Posts

We New Arrivals in Fargo Honor Indigenous People’s Day

Love this day to honor the people and cultures that lived here thousands of years before we immigrants moved here.
Proud that Fargo is a city that celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day thanks to wonderful community work by our Native American Commission. Time magazines list left us and some other cities off their list today. 
People around the world are drawn to areas that are interesting, diverse, and respect for people is a driving force of the culture. Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Alaska recognize this day as Indigenous Peoples Day as a state. I ask that Governor Doug Burgum and our State Legislature to please help lead the way along with with those states and work to have North Dakota also designate this day to honor indigenous people.
Here’s a list of peer cities that recognize Indigenous Peoples Day from an article in Time Magazine.

Here Are The Cities That Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day Instead of Columbus Day

Oct 08, 2017

Each year, more cities, states and universities opt to celebrate an alternative to Columbus Day: Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Instead of honoring Christopher Columbus, the Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes Native Americans, who were the first inhabitants of the land that later became the United States of America. Advocates for the switch to Indigenous Peoples Day argue that Columbus did not “discover” America in 1492 but instead began the colonization of it. For decades, Native American activists have advocated abolishing Columbus Day, which became a federal holiday in 1937.

This year, both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day are on Monday, Oct. 9.

While the United Nations declared August 9 as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in late 1994, Berkeley, Calif., had already become the first city in the U.S. to replace Columbus Day itself. The city’s decision was influenced by the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990, which spurred another Northern California conference that discussed similar issues and brought them to the Berkeley City Council, TIME has reported.

With the exception of Santa Cruz, Calif., and the state of South Dakota, which adopted the similar Native American Day in place of Columbus Day in 1990, the cities, states and universities that have chosen to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead have done so only recently, with cities like Minneapolis and Seattle voting to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead in 2014.

Which cities and states celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

States:

Cities:

Universities:

*Celebrates Native American Day.

**Celebrates both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day.

Why is Columbus Day so controversial now?

Critics of Columbus Day argue that the holiday does not celebrate the discovery of America, but instead honors the mass genocide and colonization of the people indigenous to the land.

“[Columbus] was one of the first Europeans to get to the American continent, but there was a lot of history that came after that in terms of the wiping out of native people,” Loni Hancock, the mayor of Berkeley in 1992 and former California state senator, told TIME in 2014. “It just didn’t seem appropriate. It seemed like a reemphasizing of history and recognizing that to be very ethnocentric really diminishes us all.”

What cities are considering celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead?

Several other cities are considering an alternative to Columbus Day, replacing celebrations of Columbus with that of indigenous people.

A member of Washington, D.C.’s city council proposed a bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a commission to assess the value of monuments of historical figures in public spaces in the city. That includes the monument honoring the Italian explorer in Columbus Circle near Central Park.

Just days before the 2017 holiday, the city council in Austin, Texas, voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The town of Newcastle, Maine, is considering a change to follow the lead of a number of other cities in the state, though members of the town’s Board of Selectmen’s won’t vote on the matter until the 2017 holiday has passed.

Advocates for the switch have also voiced the desire for the change in Santa Barbara, Calif.Silver City, N.M. and Miami County, Kansas, among other cities.

ND Protecting Status Quo on Energy Limits Our States Energy Potential

ND is falling behind in some important categories while state leaders are spending money protecting the status quo in energy and oil profits for out of state companies.
Recently ND has ranked well for national rankings. Here’s a Commerce Dept post featuring one of these as 8th best state for business from last year.
If we’re going to feature the good ratings, perhaps we should also acknowledge and address the not so good ratings as well?
Forbes recent article ranks North Dakota in the bottom 10 states for innovation.  Here’s the article ranking North Dakota #5 in the bottom 10 states for innovation:
5. North Dakota: Some North Dakotans disagree vehemently with this list, with one Bismarck radio station calling the report “bullcrap.” Nevertheless, numbers don’t lie, and North Dakota got poor marks for AP exam participation (it ranked 51), venture-capital funding per capita (47) and share of technology companies (46). 
~End Article~
This while other states are being innovative and future ready working towards developing capacity embracing and applying technology to transition toward energies of the future.

This is the antithesis of being innovative, future ready, and data driven. We need to do better.
Here’s one idea: We have the potential and transmission to produce and deliver electricity (We produce 36 Megawatt hours and export 20 million MWH) produced by cleaner natural gas by revamping our coal plants to burn natural gas. Natural gas works better than coal as baseload power with intermittent renewables as NG can be ramped up and down quickly.
Here’s one example of a coal plant being converted to burn natural gas in Joliet Illinois.
This would extend ND’s viability as an energy exporter as we embrace technology and work to develop and improve our own great cleaner renewable energy resources.

Put Politics Aside and Use the Facts to Improve US Healthcare

Regarding the upcoming Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped millions more Americans obtain health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Our country is at a competitive economic and social disadvantage with our failing market based, reactive health care system.
Senator John HoevenSenator Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and Governor Doug Burgum (I know you don’t vote, but you have weighed in), let’s make North Dakota a leader by being data driven on our country’s common goal for better healthcare. It’s past time to put politics aside and work together to use the vast verifiable information that is constantly updated and improved.
Instead of repeal that would set us back, let’s build on positive attributes of the Affordable Care Act. Identify and remove what doesn’t work, insert proven methods from other countries that have lower cost and better health outcomes, and move forward.

Please consider: Our market based, reactive health care system has higher per capita costs (Almost $10,000 per person in 2016) We have the highest percentage cost of GDP
Please consider: The US has poorer health outcomes than countries with universal health care systems
 
Please consider: High medical costs are the number one reason for bankruptcies in our country. 

Let’s put the data to work to transition to a universal healthcare system that is proven to be more efficient, with lower costs, universal access, and better health outcomes.
 
 

Irish Prime Minister’s Speech Fantastic Reason to Celebrate St. Patrick

Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny at the White House gives us some of the best reasons to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here, and serves as a eloquent reminder America is at our best when we are a welcoming country that values immigrants and refugees.
Thanks to Vox and writer German R Lopez for the coverage. Here’s Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s fitting address at the White House:

Kenny said:

It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too of course was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he’s also a symbol of — indeed the patron of — immigrants.

Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage, and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political, and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years. Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed.

And four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and we became Americans. We lived the words of John F. Kennedy long before he uttered them: We asked not what America can do for us, but what we could do for America. And we still do.

For Those Who Say “the Climate Has Always Changed” Please Read

I wonder if meteorologists John Wheeler and Tom Szymanski, and NDSU climatologists have something to say about this?
Often a good visual aide can help add important perspectives to complex subjects. Here’s an informative visual timeline going back to 20,000 BC to present. Thanks to the artist Randall Munroe and to Vox writer Brad Plumer for the article they want folks to share.
Here it is online:

Here’s some of the article followed by the visual timeline:

“But Munroe’s comic below hits at the “why worry.” What’s most relevant to us humans, living in the present day, is that the climate has been remarkably stable for the past 12,000 years. That period encompasses all of human civilization — from the pyramids to the Industrial Revolution to Facebook and beyond. We’ve benefited greatly from that stability. It’s allowed us to build farms and coastal cities and thrive without worrying about overly wild fluctuations in the climate.

And now we’re losing that stable climate. Thanks to the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes, the Earth is heating up at the fastest rate in millions of years, a pace that could prove difficult to adapt to. Sea level rise, heat waves, droughts, and floods threaten to make many of our habitats and infrastructure obsolete. Given that, it’s hardly a comfort to know that things were much, much hotter when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”

 (XKCD)

(By the way, one of the more surprising things I learned from this was that mammoths were still around when the Pyramids were being built. Who knew?)
~ End article~
 


A visual tour of the world’s CO2 emissions

Driverless Cars a Boon or Bane for Cities?

Automobiles really are becoming more automatic. Technology for driverless autos is accelerating at Moores Law rates as are advances in battery technology for more cost effective electric powered cars and buses. This wave is coming, let’s be ready to ride it!

However, advances in vehicle technology will be largely wasted if we don’t plan now for ways to design our cities for people first and shared collaborative systems that feature more options for the way we move around. 
We’ll need parking during this transition, but we can double and triple the number of people living and working in our downtown focusing on designing for people first, not cars.
Quality context based mixed use neighborhoods, robust transit, bike share like Great Rides, car share, Uber, Lyft, walking are options that save people time and money while better protecting our environment.
These options add value and could benefit from autonomous driving technology requiring fewer vehicles. Some of us are already working toward establishing the infrastructure and designing our streets in a way that maximizes the savings with higher value for our citizens and community.
Road widening doesn’t work: It’s called induced demand. Here’s Honolulu
http://www.inforum.com/opinion/letters/4214873-letter-fargo-can-be-leader-alternative-energy

Some ND Senators Try to Stop the Wind

One of the things North Dakota is known for is wind, another is energy. Incredibly some ND Senators want to stop wind energy development in the state for 2 years. Perhaps they do not realize that due to increased efficiency and technology, electricity from wind turbines is now less expensive than coal and compliments abundant and cleaner natural gas peaking plants? 
It’s time for North Dakota and our nation to embrace and leverage technology to use our resources to transition to cleaner and more efficient renewable energies like solar, wind, and geothermal along with increased energy efficiency in our buildings.

A recent Forbes article shows there are more people employed in the United States in the renewable energy industries than conventional energy including oil and coal.  Full article online
 

Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined

Data journalist covering technological, societal and media topics

In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. It’s a welcome statistic for those seeking to refute Donald Trump’s assertion that green energy projects are bad news for the American economy.
Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, according to the report, while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country’s solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity. The gulf in employment is growing with net generation from coal falling 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent.
Fuel production and electricity generation together directly employed 1.9 million workers last year, according to the report, with 55%, or 1.1 million, working with fossil fuels. The DoE identifies another 2.3 million jobs associated with energy transmission, distribution and storage.
Solar energy added 73,615 new jobs to the U.S. economy over the past year while wind added a further 24,650.

Love This Day > Winter Solstice

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” —Thomas Wentworth Higginson
As the daylight wanes quickly in September and October in our part of the country, I start looking forward to this day each year. I enjoy the seasons and the changes they bring, but the sunny, warm days would not be as sweet without winters embrace.
Here’s a well written article about the Winter Solstice by Laura Geggle of Live Science:

Winter Solstice: The Science of the Shortest Day of 2016

Winter Solstice: The Science of the Shortest Day of 2016

On the winter solstice, the sun is at its southernmost point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.

Credit: elod pali | Shutterstock.com

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere officially kicks off Wednesday (Dec. 21), which marks the December solstice — the day with the fewest hours of daylight of 2016.
Although the solstice gets an entire day of recognition, it happens in an instant: at 5:44 a.m. EST (1044 GMT), when the North Pole is at its farthest tilt of 23.5 degrees away from the sun. This position leaves the North Pole beyond the sun’s reach, and plunges it into total darkness, according to EarthSky.org.
At this moment, the sun will shine directly overhead at noon at exactly 23.5 degrees south of the equator, along the imaginary latitude line known as the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs through Australia, Chile, southern Brazil and northern South Africa. This is when when the sun appears to be at its southernmost point in the sky; as such, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day of the year, and the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day of the year, on the winter solstice, according to EarthSky. [6 Ancient Tributes to the Winter Solstice]

At 5:44 a.m. EST, the sun will also reach its southernmost point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. After that moment, the sun will stop moving southward and will begin its trek northward in the sky — hence the name “solstice,” which means “sun stands still” in Latin, according to NASA.
After the winter solstice, the days will begin to get longer in the Northern Hemisphere. But that doesn’t mean temperatures will increase immediately. Rather, northern midlatitudes will experience the winter chill partly because they’ll only get about 9 hours of daylight in the weeks following the solstice, compared with the roughly 15 hours of daily sunlight they get around the summer solstice, Live Science reported in 2012. In addition, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, making it colder.
In addition, even as the days get longer, the oceans, which moderate temperatures on land, need a vast amount of energy from the sun to heat up.
There are countless cultures that have recognized the winter solstice. The most famous is in Stonehenge in England. When the sun sets on the shortest day of the year, the sun’s rays align with Stonehenge’s central Altar stone and Slaughter stone, which may have had spiritual significance to the people who built it, Live Science reported in 2013.
Across the world in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient stonewalled Mayan city of Tulum also has a structure honoring the solstices. When the sun rises on the winter and summer solstices, its rays shine through a small hole at the top of one of the stone buildings, which creates a starburst effect.
Original article on Live Science.

Swap Out Your Old Christmas Lights for New Solar Powered LED Tuesday

 
EXCHANGE OLD INCANDESCENT HOLIDAY LIGHTS FOR NEW SOLAR-POWERED LED HOLIDAY LIGHTS! Unplug and bring in your old electric incandescent light string to us and get a new string of zero-energy, solar holiday lights (200 lights, 72’ long)!
The first 12 people to stop by with their old incandescent light strings at the Downtown Fargo or Carlson Library on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016, will receive a string of solar-powered LED holiday lights!
In addition, we will be giving away LED bulbs till supplies last. Holiday strings and LED bulbs are limited to one per household. Old incandescent holiday lights are expensive and waste energy in households.
On average the cost of operating incandescent light strings is $122 versus LED light strings which cost $18 to operate over ten seasons. Using solar lights can save households the burden of ongoing outdoor lighting costs! efargo is a partnership with the City of Fargo, NDSU, Cass County Electric, and Xcel Energy to participate in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Fargo is currently ranked #3 out 50 cities in the competition. You can help us win the competition by adopting energy-efficiency measures and lowering your energy bills. Go to www.efargo.org to learn more.

NDSU Bison Raise the Level of Performance

So proud of the NDSU Bison football team.
Their commitment to excellence and incredible impact on their peers at all levels over this unprecedented run has inspired other teams to reach a higher level of performance.
That is what true champions do in any field.
A wonderful legacy that will continue next year and beyond.
Hail the Bison!