Neil Peart

AndyO Blog

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Al Gore stops by my work

On Tuesday, former Vice President, senator, Nobel Prize winner, and author stopped by my work. He was there to promote his new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.

Photo of Al Gore by Jay Munro

He said his book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, was more about the evidence that the Earth is warming, and that humans are the cause. Our Choice is about the ideas to solve the crisis -- from solar to nuclear power.

A few things Mr. Gore said that I found interesting:

  • Just one hour of sunlight can power the earth for an entire year.
  • The population on earth will level off at about 9.1 billion, since most people are not having more than one or two children (and many other factors).
  • He thinks President Obama is doing a good job of getting climate change on the agenda -- but it's clear he thinks we should be even more aggressive. One thing he said was that companies will be required to report their carbon emissions starting in 2010.
  • He said that even if you guarantee the safety of nuclear plants and contain their waste, there are too many questions around cost and building estimates.

After Gore spoke for an hour, he signed books for a lot of people. Here I am getting my book signed (I'm the one in the blue coat).


I bought the young reader's edition Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis (Young Reader Edition) for my two sons.

Later that day, I was talking to my wife Brenda about Al Gore's life and all he's done. The one thing people usually think about is that he lost the election to George W. Bush (thanks to the Supreme Court); but I think Gore is one of the rare politicians who was able to make a difference outside of public service. You could say that he probably made even more of a difference, providing the tipping point for America to wake up and take this problem seriously.

Now we just need to continue to take action and decrease our carbon-based energy emissions. I think it can be done.

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 10:24 AM   1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama becomes president

What an incredible day.

After eight years of George W. Bush and his failed policies, we finally have a new leader in the White House. And while this new leader has a huge task in front of him with the economic crisis, at least he recognizes the challenge. In his inaugural speech he said that things are bad. It's such a relief to have someone in the White House who's actually working on problems instead of trying to cover them up.

As I turned on my TV this morning to watch the celebration at the Capitol, I was awed by the sight of over a million people waiting for Obama. I knew it was going to be an historic day, but this was beyond words. As a nation, we had transcended something -- even beyond the first black man to be President of the United States; we'd come together to celebrate optimism and hope.

If that wasn't enough, Obama gave a stirring, deeply-felt inaugural address. I think this is a speech people will be talking about a hundred years from now.

So, let it begin. The first hundred days are the most important. Let's dig out of this hole.

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 1:20 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama's top-secret phone

Update -- 2/2/09: According to Computerworld, President Obama has not divulged whether he's still using a BlackBerry. BlackBerry-gate continues.


According to CNET, President-elect Obama is switching from his beloved Blackberry to a General Dynamics-built, super-secure Sectera Edge. Oh, and it's running Windows Mobile (uh-oh -- here comes Blackberry-gate, just like Zunegate). Check this thing out.

Sectera Edge

Like what you see? Pick one up for only $3,350.

Labels: , , ,

posted by AndyO @ 12:41 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008

After what seems like years, the election is finally happening today. Here are the results.

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 5:35 PM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 29, 2008

The sky is falling (on Wall Street)

Well, the bailout package didn't pass the House of Representatives today. Everyone thought it was going to pass. And this is what it did to Wall Street:

Picture of Wall Street numbers - Sept 29, 2009

I guess -777.68 is the third-biggest decline since World War II, and the worst decline in two decades. However this decline is the worst "one day point drop ever for the index," which wiped out $1.2 trillion in market value. On Black Monday, October 19, 1987, the market lost 20% (508 points), which was a stock market crash.

So, I guess we could say that it could have been worse.

We'll see what happens.

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 8:22 PM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tim Russert - In memoriam

Update - 6/22/08

I just read that Tom Brokaw will be taking over for Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." I don't think anyone else could have taken over, at least on the NBC roster, as Brokaw was the most popular news anchroman when he stepped down in 2004. Brokaw will bring the authority that NBC needs in an election year.


When I read about Tim Russert's death last Friday, it seemed a little surreal. I had practically just seen him at my work two years earlier, on June 8, 2006, where he talked to the small crowd, and then signed copies of "Wisdom of Our Fathers." I wasn't going to buy the book, but just listening to him talk about it sold me (it was a collection of letters from people who talked about the wisdom of their fathers). I gave it to my Dad for Father's Day, and he really enjoyed it.

I have to admit I didn't watch "Meet the Press" too often, but I did see Mr. Russert on other news shows. He always came across as a serious journalist. When I saw him in person, Russert seemed like the kind of guy you could sit down with and have a few beers -- a friend. It was this quality that made him so popular with TV audiences.

Thinking back on the hour I spent with Russert, thinking about the brief exchange we had when he signed my book, I'm reminded of how one person can make a difference. In this age of media spin and information overload, it was refreshing to find someone in a position of influence who knew how to cut through the B.S. Who knew how to shine a light on the Truth.

It's rare to see such an outpouring of sympathy and mourning for a journalist. From what I've read, Russert's funeral was much like a state funeral -- with mayors, senators, presidents, colleagues, and presidential hopefuls in attendance.

I think that Russert would have been shocked by the amount of attention his funeral received. I think he would have worried about what wasn't being reported on because of his funeral.

But sometimes people need to stop and pay tribute to a person who changed the world.

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 1:05 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday dashboard

I've been impressed with MSNBC.com's coverage of Super Tuesday. In particular, the Super Dashboard is really cool, with interactive results, live video, and more. If you're tracking the races, check this out:

MSNBC.com Super Dashboard



posted by AndyO @ 6:53 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hillary and Bill stop by my work

Within one week, Hillary and Bill Clinton stopped by my work. For Hillary, it was a campaign stop, where she outlined her platform and talked about what she would do as President. For Bill, it was a chance to talk about his foundation. This was the second time I'd heard both of them speak, and, as usual, I was impressed.

Hillary Clinton in SeattleHillary has convinced me that she has what it takes to be President. She spent 8 years in the White House as the First Lady, and she's spent another 7 years as a U.S. Senator. She understands how things work, and how you get things done in Washington.

I like that Education is one of her top priorities, as it's one of the places the U.S. has fallen behind. The last time we fell behind like this, as she pointed out, was when the Russians launched Sputnik. She said she still remembered when her teacher told her she needed to start learning more science -- a directive coming directly from the President of the United States. What she didn't say, but what I've read, is one of the reasons the U.S. fell behind the Russians was that science wasn't being taught in schools. Instead of Evolution, many schools taught Creationism. It was at this point that Evolution replaced Creationism in U.S. schools. And then we went to the moon.

Bill Clinton in Seattle<soapbox>The Bush administration has perpetuated a similar scientific slide that we saw prior to Sputnik. Whether it's their ignoring the facts on Global Warming, pretending that Evolution didn't happen, or banning stem cell research, we must stop this slide or the U.S. will not be part of the technology leadership in the 21st Century. Only this time, instead of the moon, the United States' economy is at risk. </soapbox>

The other area that resonated with me was that Hillary said if she's elected president, she'll send out envoys to all corners of the globe to tell the other leaders that "cowboy diplomacy is over." I think many Americans are tired of being viewed in this light by our fellow citizens in the world. Any change isn't good enough. We need a radical change. 

Finally, a note about the polarizing effect of Senator Clinton. One conversation I had with an older woman on a flight from Detroit, MI, to Buffalo, NY, is a good example: this woman, a life-long resident of New York, said, "Hillary does what's good for Hillary." When I told her I'd actually seen Hillary speak, and that I was surprised how warm, funny, and smart she was, this seemed to take her by surprise. I said to her, "You should really go see Hillary in person -- especially since she's your senator." She agreed. And I guess this brings up a good point about Hillary: She doesn't come across that well on TV. The media always seems to find a way to use her sound bites against her -- which is true for any candidate. But there's this perception that she's this selfish, power-grabbing woman who's just in it for herself. All I have to say is go listen to her in person and see what you think.

We'll see what happens...  

Labels: ,

posted by AndyO @ 7:06 PM   0 comments links to this post