Friday Linkage 7/6/2012

The recent spate of hot weather is starting to get under people’s skin.  The past couple of days have tickled one hundred degrees with a decent amount of humidity.  What is the worst part is that the breeze feels hot.  You can be out on your bike and a rush of air does nothing but feel hot.

Not quite like standing near a line of cabs in Las Vegas as the engines groan under the combined assault of high temperatures and full blast air conditioning.

On to the links…

Shark Fin Off the Menu—I do not trust much of what comes out of China, but if the government is willing to at least take the symbolic step of removing shark fin soup from official dinner menus I will count it as progress.  Every day there seems to be an additional step forward to end the barbaric practice of shark finning.  I wait for the day when we view sharks with the same wonderment that we have for whales or dolphins.

The Artisanal Irony—What does the word artisanal even mean anymore?  Domino’s has a line of pizzas using the word.  Tostitos applies it to tortilla chips.  It’s quickly becoming the new “all natural.”  In essence, it is meaningless.

Small Scale Farmers Creating New Business Model—The “go big or go home” mentality in agriculture might be coming to an end as the burdensome debt loads to get big are creating an unsustainable model for agriculture.  This is particularly true for farmers who want to produce crops outside of the commodities like corn or soybeans.  Perhaps we should call them artisan farms.

Dead WalMart Turned into Gorgeous Library—The end result of turning an abandoned WalMart into a public library is pretty amazing, but I tend to agree with the author that this seems to accelerate or reinforce the low slung sprawl of many sun belt cities.  Heck, WalMart is now 50 years old so I guess we better get used to dealing with these effects by now:

Thanks to the good folks at SumOfUs.org for putting this together.

Fox News Wants it Both Ways—Apparently, the President is to blame for high gas prices.  He is also, magically, to blame for low gas prices.  Interesting…

The Days of Cheap Coal are Over—Not only do people not want any new coal plants, apparently the investment community is souring on coal plants.  Uh oh!  Where is Don Blankenship when you need a good laugh?  Oh wait, I found him:

I miss that clown.

Botched Coal Astroturfing—When it rains it pours for the coal folks nowadays.  Not only do they need to pay people to come to meetings to support their cause, the names on petitions favoring coal are fake as well.  Does anyone like coal anymore?  Oh yeah, the Chinese.

A Mussel Raft Tackles River Pollution—The natural world offers a lot of solutions to modern problems if we are willing to look beyond the supposed superiority of technological solutions.  I remember as a kid when zebra mussels first started to invade waterways in the Midwest.  One startling side effect was that in some waterways the water quality improved dramatically because the filter feeding zebra mussels were cleaning the water.

Date Night at the Zoo—This article just highlights how little we truly understand about the natural world.  Cheetahs have been kept by humans as far back as ancient Egypt, yet we are still ignorant of the animal’s mating habits.  Why do some people think we have dominion over the Earth?

Rogue Ales to Create Beer Using Yeast from Brewmaster’s Beard—There is no other way to classify this story than to say it is a bridge too far.

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