In Vancouver, 50% of trips are by foot, bike, or transit. This video shows how they did it. – Vox

Vancouver, British Columbia, has aggressive aspirations for sustainability. Its goal is to be entirely powered by clean energy by 2050 — not just electricity, but transportation and heating as well. (I talked to city manager Sadhu Johnston about it in July 2016.)

As part of that effort, the city adopted the goal of 50 percent “sustainable mode share” by 2020 — half of all trips in the city taken by walking, biking, or transit rather than automobile.Fun fact: The city hit that target in 2015, five years early.

The video above, by Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms, tells the story of how it happened. As Brent Toderian, a former Vancouver chief planner (who I interviewed at length in June), explains in the film, the city’s success traces all the way back to the 1960s and ’70s, when the extraordinarily prescient citizens of Vancouver rejected a plan to build a network of urban freeways through the city.

Source: In Vancouver, 50% of trips are by foot, bike, or transit. This video shows how they did it. – Vox

How journalists can avoid a James O’Keefe-style sting – Columbia Journalism Review

Undercover videographer and conservative political activist James O’Keefe made a vow on the eve of President Trump’s inauguration: “I’m going after the media next,” he said. “We have your name. We have your number. We are embedded in your institutions. We are inside the newsrooms, and that is our next target.” O’Keefe later claimed he already has “hundred of hours” of media-related video.

This threat comes as O’Keefe’s prominence in politics has spiked. He’s known for stings that feature secretly obtained footage edited for maximum impact (he’s most famous for an undercover operation that led to the downfall of the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN). O’Keefe, whose work on voter fraud President Trump endorsed just weeks before Election Day, recently told The Washington Post that his latest sting video led the FBI to arrest a man suspected of planning a violent inauguration protest. “It legitimizes what we’re doing,” O’Keefe told the Post. “It’s a new era for us.”

Source: How journalists can avoid a James O’Keefe-style sting – Columbia Journalism Review

Fence work progressing

It’s looking more like a fence

One of the things we’ve been meaning to get done is to move our backyard fence to the outer limits of our property lines. For some reason when the fence was first built, the fence was put 8-20 feet inside of our property, leaving the rest our of property essentially abandoned. Miss Ruth had adopted our property on her side of our fence and we never had the heart to “take it back” while she lived here, so when we got new neighbors it seemed time to make the change.

Only I’d never built a fence before.

Enter YouTube. You can learn anything on YouTube.
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Meet the Teen Who Discovered the Secret of Social Capital | Psychology Today

Having grown up the perennial New Kid, I appreciate what Natalie is doing.

After two years of hell at school and four separate physical attacks, Natalie Hampton finally escaped the school where no one defended her. Today, she’s a vibrant, happy senior in high school. She has lots of friends, and she looks forward to graduation. Her transformation began on her first day of high school, when, just like before, Natalie didn’t know anyone. This time, however, another student, seeing that she looked lost, befriended her. “It saved my life,” Natalie reveals in her TEDx Teen talk.

All it took was one person. With one friend, she was no longer untouchable. She could make other friends––and she did. For two years, Natalie Hampton ate lunch alone. So after she changed schools, whenever she saw someone eating lunch alone, she would invite them to join her friends at their table. She knew that by saying “sit with us,” she protected other children from becoming untouchable. “Each time, the person’s face would light up, and the look of relief would wash over [it],” she says. “Some of those people have become some of my closest friends.” Natalie was willing to give up her social capital, but she discovered that when a person has friends, spending social capital by befriending those without it lifts people up without bringing anyone down. If “sit with us” became the ethos in middle school, bullying would be a thing of the past.

Source: Meet the Teen Who Discovered the Secret of Social Capital | Psychology Today

A Survivor’s Defense of Al Franken – StrategyCamp – Medium

As I was saying about Al Franken.

As a survivor and active member in the struggle to protect and progress civil rights in the United States, I have a track-record of confronting both the Democratic and the Republican party for abuses. If Tweeden was a victim of a violent and predatory Al Franken, I would have stood right by her side and called for an investigation of the Senator and his immediate removal from office. I would have gladly lumped his name into a category with Roy Moore and Donald Trump and Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein. I would have written an article about how we can’t entrust or bodies to legislators that will assault our women and children and legally enable the predators to get away with similar crimes no matter what side of the aisle we come from.

She is not a victim. She is not an ally. And she is not a survivor. Those words have meaning. Those words hold weight. And she has not earned her right to wear those badges.

Source: A Survivor’s Defense of Al Franken – StrategyCamp – Medium

Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent | Science Advances

I have long been a proponent of streetlights, thinking that they reduce crime. Lately, I’ve been reconsidering my position, especially once I saw the stunning astrophotography my friend Rowland has been doing.

Dark skies are natural. Artificial street lighting is by definition not natural, and its increasing prevalence has repercussions that we are only beginning to understand.

I am now starting to think that, like air conditioning, electric light is meant for the indoors.

A central aim of the “lighting revolution” (the transition to solid-state lighting technology) is decreased energy consumption. This could be undermined by a rebound effect of increased use in response to lowered cost of light. We use the first-ever calibrated satellite radiometer designed for night lights to show that from 2012 to 2016, Earth’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2.2% per year, with a total radiance growth of 1.8% per year. Continuously lit areas brightened at a rate of 2.2% per year. Large differences in national growth rates were observed, with lighting remaining stable or decreasing in only a few countries. These data are not consistent with global scale energy reductions but rather indicate increased light pollution, with corresponding negative consequences for flora, fauna, and human well-being.

Source: Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent | Science Advances

Wikimedia photo by Oleg Volk, www.olegvolk.net

Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe to get $10m payoff and immunity for his family | World news | The Guardian

Some coup. Hasn’t Mugabe looted enough money from Zimbabwe?

Robert Mugabe and his wife will receive a “golden handshake” worth many millions of dollars as part of a deal negotiated before the resignation of the ageing autocrat last week. The exact sums to be paid to the former president and his wife Grace are still unclear, though one senior ruling party official with direct knowledge of the agreement said the total would not be less than $10m.

The official said that Mugabe, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and a guarantee that no action will be taken against his family’s extensive business interests, would receive a “cash payment of $5m” immediately, with more paid in coming months.

The 93-year-old’s $150,000 salary will also be paid until his death. The 52-year-old first lady, reviled for her extravagance and greed, will then receive half that amount for the rest of her life.

Mugabe’s 37-year rule left Zimbabwe with a worthless currency, massive debts, an impoverished population and an estimated unemployment rate of more than 80%. Roads are rutted, many rural communities have no electricity, education is basic and healthcare almost non-existent. A life expectancy of 60 is one of the lowest in the world.

Source: Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe to get $10m payoff and immunity for his family | World news | The Guardian