Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Seth Meyers and Vox take closer looks at political polarization over climate change

Two weeks ago, I reported July 2016 was the hottest month on record yet.  I didn't go much into the "so what?" about that news.  Seth Meyers answers that question in Extreme Weather and Climate Change: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the current state of climate change.
In addition to the apparent relation between climate change and extreme weather, where we should have a 500-year event for every state an average of once every ten years instead of eight times in one year, Meyers points out that climate change just hasn't become a major issue in this campaign.  When it does come up, it suffers from the effects of political polarization.  As The Week wrote earlier this month, Americans are more polarized over climate change than abortion, polls suggest.
Scientists are overwhelmingly convinced that climate change is real, largely caused by human activity, and a deeply serious problem. The American electorate, on the other hand, is deeply divided over the issue. That didn't use to be the case, The Associated Press reminds us, noting that two decades ago, the leading senator proposing action on global warming was a Republican (John McCain, but still). Then, sometime around 1997, when Vice President Al Gore helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol — and George W. Bush withdrew the U.S. four years later — the Democrats and Republicans started to split, partisan views on climate change growing into a chasm after President Obama was elected and the Tea Party revolted.

Now, climate change is "more politically polarizing than abortion," Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, tells AP. "It's more politically polarizing than gay marriage." Citing surveys by Yale and George Mason University, Leiserowitz has some numbers: 17 percent (and growing) of Americans are alarmed by climate change and want action now, 28 percent are concerned and believe it is man-made but don't think the threat is imminent, 27 percent are cautious but on the fence, 11 percent are skeptical, 10 percent are vocally dismissive of the science and its conclusions, and the last 7 percent aren't paying attention.
Vox shows that partisan split over climate change developing during the past decade in Climate change: Yep, still happening.

Ten years after Al Gore's movie, the climate debate in the US has devolved into nonsense.
Since "An Inconvenient Truth" was released, the polarization has just gotten worse.  The Republicans were reasonable on the issue a decade ago; they're not now.  This is not news.  As I pointed out in Climate for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, when I discussed Republicans on climate change and energy at the CNBC debate, "as for the Republicans who were actually talking sense about climate, as much as their ideology would allow, none of them are still in the contest.  Why am I not surprised?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Michigan's two smallest parties nominated candidates, too

Today, I go from one extreme to the other.  Yesterday, it posted Michigan's major parties nominated the ballot's final candidates on Saturday, which ended with "stay tuned for a final story about the minor party nominees for state and federal office followed by the final entry of the month."  Today, I pass along the news about Michigan’s newest political party, the Working Class Party.  From the Working Class Party's website, here are its candidates.
The new party has chosen its candidates for the 2016 elections: Gary Walkowicz for U.S. Congress, district 12; Sam Johnson for U.S. Congress, district 13; and Mary Anne Hering for the State Board of Education, which is a state-wide position.
The Working Class Party is the most far left (as opposed to far out--they're next) party on the ballot in Michigan.  They're not just Communist, they're Trotskyite.  Fortunately, I think they'll do very little harm to the other left parties in the districts where they are running; there are enough lefties to go around in the 12th, where the Greens are fielding a candidate, and there is no Green running in the 13th, so the Working Class Party has the disaffected far left all to itself.

Oddly enough, the Working Class Party could have endorsed a candidate for president and put them on the ballot, but they didn't.  Perhaps they'll vote for the candidates of the most far out party in Michigan, the Natural Law Party.  Follow over the jump for their candidates.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Michigan's major parties nominated the ballot's final candidates on Saturday

I hinted that I would continue my coverage of minor parties at the end of U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan candidates for 2016 when I wrote "This is also one of the few contests in which the Natural Law Party has nominated a candidate, but that's a story for another entry."  I'll keep that promise, but first I'm going to give the major parties their due.  WOOD-TV has video in advance of the story in Michigan parties picking Supreme Court, other nominees.

Democratic and Republican party activists are meeting to pick Supreme Court candidates and other nominees for the November ballot.
In case the woman speaking in the background at the Michigan Democratic Convention, it's Wendy Davis, who I featured in Today is primary day in Texas.  She may have lost the election for Governor of Texas, but she's still a celebrity in Democratic circles.

The stories from both MLive and the Detroit Free Press emphasized the presidential contest, which only applied to the weekend's conventions as far as choosing the Electors for the Electoral College.  Both papers buried the actual candidates on the ballot as well as their significance far down in the story.  I'll let the Free Press report that news.
The state Board of Education and the boards of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University all are dominated by Democrats, and Republicans are hoping to eat into those majorities this election year.
Not very likely.  About the only way that will happen is if Schuette wins the state's appeal to permanently prohibit straight-ticket voting before the ballots are printed.  I doubt that will happen.
Toward that end, the Republican delegates nominated: former state Rep. Tom McMillin and Nicolette Snyder for the state Board of Education; [Ron] Weiser and [Carl] Meyer[s] for the U-M board; William Deary and Dan Kelly for the MSU Board of Trustees; Michael Busuito and Kim Shmina for the Wayne State Board of Governors and incumbent Supreme Court Justices David Viviano and Joan Larsen for the two open seats on the bench. Both judges were appointed by Snyder.
The Republicans have the state educational and university governing boards as their goal for this election.  The Democrats have their own.
[L]eaders told delegates that they need to get engaged so Democrats regain the majority in the state House of Representatives and cut into the GOP majority on the state Supreme Court.
These are the Democrats' nominees.
Democrats nominated: Wayne County Circuit Judges Deborah Thomas and Frank Szymanski for the state Supreme Court; incumbents Denise Ilitch and Laurence Deitch for the U-M board; former state Sen. Dianne Byrum and Diann Woodard for the MSU board; Mark Gaffney and Yvette Anderson for the Wayne State board, and incumbent John Austin and Ismael Ahmed for the state Board of Education.
I was thinking of going to the Democratic convention on Saturday, but after an hour in the dentist's chair, I decided I'd rather stay home and hope that I found the nominees satisfactory.  Since most of the nominees were incumbents and better qualified people than me vetted the nominees for State Supreme Court, I'm fine with the results and looking forward to voting for all the Democratic nominees in November.

Stay tuned for a final story about the minor party nominees for state and federal office followed by the final entry of the month.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

'The Strain' vs. 'Fear the Walking Dead' from CNN and Vox

I concluded yesterday's U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan candidates for 2016 by telling my readers "Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment entry, which is about the return of "The Strain."  It's the Vampire Apocalypse!"  I'm keeping that promise with CNN Money's 'The Strain' is more contagious than 'Fear the Walking Dead'.

Brian Lowry reviews FX's 'The Strain' and AMC's 'Fear the Walking Dead.'
For a print review, read 'Fear the Walking Dead,' 'The Strain' take similar concepts in different directions at

I shouldn't be surprised that CNN compared "The Strain" to "Fear the Walking Dead."  I did it last year in Vox on Sunday's zombies and vampires.  I even compared "The Strain" to "The Walking Dead" in Vox on vampires and zombies.  I'm just surprised that the review was so negative.  Then again, "Fear the Walking Dead," like "The Walking Dead," has aspirations of being a serious drama, while "The Strain" makes no pretentions about what it is, so it goes for action over introspection.  Last Sunday's "Fear the Walking Dead" did just the opposite, and I appreciated it.

Since the last two comparisions of the two franchises involved Vox, I'll repeat it this year.  Follow over the jump for the excerpt.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan candidates for 2016

Earlier this week, jalp5dai left this comment to Michigan Green candidates from the bottom of the ballot to the top.
The Bureau of Elections list is now "official" -- meaning that the Board of State Canvassers has certified the results of the August 2 primary. Pending recount petitions -- and the results of the Democratic and Republican state conventions this weekend (nominating education-board and state Supreme Court candidates), this is how it will be.
I acknowledged the comment gratefully.
Thanks for that news. I went over to the Secretary of State's candidate page and checked it out. I see the U.S. Taxpayers Party held its convention and nominated candidates. I'll write them up on Friday or Saturday. Tomorrow is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, so that's the topic of the next post.
I was distracted yesterday by the shiny object of a possibly habitable planet around Proxima Centauri, so Saturday (today) it is.  From the party's own website, here is the list of 2016 US Taxpayer Party Candidates interspersed with my comments.
President of USA - Darrell Castle

Vice President of USA - Scott Bradley
This ticket will come in fifth, both nationally and in Michigan, but consistent with my prediction that 2016 will likely be a good year for minor party candidates, it is getting some attention.  In particular, Glenn Beck interviewed Castle this week.  Regardless of how loony I think Beck is normally, his paying attention to Castle strikes me as being at least ideologically consistent for him.  Beck is anti-Trump and an arch-conservative, so his possibly supporting Castle would be the logical choice for him.  It's not often I get to praise Beck for being logical.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Did we just discover Wunderland? No, Moiroi

Four years ago, I asked "Did we just discover Plateau?" in response to the discovery of a possibly habitable exoplanet around Tau Ceti.  Today, the question is "Did we just discover Wunderland?"  New Scientist has the story in Proxima b: an Earth-like planet on our cosmic doorstep.

We've found a planet orbiting in the habitable zone of our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.25 light years away. Here's what we know about it so far.
Nature has more in The exoplanet next door.

Astronomers have discovered evidence of a small, rocky planet orbiting our nearest star - and it may even be a bit like Earth. Nobody knows whether the planet, called Proxima b, could ever sustain life. The little planet orbits our sun's nearest neighbouring star, Proxima Centauri, making it the closest exoplanet ever found.
The answer is no, as Wunderland orbits Alpha Centauri, not Proxima Centauri.  It is, however, the next best thing, even if it is tidally locked.  That might make it a combination of We Made It and Jinx.

On the other hand, we might have discovered Moiroi from the game 2300 A.D.  According to Wkipedia's Alpha Centauri in Fiction article, it's the only habitable fictional planet with a proper name listed around Proxima Centauri.  The others are Proxima Centauri 3 from "Babylon 5," an unnamed planet in Stanislaw Lem's "The Megallanic Cloud," and another unnamed planet in "Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD."  Since they don't have names, Moiroi it is.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy 100th birthday, National Park Service!

Today is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, a day close to my heart not only because of the many years I visited Yosemite during my youth but also because I was a Park Ranger at Channel Islands National Park 30 years ago.  I could go on, but someone expressed the importance of the U.S. National Park System better than I did, President Obama in his Weekly Address: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service.

In this week's address, President Obama commemorated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and encouraged Americans to "Find Your Park."
Another famous person celebrating today's anniversary is Bill Nye, who talks national parks, climate change, and the 2016 election with CBS.  He put all of those together in these two paragraphs.
We want to preserve our parks and the 100th anniversary is an appropriate time to remind everyone their significance and importance. You know, when you vote this November, you should vote to preserve our parks -- it’s another line item in the federal budget, another thing for the government to do. I want everybody to realize that once you “find your park,” you will find an appreciation for the importance of the parks.
You have to say to everybody: “vote.” I’m not telling you for whom to vote, but please take the environment into account when you vote...If the election goes to the candidate who is in favor of addressing climate change and preserving the environment it will move in one way, but if it goes the other way, it will be very difficult -- it will lower the quality of life for billions of people. Unite[d] States has to be a world leader when it comes to the environment.
Follow over the jump for two more examples of politics and the national parks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Q-Line/M-1 Rail testing in preparation for 2017 opening

Literally every other day, I've been updating my readers on transportation projects here in metro Detroit that have a sustainability component.  On Saturday, I wrote about the first carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade.  Monday, I reported Regional Transit Millage on November ballot.  Today, it's Q-Line track in Detroit undergoing testing through the fall.  Take it away WXYZ!

The best news about this project comes from the Detroit News...
“Construction progress continues on schedule,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer of the M-1 Rail. “Speeder tests will be ongoing over the next few weeks, eventually covering the full 6.6 mile track. It’s one of nearly 1,000 tests we’ll be going through over the course of the project.”
...and the Detroit Free Press.
Officials continue to shoot for early 2017 as the start of passenger operations on the line. M-1 Rail on Monday announced that the track installation is 83% complete, station construction 40% complete, traction power substations to provide power for the system is almost 40% complete, overhead catenary system is at 60%, with 85% of poles installed.
Here's to the Q-Line opening on time!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'The Martian' and 'Jessica Jones' win Hugo Awards

Today, I present a bonus entertainment entry, a follow up to Rabid Puppies infect 2016 Hugo nominees for movies and television.  From The Verge: Here are the winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  • Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile" written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)
  • Doctor Who: "Heaven Sent" written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: "Headache" written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "The Cutie Map" Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
  • Supernatural: "Just My Imagination" written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
"The Martian" was, as We Hunted the Mammoth said, one of "two nominees who didn’t need [Vox Day's] help to win."  As Lorcan Nagle wrote in a comment, Day was "claiming he won because The Martian got best Dramatic Picture - Long Form and Andy Weir [who wrote the book the movie was based on] got the Campbell (even though Weir was kept off the Campbell shortlist last year by the Puppy campaigns)."  I quite agree with that assessment.  I thought "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was the favorite to win the Hugo, just as I did the Saturn Award for best Science Fiction movie (I was right about the Saturn Award, but I preferred "The Martian."  Therefore, I'm quite happy about the result.

As for "Jessica Jones," I'm not surprised or displeased, either.  It was the only television script nominated for a Nebula Award.
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris

Other nominees:
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
The writers preferred "Mad Max: Fury Road," which also would have been a suitable choice, even if it wasn't mine.  For what it's worth, it came in second in the Hugo voting results, while "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ended up in third.  I guess the literary crowd preferred a movie based on a book.  I can't say I blame them.

Speaking of the voting results, at least this time "Grimm" didn't lose out to "No Award," although "Supernatural" did.  Speaking of which, there were two categories in which no award was given out, Best Related Work and Best Fancast.  The voters decided that none of the nominees produced by the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies slates were acceptable.  Good for them.  Maybe next year, a non-slate candidate will get on the ballot and win.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Regional Transit Millage on November ballot

As I foreshadowed in First carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade, the ballot measure to fund increased regional mass transit that I mentioned at the end of Clawson 4th of July Parade will be on the ballot.
On the bus ride back to the start of the parade, I ran into advocates for the Regional rapid transit plan for Metro Detroit.  The taxes to support the plan will likely be on the November ballot.  Look for me to cover that issue at least once this fall.
The Detroit Metro Times has the story in Welp, it's official: this November you can vote on regional transportation.
On Tuesday clerks of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties accepted the controversial proposal to fund the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan’s (RTA) Regional Master Transit Plan. This acceptance — which came at the eleventh hour — means voters can now hit the polls this November and weigh in on a plan that aims to tackle many of the region's unaddressed transit issues.

"This is the opportunity Southeast Michigan residents have been waiting for – the opportunity to finally connect Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties," Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokesperson for A Coalition for Transit (ACT) said in a statement Tuesday.
The Detroit Free Press has the ballot language in Counties approve regional transit millage language.
A Proposal Authorizing the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) to Levy an Assessment

The proposal would authorize the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) to levy within Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties a property tax assessment:
  • at a rate of 1.2 mills ($1.20 per $1,000 of taxable value);
  • for 20 years beginning in 2016 and ending in 2035;
  • that may not be increased, renewed, or used for other purposes without direct voter approval; and
  • to be used upon the affirmative vote of an RTA board member from each RTA member jurisdiction for the purpose of construction and operation of a public transportation system connecting Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, including rapid transit bus routes across county lines, specialized service for senior citizens and people with disabilities, commuter rail, airport express service, and other public transportation purposes permitted by law, consistent with RTA bylaws and subject to the limitations of the Regional Transit Authority Act.
If this new additional assessment is approved and levied, revenue will be disbursed to the RTA. It is estimated that $160,907,285 will be collected in the first year. Should this assessment be approved?
Tom Watkins, President and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, wasted no time endorsing the millage.  Two days after the measure was put on the ballot he wrote OPINION: Get metro area moving: Vote 'yes' on public transit in The Press&Guide of Dearborn.
Every elected official, civic, business, labor and religious leader should be promoting a "yes" vote on Nov. 8 to move Michigan forward by building a much-needed regional transit system.

An investment in mobility in the four-county region (Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw plus the City of Detroit) is an investment in our collective future. The region’s leaders have put forth a proposal to raise tax dollars for a sensible regional transit initiative. It is truly a positive step to see the leadership of Southeast Michigan come together to jump start our region.
This is an opportunity to vote your self-interest and help Michigan catch up with the rest of world by providing a viable public transit system.

Vote YES on Nov. 8.

Help drive our region boldly into the future.
I couldn't have said it any better myself.  May this ballot measure be as successful as Renew for the Zoo, which was renewed overwhelmingly.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Zombies return as 'Fear The Walking Dead' resumes

Yesterday, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will feature previews of 'Fear the Walking Dead' and 'The Walking Dead.'  Zombies!"  Just to remind my readers of the events of the first half of the season, I present Fear the Walking Dead: 'Where We Left off in Season 2A' Behind the Scenes.

The cast and creators discuss where the characters were left at the end of last season and how they must now cope with separation and loss as they try to move on.
So, Reuben Blades' character really is dead.  Too bad, he was one of my favorites and was essential to keeping everyone else alive, especially alerting them to the human threats.  That's always important in the world of "The Walking Dead," where the slogan is "Fight the Dead. Fear the Living."

Speaking of which, that looks like it will be the case in Fear the Walking Dead: A Look at the Second Half of Season 2.

The cast and crew of Fear the Walking Dead talk about what fans can look forward to in the second half of Season 2.  Fear the Walking Dead returns Sunday, August 21 at 9/8c.
For my readers that want less talk and more action, here's FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season 2 Part 2 Trailer.

Official Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer - 2016 Comic-Con SDCC AMC Series.
I can hardly wait.  Good thing I won't have to.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

First carpool lane in Michigan as part of I-75 upgrade

I have two local transportation stories to share.  One of them is the Regional rapid transit plan for Metro Detroit that I mentioned in Clawson 4th of July Parade.  I plan on reporting that on Monday.  The other is the Massive I-75 construction project underway in Oakland County.  Take it away, WXYZ!

A major construction project on I-75 began Monday in Oakland County and it's going to slow down your morning and evening commute.
WXYZ returned in the afternoon with a reporter on the road in Massive I-75 project underway.

Drivers got a taste of the traffic they will have to face in the upcoming months as I-75 is being altered.
Yes, this is needed so long as the people in Oakland County drive cars and the local public transportation system is so weak, but it's not a solution for a sustainable future without better public transportation including buses and light rail.  As the first video mentioned, it does have something worth celebrating, a car lane.  WOOD-TV mentioned it in MDOT begins 14 year project on I-75 near Detroit:  "The $90.8 million project, which stretches 18 miles, will add a carpool lane (the first in the state), resurface the highway and replace bridges among other things."  That's a small thing, but it is an improvement over the current situation, which does not encourage carpooling.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will feature previews of "Fear the Walking Dead" and "The Walking Dead."  Zombies!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Popular entries from the back catalog for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Last month, I teased that "I have only one more entry left, a look at how entries posted before March 21, 2014 2015 fared last year."  It turned I wasn't ready to do post it until I finished the monthly metas for March and January, the latter of which told my readers to "Stay tuned for the final installment of the annual retrospective tomorrow."  It's tomorrow and also Flashback Friday, the perfect day to fulfill my promise and finish this series.

The highest ranking entry from the back catalog as of March 20, 2016 was Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute from September 2, 2012, which was in fifth place on the all-time top ten with 1988 page views, 2936 according to the raw counter.  Those numbers were a sign of stagnation compared to  March 20, 2015.
The most read entry for the history of the blog according to the default counter as of March 21, 2015 and still the current number one is Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute, posted on September 2, 2012 with 1988 page views, which it still has now.  The post currently has 2916 according to the raw counter.  This entry was not among the top 20 for the second year of the blog on March 20, 2013, and not among the default top ten as of March 20, 2014.  It began its rise during the second half of 2014, when gas prices began their long, deep slide from $3.50 to just under $2.00 and a lot of web searches retrieved it as one of the results.  The entry was in the monthly top ten for six months running during that time period, enough to move it from not on the list to the top of the leader board.  Amazing how a change in economic conditions can revive the fortunes of an old post.
Since last year, it gained not a single view according to the default counter and only 20 according to the raw counter while falling four places.  It continued its slide the past five months, finally being displaced by John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness earlier this month, but that's really a story for next year.

Follow over the jump for what happened to the rest of the back catalog last year.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

January 2016's rankings were a mess and other monthly meta

Yesterday, I told my readers to "expect the retrospective series to continue tomorrow withJanuary 2016's stats."  Why?  The same reason I posted the monthly meta for March 2016.
Today, I'm doing something I skipped over in June, when I posted the Monthly meta for April 2016.
I'm skipping over January and March to post April.
It's long past time I got around to posting this month.
Seven months past time, in fact.

January 2016 saw 16,780 page views for 34 posts over 31 days, which had been the second highest in the history of the blog up to that time.   It's now the fifth highest.  Those numbers translate to 541.29 page views per day and 493.53 page views per entry, an increases of 42.3% from the previous January's 11,721 page views, which translated to 378.10 views per day and 366.28 views per post, the latter an increase of 34.7%.

On the other hand, readers left only 19 comments that month (0.61 comments per day and 0.59 comments per post), a low for the year so far, and no entry received more than two comments, so no most commented on post was recognized.

There was one post that stood out as the most pinned on Pinterest during January, "Three Star Wars trailers: movie, television, and video game" with 2 saves.

Follow over the jump for the most viewed entries, which were, as the title says, a mess in terms of rankings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

July 2016 hottest month on record yet

New Scientist has the summary in July was the hottest month in history.

NASA's records show that Earth's temperature was hotter than it has been since measurements began.
USA Today has more details.
July was 1.51 degrees higher than average. The previous record-holder for hottest month was July 2011.

July's record-breaking heat follows a wave of shattered records this year — the first six months of the year have been the warmest half-year on record.
Phil Plait at Slate noted how long the record-breaking streak has gone on, writing "For the sixth seventh eighth ninth 10th month in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record."  As my readers can see, the streak has continued since April.

USA Today reported records for the U.S., too.
July was yet another hotter-than-average month across the U.S., and folks in New Mexico and Florida were really feeling the heat.

Both states had their hottest July on record, and overall, it was Florida's second-hottest month ever. The Sunshine State's all-time hottest month was June 1998.

With a nationwide average temperature of 75.3 degrees, July was the USA's 14th-warmest July on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
For the year to date, the nation is seeing its third-warmest year on record. Every state is warmer-than-average so far this year, with Alaska record warm.
Yesterday, I wrote that I'd post another retrospective unless I got distracted by a shiny object.  I must say this is quite the shiny object!  That written, expect the retrospective series to continue tomorrow with January 2016's stats.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best March ever and other monthly meta for March 2016

Yesterday, I posted the monthly meta for July 2016.  Today, I'm doing something I skipped over in June, when I posted the Monthly meta for April 2016.
I'm skipping over January and March to post April.  Why?  Because it was the most complete draft available.  Hey, sometimes I'm lazy.
It's long past time I got around to posting this month.

March 2016 was the best March ever for readership with 13,441 total page views, more than the previous year's 13,194.  I was able to do this while posting fewer entries, 41 this year to 43 last year, resulting in an increase of page views per day from 425.61 to 433.58 and page views per post from 306.84 to 327.83.  On the other hand, comments were down from February 2016's 36 to only 24.  That worked out to 0.77 comments per day and 0.59 comments per entry.  Since no entry had more than two comments and eleven entries had two, I am not singling out any entry from most commented on during March.

I am still recognizing the most liked entries on social media other than Facebook.   On Google+, the most liked last month was "Sanders, Rubio, and Kasich campaign in Michigan" posted March 3, 2016, which earned 15 pluses through being shared on the Sanders communities.  It also earned 1 comment and 121 page views.  On Pinterest, that honor went to "Final 'Star Wars VII' trailer and reaction" with 8 saves and 4 likes last month, as I mentioned in Comments and likes for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Follow over the jump for the most read entries of March 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Most page views ever and other monthly meta for July 2016

It's not Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday, but it is halfway through the month, which means I'm overdue for a retrospective of last month and what a month it was!  July 2016 was the best month in the history of the blog for readership so far with 22,776 page views.  That was nearly 300 more than the previous record month, October 2015 with 22,491.  Of those, 5892 came from Russia, 3621 in the last week of the month, nearly four times the 973 from the U.S., which had 11,226 for the month.  I was not alone in getting a lot of page views from Russia; Infidel753 noted it first and a lot of his readers who also keep blogs reported it, too.  The Russians have since stopped their intensive scrutiny.

The blog also earned 39 comments last month.  Per day and per post, those stats broke down to 734.71 page views per day and 690.18 per post, both records.  There were 1.26 comments per day and 1.18 comments per post, but those weren't close to the records set last October.

Before I share the most read entries, I present "Trump and Putin, a bad bromance," which had the most comments during July with 6 comments and 71 page views, and "Star Wars Drinks for Star Wars Day" from May 4, 2015, which was the most saved on Pinterest with 4 pins during July.

Follow over the jump for the most read entries last month.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Green Cruise and Dream Cruise 2016

I'm recycling two old favorites for today's Sunday entertainment feature, the Green Cruise and the Woodward Dream Cruise.  I begin with the Detroit Free Press reporting Green Cruise honors Mother Nature; she rains on parade.

The people behind the Sierra Club’s Green Cruise just want folks to be nicer to Mother Earth.

But today, well, she wasn’t so nice to them.

Fairly steady showers likely helped keep the crowds away from the celebration in Ferndale, but event chairman Jerry Hasspacher said the 12th-annual “anti-Dream Cruise” still got its message across.

“It’s the opposite of the Dream Cruise,” Hasspacher said. “It’s a celebration of non-fossil fuel transportation.”
So, rain or shine, the Green Cruise carried on.

About 100 hardy folks even took part in a 42-mile bike ride in Detroit.
Follow over the jump for WXYZ's coverage leading up to the Dream Cruise.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Michigan Green candidates from the bottom of the ballot to the top

I concluded yesterday's Hillary Clinton rebuts Trump in Warren, Michigan with "I will give the Green Party its due."  I'll start at the bottom of the partisan ballot by repeating what I wrote in June.The most interesting in terms of practical effect are running for the lowest offices.
Finally, the Libertarians nominated three candidates for Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner, Elizabeth Ceader, Lawrence W. Johnson, and Kalyn Sterzik.  Of this group, Johnson had previously run for Ypsilanti Township Trustee in 2012 and lost.  He and the rest may have more success this year.  There are currently four Democratic candidates on the August primary ballot for seven slots with no Republican candidates.  Unless another party nominates candidates or an independent files for the office, all three appear likely to be elected, serving as the opposition to the Democrats.
Even if these three are the only Libertarians elected in Michigan this year, 2016 would still be a good year for minor party candidates.
The Greens did nominate two people for these positions, Stuart Collis and Shauna McNally.  While the possibility of all three Libertarians serving has dropped, there will still be three minor party members of the board, at least one of which will be a Libertarian.  I personally think the Greens are a better match for the constituency than the Libertarians, but I have my doubts that they will be able to pull enough votes away from the Democrats, who I expect will all get elected, to pick off more than one of the Libertarians.  Still, this will be an interesting contest to watch for no other reason than seeing what happens when minor parties actually can compete and win.

Follow over the jump for more on the Green candidates as I work my way up the partisan ballot.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hillary Clinton rebuts Trump in Warren, Michigan

I concluded Trump greeted by protestors in Detroit with "Speaking of presidential candidates visiting Detroit, Hillary Clinton will be here later today.  Expect me to cover her appearances as well."

CNN covered Clinton in Warren, Michigan, and used the headline Clinton counters Trump in Michigan.

Hillary Clinton speaks in Michigan drawing a contrast between her economic vision and proposals outlined by Donald Trump.
I'm not sure I'd use the line that 'third-world countries don't build rockets' as China has landed a moon rover and India sent a probe to Mars, but calling the two most populous countries on the planet, one with the second largest economy and the other with the seventh largest, "third-world" makes the term almost useless; both countries are becoming quite developed.  Besides, it played well with the crowd, as it fits Americans self-image and perception, however inaccurate, of the rest of the world.

Clinton continued her attack, saying Trump's trade approach is based on fear.

Hillary Clinton criticizes Donald Trump's position on trade during a speech on the economy in Detroit.
Clinton is exploiting the difference in perception of America between the parties, with the Republicans emphasizing the country's negatives while Democrats are mocking them for their pessimism.

WXYZ always has good reaction shorts and they lived up to their reputation in Hillary Clinton in Warren.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton appeared in Warren for an economic speech and to attack Donald Trump.
The audience inside the venue was very positive, while the protesters outside were much fewer than for Trump in Detroit on Monday.  I take that as another sign that the Republicans are less organized this year than the Democrats.

This week, I reported on both the Republicans and the Democrats.  Two months ago, I covered the Libertarians.  Tomorrow, I will give the Green Party its due.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump greeted by protestors in Detroit

While I was posting the latest batch of Student Sustainability Videos, Donald Trump visited Detroit and was greeted by protestors.  WXYZ covered the demonstrators, both inside and outside the hall.  It took two videos to summarize the protests adequately, beginning with Protesters interrupt Donald Trump's speech at Cobo Center in Detroit.

A second video, Protestors march at Cobo Center for Donald Trump's speech, captured more of the people ejected from the hall, as well as the rest of what those already interviewed had to say.

MLive covered even more of the anti-Trump message in Rashida Tlaib.

Rashida Tlaib, Moms Against Trump, speaks to media and protesters after being kicked out from Trump's speech at the Cobo Center.
Trump should have expected as much, considering the last time he was here, the signs read "Dump Trump" and "Arrest Snyder" at the Detroit Republican Debate.  I'm sure when he returns, so will the protestors.

Speaking of presidential candidates visiting Detroit, Hillary Clinton will be here later today.  Expect me to cover her appearances as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lionfish: Student Sustainability Video Festival 61

As I promised yesterday, this will be the final installment for this semester of this series.  Today, I'm sharing National Geographic's Divers Fight the Invasive Lionfish.

The lionfish is invading Florida's coastal waters, harming native wildlife and habitat. This non-native species has venomous spines, lacks natural predators, and is able to reproduce quickly, which allows it to dominate other fish species that compete for resources. Divers are helping researchers catch the fish to learn more about its biology and develop ways to control the population.
I have to go back to episode 10 about Asian carp in 2013 and before that episode 4 on biodiversity from 2012 to find installments that feature invasive species.  As for what to do about lionfish, it's the same as for Asian carp; if you can't beat them, eat them--but that's a topic for another time.

With that, Crazy Eddie's Motie News will return to its regular programming, which this year will likely be about the presidential election.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Repreve: Student Sustainability Video Festival 60

I nearly always have at least one talk about recycling.  Here was last spring's: Learn What Happens to Your Plastic Bottles After You Recycle Them.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your plastic bottles after you recycle them? Well, we can turn them in to REPREVE fiber which goes in to many of your favorite products, and this is how.
Yes, more corporate PR.  My students seem to love being sold and at least it's well produced and as informative as it is persuasive.

There should be just one more installment left in the current batch.  Stay tuned.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Boeing 737 Max: Student Sustainability Video Festival 59

I'm giving my last finals today, so I'm continuing the Student Sustainability Video Festival.  Today's installment is MAX efficiency, MAX reliability, MAX passenger appeal - Boeing's new 737 MAX.  Corporate salesmanship and greenwashing!

If you think you have seen this video before, think again! We made a change—a BIG change. Ok, it might be a small video update. BUT, it is a BIG improvement that provides MAX efficiency for our airlines. Can you find it? See why airlines love the 737 to the MAX.
I was planning on posting this video today anyway, but I was reminded over the weekend that this year is Boeing's 100th anniversary of being in business, so I think its timing is even more appropriate.

Stay tuned for at least one more installment.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jimmy Kimmel on GMOs: Student Sustainability Video Festival 58

It's entertainment Sunday, so I have an entertainment-themed video for today: Jimmy Kimmel asking What's a GMO?

Critics of genetically modified organisms or GMOs claim that they pose health risks to the public. Jimmy is always interested in people who have strong opinions, so we sent a crew to one of our local farmers markets to ask people why they avoid GMOs and, more specifically, what the letters GMO stand for.
Normally, I'm critical of GMOs, but that's because of Monsanto's business practices, not the science.  As for the people Kimmel interviewed, I'm not sure I want them on my side of the argument.

Stay tuned for more installments.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ocean acidification: Student Sustainability Video Festival 57

Today's installment is NOAA Ocean Acidification - The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem.

Fundamental changes in seawater chemistry are occurring throughout the world's oceans. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from humankind's industrial and agricultural activities has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs almost a third of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. Initially, many scientists focused on the benefits of the ocean removing this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. However, decades of ocean observations now show that there is also a downside — the CO2 absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater, a process called ocean acidification. This change in the ocean's chemistry will have profound effects on life in the ocean, and those who depend on it.
That is a scary reminder that climate change isn't the only outcome of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Stay tuned for more installments.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Servals: Student Sustainability Video Festival 56

Yesterday's installment was about snow leopards.  Today's is about another big cat (more or less), the serval.  Here's the Smithsonian Channel's Serval Vs. Guinea Fowl.

With the ability to pounce 10 feet in the air, the serval is more than a formidable opponent for this guinea fowl.
The student who presented on servals keeps one as a pet--legally.  Here it is at home.

That wins the cool pet award so far.

Stay tuned for more installments.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Snow Leopards: Student Sustainability Video Festival 55

It's final exam time, which means it's time to return to my old standby for the end of the semester, the student sustainability video festival.  Last time, I used only one video, Air pollution from everyday items: Student Sustainability Video Festival 53.*  That means I have a big backlog from that semester to go through.  I'll begin with two about snow leopards.

First, Rare Snow Leopards of Asia.

Rare Snow Leopards of Asia. Snow leopards are one of the most beautiful of the big cats. They have incredible adaptations to survive in high altitude rocky regions. Take a step into the snow leopards world to find out about these stunning creatures.
Next, How high can a snow leopard jump?

Seneca Park Zoo's male snow leopard Kaba exhibits a pretty cool skill in the video above. Found in the high, rugged mountains of Central Asia, snow leopards are tremendous leapers, using their long tails for balance. Pretty impressive, no?

Stay tuned for more installments.

*It was really 54, as I used 47 twice, first for snow monkeys and again for Self-driving cars--fantasy and reality and didn't catch myself until later.  Time to correct the error, which is why today's installment is 55.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Detroit Zoo millage renewed plus good news for libraries and parks

I told my readers to "stay tuned for more elections coverage after the polls close" at the end of Renew for the Zoo.  The polls closed four hours ago, but I can now report on the results of the zoo millage vote.  From the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Zoo millage wins heavy support in 3 counties.
Voters were giving strong support Tuesday in renewing the millage tax that supports the Detroit Zoo.
With 95% of votes counted, Oakland voters were giving the zoo 74% yes votes.

In Macomb County, with about 88% of votes counted, the zoo measure led by a narrower margin: 59% were voting yes, while 41% said no.

In Wayne County, with 50 percent reporting, the zoo was leading 72 percent to 28 percent.
Yay!  Time to break out Professor Farnsworth!

Follow over the jump for other election results about libraries and the environment.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Renew for the Zoo

Original here.

Today is the regular primary election day in Michigan, so I'm going to give my opinion on the millage renewal for the Detroit Zoo.  Deadline Detroit summarized the local media opinion of the millage with 4 Unanimous Editorials: Vote Yes Tuesday to Renew Detroit Zoo Support.
There's nothing divisive or partisan about animals. Even L. Brooks Patterson and Mark Hackel don't try to obstruct the Detroit Zoo's tax support, which four publications endorse...
That's a reference to the two County Executives obstructing a millage proposal for a regional transit plan, which I mentioned in Clawson 4th of July Parade.  I'll have more about that later.  Back to Deadline Detroit.
Wayne, Oakland and Macomb ballots Tuesday have a proposed renewal of a .1-mill property tax from 2018-28 for the popular attraction at Woodward and I-96.

The millage, which brings in more than $11 million annually, costs $10 a year for a home worth $200,000.

The 10-year renewal is is widely expected to pass, based on strong support in 2008 and on 2015 polling by the zoo...
Deadline Detroit then quotes editorials from the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Crain's Detroit Business, and Downtown Birmingham/Bloomfield supporting the millage.  I can add a fifth from Daily Detroit as well as mine.  Vote yes.  I know I will.

And now, MLive shows one of the great projects that the Detroit Zoo has completed, the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

Inside the largest penguin facility in the world, Detroit Zoo's new Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
Enjoy the penguins and stay tuned for more elections coverage after the polls close.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Stocks resume climbing a wall of worry to hit new highs

I concluded the section before the jump in All Hell breaks loose after the U.K. votes to leave the E.U. with this caveat.
If this continues, and the Dow goes into a correction over the next few months that takes it to below 14,650, it makes both Mike Alexander's prediction of a 10,000 point decline in the Dow by the end of 2018 more likely and my prediction of a recession beginning by the end of 2017 more likely to come true.
That didn't happen.  Instead, this did: Red-hot Dow rises for 9th day in a row.
The stock market is so hot that the Dow just notched a rare nine-day winning streak.

It's only the seventh time since 1980 that the benchmark index has climbed that many days in a row, according to the New York Stock Exchange.

More impressive, the Dow continues to rewrite the record books, closing on Wednesday at yet another fresh all-time high of 18,595.

It's the latest milestone in what has been a wild summer for stocks. Global markets plunged on June 24 after the Brexit referendum in the U.K. spooked investors. But stocks soon raced back emphatically, and just kept rising until they took out the records set in May 2015.

"We're setting new records, but don't forget it took us 14 months to get here," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
That was on July 20th.  Two days later, Barrons reported "The S&P 500 rose 0.6% this week after gaining 0.5% to 2,175.03 today, a new record high."  That's not all, as the last Friday of July saw a new intraday high, as Reuters reported.
Wall Street rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 index hitting a record intraday high for the seventh time this month as gains in technology heavyweights Alphabet and Amazon more than made up for losses in energy shares.

The benchmark index rose as much as 0.3 percent, touching an all-time high of 2,177.09, and completed its fifth straight month of gains.
So, will Mike and I end up being wrong?  Not yet.  Follow over the jump for why.