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Traffic “experiments” and a cure for waves & jams

William Beaty
..It’s always a good idea to drive without changing speed and without competing with other drivers for bits of headway. I’d always assumed that the reasons were philosophical rather than practical (i.e. try to be a calm, nice person.)

But my above experience shows differently. A single solitary driver, if they stop “competing” and instead adopt some unusual driving habits, can actually wipe away some of the frustrating traffic patterns on a highway. That “nice” noncompetitive driver can erase traffic waves. I suspect that the opposite is also true: normal competitive behavior CREATES the traffic waves. ..
Hat tip to Ran Prieur. -LJ
The passage quoted above has the quality of a parable. -BA

Petrolius – satire
Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
Ever wonder what an ad for oil would look like? We did, so we made one. Check it out

…All joking aside, our addiction to oil is of grave concern. In the US, we consume over 25 percent of the world’s oil, yet we make up less than 5 percent of the world’s population. Did you know that transportation accounts for over 70 percent of our oil consumption? We need transportation, yet we never bargained for the side effects that are now threatening our way of life.

We have a better vision: We envision a world where all people have access to mass transit and bicycle transportation, where gas stations are obsolete and our cars run on solar power and biodiesel, where oil wars no longer fuel violence and turmoil, and where oil refineries have become relics of the past.

We’ve got a 12-Step Program to put us on that path. Step #1 is admitting we have a problem. If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already completed that step. And you’re ready to get us on the road to recovery.
(Sept 2006)

Book Review – The Worm Forgives the Plough by John Stewart Collis.

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
A Review of ‘The Worm Forgives the Plough’ by John Stewart Collis. 2001. House of Stratus Publishing. 290pp.

collis1The question of how agriculture will adapt to life after the oil peak is one increasingly in people’s minds. Cuba is often cited as the paragon of urban agricultural inventiveness, rethinking their city spaces as intensive market gardens and their rooftops and balconies as productive spaces. While there is a huge and important role for urban agriculture in an energy descent culture, it is important also to remember large scale agriculture. After all, in the closest historical comparison to a national Powerdown, World War 2, every garden, allotment and open space in England and Wales was intensively gardened, yet still only 10% of the national diet was obtained in this way. The rest relied on agriculture and farms.

collis‘The Worm Forgives the Plough’ is a classic of English countryside literature. Collis was a writer and intellectual who had served in the First World War, and who was conscripted for the second, but posted within England. He asked if he could be transferred to work in agriculture, and this was granted. He spent a couple of years on a farm in Devon, and then the rest of the war restoring a woodland. Collis writes about a fascinating period in English agriculture, when mechanisation was arriving, but much of the traditional was still in place. Horses were used, hayricks were made, potato clamps built, alongside the newer tractors and fertilisers.

This is a book which is timeless in its relevance. Indeed his style of writing, divided into short essays of 2 to 3 pages on a particular topic, have far more in common with the blogging style of today than with the writing of the time.
(6 Sep 2006)
UPDATE: “The Worm Forgives the Plough” is a wonderful book, one of many works in English countryside literature – a wonderful source of information for English-speakers about what life was like in an agrarian society. Some of the books are poetic and some are hard-headed and unsentimental. The late John Seymour wrote many how-to guides with an awareness of the tradition. William Cobbett wrote his own how-to guide about 200 years ago: “Cottage Economy.” -BA

Book Review – The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

Aaron Newton, Groovy Green
Regularly it happens that in mid-conversation someone will ask me if I’ve read a certain book. Typically this person will go on to give a short summary of the book and then herald it as something interesting, something I should read. Sometimes however something completely different happens. After asking if I’ve read a certain book the person I’m talk with will give no details regarding the book; only pause as if to rearranging the direction of our discussion based on whether I have read the book or not. When this happens with the same book several times I know I need to read it. Such was the case with “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight.” I’ve been hearing about this book for several years but not in the typical way. This book belongs in another category. It seems to have such a profound affect on those who read it that they are sometimes forced to reorganize their conversations when speaking to those who have not.

“The Last Hours of ancient Sunlight”, by Thom Hartmann begins by explaining the state of our environment and the devastating effects of human behavior on the Earth during the last 10,000 years. With terrifying honesty it chronicles the level of damage facing those of us living in the 21st century and hints at the disturbing consequences facing our children. It goes on to give an historical account of how humans have come to upset the ecological balance of life and how a shift in the way we perceive ourselves in relation to our environment has created two distinct human macro cultures on our planet.

Younger Culture arrived roughly 10,000 years ago with the widespread adoption of agriculture. The humans that make up this culture, roughly 99% of the population alive today, sees themselves apart from nature and in most cases actually in command of the natural world and all it has to offer.

…Read this book so that you can be a part of the conversation about changing our culture in hopes of changing the world.
(31 Aug 2006)