Tag Archives: evolution

Friday Linkage 10/24/2014

A week in central Florida will mess with your head. Never mind the artifice of Walt Disney World. The entire place is like a twilight zone of ‘Murica. Case in point, I saw more solar installations on rooftops landing in Detroit than I did landing in Orlando. WTF? Oh, and the governor of the state of Florida is Rick Scott. How embarrassing is that guy?

On to the links…

All 13 Of Obama’s New And Expanded National Monuments In One Map—In our uber polarized political times there is little reflection on the successes of the past six years of Obama’s presidency. Take a look at these new and expanded national monuments with a sense of achievement and hope. Heck, there are two more years to get some more done.

The GOP Intensifies Its Attacks On The National Science Foundation—The Republican Party hates science because it is evidence based and generally objective, which flies in the face of a party that wants to use selected portions of the bible as a guidebook for behavior. Ignorance is bliss for the GOP.

These Republicans Prove You Don’t Have To Be A Scientist To Have A Lot To Say About Science—If you’re a Republican the newest way to start a sentence is “I’m not a scientist, but…” What follows is usually some drivel about science that a fourth grader watching Mr. Wizard would find insulting.

US Energy Efficiency Ranks Released: How’d Your State Do?—Energy efficiency is the renewable energy that is cheapest, returns investment the fastest, and is just hard to argue with unless you’re a Republican. Then it just sounds like socialism. Iowa was in the top third or so, which feels about right.

Wind Power is Cheapest Energy, EU Analysis Finds—When you account for externalities, which any good economic analysis should attempt, wind is the cheapest form of energy. Externalities are like a subsidy that we give to fossil fuels that is off the books, so to speak.

Solar’s $30 Billion Splurge Proves Too Much for Japan—Damn, Japan, $30 billion dollars is a lot to dump into solar projects. In one year Japan installed more solar capacity than in all of Spain. Imagine that for a moment. What if the U.S. did something like this? Oh wait…

An Easy-to-Install Solar Charger That Juices Your EV Off the Grid—I found this to be an interesting and unique solution to providing more recharging stations for EVs. My guess is that EV adoption will outstrip the number of available charging spots away from the home in the near term, so quick and easy solutions will be required to keep pace.

U.S. Solar Is 59 Percent Cheaper Than We Thought It Would Be Back In 2010—Yep, solar is significantly cheaper than it was predicted to be just four short years ago. As the cost curve keeps bending lower the adoption rate will go up. Utilities beware because demand destruction is coming your way.

US Wind Industry Booming, Already Surpassing 2013 Levels—Wind is continuing its winning streak.

Earth to Cellulosic Ethanol: Glad You’re Here, Buddy, What Took so Long?—Cellulosic ethanol, like algae derived biofuels, are always around the corner in terms of commercial scale. It appears that a few projects are up and running that prove concepts of commercial scale plants. If workable, these plants could show a path forward to non-food based biofuels.

Turning to Darwin to Solve the Mystery of Invasive Species—As our climate changes and globalization marches on invasive species are a fact of life. Understanding the mechanisms by which these super competitors evolved is key to preserving some semblance of our ecosystems.

Are goats the answer to the reed choking US east coast marshes?—Got a problem with invasive species? Ask the goats to take care of the problem. These little guys are awesome!

This Is Your Teenager’s Brain on Soda—Soda may not be crack, but it is likely that it is a dangerous “drug” all the same. From obesity to memory problems to diabetes to whatever new study will uncover. The stuff is evil.

Friday Linkage 3/28/2014

Getting back to work after more than a week of vacation is hard. Total first world problem, but it is almost impossible to get back into the groove. Having a house full of sick travelers does not help either. Is there anything worse than coming home on a plane full of people hacking and wheezing knowing that you will be doing the same thing in a few days? I know, total first world problem again.
On to the links…
Solar Power Is Now Just As Cheap As Conventional Electricity In Italy And Germany—Grid parity is a big deal because it means that it costs no more to deploy renewables versus traditional fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, or nuclear—yes, I lump nuclear in with fossil fuels because fissile material is mined and fusion is a pipe dream.
Soon The Ocean Will Be Generating Power Near Seattle—Tidal power is slightly less of a pipe dream than fusion and right below large scale offshore wind in terms of primetime readiness. It seems like advocates have been telling us for decades that tidal power can be a major player, but the projects never seem to materialize or reach their potential.
Hog Wild: Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa’s Drinking Water—The hog industry totally has the government in Iowa bought and paid for because the problems of CAFOs outweigh whatever economic gain they might provide. Ugh!
Are We Becoming China’s Factory Farm?—It looks like our agricultural industry is focused on satisfying the growing appetites of Chinese consumers rather than protecting the welfare of our own citizens. Great.
Coal Ash Ponds: How Power Companies Get a ‘Bypass’ on Regulations Against Pollution—Like manure lagoons from CAFOs, coal power plants have been able to skirt regulations for years. After several spills and contaminations I hope the tide is turning toward some form of real control.
Does Comfrey Really Improve Soil?—Confrey is one of those miracle plants of the sustainable garden world that seems to take care of many problems. A lot of organic and/or sustainable gardeners use comfrey leaves to make a fertilizer tea or use it to supercharge compost piles or improve the soil. Here is some evidence that it may actually be improving the soil. I am thinking about conducting a similar experiment myself.
Taxpayer Dollars Teach that Evolution is ‘wicked and vain’—Every time I am amazed by the ignorance of climate deniers and Republicans in general I need to remember that the same people who form the rabid base of that political ideology are the same ones still fighting for creationism. Yep, Jesus rode a dinosaur like a cowboy.
Let Food be Thy Medicine—I am glad to see that the medical community is finally waking up to the positive powers that diet can have on people’s health. It’s not rocket science, but there is often a disconnect between the doctor’s office and the kitchen when in reality there are very real linkages.
How to Make Microwave Popcorn in a Plain Paper Bag—I love popcorn, but I often find myself craving it at work which means microwave popcorn is the only answer because there is no stove and my Whirlypop stays home. With this method I could be nuking a bag of Tiny But Mighty for an afternoon snack at my desk.
Beneath Cities, a Decaying Tangle of Gas Pipes—The explosion that leveled a building in Harlem brought attention to the rat’s nest of cables and pipes that sit just below the surface of our cities. Infrastructure is amazing to me in that it works at all when you consider the complexity, operating environment, system stress, and age.
Turn a Cordless Drill into a Solar Drill—I love solar for so many reasons. I also love checking out solar projects that are easy. Check this one out.
Super-Cheap Paper Microscope Could Save Millions of Lives—This just seems amazing.

Friday Linkage 5/4/2012

It’s time for that great Iowa weather.  If you do not like it…wait five minutes.  Yesterday it went from clear and sunny to hard rain, lightning, and dropping hail.  If this is a harbinger of my microclimate changing with global climate change the future is going to suck.

It’s a light week of links due to some pretty crazy days and nights at work and home.  It’s amazing how fast some weeks can go while at the same time taking forever.

Enough negativity, on to the links…

T. Boone Pickens Pretty Much Lays it Out–If it weren’t for the Koch brothers is going to be the start of a lot of stories about the last few years.  Perhaps the machinations of these two clowns will swing the pendelum in favor of causes that they oppose like decent rights for every worker, woman, and non-1% person in the U.S.  Is that too much to ask?

ALEC’s Top 5 Anti-Environmental Model Laws–If it is not the Koch brothers it is the American Legislative Exchange Council.  His friends call him ALEC.   Here are the top 5 anti-environmental model laws being pushed by this horrible organization.

Today’s Microcar versus Yesterday’s Highway Barge–If someone needed proof that cars are designed much better today check out the comparison between the new Chevrolet Spark and the average full size car in the 1973 model year:

Obesity Costs One Billion Gallons of Gas per Year–Yep, our fat asses our costing us at the gas pump as well as at the doctor and everywhere else.  Joy.

Superweed Evolution–It’s like a treadmill.  Scientists develop a new herbicide and weeds evolve.  Scientists develop genetically modified crops and the weeds evolve.  At what point do we rethink the system?

Unused Public Spaces in NYC Get New Purpose–A group in Brooklyn has figured that there are almost 600 acres of publicly owned land in the city that is sitting idle.  Wow!  Granted a lot of these parcels are little slivers or triangles in odd places, but those places are perfect for little gardens or trees or something just a little green.