aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The MacBook Refresh
So if I do stick with the Mac (yeah, we know I will) it knocks my price tag down a tad.
Aw snap. It finally, really happened… kind of. Apple has just dropped a nasty refresh on its MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, knocking the processor speeds up, and giving the Pros that tasty multi-touch the MacBook Air has been sporting. Still, they couldn’t break off an even slightly new form-factor for us? Both lines are sporting Intel’s downsized new Penryn chips, which should make your lap and / or battery quite happy. Right now we’re seeing updates to the GPU memory, an LED backlight (option!) for 17-inchers, as well as LEDs on all the rest of the Pros (sorry again MacBookers). New specs on the MBPs include a CPU boost to a base speed of 2.4GHz all the way up to 2.6GHz, that suspiciously new 3MB or 6MB L2 cache on the CPUs, added RAM to the graphics cards (up to 512MB for the higher-end 15-inch, and all 17-inch models), and of course the new trackpad. On the MacBook front, things look even more familiar, with only minor bumps to speed (2.1GHz up to 2.4GHz) and CPUs. Both new lines get hard drive increases, with the MBPs rocking 200GB or 250GB options, while the MBs range from 120GB all the way up to 250GB. Ports, weight, and size all appear to be just the same for both lines, undoubtedly to the chagrin of many readers, and Apple is skimping on the Apple Remote across the line; it’s now a $19 add-on.
Lowery: Lewis will back Obama
I was so moved by a conversation I had with young woman at lunch that if he does it I may soon have to follow suit:
The Rev. Joseph Lowery said Tuesday he expects John Lewis to formally declare his support for Barack Obama, perhaps today.
Lowery, like Lewis a veteran of the civil rights movement, said he spoke with Lewis in the past few days and said the Georgia congressman was set to make an announcement today. Lowery said he “assumes” Lewis will announce his support of Obama.
Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones did not respond to an email message early Tuesday.
Pollan & Mackey on The Future of Food
Why on earth would 2,000 people turn out on a rainy, blustery evening to hear a conversation between a reporter and a grocer? asked the former of the latter at a sold-out Zellerbach Hall Tuesday night (Feb. 27).
The answer has two parts. The speakers were not just any reporter or grocer, but Michael Pollan, best-selling science writer and UC Berkeley Knight Professor of Journalism, and John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural-foods grocery chain. And they have been carrying on a dialogue of sorts about the future of organic food ever since the publication last April of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Pollan’s investigation into the U.S. food chain.
In a chapter titled “Big Organic,” Pollan wrote “a few slightly unflattering things” about Whole Foods, he told the Berkeley audience - somewhat of an understatement.
Stung by Pollan’s criticism, Mackey replied with a 25-page, single-spaced letter, kicking off an exchange of messages posted online.
Pollan invited Mackey to come to Berkeley to continue the conversation in public. To which Mackey replied, in effect, “How crazy do you think I am?” recalled Pollan, alluding to Berkeley’s notoriously opinionated, anti-corporate contingent of “foodies.” But in the end Mackey agreed, which Pollan said showed a “willingness to engage with his critics [that] sets him apart from just about every other CEO.”
I started watching the two-hour webcast this morning. I’ll finish up tonight.
Pay to keep the carbon sponge!
We tend to emphasize the need to cut back on carbon emissions, while the flip side of the problem—deforestation, the depletion of one of the earth’s two essential carbon sponges (the other is the ocean)—proceeds unnoticed:
Just two countries-Indonesia and Brazil-account for about ten per cent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Neither possesses the type of heavy industry that can be found in the West, or for that matter in Russia or India. Still, only the United States and China are responsible for greater levels of emissions. That is because tropical forests in Indonesia and Brazil are disappearing with incredible speed. “It’s really very simple,” John O. Niles told me. Niles, the chief science and policy officer for the environmental group Carbon Conservation, argues that spending five billion dollars a year to prevent deforestation in countries like Indonesia would be one of the best investments the world could ever make. “The value of that land is seen as consisting only of the value of its lumber,” he said. “A logging company comes along and offers to strip the forest to make some trivial wooden product, or a palm-oil plantation. The governments in these places have no cash. They are sitting on this resource that is doing nothing for their economy. So when a guy says, â€˜I will give you a few hundred dollars if you let me cut down these trees,’ it’s not easy to turn your nose up at that. Those are dollars people can spend on schools and hospitals.” [...]
“This is the greatest remaining opportunity we have to help address global warming,” Niles told me. “It’s a no-brainer. People are paying money to go in and destroy those forests. We just have to pay more to prevent that from happening.” Niles’s group has proposed a trade: “If you save your forest and we can independently audit and verify it, we will calculate the emissions you have saved and pay you for that.” The easiest way to finance such a plan, he is convinced, would be to use carbon-trading allowances. Anything that prevents carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere would have value that could be quantified and traded. Since undisturbed farmland has the same effect as not emitting carbon dioxide at all, people could create allowances by leaving their forests untouched or by planting new trees. [...]
From both a political and an economic perspective, it would be easier and cheaper to reduce the rate of deforestation than to cut back significantly on air travel. It would also have a far greater impact on climate change and on social welfare in the developing world. Possessing rights to carbon would grant new power to farmers who, for the first time, would be paid to preserve their forests rather than destroy them. Unfortunately, such plans are seen by many people as morally unattractive. “The whole issue is tied up with the misconceived notion of â€˜carbon colonialism,’ “ Niles told me. “Some activists do not want the Third World to have to alter their behavior, because the problem was largely caused by us in the West.”