Friday Linkage 8/5/2011

The weather was warm, but there was abundant sun and blue skies.  What did I do?  Spent the week trying to recover from some kind of cold and allergy mix that put me down for the count.  Barely able to get through a day of work without coming home and passing out face first into bed.  To top it off, I had to worry about passing whatever nasty bug I caught to my wife, daughter, and eight week old son.  Good times.  On to the links…

Coal Generation Drops to 30-Year Low—The percentage of electricity generated in the United States from coal dropped to its lowest level in 30 years for the first quarter of 2011.  I will be curious to see if this a trend that continues through 2011 and beyond, but it seems like a rare success story.

Plastic Bag Use on the Rise in Britain—From 2006 through 2009, plastic bag use in Britain was down by 40%.  However, in 2010 usage crept up.  Whether it is a result of consumer fatigue, anti-green sentiment, or just a statistical anomaly the trend must be considered a loss.

Permaculture Emerges from the Underground—Maybe for a writer at the New York Times, but permaculture has been a growing movement for years.  Heck, a lot of long time gardeners that I know in the Midwest have been practicing a lot of the tenants of permaculture for decades.  And I do not know of anyone who describes themselves as a “permie.”

A Sunflower…Two…200,000—Sunflowers are one of those plants, like coneflowers, that any naturalized or purposefully shabby landscape cannot have enough of.  Just watching hundreds of golden heads track the sun daily is to be in awe of nature’s perfect design.

A Rancid Canal Runs Through It—With apologies to Robert Redford, the Gowanus Canal will never be considered an idyllic fly fishing destination.  But for New Yorkers deprived of other outdoor spaces the designated Superfund site is a draw nonetheless.  When it gets hot in the city what is a person to do?

Iowa Eclipses Canada in Grain Production—Iowa produces more grain tonnage than the entire nation of Canada and is approaching the level of China’s soybean harvest.  Go Iowa!  Granted, almost all of this “food” is grown in an industrial manner and destined for livestock or processed food or bad biofuels.  However, this does give a person some sense of the productive capacity of the American farm economy.

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