Canadian PM Trudeau is wrong to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Canadian prime minister Trudeau approved a Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion in British Columbia. He announced this on Twitter, couched in highly defensive rhetoric. Truedeau claims the pipeline expansion was approved thanks to “debate, science & evidence“. All three of these points can be easily debunked.

The category of debate is questionable given that this domain is only accessible to the prime minister, his staff, and lobbyists. The opinion of those nearest to the pipeline expansion seem to be highly against is, as evidenced by ongoing protest. Popular Albertan opinion, of course, could be seen as very pro-pipeline. But concretely the desire in Alberta is more jobs, not the pipeline in itself. The pipeline is seen as an enabler of jobs, but the evidence of this is lacking.

As usual the pro-pipeline position is argued by paid lobbyists for Kinder Morgan, but the environmental position is only argued by the government environmental minister, whose job is to ensure merely that a project is not “too bad” to be denied. This is not a good environment for solid debate.

Science broadly argues that global warming and climate change are occurring, are detrimental to human habitation of the planet, and are most likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels. An additional pipeline will increase the burning of fossil fuels and further climate change. No science backs up the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Evidence is apparently a catch-all category, which I have to break down into a few things. Economics might be one aspect. Another, employment. Sadly this doesn’t hold. This presentation by Seth Klein provides many good arguments against economic and employment viability of the project.. In general, oil demand is projected to drop sharply within 30 years, well before the new pipeline can reach profitability. Current pipeline capacity is adequate to meet current and projected future oil demand.

Pipeline construction will bring jobs to beleaguered Alberta, but another method of creating jobs would be to further development of renewable energy (mostly wind and solar). Or by constructing basically anything else besides a pipeline in another province. Alberta’s economic woes are caused by their dependence on the oil sector to drive the economy. Doubling down on oil is unlikely to solve the problem, especially, again, looking at projected decreasing demand.

I don’t believe the pipeline expansion is a good idea in any aspect.

Python Twitter Tools 1.9.1

Many moons have passed, but we are still here, and code is still moving forward.

Python Twitter Tools 1.9.1 is now hereby released.

Mostly a bugfix release, but there are a few improvements:

  • Default to the Twitter 1.1 API, and change docs to show this. Finally.
  • –force-ansi in the command-line tool, if you really really want it.
  • Embolden hashtags and underline @names in command-line output.
  • A _timeout parameter for calls to the API that take a very long time.
  • Archive your mentions or your favorite tweets using the archiver.
  • Save config files in the right place on Windows.
  • More things!

As usual you can get Python Twitter Tools from PyPI by typing pip install twitter, or download it from the homepage.

At this point I rarely do dev work on Python Twitter Tools. I merely evaluate and merge the pull requests submitted by other talented developers. A great big thank you to all of them! Their names reside safely in the Git project history, for all eternity.

Python Twitter Tools 1.9.0

Hot off the presses, it’s Python Twitter Tools 1.9.0!

This is mostly a bugfix release, with compatibilty with Python 3.3 (currently in beta). But there are some keen new features:

  • compress connections with gzip, leading to a 5x (or better) data transfer rate (thanks to jameslafa).
  • follow redirects in the twitter-archiver (no more nasty URLs) (thanks to blob79)
  • invert the order of tweets that span over 140 chars, so they appear in order in the cmd line tool (thanks Lacrymology).
  • many other fixes and documentation updates

As always you can

pip install twitter

Or download the relase from PyPI.

Generation SpaceX

Okay look.

I don’t want to “that guy” who complains about SpaceX but there are a couple things I noticed on the SpaceX launch feed that i need to talk about.

We’re you listening at that historic moment as the rocket finally achieved orbit, and the flight controller announced, with a quaver in her throat “Dragon has entered Earth orbit,” and then the entirety of mission control erupted in spontaneous applause and whooping? Wasn’t that a beautiful, human moment in the otherwise sedate history of mission controller jargon that crowds NASA’s air-ground transmissions?

That precisely is the problem.

If you know anything about space flight, or watched Apollo 13, you’d know that astronauts and mission controllers spend interminable hours performing mission simulations. These extremely detailed simulations include almost every eventuality. NASA mission controllers have a checklist for everything. Spacecraft running out of air? Turn to page 452, halfway down, run through the checklist.

When a real space mission finally happens it feels to NASA mission controllers much like a simulation. And so the transmissions are massively sedate and specific. Sure there are occasional moment of cheer, like when you learn that your capsule is not going to miss orbit and kill your astronauts. But still, mirth is kept at minimum.

Think of it this way: you bring your precious car, a beautiful red Cadillac, to a mechanic to be serviced. He changes the oil and when you start your car, he cheers “hot dang it actually works!” is this the kind of mechanic you want to keep visiting?

What about your heart surgeon?

So imagine being an astronaut on a SpaceX capsule. You reach ISS orbit and mission control chimes in “dudes, ladies, y’all made it into orbit! Sweet hey?”

SpaceX needs to grow up to the point that reaching orbit is a dull, regular event. Every time they launch. Then they will be safe for astronauts. I have faith this won’t take too long, mind you.

Another thing: the announcers on the broadcast kept making the same statement: that the launch of the dragon spacecraft was the first time a private company reached Earth orbit. True, sure, but not all that interesting. Companies do much more expensive and daring (at ledt economically) things every single day. The reason we haven’t had a private launch of a manned space vehicle in the past? There was no money in it, and I’m still not sure if there is given that NASA is pretty much the only customer at this point, and their budgets are shrinking week to week. I hope SpaceX can keep in the game for a while until space tourism can become feasible in, maybe, another decade or two. Or three. Or four…

Python Twitter Tools 1.8.0

Python Twitter Tools 1.8.0 is now available. This release features two new scripts submitted by GitHub user StalkR:

  • twitter-archive: a command to archive all of a user’s tweets to a file, for archiving, or semantic analysis, or whatever
  • twitter-follow: a command to find all of a user’s followers (or followees) and print them on the command line

StalkR uses these commands and a clever shell script to archive tweets and the tweets of followers for mysterious and intriguing purposes. A very cool use case.

This release also includes bug fixes, and the documentation is now visible on the PyPI project page, because some users had a hard time finding it.

As always you may:

pip install twitter

Or download the release from PyPI.

Python Twitter Tools is five years old now. I will do a retrospective.