Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#occupy the media

At this point I do not know what to expect from the #Occupy Wall Street movement, but I do admit to being greatly amused at the way tit is making the conventional media squirm, now that that group has decided to cover them at all.  Part of the reason I haven't been writing as much lately is that other people have been doing a damn good job of saying something similar to what I want to express about all sorts of stuff.  On this topic Matt Taibbi has two great posts that address media coverage of OWS.

Why Occupy Wall Street is Bigger than Left vs. Right


Why Rush Limbaugh is freaking out about Occupy Wall Street

Essentially Matt says the OWS message and sometimes their lack of message doesn't fit the conventional media formula.  He's right and even before I read his take on the issue I was almost more interested in watching the media response than watching the protestors themselves.

Conventional Media in the US, and I'm including here Fox, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, etc., has done this country a great disservice by selling out or perhaps just capitulating to the idea that the way to frame a media story is to polarize it, to line up two and only two arguments on the so called left and the so called right (I love their "so called" short hand disclaimer that these terms aren't perpetuated by them but by others) and let two representatives of each end of the political spectrum go at it.  Then at the end of story they offer up a sort of "You Decide!" question to the audience.  It is as if some stories have no right or wrong answer- as if banks receiving 10 trillion dollars in taxpayers dollars should or perhaps should not be able to give more than a hundred billion dollars out in bonuses the following year.  You decide!

Or perhaps some stories can't have more than two perspectives.  I fault all the major media outlets for this but I come down hardest on NPR which pretends not to have biases while the growth mantra of economics is built into everything money story they cover.  There are never any stories about economics that aren't based on the idea that not only is it grow or no-grow but that grow is the best case economic scenario.   I'm not permoting any particaulr alternative here in this post, just pointing out that such a perspective would get no air time on theirs or any other conventional media program.  Ask Diane Rehm about staedy state economics and she'd look at you like you'd just grown another head. 

And that leads me to another way in which it is fun to watch the media fail to figure out what to do with OWS- the group has of yet no clear demands or agenda.  It is as if the media is annoyed that OWS won't get on with it and publish a hard and fast set of wants and a list of leaders who will lobby for those wants.  So that the media can give the right and the left a chance to fight about the OWS set of wants and demonize the OWS list of leaders (You decide!) and then move on to the next media story.

Like I said I don't know what if anything the OWS movement might accomplish.  Personally I'm happy to let them do what they say they plan on doing for a while OCCUPY.  It's interesting enough to watch the media squirm at this point.  I'll leave you with a question though.  What if a group of largely young, largely disaffect youth learn how to organize through consent and were ready to respond to the next big revelation of corporate and governmental corruption, mismanagement or out right theft?  This is what has the 1% concerned.   

Monday, October 17, 2011

bloggin' again?

Note to readers: I parked this blog a few months back.  That had a lot to do with me having lots of (read too many) projects going on in the physical world.  I am going to have to scale some of them back and give up on others.  I am going back to the original intent of this blog, my way of making sense of the world- my therapy of choice.   You might get pictures of narwhals my daughter likes on one day and observations on the #Occupy movement like above on the next.  No promises.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

electric reduction

Another UPDATE:

This is the start of the second year of an effort to more greatly reduce our energy use.  I'm even spelling the months correctly in the most recent chart. 


August rounded out one year with the TED device and the new wood stove.   We saved 3423 kWh.  It also became clear to us that despite living in a home designed to keep rather cool and being pretty conscientiousness about the thermostat (usually between 78-82 degrees F) air conditioning is a huge part of our footprint.

Also this program, Plot Watt, is suppose to interface with the TED and give us a much more thorough breakdown of our usage but I can't get it to work- software issues.

After A/C the big hog is the electric clothes dryer.  We upgraded to a sweet new line and Jennifer, who does most of our laundry, redoubled her efforts to use it.

We're about to get a new washing machine to better address the issue.  Yes you read that correctly.  We're getting a new washer to reduce the amount of energy we spend drying clothes.  Both our washer and dryer are 10 years old.  In addition to a new washer being more efficient in the energy and water it uses, the new one will spit the clothes out almost already dry.  We'll hold off on a new dryer for now. 



It's been a hot, hot summer but still...END OLD UPDATE:

This is a graph that represents the amount of electricity my family used from September 20o9 until March 2010 vs the amount used one year later after installing the TED smart meter.

It represents an average reduction of 44% over a 6 month period totaling 2112 kWh saved. At an average cost of $0.10/kWh that is $211 dollars. The smart meter costs $240.

It also gets us down to about 40% of what the average American household uses and there are four of us.

Read an old post of mine about the TED smart meter by clicking here.