Tag Archives: lead

Friday Linkage 3/10/2017

There will be no Friday Linkage next week since I will be in Colorado enjoying all that Beaver Creek has to offer a low-rent skier like myself.

On to the links…

Iowa Sees Second Warmest February in 145 Years—Nothing to see here, right?

These Photos Show How the EPA Transformed America—Now that the fox is in charge of the hen house it is important to remember what America was like before the EPA and other agencies focused on cleaning our air and water.  No one wants to bring disco back and no one wants to bring 1960s style pollution back either.

Scientists Are Standing Up to Trump Because They’ve Always Stood Up to Bullshit—The right wing loves people to be active in politics as long as they agree with their narrow world view and, generally, assume positions that are free from a factual basis.  “But, Jesus said so in the Bible!”  Scientists and scholars are duty bound to resist this shit.

Yet Another Energy Company Bails On Canadian Tar Sands Oil — Is Koch Next?—Tar sands are too expensive to extract under the current market conditions, too dirty for most people to accept as a fuel source, and stuck in Canada.  So why exactly are people in the fossil fuel industry and the White House so hell bent on the Keystone XL pipeline?

California Just Hit an Incredible Solar Power Milestone—It was for just a moment, but California was producing some serious solar power in the middle of the day.

Colorado’s Solar Power Capacity Jumped 70 Percent in 2016—The best part for me is that even though Colorado added 70% more capacity its relative ranking compared to other states feel because it did not add enough capacity.  When you add 70% more capacity in one year and lose ground you know that something is happening that is going to be hard to stop.

Solar Now Cheapest Electricity Option On Average In 58 Emerging Economies—The new guard of electricity is here and it is based on the sun.  These countries have no incentive to build out a fossil fuel based grid because they have no capital investment tied to legacy systems.

Chinese Coal Draw-Down Gathers Pace—China is always the savior of some down-on-its-luck industry.  Guess what?  China does not want our coal anymore.

Coder Creates Ultimate Tesla Model S + Home Solar Data Visualization Tool—I cannot create the fuel for my truck at home, but I could create the fuel for a Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt at home.  The future seems to be happening right now.

America’s Television Graveyards—When the apocalypse comes in the next couple of years I imagine people will roam the shattered United States and happen upon one of these warehouses full of old CRTs.  It will be a gigantic metaphor for how we got into this mess.

General Mills Boosts Eco-Friendly Grain Kernza—What if we could replace a portion of destructive annual wheat production with perennial Kernza?  What is wide strips of Kernza were planted along streams to slow runoff and deter erosion?  Imagine the potential.

Climate Ecoforestry—Let’s look to restorative ecology to rebuild our planet’s lost resilience.

This Man is Cloning Old-Growth Redwoods and Planting them in Safe Places—Imagine efforts like this replicated on a larger, dare I say nationally mobilized scale, and imagine what we could achieve in a short period of time.  This requires no new technology or process.  It would simply require political will and capital.

You’re Using Recipes Wrong—I have this complaint with cookbooks and recipes because I feel like I am buying bespoke ingredients only to repeat effort time and time again.  Ugh.  An efficient kitchen in terms of time and money should be one of my 2017 goals.

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Friday Linkage 3/22/2013

It’s officially spring, but the temperature was in the low teens last night so there was no real euphoria for the arrival.  Maybe that damn Easter bunny will bring more spring time feel in a week.

On to the links…

Who Put These Agribiz-Friendly Riders into This Unrelated Bill?—The U.S. Congress really does yeoman’s work when it comes to carrying industrial agriculture’s water.  Because the companies behind so much of our food do so many despicable things the solution has become to criminalize the exposure of the bad behavior rather than stopping the bad behavior.  That’s logic in the halls of government.

Clean Energy Future is All About Deployment—The technologies exist today to displace traditional carbon based power sources with clean renewables at an even cost basis.  Now, to decarbonize our economy we need to deploy those technologies in massive ways.

Xcel hits Upper Midwest Wind Power Record—Talk about deployment.  Normally, Xcel gets about 12 percent of its power from wind sources but on a steady, windy night in November it hit one third.  And the utility is putting more wind power online.  Why aren’t we talking about renewable energy targets closer to 50% now that we can see utilities regularly getting more than 20%?

Los Angeles to be Coal Free—The Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles is moving to end its power purchasing relationship with a massive coal fired plant in Arizona and is moving to convert a plant in Utah to natural gas.  The move is expected to be complete by 2025.  It’s two years sooner than the mandated 2027.

China’s Wind Power Production Increased More than Coal for the First Time Ever in 2012—Even China is beginning to deploy renewables on a scale that is measurable against its traditional power sources.  “Big thinkers” always talk about the China or India price being the tipping point for new technologies.  Guess what?  For renewables that tipping point is passed.

Algae Blooms Threaten Lake Erie—I will never forget reading stories about the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland catching fire in the 1970s.  It is one of those things as a kid that you just cannot believe.  The water was on fire?  Algae blooms seem so benign by comparison, but pose a clear and present danger to the health of our waters.

Bacteria may Provide More Sustainable Biofuel Production—Every day seems to bring a story about incremental improvements in the fundamental technologies behind turning woody biomass into biofuel.  This could be a game changer.

Ethanol’s Days of Promise and Prosperity are Fading—It seems like a bad dream for the Midwest, but ethanol is proving to be a devil’s bargain yet again.  Following the first oil crisis in the 1970s, the industry boomed and then faded.  Again we are looking at it fading because the economics just do not make sense.  And the environmental case is specious at best for first generation biofuels.  Now, give me switchgrass ethanol and I will change my tune.

EPA Fuel Economy Report: Americans Vehicles Saw 1.4 MPG Jump Last Year—  Here’s another nail in first generation ethanol’s coffin.  We are using less fuel to transport ourselves in automobiles.

Old Monitors and TVs Proving to Be Recycling Nightmare—It looks like our conversion to flat screens of various sorts has not only destroyed the market for traditional CRT displays but also the market for the recycled glass from CRT displays.  So now millions of monitors are piling up in warehouses for want of demand.  The number that got me was the high side estimate of $360 million to recycle all of the glass responsibly.  For the cost of three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters we could erase this environmental problem?  Sounds like a deal to me.

The Ins and Outs of Recycling—Did you think I would not include at least one infographic this week?  This one lays out the numbers behind recycling:

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10 Food Related Infogrpahics, Charts, and Flowcharts—If one infographic is good, then 10 must be even better.  Right?

Friday Linkage 1/4/2012

It’s 2013.  Oh yeah!  I have no idea why people get so excited by the New Year.  No one goes around getting crazy stupid drunk when the calendar changes from July to August.  Yet, it’s really no more or less of a momentous day.

Sure, some laws change or go into effect on January 1st but that seems more like an arbitrary date than anything special about the actual date.  Oh well, I guess I do not get it because I do not make resolutions and I usually go to bed about 9:30 on New Year’s Eve.

On to the links…

New U.S. Windpower Capacity Might Beat Natural Gas and Coal in 2012—For the first eleven months of 2012, with December data yet to be tabulated, windpower had added 6,519 megawatts while natural gas had added 6,335 megawatts and coal was a distant third with less than half of windpower’s addition.  Damn!  2013 could be a good year for wind with the production tax credit surviving the fiscal cliff.

Link Between Lead Exposure and Crime—This is an absolutely fascinating look at the link between lead exposure and a whole host of socially deviant or destructive behaviors.  Basically, lead is really bad stuff and it leads to all kinds of long term bad outcomes.  However, we can mitigate the impact so that potential investment would yield huge returns.  Seems like a win-win no brainer type solution to me.

Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Farmers—I like the stories like this on one hand because it shows there is finally some mainstream acceptance of what the organic and biodynamic agriculture movements have been saying for years.  I dislike stories like this on the other hand because it treats this information like it is something new.  It’s about rediscovering knowledge that has been lost through neglect.

Kilauea Eruption Infographic—On the Big Island, Kilauea has been erupting almost continually since the 1980s.  It was one of the highlights of my trip to the Big Island to hike through one of the lava fields.  Kind of amazing.  This infographic comes from the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

20130103_kilauea_infograph

Don’t believe me how amazing the lava can be?  Check out the “end of the road:”

Lava Field

River Otter Returns to San Francisco Waterways—For the first time in approximately 50 years there is a river otter in the water around San Francisco.  Problem is that no one really knows why the little guy is present.  Apparently, he is all alone.  Here’s to hoping he finds a friend.

A Voracious Demand for Shark Fins—When will we finally stop the slaughter of sharks to make a tasteless, gelatinous soup for Chinese taste buds?  Soon?  This barbaric practice has to stop.

The Best Food Sources for 13 Essential Vitamins—It’s another infographic.  This one is a handy guide to the best food sources of 13 essential vitamins:

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High Efficiency Trims Can Actually Reduce Your Car’s Resale Value—These “high efficiency” trims are a total joke.  You pay up to thousands of dollars more to save a theoretical mile or two per gallon in an already efficient vehicle.  Thus your payback is measured in a decade or more, assuming a lot of variables, and now it appears like you cannot even bake the extra cost into your resale calculations.  That Nissan Leaf is looking better and better.

Why Norwegians Love EVs More than the Rest of the World—And I thought it was because Norway was a country full of genial, sweater wearing folk who just wanted to be nice.  Or is that Minnesota?  I get the two confused all the time.

Friday Linkage 6/29/2012

Wildfires are abstract concepts to someone living in Iowa.  Sure, we see fields that catch fire now and again but rarely is anything more than an old barn or single farmstead truly threatened.

However, close friends in Colorado Springs were evacuated from the path of the ongoing Waldo Canyon Fire and are now homeless.  As of this morning they do not know the condition of their house or when they will be allowed to even go back to see what, if anything, remains.  Everyone in their family is safe, but there is just a pit in the bottom of your stomach when you think about the situation.

Sorry for the depressing tone, but thoughts about the wildfire have sort of consumed my waking hours lately as I tried to imagine the combination of horror, anger, and unknown.

On to the links…

Midwestern Drought Intensifies—Shades of the 1988 drought are beginning to appear as the Midwest is increasingly dry and the hot conditions of high summer are starting to bear down.  This week it was close to 100 degrees in Eastern Iowa with hot winds to match.

How Big Meat is Taking Over the Midwest—The forces of big meat, represented by the increase in confined animal feedlot operations (CAFOs), are slowly taking over the remaining pockets of livestock production that they do not own in the Midwest.  A quick drive through rural Iowa will put you in contact with the foul smell of these modern hell holes.  Don’t believe these places are hell on Earth?  Just try and walk up to one without tearing up, vomiting, or giving up because of the smell.  Now imagine eating meat that comes from one of these operations.

We Evolved to Eat Meat, But How Much is Too Much?—It is not that meat, in and of itself, is a bad thing.  It is just that Americans in general and, increasingly, the rest of the world eats too much of the stuff and it is produced in deplorable conditions.

Visualizing a Nation of Meat Eaters—A series of very interesting charts and graphs that visually display the evolution of meat consumption in the U.S.

Too Big to Chug—In America we love us some big drinks:

Think about the fact that the McDonald’s kid size drink is 5 ounces larger than the original fountain drink size for the chain in 1955.  Think that is scary?  During my son’s one year checkup, the pediatrician was asking questions about his eating habits when he said “Do you try to limit juice and soda intake?”  Huh?  Soda intake for a one year old?  Why is that even a question?

How Clean is Your Beach?—Every year, the Natural Resources Defense Council releases a report on the water quality and public notification of beaches in the United States.  Check it out to see if your favorite beach is on the list and how it did.  Is it safe to go back into the water?

Fear Accompany Fisherman in Japanese Disaster Region—Fisherman are starting to make their way back into the sea in the area near the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.  Given the reports of potentially irradiated tuna making their way to California earlier, I would think that people would be more than hesitant to wrap their fingers around some calamari from these waters.

The Curse of the Lead Bullet—The California condor’s recovery is one the greatest success stories of the modern wildlife conservation movement.  Even though the majestic bird was brought back from the precipice of extinction, threats to its long term viability remain.  One of those is the lead shot used in hunting loads.    Why are we still using a toxic metal for recreational hunting?  In Iowa this year this same issue was brought forward by the Department of Natural Resources, but our tone deaf governor chose to make some kind of misguided ideological stand in opposing the ban of lead hunting loads.  Why?

Have Sledgehammer Will Farm—Breaking up asphalt and concrete is brutal and backbreaking work, but considering how much of our landscape is covered in the materials it is almost inevitable that spaces will have to be reclaimed.  Bit by bit we can replace the hard edges of the modern world with the softer edges of a better future.

Edible Weeds in the Garden—It may be a weed, but that does mean it lacks culinary value.  Like the non-marketable cuts of meat or offal, we too often think of food in terms of very narrowly defined items.  So, don’t just pull those weeds.  Saute them!

Simple Sheet of Paper Keeps Produce Fresh Four Times Longer—This is one of those little things that you smack your head when you see it and say, “Why didn’t someone think of this earlier?”  Probably because you don’t worry about the shelf life of food when you do not think about the cost.

Unfixable Computers—We have entered an age where a computer is a disposable item.  Think about that for a moment.  I remember when computers were something of a centerpiece of a family’s home, cared for like cars, but now these items have become merely electronic waste when the time comes to make even the simplest of repairs.  It is not forward progress at all.

BioLite Stove—This thing is just cool.  The BioLite stove seems like the perfect disaster stove because it can also provide a small amount of electricity for phones or lights.  Hmmm…