RI Rambles: Green on Green Conflict, Shocking Tesla News, Science!

March for Science on April 14

This didn’t happen, yet we still hope people went, because science is a cause and effect worth marching for. And it was cancelled for lack of funding, which has us confused — we thought marches were volunteer efforts. True, for the big ones, beyond the cost of a permit, you may have to rent a stage, PA system, pay for security, have banners and supplies available, water in case it’s needed — even transportation to bring the marchers who need help getting there (or who were hired by major Hollywood producers). So there are expenses … but it strikes us as weird to see the long arm of capitalism sticking its compromisable gnarled fingers into acts of civil disobedience and protest.


Homeless Boxes

Supporting the homeless is certainly one of the things a forward-thinking society should do. But Providence’s program of parking-meter-like boxes that can accept spare change on behalf of the homeless is one of the goofier approaches. It removes the personal touch of giving money directly to someone in need, but also misses the efficiency of making a larger donation to an agency that tackles the problem on a more systemic level. Sticking money in one box is unlikely to prevent a homeless person from sleeping in a different one. Points for effort, city of Providence, but the result is just weird and awkward, especially compared to your many other inspired programs, like the 24-hour safe zones for addicts seeking counseling, the mobile shower vehicles or the programs to put people on the streets to work cleaning those streets.

Green High-Speed Collision: Good Intentions Scattered Throughout Accident Zone

Advocates for solar energy have found themselves at odds with advocates of green space and undeveloped land, producing green-on-green verbal violence. A number of solar fields have been gaining ground, so to speak, lately.with a major project approved for west Cranston (opposed by the West Bay Land Trust), and also with recent fields in North Kingstown and Johnston, and several more planned across the state.

Trees grow back. Solar panels don’t. So cut down trees, plant solar panels, then plant more trees. Or think of it this way — the solar energy can replace dirtier fuel sources, the pollution from which kills … trees (and sometimes animals and people, to make a long story short). So, kill a tree to save a tree (although there’s certainly more math to be done there). There’s a balance, of course, but right now the needle is clearly pointing in the “more clean energy” direction. Jeeze, people — can’t you just raise the panels, paint them green and call them trees? Or follow the lead of Quonset Point, where one of RI’s larger fields covers the existing roofs of multiple jumbo warehouse buildings. That’s pointing all the green energy in a direction all the different shades can get behind.

Weekend Watching

History buffs, turn your attention to the History Channel on Friday, May 4 for the first episode in a five-part series on Nikola Tesla and the search for his missing records. The story goes that Tesla died alone in a hotel room in 1943 of heart failure. However, within hours of his death, associates, opponents and government agents arrived on the scene. The speculation is that someone or ones made off with Tesla’s private files containing hundreds of his theories and designs. In this series, local Tesla researcher Dr. Marc Seifer, who wrote Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla, searches for the lost files with two other researchers. Now that’s some electric television.

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