Tag Archives: MPG

Friday Linkage 9/13/2019

On Friday the 13th I want to “pour one out” for a site that has gone dark.  Think Progress and its companion site Climate Progress were linked to frequently from my blog.  The reporting was always well done and backed up by copious well documented sources.  Editorial factionalism and a bitter unionization battle probably contributed to the demise of the site.  The same problems have plagued other “new media” operations as well over the years, but this is a lost nonetheless.

On to the links…

25 Books That Teach Kids To Care About The Environment—The children, they are the future right?  Well, we should be helping them to understand just how amazing, precious, and threatened this planet of our is in the modern age.

There’s a $218 Billion Design Problem Sitting in Your Fridge Right Now—You want to know the real reason why this will not change?  It’s the same reason that I cannot get parts for an appliance that is just a few years old or why a small part for a car costs hundreds of dollars.  The manufacturers of these products want to sell you a new product.

Why Industry is Going Green on the Quiet—This is a sign of the polarized times that we live in.  If a company can produce the same product using less destructive methods why does it need to be kept secret?  Probably because a reactionary slice of the population will react like their hair is on fire at the mere mention of environmental concern.

A Decade of Renewable Energy Investment, Led by Solar, Tops USD 2.5 Trillion—This gives you an idea about the potential scale of the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.  If you want to create jobs in the United States you would support renewables at every juncture.  Imagine trillions of dollars more being spent to deploy solar and wind across the United States.

30 Million Acres of Public Land in Alaska at Risk of Being Developed or Transferred—Your public lands are being sold off by the most corrupt and criminal presidential administration in the history of the United States.

Trump Campaign is Cashing in on the Alabama ‘Sharpie’ Controversy he Keeps Complaining About—Every time I think we have reached the height of Trump’s unique combination of stupidity and hubris I am surprised by a new event.  Remember, Trump totally did not change that map.  Trump totally does not know who drew the limp circle showing Alabama in Hurricane Dorian’s path.  However, you can totally “own the libs” by giving his slush fund…er, campaign $15 for a freaking Sharpie.  Get some Trump branded straws to complete you MAGA look for fall.

Department of Justice to investigate BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen—Remember, the right wing is all about states’ rights as long as those states’ rights are about unlimited access to firearms, restricting access to health care, gutting social programs, and in general making the world safe for rich people.  God forbid a state, which has the precedent to set its own emissions standards, would contradict the federal government.

Hydrogen Could Replace Coke In Steelmaking & Lower Carbon Emissions Dramatically—Steel production, like concrete, is a carbon nightmare.  However, steel is essential to modern civilization so any decrease in its carbon intensity is a win for the planet.

Pulling CO2 Out of the Air and Using it Could be a Trillion-Dollar Business—It is doubtful with Moscow Mitch in power that we will ever see a price put on carbon emissions in the United States.  However, what if we could create a market that placed a value on carbon dioxide.

Renewable Energy At Risk In Rural Electric Cooperative Tax Snafu—The Republican tax debacle of 2017 is the gift that keeps on giving.  So to speak.  This piece of garbage legislation that was rushed through because no one actually wanted the details to be public is creating messes just about everywhere.  Wasn’t this the signature legislative accomplishment of so-called policy wonk Paul Ryan’s speakership?

How Much Photovoltaics (PV) Would be Needed to Power the World Sustainably?—I like the thought exercise, but this is not about a single technology.  Freedom from fossil fuels will come as a result of deploying a portfolio of renewable energy technologies combined with greater efficiency.  It is not rocket science.

50 Years Ago a Nuclear Bomb was Detonated under the Western Slope to Release Natural Gas. Here’s how Poorly it Went.—This was someone’s bright idea.  Heck, it was probably the idea of a group of fairly smart people.

It’s Time We Treat Some Forests Like Crops—Let’s just make sure that we do not treat trees like corn or soybeans.  Those crops have been a disaster for Americans.

Invasion of the ‘Frankenbees’: The Danger of Building a Better Bee—What could possible go wrong?  It’s not like scientists have been wrong about making drastic changes to our environment before.

Today’s Special: Grilled Salmon Laced With Plastic—Our love affair with plastic and our inability to deal with its waste is a great, unregulated public health experiment.

The Definitive Superfood Ranking—Can we just stop with the superfood nonsense?  Seriously, you can eat all the kale you want and you will still not be healthy.

Chicago’s New Tool Library Is Awesome, Exactly What It Sounds Like—I own a lot of tools—some bought and some acquired through family—but a lot of my tools just sit for extended periods of time.  This is true even though I use my tools a lot to build furniture and fix things.  For the average user my guess is that tools get used a couple of times at most.

mountainFLOW Launches Plant-Based Ski Wax—I want some.

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Friday Linkage 2/27/2015

February is almost in the books, but with about five inches of snow on the ground and more forecast over the next few days we should have good skiing into March. Just enough outdoor adventure to bridge until spring break.

On to the links…

Majority Of Republican Primary Voters Want To Violate The First Amendment—For people who tap little pocket copies of the Constitution every time they talk about President Obama, these clowns are pretty ignorant of the basic tenants of the document that they claim to hold so dear. Let me help them:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I do not think that the original intent of that amendment is very hard to interpret.  Even if your brain has been addled by countless hours of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Noted Climate Contrarian in Hot Water—Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a noted climate change denier, has been completely “outed” as a shill for the fossil fuel industry as details of the big bucks funneled his way have come to light. Granted, truth and objectivity have never been traits the extreme right wing has looked for in its pundits.

Himalayan Ice Shows Chemicals Ban is Working—Stopping the distribution of these chemicals is a good thing. Science, the bugaboo of the right wing, works.

Wind Produced 10 Percent of Texas Electricity in 2014—Wow, 10% of Texas’—yes, Texas—electricity came from wind. Now, it’s a far cry from Iowa’s over 27% wind power percentage but we will cut them a little slack.

Wind Power Hits Record High In China’s Coal Hub—Usually when I comment about China it’s about dirty air or failed expectations, but this is good news. Shanxi is a polluted mess, but maybe things can be turned around with enough effort to deploy renewables.

India’s Air Pollution Is Cutting 3 Years Off The Lives Of Its Residents—Here is what is going to drive change in countries like India and China with regard to pollution. People will no longer accept ridiculous pollution as a prerequisite of development.

Diesel Braces For An Avalanche Of Solar Water Pumps—Solar is just awesome.

An Innovative Congestion Charge That Could Help Fix Our Crumbling Infrastructure—U.S. infrastructure is screwed right now. It’s in bad shape and national politicians have no plans to address the situation. At the state level things look a little better—heck, Iowa just passed a gas tax increase to address the shortfall in road repair revenue—but solutions are needed to bring in more revenue.

Despite Low Gas Prices, Car Buyers Still Want Higher-MPG Vehicles—People understand that today’s low gas prices will likely be gone by summer, but a vehicle is a choice you have to live with for years. No one should buy an SUV expecting sub-$2 gas for anything longer than a week or two.

Proterra’s New Electric Bus can go 180 Miles Between Charges—I do not know what the average daily mileage is for a city bus, but this is an interesting development.

Cow Manure to Ethanol Plant Switches On in California’s San Joaquin Valley—Why not? I would totally fill the tank with some ethanol from cow shit.

Is the Junk-Food Era Drawing to a Close?—The government is finally coming around to the evils of added sugar and people are voting with their wallets.

Pol: Spy On Food Stamp Users to Make Sure They’re Acting Poor Enough—Glenn Grothman is just the worst. The absolute worst this side of Steve King. Steve King is really the worst.

Could Hops Help Fight Cancer?—Maybe that dry-hopped IPA is more than just a palate wrecker on a Friday night. Maybe it’s medicine. Dig it.

Chickens Help Small Brewery Dispose of Used Grain—I have imbibed at Lion Bridge more than once, so I have helped to feed these chickens.

Friday Linkage 3/16/2012

You have to love James Inhofe.  The guy is a master of delusion.  When the weather is unseasonably cool or the snows flies in Washington D.C. the man is building an igloo and all over Fox News.  But when it is unbearably hot in his own state for weeks on end and the drought in unceasing the man is nowhere to be seen.

Then Inhofe goes on the Rachel Maddow show and says he believed in global warming until he learned how much mitigation would cost.  Huh?  The cost of mitigation does not impact the reality of the problem.  Unrelated.  Completely.

It’s not like modern day Republicans ever let things like logic, reason, or science get in the way of trying to win elections.  Clowns.

On to the links…

Appetite for  Shark Fins Behind Decline of Blue Sharks—It looks like fisherman taking advantage of a globalized market for shark fins are decimating the population of blue sharks in waters off the coast of the United Kingdom in order to sell shark fins in Asia.  This practice is responsible for declines of up to 80% from the 1980s of certain shark species.  Nothing like destroying whole ecosystems so someone’s wedding in China can have a gelatinous soup.

Coal Powers Less than 40% of U.S. Electricity—As a share of total electricity generation, coal is now less than 40% of the U.S. total which is the lowest such percentage since 1978:

 

I would be curious to see a graph of total electrical generation and the percentage mix of generating sources.  An idea for a future post…

Grease Thieves—Every time the price of gasoline starts tickling some psychological barrier—now $4 per gallon when it used to be $3 per gallon—there are stories about people stealing grease to make biodiesel.  At the end of the day, I would venture to guess that the majority of this stuff is still no disposed of properly in communities across the United States.  Sure, progressive places like San Francisco or Hawaii are taking steps but what about Atlanta or Buffalo?

U.S. New Car Fuel Economy Hits New High in February 2012—The average fuel economy of a new vehicle sold in the U.S. is 23.7 miles per gallon.  In the past four years the average number has risen 16%.  Not too shabby.  Some car makers do better than others:

Brand

Feb-12

Feb-11

YoY

smart

36.2

36.2

0.0

MINI

30.3

30.0

0.3

Hyundai

27.8

26.1

1.7

Volkswagen

27.4

25.5

1.9

Kia

26.1

25.8

0.3

Scion

26.0

25.6

0.4

Honda

24.7

24.6

0.1

Mazda

24.6

24.3

0.3

Toyota

24.5

25.0

-0.5

Mitsubishi

24.5

25.1

-0.6

Subaru

23.5

23.2

0.3

Nissan

23.4

22.8

0.6

Suzuki

23.4

23.2

0.2

Buick

22.4

20.3

2.1

Industry

22.3

21.4

0.9

Audi

22.2

22.0

0.2

Chevrolet

21.7

21.3

0.4

Ford

21.3

17.3

4.0

Lexus

21.2

21.2

0.0

Acura

21.1

19.9

1.2

Saab

20.9

22.4

-1.5

Chrysler

20.9

19.5

1.4

Volvo

20.9

21.2

-0.3

BMW

20.5

20.2

0.3

Mercedes

20.5

19.1

1.4

Dodge

20.3

19.8

0.5

Lincoln

19.7

18.8

0.9

Infiniti

19.6

19.7

-0.1

Porsche

19.4

21.0

-1.6

GMC

18.9

18.9

0.0

Jeep

18.6

17.6

1.0

Cadillac

18.4

18.8

-0.4

Jaguar

18.0

18.0

0.0

Ram

15.6

15.6

0.0

Land Rover

15.0

14.0

1.0

The numbers above, as tracked by TrueCar TrueMPG, show the brand specific fuel economy of new cars sold in February 2011 and 2012.

Minnesota Could be 100% Renewable at No Extra Cost—For anyone who has spent a winter being blown to shreds by the constant wind blowing across the state of Minnesota this comes as no surprise.  Okay, maybe it is a little surprising that an entire state could be powered by wind and solar with no additional costs to ratepayers.  Oh wait, efficiency also gets mentioned.  It’s not like I would trust these guys to push the issue.

Clean Energy Critics Cannot do Math—Does it come as any surprise that the people who criticize clean energy or energy efficiency programs cannot do math?  It should not because the math does not support their claims, so they invent new models with wild ass assumptions.  Using $0.01 as the average price of retail electricity?  I want to live in that rate market.  You gotta’ love it when people are just stupid.

The Latest Attack on Cycling Advocacy—This story is unbelievable, except for the fact that it happens all the time.  Cyclists are often treated like second class citizens vis a vis car owners, are viewed as some kind of sub-human socialist, and harassed by law enforcement to a degree greater than most car operators.  This story from Ohio just shows the lengths that people who dislike bicycles will go.  How many people have made suggestions for changes to the auto infrastructure—lights, stop signs, roundabouts, speed limit changes—without being branded “unlicensed engineers” by some revenge obsessed former civil servant with an axe to grind?  Waiting….

Food Delivery in NYC—This is one of those vignettes that makes one stop and think for a moment about the people who make our modern world work.  How many people think about the struggles on a daily basis of the people who deliver food?  Not very many I imagine because the delivery people are often faceless, nameless immigrants on the bottom rung of the U.S. economic ladder.

Publix Humiliation—Talk about another segment of the population that almost no one thinks about when reaching for a plastic crate of grape tomatoes at the grocery store.  Farmworkers who pick tomatoes in Florida live and work in conditions that are hard to describe accurately.  Suffice it to say, the conditions are barbaric and companies who buy produce from the companies that participate in such a medieval system should be condemned as modern day facilitators of economic, if not outright, slavery.  This is something familiar to anyone who has taken the time to read Barry Estabrook’s excellent book Tomatoland.

Wolverine Weekend—This seems like a natural marriage of enthusiasts and scientists that should have been going on for years, but it seems to be something new.  Wonder why?

Technology for Tall Wooden Buildings Given Away—The technology of tall wooden buildings is progressing steadily.  Whereas this type of structure would have been unthinkable a decade ago, Waugh Thiselton’s CLT building in London is nine stories tall.  Wood makes a wonderful building material compared to its competitors, especially when grown and harvested in a sustainable manner.  As the world moves to a more dense urban future, buildings will be forced to go vertical and wood has a place in that discussion.  Plus, how many other materials can make such a beautiful building as this library in Vennesla, Norway?

My New Overlord

My new Subaru Outback is insidious.  It can control my behavior with the slightest of effort.  How?  Here is how:

That little display of numbers changes the way I drive.  Already, I drove conservatively but now I am veritable hypermiler.  If the display drops below a certain number I am gliding to stops from further back and coming off the line at an intersection with a little more care.  It is brutal how much of a slave I am to three little digits!

Apparently, the science of feedback loops is well documented.  I used to kind of scoff at the displays in the Ford Fusion Hybrid as gimmicks.  That is until I had one staring at me with its cold eye of disapproval at my slightly sporty acceleration or failure to maximize a gliding opportunity.  Damn you MPG display!

Note: The display is liking me today.  23.4 miles per gallon from all in town driving.  Oh yeah!