Archive for May, 2005

Durham’s first real biodiesel pump ready

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Great news: the first real biodiesel pump in Durham is ready to roll! Leif and the crew from Piedmont Biofuels today installed the pump and plumbed the tank expertly. Then they filled the tank with the “good juice” and I had the extreme pleasure of being the first customer to pump six gallons from our […]

Biodiesel incentives: the kiss of death

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

When Dr. Bush exhorted the benefits of renewable fuels recently, I was suspicious. This snake-oil salesman of a president has put one over the American taxpayer so many times, I am not inclined to take anything he says at face value. Point in case: the biodiesel tax incentive could potentially damage the nascent biodiesel industry […]

Time to panic?

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Considering the Chinese government’s record of dealing with public health issues (SARS!), I had been wondering about all these reassurances from Chinese officials that “Everything is OK. Don’t worry. Just a couple of dead birds …” But if there is no reason to be alarmed, why has China rushed to shut down all its national […]

Biodiesel tank set up at Ellis Rd site

Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

Our juice box is almost ready. All that’s missing is the flowmeter and some biodiesel and we’re ready to fill’er up. Marc got help from Filiberto, who runs the garage we’re sharing the space with, and Filiberto’s assistant Celso. They picked up the tank with the forklift, picked up the forklift with the tow truck […]

Akitani ‘suffers stroke’ – Boko in Paris

Saturday, May 21st, 2005

As the Abuja meeting between the RPT and the opposition concluded, not surprisingly without any tangible results, news broke yesterday that the opposition candidate of the last “election” in Togo had fallen ill: Emmanuel Akitani Bob was flown on Thursday to a hospital outside Paris, where he is being treated for neurological problems, doctors say. […]

Biodiesel distribution in Durham

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Recently I embarked on quest to launch a biodiesel distribution coop in Durham, and the project made a great step forward today. I teamed up with Marc of Forests of the World who has been working on plans to start a biodiesel production plant in Durham. To get the distribution coop started, we are planning […]

Africa blog roundup

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Over at Au Village, my friend Agbessi has posted some of his horrific experiences as a student in Togo, at the Universié du Benin in Lomé. I saw the tension between the students and the “security” forces myself when I was in Togo. Akila is trying to get used to his glasses … Maggie went […]

Bush urges development of alternate fuels

Monday, May 16th, 2005

Uh – oh! I hope this is not the Kiss of Death for biodiesel. Hark the shrubman: “Biodiesel is one of our nation’s most promising alternative fuel sources and by developing biodiesel you’re making this country less dependent on foreign sources of oil,” [President Bush] said. “Americans are concerned about high prices at the pump […]

New look

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

Here we go: I finished the new dress for this blog. It’s just the WordPress default theme with new graphics. I am not much of a graphic artist, but it’s good enough for now. The hardest thing about amateur graphic design is to resist the PowerPoint effect. That’s what happens when the VP of Marketing […]

World Fair Trade Day

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Today is World Fair Trade Day and we spent a good part of the afternoon at One World Market in Durham, where Laura works. To celebrate, they offered refreshments and snacks, and they had Fair Trade quizzes and contests with prizes. The point of Fair Trade Day is to educate people and to “promot[e] fairer […]

Flu virus recombination or mutation?

Friday, May 13th, 2005

Recombination or mutation, that seems to be the big question regarding the avian flu (H5N1) virus in Viet Nam. In yesterday’s edition of the journal Nature, Klaus Stöhr reports that the WHO has not received enough samples of the virus to judge the genetic changes it has found in the few availabe samples. With so […]

Massive poll fraud confirmed in Togo

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

After the so-called elections in Togo on April 24, the opposition decried the fraud, the stuffed ballot boxes, the disappeared ballot boxes, the stolen computers, the armed raids of opposition offices, and the general intimidation of the electorate. Shortly after the election, the opposition website published a confidential document in which European Commission delegates […]

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

It’s about time. Germany is finally ready to dedicate a major memorial to the victims of the Nazi regime: the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe today joins Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Museum and many other places of remembrance. In plain view of the Reichstag building, where the German parliament deliberates […]

The unconditional surrender of Germany

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

When I left Germany 11 years ago I spent the last night at my Grandfather’s. He lived near Frankfurt and my flight left early in the morning, so he was going to drive me to the airport. My grandfather was of old Prussian stock, stubborn, proud and very conservative. I had never heard him talk […]

Detroit just does not get it

Friday, May 6th, 2005

S&P downgraded to “junk” status two of the largest automakers in the world, Ford and General Motors, because these companies have been thoroughly mismanaged: … decades of management miscues … led Standard & Poor’s yesterday to cut the credit ratings of both the world’s largest car maker and Ford Motor Co. to junk-bond status for […]

Violence escalates in SW Togo

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

A few reports have emerged that paint a dire picture of the escalating violence in south-west Togo. Particularly the mountainous area known as the Plateaux, roughly between Kpalimé, 80 miles/120KM north of Lomé, to Atakpamé, 110 miles/170KM north of Lomé. Thomas Hofnung at the French Libération spoke by phone with a reporter in the regional […]

March of Living Marks Holocaust

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

As painful as it is … remember! The hollow wail of the traditional Jewish shofar cut through the air of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in southern Poland on Thursday, signaling the start of a huge march in memory of the Holocaust. Some 20,000 people from around the world, Jews and non-Jews, set off under […]

Eyadema’s stranglehold on Togo

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

[NOTE: this was originally posted on Global Voices Online, a project at the Berkman Center at Harvard. Check out their daily roundups of blogs across the globe. Global Voices is a fantastic resource, if you’re interested in world wide blogging.] By Jurgen and Agbessi . It’s official: Faure Gnassingbe has inherited the family business from […]

Result of so-called election official

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Hardly surprising: Togo’s constitutional court, anointed by the the ruling RPT, announced that the the RPT’s “candidate” Faure Gnassingbe will be Togo’s new ruler: The opposition, desperate for change after 38 years of rule by Gnassingbe’s father, refused to concede defeat on Tuesday. “The results are unacceptable, we are going to mobilise the population because […]

Terror in Togo

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

The military is brutally terrorizing the civilian population in Togo and thousands are fleeing to Benin and Ghana. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said that more than 9,000 refugees had been registered in Benin and around 7,500 in Ghana. Many of the most recent arrivals were from Be, said Rafik Saidi, the agency’s regional representative. […]