Monday, May 21, 2007

Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell

Lovely. Worth multiple viewings.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Yellow Peril

I got a surprise call from Greg (Keiko's husband) Saturday around 1 pm. First, he apologized for waking me up. As if. Already that morning our paddling coaches had us run 3 miles, then do sprints in the sand for a bit, and then ... only then ... we set out for a three hour practice in the water.

The days of waking up past noon are history. I was already ready for pau hana cocktails (and, on cue, the waitress at the yacht club brought me my beer).

He called to invite me flying the next day. If I was interested on such short notice, that is. And, off course, my easy answer was, holy shit yeah. Greg spent eight years building a plane in his garage, and has just taken it out recently (not sure how recently, though).

So Sunday at ten I met him at the end of Lagoon Drive, and we took off into the wild blue ...

trying to maintain my cool pre-flight

Ar traffic would call us on the radio, and I tried to tune out the "experimental" part of "experimental seven niner papa tango"

And Greg let me fly! I made it most of the way past Moloka`i before the turbulence made me too nervous. I did better on the return, going up and over clouds, then banking down and around, and pretty much having a grand time of it. And you thought god was your co-pilot.

Greg tending his baby at Hana Airport.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

up from the underground

I guess something really hip can't stay down in the underground forever. I was bounding around IMDb & saw that Neil Gaiman has three films in production - two based on his work, Stardust and Coraline, and he's doing the screenplay for Beowulf.

He's one of only two current authors (Michael Chabon is the other) who I really follow. I'm pretty sure I've read most everything by both of them. No one else comes close (Jeffrey Eugenides has potential after one good and one drop dead brilliant novel, I want to read more by David Mitchell, and Ian McEwan could've of been a contender but so much of his work feels redundant).

And now Gaiman's going Hollywood. Maybe. I hope he survives the transition, and that his movie work has the same magic and edginess that his graphic and written work have. But I have my doubts. And beyond that, I feel a little selfish: I don't want to share him with the unwashed masses.

au revoir, earth

So, if I'm reading this right, the "climate change experts" have settled on catastrophe by 2030 as the most affordable outcome.

from this morning's Al-Jazeera:

Climate summit battles over cost

Climate change experts from around the world are racing to finalise a report on measures to fight global warming, with China leading concerns over the financial costs of possible action.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to be released on Friday after a week of negotiations behind closed doors.

Scientists from 120 nations gathered in Bangkok are expected to meet well into Thursday night to hammer out the final version of the report.

While the economic impact of tackling climate change has been the biggest sticking point, other issues such as whether to ramp up use of carbon-clean nuclear power have also caused fierce debate.

The final instalment in the three-part United Nations initiative on how to fight global warming will be unveiled on Friday.

The first two reports looked into the evidence and potential impact of global warming, while the third and final paper will focus on what action governments need to take to minimise its effects.

One delegate attending the Bangkok gathering described the cost issue as "the big 100,000-pound gorilla in the room".

"The cost is the underlying threat for some and the underlying opportunity for others," the source told the AFP news agency.

China has disagreed with estimates contained in a draft of the report, saying it will cost more and be harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than is detailed in the document.

It has sought more than 10 amendments to a draft of the report.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured in parts per million (ppm), with current levels close to 400 ppm, although the figure is rapidly increasing.

If the world wants to stabilise carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 640 ppm by 2030, it would cost 0.2 per cent of the average global gross domestic product (GDP), according to an early draft of the report.

The higher the targeted reduction, the higher the cost, said the draft.

But environmental groups have warned that even at a lower level, global warming could cause droughts, floods and other disasters, while at 640 ppm the impacts could be catastrophic.

One European delegate accused China of trying to water down every single statement relating to the cost of fighting climate change.

"They want the evidence as low as possible on what we know about cost... China is trying to minimise the impact of the comments," the scientist told AFP.

While delegates battle it out, environmental groups have stressed that besides the economic impact, nations should also consider the potential devastation that climate change brings.

Stephan Singer, European head of climate and energy policy at environmental group WWF, said: "The costs for ambitious emissions reduction are very low compared to the dangers caused by climate change if they take no action."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Three for Three

Rudy, Jerry, Ramos, Jake, MC, Dave

I raced Ke`ehi this past weekend, and we placed second for Masters. This time there was actually some competition this time, so even though Team Kanaktion Golden Masters (50+) kicked our butts, we beat plenty in our division. Besides, the Kanaktion men were all these huge, Hawaiian-warrior types. They'd kick anyone's butts. This race was a lot easier than Pokai - less wind, less chop, and - I think, though I'm not sure - a few miles shorter. It was still hard as hell, I still had plenty of pre-race anxiety, and I still thought why do I think I can do this? and how am I going to finish? at roughly the 1/4 mile mark.

But I did survive, and felt pretty good about it. Sure I went home and slept for fifteen hours & missed David's party at Piranha Room. It was still worth it.

This morning the Neighborhood Board results came in. I was tied for top vote-getter in our subdistrict .... we each got five. But it's a win, and I'll take it.

I'm getting kind of used to this. One day soon I'll be in a real competition and this little rock-and-roll can't stop the man streak will end with a big thud. Until then, I'll enjoy the trophies!

After sleeping most of the rest of the weekend, I met up with Gary and Don, his (not so new any more) man at Hulas. It was a good night, and it was nice to reconnect.