Friday Linkage 9/20/2013

My heart really goes out to all of the people suffering from the flooding on the Front Range in Colorado.  Our friends and family in the area have been spared the worst of the damage and continue to live in their homes unlike so many others in communities across the region.  As someone who witnessed the flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids, which devastated a large swath of the metro area, I hope that everyone understands just how long it takes to recover from a natural disaster like this.

On to the links…

Flood-Ravaged Boulder, Colo., Sets Annual Rainfall Record—This chart is just mind blowing:


Imagine going from long-term drought conditions to flood ravaged.  Well, that is what happened to a large swatch of the Front Range over the past couple of weeks.

One Weird Trick to Fix Farms Forever—If you have ever seen the difference between soil that is tended to like David Brandt’s versus traditional farm soil than you would wonder why anyone would use any other method.  The difference is stunning.  We need to stop thinking about our farming as getting crops out of the soil, but rather as building soil.  The crops will come if the soil is healthy.

Germany’s Effort at Green Energy Proves Complex—Really?  Changing over from a century or more of fossil fuels would be complex?  I cannot imagine.  The real crux of this story is that consumers in Germany have been forced to bear higher costs because over 700 companies are shielded from the higher costs.  Nice handout to industry.

U.S. Installed 832 MW of Solar PV in Q2 2013—Growth in the solar PV sector has been solid for the past year.  Disregarding the big spike in Q4 2012, the result of regulatory uncertainty and a rush to ensure tax credits, there had been a steady upward trend.  Let’s hope it continues.

Wind Power Generation at Record Levels in 4 Australian States—South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales all broke records for wind power generation in August.  Too bad elections in that country are likely to slow renewable energy progress.

Ocean Thermal Energy Could Power the Entire Big Island of Hawaii—Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a pretty cool idea in that it uses the naturally occurring temperature gradient of the ocean to create clean energy.  I just do not get why Hawaii does not utilize more geothermal given the proximity of resources, but whatever.

Detroit’s Dirty Petcoke Disappeared, but Where did it Go?—The gigantic piles of nasty petcoke on the lakeshore in Detroit are gone, but where did they go?  Oh those crafty Koch brothers…

Your Half-Eaten Sandwich’s Dirty Secret—Food waste is a huge problem.  How big?  Worldwide food waste would be the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions if it were considered a country.  Eat those leftovers please.

Chicken is Killing the Planet—I think you could probably amend the headline to read “Meat is Killing the Planet,” but I will accept the chicken story.

In Pursuit of Tastier Chickens, a Strict Diet of Four-Star Scraps—Here’s another idea of how chicken should be raised.  I would be interested to see the results in that I wonder how much difference in taste that there would be between the different feed regimens.

Factory Farms from Above—I do not know if these images run afoul of “ag gag” laws, but the imagery is amazing and disturbing at the same time.  The scale is just humongous.

Sprawling, Gorgeous Photo Project Dives Deep Into the Life and Heavy Industries of Rivers—Rivers are amazing landscapes.  Particularly because these waterways were so industrialized in the early part of U.S. history.  Now, the industry is gone or withering and the landscape remains.

In South Florida, a Polluted Bubble Ready to Burst—If I wanted to there could be a weekly post entitled “Crazy Stuff Going Down in Florida.”  I actually think it would be pretty cool to do that.  Lake Okeechobee and the entire South Florida water system is a mess.

Greener Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation—I am so glad that our builder moved us away from using spray foam.  I was enamored with the stuff after watching Mike Holmes use it in almost every show like it was magic fairy dust for home problems.  Every week seems to bring a new finding about how the stuff is less magic and more nasty.  Hooray for dense pack cellulose.

Lots of Ideas for Using Mason Jars—Are mason jars the hipster Swiss army knife?  Seriously, every day I run across a story that finds another use for these humble glass containers.  Did you know that you can probably thread a mason jar onto your blender base in place of the glass pitcher?  Yep, direct to container blending.  Dig it.


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