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Corey McKrill's Posts

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Energy policy: a good opening hook?

Senate candidate shows energy policy promise; rocks at parties

Oregonian candidate for U.S. Senate Steve Novick seems refreshingly up on energy issues: But is he electable? Well, they say Bush got votes because people perceived him as a guy they could relax and have a beer with: I'd say he's got it in the bag.

Read more: Politics

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Getting a jump on waterfront property speculation

Use Google Maps to simulate rising sea levels anywhere in the world

One of the most memorable scenes in An Inconvenient Truth is when Al Gore makes the sea level rise 20 feet and inundate various low-lying regions of the world, including Manhattan and Florida. It was suitably squirm-inducing, especially if the viewer happened to live in one of the areas shown. For the rest of us, or at least for me, however, the lingering question has been, "what would it look like where I live?" Now, thanks to Google's mapping API and the ingenuity of one Alex Tingle, we have Flood Maps, where you can view any part of the world …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Bird's eye spew

Before and after shots of mountaintop-removal in Google Earth.

Back in January, Grist's InterActivist column featured John Amos, the head of SkyTruth. SkyTruth uses satellite photos and digital mapping technologies to reveal what is difficult to see from the highway: just how exactly we're changing our planet. Seeing a clearcut or a mine from a bird's-eye perspective often adds a visceral dimension to an otherwise rather abstract-seeming issue. One especially useful application for this sort of imagery: showing the extent of the havoc wrought by companies doing mountaintop-removal mining. Recently a coalition of Appalachian grassroots organizations, ILoveMountains.org, released a series of overlays for Google Earth showing "before" and "after" …

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Hippies and rednecks unite!

College field program shows there’s more to citizenship than going to the polls.

Take a break from freaking out about the election and listen to this NPR audio clip about Whitman College's Semester in the West program. It's a biennial, semester-long environmental studies field course, with a heavy emphasis on public lands issues. If you have any passion about environmental issues, traveling, and/or camping, I guarantee this will make you want to go back to school. (Grist featured Phil Brick, the professor in the story, as an InterActivist back in October 2005.) I myself am an alumni of the program, and I'd say the audio clip is quite well done. It provides a …

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Animal terrorism

First there was the pack of squirrels that attacked and killed a dog in Russia. Now there's a group of "urban" raccoons taking out house cats in Olympia, WA. Apparently they even managed to carry off a small dog, although it survived the encounter. What's next? Serpents that infest a jet airliner and viciously attack the passengers with poison fangs? (Woops, didn't mean to spoil any movie plots ...) In other news, a Celebrity Cruises ship arrived in Seward, Alaska, last weekend with a dead humpback whale pinned to the bow.

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Being exploited? Exploit them back.

Tomorrow, Alaska's primary election will include an important ballot measure that imposes new regulations and taxes on the cruise ship industry. For environmental protection, it includes beefed-up regulations that will hold cruise corporations more accountable to Alaska's strict pollution controls, as well as allowing civil action suits against violators. For economic growth, it proposes a head tax on all cruise passengers coming into the state, the revenue of which will be used for services and infrastructure related to the cruise industry. Further, it will tax income from onboard gambling and force companies to pay corporate income tax. And it will …

Read more: Politics

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Going to jail for the environment

Today I received an email from my friend Kate, with whom I studied environmental politics and geology in college, and who now works for the Cascadia Wildlands Project in Eugene, Oregon. On Monday, she was arrested in Medford, Oregon, during a protest against the roadless-area logging recently approved by the Bush Administration. Below the fold is her letter describing her experience and explaining why she chose to participate in an act of civil disobedience. I've added links to relevant bits of background. "Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless or, which is the same thing, corrupt." …

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The monkey thing is just an act, and it's irrelevant anyway

Our ongoing environmental and economic setbacks are the successes of the current administration’s co

Anyone who's been following the systematic dismantling of environmental protection occurring in this country knows that the Bush administration is anything but incompetent. The people in power have very specific goals, and a lack of competence wouldn't have gotten them as far as they are today. Over on AlterNet, George Lakoff explains the philosophy that has brought about our recent failures and setbacks: The conservative vision for government is to shrink it - to "starve the beast" in Conservative Grover Norquist's words. The conservative tagline for this rationale is that "you can spend your money better than the government can." …

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Net Neutrality: Why you should care

Congress is expected to vote this week on the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006," which, in all its Orwellian glory, is written to allow internet companies to compartmentalize the web, restricting access to domains that can't or won't pay a fee to be able to load at full speed. It undermines the concept of net neutrality, whereby internet users have equal access to any and every website, be it a corporate media node or a personal blog. According to Vint Cerf, one of the "founding fathers" of the internet, this is bad: My fear is that, as …

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You are positively glowing this evening, my dear

Champagne vineyards threatened by radioactive contamination

Global warming isn't the only thing threatening wine. In France, groundwater less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards has tested positive for radioactive contamination, caused by a nearby leaking nuclear waste dump: "We have been told for decades that nuclear dumpsites will not leak and that the best standards are being applied. In reality the dumpsite in Normandy is a disaster, and radioactivity is already leaking from the dumpsite in Champagne," said Shaun Burnie nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International. "The authorities know they have a problem in Champagne already, with mistakes in the design. This is only the …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food