A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

January 30 to February 6, 1998

Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Saturday, January 31

10 am - 12 pm
Matthew Brady's Portraits: Images as History, Photography as Art
Harvard, Fogg Museum
exhibition from January 31 - April 19
v 7 pm
Dancing with the Left: Benefit for Latinos for Social Change = comida, musica (food, music) BYOB
contact http://www.igc.org/lacasa/latinos.html
Spontaneous Celebrations, 45 Danforth St, Jamaica Plan
Tickets $10.00 Students/Unemp. $5.00
Editorial Comment: Spontaneous Celebrations organizes the annual Wake the Earth Festival in JP in May, always a great occasion.

Sunday, February 1

11 am
The Boston Public Schools: Your Stake in the Future
Thomas W. Payzant, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools
contact 266-6710 or commchurch@igc.org
Community Church of Boston 565 Boylston St, Copley Sq, Boston

3 pm
Gallery Talk on Matthew Brady
Deborah Martin Kao and Charles Cunningham
Harvard, Fogg Museum

Monday, February 2

10 am - 12 pm
Recent Civil Aviation Investigations
Barry Strauch, National Transportation Safety Board
MIT Building E51, Room 095

4 pm
Jesse Jackson
Harvard Law School, Ames Courtroom

4:10 pm
Mass Political Culture and Democratization in South Africa: The Causes, Consequences and Possibiltiies of Political Tolerance
James Gibson, Univ of Houston
Harvard, Taubman Building, Room 275

4:30 pm
The Uses of Heavy Quark Symmetry
Mark Wise, CA Institute of Technology
Harvard, Jefferson Lab, Room 250

Tuesday, February 3

National Engineers Week
The Engineering Center
contact 227-5551 or http://www.engineers.org
Park Plaza Hotel, 64 Arlington St, Boston

12:30 pm
Sharing Risk, Sharing Responsibility: Healthcare Organizations' Responsibilities for Quality and Performance
Kathleen Jennison Goonan, Blue Cross Blue Shield
Harvard School of Public Health, Kresge Building, Room G-2

3 pm
Recent Developments in Heavy Quark Theory
Mark Wise, CA Institute of Technology
Harvard, Jefferson Lab, Room 250

4 pm
The Teamster/UPS Strike: What It Takes to Win
George Cashman, Local 25, Teamsters; Ken Hall, UPS Division, Teamsters; Rand Wilson, Communications, Teamsters
Harvard, Kennedy School, Starr Auditorium

Wednesday, February 4

National Engineers Week
Keynote: 11:30 am
Kenneth Wylde, Federal Highway Administration
contact 227-5551 or http://www.engineers.org
Park Plaza Hotel, 64 Arlington St, Boston

1 pm
Aspects of Traditional Tibetan Law and Legal Literature
Leonard van der Kujp, Harvard
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 3

4 pm
Stable Isotope Relationship Between Carbon in Land Plants and Carbon in the Atmosphere: Applications in Deep Time
Hope Jahren, GA Institute of Technology
contact bevkt@mit.edu
MIT Building 54, Room 915

7:30 pm
Privatization of Open Space
Urban Design Committee, Boston Society of Architects
contact 495-2727
First Parish Church, 3 Church St, Harvard Sq

8 pm
MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition Spring Kick-off: Rules for Revolutionaries
Guy Kawasaki <Kawasaki@garage.com>
MIT Building10, Room 250
Editorial Comment: Guy Kawasaki is reportedly the first person to have Evangelist as his job title at Apple. His announcement includes a reference to an online map to find this or any other place at MIT: http://whereis.mit.edu/bin/map?locate=bldg_10&size=5 I wonder how his "rules for revolutionaries" compares to Saul Alinsky's _Rules for Radicals_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0679721134/alistA/)?

Thursday, February 5

12 pm
Electromechanical Response of Solids from First Principles (Condenses Matter)
Umesh Waghmare, Harvard
Harvard, Pierce Hall, Room 100F

A Rising Tide Inundates Everything: Preceptions of the Capital and the Development of Paris and Tokyo
James White, Univ of NC
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 2

2 pm - 4 pm
Environmental Risk, Trust and Democracy
Roger Kasperson, Clark Univ
contact 495-3605
Harvard, 1737 Cambridge St, Seminar Room 4

3 pm
Recent Developments in Heavy Quark Theory
Mark Wise, CA Institute of Technology
Harvard, Jefferson Lab, Room 250

4 pm
Constitutionalism and Political Economy
Russell Hardin, NYU
Harvard, Emerson Hall, Room 108

South Korea's Financial Crisis: Legal and Economic Aspects of IMF-Mandated Reforms
Alice Amsden, MIT; Kon Sik Kim, Seoul National Univ; James West, Harvard
Harvard Law School, Pound Hall, Room 419

4:30 pm
Reforming the Chinese Health Care System: Progress and Challenges
Peng Peiyun, MInistry of Health, Stae Planning Commission for China
Harvard School of Public Health, Snyder Auditorium

5 pm
Bhopal Disasters: Advocacy, Ethnography, History
Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Harvard, Barker Center, Room 133

6 pm
Martin Carnoy, author of _Sustainable Flexibility: Work, Family, and Community in the Information Age_
Harvard, Gutman Library, Gutman Conference Center

7 pm
Bach's Music and Newtonian Science: A Composer in Search of the Foundations of His Art
Christoph Wolff, Harvard
Harvard, Music Building, Room 2

7:30 pm
Advances in Improbable Research: Lament del Cockroach
Marc Abrahams, author of _The Best of the Annals of Improbable Research_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0716730944/alistA/)
contact authors@mit.edu
MIT Building 10, Room 250
Editorial Comment: If you missed the Ig Noble Prize ceremonies, this is a kind of "instant replay," with lecture, slide show, and performance of a short opera. I wonder if Deborah Henson-Conant (http://www.hipharp.com) will play?

Friday, February 6

Berlin: Fashioning a National Capital at the End of the Twentieth Century
contact 495-4303 x240
Editorial Comment: What does the next Brasilia look like?

12:30 pm
Japanese Women and Human Rights
Nariko Takeda, Kinjo Gakuin Univ
Harvard Law School, Pound Hall, Room 419

3 pm - 5 pm
Good Teaching - In a New Day: MacVicar Day Lecture
William Bowen, Andrew Mellon Foundation
MIT Building E15, Bartos Auditorium

4 pm
Diamond-Carbonado: Deep Mantle or Deep Space?
Stephen Haggerty, Univ of MA
contact bevkt@mit.edu
MIT Building 54, Room 915

4:30 pm
Multidimensional Voting in Spain: Analytical Perplexities of Coexisting Party Systems
Thomas Lancaster, Emory Univ
Harvard, Center for European Studies, Cabot Room

Saturday, February 7

Berlin: Fashioning a National Capital at the End of the Twentieth Century
contact 495-4303 x240

Sunday, February 8

Berlin: Fashioning a National Capital at the End of the Twentieth Century
contact 495-4303 x240

Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:

act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message

Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809

Computer Organizations of NE (CONE):
Boston Webmasters Guild

Community Technology Center Network

Table of Contents

Developing World Solar

Editorial Comment: I reworked the following information from the Solar Electric Light Fund's Webpage (http://www.self.org). I thought they'd buried the lead. My intermittent comments appear throughout the text enclosed in brackets. Enersol Associates (55 Middlesex St, Suite 221, N Chelmsford, MA 01863 (508)251-1828, enersol@igc.apc.org) has been doing similar home solar system work first in the Dominican Republic and now throughout the Caribbean. Unfortunately, they don't have a Webpage.

Solar Electric Light Fund
1734 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

The Economics of Solar Home Systems

Approximately 400,000 families in the developing world [last I heard, there are over 40,000 off-the-grid households in the USA but Real Goods (http://www.realgoods.com) keeps more current numbers] are already using small, household solar electric systems to power fluorescent lights, radio-cassette players, 12 volt black-and-white TVs, and other small appliances. These families, living mostly in remote rural areas, already constitute the largest group of domestic users of PVs [photovoltaics] in the world. For them, there is no other affordable or immediately available source of electric power. These systems have been sold mostly by small entrepreneurs applying their working knowledge of this proven technology to serve rural families who need small amounts of power for electric lights, radios and TVs.

PV is measured in units of "peak watts"(Wp). A peak watt figure refers to the power output of the module under "peak sun" conditions, considered to be 1000 Watts per square meter. "Sun hours," or "insolation," refers to how many hours of peak sun, on average, exist in different countries. North America averages 3 to 4 peak sun hours per day in summer while eqatorial regions can reach above 6 peak sunlight hours. [For those of us in North America, one critical question is winter peak, as the people in Maine and Quebec recently found out.]

Solar Home System:
A standard small SHS can operate several lights, a black-and-white television, a radio or cassette player, and a small fan. A 35 Wp SHS provides enough power for four hours of lighting from four 7W compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) each evening [I use 15W compact florescents for my bedroom reading], as well as several hours of television. "System Size" (20, 35, or 50Wp) determines the number of "light-hours" or "TV-hours" available.

Solar Home Systems are 12-volt direct-current (DC) stand-alone systems which use PV to electrify small rural homes. Each SHS includes a PV module, a battery, a charge controller, wiring, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and outlets for other appliances. Descriptions of the components follow:

Solar modules for an SHS range between 20-60 Wp. They are mounted on a rooftop or atop a pole [I betcha they'd attach to a south facing window just fine]. Both crystalline and thin-film technologies are appropriate for an SHS, with price, weight, long-term guarantees and degradation being the determining factors.

An electrochemical storage battery is used to store the electricity converted by the solar module. During the day, electricity from the module charges the storage battery. During the evening, the battery is discharged to power lights and other applications. Batteries are typically 12-volt lead-acid batteries, ranging in capacity from 20-100 Amp-Hours (Ah). Batteries are typically sized to provide several days of electricity or "autonomy", in the event that overcast weather prevents recharging.

Deep-cycle batteries are best for an SHS, as they are designed to operate over larger ranges of charge levels. While car batteries are only designed to be discharged 15% of their maximum charge, deep-cycle batteries can be discharged to 70-80% without incurring damage. Both deep-cycle and automotive batteries are typically used, as they are readily available throughout the developing world. Car batteries have a 3-5 year lifetime; deep-cycle, both sealed and unsealed, can last 7-10 years.

Charge Controller:
A charge controller is utilized to control the flow of electricity between the module, battery, and the loads. It prevents battery damage by ensuring that the battery is operating within its normal charge levels. If the charge level in the battery falls below a certain level, a "low voltage disconnect (LVD)" will cut the current to the loads, to prevent further discharge. Likewise, it will also cut the current from the module in cases of overcharging. Indicator lights on the controller display the relative state of charge of the battery. [I want a universal charge controller, multitester control panel that charges all the different kinds of batteries in the house.]

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs as well as fluorescent tube lights are used for lighting. An SHS normally includes two to six lights. By utilizing efficient fluorescent lighting, an SHS can provide substantially higher lighting levels than would be possible with incandescent lighting. A 9 watt CFL provides equivalent illumination to a 60 watt incandescent bulb. Compact fluorescent lights have a 5 year lifetime; tubes have much shorter lives, but are cheaper and are more readily available in most developing countries.

Wiring & Mounting:
An SHS also contains additional materials for mounting and connections. Metal frames are included to attach the PV Modules to a pole or roof. SHS components are connected by wires and contain switches for the lights. In some cases, wiring is housed inside conduit attached to interior walls.

Solar Home Systems are the least cost method of household lighting and electricity. Rural households that currently use kerosene lamps for lighting and disposable or automotive batteries for operating televisions, radios, and other small appliances comprise the principal market for Solar Home Systems. Families are spending up to thirty dollars per month on home energy services, depending primarily on income levels and fuel prices. The monthly cost of a SHS is on a general world-wide level at $10 per month SELF approximates.

A family using 6 kWh per month to power 9 watt compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) would need over 30 kWh to receive the same amount of light from 60 watt incandescent bulbs. The average 50 Wp SHS provides approximately 200 watt hours a day, or six kilowatt-hours (6 kWh) per month. Based on the price of SHS components, and cost of relative fuels in its country markets, SELF estimates that using 8 watt fluorescent lights generating 400 lumens, a $500 SHS can provide high quality lighting at an average cost of $7.15 per million lumen-hours. For a diesel generator lighting 60W incandescent bulbs, this figure is $28.77 per million lumen-hours. A kerosene lamp can provide lighting at $400 per million lumen-hours.

To judge accurately the affordability of Solar Home Systems in rural areas, one must look not only at comparative lighting costs and how much families are already paying for energy services, but how much more they would be willing to pay for electricity from a Solar Home System. While a simple price comparison is useful in showing that PV is comparable to existing household expenditures for lighting, and the least-cost means of delivering household lighting, it does not convey the higher value placed on electricity over kerosene lighting, or the environmental benefits of solar-based electrification.

For example, in the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal), the families of Sukiki are paying for their solar home systems (SHS) themselves. First, they made a $50 downpayment, after which they will make $15 installment payments each month for 4 years [$790 total cost]. The funds are being collected by the Guadalcanal Rural Electrification Agency (GREA), which SELF helped organize with the aim of "solarizing" all of the islands. The revolving solar credit fund will be used to provide additional loans to more families, and as a growing "solar bank" that will be financed by international donors who have already committed additional funds.

"This was SELF's most challenging solar project to date," said Robert Freling, Director of International Programs. "We had to import all the solar modules and other hardware from the U.S, to the Solomon Islands, then transport it by ship and canoe to Sukiki, where we trained the families to use solar photovoltaics for home lighting."

[Could you live within the Sukiki solar electric budget?]

Table of Contents

Jump Start

The last few months I've been seeing an infomercial for Prestone's Jump It! portable power system on late night TV. It's a 12 volt battery with built-in jumper cables that recharges on househousehold current. On the infomercial, they sell it for about $120. An AC inverter is $49.95 extra (but I had to call to get the price). A week or so ago, I saw a circular from Caldor. They were advertising the Jump It! for $88.88. No inverter mentioned. That's $130 retail for emergency power in your car or house. Invest, say, $200-300 in solar electric panels and you've got the poor man's perpetual motion machine, a start at a personal/family scale "sustainable" energy system for under $500.

Sounds like the Solar Electric Light Fund or Enersol, don't it? I bet you could sell a lot of them in an infomercial, too.

Table of Contents

What I Want for Christmas

Here's an idea that's been on the back of my mind for a number of years now. I'm getting tired of dreaming about it and wonder if my broadcasting the vision will make it a reality sooner. I published an earlier version of this piece in the Begging Bowl for August 30, 1996.

What I Want for Christmas

I want a silicon on silicon sandwich, a photovoltaic solar cell with an integrated computer chip power controller. Modular, so that I can clip them together and power a house. Or a vehicle. Small enough so that I can carry one in a backpack. Or a pocket.

It should be solid, but not too heavy, a chunk in my hand, smaller than a paperback book, and include the PV cell with a clear, unbreakable cover, the power controller, and a battery. The power controller should be built on a chip and the controls would look like a multitester so that I can monitor amps/volts, AC and DC, input and output. The removable battery would be light, rechargable, and recyclable. It would have a charge indicator so that I could see how close to empty I am running and a set of connectors to adapt to as many kinds of plugs and sockets as possible.

It would be able to handle all kinds of appliances, automatically adjusting to the solar input and the electrical load. I'd be able to dial up just the optimum amperage and voltage I need for the CD player or any hand power tool. I could plug into any grid system in the world with the power controller, and optimize that current for the highest efficiency of the appliance I need to use. I could recharge all my batteries, from dry cell aaa's, to A, B, C, D and 12 volt DC and put out any variety of AC.

A Solar Brick (copyright, trademark, patent applied for) I can fit in my pocket should cost less than twenty bucks. I could use it to power my Walkman or laptop, a flashlight or cellular phone. An emergency household system might cost a couple of hundred dollars and be able to supply light and commmunications during blackouts and brownouts and recharge all the household batteries in between.

I think it's probably within our current technology to build this kind of product, maybe even to meet those price points. I'd like to have one for Christmas. And a percentage of the gross profits. Please.

Reality Check:
Ontario Hydro now produces something called an En-R-Pak which is a modular, stand-alone PV system with battery and inverter. It's about as big as a picnic cooler and costs about $1000, as I recall.

Let's say I get one of these PV systems, the solar Philosopher's Stone, for Christmas. What happens if everybody can get one for Christmas? What are the economic effects if we all are suddenly able to buy a lifetime's supply of electricity through PV solar for, say, $10,000, more or less? That's 40 years of monthly electrical bills of $20 or so. Put the panels on your roof and say goodbye to the utility, unless you want to sell electricity back to the grid and make a little pocket change and lower the payback period by a decade or two. Even renters could hang the panels out of south-facing windows and go into business. Homeless people and hikers could use them in the alleys and the mountains. Any true consideration of PV always requires rethinking wealth and value.

Will the Solar Brick ever be built? Or is it just another a dream I have drowsing over my begging bowl, listening for the clink of a coin or the rustle of a dollar?

Table of Contents

Three Facts About Energy

That the "annual energy budget" (90.6 quadrillion btu's in 1995) doesn't count the sunlight that grows all our crops, an amount on the order of 271.8 btu by my back of the envelope calculations. (My calculations are based upon a conversation with David Pimentel (dp18@cornell. edu), that great scholar from Cornell, who wrote "Economic and Environmental Benefits of Biodiversity" in the December 1997 issue of "BioScience" (http://www.aibs.org/bioscience/vol47/dec.97.biodiversity.html). His estimate is that "the annual economic and environmental benefits of biodiversity in the United States total approximately $300 billion." His total estimate for the world is $2928 billion. Another failure in accounting that shows our bean counters don't know beans.)

That in '73 the Germans and Japanese used about 50% less energy per unit production than the US and have tracked our increases in energy efficiency since then so that they are still twice as efficient as the US today. Obviously, the opportunites for energy conservation and efficiency are not yet exhausted.

That every poll I've seen from '73 to the present shows that 70% of the US public prefers research and development into renewables and energy efficiency over oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear. I don't know of any Department of Energy budget that has ever conformed to that reality.

Table of Contents

Useful Aggregrations

According to the _Boston Globe_ of January 18, 1998, Brookline, MA is considering its option for aggregation under the new utility regime. The town's utility deregulation committee suggested that Brookline join MunEnergy, a consortium that purchases electricity and gas for cities and towns through the MA Municipal Association. The MA law for utility restructuring allows communities, businesses and individuals to join together to get a group rate for their power purchases. (Unfortunately, it also allows the utility companies to recover 100% of their so-called "stranded costs" in non-competitive power producers from the rate-payers. These corporations, their stockholders and management, won't have to pay a cent for their decisions to invest in such things as nuclear technology. If you don't like that, you can check out http://www.stopthebailout.com for further information and sign a petition for a referendum on the present state of utility restructuring/deregulation. I have heard that California, another state that has recently passed utility restructuring legislation is also have a referendum campaign on this issue.)

The January 20, 1998 _Boston Herald_ had a front page story on the money behind utility restructuring. "Lobbyists spent whopping $2M to push utility deregulation" and they printed the numbers:
NE Electric System $490,459
Competitive Power Coalition $237,492
Boston Edison $230,000
Enron Corp $200,567
Com Energy $143,089
Center for Energy and Economic Development $100,000

These folks paid this money to the following lobbyists:
Tom Joyce $258,850
Tip O'Neill III (former Lt Governor) $180,000
Andover Strategies (firm of former Weld/Cellucci advisor John Moffitt) $145,000

Nice to see that this was a non-partisan effort. Speaking of lobbyists, one of the biggest in Washington DC is Tommy Boggs, brother of Cokie Roberts of NPR and ABC News.

What are your most useful aggregations?

Table of Contents

Some Online Energy Resources

Ray Darby is the Energy Guy (radarb@TheEnergyGuy.com). He has a Webpage with that domain name (http://www.TheEnergyGuy.com/EnergyGuy/TEG.html) and emailed me recently to inform me of the fact. I also understand that his work has been mentioned at Liberty Tree (http://www.libertytree.org), an online site that aspires to be "the best of the environment on the Web." Here's his explanation of "Why This Site Is Here:"

Chinese Proverb: "If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed."

"It is neither economically or environmentally sustainable to use energy the way we do in the U.S. Over half the energy we consume is wasted, considering the cost effective solutions now available... People of intelligence and compassion follow a more sustainable path when they understand the critical issues and sensible solutions involved... This site intends to deliver un-biased, straightforward, trustworthy, and reliable information regarding energy use impacts and intelligent solutions. In this way, we intend to make appropriate energy choices more accessible... This site provides links to a vast array of energy products and services, helps you learn how to find and select services in your local area, as well as criteria to help you compare the quality and investment value of your choices... This site has no commercials, nothing to "sell" (except perhaps the concept of sustainable energy use) and is not biased toward any particular product or service. Information is gradually being added to this site, so be sure to check back for regular updates."

Another online energy resource is Mike's Photovoltaic Links, of which there are over 200, at

I found out about Mike's Links from the newsgroup alt.energy.renewable and am continually amazed at how much information is there.

The "Green Business Letter" (http://www.greenbiz.com) reports that the Environmental Defense Fund has created an online Electronic Labeling Project (http://www.edf.org/programs/energy/green_power/x_calculator.html) to show consumers "where their electricity comes from, how much electricity they use, and how much pollution is emitted in producing their electricity."

EDF uses estimated data from the Energy Information Administration to generate a simple Electricity Facts label, similar to the nutrition labels on processed foods. EDF hopes that this information will prove useful to consumers when they make decisions about their energy providers in the upcoming restructured and deregulated utility environment.

Table of Contents

House Renewable Energy Caucus

The American Wind Energy Association (122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202)383-2500, fax (202)383-2505, windmail@mcimail.com, http://www.econet.org/awea) notified me recenlty that the Renewable Energy Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives now stands at 117 members, more than one-quarter of the 435-member House.

The Massachusetts members are Jim McGovern (D), Edward J. Markey (D), John Olver (D), William Delahunt (D).

You can make sure your Representative is a member at
http://www.ucsusa.org/energy/caucus.html, and if not, contact him or her to urge that they join the caucus.

Now, if only we had a caucus in the Senate where Majority leader Trent Lott (R) inveighs against "solar hippies," (and if you ever see me, you may realize how apt that phrase is).

Table of Contents

A Third of Energy Is Transport

A friend asked me the other day about how much energy is used for transportation. According to what I've seen and remember, the rough rule of thumb is one third of the energy used in the US is for industrial/commercial production, one third is for transportation, and one third is for residential use. The transportation part is probably the most difficult to solve. We love our cars and have exported that love around the world. One deep reason for that love may be that "some people experience flow more often while driving than in any other part of their lives," as reported by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in _Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0465045138/alistA/). Hence, all the car commercials which never show traffic and the reality that most of us drive 20-30 miles a day doing short hops around town at an average speed of less than 30 miles per hour. (The average speed of traffic in NYC is 5-7 mph I have read.)

About once a week, I get an email from Bill Moore (editor@evworld.com) about the articles appearing in this week's EV World, an online publication devoted to electric vehicle (EV) technology (http://www.evworld.com). Not only do they publish reports from such events as December's Electric Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, Florida and the Detroit Auto Show, complete with audio and video clips, but they also maintain an interactive EV ownership database where owners and operators of electric vehicles can register their vehicles, providing fellow EV enthusiasts, as well as the general public with a central directory of people with real world EV experience.

According to a Reuters articles sent to me by bostoncwa@pop.igc.org, today is the deadline for Northeastern states to decide whether to adopt automobile manufacturers' plans for less polluting cars nationwide or to pursue their own ideas on zero emission vehicles. The EPA will announce by March 2 the outlook for the automakers' plan to introduce cars that are about 70 percent cleaner than existing models and use conventional gasoline, a so-called NLEV (national low emissions vehicles) strategy. A letter from several state Public Interest Research Groups, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and other groups states:
"Technology has eclipsed this 4-year-old proposal. Just last week, the auto industry announced that they would begin to produce vehicles which would be cleaner and more technologically advanced than those they are prepared to offer under NLEV (national low emissions vehicles)."

I'm still trying to track down my favorite quote from the Kyoto Conference, found in the December 22, 1997 issue of "Newsweek" on page 68:
"Ford Motor Co says it can build a van that gets 32 miles per gallon - more than twice its mileage - at no additional cost."
Karen Breslau was the byline reporter and I've placed a number of calls to her to try and ask the follow-up question:
"So why don't they?"

Of course, I speak from total ignorance when it comes to cars, autos, trucks, and SUVs. Never owned one in my life and I drive about once every decade. I don't like the idea of being behind the wheel of something that weighs a couple of tons and moves at such great speeds. I am anxiously awaiting the repair of my bicycle and have been enjoying the more leisurely pace of moving by foot or public transport.

For those of you who prefer human-powered vehicles (HPVs) to the internal combustion engine, David B. Lewis (dbl@ics.com) posted this job notice to massbike@cycling.org, the local biking listserv:

If you happen to be in need of a part-time job over the next few months, Boston needs someone to coordinate the one-day festival portion of its observance of Bike Week (appx. May 18-24), the attendant publicity, relations with vendors, etc. If interested, please contact Vineet Gupta (Boston Transportation Department) at 617-635-2756.

HPV, EV, ZEV, NLEV, SUV? I have to take a short walk in order to sort out all the acronyms.

Table of Contents

The Begging Bowl

Years ago, in the Urban Solar Energy Association days, I produced a series of public service announcements for television. Each one was 10 seconds long and the simplest one said, "A south-facing window is already a solar collector. Learn how to use it. Call the Urban Solar Energy Association for help." They actually appeared on TV for a little while back in the late 70s and early 80s.

Around '89, I produced another series of public service announcements on solar. Each was 30 seconds long. None of the TV stations would play them and only one of them had the courtesy to return the tapes. One PSA compared the sunlight that falls on a single square foot of the Boston area in a year, around 400,000 btu's, to oil (about 4 gallons), wood (about 2 cubic feet), and electricity (about 116 kwh). At least that's what I remember, but, in any case, you should check the numbers for yourself.

On one recent edition of my Cambridge public access TV show, "Energy Advances - the Lectures of the Boston Area Solar Energy Association," (Wednesdays, 9 pm - 11 pm, CCTV) I filled some dead time with a written piece estimating the full worth of one square foot in renewable terms. First there's the solar. Then there's the wind. The water from the rainfall can be valuable and what's the kinetic energy of each raindrop's splash. How much food can you grow on one square foot? How much biomass? Can you do all or some of these things in a systemic way? What do they add up to, year in, year out? Does that mean anything in real money?

How much is a square foot of soil and sunlight worth?

How "A List..." works:
If you want to have a listing included in "A List..." please send it to me before noon on the Friday before the event and if said even is deemed suitable for coverage, it will be included in the appropriate edition of "A List..." Articles and reviews, ideas, rants and opinions are also solicited. Publication is up to the erratic discretion of the editor.

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George Mokray
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

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