The International Herald Tribune has a pretty good article about changing policies around the world toward the use of bicycles as a serious mode of transportation.
Although an engineer designing from scratch could hardly concoct a better device to unclog modern roads - cheap, nonpolluting, small and silent - the bicycle after nearly a century of mass ownership is still more apt to raise quizzical eyebrows than budget allotments.
And, most ominously for a warming globe, China and India seem to be using their new wealth to pave the way for the automobile rather than to preserve long traditions of mass cycling. So it may seem odd that many cycling advocates are getting optimistic of late.
They acknowledge that progress may be slow at the national level, but many see a wave of action swelling up from below - at the city level, where exasperated mayors are connecting the dots.
On the train this morning I read analyis in the San Jose Mercury News about the trend toward resource nationalization. Bolivia and Russia have recently taken outright control of their gas fields. Other nations, including the United Kingdom, are raising taxes. I can't find the article online, but it notes that production has leveled or declined since nationalization. The author implies that production has declined not because of geological restraints, but because corporate production is so much more efficient than what government-run are capable of.
The opinion page of the Mercury-News had a pro-nuke piece from Eric McErlain who blogs at NEI Nuclear Notes. I'm in agreement with James Kunstler and James Lovelock that we must go to nuclear power now to have any hope of maintaining any semblance of civilization over the next 20 years. The consensus among most environmentalists seems to be that it's better to certainly destroy the entire planet through global warming with coal and gas-fired plants than it is to potentially damage a small area with a nuclear power plant.
I have a question about folding bicycles, but I'll hold that for later this week. I expect my opinion about nuclear power will generate a couple of comments.