Tag Archives: Keystone XL

Friday Linkage 4/24/2020

Earth Day came and went this week.  Did you notice?  Or were you, like me, trying to stay sane during the never-ending shelter in place, safer at home, whatever we are dealing with right now?

I kind of feel like every day the past month has been Earth Day in some respects.  Oil and other fossil fuels are in the tank because no one is driving or flying.  Retail sales are down, save for groceries, since no one needs anything other than food and drink to get them through the day.  It’s like all the behaviors people said needed to be changed to help the planet came about in a month or so due to coronavirus.

Now, these changes are not sustainable and most trends are likely to revert back to pre-coronavirus norms.  However, there is a blueprint and more so an example of what can be accomplished with just behavioral changes.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

New Data Show Air Pollution Drop Around 50 Percent In Some Cities During Coronavirus Lockdown—I find it a little funny that people are surprised that if we stop driving and flying the attendant air pollution drops.  Duh.

Florida: Endangered Sea Turtles Thriving Thanks to Covid-19 Restrictions—Well, if we just leave the animals alone they can thrive.

Renewable Energy Way Up During COVID19 Shutdowns—As people use less electricity overall the percentage that is generated by renewables is going up.  Why?  If you have to pick a source to shut down, you are going to pick the one that costs money to fuel.  Solar and wind get their fuel for free.

Bikes Sales Surge to Coronavirus-Hit Americans Wary of Public Transit—Bicycles are truly the cockroaches of transportation.  No matter what the disaster, the humble bicycle is the first method of transportation to come back following people on foot.

It’s Possible To Cut Cropland Use in Half and Produce the Same Amount of Food, Says New Study—Maybe if we did not plant millions of acres for animal feed and ethanol we could just let nature do its thing.

‘Coronavirus Profiteers’ Condemned as Polluters Gain Bailout Billions—I believe that we are in the “twilight” of the power of these old line industries that value profit above everything else, including the long term sustainability of a livable planet.  Coronavirus has laid bare their wanton disregard for anything other than money.

How A $110 Trillion Green Recovery Can Save The World: New Report—Instead of throwing good money after bad on fossil fuels maybe there is a better way.

We can Restock the Oceans by 2050, Netting $10 for Every $1 Spent on Conservation — Here’s How—This is some return on investment.

Keystone XL Permits Fail To Pass Muster In Federal Court—Geez, you would think with people having to pay you take oil right now that building a boondoggle pipeline to transport expensive tar sands oil from Canada would be a non-starter.  However, leave it to the oil and gas industry to keep pounding on a dead horse.

Big Banks Pull Financing, Prepare To Seize Assets From Collapsing Oil and Gas Industry—Big banks versus big oil is the battle I want to see.  It’s like Celebrity Death Match for the 21st Century.

Trump’s EPA Weakens Justification for Life-Saving Mercury Pollution Rule—In Trump’s America mercury is good for you.  At the very least, your health is not as important as the ability of rapacious coal companies to pump out pollutants in a last gasp of money grabbing.

Austria’s Last Coal-Fired Power Station Closes as the Country Pushes Renewables—One by one countries are closing down their last coal plants as the shift to greener energy is happening.

Clear Skies Over Germany Lead To Record Amount Of Solar Energy—It is like a virtuous feedback loop.  Less pollution leads to more renewable energy which further crowds out polluting power plants leading to even less pollution.  You get the idea.

LOL the White House’s Economic Council for Restaurants Is Just a Bunch of Chains and Four Fine Dining Chefs—Remember, losses are for the little people.  If you are a big business or a famous person the government will bend over backwards to make things all right for you.

Amazon Invests $10 Million to Help Conserve Forests as Part of Climate Change Plan—How much cardboard do you think Amazon uses in a day?  Would this even cover a month’s worth of forest destruction for cardboard?

Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore—There were already some great independent bookstores with solid online presences, e.g. Powell’s in Portland, but this is good news.  As Amazon is positioned to lay waste to all retail maybe there is hope that something else can survive and thrive.

The Tire Industry Pushes Back Against Evidence of Plastic Pollution—It’s not just the emissions from your car’s tailpipe that are a problem.  The tires are shedding microparticles of rubber.  The brakes are releasing small clouds of particulate.  The oil pan is leaking droplets of oil all over town.  It’s high time we just stop the automobile madness.

Ten Weeds You Can Eat—I have not gotten to this point yet, but it might happen.  You never know.

Friday Linkage 4/10/2020

What day is it anymore?  Weekdays, weekends, holidays, mornings, afternoons, evenings…it all seems the same anymore.

It’s like Groundhog Day where we wake up, get ready for the day, and spend a day in front of the computer trying to be productive.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Big Oil is Using the Coronavirus Pandemic to Push Through the Keystone XL Pipeline—Fossil fuel interest were never going to let a pandemic get in their way of pushing through every project on their wish list.  Here’s the thing, fossil fuel companies know a change is coming so they are trying to bake in as much capacity know before the political winds permanently shift against their interests.

An Environmental Stimulus Bill Could Help Us Bounce Back from COVID-19—I really wish that this had been a serious part of the discussions around stimulus.  Maybe in January 2021 we can have the U.S. government begin a serious discussion about a long term recovery plan that is also a path toward a “greener” future.  You know, after the Trumplicans are out of office.

The Pandemic Is Turning the Natural World Upside Down—If there is a silver lining to this whole crisis it is that we are realizing just how much of an impact we have on the natural world and just how much change we can create with our behaviors.

UK Road Travel Falls to 1955 Levels as COVID-19 Lockdown Takes Hold—Wouldn’t it be something if road travel did not bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels soon after the crisis passes?

America is Drinking its Way through the Coronavirus Crisis – that Means More Health Woes Ahead—All right, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  If we cannot enjoy a few drinks at home to dull the pain of this shitshow what is there left?

Coronavirus is Accelerating the Demise of Coal Power in the US—What trend does not accelerate the demise of coal?

U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants Stumbled Into 2020—And that was before people went into lockdown.  Let’s send Trump packing in November to make 2020 a year to remember for the planet and one that the coal industry would love to forget.

Tesla Virtual Power Plant In Australia Outperforms Expectations—This is so cool.  Instead of having a single physical bank of huge batteries Tesla has networked a whole bunch of Powerwalls to create a virtual battery bank for a larger region. Due to everything being networked it can act as if it were a single battery bank to help regulate the grid.

Rain May Soon be an Effective Source of Renewable Energy—Some concepts seem like they are born from science fiction.

Plastic Wars: Industry Spent Millions Selling Recycling — To Sell More Plastic—You better believe we are going to be hearing a lot from the plastic lobby about how its products made the world safer during the time of coronavirus.  Never mind the environmental destruction.

Scientists Create Mutant Enzyme that Recycles Plastic Bottles in Hours—If I am Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos I would call these guys ASAP and offer a lot of money to commercialize the process.  Even if it costs more than using virgin plastic the elimination of plastic waste has a net benefit that is hard to overstate.

Humankind’s Legacy is Basically Garbage—What would alien archaeologists think of what we leave behind?

In Semi-Arid Africa, Farmers are Transforming the ‘Underground Forest’ into Life-Giving Trees—Regenerating the land is the missed opportunity of the environmental movement.  It is one thing to preserve landscapes, but there is so much land that is degraded that we can bring back to life.  According to this article there is an area larger than Russia that is considered degraded.  That is a lot of opportunity.

Born to Rewild: Why Now is the Perfect Time to Make Your Lawn an Eco-Paradise—This is the summer to “kill your lawn.”

Layoffs Hit the NRA, Even as Gun Sales Soar—My thoughts and prayers are with the NRA.


Friday Linkage 11/29/2019

It’s Black Friday.  I hope that you are doing something today that is not shopping related.  Please.

On to the links…

Keystone XL: Police Discussed Stopping Anti-Pipeline Activists ‘by any means’–That is right, your freedoms as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States mean nothing when an oil company wants to build a pipeline on your land.  The government is in bed with the oil companies.

Global Use of Coal-Fired Electricity Set for Biggest Fall this Year–We keep fighting and we keep pushing for a coal free future.  Our literal lives depend on it, literally.

Coal Knew, Too–Surprise, surprise.  The coal industry is almost universally a bad actor.  The coal industry treats communities, individuals, and the environment horribly in pursuit of a few extra dollars.

What A $108/kWh Battery Pack Would Mean For Tesla–I do not remember what the magic number in terms of cost was supposed to be for battery packs in EVs to speed mass adoption.  Maybe it was $100 per kWh. Maybe. Regardless, Tesla appears to be getting close on a decent level of scale. Now imagine millions of battery packs being manufactured by lots of players.  Scale brings cost down.

BMW Spends Billions to Secure Batteries and Drivetrains for its EVs–This is a sign that EVs are mainstream.  It is important to remember that many automobile manufacturers plan along 5-10 year time horizons given the lead times for things like stampings, etc.

Strike for Sunshine–Everyone on the left keeps waiting for a revival of organized labor in America.  Maybe the ideas behind the Green New Deal can spark a revival, but I am skeptical.  I do believe, however, that old school shoe leather organizing of workers across the industrial spectrum is what is needed.  Imagine a better world where Amazon warehouse workers, WalMart employees, and whoever else are unionized.

Clean Energy Technology was Thought to be Uninvestable. One Fund Thinks Otherwise–I am very leery of the “smart money” of Wall Street.  However, access to lots of capital may help speed development of clean energy.  I just hope that this is not a Faustian bargain.

How Bamboo Building Can Cool the Climate–Bamboo is just cool.

Kids In Finland Ride Their Bicycles To School In -17°C Weather–People at work look at me strangely when I go on a walk outside in weather that just hovers around freezing.  Imagine what they would say if I let my kids bike to school in even colder weather. Oh wait, my son walks to school year round.

Coca-Cola Sweden First Market To Adopt Fully Recycled Plastic–This is the absolute bare minimum that we should accept from packaged food makers.  If you cannot package your product in 100% recycled materials you cannot put your product up for sale.  Simple.

Friday Linkage 7/31/2015

The end of July. School is only a few weeks away for my daughter. Where did the summer go?

On to the links…

Farmworkers Score Big in New Tomato Deal—The Coalition of Immokalee Workers just got Ahold USA to sign up to its program. This is a big win. Pressure is working.

Battle of Solar Pits Rooftop Against Utility-Scale Systems—Why not both? Seriously, why is there a conflict between these two? Oh right, follow the money…

Hillary Clinton Pledges Half a Billion Solar Panels for US—This has to be one of the easiest policy wins of recent memory. Let’s see…clean, emission free power from the sun for the next twenty five years after the panel is installed. I am sure Ted Cruz is pissed about this.

Hillary Clinton Still Won’t Take a Position on the Keystone XL Pipeline—Why is this such a hard thing for her to disavow? Keystone XL is a loser on so many levels.

Wind Energy Provides Europe With 8% Of Its Electricity In 2014-8% is a good number. I would like to see more.

Large-Scale Solar Near Parity In World’s Three Biggest Markets—When power from emission free sources is at parity with fossil fuels even accounting for the loss of subsidies we will have reached a major turning point.

First Ever US Offshore Wind Farm Gets First “Steel In Water,” No Turning Back Now—This is exciting because offshore wind has such potential. It can deliver clean, emission free wind power to the heavily and densely populated eastern seaboard.

Rocky Mountain Resorts Race to Defend their Businesses Against Climate Change—Those beautiful powder days are threatened by climate change. Skiing in late March is threatened by climate change. Does anyone care about climate change?

U.S. Craft Beer Volume Production up 16% through 1st Half of 2015—People keep waiting for the crash in craft beer explosion, but it just looks like a lot of people cannot get enough of craft beer:


Pour some more IPAs folks!

America Is Not Getting Fatter Anymore—This is amazing to me. People are consuming a lot less soda and actually paying attention to their health in terms of obesity.

Looking Up: How Farming Changed my Perspective on Rain—When you make your living from the land you take a whole new perspective on a lot of different issues. Rain is life instead of inconvenience.

Friday Linkage 2/13/2015

It’s amazing that the one state I do not wish to visit is the one where I get sent most often on business travel. Work has sent me to Florida over the course of three different jobs supporting three completely different business units. It’s like someone wants me to bask in the warm glow of Rick Scott’s smile:



On to the links…

The FBI Is Making House Calls to Keystone XL Opponents—This is bad news and what the people behind Green is the New Red have been saying for years. Law enforcement has perverted terrorism and homeland security rules at the behest of industry to monitor the activities of completely lawful groups and citizens.

EU Energy Consumption Level Falls to 20-Year Low—Energy efficiency can and does work. Believe it.

India Plans 1 GW Solar Power Capacity Through State-Owned Companies—India is going big when it comes to renewables. Like really big.

India Issues Draft Guidelines For 2 GW Solar PV Auction—See, it keeps going bigger.

India Plans 4.2-Gigawatt Wind and Solar Energy Park—It feels like a the Lorax…keep biggering and biggering.

Starving Sea Lion Pup Strandings Surge in California—Maybe we need to consider the possibility that human actions are causing the oceans to die. I know, it’s a crazy thought for a lot of people. Like the world being round and vaccines being a good idea.

Cooking Can’t Solve the Threat of Invasive Species—The sad fact is that we can hunt a lot of species to extinction, but the ones we should excise from certain ecosystems are likely to be persistent problems despite our appetites.

The Dangerous Chemical Lurking in Your Beer Can—So, aluminum might mess up my hormones and glass is a nightmare for the environment. What’s a drinking man to do? Maybe, refillable glass growlers from your local craft brewery is the only answer. Big Grove Brewery here I come.

The rise of ‘Made by China’ in America—Globalization is a hell of a thing. Trends reverse, commonly held beliefs get laid waste to, and strange things happen.

Rock Around the Doc: Here’s What an Anti-Vaxxer Band Sounds Like—How is this even a thing?

Friday Linkage 10/3/2014

October…where did my summer go? BTW, it’s a little more than a month until Breckenridge opens for the season. Who’s ready for some powder days?

On to the links…

Solar Energy Boom In Texas Approaching? Looks Likely—When Texas embraces the potential liberation of solar, you know the world is on the path toward a cleaner and greener future. Granted, it’s still the land of ridiculous belt buckles and dinosaur juice.

New York’s Bold New Plan To Expand Solar Energy—This is not a sunny state we are talking about taking the solar challenge. The projects in this initiative will increase the solar production in the state by 68%. Imagine a five year trend where growth was 68% per year…damn, that would be a 1,338% increase. Too amazing to even imagine.

China Says Build More Solar Now—Some days I wonder what it would be like to control a command economy. You can tell me China is capitalist or communist all day long, but it is really a capitalist command economy which is such a strange thing. I could just say build more solar and wind, but no more of those coal fired power plants.

Solar Power Could be World’s Top Electricity Source by 2050—According to the IEA, or International Energy Agency if you’re feeling nasty, solar could be the top dog of electricity production by 2050. Talk about some serious demand destruction if that is the case.

Solar Energy Storage System For Homes and Businesses Unveiled—A small-scale distributed way to level out the spikes in demand and production might be the holy grail of the smart grid of the future.

Nebraskans Raise Their Voices in Fight Against Keystone XL Pipeline—The fight over Keystone XL has created some strange bedfellows who would not normally see eye to eye on most issues. I guess when a landscape you love is threatened by permanent destruction than you make concessions.

$25 Million Algae Biofuel Blitz Planned By Energy Department—Maybe in the future we will power our cars and trucks with pond scum. Maybe…

Scientists Trace Extreme Heat in Australia to Climate Change—Australia, a huge per capita user of energy, is baking in a changed climate. Put another shrimp on the barbie.

I’m Optimistic About Climate Change, and You Should Be Too—I don’t think that I share the author’s optimism, but I have some level of hope that we will find a way forward that does not destroy the progress that human beings have made.

A Call to Action Against a Predator Fish—Along with Asian carp, is there a worse invasive species than the lionfish? These things are like the perfect storm of an invasive species. Fried lionfish bites anyone?

Everything But The Squeal: How The Hog Industry Cuts Food Waste—Using every part of the animal for some type of product is how the industrial ag machine stays profitable. It’s the same way with oil refining. Making gas and diesel keeps the lights on, but the other products are where the refinery gets into the black.

50 Cost-Efficient Ways To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly—It’s been a while since I have featured an infographic. UK based magazine Good To Be Home has a nice list of easy things we could all do at home to be a little greener:


Friday Linkage 5/23/2014

Who knew that Pat Sajak—he’s still on the air?—was a climate denier? Maybe he is the one feeding Marco Rubio his dubious stance on climate and the environment. It would make sense given that neither make any sense to a person with a quarter ounce of sense.

On to the links…

Minnesota Becomes First State To Ban Antibacterial Chemical Triclosan From Soaps—This is important news because I hope it is the start of a nationwide trend to get this chemical off our store shelves. There is no need for us to use this chemical and it has a lot of downside risks to the environment. Clean freaks and germophobes will probably cry into their sanitary wipes, but it is progress.

The Big Melt Accelerates—Well, here is some real crap news. We are living in the moment when our actions our visibly changing the planet. Do humans suck or what?

Dust Bowl Days: Will We Cut Carbon Pollution Fast Enough To Prevent Permanent Droughts?—There may be more water in the oceans because of global warming and ice melt, but a lot of regions are going to be a lot drier. Maybe permanently. When will we listen up and make fundamental changes?

The Red Hot Renewable That Could Incite A Green Power Revolution—I’ve linked to articles and written about geothermal power before. It’s an untapped resource—pun is actually intended. It’s clean power that can be counted on as baseload power. That is huge when you have variability in your other renewables like wind or solar.

The Birthplace Of Big Oil Is About To Get Its Biggest Solar Plant Yet—Texas is behind the eight ball when it comes to solar. It’s a state bathed in sun, but it’s also the home of big oil so you can understand why they are more prone to drill their way to freedom.

India’s New Prime Minister Plans To Make A Major Push on Solar Energy—Narendra Modi, the presumptive new prime minister of India, is making pledges to goose development of solar resources in India. If you do not think that this will have an impact on the global market, you do not understand the concept of the “India price.”

Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline—The opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline has made for some interesting bedfellows. You have “cowboys,” “Indians,” ranchers, environmentalists, state’s rights advocates, libertarians, etc.

How to Fight a Factory Farm and Win—Apparently, when you have exhausted trying to stop a factory farm because of the environmental and animal welfare reasons there is always the stink. People understand the stink and no one likes the stink.

EPA Finalizes Power Plant Water Intake Rules To Save Billions Of Aquatic Animals Every Year—This is totally one of those regulations where you can see John Boehner and Eric Cantor standing at a podium stressing the “job killing” administration of President Obama. Sometimes, the impact on jobs is less important than the impact of everything else.

How USDA Rubber-Stamps ‘Humane’ and ‘Sustainable’ Food Claims—This is why it is critically important to know from whom and where your food originates. Too often the people we believe are entrusted with preserving our health and safety are nothing more than shills for industry.

In Federal-State Marijuana Battle, Hemp Is The New Frontier—Apparently, there is one issue that Mitch McConnell and his opponent in November’s election Alison Lundergan Grimes can agree upon: hemp. Both candidates for elected office have declared that the federal government should release hemp seeds to the state of Kentucky. Common ground over hemp. Imagine that.

How to Make the Twin Cities the Best Region in America—You could take these ideas to any town and it would be a great list to work on. The article’s title is so interchangeable that it could be “How to Make the BLANK the Best Region in America.” Who does not want more livable communities? Oh right, republicans.

The 20 Deadliest U.S. Cities for Pedestrians—I love how this list corresponds nicely to places that I would never live. It also shows that pedestrians in Florida are little more than collateral damage.

Friday Linkage 2/21/2014

I am going to blame climate change of the schizophrenic February weather here in Iowa.  On Monday it snowed about four or five inches.  On Tuesday and Wednesday it was forty or almost fifty degrees.  On Thursday and into Friday we got a nice wallop of a winter storm.  I cannot wait to see what the future looks like if this is the present.

On to the links…

Saving an Endangered British Species: The Pub—It’s not the most important news story of the week, but it is the most poignant to me.  There is something deeply romantic about the “local.”  However, as time marches on and dollars get in the way the local pub is going to give way to malls and lofts.

Obama Directs EPA and DOT to Tighten Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy Trucks by 2016—This is one of those “boring but very important” stories that tends to get missed in all the headlines about containers being repurposed into student housing or another ten uses for mason jars.  As the article states, these trucks represent 7% of the vehicles on the road yet account for 25% of the transportation fuel consumed.

New York Scrubs Microbeads—Microbeads, those little balls of plastic in cosmetics and facial cleansers, are really bad for water.  Why?  Because the small little bits of plastic do not necessarily get filtered out and make their way into the food system.  All for cleaner, brighter skin.

Train Carrying Canadian Oil Derails In Western Pennsylvania—I am not in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and I think that it would be best if tar sands oil were left in the ground.  However, if the oil is going to be transported to the U.S. should it not come over the border in a way that is safer than trains of flammable liquid rolling through our towns?

Here’s Why 50 Percent More Coal Plants Could Be Retiring Than Experts Previously Thought—Maybe it’s because coal basically sucks.  It pollutes.  It’s a big contributor to climate change.  Mining coal is a disaster.  Oh wait, and it does not make economic sense.  Okay.  Got it.

A Huge Solar Plant Opens, Facing Doubts About Its Future—The Ivanpah facility is amazing and according to the chattering class it will probably be the last of its kind built.  Still, 377 megawatts from the sun is amazing.

Water-Cleaning Technology Could Help Farmers—When you read through this article think about the technology that the company is using.  Not a single thing is brand new or needing to be worked on.  This is an application of existing technology to solve a current problem.  Pretty sweet.

Can Anybody Save California?—The title is provocative, but the question is too simple.  The real question is can anyone save what California has become?  There is a future for the state if it can learn to live within its hydrological means, but history has shown that it is incapable or unwilling to even try.

Denmark Is About To Set Even More Ambitious Climate Goals Than All Of Europe—I wish more countries could be like Denmark.  It’s not just their stance on trying to mitigate climate change, but the country’s whole attitude in general.  If I could choose a country beside the U.S. to live in it would probably be Denmark.

How One Brown Student Shut Down The NRA—Sometimes all it takes to stop the giant is persistence and the courage to stand up.  There are few bullies bigger than the NRA.  In American politics they are the Christ Christie of special interests, but they can be taken down.

No, GMOs Won’t Harm Your Health—The fervor about the health impairment of GMOs reminds me of the anti-vaccine fears promoted by a misinformed population that could not be swayed from their opinion regardless of facts.  Of course, that also sounds like climate deniers who cling to faith as the sole reason to ignore science.

Butter and Whole Milk Linked to Lower Obesity Rates—Have we finally moved past the anti-fat crusade?

How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally With Just a Lemon—Cleaning the inside of a microwave is about the worst job in the kitchen because there does not seem to be a way to do it well.  I use a cup of vinegar in a way similar to the lemon in this article.

God’s 12 Biggest Dick Moves in the Old Testament—Speaking of faith, here is a decent list of the biggest ass clown moves God pulled in the Bible.  I always find it interesting when “New Testament” Christians tell me how God is all about love and what not.  If they read the Old Testament things might be a little different.  Then again, these people like to cherry pick what parts of the Bible they need to suit their prejudices.

The African Savannah Is Even More Beautiful From a Bird’s-Eye View—Nature is freakin’ amazing.  Sometimes we just need to sit back and be amazed by the beauty.

Friday Linkage 10/11/2013

Do you ever have weeks go by where you stop. Look up, and wonder, “Where did the last month or so go?”  Yep, I am having one of those periods of time.

On to the links…

The Huge Chill: Why Are American Refrigerators So Big?—I found this exploration into the gargantuan size of American refrigerators fascinating.  Maybe our fascination with giant sized cooling boxes and Costco sized quantities is a bad thing?  Hmmm….

How America Cultivated a Generation of Obesity—The idea of a hamburger’s pickles being considered a vegetable in terms of a serving is just asinine.  But, someone figured out a way for a few parties to make money so it became law.  I do like how the anti-fat crusade of my childhood is getting some of the blame for our current dietary straits.  When I was a kid no one wanted to eat anything with fat.  If a package said “fat free” it was carte blanche to eat.  Too bad all those carbs made us fat.

Unease in Hawaii’s Cornfields—You do not think about Hawaii having corn or soybean fields, but such fields are very common on Kauai.  There is a growing sentiment on the islands that these fields of GMO crops are not welcome visitors from the mainland.

How to Build a Cider Press and Harvest Apple Juice—After reading this I spend my days walking around the area looking at the apple trees dropping fruit no one wants and daydreaming about making gallon upon gallon of fresh pressed cider.  I am also daydreaming about using my homebrew skills to make some homebrew apple hooch.

Just What is in a Chicken Nugget—I am glad that someone asked the question and did the science, but I am now even more disturbed.  Only 40% meat?  Fat, cartilage, and pieces of bone make up the rest?  Reminds me of the classic John Candy movie The Great Outdoors when the he is challenged to eat the Ol’ 96er.  At the end the cook says he needs to eat what’s left on the plate.  But it’s just fat and gristle.  Part of the weight.

All You Can’t Eat, Pigs Will—This is a great story from a while back about a hog farmer that takes the leftovers from Las Vegas buffets and feeds them to his animals.  I wonder if the animals also wake up in a few days sunburned and full of regret.

The Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant In New England Is Shutting Down—It’s not the dirtiest coal plant in New England, but the Brayton Point Power Station is the largest of six coal fired plants in New England and it will be retired in 2017.  Good riddance!

Illustrating How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Fails President’s Climate Test—This article is just filled with data and charts that show just how awful the Keystone XL pipeline would be for the environment.  As if most people with half a brain who follow the news did not already know that.  There are three or four such people out there.

New Arizona Solar Plant Uses Salt To Keep Producing Electricity When The Sun Goes Down—It’s electricity derived from solar energy after the sun goes down.  It’s not from a traditional battery, per se, but rather a bank of molten salt that stores heat to create steam to drive turbines later.  Freakin’ cool.

Is Solar Power Facing a Dim Future?—Too often the story about solar power focuses on the panel makers and the trouble that these providers are having.  Panels, however, are turning into a commodity and that business is defined by the race to the bottom in terms of price.  Solar is here to stay!

Could Mexico be at the Start of a Solar Boom—Mexico has some pretty audacious goals.  It wants to generate 35% of its power from renewable sources by 2026, which would be up from ~15% today.  Solar is part of that equation because like the American Southwest a large swath of the country is bathed in excellent solar resources.

How Apps are Helping Us Drive Less—The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)—an acronym that is almost as convoluted sounding as SHIELD—released a report that finds our mobile technology is helping drive the trend toward less driving.  Anything that gets us out from behind the wheel is a good thing.

Industry Ahead of Schedule on Mileage Goals—According to an official at the EPA, the auto industry is ahead of pace to meet the new mileage goals instituted recently.  It’s amazing how these new targets were going to be catastrophic according to the pundits on the right, but now industry is ahead of the game.  Oh, and how is the auto industry doing right now?  Pretty dang well.

Plastic Waste is Hazardous for Sub-Alpine Lakes as Well—Is there anywhere that our plastic pollution will not soil?  Just asking.

Engine Exhaust May Be Contributing to Bee Colony Collapse—Is there anything that we humans do anymore that is good?  It seems like every action we take has a dark side that harms the environment.  It’s enough to get someone down in the dumps.

Fall of USSR Locked Up World’s Largest Carbon Sink—Apparently, when the USSR fell into disunion millions of acres of farmland went fallow.  Over the years those millions of acres have sucked up carbon to become one of the biggest carbon sinks in the world.

The Scary Truth About Antibiotic Overprescription—Most of the press on this issue relates to the insane amount of antibiotics that we feed farm animals in feedlot operations.  However, humans are over prescribed antibiotics as well.  Great.

Dirtball’s ‘Green’ Jeans Are Made In U.S. From Recycled Water Bottles—It was not the recycled content of the jeans that really caught my eye, but the infographic showing where all of the components were sourced from.  Too often we think of “Made in the USA” to mean assembled here from foreign parts, but the supply chain is critical to creating sustainable industries.

Friday Linkage 8/16/2013

My oldest daughter starts kindergarten in a few days.  It is really hard to imagine that the little girl I brought home on a brutally cold morning in January is old enough to be going to school.

On to the links…

8 Awkward Things You Might Do If You’ve Truly Gone Green—How many of these are you guilty of?  I am on the hook for about five of the eight.  Great.

Amid Pipeline Debate, Two Costly Cleanups Forever Change Towns—If you think that anything about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is good, read this article and get back to me.  It’s a disaster.

The Massive Demand For Solar In Asia Shows Us Where The Industry Is Headed—Are we reaching the point when solar has achieved a critical mass of factors that allow it to be truly adopted worldwide in utility scale quantities?  I surely that this is the case.

Don’t For a Second Believe We’re Heading for an Era of Renewable Energy—Man, the folks over at Girst.org really know how to kill a guy’s buzz.  Yeah, fossil fuels are here to stay for a long time but that does not mean that I am giving up the hope that we can scratch and claw our way to a cleaner future.

Cut Emissions? Congress Itself Keeps Burning a Dirtier Fuel—Why is this plant still operating in this fashion?  Diesel fuel?  Really?

What’s in Crude Oil and How Do We Use It?—Crude oil is a strange thing.  Most people have little concept of what crude oil actually is and what products are the end result of the refining process.  Only a small percentage is turned into gasoline or diesel, while a host of other products are the benefits of “byproducts.”  It’s often these non-transportation fuel byproducts that make a refinery profitable.

In Pursuit of the Perfectly Passive—The idea of a small-ish passive solar cottage is so appealing when you see the photos of the house spoken about in the article.  It just seems very livable.

14 Year Old Debates GMOs with Condescending Host—Why do we even listen to the talking heads on television “news” programs?  Very few of them are remotely qualified to talk about any issues outside of celebrity sleaze, yet their pulpits give them some kind of personal authority.  It’s always good to see them get taken down a notch.  Especially by a kid.

Do Chicken Plant Chemicals Mask Salmonella?—Not only does industrial chicken come from poultry farms that are horrific and the processing plants are equally horrific, but something may be endemic in the system that hides the existence of pathogens.  Does it get any worse?

A Tennessee Clothing Factory Keeps Up the Old Ways—This story about L.C. King makes me glad that there are still companies maintaining a heritage of manufacturing.  Authenticity cannot be duplicated with crafty, artisanal labels.  It’s something that is created over decades of hard work and dedication to craft.

Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia—Zak Noyle’s photographs of trash in the waters surrounding Indonesia are just awful.  How did we get here?