Tag Archives: Ohio

Friday Linkage 8/2/2019

I say this a lot on this blog, but I have a hard time believing that it is already August.  My kids are three weeks away from going back to school, people are starting to talk about fall sports, and my mind starts to wander to thoughts of skiing.  Pretty soon the miles on the bike will start to decline and the trips to the weight room will increase.  Gotta’ get the knees ready for big days on the mountain.

On to the links…

Just 10% of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Cash ‘Could Pay for Green Transition’—When someone says that we cannot afford to transition to 100% clean energy what they are really saying is that we are choosing not to afford the transition.  There is more than enough money sloshing around in government and corporate coffers to make a renewable energy world possible.

A Wind Turbine Farm The Size Of Delaware Could Power The Entire United States—Take a look at the map and understand just how much or how little area we are talking about here:


Now imagine we actually utilize the offshore wind resources.  Look at how much coastline there is to develop.  We can make this happen.

Low-Carbon Energy Makes Majority of UK Electricity for First Time—This is not a small island being powered by solar.  This is a large island with a post-industrial economy that got over 53% of its electricity in 2018 from low or no carbon power sources.

Coal’s Demise Quickens in Europe as Market Shift Idles Plants—If no one is lining up to buy the power then the plants will sit idle.  The market is working.

Ohio just Passed the Worst Energy Bill of the 21st Century—This is what you get with Republicans in control.  It is crony capitalism at its finest.  Private companies line their pocket with the public’s money with the consent of elected officials.

Angry about No Pay, Kentucky Miners Block Train Loaded with Coal—The coal industry does not care about the people in their employ.  These companies have never treated their employees with anything but contempt at best and deadly intent at worst.  As coal companies go bankrupt they will continue to use the legal and political system to destroy the land and line their pockets at the expense of the communities in which they operate.

Most EV Charging Infrastructure Is Wasted Due To Lack Of New Thinking—It is not that EV charging spots are not numerous enough considering that anyone with a garage or dedicated parking space probably has access to some level of charging.  It is that the charging infrastructure that exists today may not align with how we drive our EVs.

Minnesota Town Makes do Without being Connected to Power Grid—I know that a lot of us imagine living off the grid, but this is what the reality looks like.

Beyond Meat’s Competitor Impossible Foods Plans to Launch in Grocery Stores in September after getting FDA Approval—I am really looking forward to buying a sleeve of Impossible Burgers and throwing them on my own grill this fall.  What I really want to see is Beyond Meat or Impossible Burger selling sleeves of their plant based goodness at Costco.

Plant-Based Eggs Land their First Major Fast Food Deal—Slaughter houses get a bad rap because they are nasty places, but our eggs are also produced in some fairly brutal conditions.  First the plant based substitutes came for our hamburgers, now they are coming for our eggs.  I welcome the transition.

Can Chefs Learn to Love Cooking Without Fire?—Can we just stop our love affair with primal fire?  I get that something about the flame speaks to our lizard brain, but as someone who has cooked with electricity daily for the past twenty years there is no reason to rely on piping explosive gas into our homes to fuel our gastronomic adventures.

Why Republican Baby Boomers are More Likely to Share #fakenews on Facebook—I rag on Baby Boomers pretty hard, but until someone can show me how this generation has actually made the country a better place I am going to keep piling on.

Friday Linkage 7/13/2018

Well that was an interesting week.  Scott Pruitt “resigned” amid corruption that had not been seen since the Warren G. Harding administration.  Donny Two Scoops got to nominate another justice to the Supreme Court and he promptly picked the most white toast candidate possible.  Another judge that comes from an Ivy League background, clerked for a Supreme Court justice, worked in Washington D.C. and so on.  For a guy who was going to “drain the swamp” he is operating pretty much like a dyed in the wool establishment Republican when it comes to the Supreme Court.

I guess we have to wonder if Steven Mnuchin or Ryan Zinke will be the next stooge on the corruption stage.  I am voting for Mnuchin only because his wife is just like a villain from a Disney movie.

This is the last very special Scott Pruitt section of links…

Read Scott Pruitt’s Bizarre Resignation Letter—Can we call for a moratorium on right wing a-holes praising God no matter how reprehensible their actions may have been?  Scott Pruitt is a horrible human being who was only looking out for himself.  God had nothing to do with anything that he did.

Scott Pruitt is Gone, but the Trump Administration’s Culture of Corruption Remains—The corruption is on display for everyone to see.  Republicans must be made to answer for why they have allowed a public looting of the American enterprise by Trump, his family, and his cohort of cartoon stooges.

Scott Pruitt Investigations Aren’t Ending just Because he Resigned—He can always hope that he gets a pardon from the head cheese puff.

Scott Pruitt is Leaving Behind a Toxic Mess at the EPA—The EPA is a mess.  Environmental regulation and enforcement under Trump is a disaster.  Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s replacement, is like replacing Cruella De Ville with Mother Gothel.  One villain is a lot more showy than the other, but they are both horrible people.

Scott Pruitt Gave “Super Polluting” Trucks a Gift on his Last Day at the EPA—It’s one last middle finger to the majority of Americans as Scott Pruitt finds a way to reward a campaign donor yet again.

Scott Pruitt’s Resignation Is Just The Start—We can hope.  However, given how pervasive the corruption is at every level of this administration and given the complicit nature of Congressional Republicans the best chance to really turn up the heat will not come until a new Congress is sworn in this coming January.

Well, bye:


On to the links…

Thanks to Natural Gas, US CO2 Emissions Lowest Since 1985—This is one of those good news, bad news kind of things.  Emitting less CO2 is good.  However, natural gas production may be emitting a lot of unaccounted for methane which is like a supercharged greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide.  It also begs the question about us making an actual transition to renewables.

China Is Swallowing A Bitter Pill And Trying To Cut Its Coal Use—China realizes that burning coal to power its economy is causing too much trouble.  When China decides to go coal free what hope does the old black rock have of being relevant as an energy source in the future?

One of the World’s Biggest Insurers Is Ditching Coal—Insurance is one of those boring but important facts of business.  If your project cannot get insured, you will be forced to offer investors a higher rate of return which will reduce your economic competitiveness.  In the case of coal, this will put the old dirty fuel another step behind cleaner alternatives.

New Utility Settlement Highlights how Ohio Utilities are Leaving FirstEnergy Behind on Clean Energy—FirstEnergy might have a better chance of bringing back Blockbuster than trying to revive the hopes for its fleet of coal burning power plants.

The First Fully Solar-Powered Ski Area: Wolf Creek, CO—If you ski you should care about renewable energy because it might be the only hope that we have of actually getting to ski on snow in the future.  Way to go Wolf Creek on going 100% solar.  Totally!

EPA Blocks Warnings on Cancer-Causing Chemical—This is the kind of government you get when you elect people who tell you that they hate government.

Why is the Trump Administration Putting a Tariff on Chinese LEDs?—My first inkling is to say that Donald Trump does not understand how international trade works, but the answer is probably that a lobbyist got to write down what products they wanted a tariff on in a book and our dear leader just copied the list down for action.  He is the muppet of presidents.  It looks like he is in charge, but somewhere hidden is someone with a hand up his ass telling him what to do on a minute by minute basis.

I Gave Up AC This Summer To Live Within My Means. America Should Try That—Maybe we should all try and give up a little something to live within our economic and environmental means.

One in Three Fish Caught Never Makes it to the Plate—We do not need to farm, raise, or fish for more food.  We need to waste less of what we already farm, raise, and fish.  If you could instantly take the wasted bycatch from the international fishing economy and bring that to market it would mean a more than 30% increase in available protein.

Stop Buying Tilapia! Here Are 5 Other Fish You Need to Try.—Seriously, stop buying tilapia.  It is like Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.  It is the dry white toast of fish.  It is what Becky would order for dinner after finishing her Frappuccino.

Great Lakes Brewing Tasting Experience

No matter how many beers seem to be offered in my local liquor store there always seems to be a few breweries that do not distribute in the state of Iowa.  I will chalk it up to the state’s oddball liquor laws more than a reticence to sell to the Hawkeye state.  One such brewery is Great Lakes Brewing Company out of Cleveland, Ohio.  What gets me every time is how many breweries seem to distribute to states bordering Iowa, but not in the state itself.  In the case of Great Lakes Brewing it distributes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  Granted, Minnesota represents the extent of its westward reach so maybe there is hope for the future.

In September of this year, Great Lakes Brewing will celebrate 25 years of beer brewing excellence.  When I found myself in Ohio to attend a funeral a quick side trip to a local liquor store left me with quite the haul of beer hailing from Cleveland.  The poor cashier looked at me sideways for a moment as she rang up a sampler pack, a six pack, and a four pack of various Great Lakes Brewing varieties.

What about the tasting experience?  Okay, the term “tasting experience” was lifted from the not-to-be-called-a-sampler-pack sampler pack.  I kind of liked it because it suggested that the four beers contained within represented a spectrum of what Great Lakes Brewing was offering.  The tasting experience would consist of Dortmunder Gold Lager, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Burning River Pale Ale, and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.

The beers listed above were ordered in terms of “heaviness” and at the suggestion of the package that is how I tasted them.  Starting with Dortmunder Gold Lager:

Dortmunder Gold

This was one of the beers that started things for Great Lakes Brewing and it is still a year-round beer for the brewery.  It’s of medium alcohol (5.8% ABV) and hops (30 IBU).  Like other lagers the beer “finishes” really clean and crisp.  The presence of Cascade hops is evident on the tongue as it leaves a lingering bitterness.  Not too much, mind you, but the flavors stay there for a second or two.

When you pour a glass of a beer like this it makes you kind of sad for the Millers and Budweisers of the world that try to pass of pale swill as a lager.  The style can bring so much more the table than tasteless, ice cold brain grenades.

Eliot Ness Amber Lager is next:

Eliot Ness

Amber lagers and ales almost feel like the American craft movements second style of beer after pale ales.  I know that the lines have been blurred between pales and ambers, but there is enough distinction to still consider them different styles.

I wanted to like Eliot Ness, but the alcohol (6.2% ABV) was too much for the bitterness (27 IBU).  It really detracted from the beer because it came across “boozy.”  Not Four Loko boozy, but just not enough balance to make the beer likeable.

Let’s move on to Burning River Pale Ale:

Burning River

Cause the Cuyahoga River

Goes smokin’ through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on

-“Burn On” by Randy Newman

Here’s what Eliot Ness could have been with a little more bitterness.  At a medium-high alcohol (6.0% ABV) and bitterness (45 IBU) the balance seems to have been struck fairly well.  The fact that the river is named for the epic fire that actually burned on the Cuyahoga River, which inspired the passage of the Clean Water Act, is icing on the cake.

The tasting experience winds down with Edmund Fitzgerald Porter:

Edmunds Fitzgerald

First, I hear Randy Newman.  Now, it’s Gordon Lightfoot.  What are you trying to do to me Great Lakes?

I have a problem with porters and stouts because I can never figure out which style is which.  Is it a porter or is it a stout?  I feel like there should be a combination name that just does away with the confusion because there seems to be no line of demarcation.

Edmund Fitzgerald is a roasted and smokey beer.  It’s almost got a coffee flavor that makes me thing of coffee infused beer, like Surly’s Coffee Bender.  However, there is no overt coffee flavoring added.  Interesting.

I liked Edmund Fitzgerald, but on a summer evening one glass was more than enough.  This is a cooler weather beer for sure.

In addition to the tasting experience I also picked up a six-pack of Commodore Perry India Pale Ale and Lake Erie Monster Imperial India Pale Ale.  Let’s start with the commodore:

Commodore Perry

This is fairly “big” beer.  It comes in at a high alcohol (7.0%) and bitterness (70 IBU), but it does not drink like either is overpowering.  I attribute this to the mix of hops.  Rather than blast away with a single hop, Commodore Perry uses three—Simcoe, Willamette, and Cascade.  All our fairly common in American craft IPAs, but the combination of the three means that no flavors or aromas get out of whack.  It’s pretty amazing to see a beer at 70 IBUs not be considered “extreme” anymore when this would have been considered a hop explosion only a few years ago.  The name of the game has changed.

Lake Erie Monster shows us why:

Lake Erie Monster

If Commodore Perry was a “big” beer than Lake Erie Monster is a “bigger” beer.  Clocking in at a high alcohol (9.1% ABV) and bitterness (80 IBU) this is not a beer you sit back planning to drink a half dozen.  Heck, that’s probably why it only comes in a four pack instead of six.

Imperial style beers, be it IPAs or otherwise, are usually heavier varieties of other beers and Lake Erie Monster qualifies as a heavy beer.  The downside to drinking one of these out of a twelve ounce bottle is that this style is best served like a cocktail in smaller portions.  I like how in craft brewery tasting rooms there is a trend toward offering heavy beers in 6 ounce or smaller increments.  Putting down 12 or even 16 ounces of a beer like this regularly would leave one raving in no time.

I highly suggest that if you are in Ohio that you try and sample what Great Lakes Brewery is offering.  It really speaks to the quality of the American craft beer movement that excellent beers like this can be distributed in limited areas and be successful.  It also makes for fun trips when you are able to get things in a location unavailable back at home.

Friday Linkage 4/20/2012

Here I am stuck in the rust belt of central Ohio with limited internet access, a lot of extended family, and a ten hour drive home staring me in the face.  Remind me again why I do these things?  Oh right, it’s a family thing.  Ugh!

On to the links…

Americans Link Weather Nastiness to Climate Change—Average Americans see the linkage between climate change and aberrant weather but asses like James Inhofe or Mitch McConnell fail to see the connection.  Wonder why?

Even John Boehner Should Like This Graphic—I think reality is setting in and the chorus of “drill baby, drill” or “drill here, drill now” or whatever the Koch brothers have schemed up this week is fizzling in the wake of falling gas prices and the fact that the U.S. is producing more fossil fuels than any time in recent history.  Check out the value of fossil fuel exports:

But we still need to subsidize Exxon Mobil right?

Electric Vehicle Charging Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the U.S.—The latest trope from the cadre of people who hate the idea of electric cars or anything that does reek of crude oil is that the power charging your EV is just as dirty as the diesel from their F-350.  Sorry Charlie, but for a broad swatch of America and the demographic most likely to adopt EVs this is just not true.  Next?

Enslaved at the Pump—So, you bought that Chevrolet Cruze with the Eco package because you wanted to save fuel and money…uh oh!  This graph is brutal:

At the end of the day, if you are already buying a fuel efficient vehicle, e.g. a Chevrolet Cruze, your money is better spent somewhere else if you are looking for an efficiency gain.

Rethinking Old Habits in Order to be Green—Efforts to save energy too often focus on refining old habits rather than reimagining them from the ground up, at least according to the RAND Corporation.  It’s easy to imagine replacing something with a greener alternative than it is to imagine life without that item.  That is natural human behavior, but it is not always the best path of action.  If I could just convince the city that mowing my lawn is an example of this folly…

Building a Better Flusher—Using potable water to flush toilets is pure folly.  Why not use the relatively clean water from our showers or laundry or the sky to do the same job?  Or, why not just stop using water to flush our “waste?”  I know, crazy ideas…

What’s for Dinner?  Jellyfish!—I already like green sea turtles, but looking at photos of a honu firing down some jellyfish for dinner makes me like the oddly graceful animals even more.  It is still one of my vacation highlights to have sent the better part of an hour off the coast of Maui bobbing lazily in the ocean with a pair of green sea turtles.

Fence Is Behind an Explosion of Life in a Wild Corner of Hawaii—I am total sucker for stories about Hawaii and the central Pacific.  It is my favorite place on Earth.  Hawaii is such an isolated chain of islands that it serves as an interesting laboratory for species revival, habitat restoration, etc.  It is also a test case for what happens when invasive species ruin an ecosystem.  Bit by bit, pieces of the natural landscape are being recovered from our collective stupidity.