Friday Linkage 5/3/2013

It’s May.  My friends in Minneapolis and Colorado Springs are digging out from snow storms.  I am dealing with temperatures that have dropped almost forty degrees in the span of twenty four hours.  I love spring.

On to the links…

Heavy Use of Herbicide Roundup Could be Linked to Disease—Herbicides that contain glyphosate, like Roundup, are beginning to be shown to have links to a number of diseases in humans.  Really?  It took this long for people to figure out that the stuff was probably bad news for our health?

You Are a Chemical Guinea Pig for Big Business—It is ridiculous the lengths that our corporate owned government will go to protect the interests of big chemical companies over the health and wellness of its citizenry.  People may vote for politicians, but their bread is buttered by big business.

A Hike with Sally Jewell—Think about this for a moment as you watch this video: the Secretary of the Interior used to be the boss at REI.  Can you imagine saying anything like that when George W. Bush was president?  Just saying.

New Report Details How National Parks Are Threatened By Oil And Gas Drilling—Well, if there was ever an issue for the new Secretary of the Interior to take the lead on this would be it.  It’s shameful how oil and gas interests are allowed to despoil any and all land in the name of cheap energy as if that is the sole driving purpose of our time on this planet.  Ugh!

Cost of Solar Heading for Parity with Coal and Gas—What happens when it is cheaper to install solar than it is to deploy coal or natural gas power generation options?  We will find out soon:

cost-of-solar-power-graph-1980-2012_jpg_644x0_q100_crop-smart

70 Percent Of New Global Power Capacity Added Through 2030 Will be Renewable—Basically, every time someone revisits a study on renewable energy the outlook is brighter.  It’s like the baseline needs to be redrawn every year because of fundamental changes to the assumptions in the model.  No wonder government policy seems so slow to respond.

In Two-Way Charging, Electric Cars Begin to Earn Money From the Grid—This sounds like one of those concepts from the mid-2000s when discussion about the “smart grid” were all the rage and then the buzz just died out when reality intruded.  However, actually starting to deploy these type of technologies is a step forward.  Electric vehicles can be much more than a clean transportation option.

A New Solar Dish Delivers Low-Cost Electricity Along With Fresh Water—I love seeing inventions like this that solve multiple problems efficiently.  Access to electricity and fresh water is a problem for millions and millions of people, if not billions.  A deployable solution to both of those problems is a silver bullet in some ways.

Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples—Go to the grocery store sometime and look at the apple selection.  It blows.  Now, it has gotten better here in eastern Iowa recently with the widespread availability of Honeycrisp, SweetTango, Zestar, and some other University of Minnesota varieties.  In other parts of the country, not so much.

When One Man’s Game Is Also a Marauding Pest—Feral pigs are bad news.  As an invasive species it does not appear that there is any natural limit on this particular nasty animal’s range.  Most of the attention has been spent on feral pigs in Texas, but I know of dairy farmers in Wisconsin who deal with the damage all the time.  On the bright side, feral pig can be tasty when slow roasted or smoked.

How Trees Play Role in Smog Production—My love of trees is well known.  The folks at Peck’s in Cedar Rapids just wait every spring to show me what new trees might be perfect for my yard—I am thinking some semi-dwarf apple trees this year—and my wife wonders if we will be living in a mini-forest when all the trees in the yard mature.  Is there anything about trees that is not great?

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