MorphToons: January 2016

And that’s a wrap. I had an excellent time analyzing animation for Cartoon Brew. I finished off my run as associate editor with a thinker on Herzog, an interview with stop-motion innovators The Quay Brothers, and more. Happy cartooning!

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MorphToons: December 2015

December is always a good month for closure. I shuttered 2015 with a deep dive into virtual reality, worthy animated Oscar upstarts, and more. Roll it!

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MorphToons: November 2015

November was quite the animated month for me. Interviews, critical reviews and holidays too. You’re welcome!

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MorphToons: October 2015

Halloween found me wishing happy birthday to the one and old only Ralph Bakshi, whose fiery anti-sermon shook the toonscape. But I also had a chance to explore some compelling territory beyond Bakshi’s experienced rant. Read up!

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MorphToons: September 2015

My continuing bows to The Iron Giant, Brad Bird’s timeless masterpiece of war and peace, took over my September. But I saved time for a dive into VR, and more. Choose.

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MorphToons: August 2015

From Banksy’s tragicomic Dismaland to Studio Ghibli’s vault dive for unseen classics, my birthday month was an arty trip through visual possibility. Tune in, turn on.

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Did I mention that I was an associate editor for Cartoon Brew?

New Orleans Fights For Solar

Louisiana has a choice to make on solar.

With budget holes to fill, does it want to slash the state’s paltry $57 million solar subsidies and 3,600 jobs? Or would it rather stop giving excessive annual tax breaks to local oil and gas power players which number in the hundreds of millions of dollars, ultimately blowing well past a cool billion in a couple of years?

It’s embarrassing to be asked to do that math at this late stage of global warming, no doubt helped along by Louisiana’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary of soiling the Gulf coast. It gets even harder once you calculate that Louisiana boasts some of the most polluted waterways in the U.S., while New Orleans rarely fails to make annual “Most Polluted Cities in America” lists.

One imagines these sobering tragedies recently inspired the New Orleans City Council to unanimously adopt a policy resolution (PDF) in support of a “robust local solar industry.” Noting during the adoption that Environment America had named New Orleans one of the United States’ “Top 10 Solar Cities” — for a change — resolution co-sponsor and council-member Susan Guidry explained that she looked forward to the famed port metropolis eventually becoming number one. And there’s no popular reason that New Orleans can’t do exactly that, according to Gulf States Renewable Energy Association president Jeff Cantin, who noted after the resolution that 87 percent of Louisianans want more solar, not less.


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Why is U.S. Energy Efficiency Stalling?

Why are more Americans relaxing energy efficiency? Maybe because they’re too comfortable setting their sights too low.

The venerable polltakers quizzed over 2,000 Americans for a week in February and found less of them are turning off lights, replacing appliances, going low-watt and taking shorter showers than in years past. They still constitute a majority over those who do no such things — 75 percent this year versus 79 percent last year and 82 percent in 2012 — but it is nevertheless a “diminishing” one.

Filtered by gender, women beat men in reducing hot water 46 percent to 33 percent, while men have taken more pains to seal inefficient floor gaps and buy smart TVs. Variations also occurred regionally, notably in the drought-ridden West, which installed way more low-flow showerheads than their less parched American compatriots in the East, Midwest and South. Yet still all of the Americans that Harris polled “would appear to have their wires crossed,” because 62 percent considered themselves literate in energy and efficiency, despite the fact that a paltry 11 percent of them have actually conducted an energy audit or evaluation.


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The Next Jobs Boom: Energy Storage

Unleashing the solar power industry has helped added jobs to the American economy at 10 times the national average. The energy storage wave will do the same.

JuiceBox Energy recently inaugurated a storage installation class for its 8.6 kWh system (pictured at left), job-training Northern Californian installers on lithium-ion batteries, multiple PV configurations and a “hands-on” site design. Earlier that month, Juicebox installed its first solar battery system in a California home, financed through the property-assessed-clean-energy program (PACE).


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