Tag Archives: goats

Friday Linkage 6/29/2018

If anyone does not believe that elections matter, consider that Donald Trump—a man wholly unfit to be president who lost an election by over three million votes—will get to choose the second Supreme Court justice of his presidency.  By the end of four years of this man the United States may no longer be a country that I recognize.

On to the links…

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting—The world would be better is everyone were just a little more present in the “real.”  I cannot count how many times I have been in a bar or restaurant and seen entire tables of people staring into their phones’ screens.  It is insanity.

She Spoke out About Climate Change—and They Tried to Make Her Pay for It—Sarah Myhre is right.  Science has always been political.  There is a reason why religious authorities persecuted scientists.  Empirical observations served to undermine the authority of the religious entity because their authority was based on a flawed text interpreted over the course of generations. Nothing has really changed.

News of Scott Pruitt’s ‘quid pro quo’ Condo Deal Raises Questions about Criminal Law Violations—Does anyone actually think that Scott Pruitt or any other member of the Trump administration would actually be prosecuted for doing something criminal?  This is the most ethically and criminally compromised presidency in American history and the Republican party is allowing it to run amok with no oversight.  Do you remember when the process in which Hillary Clinton handled her emails was considered the height of impropriety?

Scott Pruitt Was So Sloppy Telling Oil Execs and Cronies He Could Get Them Hired, It’s Embarrassing—This fucking guy:


Scott Pruitt’s “Tactical Pants” Scandal, Very Briefly Explained—It’s not nearly as much fun as his lotion runs or his attempts to buy a used mattress or his attempts to weasel a chicken franchise for his wife or…well, it is Scott Pruitt and every week brings a new scandal.

How Trump is Letting Polluters Off the Hook, in One Chart—When the EPA is run by an industry toadie more interested in finding his special lotion to keep his skin soft while he lounges in his used bed this is the result:


Ethically compromised is one thing, but being just downright pathetic at your job is turning out to be a Trumpian trait du jour.

The Argument for Fracking as a Climate Solution Just Went Down in Flames—Methane is a bad climate actor and mismanaged wells are releasing a lot of methane.  Sorry folks, but fracked natural gas is not the bridge fuel to the future.  It’s just another fossil fuel bait and switch.

Investigators say China is Behind Illegal CFC Emissions—Maybe Donny two scoops will add this to his list of grievances with China or he will just use it as a another lever to extract payoffs from the Chinese for a project somewhere in the world.

UPS Places Order For 950 Workhorse N-GEN Electric Delivery Vans—Before we spend a lot of time and energy electrifying personal automobiles, the government should focus its efforts on converting the fleets of commercial vehicles to electric.  These are large buyers of vehicles, so one sales pitch can lead to a lot of sales, that are very sensitive to fuel cost fluctuation.

Will the Boomers Leave Us Bust?—Let me skip to the punch line: if baby boomers have to give an inch to save future generations they will fight tooth and nail to preserve that inch because they are the most self-centered generation in American history.  As the, hopefully, last baby boomer president wreaks havoc on the national and international order it is starting to look like a multi-decade fixer upper job for those of use left.

Goats Used For Colorado Wildfire Mitigation—The world just might be a better place if we spent more time thinking about goats.  Everyone else can worry about Trump today.  I am going to spend my day thinking about goats.

Friday Linkage 12/20/2013

Not to get all “War on Christmas” on you, but I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season as we head into the week of Christmas.  The only reason that I center my holiday season around Christmas is because my employer has a holiday shutdown with Christmas as the center piece of the week off.  Therefore, I am a Christmas guy.

Enjoy the season with your loved ones and remember the people who are gone from our lives too soon.

On to the links…

In the Belly of the Beast—I forget that Rolling Stone is still in publication and that is a shame because occasionally they put out some drop dead good journalism.  There is nothing groundbreaking in this piece about factory farms, but it encapsulates so many of the issues surrounding our meat obsession that it makes a good primer for those people you know who are less informed.

Factory Farms Fed Cows the Mess from Bottom of Chicken Cages—Here’s a nice and appetizing story about the feed for cows made from the “mess” in the bottom of chicken cages.  Just nasty.

Hawaii’s Growing Solar Industry Fighting Uphill Battle With Energy Industry Over Threats To Grid—Hawaii’s solar growth should be an unmitigated success story, but as the utilities on the island begin to push back the story is getting slightly less rosy.  Granted, there are issues with the islands’ archaic grid but that seems like an opportunity to move forward with improvements rather than stick to the status quo.

The Export-Import Bank Stops Funding Coal Projects Abroad—This is one of those “boring but important” news items that shapes the direction of large macro trends.  If the Export-Import Bank stops financing these projects than it will be even harder for coal to compete.  Hurray!

Interactive Map Tracks Lac Megantic’s Tragic ‘River Of Burning Oil’—This story is just awful.  The town was basically wiped off the face of the map by a river of burning oil.  What price our obsession with cheap fossil fuels?

The U.S. Is A Gas-Guzzling Horror Show—This one chart shows just how bad we are when it comes to consuming fuel for our transportation “needs.”  It also shows that we could cut a lot of that use and not really impact our quality of life.

13 Major Clean Energy Breakthroughs Of 2013—2013 was not all bad.  Here is a list of thirteen big happenings in the world of clean energy.

Cyclists are the New Enemies of Right Wing Politicians—There just must be something socialist about someone on a bicycle, says the right wing whack job.  Why aren’t they in a big American truck, says the zealot on Fox News.  Different strokes for different folks you clowns.

Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes—The threats to the Great Lakes are many and the attention is a fraction of what is paid to the oceans.  It’s a shame because these gigantic bodies of freshwater are a resource like no other in the entire world.

What’s That Clinging To The Towering Wall And Why Doesn’t It Fall Off?—Now for something a little more light hearted.  Check out these goats, alpine ibexes to be exact, clinging to the side of the damn.  What’s even more amazing is watching them move along the sheer face to get a lick of salt.  Goats are so cool.

The Temperfect Mug—If this mug is half what it claims to be it would be sweet.  I want one.

Friday Linkage 8/23/2013

Here in eastern Iowa we have gone from a very wet spring to a very dry summer.  Where everything was waterlogged a few months ago, it is now dry like hardpan.  The upside is that I do not have to mow very often because my grass has decided to stall out.

On to the links…

Meet The 25-Year-Old Prepared To Spend 10 Years In Jail To Stop Coal—If you remember Tim DeChristopher, then you need to know about Jonathan Moylan.  He is an Australian activist who has been fighting the expansion of coal mining for the past seven years.  Now he is facing a jail term because of a fake press release he concocted that adversely impacted the value of a company’s stock.  God forbid that the paper value of a company went down.  The horror.  The humanity.  How will we survive?

When Will Solar get Cheap Enough for Everyone?—Solar is a truly transformative energy technology.  Unlike almost every other source of power, solar can be deployed on a small scale and distributed way.  You cannot do that with natural gas, coal, hydropower, or even wind.  Once the price gets to a certain tipping point, the dominance of big power may enter into a death spiral.

Why Utilities Are Afraid Of Rooftop Solar—Here’s why, rooftop solar takes control of power generation away from the utilities.  No one who has power wants to give up power.

$77 Billion from the Sun: Solar Industry Facts—Check out this short video from Bloomberg full of facts about the solar industry.  The fact that global solar capacity has increased over 600% in the last five years is kind of mind bending.

Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell—This is one of those ideas that always seems to be on the cusp of possible.  The crazy number in the article was that if California could turn its annual trash output into fuel using this process that all of its oil consumption demand would be met.  Huh?

Pop Science Guide to Corn—Corn is hugely important in the United States.  Spend any time driving in a rural area and you are sure to roll past mile upon mile of corn intended for industrial uses.  Check out this infographic to get an idea about modern corn:


Removing Abandoned Fencing to Help Wildlife—This is one of those things that you do not even really think about impacting wildlife.  There must be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of miles of abandoned barbed wired fencing in the U.S.

Deadly Sea Lion Mystery Draws Biologists to Remote Island in Search of Clues—For a while, stories of famished sea lion pups were making the news rounds as images of rescued pups made for high click through traffic.  Now the science to find a reason why there was a crisis begins in a remote section of California’s coast.

Thriving in Cape Cod’s Waters, Gray Seals Draw Fans and Foes—Somehow, I think that decades of overfishing and ocean pollution have more to do with declining fish stocks than the reemergence of gray seals.  You can probably blame the increase in shark sightings near the coastline on gray seals, but look at yourself for the reason why it’s harder to catch a boatload of cod.

Google Street View Comes to Coral Reefs—A lot of people will never get the chance to dive or snorkel around a coral reef.  It’s a damn shame because encountering one of these amazing ecosystems is the first step in becoming a passionate defender of their existence.  Now Google is trying to ease the barriers to that experience by bringing Street View to the Great Barrier Reef.  Dig it.

Congressional Cemetery Goats: Did They Work?—It was good news when the Congressional Cemetery decided to utilize goats to control overgrown vegetation rather than herbicides and machines.  Check out how well the goats did their job.

Comparing the Quality of Crowdsourced Data Contributed by Expert and Non-Experts—I found this paper really interesting.  Non-academic citizen scientists are able to contribute in meaningful ways to our understanding of the world and it is becoming increasingly easier to do so as crowdsourced platforms proliferate.  Here is some evidence to support the continued proliferation and democratization of scientific data.

Five Story All Wood House Built with Zero Chemicals—I just love seeing building being made from wood without the use of chemicals like glues or sealants.  Wood is warm and inviting.

Friday Linkage 10/29/2012

Two solid days of rain this past weekend and two more this week have really changed the drought landscape in eastern Iowa.  More than twelve percent of the state was classified out of the “severe” drought category this week.  That is a good thing looking forward to the 2013 growing season because a lot can depend on the soil moisture before winter sets in.  Here is to hoping that the forecast that calls for rain continues to be accurate.  Even if it makes for a miserable night game against Penn State on Saturday.

On to the links…

Ten Charts that Show the Planet is Warming—As if anyone needed any more proof about human driven climate change…oh wait, is that the crickets I hear chirping when looking for major political parties’ stance on climate change?  Yep.

Larry Ellison Plans to Turn Lanai into an Eco-Lab—I have always wondered why Hawaii is not even further down the road to energy independence through renewables.  The state has an isolated electrical grid.  The electricity rates are some of the highest in the nation.  Most of the power is generated from imported oil that is an accident waiting to happen.  Maybe good ol’ Larry Ellison can make some things happen.

The Great White Whale of American Cheesemaking—This is an interesting profile on someone trying to recreate Italy’s buffalo mozzarella in the United States.  No easy task.  The entire set of articles in the food centric article of the New York Times Magazine are pretty excellent.  Take a moment to read them all.

Eat the Goats to Save the Goats—It may seem counter intuitive, but when goats are raised as a dairy animal approximately 50% of the goats born in an operation will be of no use, i.e. the newborn goats are male.  With little economic value in the U.S. because there is a limited market for goat meat these animals are frequently euthanized.  What a waste!

Is the Search for the Perfect Aquaculture Fish Over?—I remember reading about barramundi in Paul Greenberg’s Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.  Oh snap, I said people should also read his book.  The moral of the story is that instead of trying to engineer or breed a fish for aquaculture systems, maybe we should find a fish that does well in aquaculture.

Seed Diversity In Pictures—Farmers breed resilience into the system because they understand at the lowest level what resilience means for their own survival.  The more varieties of plants that we lose to neglect because Monsanto and their ilk are successful in destroying these systems the greater the chance for an epic collapse of a particular crop.

Inside Google’s Kitchen—All you have to do is move the M&M’s into the dark corners of your cafeteria and maybe your employees will eat better.  Or they will turn into characters in a zombie survival movie hunting down the last Twinkie on Earth.  Just saying.

By the Numbers, the Facts about Gasoline Prices—Mitt Romney is a serial liar.  Think Progress did a great piece running down the numbers about gasoline prices, oil production, and Mittens’ attempts to obscure the truth.  Or was he trying to disguise the fact that he has no plan?  I get so confused.

The Failure of “Drill, Baby Drill” as a Policy—Oil is a global commodity thus prices are the result of global supply and demand. I know this is hard for the sound bite portion of the Republican Party to understand, but merely increasing U.S. production will not necessarily provide price relief although it will enrich their donors.  What is the real game here?

Hybrid and EV Sales are Up—Each year brings more news about the success of hybrid and electric vehicles in the market place.  As these vehicles become more spread out across vehicle types and manufacturers the growth is only sure to continue.

Will Algae Ever Power Cars—Along with hydrogen, fuel from algae seems like the Holy Grail of transportation fuels in the United States and, perhaps, the rest of the world.  But will we ever actually fill our gas tanks with bio-diesel made from algae?  Good question.

Friday Linkage 8/10/2012

Three days of rain the past week and temperatures in the low-50s the past couple of nights have really improved the general mood here in Eastern Iowa.  If only the Hawkeye’s football opener could get here sooner.

On to the links…

CBO Sees no Financial Windfall in Expanded Drilling on Federal Lands—The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has release a report that states the expansion of oil and gas drilling to almost all federal lands would only lead to a modest increase in financial gain.  This differs from what the oil and gas industry has been claiming.  Surprised?  Not really, since the oil and gas industry is notorious for lying about the impact of its projects.

Government Employment at Lowest Point Since 1968—Before you blame the deficit on government bloat and, thus, justifying the need to open more land to fossil fuel exploitation consider this:

Government employment as a per capita measure is the lowest it has been since LBJ was president.  Kind of runs counter to the BS Mitt Romney has been peddling on the stump.  Of course, he is a liar.

Defense Cuts Unlikely to Hurt Broader Economy—For all the hysterics about the looming defense cuts from sequestration, the Cato Institute has released a study showing that the impacts on the entire economy will be quite small because the defense industry is a small slice.  Considering that even with the largest of planned cuts the U.S. will still spend more on defense than the next ten countries combined we can probably afford to take the hit.

Vast Renewable Power Potential in the American West—There is a huge amount of untapped power potential in the American West.  Just suck on these numbers for a moment: $137 billion in investment, 209,000 direct jobs, and enough clean power for 7 million homes.  Just saying.

Colorado Utility Gets 57% of Power from Wind—Don’t believe in the potential?  On the night of April 15th, Xcel Energy got 57% of its power from wind generation.  Granted, it was overnight when the wind blows hard and the demand is low.  Consider it for a moment nonetheless, 57% of the power came from wind.

California got 20% of its Power from Renewables in First Half 2012—Still do not believe in the potential?  California, the most populous state in the United States, got 20.6% of its power from wind, solar, geothermal, and other non-nuclear clean sources of power.  This is not North Dakota getting 20% of its power for a small population base.  This is the most populous state in the union.

Windpower Capacity Hits 50GW in US—Here’s another data point to make anyone a believer in the potential of renewables.  The installed capacity of windpower in the U.S. is more than 50 gigawatts, which represents the equivalent of 44 coal plants.  Only room to grow, daddy-o!

5GW of Renewables Fast Tracked by Obama Administration—Seven large scale projects totaling 5GW of capacity in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming have been fast tracked by the current presidential administration.    The project in Wyoming is a 3GW wind farm in Carbon County.  3GW represents 6% of the current installed windpower capacity.  In one project!

Old Coal Plant in Rochester, Minnesota to Close—This one is personal because I passed this plant probably a hundred times in my youth living in southeastern Minnesota.  Along with the oil refinery on Highway 52 near Coates, this was one of those hellish places that you wondered how it could still be in operation.  Well, not much longer.

Fairs, Like Crops, are Dropping with the Heat—It looks like corn and soybeans are not the only victims of this brutal July heat.  I went to the Johnson County Fair in Iowa with my daughter and it was a shell of previous years.  People just looked miserable, the animals were no better, and everyone just seemed to be waiting for the whole thing to end.  Ugh!

The Ultimate Urban Workout—If you have spent any time in a large city and done any shopping you will understand the exertion required to schlep.  Unlike Europe where collapsible carts are acceptable, in the U.S. you schlep.  Bags hang precariously from hands, forearms, wherever in a manic dance to make it to the front door.  But, how many calories did I burn?

Goats in Presidio Park—Just a nice slideshow of some “goat-scaping” in San Francisco’s Presidio Park.  Goats rule!

Mongol Rally Photo Travelogue—Who would not want to drive 10,000 miles in a car with an engine displacement less than 1.2L?  Okay, to give you an idea 1.2L is a smaller engine than what is in a Ford Fiesta or Chevy Spark.  Now imagine driving across semi-developed roadways.  You get the idea.  It sounds awesome!

Possible New Egyptian Pyramids found on Google Earth—This is just a crazy story and it shows the potential of technology to transform fields of knowledge.  Dig it!