Friday Linkage 5/31/2013

Few things could make my week turn out much better, but noted conservative wing nut and all around bat shit crazy wingbat Michele Bachmann is not going to seek re-election to Congress in 2014.  Granted, the current scandal surrounding her failed Presidential campaign—who for a minute thought that someone so far out of the mainstream would have a prayer of winning?  Oh right, the Republicans—might have played a role, but she did not elaborate on her decision.  Still, it’s a good week.

If you want to remember some of her greatest hits, check out this list.

On to the links…

Solar Power’s Epic Price Drop Visualized—Dig it man, solar power is getting cheaper and cheaper every day.  There may be hope for a clean energy future.

Solar Industry Anxious over Defective Panels—It looks like the boom and bust in solar panel manufacturing is coming with a dark side.  Namely, cost cutting in the name of survival may be leading to sub-standard products being shipped out the door.

The Three Best Things Minnesota did for Solar—Who would have thought that Minnesota would be a leader in solar right now at the government level?  It’s not like people think of sunny Minnesota.  Maybe the state will be our Germany?

Kansas City to Install Solar Panels on 80 Municipal Buildings—The move is expected to save upwards of $40K per year for the city.  Such a move would not have made since with higher panel prices, but as the cost curve has bent downward it looks increasingly attractive.

Coal Making a Comeback in 2013—Ugh, I thought the coal demon was slinking back into the dark forever.  It looks like I was wrong.  Maybe some of the predictions over at WonkBlog will come true with regard to coal’s struggles continuing.

The CBO says We Need a Price on Carbon Emissions—If we cannot put a price on something, no one will put the cost in their models and it is models that rule the world now.  Trust me, if you can put it into an Excel spreadsheet it instantly becomes more believable to the MBAs of the world.

5 Reasons Why I Became a 1 Gallon Brewer—The idea of brewing batches of beer in smaller than 5 gallon increments is enticing, I would be one bummed out dude when I made something that I loved and had only a dozen or so bottles.  Bogus!

Dean Foods Completes Spin-off of WhiteWave Foods—I remember when Dean Foods’ purchase of WhiteWave was viewed as the death knell of organic because now the term was going to be abused by the big industrial food machine.  I do not know if the spin-off is a good thing because it means that organic is now big enough to be its own industrial machine.

Shuanghui Buying Smithfield Foods for About $4.72 Billion—You want to talk about a disaster waiting to happen.  China’s food system is a mess and now a Chinese company is buying a U.S. pork producer not known for its sterling food safety record.  The answer is to opt out of industrial meat completely.

16 Not-Quite Meatless Recipes—This is the way to do things if you want to opt out of the industrial meat game.  Use a little bit of meat to enhance a dish, but make vegetables and grains the center piece of the meal.  Mark Bittman’s approach to food is quickly becoming my favorite perspective.

Breeding Nutrition out of Our Food—Great, our food system is not only designed to produce crap but it looks like even the unprocessed foods have been bred to be less healthful than nature intended.  Is there any good news?

How I got Hooked on Weeds—and Why You Should Too—One answer to finding more nutritious food is to eat the things that have not been or cannot be bred for industrial farming.  Who is going to spend the time to genetically sequence dandelions or lamb’s quarter?

How to Find out Where Your Food Comes From without Waiting for Label Laws—The informed consumer is the powerful consumer.  Companies want you to be as ignorant of their practices as possible so that you make decisions based purely on information that they themselves provide.  Kind of sounds like the Catholic Church prior to the Reformation.  Trust us…

Illegal Monsanto GMO Wheat found in Oregon Field—Do these people have any control of what they are doing?  And to think they want less regulation and oversight.  Ok.

California Plan to Overhaul Water System to Cost $25B—Whenever I read about California’s water system and its problem I think about Cadillac Desert and Chinatown.  The history of that state is just interwoven with the story of water.  It’s still going on.

Microplastic Pollution Prevalent in Lakes, Too—It feels like we are quickly approaching a time when the prevalence of plastic in every step of our food chain will be a reality.  Great.

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