Friday Linkage 3/16/2012

You have to love James Inhofe.  The guy is a master of delusion.  When the weather is unseasonably cool or the snows flies in Washington D.C. the man is building an igloo and all over Fox News.  But when it is unbearably hot in his own state for weeks on end and the drought in unceasing the man is nowhere to be seen.

Then Inhofe goes on the Rachel Maddow show and says he believed in global warming until he learned how much mitigation would cost.  Huh?  The cost of mitigation does not impact the reality of the problem.  Unrelated.  Completely.

It’s not like modern day Republicans ever let things like logic, reason, or science get in the way of trying to win elections.  Clowns.

On to the links…

Appetite for  Shark Fins Behind Decline of Blue Sharks—It looks like fisherman taking advantage of a globalized market for shark fins are decimating the population of blue sharks in waters off the coast of the United Kingdom in order to sell shark fins in Asia.  This practice is responsible for declines of up to 80% from the 1980s of certain shark species.  Nothing like destroying whole ecosystems so someone’s wedding in China can have a gelatinous soup.

Coal Powers Less than 40% of U.S. Electricity—As a share of total electricity generation, coal is now less than 40% of the U.S. total which is the lowest such percentage since 1978:

 

I would be curious to see a graph of total electrical generation and the percentage mix of generating sources.  An idea for a future post…

Grease Thieves—Every time the price of gasoline starts tickling some psychological barrier—now $4 per gallon when it used to be $3 per gallon—there are stories about people stealing grease to make biodiesel.  At the end of the day, I would venture to guess that the majority of this stuff is still no disposed of properly in communities across the United States.  Sure, progressive places like San Francisco or Hawaii are taking steps but what about Atlanta or Buffalo?

U.S. New Car Fuel Economy Hits New High in February 2012—The average fuel economy of a new vehicle sold in the U.S. is 23.7 miles per gallon.  In the past four years the average number has risen 16%.  Not too shabby.  Some car makers do better than others:

Brand

Feb-12

Feb-11

YoY

smart

36.2

36.2

0.0

MINI

30.3

30.0

0.3

Hyundai

27.8

26.1

1.7

Volkswagen

27.4

25.5

1.9

Kia

26.1

25.8

0.3

Scion

26.0

25.6

0.4

Honda

24.7

24.6

0.1

Mazda

24.6

24.3

0.3

Toyota

24.5

25.0

-0.5

Mitsubishi

24.5

25.1

-0.6

Subaru

23.5

23.2

0.3

Nissan

23.4

22.8

0.6

Suzuki

23.4

23.2

0.2

Buick

22.4

20.3

2.1

Industry

22.3

21.4

0.9

Audi

22.2

22.0

0.2

Chevrolet

21.7

21.3

0.4

Ford

21.3

17.3

4.0

Lexus

21.2

21.2

0.0

Acura

21.1

19.9

1.2

Saab

20.9

22.4

-1.5

Chrysler

20.9

19.5

1.4

Volvo

20.9

21.2

-0.3

BMW

20.5

20.2

0.3

Mercedes

20.5

19.1

1.4

Dodge

20.3

19.8

0.5

Lincoln

19.7

18.8

0.9

Infiniti

19.6

19.7

-0.1

Porsche

19.4

21.0

-1.6

GMC

18.9

18.9

0.0

Jeep

18.6

17.6

1.0

Cadillac

18.4

18.8

-0.4

Jaguar

18.0

18.0

0.0

Ram

15.6

15.6

0.0

Land Rover

15.0

14.0

1.0

The numbers above, as tracked by TrueCar TrueMPG, show the brand specific fuel economy of new cars sold in February 2011 and 2012.

Minnesota Could be 100% Renewable at No Extra Cost—For anyone who has spent a winter being blown to shreds by the constant wind blowing across the state of Minnesota this comes as no surprise.  Okay, maybe it is a little surprising that an entire state could be powered by wind and solar with no additional costs to ratepayers.  Oh wait, efficiency also gets mentioned.  It’s not like I would trust these guys to push the issue.

Clean Energy Critics Cannot do Math—Does it come as any surprise that the people who criticize clean energy or energy efficiency programs cannot do math?  It should not because the math does not support their claims, so they invent new models with wild ass assumptions.  Using $0.01 as the average price of retail electricity?  I want to live in that rate market.  You gotta’ love it when people are just stupid.

The Latest Attack on Cycling Advocacy—This story is unbelievable, except for the fact that it happens all the time.  Cyclists are often treated like second class citizens vis a vis car owners, are viewed as some kind of sub-human socialist, and harassed by law enforcement to a degree greater than most car operators.  This story from Ohio just shows the lengths that people who dislike bicycles will go.  How many people have made suggestions for changes to the auto infrastructure—lights, stop signs, roundabouts, speed limit changes—without being branded “unlicensed engineers” by some revenge obsessed former civil servant with an axe to grind?  Waiting….

Food Delivery in NYC—This is one of those vignettes that makes one stop and think for a moment about the people who make our modern world work.  How many people think about the struggles on a daily basis of the people who deliver food?  Not very many I imagine because the delivery people are often faceless, nameless immigrants on the bottom rung of the U.S. economic ladder.

Publix Humiliation—Talk about another segment of the population that almost no one thinks about when reaching for a plastic crate of grape tomatoes at the grocery store.  Farmworkers who pick tomatoes in Florida live and work in conditions that are hard to describe accurately.  Suffice it to say, the conditions are barbaric and companies who buy produce from the companies that participate in such a medieval system should be condemned as modern day facilitators of economic, if not outright, slavery.  This is something familiar to anyone who has taken the time to read Barry Estabrook’s excellent book Tomatoland.

Wolverine Weekend—This seems like a natural marriage of enthusiasts and scientists that should have been going on for years, but it seems to be something new.  Wonder why?

Technology for Tall Wooden Buildings Given Away—The technology of tall wooden buildings is progressing steadily.  Whereas this type of structure would have been unthinkable a decade ago, Waugh Thiselton’s CLT building in London is nine stories tall.  Wood makes a wonderful building material compared to its competitors, especially when grown and harvested in a sustainable manner.  As the world moves to a more dense urban future, buildings will be forced to go vertical and wood has a place in that discussion.  Plus, how many other materials can make such a beautiful building as this library in Vennesla, Norway?

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One response to “Friday Linkage 3/16/2012

  1. Pingback: Rachel Maddow Exposes Inhofe « polentical

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