Why ride a bike instead?

Never mind global warming.

Yes, there seems to be a clear consensus among the scientific community confirming “global warming”, which is defined as “an increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“Many scientists predict that such an increase in temperature would cause polar ice caps and mountain glaciers to melt rapidly, significantly raising the levels of coastal waters, and would produce new patterns and extremes of drought and rainfall, seriously disrupting food production in certain regions” according to the Concise Encyclopedia.

The term “greenhouse gas” or GHG has emerged to describe the pollution responsible for the greenhouse effect and the US EPA credits over 80% of the source of GHG to electricity production (34%), transportation (27%) and industry (20%). So, with over a quarter of GHG pollution coming from transportation there is plenty of room for reduction but this has not been enough of a reason to convince people to stop driving and flying in jets.

Therefore offered herein are a few more considerations to enlighten the willing.

Other pollution. Ever wonder where tire rubber goes? A motor vehicle will wear through several sets of tires in its lifetime and all that rubber must go somewhere! Ditto for brake pads and a variety of petroleum based fluids that leak out. None of this pollution is regulated at all, so it is in our air, water soil and food.

Personal finance. AAA says the average cost for car ownership is over $9,000 per year. This is the direct cost to drivers and doesn’t include the public costs to construct and maintain infrastructure, nor the increased cost of health care and other indirect costs.

Physical health. Speaking of health costs, epidemic obesity due to poor eating habits and inactivity is a prime driver to increasing health care costs. It is unsafe for children to walk or ride a bike to school, contributing to childhood obesity.

Mental health. Motor vehicle users are insulated from the natural world and from each other. The experience of riding a bike is fun and allows a real connection to the natural world.

Public space. The public roadways have become so unsafe walking or riding a bike is out of the question for most people. It is not even safe for children and pets in front of their own homes because of the speeding motor vehicles that dominate these public spaces. They are only slightly aware of the carnage left behind and known as “road kill”, which is dead wildlife that makes the error of wandering into the path of a speeding vehicle.

Social effects. Road Rage is a term coined to define the behavior of especially rude drivers, but most drivers experience some level of frustration and behave badly when isolated from each other inside closed compartments. If people acted the same in line at the bank or grocery store there would be brawls every day. Safe from confrontation and inspired by NASCAR drivers are in competition to make it to the next red light first.

Political influence. All of these costs add up and enrich petroleum, defense, motor vehicle, and the finance and insurance business is most lucrative regarding motor vehicles. What other product has the government stepped in and required people to buy? Why is the US military at war in the middle east? How much political influence does the petroleum industry have? What other industries receive multi billion dollar bail outs when their business models collapse?

So, never mind the global warming caused by private motor vehicles, there are plenty of other reasons to park the car and ride bikes instead.


CCI Withdrawn

After five months of collecting signatures in all kinds of weather, the California Cannabis Initiative (CCI) has been withdrawn. CCI was an initiative aimed at the November 2010 ballot that would have legalized marijuana in California for adults 21 and up and guaranteed civil rights for cannabis consumers. Although not enough signatures were gathered to place the CCI proposal on the ballot, the campaign has been a success on many fronts.

Integrity. The CCI campaign utilized a 100% volunteer workforce. No signature gatherers were paid to circulate the CCI petition.

Education. Thousands of California voters have learned of CCI’s main planks while visiting their favorite local venues. Some of those proposals include releasing of pot prisoners if cannabis is their only crime. Earmarking tax funds for healthcare, education, environmental programs, public works and state parks. Mandating decriminalization of marijuana in every city and county in California. Equalizing adult’s rights to grow, possess, transport, use and sell marijuana.

Fun. Volunteers have reported that CCI was one of the most enjoyable campaigns that they have worked on. It was written and staffed by sincere true believers, and attracted exceptionally intelligent individuals.

Grassroots Organization.
Hundreds of volunteers got involved and thousands of California voters have registered to vote for the first time in their life after being inspired by this campaign. This is a new voting bloc that can be activated for marijuana legalization and civil rights protection in the future.

Thank you to all who contributed to this effort. If there is enough interest, a new campaign may commence for 2012. Today the campaign needs $375 to close out the books and file the final report with the Secretary of State. Your contribution of any amount is deeply appreciated, even $5 or $10 helps, please don’t be shy! The CCI Paypal account is paypal@californiacannabisinitiative.org

Peter G. Keyes
California Cannabis Initiative Volunteer

Tim Castleman
California Cannabis Initiative Petition Campaign

Omar Figueroa, Joe Rogoway, James J. Clark
California Cannabis Initiative Proponents

Novozymes "enzyme cocktail" to make biofuel from cellulose

First-Ever Car Powered by Government Paper Waste Makes Debut at Washington Auto Show
Novozymes to demonstrate improved enzyme technology for advanced biofuels

WASHINGTON – For the first time in U.S. history, a vehicle fueled by government office waste paper and waste cardboard will drive the streets of Washington D.C. today. Global bioinnovation company Novozymes has partnered with Maryland-based Fiberight to provide the demonstration fuel.

“The advanced biofuels showcased here today demonstrate that the enzyme technology is ready for market. What we need now is commercialization and deployment of advanced biofuels in order to help meet our country’s most pressing energy and environment challenges,” said Adam Monroe, president, Novozymes North America.

During today’s ‘Ride ‘n Drive’ event, government VIP’s and members of the media will get the chance to test drive a flex-fuel Chevrolet HHR at the Washington Convention Center. In the exhibition hall, a flex-fuel Ford F150 – also fuelled with the wastepaper-based biofuel – will be on display throughout the week. Both vehicles run on E85, a blend of 85 percent biofuel and 15 percent gasoline.

Novozymes multi-year research and development efforts have resulted in an enzyme cocktail that can now be used to make advanced biofuel from agricultural residues, municipal waste and energy crops. The biofuel demonstrated at the show is produced by Fiberight (www.fiberight.com). After a sequence of pulping, pre-treatment and wash, enzymes from Novozymes turn the paper and cardboard waste into sugars that are then fermented into biofuel. A sample of the paper feedstock will also be on display throughout the show.

The company is no stranger to the government spotlight. President Bush visited Novozymes headquarters in North Carolina in February 2007 to learn about enzyme technology which resulted in part of the plans for the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Novozymes also received two contracts from the DOE for its research efforts to bring down the cost of enzymes and improve their efficiency in converting cellulose to biofuels. The first contract for $2.2 million was given in 2002, and the second for $12.3 million was given in 2008.

As a result of this work, Novozymes has been able to achieve significant reductions in enzyme costs over the years, notably the 50 percent reduction announced in 2009. Most recently, the company received a $28.4 million tax credit toward the construction of its enzyme manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska which will create 100 new green jobs.

Advanced biofuels can deliver up to 90 percent CO2 emission reduction compared to gasoline and are the most cost-efficient way of reducing CO2 in the transport sector. In 2009, the deployment of Novozymes’ technologies in all industries resulted in the reduction of CO2 emissions totaling approximately 27 million tons – the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.

December PCa update

Today I had my 29th treatment of proton radiation therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. For these final 17 treatments I have a smaller aperture and bola for each side. Dr. Bush explained that this was the plan so that the initial treatments would also cover a 12mm margin and the seminal vesicles for the first 28 treatments. Yesterday the session took a bit longer as the technicians took more x-rays than the usual 2 taken each treatment to align everything. The extra images were used to re-align everything for these new smaller apertures and bolas.

I really welcome this development as I was concerned about that 12mm margin, but now I understand the approach and just wish I had been more informed about these details earlier. I have also learned there are a wide variety of adjustments and tweaks, including hybrid treatments that use protons for the first half then photons for the second half.

We had our one-hour tour of the other gantries and the “back room” where the protons are made last Sunday. Of course one hour was far too short for me and the whole apparatus was a marvel of tubes and wires and magnets, pumps, meters, valves and all sorts of gadgetry. It is all pretty impressive though smaller than I had envisioned.

I’m now on a regular schedule to start my day with a treatment at 5 AM which works well for me as I wake around 4 anyway. Usually by 5:30 I am in the gym and workout for 30-60 minutes followed by a 30 minute sauna. After breakfast I work online a bit and then go for a walk, hike or ride my bike for a couple of hours. After lunch I do a bit more on the computer and phone until dinner which is often part of some event or another here. Last night it was a nice Christmas party for proton patients, Tuesdays we have a pot-luck dinner in a nearby club house, Wednesdays we get sandwiches and fruit at the Brotherhood of the Balloon meeting and so forth. I think the holidays are a great time to go through treatments here. I have had some urgency and burning that is relieved with ibuprofen. Dr. Bush says this is normal due to the radiation and will stop when the treatments are done. Overall I feel fine and stay busy.

I am scheduled on Amtrak to Sacramento for Christmas and if everything continues smoothly will return for the last 9 treatments to finish on Friday, January 7. OFFICIALSELECTIONsm I’m looking forward to the documentaries about our food supply that will be shown at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival January 15-17. I’ll be there to hand out iDrive 55 bumper stickers for the Drive 55 Conservation Project and invite all my friends to come to Nevada City to enjoy this event. Our doc is scheduled to screen on Saturday night and Sunday morning plus we are doing an interview in the media center hosted by http://www.seejanedo.com on Sunday that will be streamed online by http://www.cognizantproductions.com


Posted in PCa

October PCa Update

October was consumed by the CCI petition campaign and the trip to Loma Linda to get the pod made and have the initial consultation.

During my visit they did a CT Scan with me in the pod and they will use that image data to make the gadget that helps shape the proton beam. I met with Dr. Bush and his team for a complete exam and we all agreed to go ahead with the proton beam treatment plan. I’ll have 45 treatments weekdays that take about an hour out of my day.

I have to remember to drink two glasses of water about a half hour ahead to fill my bladder. Once I am in the pod and the tech has inserted the balloon everyone leaves the room while the machinery goes to work. A wheel spins to cause the Braggs peak effect and the protons are delivered through the device. The actual exposure time to the beam is about 1 minute and little effect is felt. The beam switches sides each day.

So, I have had 9 of these so far and no problems to report. The technicians are competent and the process seems well known. I was told the computers make the final adjustments and that there is a half inch margin planned in the treatment. This is to compensate for the inevitable differences in size and position despite all the care taken with the pod and so forth. Due to the holidays I’ll be doing this until mid January, 2010. I should be done just in time for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival where Ryan’s film about Drive55.org will be screened and I am scheduled to hand out iDrive 55 window cling things.

Posted in PCa

Resignation Letter from US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh

US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh,
Senior Civilian Representative, Afghanistan

September 10, 2009

Ambassador Nancy J. Powell
Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Ambassador Powell,

It is with great regret and disappointment I submit my resignation from my appointment as a Political Officer in the Foreign Service and my post as the Senior Civilian Representative for the US Government in Zabul Province. I have served six of the previous ten years in service to our country overseas, to include deployment as a US Marine office and Department of Defense civilian in the Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys of Iraq in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. I did not enter into this position lightly or with any undue expectations nor did I believe my assignment would be without sacrifice, hardship or difficulty. However, in the course of my five months of service in Afghanistan, in both Regional Commands East and South, I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued US casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.

This fall will mark the eighth year of US combat, governance and development operations within Afghanistan. Next fall, the United States’ occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union’s own physical involvement in Afghanistan. Like the Soviets, we continue to secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and system of government unknown and unwanted by its people.

If the history of Afghanistan is one great stage play, the United States is no more than a supporting actor, among several previously, in a tragedy that not only pits tribes, valleys, clans, villages and families against one another, but, from at least the end of King Zahir Shah’s reign, has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency. The Pashtun insurgency, which is composed of multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups, is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The US and NATO presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non- Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified. In both RC East and South, I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.

The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency. In a like manner our backing of the Afghan government in its current form continues to distance the government from the people. The Afghan government’s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice of American lives and dollars, appear legion and metastatic:

* Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;
* A President whose confidants and chief advisors comprise drug lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and counternarcotics efforts;
* A system of provincial and district leaders constituted of local power brokers, opportunists and strongmen allied to the United States solely for, and limited by, the value of our USAID and CERP contracts and for whose own political and economic interests stand nothing to gain from any positive or genuine attempts at reconciliation; and
* The recent election process dominated by fraud and discredited by low voter turnout, which has created an enormous victory for our enemy who now claims a popular boycott and will call into question worldwide our government’s military, economic and diplomatic support for an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government.

Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a misunderstanding of the insurgency’s true nature, reminds me horribly of our involvement with South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our Nation’s own internal peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology.

I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from our young men and women in Afghanistan. If honest, our stated strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose control of its nuclear weapons. However, again, to follow the logic of our stated goals we should garrison Pakistan, not Afghanistan. More so, the September 11th attacks, as well as the Madrid and London bombings, were primarily planned and organized in Western Europe; a point that highlights the threat is not one tied to traditional geographic or political boundaries. Finally, if our concern is for a failed state crippled by corruption and poverty and under assault from criminal and drug lords, then if we bear our military and financial contributions to Afghanistan, we must reevaluate and increase our commitment to and involvement in Mexico.

Eight years into war, no nation has ever known a more dedicated, well trained, experienced and disciplined military as the US Armed Forces. I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with such a complex, opaque and Sisyphean mission as the US military has received in Afghanistan. The tactical proficiency and performance of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines is unmatched and unquestioned. However, this is not the European or Pacific theaters of World War II, but rather is a war for which our leaders, uniformed, civilian and elected, have inadequately prepared and resourced our men and women. Our forces, devoted and faithful, have been committed to conflict in an indefinite and unplanned manner that has become a cavalier, politically expedient and Pollyannaish misadventure. Similarly, the United States has a dedicated and talented cadre of civilians, both US government employees and contractors, who believe in and sacrifice for their mission, but they have been ineffectually trained and led with guidance and intent shaped more by the political climate in Washington, DC than in Afghan cities, villages, mountains and valleys.

“We are spending ourselves into oblivion” a very talented and intelligent commander, one of America’s best, briefs every visitor, staff delegation and senior officer. We are mortgaging our Nation’s economy on a war, which, even with increased commitment, will remain a draw for years to come. Success and victory, whatever they may be, will be realized not in years, after billions more spent, but in decades and generations. The United States does not enjoy a national treasury for such success and victory.

I realize the emotion and tone of my letter and ask that you excuse any ill temper. I trust you understand the nature of this war and the sacrifices made by so many thousands of families who have been separated from loved ones deployed in defense of our Nation and whose homes bear the fractures, upheavals and scars of multiple and compounded deployments. Thousands of our men and women have returned home with physical and mental wounds, some that will never heal or will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily form to be received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, loved vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be made. As such, I submit my resignation.


Matthew P. Hoh
Senior Civilian Representative
Zabul Province, Afghanistan

Cc: Mr. Frank Ruggiero
Ms. Dawn Liberi
Ambassador Anthony Wayne
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry

Prohibition STILL doesn't work. It never did. Why not regulate and tax it instead?

Prohibition STILL doesn’t work. It never did. Why not regulate and tax it instead?

Marijuana use is a victimless crime and prohibition is very unpopular among the general public. The law itself creates an unregulated black market economy that gangs and thugs profit from. Rival gangs fight over market segments and turf wars disrupt our communities with violence and other criminal activities.

History confirms that prohibition never worked and actually created one of the bloodiest, most corrupt periods in American history. The solution was to legalize, regulate, and tax the forbidden substance for adults.

When we regulate and tax marijuana for adults it will put an end to the cannabis crime wave driven by black market profits caused by prohibition. When we allow responsible adults to produce, process and sell commercial cannabis with requirements for labeling and tax commercial sales it will benefit our state and local budgets.

California Cannabis Initiative is the grassroots, people’s movement to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis. This is a 100% volunteer effort with no corporate funding.

The success of the California Cannabis Initiative depends on your contribution of time and resources.

Visit CaliforniaCannnabisInitiative.org to get started.

Tim Castleman
Yes on California Cannabis Initiative

P.S. Contribute $1,000 or 1,000 signatures to receive an exclusive autographed copy of the Memoirs of the Legendary Cannabis Cowboy. Help the Cannabis Cowboy save the day again!

PCa Update October 09

It has been almost 4 months now since my diagnosis 6/5/09. Two months ago I decided my treatment plan would be headed up by big lifestyle and diet changes, bolstered by hormone therapy and finalized with a round of proton beam therapy at Loma Linda which may be followed with more hormone therapy depending on PSA results. The diet and lifestyle changes are permanent.

So, I have lost about 30 pounds by simply walking a lot, riding my bike often and not eating anything with more than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories. No red meat and very little poultry. Lots of fruit and vegetables and some seafood.

For the past two months I have been on Trelstar, a hormone to block testosterone. PSA has fallen to 1.5 as of 9/29/09. My consultation at Loma Linda is scheduled for 10/6/09-10/7/09 and I hope to return mid-October through mid-December for the series of proton beam treatments.

I don’t play games like golf and tennis and as a California native have very little interest in the traditional attractions folks from out of state enjoy. Therefore, while I am in Southern California I will be working on a petition drive to put an initiative on the 2010 ballot to end cannabis prohibition and save California. http://CaliforniaCannabisInitiative.org. This useful diversion will keep me busy and therefore is a big part of my treatment plan.

So that’s my PCa update for now, I feel good and am very optimistic about my plans. I am fortunate indeed!