Friday Linkage 9/28/2012

Where did September go?  The fall color is going to be early and short lived because of the drought that gripped much of the Midwest during the spring and summer.  So, no beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges to ease us into winter.

The Iowa Hawkeyes gakked all over themselves en route to a 2-2 non-conference record in football.  So, we have very little to look forward to as Big 10 play begins this weekend with a visit from the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  Who, by the way, are 4-0 on the season and riding a 2 game win streak against the hapless Hawks.  Ugh.

Ahhh, but the weather has been pitch perfect the past week.  Warm days and cool nights.  The fleece is getting broken out and hot chocolate has made its way back onto the daily treat menu.  There are few more guilty pleasures than sneaking an extra marshmallow into my daughter’s hot cocoa.  I am a bad man.

On to the links…

Chipotle in Hot Salsa over Farm Workers’ Rights—I lead off with this because there is no reason that Chipotle should not do the right thing.  If freakin’ McDonald’s can do the right thing and sign on to the Fair Food Program, Chipotle can do so as well.  It already cultivates the image of a “better than the rest” chain, but it’s appalling lack of action on behalf of farm workers obliterates that illusion.

Dispatch from Ohio, Land of Public Markets and Urban Farms–When I read stories about public markets across the U.S. it really gives me hope that the about to open Newbo City Market in downtown Cedar Rapids will develop into one of those cornerstone type establishments.

What Does History Say About the Costs and Benefits of Environmental Regulation?—Just think about how much misinformation about the cost of environmental regulation has been spewed in the current election cycle.  Now, think about the historical trend.  In essence, as the infographic from the Environmental Defense Fund shows, industry lies about the cost by a great deal:

What Cuts to National Parks would Mean—The looming threat of sequestration and the trend of declining funding for the national park system has been brutal and promises to be catastrophic.  Somehow, Republicans can find it in their moral compass to support boondoggle military procurements (see F-35, Littoral Combat Ship, Future Combat Systems, and others too numerous to mention) and big subsidies for big oil, but the national parks are a bridge too far:

Republicans Claims Wind Tax Credits too Expensive after Voting for Big Oil Subsidies—I guess for Big Oil it pays to have friends in the right places.  Especially when your friends are hypocrites.  There is no other label to apply to congressional Republicans except for hypocrites because these clowns continually beat the drum of fiscal responsibility yet constantly rain largesse on oil companies and defense contractors.

Offshore Wind Turbines Could Power Entire Eastern U.S.—That’s right, the eastern U.S. could be powered entirely by offshore wind.  Okay, so it would take 140,000 offshore wind turbines but once those are installed the power is essentially free.  No coal, no nuclear, no natural gas…oh wait, Republicans wouldn’t like that.

Europe Accounts for 70% of Global PV—Pretty self-explanatory.  Europe is leading the way in installing solar photovoltaic power.  It’s not just the sunny Mediterranean countries either.  Germany is the leader.

How to Reclaim Our Seed Culture—It is one thing to be able to coax healthy produce from our gardens and farms, but our resilience depends on the ability to save seeds from one season to the next.  Too many modern plants are designed to not pass on genetic information from one generation to the next because it makes us reliant on seed companies.  This is unacceptable.

The Farm Life Draws New Blood—The honest work of agriculture appears to be an option for new college graduates and others who view traditional corporate careers with a jaundiced eye.  The world would be a better place if more people actually saw the value in the work that grows our food.

Why do We Eat so Much Tuna—Basically, it does not taste much like fish.  In the U.S. we like to eat a lot of foods as long as they all taste like bland white meat.  Even our chicken does not taste like chicken.  It tastes like bland white meat.  It’s why I have never understood the aversion to tofu by most people.  If you eat a commercial broiler in the U.S. you might as well eat firm tofu because the taste and texture is about the same.

Your Dust Bunnies are Likely Toxic—Great, now the dust in my house is not only annoying but also potentially toxic.  I feel a little better about my situation because we avoid the nasty chemicals meant to help you dust and I am freak about wiping things down with a microfiber cloth.  Still…

Long Bike Rides are a Journey for the Mind—There is something to the rhythmic cadence of pedaling down a lonely road that refreshes and reinvigorates like nothing else.  I think this is what separates cyclists from non-cyclists.

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