Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Stateside With Rosalea: Miscellany

Stateside With Rosalea Barker


::Airless McFareless::

Although the Bay's natural air-conditioner (fog off the Pacific Ocean) has now kicked in, the days around the last weekend in June were dominated by a big old high sitting off the coast, raising temperatures and lowering the ability of air to move freely. The local air quality management authority declared Thursday, Friday and Monday "Spare the Air" days.

And because they were the first three Spare the Air days of summer, all public transit in the Bay Area was free. Getting cars off the streets and freeways is one of the major ways to reduce air pollution, and if pollution can be kept within federally mandated guidelines, then the transit operators remain eligible for government funding.

Read about Spare the Air and other anti-pollution initiatives at


My free trips to work continued for the rest of the week because we had one of the new hydrogen fuel cell buses on our route--so new that it didn't yet have the farebox installed. Besides the H2O conversion technology, the bus uses its own braking and slowing to store electricity in the fuel cell for future use. It's as silent as a lamb when at a standstill.

Recalling that on a recent trip to Sacramento our beloved leader was taken on a tour of these buses, I had a quick squizz for any graffiti he might have Sharpie-d onto the bus seat or scratched into the window. You know, just a nice friendly touch so we'd feel right at home in the magic bus!


Speaking of magic, a new movie asks who waved the wand that made the electric car disappear. The problem with the electric car from the US business model perspective is that it doesn't create a reliance on anything other than the electricity that already gushes out of everyone's home outlet. There's no need for the kind of distribution network that hydrogen fuel cell technology demands, for example.

I believe China will be the technology leader on this one. The electric bike has been refined and developed over decades of experimentation there, and the Chinese have a far better attitude towards design. Even in something as simple as a kitchen broom or a floor mop, Chinese-made products are superior because the designers/makers of them take into account the way the tool is used.

By contrast, the US concentrates on creating sweepers and mops that look snazzy and have a constant need for consumables to keep them in operating condition. Within a year, a new model has been brought out that uses different cloths or sponges, and the old consumables are taken off the shelves so you're forced to buy the next useless thing.

::Jukebox diplomacy::

The Japanese PM's visit to Graceland reminded me of that scene in the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch, where Lilo's visitor gets to perform Elvis songs. All that was missing was GWB's red mumu. What's next? A trip to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tennessee, for Kim Song Il if he'll just lay down those arms?



© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news