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An Inconvenient Night
pokemon
unwiredben
Last night, I headed down to the Alamo downtown for a double feature. At 7pm, Austin mayor Will Wynn was doing his own version of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" presentation, then at 9pm, the Master Pancake guys were doing a take on the horrible 2004 disaster movie, "The Day After Tomorrow".

Wynn was a good speaker. About half of the presentation was pretty familiar to people who've see Gore's film version. There was an intro video clip by the Blue Man Group, plenty of pictures of ice and forests, and the dramatic "what's flooded if the seawater rises" shots. However, Wynn had customized the presentation for the Austin audience, and there was a lot of detail about Austin's own energy use (primarily transportation and home/office use), our energy production (roughly 40% coal, 30% natural gas, 20% nuclear, 10% alternative), and what plans the city has in place. Austin will make a big different because it's the country's fastest growing big city, having jumped from around 22th to 14th in size in the last decade, and it's also the most advanced in several areas, such as solar rebates and alternative energy production. The city has joined about 500 others in the US to endorse the Kyoto accords, and we've got some radical plans to give residents better information about energy consumption, such as allowing you to look at a property's power bill history so you can compare efficiency when looking for a house or apartment. For more information, you can view the highlights of the Austin Climate Protection Plan.

Wynn did a Q&A after, and there were some great questions. One audience member asked why we weren't mandating better nozzles at gas pumps to reduce vapor emissions. Apparently, we can't as cities are forbidden from imposing those rules until they actually violate the Clean Air Act, and while Austin has gotten close, we've taken active measures to avoid actually violating it, which means we can't use some remedies to make things better. Another question was about how its unsafe for bike to many locations in town; Wynn talked about his committee with Lance Armstrong to identify better bike paths and also said they were working on a route planning website that would use accident and traffic information to help riders plan safer routes.

The entertainment part of the night was another Master Pancake show. The guys came on stage at the start in Al Gore and GW masks, and they had a pretty good and loose skit about Bush's new "realization" about global warming featuring a smoke machine as "Foggy", the new administration spokesfog. Their jokes during the film were good; it's great to make fun of a movie that is so bad yet takes itself so seriously. With Jake Gyllenhaal playing a starring role, there was plenty of "Donnie Darko" and "Brokeback Mountain" references, but I chuckled the loudest at the jabs at KUT's Larry Monroe made when a certain character that has a resemblance to the DJ came on screen. It's too bad this was a one time show; it was a much better match for them than last month's "Pretty Woman".

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Don't buy that crap. Separated paths are actually less safe than riding in traffic - the best thing Wynn could do to encourage cycling would be to stand up to bad neighborhoods once in a while like on Shoal Creek Blvd and protect no-parking bike-lanes that actually WORK.

Sounds cool. I wish our mayor was as on the ball as this guy.

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