Friday Linkage 11/15/2013

Man, the weather really turned from feeling like fall to the chill of winter.  It was cold, cold, cold to start the week and my body has not adjusted yet.  In a month I will be prepared for consecutive days of single digits.  Probably because I will have perfected my hibernation methods and hot cocoa preparation.

On to the links…

Fossil Fuels Receive $500 Billion A Year In Government Subsidies Worldwide—I am sure that somewhere an exec at Exxon or Shell is just smirking with the knowledge that they have fooled everyone into thinking that their industry is the paragon of the free market.  In reality it is just a giant recipient of tax payer funded welfare.

Oil Train Derails And Explodes In Alabama—On top of the subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is literally an accident waiting to happen.  If it is not spills from pipelines or ships or drilling rigs its exploding trains.

Massive Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes In Texas Town, Causing Evacuation Of 800 Residents—It just keeps getting better and better for the pipeline and transportation sector of the fossil fuel industry.  These are the people who want us to trust them to build a pipeline across the middle of the United States carrying nasty tar sands oil.  Sounds like a good plan.

The Untold Story Of The Dangerous New Experiment Coal Companies Want To Bring To America—As if coal was not bad enough, an Australian company now wants to try out gasifying coal seams underground.  It’s like the Frankenstein’s monster of fracking and coal mining.

Ethanol Investigation: The Secret, Dirty Cost Of Obama’s Green Power Push— The push to make ethanol for transportation fuel has been a boondoggle from the beginning primarily because it was about mollifying farm state politicians.  It was never about the environmentally responsible choice.  It was realpolitik plain and simple.

Shale’s Effect on Oil Supply Is Forecast to Be Brief—It looks like the current darling of the energy industry might be just a flash in the pan.  Long term solutions to our energy demands are needed and extensions of the current systems will not be viable.

5 Signs the Energy Sector is Changing Fast—Every day brings bad news about fossil fuels and good news about renewables.  Maybe it is not quite so dramatic, but it seems that way.

Can Elon Musk’s Cousin do for Solar what Tesla did for EVs?—I think the potential for SolarCity is greater because there is no “range anxiety” to a solar system on top of your roof.

Solar Activity Playing a Minimal Role in Global Warming—One of the favorite tropes of climate deniers is that any change in the climate is due more to an increase in solar activity than anything else.  Too bad it is not true.

If You Think China’s Air Is Bad …—China may have a story of amazing economic growth, but the cost that it paid to get that growth is finally being accounted for and it is not good.  The air is awful, with young kids being diagnosed with lung cancer, and the water situation may be worse.

Is This the Most Anti-Science, Anti-Environmental TV Ad Ever?—I thought that this was the most inane advertisement in a long time.  It’s no fun to visit nature, it’s more fun to run amok through a store picking out plastic crap made in China.  Whatever.

Study Describes Chicken Nuggets as Edible “Super Glue”—Are chicken nuggets the scariest food item on the menu?  Every time that you read an article about these little globules of whatever is inside there are frightening new revelations.  Can we just banish them forever?

The Co-Villains Behind Obesity’s Rise—It is my belief that we are better served tackling the obesity epidemic by looking at things in more holistic and nuanced terms.  Too often we look for solutions that are a magic bullet—usually a magic pill—that fail to deliver sustainable results because the surrounding environment has not changed.

An Accidental Cattle Ranch Points the Way in Sustainable Farming—Tom Steyer is an interesting dude.  After his donations helped propel Terry McAuliffe to victory in the Virginia governor’s race I expect he will be getting a lot of attention from the right soon.  Expect an expose from Sean Hannity on Steyer’s hippie ranch.

Cows Are The Root Of All Evil, And We’re Too Hungry To Care—I do not know about cows being the root of all evil—the connection between the devil having horns and cows having horns notwithstanding—but there are a lot of problems with our beef fetish.

What’s in It: Pumpkin Flavor—I have a hint for you…it’s not pumpkin.  Those pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks just seem nastier and nastier by the day.

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