Tree maps and bike paths

Spinning Crank is 12-page newsletter published by the Silicon Valley and Peninsula bicycle coalitions. Town by town, the newsletter reports on actions to build bridges and bikeracks, expand trails, and improve intersctions for cyclists and pedestrians. The members attend meetings, dog the details, and make sure that cyclists are represented in road design.

Another artifact of local culture: this map of a neighborhood I bike through on the way to work has native Redwood, Coast Live Oak, Alder, and adopted Hawthorne, Magnolia, and Mayten trees.

Coast Redwood (Native) Mayten Tree (Chile)

The city of Palo Alto clearly values its trees enough to have a complete inventory of them; residents value them enough to go on “tree walk” tours, and there was enough interest to publish the tree walks on the net.
Hmmm… this really wants to be a Google mashup for a walking map or gps tour, with added photos…. So many hacks, so little time.

Welcome to camellia country

I’d never noticed Camellias, because I’ve never lived in Camellia country before. The northeast got too cold and austin was too hot. Camellias are pretty, hardy, and popular garden flowers have networks of fanciers like roses. It’s february, which is the local season for apple and cherry blossoms, magnolias, dogwoods and camellias. The magnolia blossoms are already past their prime.
Yesterday, I cycled to the Elizabeth Gamble gardens to see how Palo Alto interpreted the February spring. Turned out that Camellias were the main attraction.

TXU buyout painted green

Bloomberg reported yesterday that KKR, the LBO firm bidding to buy out Texas utility TXU, would abandon plans to build 8 of 11 coal plants, the New York Times gives more background on KKR’s courting of environmental groups. This is excellent. TXU had been pulling strings and bending rules to get the plants — with the most polluting design possible — rushed through the regulatory approval process before anti-greenhouse policies closed the door on maximally polluting plants that would double TXU’s carbon pollution, not to mention smog and various other poisons. TXU had been garnering opposition from the mayors of Houston and Dallas, and members of the Texas business oligopoly, in addition to local residents and environmental groups.
Tom Evslin takes a contrarian approach, arguing that Texas needs the energy, and this is a sign of a buyout firm getting green cred for their selfish interest in treating the buyout property as a cash cow. Still, there isn’t any good reason to build power plants with the dirtiest possible technology. Texas faces an energy shortage, but the 11 polluting coal plants were the worst of all possible ways to address the shortage.