wget a list of files

Pro tip: if you have a list of files that you need to retrieve from a webserver, you’re better off putting the list of URIs in a file, and then:

wget -i list-of-files.txt

than you are crafting a shell script like:

wget http://www.example.com/file-number-1.jpg
wget http://www.example.com/file-number-2.jpg
wget http://www.example.com/file-number-3.jpg

The former works much, much faster.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

VIA Rail has a page that compares various aspects, including emissions, of the train vs. the car vs. the plane for some common central Canadian routes.

The fine print is interesting:

Train emissions calculator

The formula used to calculate train related data emissions is: (Litres of diesel fuel consumed X Emission Factor) / average of seats available on the selected route = Kg of CO2 equivalent per seat. The emission factor of 3.00715 Kg of CO2 equivalent per Liter of diesel No. 2 was used. The fuel consumption for each selected route was calculated using an average of real-time fuel consumption as measured by the Witronix technology over a 12-month period. The emission factor for diesel No. 2 is calculated by Environment Canada as part of its National Inventory Report (2011 submission) and takes into consideration the global warming potential of CO2, CH4 and N2O.

Flight emissions calculator

Number from Zerofootprint Flight emission calcultor for Air Canada used.

Car emissions calculator

For the calculations, a mid-size sedan with a combined fuel consumption rate of 10.0 Liters per 100 km was used, considering an average capacity of 4 passengers per vehicle. The distances are calculated in Kilometers using Google Maps. The formula used to calculate car related data emissions is: (Litres of gasoline consumed X Emission Factor) / average # of seats = Kg of CO2 equivalent per seat. The emission factor of 2.500 Kg of CO2 equivalent per Liter of gasoline (Tier 0) was used. The fuel consumption rate for a mid-size vehicle is an average calculated for mid-size type vehicles from the 2013 Fuel Consumption Guide developed by Natural Resources Canada. The emission factor for gasoline is calculated by Environment Canada as part of its National Inventory Report (2011 submission) and takes into consideration the global warming potential of CO2, CH4 and N2O.

I don’t know if these are the right calculations to be using, but kudos to VIA for including them.

It would be nice if VIA create a more general-purpose emissions calculator that worked for all of their routes.

Mark Leggott, Climate Hero

My friend Mark lives out in Pownal, about 15 km east of Charlottetown.

On Thursday he was at home and needed to get to town to rendezvous with his wife Trina, and with us, for a trip out to Oyster Bed for a social.

In the normal course of affairs he would have asked Trina to drive the 30 km round trip to fetch him, but he decided to ride his bicycle to town instead.

I rode some of the route he took on an ebike earlier in the month, and so I know it’s not a flat and gentle ride.

All hail Mark.

Pride Pride

The first Pride Parade happened in Charlottetown in 1994, the summer after we arrived on Prince Edward Island. It was a shameful event, not for the parade itself, but for the insults and objects hurled from the sidewalks at the brave who ventured out.

Twenty-five years and one 18 year old son later, Pride was a very different thing today: a joyful celebration that stretched for miles and included as diverse a group as I’ve ever seen.

Among those participating was Oliver, who joined with the Green Party on its solar bicycle float; you can see him pedaling his heart out as he passed me on Euston Street this afternoon (he’s in a green T-shirt on the end of the bike, wearing a grey cap):

I am both a proud father, and proud of this Island for having evolved over the last 25 years.

Secret Design Bunker

My friends at Nine Yards Studio have been skunkworking away for months now, inside a sonically-isolated design shop floating inside the courtyard of their headquarters on Fitzroy Street, on a project that seeks to take their considerable skills dealing with Big Things into the world of Small Things.

When they gave me an early tour this winter, I casually referred to the effort, in my affected way, as taking place in their “secret design bunker.”

This week I was overjoyed to receive an invitation to the public launch of the… Secret Design Bunker.

Finally, after years of vain frustration, toiling in the mines of coming up with names for things (here, here), I hit the big time!

There’s a blog post (emphasis mine, obviously):

Stacked, is the Secret Design Bunker’s first series of design explorations. The series celebrates plywood as a material and experiments with the potential forms it can be used to create. Children curiously stack wood blocks on top of one another; the Secret Design Bunker explored the potential forms of plywood could create with the same sense of curiosity.

And an invite:

Secret Design Bunker Popup Invite

And a front page story in The Guardian this morning:

Front Page of The Guardian, July 26, 2019 (detail)

The hatch to the Secret Design Bunker gets opened to public air on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 12 noon at 63 Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown.

The Solar Energy Stars are Aligned

On a Monday afternoon in May 1998, Keith Milligan, Leader of the Official Opposition on Prince Edward Island, was playing golf at the Mill River Golf Course, up west.

The Guardian picks up the story from there in its May 20, 1998 edition (emphasis mine):

Had Keith Milligan been further along in his golf game when he was stricken by a massive heart attack Monday afternoon, he might not have lived long enough to see the emergency room at Community Hospital in O’Leary.

We were lucky,” Liberal MLA Hector MacLeod said Tuesday.

MacLeod was with Milligan at the Mill River resort when the Liberal leader’s heart attack hit on the second hole.

We were joking back and forth about the game, the way we always do. I only knew there was something wrong when I saw a couple of the people we were golfing with putting him into the cart and running him back to the parking lot. If we’d been further out it could have been very bad.”

As it was, Milligan required electrical defibrillation to get his heart restarted when he arrived at the Community Hospital in O’Leary.

Dr. Herb Dickieson, leader of the Island New Democrats, was the doctor on call at Community Hospital when Milligan arrived.

Milligan was leader of the Liberal Party, Dickieson of the NDP: that one should save the life of the other is a uniquely Prince Edward Island story; surprising, but not that surprising.

I thought of that episode, 21 years ago, when I read a story today, also in The Guardian, about ministerial disclosure statements: it turns out that Hon. Brad Trivers, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, is a shareholder in Solar Island Electric, an enterprise of which Green Party MLA Steve Howard, and Shadow Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy, is President.

Trivers laid out the details of the relationship on his blog three years ago, when he was in opposition; in part:

Last year when I was reading this article about the future of energy it got me excited about solar again, so I looked into what might be available on Prince Edward Island.  Incidentally some version of these two statements from that article (on the Wait But Why site) is what I would like to see as the base of the PEI Energy Strategy:

    1) We need almost everything we use to be running on electricity.

    2) We need almost all of our electricity to be produced from sustainable sources.

My research led me to a company founded by Islander Steve Howard called Renewable Lifestyles.  This company promised to source and install PV solar panels that are guaranteed for 25 years, and should last 40 years, with almost no maintenance.  But, more importantly, it can be done with a reasonable payback period for my investment – I wouldn’t have to wait 20 years after they were installed to start actually making money on the investment.  This seemed almost too good to be true.  So I set up a meeting with Steve Howard to try to understand how this could be.  I soon found out that the PV solar panels themselves, although cheaper than in the past, were still fairly expensive – but in the absence of any straight-forward government incentives he had figured out a way to use existing programs to make it affordable.

First off, how great is it that the Minister of Climate Change has a long-term interest in solar energy, has a blog, and has used that blog to describe, in commendable detail, what steps his family took to install solar generation capacity.

Second off, how great is it that the Shadow Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy owns a solar energy company.

And, finally, how great is it that the two have a pre-existing relationship around solar energy and are now part of a collaborative Legislative Assembly.

If good things cannot come from this alignment of stars, I don’t know when they will.