Friday Linkage 9/16/2011

The weather turned distinctly fall-like in the span of a couple of days this week.  It was 88 and sunny on Monday, but by Wednesday it was hovering in the low 60s and frost was starting to appear in the morning.  With football on the television it is time to make some chili and enjoy the change of the seasons.

Reinventing Fire—The Rocky Mountain Institute has release a detailed roadmap designed to move the United States to a fossil fuel free economy by 2050.  Is it bold?  Yes.  Is it doable?  Yes.  Who is standing in the way?  Lots of people led by Republicans.

Tar Sands Showdown: The Fight Over the Future of Energy—A decent interview with Bill McKibben from Wired about the Keystone XL pipeline project and the associated tar sands projects in Canada.  I think framing this as the future of energy can be a smart move because it is a dystopian future.  Consider that there is no such thing as a leakproof pipeline.

Cars Don’t Waste Fuel, People Do—The cheapest and easiest way to increase the fuel efficiency of the existing fleet is to change the behavior of the people operating the wheel of the cars.  No one is saying we all need to become fanatical hypermilers, but there is a lot of room for improvement.  I think about this every time I see a Toyota Prius blow past me on the interstate at 90 miles per hour.  How efficient is any car going that fast?  Not very.

600 Tons of Compost a Day—In San Francisco, a mandatory composting law has led to the collection of 600 tons of food waste per day!  It is amazing that this much material is being diverted from the landfill and that this material was landfilled in the first place.  The linked video shows how the city’s facility deals with such a high volume of material.

Why “Killing the Electric Car” is a Bad Idea—The debate continues on the viability of the electric car, but this article argues that the electric car is a component of our transportation future because it offers flexibility.  In other words, electric propulsion is part of a portfolio of transportation options.  In portfolio theory, you diversify in an effort to reduce risk.  Therefore, a variety of transportation options becomes the tool with which we diversify away the risk of future energy shocks.

Urban Foragers Live Simply, Cheaply Off the Land—Do you ever see fruit trees in your neighborhood and wonder if anyone eats those apples?  Do you ever see bushes and wonder if someone picks those elderberries?  Urban foragers do.  The landscape is filled with options if only we will open our eyes to the possibilities.

Is a Bike Really More Efficient than a Car?—An interesting take from a very car-centric blog.  It sort of misses the total cost of ownership, embodied energy, etc. of driving a car.  I do agree that sometimes the expense of cycling can become onerous for those of us who love doodads and exotic materials.  Why yes, I would love a commuter bike make of carbon fiber with titanium bits.

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