processed foods. Meanwhile, the marketers of the junk food made from these crops receive tax write-offs for the costs of promoting their wares. Total agricultural subsidies in 2009 were around $16 billion, which would pay for a great many of the ideas that follow.

* Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption. Small farmers and their employees need to make living wages. Markets — from super- to farmers’ — should be supported when they open in so-called food deserts and when they focus on real food rather than junk food. And, of course, we should immediately increase subsidies for school lunches so we can feed our youth more real food.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Cost of Water Bottles?

It's steep. Everything from the scam marketers have places on bottle water 'necessity' at the expense of municipal tap sources to the degrading infrastructure of our water mains. It's not good. People have been tricked into believe bottled water is better at the expense of the average consumer (sya 99% of us). Yet less than 1% will reap massive profits from our stupidity.

STAY AWAY FORM BOTTLED WATER. Unless of course that's your only source of clean water, which for many it is. But you'd think Coke, who has the monopoly worldwide on bottled water, would stop trying to scam us at home. But I guess it's more about money rather than being a good neighbor.

5 degrading aspects of bottled water.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whew, Metering Revisited

Well how about that, the internet was used to stop a bill metering internet.

Canadians were quick to respond, well actually it took more than a month, but over a quarter of a million people signed a petition against the proposed metering of internet bandwidth. The Conservative government sees this as an opportunity to get some brownie points with potential voters; they've intervened and asked the CRTC for a reason why they made the ruling to permit the oligopolies to charge what is essentially free bandwidth to consumers.

Looks like, for now, we're safe from being charged exorbitant fees like we have on our cell phones (from the very same companies I might add).

Great to see Canadians slowly losing their rediculous apathy too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who's in Bed? Internet Metering

Remember parking meters? Put in some dimes for some time?

Well now the big billions dollar telecommunications giants in Canada want more of the pie. Despite earning millions upon million every year through our cell phones, tv, and phones (we pay the highest in the world for our cell phones, don't forget that) the likes of Bell, Rogers, and Telus, are combining to meter the internet. I know for sure the first two are working hard to get a bigger piece of the internet pie.

The problem is two fold.

On one hand the CRTC has instructed the oligopoly of telecommunications providers to allow competition. The problem, the competitors need to buy from the oligopoly. One of the problems in an age where people watch TV not on TV but on their computers, bandwidth deamdn increase.

The second level internet providers were actually giving unlimited bandwidth to their customers, or at a lower rate than the big giants. So they want a higher share.

But of course, it won't end there, it will move towards the point (already has with Bell) where everyone will be metered. Well technically we already are, but we haven't had to pay X amount more for tiered service.

This is an afront that the CRTC has caved to. The big giants want even bigger profits and they hate the fact people drop their phones and their TVs for internet. NDP and liberals are on board, but not conservatives. Let's see if they actually give a damn about Canadians.

Sign th epetition, almost half a million already!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oil Sands, Time to Innovate

Fine, we need the oil, but let's do a better job of taking it out of the oilsands before we destroy eveything in Northern Alberta.

H2oil animated sequences from Dale Hayward on Vimeo.

Monday, January 10, 2011

No Irony: Tarbox hits Cig Boxes

Barb Tarbox has received her wish posthumously. Her dying image (deathbed due to lung cancer from smoking), will be prominently displayed on Canadian cigarette boxes even though initially it looked like the shocking picture wouldn't make it to print.

Tarbox's image ewas going to be on US boxes but not Canadian ones, a bit ironic since it was Canada who started putting grotesque images on the boxes in the first place.

Turns out the government did an about face and will start showing the image in Canada.

What sucks with the pictures is that I've never seen the evidence that they work. People who smoke and are offended by the images actually use tin cigarette holders so they can't see the images....too bad. But maybe little kids will be scared ?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ikea Goes Incandescent

Say good bye to tungsten. Ikea is going incandescent-less starting in 2011. No more blubs with tungsten filaments. That's great on one hand, less waste in heat and electricity, plus they last longer.

The downside? Buy bulbs that only fit Ikea lamps. What a racket!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nuclear marketing blitz

Don't like nuclear? You've been victimized by clever marketing. The meltdowns are devastating, no doubt, but did you know COAL kills 2000X more people?

Check out these links:;

Deaths per TWh by energy sources Many Eyes

We can do better. Let's ensure our perspectives are based on scientific research and not the heat of a moment.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Patenting Life

The greatest ruses in American history are probably the way lobbyist for big food corporations did two things

a) made it more expensive for Americans (and Canadians) to get fresh food compared to fast food.
b) took the seed program away from 'open source' universities and instead got patents.

That meant a virtual monopoly on seeds. It also meant that when the wind blew (literally) from adjacent farms the farmer trying to use his own seed could (and routinely were/are) sued by food giant Monsanto.

Monsanto is probably the worst corporation in America doing more harm to Americans than oil companies. Yes, they've made food, and increased production as well. They've also looked after their fat profits at the expense of the overall health and choice of consumers.

Even though it's small fry and Monsanto will bury them in a 10 year litigation, farmers are fighting back.

Consumers can demand better, but you have to get involved/informed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Under new management folks. The zany life of Kat will come at your in 2011 with the latest musings and bitchings from the world of online current events. Beware, be very 'ware'....