Tag Archives: pesticide

Friday Linkage 5/19/2017

At what point do we begin to point the finger for this entire Donald Trump mess at the people who enabled him.  Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe is partially to blame for giving Donald Trump a national platform for free in exchange for ratings in the early days of the campaign.  The entire Republican establishment is on notice for allowing this charlatan in orange to assume the Oval Office because they felt that it would be beneficial for their agenda.  Paul Ryan and the rest of his elected Republican cronies need to get in line and get behind the real investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection.

Furthermore, the American people need to demand that all of our elected representatives act as the Constitutionally mandated check to Trump’s deranged ambition.  I am sure of the fact that Donald Trump feels he has the ultimate authority regardless of law and will do anything to facilitate this delusion.

On to the links…

Under Trump, Inconvenient Data that was Previously Public is Being Sidelined—You don’t think that people like Scott Pruitt are loving this action.  This is an administration and a Republican party that is allergic to facts in general and almost violently reactive to anything that even hints at an opposing viewpoint.  It’s like your drunk Uncle Carl who yells about the “lamestream media” is in charge of the country.

Why Trump Will Make the Wrong Decision on Paris—I do not think this really needed a long explanation.  Donald Trump is an under informed reactionary decision maker who loathes anyone with more expertise or knowledge on a topic than himself thus he is prone to making bone headed decisions.  Furthermore, he surrounds himself with family and sycophants utterly dependent upon his wealth thus the toadies are always telling him how great he is doing.  Is it any wonder we are doomed?

Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers.—Color me surprised, but I am not.  Chlorpyrifos is nasty stuff, but Trump’s corporate allies wanted it allowed so it was made so under the guise of…profits and screw everything else.  Only profits matter now.

The EPA Asked the Public which Rules to Scrap and Got Chewed Out—People like clean air and water.  People like it when toxins are not prevalent in their food.  People like health.  It must have been a real surprise to Trump’s denizens of death that people prefer to keep regulations that prevent profit seeking companies from polluting.

The Surprising Story of the Decline of Electricity use in American Households—It all comes down to LED lighting based on back of the envelope calculations.  Those are the same LEDs that talking heads like Sarah Palin derided as some liberal conspiracy.  Granted, most of those talking heads are nitwits who supported Trump.  And you thought those pictures of your high school fashion choices were embarrassing.

Three Reasons to Believe in China’s Renewable Energy Boom—China is all in on renewable energy because the leadership of that country believes it is critical to their staying in power.

By 2020, Every Chinese Coal Plant will be More Efficient than Every US Coal Plant—However, a coal plant still produces a lot more pollution than a solar panel.

Terawatts of Solar Power are Within our Reach—Solar power will soon reach a tipping point where it is like a large snowball going downhill picking up speed and gaining in size.  The victims of its destructive path will be old line fossil fuels and maybe your drunk Uncle Carl who hates hippies, Volkswagens, and solar panels.

New US Residential Solar Capacity Additions Drop 17% In First Quarter—So goes California…as California is responsible for almost 50% of residential solar installations the golden state has an outsize impact on the aggregate numbers for the U.S.  Other states saw smaller declines and it may be due to major installers pursuing more profitable installations over heady growth figures.

Coal and Natural Gas Are Foes, Not Natural Allies—This is the real inconvenient truth for Trump and his coal cronies.  Natural gas and coal compete directly with each other so any policy that favors both fuels—relaxed emissions targets, etc.—also favors the fuel that directly replaces coal.

Trump Coal Obsession Largely Irrelevant To Electric Utility CEOs—Those darned market forces just get in the way of a good campaign speech.

Stanford Study says Fossil-Fueled Cars will Vanish in 8 years as ‘Big Oil’ Collapses—I doubt it will happen in eight years, but I think there is a time in my lifetime when my truck will be a classic because of its fuel choice.

You May Live Longer if You Bike to Work—Let us count all of the ways that bicycles rule.

New American Study Confirms: Physically Separated Bike Lanes are Crucial for Safety—Add this to the list of things that seem obvious but that someone felt a study was needed to confirm.  As someone who rides both types of bike lanes I can assure you that the protected and/or separated bike lanes are the better option for a cyclist.

Denver’s Bike-Friendly Plans Seem To Be Panning Out—People actually like biking to work and play.  It’s a proven fact.

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Friday Linkage 6/27/2014

It’s amazing how busy you can be ferrying children to dance lessons, teeball games, and birthday parties. It almost makes you pine for the lazy winter weekends where the biggest decision was whether or not to put in three mini marshmallows in the hot cocoa.

On to the links…

Justices Uphold Emission Limits on Big Industry—Guess what? The new EPA rules are going to stand as long as a Democrat is in the White House. Assuming Hillary runs and the Republicans go with a slate of crazies as potential nominees these rules have a good decade or more to be law of the land. Dig it.

Nebraska Utility Is Phasing Out Some Coal Units, And It Won’t Cost That Much—Forget what the talking heads on Fix News and you hyperbolic members of Congress have said because the newly released EPA regulations that will likely close down some coal plants will not dramatically alter the American economy. It’s a good thing.

EPA to Reassess Sherco Coal Power Plant’s Effect on Two National Parks—It is starting to feel like coal is on its last legs as a fuel for the future in the U.S. Every time you turn around there is a movement to close down yet another plant for one reason or another.

What’s Better — A Solar Loan or a Solar Lease?—As companies offering solar leases proliferate this is a question that will be asked by anyone considering a residential solar photovoltaic system.

Buying Into Solar Power, No Roof Access Needed—How about a third option for getting access to electricity from the sun?

Colorado Springs Solar Garden Sells Out, Even Before Construction Begins—If you do not believe there is demand for solar power just look at the stunning success of solar gardens in Colorado. These things are fully subscribed well before construction begins.

Utah Utility Cuts Deal For 20 Years Of Solar Power Because It’s The Cheapest Option—Here’s why retiring dirty old coal plants is not going to be that expensive. Renewables are getting to be just as cheap.

Worldwide Solar Power Capacity is 53X Higher than 9 Years Ago! Wind Power 6.6X Higher!—Crazy. Crazy good that is.

How Your Bee-Friendly Garden May Actually Be Killing Bees—Bees cannot get a break. Even when you plant a pollinator friendly garden you may be inadvertently killing off bees. Ugh.

One Quarter Of India Is Turning Into Desert—This is why environmental restoration efforts are so critical. There is a lot of land all over the world that has been negatively impacted by mankind’s hand. We need to heal the land.

Rethinking the Word ‘Foodie’—Everyone would be better off if we recognized the costs—usually externalities—associated with our cracked up food system. Plus, killing the term “foodie” would be great.

How We Can Tame Overlooked Wild Plants to Feed the World—As we lose plants to disease because we have bred out food system to uniformity wild plants will be increasingly valuable. Think about your morning coffee. Most of the coffee we drink is descended from a single genetic strain originating somewhere in Ethiopia. The hundreds, if not thousands, of wild coffee plants that might have resistant to various blights have not been exploited.

We Have a Crappy Healthcare System—I don’t usually talk about the U.S. healthcare system because it pisses me off so much. Have a parent struggle with the system while they are dying and you will have an unceasing hate for insurance companies. In the U.S. we have great practitioners of healthcare—doctors, nurses, etc.—but the archaic and bloated system around these practitioners does nothing but add cost and inefficiency.

Bjorn Lomborg Is Part Of The Koch Network — And Cashing In—If you didn’t already thing that Bjorn Lomborg was a fraud, then the latest news about his affiliation with the evil Koch brothers will just erase any lingering doubts. The man defines sell out.

Friday Linkage 12/6/2013

Man, oh man did it get cold over the course of this week.  On Monday it was 50-ish degrees and Wednesday was so foggy that school got delayed by two hours.  Come Thursday it was in the low teens and the mercury was still dropping.  Why do I think that this is going to be one of those bone chilling cold winters?

On to the links…

Secretive Right-Wing Group Continues Its War On Clean Energy—ALEC has a whole host of problems right now, including campaign finance violations and sponsor loss, but that has not stopped these darlings if the right wing from continuing to fight solar power.  Clowns.

Missouri Gas Pipeline Explosion Causes 300-Foot Fireball—No matter how many times the pipeline industry tries to sell the public the line about safety, a story comes out where a pipeline has leaked or worse exploded.

Mounting Microplastic Pollution Harms “Earthworms of the Sea”—Is there any place that the plastic pollution from humans is not impacting?  I cannot think of any place.  I bet it is even on the freaking moon.

Marine Reserves Enhance Resilience to Climate Change—So little of the oceans are protected in marine reserves, but the value of these reserves is becoming more apparent every day.

Unless Your Pot is Organic, You’re Probably Inhaling Pesticides—I found it really interesting in Doug Fine’s Too High to Fail that many of the above board growers were trying to do away with the nasty chemicals.  If it’s going to be medicine, it should probably not have pesticides sprayed all over it.

In the FDA’s Action on Trans Fats are there Lessons for GMO Labeling—Grass roots effort beat back trans fats, maybe something can be done about GMOs.

As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500—I am a huge single payer fan.  As a matter of fact, I want the system to be Medicare for all because the insanity that is talked about in this article goes away.  For anyone who thinks that the private sector is always more efficient has never been involved in hospital billing.

Scientists Warn Obama Against Burning Trees To Produce Electricity—Cutting down trees, specifically to burn them for electricity is insane.  It’s not going to be a net positive outcome no matter what way you slice it.  Here in eastern Iowa biomass from trees was used recently to power the University of Iowa, but that source was from trees felled and damaged in a strong summer storm.

Are Bio-Fuels Worse than Fossil Fuels—This debate will probably never disappear from the public sphere.  It is my belief that if second generation bio-fuels can be brought to commercial scale that there is a place in the future energy portfolio for them.

Why It Makes No Sense To Call Wind Tax Credits “Welfare”—Conservatives love using the word welfare to describe things that they are opposed to because they spent the better part of 25 years creating a series of erroneous images to describe its recipients.  It just does not happen to be welfare when it is something being given to their donors.  That’s just hypocrisy.

Free Mike Roselle From Jail: Free Appalachia From Mountaintop Removal—  Government will silence voices of dissent even when those voices are merely asking that the government enforce the laws, rules, and regulations that are already on the books.

15 Gorgeous Photos Of The Old Cincinnati Library—The pictures from this long gone library are amazing.  It’s also sad that we have lost so many of these buildings to wrecking balls in the name of progress.  Will anyone lament the cookie cutter buildings that replaced these amazing old structures?

Friday Linkage 6/22/2012

What a difference a couple of overnight storms can make.  This week we had two decent overnight storms that drenched eastern Iowa and tipped the scales away from drought.  Everything was much greener by Thursday afternoon and the air had lost its arid edge.  It was like a return to a normal and pleasant Iowa summer.

On to the links…

Gardener Sues City of Tulsa for Tearing Up Her Garden—Lawns blow me away.  It’s okay to have a landscape that requires constant attention and is frequently doused in nasty chemicals, but if someone dares to do something different the city comes down like Thor’s hammer.  WTF?  Then again, this is Oklahoma.   I guess it’s not just the wind sweeping down the plains but the city’s scythes as well.

What to Buy Organic—This story got a lot of play, but it makes people’s decision easier at the grocery store.  Here is a list of the produce to buy when it is available as organic because the pesticides and other chemicals used are so bad or used in high quantities.

How Climate Change is Fueling Western Wildfires—Unless you are an ass like James Inhofe, it is staring you right in the face that our changing climate is fueling ever nastier western wildfires.  Granted, part of the problem is a hundred year legacy of not allowing any fires to burn so the hillsides are full of tinder and the encroachment of development means these fires now threaten homes where before there was no damage to private property.

Renewable Energy in the EU—The Guardian in the United Kingdom has an excellent look at the state of renewable energy in the European Union.   In 2010 the EU 27 got 12.4% of electricity from renewables with Norway leading the pack at 61.1%, which includes hydropower.  Those crafty Norwegians are always up to something.

U.S. Renewable Energy Future—The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a study showing how the U.S. could greatly increase the share of renewable energy.  Senators from oil and gas states will fight any mention of this report tooth and nail.  Why?  Because they are bought and paid for.  Ass clowns.

German Solar Installation Cost at $2.24 per Watt, the U.S. is at $4.44—Here is why the U.S. is going to have a hard time getting critical mass on solar—the balance of system costs are driving the installed system costs too high.  It used to be the panels were too expensive, but that is no longer the case as the price per watt of a panel has come down immensely.  Now it is all the other equipment and, more importantly, the red tape.  For once I will agree with Republicans—there is too much regulation and red tape surrounding getting solar installed.  Somehow I do not see Mitt Romney taking up that banner anytime soon.  No Koch money in it.

Let’s Add a Little Dirt to Our Diets—I am not advocating a lunch of top soil and compost.  Neither is the author.  Rather, the central thesis is that our increasingly clinical and clean world is depriving our bodies of the bacteria that have evolved to ward off various maladies.  With the recent completion of a census of the bacteria on the human body it will become increasingly clear that we need a little filth.

Battery Costs Down to $250/kWh by 2015—This is one of those boring but important kind of stories.  Due to improving technology and a glut of capacity, industry analysts are predicting that lithium-ion battery packs will cost just $250 per kilowatt hour by 2015.  Currently, a lithium-ion battery pack costs approximately $700 per kilowatt hour.  This is a great reduction in cost that will allow electric vehicles to come down in price and, thus, speed adoption.

Oil Rig Reef—The dormant offshore oil platform High Island 389-A is supposed to be demolished soon.  However, its structure beneath the surface of the water has become a wonderland for aquatic life.  It’s even becoming something of a reef:

Isn’t there a better fate than destruction?

Why Wooden Bikes Ride Better and Look Stunning—Just reading this article made me want to get a wooden bike.  Until I saw the price tag.  The sunk coast of my sixteen year old Bontrager is looking better and better.   I feel like I should apologize to my old bike for even looking at a younger model.

Friday Linkage 2/10/2012

The Republican presidential primary is the gift that keeps on giving.  It’s must see television every night.  The dynamic has gone from Mitt “Corporations are people too my friend” Romney versus Newt “$500k credit line at Tiffany’s” Gingrich to a contest of Mitt “I am the 0.0001%” Romney versus Rick “Please do not Google me” Santorum.

It’s a parade of clowns on Fox News every night as the candidates and supporters contort themselves to an ever greater degree in order to curry favor with the various extreme elements of the modern day conservative movement.  Granted, Rick “No really, please do not Google me” Santorum does not have to change his positions to be radical because he is already a whack job.  The latest nugget is his warning about the tyranny of environmentalism.  Really?  Coming from someone who wants to legislate the nature of people’s sex lives there is little credibility on the nature of tyranny.

On to the links…

Ron Paul is an Ass—I did not want Ron Paul to think that I forgot about him in describing the circus that is the presidential primary season.  However, I felt that his particular variety of ass bagness required his own link.  Calling for the elimination of federal public lands is a new one for this scion of the high school libertarian movement.  Too bad the ideas that sound so cool too affluent right wing bobbleheads just do not make any sense to anyone else with half a brain.

American Corporations are Asses Too—In 2011, the U.S. corporate effective tax rate, please note the difference between statutory and effective tax rates before the flames of right wing indignation begin, reached its lowest point in 40 years.  How low?  12.1 percent on average.  Yep, highly profitable American corporations pay an effective tax rate lower than anyone I know.  How do you like them apples?

Imagine a World without Oil—It sounds like a lyric in John Lennon’s syrupy “Imagine.”  But, it’s an infographic:

European Windpower Grew 11% in 2011—Maybe we will get to that world without oil and avoid all of the apocalyptic scenarios.  Currently, wind power has the capacity to provide about 6.3% of the EU’s electricity and that capacity is growing.  Why anyone would view this trend as anything other than a roaring success is beyond me.

Americans Gaining Independence as Top Producer—And then I am brought right back down to Earth by the news that the U.S. is producing more fossil fuels than ever led by the emergence of new natural gas supplies.  Where we were told four years ago that the country was going to have to import liquefied natural gas now there are plans to export the same product.  It makes me wonder how much these people really know.  But, what are the true costs of these fuels?

Is California’s Solar Gold Rush Destined to Fail—Uh oh!  Are we seeing another bubble developing, this time with it being clean energy from the sun.  Many in the cleantech business are warning that an expiration of government support and a weak economy are looming as a one two punch that could KO their business models.  Exxon would love nothing more.

Terry Thompson and the Zanesville Zoo Massacre—This story was depressing when the first bits of news started to come out of Ohio, but upon further review it seems even worse.  The scary part about this story is that the trade in exotic animals is so pervasive and unregulated.  Here are animals disappearing from the wild because of a panoply of reasons yet there seems to be a large population under private control in homes across the United States.

CREE LEDs Are Not Just More Efficiency, They Are Better—Every day seems to bring a report about the improved performance, increased efficiency, or reduced cost of LED lights, which are the next wave of technology to supplant the incandescent, halogen, and CFL bulbs of our past.  CREE is leading the innovation, but others like Soraa are also pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible.

A Texas Developer Reimagines the American Subdivision—The whole concept of SOL Austin is pretty sweet.  Smaller homes that are smart and livable.  Taking advantage of an overlooked parcel of land within city limits rather than mindlessly expanding outward.  Damn…

Exploding Hog Barns—Do you need another reason to swear off industrial meat?  How about the phenomenon of exploding hog confinement operations because the manure lagoons develop a gas trapping foam crust.  At least the University of Minnesota is researching solutions…oh wait, the solution is to not perpetuate this flawed food production regime.

The Frog of War–When presented with evidence that your product is nasty and could mess up the ecosystems of the world the corporate overlords have two choices: attempt to remedy the solution through research or attack the person making science based evaluations.  Which one do you think the maker of these nasty chemicals chose?   One guess.

Sugar May be Bad, but is the Alternative Worse—If you thought that companies that make dangerous herbicides and pesticides fight dirty, wait until you see the fight that sugar and sweetener makers are going to put up as the pressure mounts on their products.  In the U.S. we eat too much sugar, we’re too fat, and we’re suffering from a crisis of diabetes but the sugar and sweetener makers will hear none of it.  Clowns.

You Can’t Eat an Uppercut—The Edible Education series on UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel is great.  I just finished watching one of the final lectures with Van Jones as a guest and it made me remember that at the core anger is only so good at accomplishing goals.  As he said so simply, you can’t eat an uppercut.  Just search on Edible Education and the lecture series will pop up.  It’s real good.

Lawn Reform—It’s not too early to think about spring and the landscaping that comes with the change in seasons.  The seed, bulb, and plant catalogs have started arriving.  Perhaps this is the year I really go gangbusters and replace a good chunk of my lawn with something better.