Friday Linkage 1/11/2012

I have been slow and loathe to post anything the past week.  It’s like I have nothing good to write about.  Maybe it’s that seasonal affective disorder that I have heard about.

On to the links…

Average Fuel Economy for U.S. Vehicles in 2012 was 23.8 MPG—This is one of those “boring, but important” stories.  The average fuel economy of new vehicles in the U.S. has been increasing recently and it will only continue to rise as new CAFE rules come into play.  A bit of good news, right?

FDA Offers New Rules to Stop Food Contamination—I am really torn on the new rules the FDA is proposing.  It seems like another wicket for producers to jump through that will burden small producers and allow the large players to just dominate even more.  On the other hand, there is no excuse that a country as advanced as the U.S. should have so many people get sick and/or die from contaminated food in a year.

Staten Island Ferry to Run on Liquefied Natural Gas—When you get done reading this short piece on the conversion of a Staten Island ferry to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) you will wonder to yourself why all of the ferries are not running on such fuel.  Really, why not?

Queens Wants to Turn an Abandoned Railway into a Parkway—Now, everyone wants their very own High Line.  This is a good thing because the world needs more urban parks.

Lean Manufacturing Addressing Climate Change through Reductions in Waste—I spent the first few years of my professional career in an advanced manufacturing environment where lean manufacturing was the order of the day.  It’s easy to get swayed by the discussion that we can “help” the planet by making less or no waste when making goods.  That is true on the face of things, but it avoids the larger question of whether we need the stuff in the first place.  Just saying.

Unilever Eliminates Plastic Microbeads in Facial Scrubs—Plastic microbeads, like triclosan in ant-bacterial soap, is a pox upon American medicine cabinets.  The little beads that are supposed to exfoliate just wash down the drain, do not get captured for disposal, and end up in the food system of aquatic creatures.  Great.  Just get a freakin’ loofah.

Junk Food Marketers Target Your Kids Online—Isn’t it lovely how wherever children go to play they are bombarded by messages, cleverly disguised as entertainment, from purveyors of crap food?  It’s the little cuties brought to you by Tyson Chicken Nuggets of Doom!

Minnesota’s Largest Solar Installation Starts Producing Energy—If solar power can make it in Minnesota, it can make it anywhere.  If you think there is no sun in England or Germany or the Pacific Northwest you have never spent a winter in Minnesota.  From November until April the sky is a shade of slate gray so depressing it makes ice fishing seem like an ideal past time.

Tehran Choked by Pollution—Nothing says great governance like your capital city being choked by smog to such an extent that it cripples daily life.  Before spending money on a nuclear program or military weapons maybe you ought to think about cleaning up the air.  Just a thought.

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