Research Obsession: Climate change

I challenge you to play the BBC’s online Climate Challenge game. picture-4.pngIt’s free, fun, and uses Flash, so you don’t have to download anything stupid.

picture-3.pngI learned more about the relative merits of various greenhouse gas reduction techniques by playing this game then I did from four weeks of reading every popular science article I could find on the topic.

picture-2.pngYou are the President of the EU. You have a few years to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions before the gulf stream stops churning and Europe floods and/or plunges into an ice age. Goodbye, Paris. You have a whole bunch of options, but only limited time and money. You also need to avoid plunging your economy into chaos, drought, famine, or poverty.

Go get ’em tiger! Oh, don’t forget to keep your approval rating high enough to stay in office, you tax-raising pinko, you.

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Research Obsession

CF Bulb
I haven’t mentioned this before, but I have a rather librarianish habit. I get on research kicks, usually to no end except my own edification.

For a month or so, I’ll just get on some topic and won’t let it go. I’ll read books on the topic, surf it when I’m supposed to be doing something else, and bore you with conversation about it.

In the past, I’ve become a mini-expert (knowing just enough to be dangerous) on the following:

  • The Northern Cities Vowel Shift
  • Beekeeping
  • The use of scientific imagery in cosmetics advertising
  • US Copyright law
  • Yiddish and Zionism in the 1940s
  • Japanese cooking

After watching An Inconvenient Truth, I’ve been in a state of semi-panic. I’ve researched hybrid cars, veggie cars, rentable solar panels, household wind energy, and biofuel. I’ve swapped out our lightbulbs with compact fluorescents, covered our windows with plastic, and turned down the thermostat. We bartered webwork with our friend Lexie, who does home efficiency evaluations (hire her!). But we still have a long way to go.

Point being, I thought I might start share some of the stuff I dig up. I’ll title the posts Research Obsession so you can skip ’em if you don’t care about the Poetry of William B. Yeats or whatever it is I’m currently nuts about.

Flintstyle

Friends, we need to have a little talk. Judging from some of your emails, many of you are Woefully Ignorant of one of the most important debates going on the world today. I refer to the fight between Flint-style coneys and Detroit-style coneys. Apparently there is a place claiming to be “Angelo’s” located in shiny Ann Arbor (a yuppie Detroit suburb with delusions of grandeur) selling some vile mockery of a coney dog. I’m here to tell you that this is WRONG. Coneys belong to Flint. Flint invented coneys. Specifically, coneys belong to a little place called Angelo’s.

CUE NOSTALGIC MUSIC

From the 1970’s on, Flint’s Angelo’s Coney Island restaurant was a meeting-place of cultures. On a given night you could see rich old women in furs, bikers, prostitutes, gang members, suburb punk rockers (the quasi-urban angst!), and the mayor eating side-by side in its red vinyl benches. The waitresses coughed a lot and if you were really nice, you might get a tobacco-stained smile. They were open 24 hours, every day except Christmas, until the health department made them close for an hour every night to clean. There were fights in the parking lot. You could get fries with gravy. The signs, menu and prices hadn’t changed for 30 years.

What was the attraction? The unchanging ambiance and the coneys. Ah, the coneys. A coney dog, dear reader who wasn’t fortunate enough to be born in Flint, is a Koegel’s hot dog (made with real innards!) with a dry spicy meat sauce, finely chopped raw onions, and mustard. Eat it. It’s good. Get two, you might as well.

There are two genres of Coney dogs: Flint-style and Detroit-style. Detroit-style is all runny and nasty, just a dog with chili on top. Flint-style on the other hand, is coney perfection. These days, the original ones can be found at Tom Z’s coney island downtown. Accept no substitutes.

When GM has a strike, Flint women cook up sauce in a crock pot, chop up onions, and deliver coneys to the picket line. Flint kids go to Angelo’s before prom, carefully lifting their ballgowns off the floor.

A few years ago, Angelo’s was sold. The new owners fired the coughing waitresses, dressed up the new ones in “Angelo’s” t-shirts, took down the old yellow menus, raised prices, franchised the place, changed the food, and generally fucked everything up.

Fortunately, the Angelo’s-shaped hole in the universe has ushered in a new era. During my last visit, I saw dozens of new coney places that had opened up. Flint coneys are everywhere now. I remain hopeful.

Thus endeth the tale of the Vastly Superior Flintstyle coney. Anybody has anything different to say about the quality of the Flinttown dog, then come on up here and say it. I’ll fight ya. Come on. You. Right now. Flint!