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Avocado Tom Tarka
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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For those looking to help with Typhoon Haiyan relief for the Philippines, I wanted to suggest donating to Save the Children.

A good friend of mine works for them and just got deployed to the Philippines last night. They (and he) had a huge and prolonged Hurricane Sandy effort and do top notch work.

http://www.savethechildren.org/
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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Help transformative techs in India, or apply for a grant if you're in India.
 
+Jacquelline Fuller wrote:

"We recently launched our Google Impact Challenge in India — asking Indian nonprofits to tell us how they’d use technology to transform lives. We’re asking for your help to spread the word about this opportunity to Indian nonprofits in your network. 

The application window is now open and Indian nonprofits are invited to apply online until September 5th at: g.co/indiachallenge. Four recipients will receive a Rs 3 crore (about $500,000) Global Impact Award, and technical assistance from Google to help make their project a reality."

If you're an Indian non-profit with big ambitions to change the world, check it out! 
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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I know that you are all a very diverse group, with myriad and varied opinions and faith in the political process, so please feel free to ignore this as appropriate.  

I would ask that if you believe in moving the ball forward with regards to gun control - and yes, I know it's a very small step - please consider calling your Senator and asking them to support the Manchin/Toomey/Schumer/Kirk bill.  The vote will be this afternoon, and it's going to be a tough vote to get to 60.

If you have any questions, please p-mail me...

http://www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=4d44140f-f455-42ad-8a65-0689cc255a9f
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced today that the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act he introduced with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is available to the...
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It is consistent when done from gun dealers; the NICS check has been run 100 million times, with 700k denials.  http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics

My question is why we don't do something if those denials required them to lie on the form they fill out.  Ie, if I say I've never committed a felony, and the NICS check quickly confirms that that's fraud, I should be arrested for fraud and attempting to possess a firearm, or somesuch.  If I make a reasonable error, this should be allowed, most likely.
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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I listened to this on my iPod the other night and was blown away.  I'm not sure I had ever read it, but I'm sure now was the time for me to hear it.

As an aside, one of the things that always gets me about reading American writings from the past is that our forefathers and mothers had the same doom and gloom about our society as we did.  Maybe it's that paranoia that things are going downhill that keeps us motivated to work harder to stop it...

http://www.emersoncentral.com/divaddr.htm
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Divinity School Address Delivered before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge, Sunday Evening, July 15, 1838
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Allison Andrews (Allie)'s profile photo
 
Just out of curiosity, where did you get a recording of this to listen to on your iPod?
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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I passed this on to a couple of friends, and I thought it might be insightful to others. It's some simplified graphics to explain our energy usage: http://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analyses/pubs/EnergyRelatedFlowDiagrams.pdf
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Avocado Tom Tarka's profile photoJim Leonard's profile photoAllison Andrews (Allie)'s profile photo
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Seems to me that the NETL graph is probably better as a slide in a presentation, whereas the LLNL graph might be more effective in a paper, or web page. That said, I feel that the design of the LLNL graph as a visualization tool leaves a lot to be desired. I think it tries to put too many things into one graphic, and fails to make it clear what useful conclusion(s) can be drawn from the data.
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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In July 1969, Maj. James Sizemore and his co-pilot Maj. Howard Andre were shot down and killed while flying a nighttime combat mission over Laos.
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Thanks, Tom.
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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When I talk to people about the realities of energy conversion and where we get our energy, the discussion inevitably turns to Germany as a success story and how we can move to solar and wind just like they did.

When that happens I usually mention that Germany is hemorrhaging $10 billion Euros per year due to their energy policy: they've guaranteed that renewables will get a certain price for their electricity, but customers are not charged that actual cost.  

Turns out, I was wrong...last year it was $17 billion Euros.  

From Nature: 

"Renewable-power producers cashed in an estimated €20 billion last year for electricity that was actually worth a mere €3 billion on the wholesale electricity market. The difference came out of the pockets of consumers."  (Source: http://www.nature.com/news/renewable-power-germany-s-energy-gamble-1.12755)

Oh, and they're building new coal-fired power plants for baseload power due to the combination of nuclear plant shutdowns (based on a moratorium) and due to intermittent renewables being unable to provide that baseload power without storage.  There are also GDP impacts as companies are moving their energy intensive industries to countries with lower energy costs.

Again, I'm for renewables, but these aren't simple problems, and Germany's energy policy has been pretty far from a slam dunk in terms of renewables.

Additional reading:
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/05/germany-must-manage-growth-and-costs-of-renewable-power-iea-says

http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/232111/eu-may-make-german-industry-pay-renewables

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/european-commission-set-to-fight-german-energy-subsidies-a-902269.html
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Yup, and that's a side I'm getting at: deployment of renewables isn't necessarily having the desired effect.  In fact, in the Pacific Northwest its displacing other renewables (hydro).

There are also hidden costs to renewables (beyond the policy issues in Germany) which are not being addressed: grid upgrades, rare earth metal dependancies, etc.
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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I'm new to gmail and over the last 12 hours I've been having problems connecting from my browser, both from home and work.  I.e. I'm getting the message:

"Unable to reach Gmail. Please check your internet connection or company's network settings. Help" messages in my sidebar.

Is this normal?
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Chris Donohue's profile photoKay O. Sweaver's profile photoDean Jackson's profile photoAvocado Tom Tarka's profile photo
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+Dean Jackson : That's what I'm thinking.  I turned it off and everything seems to be working just fine...
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I'm confused by the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.  

Failure to build the pipeline does not mean the resource is not going to be developed: it's already being developed and being transported to markets and will continue to be developed and sold.  

All failure to build the pipeline means is that it's going to not be transported to the Gulf refineries, but instead transported to Canadian refineries, non-Gulf U.S. refineries, or exported.  

The benefit of it being transported to our refineries instead of other refineries is that we transform the raw material into a finished product, which increases the value and improves our balance of trade.  It also means we import more from Canada and less from the Middle East.  

The only downside of building the pipeline is that the crude we'll be using has higher greenhouse gas emissions than some other crudes.  However, as this resource is going to be used anyway - if not by us in the Gulf, then by others, either in North America or abroad - then it doesn't matter: those emissions will still happen.
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It's a nimby thing. People are worried about the pipeline bursting and spilling crude. That may be unreasonable but it's what's going on. Logic has little to do with it. 
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Avocado Tom Tarka

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G+ fail: I accidentally added someone in the "Add more people" line, and when I go to remove them by clicking on the "x" it brings a pop-up preview of who that user is, hiding the "x".
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#ifihadglass  I’d explore American and international running trails and roads, on foot and in vintage VWs, fixing engines, bounding through the wild, attending festivals & burns, and peering into the nooks and crannies along the way.   I’d walk alleys, peering beyond the façade, examining the architecture and beauty of different cities.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/morleyroarly/248540877/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mayhem/7952781758/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/avocado_tom/7481769470/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/avocado_tom/3531552697/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/avocado_tom/5337182248/
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Sounds like fun. :-)
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I have been a student at Rothrock's for a number of years and I have only had positive experiences. The instructors are informative, patient, and diligent in making sure they spend time with each individual student during class. The courses are approachable, but they leave more than adequate room for each student to be both physically and mentally challenged, should that be their interest. Over the course of my study I have gained and maintained a great deal of flexibility and each time I walk out of class I feel more relaxed. As an ultra-marathon runner, being able to strengthen my joints and the muscles around those joints is critical to both preventing injury and to my longevity in the sport. I believe that Tai Chi has helped both from a preventative and a recovery standpoint. Furthermore, it is something which I look forward to doing for a very long time, even after I am no longer able to run.
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Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
Quick service and the optometrist had a great attitude and patient manner. Would go again.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Local shop who wants to do what's right, not what will make them money. They've both repaired tires for me ( patched (not plugged) and also sold me new tires. They always take the time to tell me my options, describe the different tire choices (with comments based on their experience), etc. I go back every time I need tires.
Public - 6 years ago
reviewed 6 years ago
This unpretentious little shop has the best Baba Ganoush I have ever had (the hummus is delish as well). The falafel sandwich was also excellent: large enough to satisfy and very tasty. This shop is a great find ... I think it's open until 8 pm every day.
Public - 6 years ago
reviewed 6 years ago
6 reviews
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Excellent work and great prices.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Great service, good prices, open until 7pm some days, pull-up parking. I think they use environmentally safe cleaning agents too, so that's another bonus. My only complaint is that they don't do same day cleaning, but it doesn't seem like many places in PGH do...
Public - 6 years ago
reviewed 6 years ago