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Todd Hymas Samkara's Posts

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Stats on how much Americans pay for essentials

$1.99 -- price of a gallon of 1% milk at Fred Meyer, a big-box chain store, in Seattle $5.69 -- price of a gallon of organic 1% milk at Whole Foods in Seattle $4.29 -- price of a Big Mac Extra Value Meal at a Seattle McDonald's (Big Mac, medium fries, medium soft drink) $3.65 -- price of a venti (large) latte with organic milk at a Seattle Starbucks 38.7 -- average percentage of income that American households in the lowest 20 percent of income-earners spent on food in 2003, amounting to $3,178 1* 7.1 -- average percentage of income …

Read more: Living

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Move Thyself: Birth of a semi-regular column

Bush bails on his bike, but unlike Critical Mass riders, gets away scot free

The British press is all atwitter today about what's likely the top story in cycling news. Remember back in July at the G8 summit in Scotland when President Bush, struggling to ride a bike, wave, and speak at the same time, ended up crashing into and injuring a police officer in full riot gear? Details of the incident were sketchy until now, as Bush and the ever-faithful Scott McClellan attempted to skirt embarrassment, but the official police report of the incident has just been released and, among other things, it describes Bush, amusingly, as a "falling object." What a lovely …

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Drunken cycling update

SD Senate passes drunk-cyclist-friendly bill

For all of you holding your breath (and your beer) for the day drunken cycling and horseback riding are finally sanctioned in South Dakota as a safer alternative to drunk driving, the latest update in the saga is that the state Senate passed a version of a bill on Monday that's just what the die-hard cyclist ordered. Importantly, the Senate bill avoids the redefinition of bicycles that the earlier House bill had incorporated, with the happy side effect that cyclists now shouldn't lose their rights to the road in the rush to legalize two-wheeled drunkenness in the state. (Hey, I'll …

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It's a BUI!

Should bicycling drunk be illegal?

Some important bicycle-related debate has been going on in South Dakota for the last few weeks. That's right, South Dakota. Should cyclists and horseback riders be able to ride while intoxicated -- since it's usually a much safer alternative than drunken driving? The state Supreme Court just ruled that the current law says No: Bicycling can be considered "driving" because it qualifies as operating a vehicle. So cyclists still can be, and sometimes are, cited for DUIs in South Dakota. While this comes as bad news for imbibing anti-car velorutionaries (who needs a DD when you have your trusty cruiser? …

Read more: Cities, Politics

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EI, EI, Oh

Rare good news about Environmental Illness/Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Finally a bit of good news about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (aka Environmental Illness). And you thought there was no such thing as good MCS news. Or, more likely, you didn't know much about MCS/EI. Anyway, if that's the case, you're hardly alone. Even many who have the condition don't know much about it. First, a bit of background. MCS is a syndrome characterized by a range of adverse symptoms brought on by exposure to an equally broad array of chemicals, with symptoms usually appearing at exposure levels far below those that would affect the rest of the population. Symptoms vary …

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Climate change is pissing off the bears

Arctic Refuge bears driven by global warming to eat people — really

The tragic story of two kayakers killed this summer by a hungry grizzly in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the focus of a captivating cautionary tale about global warming's effects on wildlife in the latest issue of National Geographic's Adventure Magazine -- like unto Grizzly Man, but without the intentional disregard for sensible caution. Scarce food's been getting scarcer for caribou in the refuge and making already-hungry tundra grizzlies more and more aggressive, sometimes fatally so. According to a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey report, increased spring snow and ice [in the Arctic Refuge] -- a paradoxical result of global …

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Tire-less activism

French SUV-haters deflate gas-guzzling tires

Most every cyclist who's rolled alongside cars for any amount of time knows the feeling, the one that makes you pump your fist at that driver who nearly ran you over, or that one whose tailpipe is emptying its contents into your face, or the one who's emissions are melting that glacier you liked so much (anger rising, rising). It's this sort of frustration that makes regular bicycle commuters and eco-conscious citizens of all stripes regularly curse outright at aggressive, too-large-vehicle drivers: "you just wait. You'll get yours." Now some activists in France are dishing out those just desserts to …

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Voucher, schmoucher

School vouchers won’t solve educational or environmental problems

Dan Akst contends that a program of school vouchers is what's needed to solve this country's sprawl problem by encouraging otherwise flight-prone would-be suburbanites to stay in the city, thereby easing the push to city outskirts. Well shucks. It's an interesting argument, for a minute at least. OK, less than a minute. After that, the argument can be seen for what it is: a vaguely environmental rationale to justify defunding public education, while perpetrating the rich-poor, class, and race divides in our society. School vouchers would neither improve schools, decrease pollution, nor curb sprawl -- the essay's central contentions. Not …

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Critical Mass media

NYC cops crack down on bike event; media misunderstands it

Critical Mass, the monthly parade/protest/ride/celebration/cycling phenomenon has for years been billed as "bicycling's defiant celebration," but recently in NYC, it's been getting more defiant and less celebratory. Ever since last year's truly huge Critical Mass ride during the Republican National Convention -- which attracted thousands and thousands of cyclists and worldwide media attention -- snarled traffic and resulted in 250 arrests and scores of bicycle seizures, NYC cops have been increasingly arrest-happy at NYC Critical Mass events, throwing over 500 cyclists in the slammer in just one year. At issue (aside from the flaws of the whole government apparatus and …

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The future is now

National Geographic describes future tech, and we are frightened

A feature aimed at kids in the online edition of National Geographic called What will life be like in 2035? has a few interesting insights. The magazine first details the technological marvel that'll be all the rage in 2035, the self-driving car: Relax, play a video game, watch a DVD, or catch up on your reading while you're driving downtown. What? While you're driving? Yep, because you're in your self-driving car. This car makes smart, safe driving decisions by communicating with other vehicles, joining car caravans, and navigating around construction and road debris. All you have to do is tell …

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