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The Kitchen Sink / Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Last post by RE on Today at 06:40:18 PM »
He could then build a small house, paying as he goes,and then sell the trailer, maybe, and not be tied to a huge debt for his whole career.

When is he going to build this small house?  On his one week off out of 5 OTR?  He has it in budget to buy all the building materials for the house so it meets code?

Sell the mobile home?  Like carz, they lose 20-30% of their value as soon as you pull them off the showroom floor.  5 years down the line, you would be lucky to get half what you paid for it.

Knarfs Knewz / Extinction Is Forever
« Last post by knarf on Today at 04:39:25 PM »
Around 25,000 of my colleagues flew to a conference, leaving a colossal carbon footprint in their wake. This makes our warnings less credible to the public

‘Most scientists burn more than the average American, simply because they fly more.’

This weekend, 25,000 Earth, Sun, and planetary scientists from across the US and abroad flew to New Orleans for the annual American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. These scientists study the impact global warming is having on Earth. Unfortunately, their air travel to and from the meeting will contribute to that warming by emitting around 30,000 tonnes of CO2.

As an Earth scientist and AGU member myself, I know the importance of their work. Still, there’s something wrong with this picture. As scientists, our work informs us – with dreadful clarity and urgency – that burning fossil fuel is destroying the life support systems on our planet. There’s already more than enough science to know we need to stop. Yet most scientists burn more than the average American, simply because they fly more.

Few people know how harmful it is to fly in planes, including scientists. In 2010, I sat down and estimated my climate emissions. It turns out that, hour for hour, there’s no better way to warm the planet than to fly. I’d flown 50,000 miles during the year, mostly to scientific meetings. Those flights accounted for 3/4 of my annual emissions. Over the next two years, I gradually decreased my flying.

Eventually, there came a day when I was on the runway about to take off and felt an overwhelming desire not to be on the plane. I saw too clearly the harm it was doing to the world’s children, to all the beings on our planet. I haven’t flown since 2012, nor have I wanted to.

Today, while I know that my career could progress slightly faster if I flew, I find it hard to imagine a scenario that would make flying seem worthwhile to me. (If I really want to attend a conference in person, I take the train.) And I’ve realized that the main impact of reducing our emissions isn’t the emissions reduction itself: by modeling change, we tell a new story of what’s possible, shifting the culture and opening space for large-scale change.

In becoming scientists, we didn’t sign up to burn less fossil fuel or to be activists. But in the case of Earth science, we have front row seats to an unfolding catastrophe. Because of this, the public takes our temperature: if the experts don’t seem worried, how bad can it be?

When we make a conscious effort to contribute less to global warming, we can better communicate the urgency of the Earth system changes we’re seeing. As a citizen and a father, I know I feel a responsibility to sound the alarm. Not to do so, for me, would be a kind of denial.

I’m not alone. Over 400 academics have signed a petition at, and a few Earth scientists have joined me in telling their stories at Together, we’re pushing for increased use of web-based and regional meetings, more remote support from the AGU, and more support from our academic institutions, which ostensibly exist to make the world a better place.

Like academics, climate activists also tend to fly a lot. This sends its own contradictory message: if the people urging us to burn less can’t even do it, then it must be impossible. But in reality, many of us could cut our emissions in half with little effort.

People who’ve gone even further than this report that their lives become more abundant and satisfying as a result, not less.

I’d love to see what would happen if prominent climate activists and outspoken celebrities would consciously, publicly, and radically reduce their own fossil fuel use. They could begin by flying less.

Burning fossil fuel causes real harm, and will become socially unacceptable sooner or later. Those of us who know the seriousness of global warming must do everything we can to stop it, and like it or not, AGU scientists play a key role. Once this shift gains momentum, policy and systems-level change will follow more quickly than we can imagine.

    Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but is writing in a personal capacity. He is the author of
    Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution
The MCC carbon clock demonstrates just how much carbon can be released into the atmosphere if global warming shall be limited to 1.5°C, or 2°C with high probability. By selecting a choice of temperature targets and estimates, you can see how much time remains in each scenario.

In the Paris Agreement, all countries worldwide decided to limit global warming to well below 2°C (ideally as much as 1.5°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. This is extremely ambitious and essentially means that we are tightening our carbon budget. In concrete terms, it means that reaching the 2°C target with a medium probability would allow us to emit at maximum only about 760 gigatons of CO2 between 2017 and 2100 into the atmosphere (stand 1.1.2017).¹ However, at present the world is still emitting 40 gigatons of CO2 every year.⁴ This corresponds to 1268 tons per second. In that context, the remaining budget is shrinking rapidly.

THE CARBON CLOCK -at the site

The clock is ticking. The carbon clock of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) shows just how little time is left for political decision-makers. Visitors of the MCC website can set out to explore which policy objectives under which scientific assumptions would allow for how much time to implement effective action.

For example, on the top left of the clock you can select, for reaching the 2°C target, an optimistic upper estimate (about 940 Gt¹ remain in the budget), a medium estimate (about 760 Gt² remain), or a pessimistic lower scenario (about 390 Gt¹ remain). The right of the screen shows the scenarios that would correspond to the 1.5°C target.³ The carbon budget that corresponds to your selection is then displayed, alongside the remaining time left.

The calculation is based on the assumption that annual emissions remain at the level of 2014⁴; while between 2000 and 2010, an annual growth of greenhouse gas emissions of 2.2% has been observed¹. The MCC scientists Alexander Radebach and Tom Schulze are responsible for the concrete calculations based on the above-mentioned budgets and output rates as well as for the realization of the carbon clock.



¹ IPCC, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA (Cambridge University Press, 2014); SPM Table 1.

² IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland; Table 2.2.

³ J. Rogelj et al., Energy system transformations for limiting end-of-century warming to below 1.5 [deg]C. Nature Clim. Change 5, 519 (2015). // The "medium estimate" for the 1.5°C target is the arithmetic mean of the upper and lower estimates from Rogelj et al.

⁴ C. Le Quéré et al., Global Carbon Budget 2015. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 7, 349 (2015).
Knarfs Knewz / EU tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move
« Last post by knarf on Today at 04:22:07 PM »
BRUSSELS/CAIRO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to Europe to ask allies to join the United States in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but met a firm rebuff from EU foreign ministers who saw the move as a blow against the peace process. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, took his own case to Egypt on Monday and was expected to fly to Turkey for a meeting of Muslim countries this week, cementing support from leaders who say the U.S. move was a dire error.

President Donald Trump announced last Wednesday the United States would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel and the Israeli military said it responded with air strikes and tank fire targeting a position of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the enclave.

On the ground in the Palestinian territories, violent clashes with Israeli security forces in which scores of Palestinians have been injured and several killed since the U.S. announcement last week appeared to have mostly subsided.

Netanyahu, on his first visit to EU headquarters in Brussels, said Trump’s move helped peace, “because recognising reality is the substance of peace, the foundation of peace”.

Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it in a 1967 war, considers the entire city to be its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.

The Trump administration says it remains committed to the peace process and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status. It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.

But even Israel’s closest European allies have rejected that logic and say recognising Israel’s capital unilaterally risks inflaming violence and further wrecking the chance for peace.

After a breakfast meeting between Netanyahu and EU foreign ministers, Sweden’s top diplomat said no European at the closed-door meeting had voiced support for Trump’s decision, and no country was likely to follow the United States in announcing plans to move its embassy.

“I have a hard time seeing that any other country would do that and I don’t think any other EU country will do it,” Margot Wallstrom told reporters.

Israel’s position does appear to have more support from some EU states than others. Last week, the Czech foreign ministry said it would begin considering moving the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while Hungary blocked a planned EU statement condemning the U.S. move.

But Prague later said it accepted Israel’s sovereignty only over West Jerusalem, and Budapest said its long-term position seeking a two-state solution in the Middle East had not changed.

On Monday, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said of Trump’s decision: “I‘m afraid it can’t help us.”

“I‘m convinced that it is impossible to ease tension with a unilateral solution,” Zaoralek said. “We are talking about an Israeli state but at the same time we have to speak about a Palestinian state.”

The Palestinian president, Abbas, met Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo, as well as the head of the Arab League. Egypt, a U.S. ally with a peace treaty with Israel, has brokered Israeli-Palestinian deals in the past.


Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would have “dangerous effects on peace and security in the region”, Sisi said on Monday at an earlier meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abbas was also due to fly to Turkey. Trump’s announcement has triggered a war of words between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Netanyahu, straining ties between the two U.S. allies which were restored only last year after a six-year breach that followed the Israeli storming of a Turkish aid ship.

On Sunday, Erdogan called Israel a “terror state”. Netanyahu responded by saying he would accept no moral lectures from Erdogan who he accused of bombing Kurdish villages, jailing opponents and supporting terrorists.

On Monday Erdogan took aim directly at Washington over Trump’s move: “The ones who made Jerusalem a dungeon for Muslims and members of other religions will never be able to clean the blood from their hands,” he said in a speech in Ankara. “With their decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has become a partner in this bloodshed.”

Trump’s announcement triggered days of protests across the Muslim world and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

In Beirut, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest at a march backed by Hezbollah, the heavily-armed Iran-backed Shi‘ite group whose leader called last week for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel. An announcer led the crowd in chants of “Death to America! Death to Israel!”

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told the crowd by video link the group was turning its focus back towards the fight against Israel: “Today the axis of resistance, including Hezbollah, will return as its most important priority ... Jerusalem and Palestine and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance in all its factions.”


Netanyahu, who has been angered by the EU’s search for closer business ties with Iran, said Europeans should emulate Trump’s move and press the Palestinians to do so, too.

“It’s time that the Palestinians recognise the Jewish state and also recognise the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem,” he said. In comments filmed later on his plane, he said he had told the Europeans to “stop pampering the Palestinians”, who “need a reality check”.
A group of early internet and computing pioneers have called on the Senate’s FCC oversight committee to censure next week’s net neutrality vote. In an open letter to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, 21 signatories said that FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s “rushed and technically incorrect” plan to repeal net neutrality “is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create.” They want the committee to ask Pai to cancel the vote, which is currently scheduled for December 14th.

The list includes some of the people responsible for creating the internet as we know it. That includes Steven Bellovin, a former FTC chief technologist who helped develop Usenet; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Vinton Cerf, who co-created the internet’s underlying TCP/IP protocol; Steve Crocker, who helped develop the protocols for internet predecessor ARPANET; and Stephen Wolff, who helped transform the military ARPANET into a civilian research and communications network.

Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

This group points to a 43-page comment submitted by internet experts in July, which was critical of Pai’s early rulemaking notice. Among other things, it said the notice put forward a flawed definition of how the internet works, suggesting that people already expected ISPs to manipulate their data. “Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings,” they write. “The current technically-incorrect order discards decades of careful work by FCC chairs from both parties, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.”

The letter also raises objections we’ve seen from other groups. It notes the millions of seemingly bot-generated submissions that polluted the online comment system, and more generally claims that the FCC has failed to engage with the public: it “has not held a single open public meeting to hear from citizens and experts about the proposed order.”

Like previous calls to delay or cancel the vote — including ones from public interest groups, lawmakers, and two FCC commissioners — this probably won’t sway Pai. His office called another recent request a “desperate” attempt to stall the vote, and the agency intentionally ignored even valid comments unless they included “serious legal arguments.” But it adds some more voices to the long chorus of objectors.
Knarfs Knewz / On 12/12, Break the Internet to stop the FCC.
« Last post by knarf on Today at 04:12:52 PM »
Comcast, Verizon and AT&T want to end net neutrality so they can control what we see & do online. They want to gut FCC rules, and then pass bad legislation that allows extra fees, throttling & censorship. But Congress can put a stop to all of this.

Site to send a message to congress.
The Kitchen Sink / Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Last post by Eddie on Today at 04:10:03 PM »
Full Disclosure, I DID Violate my No Debt Oath once, when I bought my Freightliner from JB Hunt.  However, this was a very odd deal with very good terms for the drivers who qualified.

At the time, JB was trying to offload some of their debt to improve their balance sheet.  We got the trucks for half the cost JB paid for them new to begin with.  The down payment was very low, as I recall it was $5K minimum, I put $10K down.  If you didn't pay off the loan or couldn't sell the truck, JB would buy back for some amount depending on the condition of the truck.  The risk was pretty low for me at the time, and the upside was more money and greater control over my life OTR.  So I signed the papers and the truck was mine.  Unlike debt for a McMansion though, it had ROI.  It wasn't a money sink, it made money for me.


A very important distinction. An 18 wheeler is an asset. A house (at least according to some experts like Robert Kyosaki) is a liability.

But most of us have to have a place to live, and renting versus owning is a decision that requires examining ones own needs and situation. If LD is buying land. owning a trailer gets him on the land right away. He could then build a small house, paying as he goes,and then sell the trailer, maybe, and not be tied to a huge debt for his whole career.
Knarfs Knewz / An illusion of paradise up in smoke
« Last post by knarf on Today at 04:07:50 PM »
LOS ANGELES — Southern California is the landscape of dreams, or so the mythology goes. Newcomers arrive. They raise the roof beam high over the simplest foundations and pass on to a new generation the hope that they too might believe in this sun-drenched paradise.

Time, however, has cast a shadow on this pact, and it sometimes feels like a distant romance. Yet glimpses of it can still be seen, as the fires of this last week have shown.

Beginning Monday the wildfires have been indiscriminately cruel –– incinerating homes, killing horses and upending lives. It has touched mogul and farmer, homeowner and renter, young and old alike.

Flaring up almost at random, it has linked disparate cities and neighborhoods — Ventura and Sylmar, Santa Paula and Bel-Air, Malibu and Bonsall — and forged a common experience among dusty inland horse ranches, coastal mansions, oak-hidden enclaves and ocean-view apartments.

In this climate and on this landscape, fire is the great equalizer.

But all natural disasters are. They provide a glimpse into the vulnerability of others no matter their place in life. Houston. Florida. Puerto Rico.

Only it wasn’t supposed to be this way, not here at least. Palm trees aren’t supposed to ignite like matchsticks.

“No place on Earth offers greater security to life and greater freedom from natural disasters than Southern California,” so claimed the Los Angeles Times in 1934.

We’re learning otherwise.

“It’s never been easy to make a home in America,” said D.J. Waldie, author of “Holy Land,” a memoir of growing up in a Southern California neighborhood. “We are not unique, except we have a burden of a mythology that presents California — especially Southern California — as somehow exempt from the difficulties, I would even say cruelties, of making a home in America.”

But fire is the cruel joke of Southern California, and the irony is rich: Everything that makes this place special — the mountains, this salubrious climate between desert and sea — is the reason for the wind-driven destruction.

Our naivete is to blame as well, a willingness to forget that these fires are nothing new. “Disaster amnesia,” as Mike Davis called it in “Ecology of Fear.”

Yet abandoning illusions is never easy, no matter the reality at hand.

Unlike New York or Chicago — cities of concrete and steel — Southern California is a landscape of chaparral amid stretches of undeveloped and undevelopable land, the ruffles in the Transverse Ranges: the Puente Hills, the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Verdugos, the San Gabriels, the San Bernardinos, the Santa Monicas.

So when Santa Ana winds blow, lips chap, eyes sting, there is little doubt of what lies ahead when a fire starts. Skies turn a burnt orange; cars are dusted with ash.

Last week, the escalation was especially fast.

In the flood of media reports, firefighting became spectator sport, driven by statistics: more than 165,000 acres burned, more than 500 homes destroyed or damaged, 5 percent containment.

Small talk was quickly informed by the language of the fight: “cat’s eyes” for the embers that glow at night, “skunk” for the fire’s sneaky incursions beyond the front line.

Soon the region was collateral damage: schools closed, freeways shut down, air unbreathable.

We took stock, going through that terrible drill: 10 minutes to evacuate, what would you take?

For those who fled the fires, it was a violin, a photo album, a neighbor’s collection of running medals. It’s only stuff, but it’s stuff that makes them who they are — not all that different from us.

One man had just returned home in the hills above Ventura to watch the final licks of fire consume a cherished piano.

A couple loaded trailers with wild-eyed horses outside of Ojai as the smoke of the approaching blaze blotted out the sun.

An elderly woman was afraid she would lose the home in Bel-Air that her husband built for her 30 years ago.

They are strangers, but it is as if they lived next door. Given the capricious nature of these wind-whipped infernos — leap-frogging block to block, covering 15 miles in a few hours — they might as well.

Others stood ankle deep in ashes, the open sky above them where once there was a roof. Shovels in gloved hands, they searched for old spoons, pieces of jewelry, fireplace tools — talismans of their past.

Like the Avon Mother’s Day plate from 1982, glazed with a cartoon of a little boy holding a bouquet of wildflowers. “Little Things Mean Alot,” reads the scripted legend.

It doesn’t matter if it was Rupert Murdoch with his Bel-Air estate — mostly unscathed — built in 1940, with its memories of past owners, the titans of Hollywood. Or if it was a family with their Craftsman-style home — destroyed — in the Santa Ynez Mountains, where there were weddings in the backyard.

Their dreams are the dreams of this landscape, separated only by matters of degree.

“I very quickly fell in love,” Murdoch once said when describing his $30-million property, words most everyone has spoken before.

An affinity for place — be it a horse ranch in Little Tujunga Canyon or a mobile home in northern San Diego County — cuts across all divides, and when it burns, it burns down the illusions of the past, so tenderly clung to, so quickly lost and so eagerly reclaimed.

But for now, the battle is all there is, with the reassurance that soon the burning will stop. And it will.

“Fires are luridly dramatic,” Waldie said. “They have a narrative arc with a beginning, a middle and an end. They feature battles with a monster as the action rises and falls.”

This story too has its heroes: the firefighters, of course, and their support crews, and a few strangers along the way.

They were five friends, high school buddies who, upon seeing a palm tree ablaze above an empty home in Ventura, grabbed garden hoses and went to work as embers rained upon them in the gusting wind. They had driven from Camarillo, drawn to the flames and to a neighborhood 15 miles away.

And they didn’t even know whose home it was.
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