2017 November 22

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Chautauqua Gorge State Forest
Delmar, NY
Dolly Sods Wilderness
Letchworth State Park
Onondaga County
Zoar Valley

November 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Starbucks Falls Short on Environmental Commitments

Even if you use a reusable cup, can a coffee shop ever be environmentally responsible? I have my doubts. Probably the most efficient way to make coffee is heat water in a microwave and use a coffee press at home. Buy coffee in bulk, like those big plastic containers I get at Walmart -- and reuse the containers for making. I use a stove top percolator pot, which probably uses more energy, but I got tired of breaking those glass coffee presses.

At any rate, there is no sustainable way to drink coffee away from home. I do sometimes buy $1 coffee at McDonalds when I'm driving, just to stay awake and alike and I usually just end up tossing the styrofoam cups in the fire at the end of day. Sustainable, probably not but at least it's not going to the landfill. But I generally avoid meals away from home, because it involves so much packaging, waste, and expense that could be put towards savings.

Good afternoon! Going home early for the Thanksgiving Weekend. Still pretty cloudy our and 42 degrees in Delmar, NY. Pretty typical November day.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Pretty busy right now on the Thruway but traffic is moving. I don’t know, I’m taking the local home on Delaware Avenue. 

The sun will set at 4:26 pm with dusk around 4:57 pm, which is 39 seconds earlier than yesterday. Not too much of a change.  At sunset, look for partly cloudy conditions and 40 degrees. Seeing bits and pieces of blue sky. There will be a northwest breeze at 14 mph.

Tonight will be mostly clear, with a low of 26 degrees at 4am. Four degrees below normal. Northwest wind 8 to 14 mph. In 2016, we had cloudy skies, clearing in the early hours of the next day. It got down to 27 degrees. The record low of 5 occurred back in 1972.

Tonight will have a Waxing Crescent Moon with 19% illuminated with the moon setting at 7:57 pm. The First Quarter Moon is on Sunday night. The Cold Moon is the following Sunday, December 3rd. The sun will rise tomorrow at 6:56 am with the first light at 6:25 am, which is one minute and 12 seconds later than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 30 minutes of darkness, an increase of one minute and 50 seconds over last night.

Thanksgiving Day will be mostly sunny, with a high of 38 degrees at 2pm. Seven degrees below normal. Northwest wind 5 to 7 mph. A bit chilly but still relatively reasonable for this time of year. A year ago, we had mostly cloudy skies. The high last year was 37 degrees. The record high of 72 was set in 1931. 5 inches of snow fell back in 1943 on Thanksgiving. 

Except for occasional snow and rain showers should be a nice weekend. Saturday, a chance of rain and snow showers before 10am, then a chance of rain showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Sunday, a chance of rain and snow showers after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 37. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Typical average high for the weekend is 44 degrees.

I printed up the map for Moxham Mountain, so that should be a nice hike. The weather doesn’t look that cold for camping, especially with the heater. Tomorrow before I go out to my parents house I will pack. Tonight I might go late to the grocery store to buy supplies for camping, mainly I want to have the ingredients to make pizza for dinner after hiking. 

The Gillig 4162 bus I’m taking home is a brand new bus. It pretty much is like most of the Gillig buses. Gets you from place to place. They’ve almost retired all of the NOVA bus, I think the newest in their fleet now is almost 17 or 18 years old. For a midsized transit authority that works their buses hard, that’s not a bad life. How many cars are still on the road from 2001?

I thought about stopping at the library to use the internet before they close at five for the holiday weekend but I decided against that. I think I just plan to take a nap. Relax for a bit then run to the store around eight to stock up for camping. I think by then the crowds should thin out. 

I am glad the holiday weekend is here. Probably won’t get the chance to work on the solar panel rack this weekend if I’m heading north, but I may take time off in December to get the aluminum bars and put things together. Hopefully the cold and snow will hold off for a while. 

In four weeks on December 20 the sun will be setting at 4:25 pm, which is one minute and 57 seconds earlier then today. In 2016 on that day, we had mostly cloudy skies and temperatures between 28 and 6 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 34 and 20 degrees. The record high of 61 degrees was set back in 1957.

Looking ahead, State of the State Day is in 6 weeks, Coldest Day of Year (Avg. 14-30 degrees) is in 7 weeks, National Hot Sauce Day is in 1 months, February Save the Pine Bush Dinner – 40th Anniversary is in 13 weeks, Independence Day is in 32 weeks and Inaugeration Day 2021 is in 165 weeks.

The debt time bomb that keeps growing and now equals nearly half of U.S. GDP

"Corporate debt is at its highest level relative to U.S. GDP since the financial crisis , and while not now a concern, that mountain of corporate IOUs could quickly turn into a heap of worry under the right circumstances."

"Fueled by low interest rates and strong investor appetite, debt of nonfinancial companies has increased at a rapid clip, to $8.7 trillion, and is equal to more than 45 percent of GDP, according to David Ader, chief macro strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence."

"According to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial corporate debt outstanding has grown by $1 trillion in two years."

"Everything is fine until it isn't," Ader said. "We don't need to worry about that until we're in a slowdown and profit declines."

"Low rates have encouraged companies to borrow, but instead of using the money to expand, they have used it to boost their share prices, he said."

Do Red States Tax and Spend Less Than Blue States

"Traditionally, conservatives favor a government of limited size and advocate for reductions in taxes and government spending, while liberals favor a larger, more active government. A larger government requires a higher level of public spending, which necessitates higher revenue to avoid increasing the deficit. Hence, it is reasonable to expect that largely conservative states collect less revenue and spend less than largely liberal states. Could a long-standing conservative (liberal) state effectively implement its political agenda and reduce (increase) the size of the government? We examine whether the political leaning in each state influences its state and local government revenues and expenditures."

Onondaga Lake mystery: Why doesn’t it get toxic algae blooms?

"Onondaga Lake is very interesting," said Greg Boyer, who runs the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry algae testing lab. "We've been monitoring it since 1985, and we have one example of a toxic microcystin bloom in all the samples we have collected. Oneida Lake during about the same time period has been toxic every single year."

"Boyer speculates that the water chemistry in Onondaga Lake, particularly the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen, helps inhibit toxic algae growth. The lake's chemistry is largely driven by Onondaga County's wastewater treatment plant, through which about 20 percent of lake's input flows."

Huge trash incinerator proposed for Seneca County

I hate to break it to them, but $365 million isn't enough to build a smallish natural gas power plant which requires minimal pollution controls, much less to a waste-to-energy plant that requires significant pollution controls.

In context, Empire Generating Natural Gas plant, which went online in Rennselear in 2012, cost $800 million. It puts outs 635 MW of electricity. It's a tiny plant even compared Dover Plains Plant, which when completed will cost over $1.5 billion and put out 1,100 MW.

Waste to energy doesn't put out that much energy either. All of the state's waste-to-energy plants have a combined nameplate capacity of 375 MW, which is half of the output of Empire Generating.