true cost of gasoline $15.14

An interesting story from progress.org:

So you think you're getting a good deal on a tank of gasoline these days? You wouldn't think so if all the oil industry tax subsidies received from the federal and state governments and other costs that went into producing that gallon of gasoline were included in the pump price.
Such external costs push the true price of gasoline as high as $15.14 a gallon, according to a new report released by the International Centre for Technology Assessment.

"In reality, the external costs of using our cars are much higher than we may realize," the Washington-based research group said in its report.

read the rest of the story...


American Apparel's Bike Program

The following is a press release from American Apparel, the reason I chose to print it here is that I think it is a wonderful thing and one that should be publicized as much as possible.

Bicycle Program Huge Success In Offering Healthy Transportation Alternative.

Los Angeles (CA) - American Apparel, the largest T-shirt manufacturer in the U.S. launched its Employee Bicycle Program last fall as a transportation solution to the MTA strike, the program's fleet of bicycles offers an alternative for employee commuting. The employee Bicycle Program is a special offering inspired by community bicycle lending programs in Copenhagen and other cities. During the lengthy Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit bus strike, those that relied on the bus to get to work found the bicycles were extremely useful.

American Apparel's bicycle program also plays an important role on the company's environmental outreach, encouraging the reduction of driving among our employees, recognizing that even a five mile commute will result in a car emitting over one hundred pounds of air pollution each year. Any American Apparel employee may apply for the use of one of the bicycles, complete with lock, helmet, and light, at no charge. The company has set-up bike racks in a secure, locked space, and provides free mechanical repairs and monthly checkups to help support the use of the bicycles as an environmental choice for travel.

Bicycling also is a way to encourage employees to get needed exercise. The Center for Disease Control reports despite common knowledge that exercise is important, more than 60 percent of American adults do not exercise regularly. A twenty-minute bicycle commute, at a moderate speed, can burn 280 calories round trip and energize employees when they arrive at work.

Many at American Apparel do not yet have the savings to purchase a car and rely on public transportation or carpooling. The company encourages both of these alternatives and in fact offers discounted monthly bus passes to employees. The bicycles supplement these existing alternatives, offering a choice that many find more efficient with an enjoyable added health benefit.

Even after the strike, many workers who once rode the bus prefer using the bikes. Angel Meza, a sewing supervisor, appreciates the extra time his new bicycle gives him in the morning. "It's very convenient for me to ride the bicycle," he said. "Otherwise, I have to take two buses, taking 45 minutes. It's not how far it is, but the way I have to go." His daily bike rides take only 15 minutes.

As American Apparel grows, the company expects the bicycle fleet to grow as well, and perhaps inspire other businesses to institute similar programs that can bring a benefit to their employees and the environment. For over four years, American Apparel has passionately produced socially responsible T-shirts and related apparel. Currently employing over thirteen hundred (1300) people in Los Angeles and dedicated to paying a living wage, American Apparel is continually expanding its employee programs and environmental policies, while striving to produce the best in quality and design. For further information about American Apparel, visit www.americanapparel.net.


Best Coffee Ever

Often times when I'm in a coffee shop I end up buying a fancy espresso drink because I get caught up in the hype; even though I know full well that I'll regret it and wish I'd just had a cup of coffee. This isn't a problem at Philz Coffee in San Francisco; Phil and his son serve only coffee. But this is no drip brew folgers. Each one of the featured coffees offered at Philz is the result of years and years of careful and deliberate bean mixing and roasting techniques. When you pick a blend, Phil or his son (who happen to be the only keepers of the uber-secret recipes) grinds and brews each cup by hand, utilizing an obviously home-made one-cup brewer device. If you're undecided about which to try, they're always eager to offer their two cents and unlike some proud roasters, they don't mind lacing your coffee up with some good, old-fashioned cream and sugar. And what does it taste like??? Imagine the richest, fullest-bodied cup of coffee you've ever had, but without the bitterness. The price is steep at $2.20-$3.00 a cup, but you get what you pay for. Just be aware of a few things: it is the mission district, so you're just as likely to be waiting in line with crack-heads as lawyers. Also, there always seems to be people walking around taking pictures which could just be due to Philz cult status, or maybe there's some truth to the rampant rumours of Philz other job as a loan-shark. Just make sure you pay for your coffee...


Project Rwanda

Project Rwanda is right up my alley - it combines three of my passions: Bicycles, coffee, and environmentalism. Started by Tom Richey in 2005, P.R. currently has five major stated goals:
1. Raise of awareness about Rwanda.
2. Special Bike Designs*
3. Bike Distribution
4. National Pride
5. General Fundraising

Number two is my favorite:
Special Bike Designs: Project Rwanda is actively engaged in the design, development and consults with implementation of special use bicycles to address specific needs within the country. Project Rwanda locates a foreign vendor to manufacture these bikes cost effectively for export to Rwanda (Landed cost approximately $100 - $200). In this role PR serves as a facilitator, consultant, designer and advisor regarding the entire scope of the project. A collaborating agency actual funds the purchase, delivery and distribution of the bikes. The first undertaking is for 2,000 special hauling long bikes for use by coffee farmers to haul their crop to the washing station collection point more quickly which increases the price they receive for the coffee cherries as this is a very time sensitive step. This project is in conjunction with the Texas A & M University and their Rwanda management team, USAID/SPREAD, which funded the actual cost of the bikes.

You can also buy their coffee and other goods and 90% of the money raised goes directly back into their projects.

end of ze world

Bikes for Guns

A scheme under which gunmen in the Democratic Republic of Congo are given bicycles in exchange for their weapons is being extended due to its success.
Ngoy Mulunda, a pastor in the south-eastern Katanga region, says he has been given some 6,500 weapons in the past year, which he has destroyed.

The programme is now being extended to the neighbouring South Kivu province.

A BBC correspondent says it has proved more successful than the UN disarmament exercise, following a five-year war.

The BBC's Jonathan Kacelewa in Bukavu says a bicycle, worth about $50, makes a big difference to the lives of local people.

In South Kivu, however, zinc roofing sheets are being given out instead of bicycles.

The scheme, run through Pastor Mulunda's NGO Parec, is now being backed by President Joseph Kabila.

Congolese troops, backed by United Nations peacekeepers, have been forcibly disarming militias in eastern DR Congo ahead of landmark elections due to take place on 30 July.

If only we had something like this in the US!!!

Calfee's bamboo bikes.

If anyone is looking for a gift to buy for me, I'll take one of Calfee's bamboo commuter bikes. Any one of them will do. From their website:
This is not just a cool bike. It is appropriate for everyday use and for racing. The vibration damping is a performance advantage on longer rides. Each frame is built to order and every frame is a unique. Tubes are selected for the weight of the rider. The geometry of the frame can be any of our usual geometries: Pro, Tri or Cross. Custom frames can also be made.

Bamboo is also a sustainable material which means these bikes are green as well!


Logan's world famous, organic, vegan, fairtrade, free-range, cage-free hummus.

This recipe feeds 2-3 americans or 23 ethiopians. For more, simply double recipe (duh). Serve it with pita bread and/or veggies.

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 large clove garlic (more or less to taste)
juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp. sesame tahini (the more, the creamier)
dash of chipotle or chili powder
salt & pepper
water to desired consistency

variations: add roasted garlic, roasted red bell-peppers, fresh basil or cilantro, roasted eggplant, pumpkin puree, fresh mint, cummin, fresh jalapeno...

Directions: throw all ingredients except fresh herbs into blender/food processor/magic bullet. Add a small splash of water. Process until smooth. I like my hummus thick, so I use less water. Throw in fresh herbs at the last second so that they are merely chopped. Hummus is great at room temperature or slightly colder.

Evangelicals, Scientists Join on Global Warming

from the SF Chronicle; a sight for sore eyes:

"Saying they share a moral purpose, a group of evangelicals and scientists said Wednesday they will work together to convince the nation's leaders that global warming is real.

The Rev. Rich Cizik, public policy director for the National Association of Evangelicals, and Nobel-laureate Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, were among 28 signers of a statement that demands urgent changes in values, lifestyles and public policies to avert disastrous changes in climate..."