Friday Linkage 11/30/2012

It’s the last day of November and I am sad to see this month go.  It really brought some good things to this world.  For example, the reelection of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney’s recent unemployment, Karl Rove getting his comeuppance on national television, Gene Chizik finally coming to the end of a career of failing up, and so many others.

Bring on December and the links…

Eight Ways the Drought is Influencing Thanksgiving—Now that the leftovers have been mostly consumed and the relatives have left for the far reaches of the country, it is time to take a moment and consider how climate change and drought are affecting our holidays.  It’s an ugly picture.

The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America—Every year Americans waste 33 million tons of food and it is a growing problem.  Yet, we live in a country where millions of people are considered “food insecure.”  It’s not a problem of food scarcity, but of efficiency and distribution.

Hunger in Plain Sight—It is shameful that in the U.S. politicians on the right argue about the funding levels for programs like SNAP that provide a minimum safety net for people to avoid going hungry.  It is not a ploy to avoid work or milk the system.  These programs provide a crucial life line so that people can live.

How Access to Food Stamps Leads to Better Health and Economic Outcomes— Do you still doubt the validity and efficacy of food programs like SNAP?  Too bad, because you are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Going Undercover in the Modern Factory Farm—Anyone who has spent any time reading about food issues in the United States is aware of the problems associated with factory farms, but what about the people who risk their safety to go undercover to expose the horror?  Now you can find out.

Consumer Reports Finds Most Pork Contaminated with Yersinia—Another day, another report of drug resistant bacteria being prevalent in the food supply due to the prophylactic use of antibiotics in factory farms.

The Modern American Family and What it Means for Sustainability— Demographics are destiny, as the Republicans discovered when they nominated a race and class baiting white guy, so there has to be an impact of sustainability.  Yep.  The question remains if we will see fundamental shifts in our development patterns or will the momentum of more than sixty years of suburban development be too much to overcome.  Stay tuned.

Wind Power Makes up 26% of ERCOT’s Power in November—Even the wind power is big in Texas.  The Electric Reliability Grid of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas grid operator, received 26% of its electricity for the grid’s load from wind power which was a new record.

Studying Cities to Find Global Warming’s Benefits—Let me get this out of the way: there are no benefits to global warming, generally, because the damage to the entire system is too great for even localized gains to matter.  There may be unanticipated adaptions or similar phenomena, but no benefit.

Why Picking “Low Hanging Fruit” Hurts Efficiency and How to Fix the Problem—Basically, the return on an investment in efficiency needs to be complete in as little as three years, but often no more than five years.  For a lot of projects that timeframe is ridiculous.  Therefore, it is only the superficial projects that really get addressed.  Interesting hypothesis.

Another Path to Biofuels—Readers will know that I have hope for biofuels, but not the current generation of corn derived ethanol or soy derived biodiesel because of problems of competing with food crops.  Algae seems like the source for future biofuels and there are a lot of projects out there trying to be the first to really pull it off.  Here is what is going on in Brazil.

Let’s Stop this Mindless Tree Planting—This is less a scree about tree planting and more a condemnation of willy nilly geoengineering, in a way.  Tree planting schemes usually focus on either rapidly growing trees or economically valuable trees planted in relatively uniform stands rather than diverse woodland stands.  So, when something afflicts one species of tree there is a large problem.  Diversity is the key?  Who would have thought?

The Sustainability of Tablets—How eco-friendly is that new tablet you have been eyeing:

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