Friday, December 5, 2008

Musings: News Great and Non

If you ever wonder why Kauai isn’t further along in achieving progress on all the things that could really make a difference — affordable housing, sustainability, supporting local ag, reducing waste, eliminating ice — it’s because so much energy is being squandered on total bullshit.

For starters, instead of spending all its time caring for discarded animals, finding new homes for critters and dealing with the tremendous feral cat problem, the Kauai Humane Society is diverting both volunteers and paid animal control officers over to The Path to beef up patrols by county rangers.

As The Garden Island reports:

A volunteer team is monitoring compliance. The group submits a daily summary sheet reporting the number of bicycles, walkers, joggers, dogs and other pertinent details, {KHS Director Becky] Rhoades said.

The humane society has officers patrolling once a day at different times each day in addition to county park rangers’ enforcement, she added.

And this is after “The Kaua‘i County Council grappled with the legislation for more than three months before approving a compromise bill in August,” according to the paper.

But so far, so good. We can all sleep well at night knowing that apparently not one pile of doggie doodoo has been left on the Path.

Then over in Hanapepe, we’ve got Kimo Rosen leading a pro-Superferry protest that is based in the delusion that it’s Kauai activists who are now keeping the big boat away from the island rather than the company’s own financial interests.

He was joined by folks whose thought processes are similarly stunted:

Still, Jennifer Houle said the opposition has not been straightforward. For example, she said there have been no incidents of the catamaran hitting whales.

OK, so under that line of thinking you can only express concerns about the possibility of a huge speeding boat hitting a whale AFTER the humpback is slashed and bloodied in the water.

Meanwhile, the big issues of the day, the ones that could really make a difference in how we all live and exist on this planet, slip by unnoticed, save for a few, like science writer Jan Ten Bruggencate.

In his most recent post on Raising Islands, he reports: “Our island state and the world are even more severely threatened by the acidification of the ocean than previously known.”

Citing research — some of it conducted in Hawaiian waters — by Tim Wootton of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and others, Jan reports that the acidification, which is linked to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, already is causing population declines for some creatures, which serve as food for others.

And you know how everything is linked together, and once one thing falls, it creates a domino effect through an ecosystem. Or then again, if you're a member of the oblivious clan, maybe you don't.

Anyway, Jan reports:

“An alarming surprise is how rapidly pH has declined over the study period at our site--about 10 times faster than expected said in an email to RaisingIslands.

As Jan concludes:

The essence: things are changing, changing fast, and we don't know exactly where they'll end up.

It used to be that Jan’s reports would be published in The Honolulu Advertiser, which apparently no longer has a science writer since Jan left, or any general reporter savvy enough to pick up leads from Jan's blog.

Heck, even one of The Garden Island reporters could have grabbed this story and run with it, since Jan already did all the research and names his sources.

But then, they wouldn’t have time to write about the really compelling non-news of the day.


Anonymous said...

1) Please provide a cite to a person of greater professional authority (and objectivity, though they should go hand in hand) on the relevant subject matter than Stokes RE the SF.

2) Nobody forced the Humane Society to do that volunteer work – they elected to play this role.

3) The rational and rules which require leashed dogs on the beach call for leased are similarly sound.

awolgov said...

Thanks, Joan, for saying what it is.

Anonymous said...

Jan's posts about the increasing acidification of our oceans and your posts about the national economy's impact on construction projects on Kauai point to the vulnerability of Hawaii to events that are beyond our control. As for Wailua Beach gaining sand, that kind of depends on the storms and swells that batter the east side. Maybe it's my imagination but I recall the erosion at Wailua Beach a year or so ago as close to Kuhio Highway as I've ever seen it in forty plus years. Hope I'm wrong. As for the Superferry, they're still not taking reservations after March 15, 2009. Are they folding up?

Anonymous said...

3) The rational and rules which require dogs on the beach be leashed are similarly sound.

* mybad

Anonymous said...

In answer to this question..."Are they folding up?" I heard the "pitch" given to the Contractor's Association by Admiral Fargo on Tuesday night. He is confident about the EIS passing with flying colors and preparing to return to Kaua`i in the Spring. He also denied (expected) any problems with the "stealing" of resources on Maui and advised dramamine! He urged supporters to respond to naysayers in the letters to the editor. They were also prepared for protestors at this event, which there were none.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for the report.

Anonymous said...

1) Please provide a cite to a person of greater professional authority (and objectivity, though they should go hand in hand) on the relevant subject matter than Stokes RE the SF.

-- no takers huh? typical

Anonymous said...

Where does Joan mention "Stokes" in her post? Who or what are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

"Where does Joan mention "Stokes" in her post? Who or what are you referring to?"

Ohhh, nice point. Of course Ken Stokes is not mentioned by anti-superferry do so is to point out that the foremost sustainability expert on the island has offered pretty clear, compelling, and rational reasons why the SF is (in my words, to paraphrase) ~ "not a bad thing"

see for yourself:

Anonymous said...

Is that the unelectabled, completely rejected Stokes that you're talking about?

Anonymous said...

"Is that the unelectabled, completely rejected Stokes that you're talking about?"

way to avoid the point. but i understand there is not much else you can you certainly can't point to a better sustainability expert (not that such is the limit of his expertise)

like when the kids wished and wished 2+2='ed 5, and were upset that the math teacher finally pointed out it was 4, at which point the kids noted she was not prom queen, as if it mattered

want to try again there?

Anonymous said...

Do I smell a sock puppet?

Anonymous said...

"Do I smell a sock puppet?"

-- nope. try again?

Anonymous said...

Um, Andy? (not parx)

Anonymous said...

dunno who andy is, but i do know what carbon emissions are, as well as reactionary junk science when i see it

Anonymous said...

"unelectabled, completely rejected" does happen to be relavent Anon December 8, 2008 10:30 PM.

Your's, and his, parochial thinking was once again marginalized on Kauai. The people have spoken; and will the next time too.

Anonymous said...

"unelectabled, completely rejected" does happen to be relavent Anon December 8, 2008 10:30 PM.

Your's, and his, parochial thinking was once again marginalized on Kauai. The people have spoken; and will the next time too."

-- fair enough comment/response i guess. thanks. if the stokes view is seen as narrow and "parochial"...i dunno, im at a loss as it is the exact opposite...its a pretty comprehensive systems approach. but you are claiming this is not so?

the results of a dispassionate, fact and science based rational approach to this do largely seem to have been rejected by many here, yes. and people are free to so reject it of course

just like town fathers and people in small midwestern towns are free to stop their local schools from having internet access if that is how they want to do it

nothing to be proud of tho, if one values reason

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:44pm, 1:39pm, 7:10pm, 10:30pm, 8:30am, 3:09pm

What's with the Stokes references? Ken Stokes has defended the ferry rather dubiously and quite suspiciously, given one of his clients is a ferry investor (Maui Land and Pineapple). I did a search for "ferry" on his blog, here's what I found:

In dated 10/2/2006, he postulates "(in broad terms) that a ferry’s “footprint” trumps that of a plane– simply because of its enormous advantage in energy and emissions." Without proof. The words energy and emissions link to his own posts and respectively. The former links to one of his columns in Kauai People (I love that publication, but it is not a reference) where in fact, he presents numbers suggesting ships pollute roughly 20x less than planes. The source given is, which is somehow associated with the World Resources Institute, which has this on their website: Starting with the fact that his numbers are not specifically for a high-speed ferry (not your average ship) and ending with the fact that even air transportation is 3% of US emissions, he's barking up the wrong tree. The second link is a post that mentions how carbon-negative air-travel is (remember 3%!), but offers absolutely no comparison data.

In dated 10/26/2006, a post having nothing to do with the ferry, he concludes with "mebbe those island “enviros” throwing stones at the planned Hawaii superferry could check up on their own glass houses." Ad hominems, always good for torpedoing your professionalism and credibility.

In dated 11/8/2006, he tries to assert that "the need to reduce our carbon emissions overshadows all other concerns." 3 long and informed commenters raise many issues that go unanswered. Put your fingers in your ears and sing along with me: LALALALALALALALAHHHH

In dated 11/27/2006, he advocates scuttling the EIS because it doesn't address eco-footprints. I don't see why a good EIS couldn't address eco-footprints *in addition* to all the other direct and indirect environmental impacts. This is also called a red herring.

In dated 12/4/2006, he tries to show that ferries have lower carbon footprint than airplanes. Except the ferries in the studies he cites are slow, intra-coastal ferries with different engines probably (picture here:
). Apples and oranges make for some very, very sloppy writing. Quite discrediting, in fact.

In dated 12/19/2006, he uses the example of go airlines to show that inter-island transportation is an inelastic market. But the only thing he has shown is that inter-island *air-travel* is inelastic. Adding a way for people to bring cars will likely bring people who wouldn't fly at that time, therefore increase carbon emissions.

In dated 2/2/2007 (what appears to be his most recent article about the ferry), he gave 3 reasons he opposed an EIS, but only one was relative to carbon footprint. The other two? Too late to do an EIS, and small impact anyways--aka the corporate line.

In dated 07/27/2007, he has backpedals a little with a graphic showing high-speed ferries with worse emissons than regulars ships, woops--I mean duh. According to his numbers, high-speed ferries are worse than domestic air ("w/ RF" whatever that is) and short haul air, but better than long haul. But then in the text he tries to nitpick where the data comes from, how it's not applicable, and concludes that "if you were looking for proof that HSF might actually have a significantly smaller footprint," you should look at his previous numbers in KauaiPeople (via a link in his post #157) where he didn't bother to nit-pick.

Heck, even one of his latest posts is titled "Consultants compound confusion..."

And that my friends is, near as I can tell, everything Ken Stokes has written publicly on the ferry footprint issue, the one in which someone is claiming he is authoritative and objective (he also tries to explain "why whales run into boats" in, but he's like a fish out of water there). Never any real numbers for Hawaii airline and ferry fuel usage, nothing new in 18 months, and all the old stuff was never able to hold water to begin with.

Don't get me wrong, I think his heart is mostly in the right place, crunching numbers and advocating for sustainablility and sensibility--Kauai needs all of those people we can get. But he is not a scientific ("doctorate in urban economics"), nor an authority on the matter, just another blogger.

And in this case, I think he was a seriously conflicted blogger, nothing impartial nor credible on this topic. If nothing else, this exercise has shown that he began his blog (and earlier articles) with a pro-ferry slant right around the time of the growing EIS battle of opinions. Knowing how much propaganda marketing the ferry corp was engaging in, I would say there is a non-zero possibility he was a shill.

That would certainly explain why a ferry supporter even mention him now, after he has had nothing to say on the topic for 2 years. Otherwise, I don't know why you'd bring him up, based on the above.

Anonymous said...

"watchdog said...

Anon 12:44pm, 1:39pm, 7:10pm, 10:30pm, 8:30am, 3:09pm"

-- hey i cant read what you wrote now, but i can see you put a good bit of time into it. so thank you in advance, and ill respond later

Anonymous said...

again, my compliments as to even responding

but “dubiously” and “suspiciously”...? Come on...

i’ll assume the dynamics of aviation emissions at high altitude RE the ozone is not known to you (which is fine, its nothing the ave person, smart or otherwise, is expected to know). my suggestion – look into it if you doubt the claims

again, i recognize your effort in tracking back and listing here the constellation of cites etc (just in that you have already greatly elevated the quality of discussion as commonly found here)...still, while the ship speed is faster (relative to blue ocean shipping), the more fuel efficient SF engine tech also needs to be accounted for (which stokes does, and no, i really don’t want to dig around for the cite to it)

as to “Ad hominems, always good for torpedoing your professionalism and credibility.”...i doubt you really mean that (but i suspect neither of us are interested in comparing who has been throwing more SF ad hominems)

i could address the “3 long and informed commenters” comment...but im not looking to disparage them (tho ive got to say -- THEY are informed where stokes is not?...dude...please...)

ya his EIS know, i cant really comment on that other than note i too saw that commentary of his (which has a basis, as i recall)

“corporate line”...? i will error on the side of caution and assume you really believe that guy is some sort of corporate hack...but it also tells me you are not very familiar with him and/or his reputation

and yes, he speaks to the footprint issue (which you explored above), as well as a number of other of the “talking points” against the SF

i have few real serious problems with your take on the above, save for “not a scientific ("doctorate in urban economics"), nor an authority on the matter, just another blogger”....i could list the educational/professional credentials here, but i suspect you know them as well as which case my offer still stand of finding a better mind to speak to relevant SF issues/concerns

why do i mention him now? easy, but it was only about a month ago i stumbled across that blog and the writings

and please, should you care to explore:

1) drugs
2) homeless
3) cars
3) animals/plants/fish/bugs
4) statutes
5) farmers/crops
6) military

and anything else RE the SF, feel free (#6 is my personal fav)

but again, ill give you credit for looking to discredit stokes, you are no coward

Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Let's turn this around. From the very first comment here, Anon 12:44pm, you claim the Mr Stokes has authority and objectivity on the subject matter of the ferry. Now prove it.

Hint: I don't care about credentials, I care about published numbers with verifiable sources.

In the meantime, I might find time to reply to your points.

Oh, and we're all cowards posting anonymously except of course, those that don't.

Anonymous said...

no dice on the retort huh?